AN ALLEGORY OF LIFE AND MORAL BREAKDOWN – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Allegory


I decided this morning that if our government doesn’t feel they need to obey laws, why should we? They have declared us as a non-government. They have no laws by which they need to abide, so why are we bothering?

Allegorical equality

Our president, good old mentally defective #45 doesn’t feel he owes us, the voters and citizens of this country, anything at all. Putting aside for the moment his obvious mental illness, stupidity, bigotry, viciousness, cruelty, and mean-spiritedness — he is a big bag of air, an empty nothingness.

Allegory of hatred and bigotry – By: Aleix-Pons

Allegorically speaking, we don’t have a government. If our purported leader can do anything he wants, why can’t we? Why can’t we all do whatever we want, whenever we feel like it? We do we have to work? Or pay taxes? Why do we have to obey traffic laws? We can all carry guns and when we need something, we can just shove the gun in someone’s face and demand it. That’s what the prez does and I think he has set us a fine example of what the world he believes in.

If just one of us stops obeying laws, we’ll get busted.  But what if ALL of us — the entire body politic —  stopped obeying not one, but ALL laws? Stopped obeying even the most basic rules of common sense and civility? What if we all refused to send our children to school? Refused to stop for red lights and parked anywhere we felt like parking? We can all carry big guns so when we ran out of money or anything else, we can hold up the nearest store or bank. We’ll just take what we need, grab what we want, and when they try to arrest us, say “screw you” and shoot our way out.

Allegory of the Cave – Plato

They couldn’t catch all of us. After a while, I’m pretty sure they’d give up trying and take to chaos too. I bet the previous so-called police would be the best law-breakers of them all. They’ve got the training to do evil way better than me. Just wait until the military goes wild.

Do I really think this is a good idea? No. But that’s the example being set for us, so after a while, we have to begin to wonder “why not?” The wild west wasn’t nearly as wild as we could make today’s America.

So if you feel chaos and law-breaking is a good idea for Those People, it should be good for us too. That’s what allegory is all about, isn’t it? Or is that metaphor? So hard to be sure.

NOT WORTH THE PAPER IT’S WRITTEN ON – Marilyn Armstrong

It was Samuel Goldwyn who supposedly said that “a verbal contract isn’t worth the paper it’s written on.” He had a point. Almost everything is done online these days from legal papers to mortgages.

Job offers, book deals, major purchases (like cars) are all done online, without people meeting face-to-face. I’m still not willing to make major commitments without a personal meeting, but I’m old-school. Maybe you should be, too.

Computers, or not, get it in writing. Without the handwritten signature of a live human with a name, address, and phone numbers, you ain’t got nothing.

When I was working my first jobs out of college, I would take anything with some connection — no matter how vague — to professional writing or editing.
It was the 1960s. Those days, before home computers and the Internet, getting a job was pretty simple, at least at entry levels.

You saw a listing in the paper for something you figured you could do. You phoned them (if they gave a number to call) or wrote a letter. On paper. Put it in an envelope with a stamp and dropped in a mailbox. You included a résumé or brought one with you for the interview.

You went to the meeting in person. A day or two later, that person (or his/her secretary) called back to say “Yes, you’re hired,” or “No, thank you.” An entry-level job didn’t require 30 hours of interviews or meeting everyone from the company president to the IT crew and the overnight backup guy.

And there really was a job, unlike now where they interview people for jobs that don’t exist just to find out if there’s a workforce to fill it — should it ever come up. You were qualified to do the job or not. The person who interviewed you actually had the authority to hire you. Which was why he or she was conducting interviews.

Unlike today where you can be certain the first person you talk to is someone from HR trying to ascertain whether or not you are a serial killer or corporate espionage agent.

Contracts? Those were for really important jobs. Getting in the door was relatively easy. Getting an office with a window might never happen. If you were a woman, knowing how to type was your entry card.

