Do you consider yourself a pessimist or an optimist?
I think I’m a skeptic, which means I need information before I can be for or against anything. Information may be just “getting to know someone” before deciding I like (or don’t like) them — or getting facts before deciding on something where facts are at issue.
I’m more upbeat than some people, not as much as others.
Somehow, I’m more convinced we are not going the way of the Axis in World War II and I believe if we can just hang on, things will get better. I’m convinced we’ll pull out of this mess we are in.
I also get that I could be entirely and horribly wrong about that!
Can War ever be just?
War is never good, but sometimes, one’s world must be defended. But our last “just” war — World War II — would never have been necessary if we had settled the ashes of WW I with more concern for the human beings who would have to live with that settlement.
Greed, land, hatred, bad leaders — they make war happen. So I’m not sure there’s ever an entirely “just” war because if you look at the context, it should never have happened at all.
People create wars. It’s time we owned up to it.
War leads to more war, so this war may be just, but it wouldn’t be necessary if we hadn’t had a previous war. I don’t think we’ll ever stop fighting and for one side of the other, it’s always a just war and God is always on everyone’s side. Pity God has never had anything to say about that.
Think about the people you love most in your life, what do you do for them?
I try to keep them in mind and keep in touch. When we can be together, that makes me happy.
There isn’t much else to do, is there?
Are you health conscious?
Painfully, on many levels.
We eat decently, avoid most of the really bad stuff. It gets harder as prices keep going up. Good thing we don’t eat much.
Gratitude, Thankfulness, Wonder, Awe, and Joy!
It was great seeing boys being boys and enjoying a swim in the river with no hovering parents, no cell phones.
Ever since the Mueller report came out, sort of, the topic on most people’s mind (or at least all the pundits on cable news) is whether or not to start impeachment hearings against the Twittler-in-chief.
In the last few weeks, with the addition of Attorney General William (I’m Trump’s Roy Cohn) Barr it has become clear that this administration has thrown any and all respect for the constitution out the window.
Then they went outside, peed on it, shit on it, let it dry out and peed and shit on it again. They are refusing all subpoenas issued by Congress. They are not allowing anyone to testify in front of any Congressional Committee. Even though many of those people don’t even work for the government anymore. The AG has lied to Congress and then refused to show up for a House Committee hearing because he didn’t want to be questioned by an actual lawyer!
The administration has said to Congress “FUCK YOU!” We don’t care if we’re breaking the law. What are you going to do about it?
Here’s the thing. No administration has ever done this before. Yet another “political norm” bites the dust.
What has become abundantly clear in the last two years is that our government has lasted for over 200 years because the people in it had some sense of civility. Some sense of decency. Some sense of shame. We never realized how much of government relied on everybody “doing the right thing.” We all just did it. It wasn’t written “black letter law.”
Then along came Cheesy McCheese Head.
A man with no civility. No sense of decency. No sense of shame. No regard for “Political Norms.” And as far as anyone can tell, no conscience.
If it isn’t written down as being illegal, fuck you, he’ll do it. And his and the whole Republican Party’s attitude is “even if it is written down, even if it is against the law, fuck you, we don’t care. What are you going to do about it?”
Here’s the most depressing thing. It turns out that Congress may not have much they can do about it. They can issue a subpoena, which in our previous reality was a really big deal. But this administration has just said “Fuck you, we don’t care. What are you going to do about it?”
Turns out they can hold a person who ignores a subpoena with a Contempt of Congress citation. Oh, that’s bad, right? What happens then? Congress sends the contempt citation to the Department of Justice, who then brings the cited individual up on criminal charges.
What if the person under the contempt citation is the HEAD OF THE JUSTICE DEPARTMENT? What does he do?
Nothing. He ignores it. Fuck you. What are you going to do about it?
Congress requests the President’s tax returns be made available under an ironclad lawwritten in the 1920s after the Tea Pot Dome scandals. They were intended to make sure no President or administration can hide corruption.
It was written to leave no wiggle room for a President or member of his cabinet to weasel out of providing those returns. So what does the Secretary of the Treasury, a person who has no right to interfere, do?
You guessed it. He says “Fuck you, I’m not going to allow that to happen. What are you going to do about it?