So the company made me an offer. I took it. I was optimistic back then. Any job might lead to the coveted and elusive “something better.” I was already working, so I gave my current employer two-weeks notice. On the appointed day, I showed up for work.

The guy who had offered me the job was gone. Quit? Fired? No one seemed to know or care. Worse, no one had heard of me, or my so-called job. I had nothing in writing. Without proof, I had a hard time even getting unemployment. I had learned the most important professional lesson of my life:


GET IT IN WRITING.


Whatever it is, if it’s not on a piece of paper, dated, and signed, it’s a verbal contract. Sometimes, that’s fine, but it’s not something you can show to a judge or for that matter, the unemployment department yo-yos. Which, in the immortal words of Samuel Goldwyn, means it is not worth the paper it’s written on.

LET’S BAN PENNIES – Marilyn Armstrong

I got an email from AT&T. It was alarming. I was overdue on my bill! They were going to report me to collection agencies, send it to all those companies that decide whether or not you deserve to have a credit card or a mortgage.

I was surprised because I paid the bill. On-time. Online. I know I did.

Obverse side of a 1990 issued US Penny. Pictur...

So, after resetting my password — it doesn’t matter how many times I set my password … the next time I go to AT&T’s website, I will have to do it again — I looked at my bill. Somehow, I had underpaid the bill by a penny.

One cent. $00.01

In retribution for my oversight, AT&T said they would sic the collection agencies on me. I deserve to pay heavily for this lapse in fiscal responsibility. Though I think it was their error, not mine, but let’s not quibble.

There are many battles to fight in life. One must pick amongst them lest one be overwhelmed. This giant corporation is going to destroy my credit for want of a penny. This is what happens when computers run the world and no people monitor what they are doing. I’m sure this was all automatically generated.

I am sure if I’d called them, they would have canceled the bill. but that would take even more time and effort. I fondly believe my time, even retired, is worth more than a penny.

So I paid the bill. I wasn’t actually sure my bank would let me pay a one-cent bill, but they did.

One cent. Just one cent. Mind-boggling.

LEARNING SOMETHING NEW EVERY DAY – Marilyn Armstrong

I thought because I asked someone and got the wrong answer, that you can’t bury a body on private land. As it turns out, it depends on the state in which you live.

Laws vary by state AND also by county. I’m betting Boston is a no-no as is any well-populated suburban area, but out here where we are embarrassed to admit we “only have 4 and a half acres” because everyone else has a much bigger area, you can not only be buried yourself but can start your own private family cemetery.

I suppose this assumes you are planning to stay on that property. I did know a lovely home in upstate New York that had been a rectory. A minister was buried in the backyard and there was a huge apple tree over him.

Small Bobcat excavator

So for the “broke but needing a place to put the body” people of whom, given the insane prices of “real” funerals, this is one more advantage to country life.

Price? The cost of one canvas shroud — I’m pretty sure that’s affordable for most people —  which I assume is a big bag in whatever color suits your eternal mood. Drawstring optional.

Of course, you can’t just stick the body in the bag. You also need a hole in which to bury it. For this, you need a bobcat or maybe a small John Deere. The cost of renting a bobcat? I’m afraid the price wasn’t posted on the site, but our local lumberyard rents them. And you can get ready in advance since this is great equipment for any small to medium-size farm or landscaping venture.

Breaking the ice on our frozen driveway. Local volunteer!

They are frequently used in cemeteries to dig graves. Easier on the back than the whole shovel thing. But you need a hydraulic license, so it might be cheaper to hire a guy who already knows how to use the equipment.


Free shipping and eco-friendly. I think you can get them with wheels so you can roll the body into the hole. Shrouds are used as an alternative to clothing and are suitable for transportation, burial or cremation. The shroud with handles can be used on its own and is lift weight tested to 300 lbs. A sewn-in pouch allows a rigid board to be inserted under the shroud to provide support for the body if desired. Instructions on shrouding the body are available here. Sizes: Large 112” L x 73” W – Extra Large  118” L x 78” W – Please allow 3-5 days for shipping or contact us for overnight delivery.


It can push like a tractor, pull or lift pretty heavy material. It is lighter and far more maneuverable than a tractor front loader. Typically used in light to medium construction as well as landscaping. Think building a swimming pool or a septic system. Or, for that matter, the basement of a house or the extension to an existing house.

You can put various fronts on it, so it’s also great for pushing snow (much better than a garden tractor) and it hauls well. I’ve always wanted a tractor or bobcat. I don’t need one. I just want one.

The only reason I didn’t get one when we moved here was the price. A good tractor costs a bit more than I could justify. Anyway, I’m pretty sure nobody trusted me with my own tractor.

THE ODD LEGALESE OF WINNING AND LOSING – BY ELLIN CURLEY

My ex-husband, Larry Kaiser, was a young litigation attorney in New York City in 1979. His law firm assigned Pro Bono Appeals cases to junior associates as part of a public service program.

Larry was given the appeal of a defendant, Eric Michaels, who had been convicted, in a second trial, of rape, sodomy, robbery and burglary. His first trial had been declared a mistrial. It was clear that the defendant was rightfully convicted. He had definitely done it. So Larry had to look for a procedural irregularity that he could exploit to try to get the conviction overturned on appeal. That was his job, unsavory as it was.

Larry discovered that the trial judge, Judge Arnold Fraiman, had declared a mistrial for a questionable reason – he and several jurors were scheduled to leave on vacations. I believe the judge even had his wife and his packed suitcases in the courtroom. If this was seen as an abuse of discretion by the appellate court, it would invalidate the guilty verdict of the second trial. The entire second trial would be considered invalid as a violation of double jeopardy. You can only be tried once for any crime or crimes.

Larry was drowning in work so I helped him write this Pro Bono brief. It was very much a joint effort. I was practicing law at a small New York City law firm at the time. We won the appeals case and Eric Michaels was released from prison.

One morning shortly after the appellate verdict was rendered, I was getting out of bed and I heard Larry yelling from the living room. He had just opened the New York Times and found his case on the front page! The misconduct of Judge Fraiman was considered a big enough deal to warrant a prominent story. This was particularly true because his misconduct resulted in the release of a convicted rapist. The District Attorney of New York had described Eric Michaels’ crimes as some of the more vicious crimes prosecuted by the state in years.

Judge Fraiman was now in the spotlight. Larry was interviewed by several newspapers. Over the next few days, reporters dug into the Judge’s prior cases. And they discovered that the exact same thing had happened before. Judge Fraiman had previously declared a mistrial for the same reason – he was due to leave on vacation. His prior mistrial declaration had also been considered inappropriate by an appellate court. And again, an appellate court had released another guilty defendant back onto the streets because of Judge Fraiman’s actions in court.

This was now a really big judicial scandal. The story stayed in the news for a while and destroyed Judge Fraiman’s reputation. I think he may have been censured by the judiciary or by the Bar Association.

Larry always had mixed feelings about this case. He had won a major legal success and got his name in the New York Times.

On the other hand, he also helped get a rapist released from jail. This is often the plight of lawyers in the criminal field. It was also a prime reason I didn’t go into criminal law. Winning isn’t everything.

VIOLENCE OF THE SENSIBLE KIND – Marilyn Armstrong

The thing about “senseless violence” is that it implies there’s some other kind. The sensible kind.

Everybody talks about senseless violence … but what about the other kind of violence? How come no one talks about sensible violence?

sensible violence

Sensible Violence: Good reasons to kill


“He needed killing” is still accepted in some American courtrooms as a defense against a charge of murder. If he needed killing and you kill him, you have committed an act of sensible violence.

“No one was supposed to get hurt.” You found yourself short of money, so you held up the bank. Using automatic weapons. You had a perfect plan which went unaccountably wrong. “But your Honor, no one was supposed to get hurt!”