Theoretically, Congress can take all these issues to court, where they are on solid ground and will probably win. They always have in the past. What the current Supreme Court would do is questionable.
All the lower courts are going to say is, “Are you fucking kidding me? This is illegal as hell. Honor the subpoenas and turn over his friggin’ tax returns.”
Okay, they probably wouldn’t say friggin’. I’m just making a point. I like to speak in the vernacular. Okay, that’s not true either. I just wanted to use vernacular in that sentence.
The problem is, all of that would take a lot of time and we need speed. There is a good chance even if Congress wins, the administration will still say, “Fuck you. We’re not going to do it. What are you going to do about it?”
What can Congress do at this point? They have a thing called “Inherent Contempt” which allows them to actually jail someone they hold in contempt and fine them.
But their “jail” is merely a room in Congress’s basement. The Sargent-at-Arms of the House of Representatives doesn’t have a large force of well-armed troops.
That option is iffy.
So the only thing left that Congress can do is Impeach the mother-fucker. Not my quote, but a quote from a member of the House, the Speaker of the House, and many top Democrats are resisting this.
Their reason? They know the Senate will never convict, so why bother?
Because they have to do something. They simply cannot allow all of this to happen and do absolutely nothing, even if the end result isn’t an actual conviction.
Their reasoning is badly flawed but I understand why they think this way. When the Republicans impeached Clinton the majority of the country didn’t want them to do it. They did it anyway. On their own. On a party-line vote.
The result? The House Republicans impeached. The Senate didn’t convict. They knew the Senate wouldn’t convict when they impeached him. They did it anyway.
When it was all over? Clinton’s approval ratings were in the ’70s.
So what? The Republicans won the next election. Granted the won because the Supreme Court appointed Bush as President, but nonetheless, they ultimately won.
Why were Clinton’s approval ratings so high? Because the MAJORITY of Americans thought getting impeached because you lied about getting a BJ from a consenting adult was bad, but NOT AN IMPEACHABLE OFFENSE!
The group MoveOn.orgwas created because most Americans wanted to “Move On” from this silly impeachment bullshit. Back then, I was working for CBS News Up To The Minute news.
Every night, we would air a three-minute piece about how the latest polls showed most Americans didn’t give a crap about Clinton’s affairs. No one wanted more stories about Monica Lewinsky.
The very next piece was inevitably about Monica Lewinsky.
After months of this, one night I asked the line producer if he actually watched the news block he just produced. He replied, “What do you mean?”
I replied, “You just aired the umpteenth poll showing how nobody cares about Monica Lewinsky and the Clinton scandal and your next piece is about Monica Lewinsky.”
His reply? “What’s your point?”
To this day, after 40 years of working in Network News, I still don’t exactly know what a news producer does. Now that I’m retired, I’m not sure I care.
The difference between then and now is simple. Back then, the majority of the country thought to impeach Clinton was silly. He got a blow job.
Thispresident is under 14 CRIMINAL investigations — not counting the Mueller report — which documents at least 10 instances of provable obstruction of justice.
Now he is obstructing Congress daily — in plain sight! The overwhelming victory for the Democrats in 2018 was due to the majority of Americans wanting thisPresident to be reined in.
To be impeached. Speedily. Then sent forth to a place of imprisonment, clapped in irons at least until his political string runs out forever and we know he can’t come back.
It looks bleak. The checks and balances of this country and our Constitution contained some serious hidden flaws. Mainly, the Founding Fathers assumed — and we all know what assumedmeans — that the members of Congress would do their jobs.
Which is checking and balancing and keeping the country on an even keel.
The Republicans are notdoing that. The current administration isn’t following the Constitution. Essentially, they are spitting on it with the result that our system is falling apart.
The reason we are not impeaching is that the House of Representatives know they can’t get a conviction in the Senate. This is totally stupid.
Only two and a half Presidents have been impeached. Nixon only counts as a half because he was never impeached. Congress was going to impeach him, but he quit before they could do it. In the other two cases, Clinton and Lincoln’s Vice President Andrew Johnson were impeached, but neither was convicted, although Johnson came close.