“I had no choice.” You could have gotten a divorce, but you were put off by all the paperwork, lawyers, and courts. Not to mention having to share your stuff. So, you killed your husband and shoved his body in the wood chipper and use his remains as fertilizer. Sensible. tidy, and green.  “Your Honor, he really pissed me off. And it wasn’t easy getting him into the machine. He was being really mean to me, so what choice did I have?”

“Anyone would have done the same thing.” Really, no kidding. Anyone. It was the only sensible response. “Your Honor, she burned the roast. I had to kill her. Anyone would have done the same thing.”

“I lost my temper.” You said I wouldn’t like you when you were angry. You were right.

So you see? Not all violence is senseless. If you didn’t mean it, you had no choice, anyone would have done the same thing, or your plan went awry … it’s sensible violence. The good kind.

WHAT HAPPENS IF NO ONE CARES ABOUT LAW OR ORDER? – Marilyn Armstrong

We make laws. We enforce laws or try to enforce them, anyway.

We’ve done such a great job trying to enforce stupid, meaningless laws while doing such a poor job enforcing more important laws, we’ve got millions of people in prison for doing nothing much — while corporate killers laugh among themselves.

Laws don’t apply to them.

In fact, we do not and could not actually enforce every law we make. The only way a nation can exist is when the population — which is to say most of its citizens — have a fundamental regard for law and carry with them the belief that order is a good thing.

Without a citizenry who respect the law, you have chaos, disorder, disunion and ultimately, the worst kind of tyranny. No country can maintain a police force to make everyone do the right thing. Most people do the right thing because they understand it’s right. That’s all the reason they need.

I don’t need enforcement. I get it. I understand. Probably, so do you. That’s the basis of a free society.

We should be crying out for mature, educated, reasonable men and women who can work together even when their parties utterly disagree about pretty much everything. We need people who care about the people they represent. When governments don’t care for people and stop believing the good of the nation supersedes their personal squabbles, it’s the end of democracy and freedom.

After that, the only way to maintain order is for everyone to be afraid, which is the definition of a police state.

If we can’t find bridges to cross, we have no government. We can make all the laws we want, but unless people believe in law and for the most part, live within it, life as we know it is over. The reason this — or any country — works is that most citizens do “the right thing.” They don’t need a gun pointed at them. There aren’t enough cops, guns, or prisons to make everyone obey if no one cares.

We either learn to behave like civilized people or it’s back to the dark ages — a world where only “might makes right.” But this time, we’ll have mobile phones!

I’m sure that will change everything.

YOU CAN’T MAKE THIS STUFF UP – Marilyn Armstrong

When in 2012, Rob Reid wrote Year Zero, a science fiction novel about the music business and its impact on the universe, many people sat up and took notice. Who better to write about the Byzantine complexities of the music business than Rob Reid?

The author of Year Zero, Rob Reid doesn’t have the kind of bio one would expect of a science fiction author. In fact, he was and is an entrepreneur and multi-millionaire, the kind of self-made multi-millionaire who makes many of us realize what failures we truly are.

Born in New York City, raised in Darien, Connecticut, got his undergraduate degree at Stanford University in Arabic and International Relations. Earned an MBA from Harvard. In 1994 he moved to Silicon Valley where he managed Silicon Graphic’s relations with Netscape. In 1999 he became a founding member of IGN Entertainment which went public in 2000. IGN was acquired by News Corp in 2005 for $650 million.

File:RobReid.jpgReid was the sole founder of Listen.com for which he served as CEO and Executive Chairman. Listen.com launched Rhapsody, a music streaming service, the first legal service of its kind. Rhapsody was bought by RealNetworks in 2003 and Reid continued to serve as one of its vice presidents until MTV purchased it for $230 million.

Year Zero is one of the funniest, scariest, weirdest science fiction novels I’ve ever read — up there with Jasper Fforde and the great Douglas Adams and certainly the only book of its kind that includes footnotes. Which are hilarious too.