He won by only one vote. And that guy had to be brought into the Senate on a stretcher. He was near death. Nobody’s ever been convicted by the Senate. So that’s not an excuse to not impeach.
Here’s my argument. No, sorry, it’s not my argument. It’s from a far more reputable source than me. Who?
Who’s Otter? I’m talking about Otter, the character from the movie Animal House played by Tim Matheson.
Specifically, the scene where Dean Wormer has closed down Delta House and the whole fraternity was getting thrown out of their frat house. Otter comes into their living room after just having the crap beaten out of him by the bad guy Frat house Omega Theta Pi.
And here Otter gives the speech that drives the rest of the movie. And this speech should drive all of us now.
“Now we could do it with conventional weapons, but that could take years and cost millions of lives. No, I think we have to go all out. I think that this situation absolutely requires a really futile and stupid gesture be done on somebody’s part!”
And there you have it. It appears to be a futile gesture and thus stupid. But this situation absolutely requires a stupid gesture to be done on somebody’s part. We’re the only ones who can do it.
It will most likely fail, but we have to try. Hell, it can be the Democrats campaign slogan. “We Tried to Impeach the Mother Fucker. What Do You Want From Us?”
The only problem is WTTITMFWDYWFU doesn’t fit on a hat.
I had other plans for the day … and then I saw that the Mueller Report – redactions and all — was out. While I was prone to go grocery shopping, this changed everything for me. Garry is reading it. I am reading it.
If you have the time, read at least the first 8 pages (after the table of contents which, unfortunately, it not live). You’ll need to do a lot of scrolling and you might want to enlarge the type because it’s really tiny.
Redactions and all, it may not show Trump as an intentional criminal. It does show him as an incredible fool and about as “ready” to be president as my dog Duke.
Come to think of it, I believe Duke would make a much better president.
I also have a funny feeling that our government is going after social media, especially Google, Facebook, and Instagram … but WordPress played a big role in this mess, too. Read as much of it as you can. It’s heavy-duty stuff, so you are going to want to do it in pieces.
After you read pieces of it, you will find yourself prone and unable to breathe.
Garry has an undying devotion to some really awful old television series. Among many others, he really likes “The Untouchables.” That would be the version with Robert Stack as Elliott Ness. It’s the original, where our chief G-man and his “guys” fight (are you ready?) for The Volstead Act.
Prohibition! That’s right.
Prohibition. Booze, or more accurately, the lack thereof. Fighting for the right to have people NOT drink booze.
I’m not a boozer. I don’t drink now and never drank much, not even when I was younger. That being said, I can’t imagine going to war to make booze disappear.
War doesn’t work, not even when it’s a war against drugs or booze or your neighbor or their neighbor. War (which is not the same as protection) is an ineffective tool that does more damage than good. I grant you there have been a few exceptions, but ironically, most “good wars” were fought because of bad deals made following previous bad wars. But what do I know, right?
Back to “The Untouchables.”
What a great show. When the cops are pissed off with you, they can beat the living crap out of you. If that doesn’t get you to spill your guts, they’ll toss you off the train. A moving train. You have a problem with that?
You are disposable too.
This version of the FBI is unconcerned with your rights. They don’t believe you have any rights.
First amendment? What’s that? You are dirt under their feet and they treat you accordingly as if you are dirt under their feet. This is a show that never made the slightest apology for being racist. They never pretended to be fair or worried about legalities.
They said “We are G-men. You will obey!”
Everyone did. It was the FBI at its most pure. These men (there are no women) are not just above the law. They are the law.
My favorite moment in tonight’s show was when the boys, ignoring even a nod to international law, take the FBI bus into Mexico to track down the guys who kidnapped their witness.
“The bus broke down three times and the trip took 10 hours,” said the stentorian voice of the narrator.
“So what?” I said to Garry. “That could describe my last trip to the grocery store.”
Since the FBI took over enforcing Prohibition — The Volstead Act — no one has had a drink. Not a single person. These guys were so good at battling beer and booze, the alcohol problem was permanently solved. Some might call this denial.
I call it faith. If you believe, it must be true. Who needs facts when misguided belief is more than enough?
I’m trying to get into our current national spirit.
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.
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.
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.
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…
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?
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.
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