The scary part of the novel is not the story but how it mirrors the realities of the music business.

The music business is very scary.

It turns out that Earth is the only planet in the universe that can create music worth listening to. It is not merely the best music in the universe. For all practical purpose, it is the only music.

Other worlds have made something that had been called music, until the discovery of Earth’s music. From the moment our music was heard by the highly advanced sentient cosmos, there was no turning back. The year of the discovery of Earth’s music was Year Zero, the dawn of a new era for every planet in every galaxy everywhere. It also signaled the probable end of life on Earth unless some legal loophole could be found in our insanely punitive copyright laws.

If not, the combined amount of money owed to Earth’s music corporations would be so monumental it would bankrupt the universe. Unable to pay the bill yet obligated by inter-galactic law to pay it, the easier choice would be to destroy Earth, eliminating the problem and de facto, canceling the debt.

Whether or not you will find the book as fascinating and funny as I did is probably a matter of what you find funny, but it totally killed me. No one knows the intricacies of the law and the music biz better than Rob Reid.

Did I mention the footnotes? They are even funnier than the text.

Humans are oddly heroic, each in his or her own way. People rise to the occasion. The aliens are deliciously bizarre and some of them also rise … or fall … to the occasion. The combination of real law and the idiocy of the situation is the stuff that makes you read and laugh, then read and laugh some more.

Although Year Zero is every bit as weird as any of Douglas Adams’ books to which it has been compared, the strangeness of the story is based on real facts. The “facts” are so odd, you have to sit there and let your jaw flap a bit.

Taking into consideration the world in which we are living, this book makes more sense than it used to … if anything makes sense at all.

Douglas Adams created the Improbability Drive from his imagination. Rob Reid only has to quote laws that exist which are as crazy as whatever you might imagine. Right now, nothing seems as scary as life. But I digress.

I loved this book. I have read it half a dozen times and I think maybe I’ll read it again. Like, today maybe. I bought the audiobook too and listened to it a few times. I’ll probably read that more also. Some books are worth memorizing.

There is no sequel. It’s the only novel Rob Reid wrote (well, he recently wrote something else, but it was awful and I try not to mention it). He has written other non-fiction books including Architects of the Web about Silicon Valley, and Year One about life as a student at Harvard Business School.

This is a great, fun, science fiction book. Give it a read.

If nothing else, you’ll learn everything you never wanted to know about the music business. Right now, reading about music seems a great idea to me. A million percent better than the news.

A WOMAN’S RIGHT TO LIVE – Marilyn Armstrong

One-Liner Wednesday — Women’s Rights

I remember the awful days before legalized abortion. When women’s jobs were listed separately in the paper. When the first question you got asked on a job interview was “How fast can you type,” and the second was “Who will take care of your child if he or she is sick?”

When contraception was nearly impossible and a lot of it hadn’t even been invented, so no matter how hard you tried, you could end up pregnant anyway. We fought a lonely battle to retain control over our own bodies.

We won. I was sure we won, didn’t we?

Roe V. Wade put an end to getting abortions in a back room somewhere. Right?

pro-choice-advert

I remember backroom abortions performed with chlorine bleach, coat hangers, and turkey basters. When sepsis or perforation of your uterus was not an unusual price to pay to end a pregnancy and as likely as not ended in death for both the fetus and you. When young women, unable to obtain an abortion threw themselves off bridges rather than have an unwanted baby, or tried to abort themselves, with terminal results for mother and child.

Despite conservative backlash and brainwashing on this issue, and despite the current frenzy in Washington DC, having an abortion was not and is not a sign one is irresponsible or anti-life. It’s a choice to have a good life when the alternative is at its best, bleak. These frenzy has been going on for my entire life. I’m 72 and women have been fighting this battle since before I was born.

suffragettes

Women have abortions for all kinds of reasons, including a desire to be more than a mother.

Physical health. The welfare of living children. The basic need to survive. A career that leaves no time to properly care for a child. The lack of a career that makes it possible to bear and raise children in a life that is not squalor.

Meanwhile, these so-called men are trying to stop a woman’s access to abortion are simultaneously determined to keep women from getting effective birth control, a weird set of beliefs that no matter how hard I try to make sense of it, doesn’t make any sense. And the worst part of the “pro-life” movement is that these same people care nothing about what kind of life this not-yet-a-person will lead following birth. They only care about being born, not about living. Squalor is fine, abortion or even birth control is not.


This is not “pro-life.” On every level, it is “anti-woman.”

This has little to do with preserving life. It’s about power. Isn’t it always?

Getting women back to their position of subjugation so old white men can own the world. They already control most of its assets, so let’s finally get those pesky women back where they belong.

It has always been about that.

So many women my age went through an abortion. Were we happy about it? No, but we weighed our options, then did what we felt was our best (only) choice.


The most significant gains in personal freedom women
have won are at risk. If we don’t speak up, speak out,
and stand together, we will lose it all.

I never imagined that I would have to fight this battle AGAIN. I remember my friends looking for someone to perform an abortion, terrified of the consequences, but even more terrified of what their lives would become should they be required to go full term with pregnancy.

I am many years past child-bearing. This is about women. All women. Whether or not we are fully equal in this world, this nation — and have the right to decide what happens or is done to our bodies.

If there is a right to life involved, how about the right of women to have a good life, to bear the number of children we want from none to many.


No one wants an abortion, but sometimes, you need one.

No woman should be forced to bear children.

This is a position I have held since I was very young and before I’d ever had sex. If you don’t own a uterus (and never did), you have no right to be part of this conversation. As a person who will never carry or bear a child– or even be responsible for those you had a part in creating, what right have you to speak on the matter? Old, childless men who want to force women to be baby machines are particularly loathsome.

I had an abortion. It wasn’t a “real” abortion because it was too early to even be sure it was a fetus. That was before tests made it possible to determine whether or not you were pregnant until pregnancy at least 8 weeks advanced. I had a husband in the hospital with cancer, a young child, a career just getting off the ground, and issues in the marriage that would later end with divorce. There was no way we could survive a new baby. Not to mention significant genetic issues that still haunt the family into new generations.

I am horrified by these people and their cruelty. Disgusted, revolted and sickened. I do not care who knows it.

#1linerWeds – One-Liner Wednesday and yes, this is way too long, but this is a big issue for me and always has been. I cannot keep this funny. It isn’t funny.

PRONE TO READING THE MUELLER REPORT – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Prone

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.

Holy moly! What a mess!

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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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.

VIOLATED DAILY – Marilyn Armstrong

FOWC with Fandango — Violation

It’s a daily violation, watching the news. A horror show that won’t go away, the nightmare that rolls into the day.

I’m a woman. I grew up in the world we live in and it was bad, but it was weirdly normal. Do I know any women who were not assaulted, raped, nearly raped, propositioned, abused, or attacked?

The answer is no. If you were out in the world, any and all of these things were part of your daily life. I quit at least two jobs rather than deal with a sleazy, yet dashingly attractive boss. Proving that being good-looking is neither here nor there when you are cornering your assistant for sex.  It really isn’t a matter of whether or not you look good.

We don’t take a job so to crawl onto the sofa with a boss guy. Usually, we are looking for a higher rate of pay and maybe a bit of gratitude for the hard work we do.

I can’t work when I’m being harassed. I doubt anyone can. If you have to spend your days wondering if your underpants line is showing and this faux pas will somehow spark another round of “Hey, sexy, let’s …”, you just can’t get your work done.

Favors you get for sex don’t make you feel better. They make you feel like a cheap hooker. Not one of those well-spoken escorts … I mean the hanging around the street corner willing to do it for enough to buy a cup of Starbuck’s overpriced brew.

To find us in a position of hiring one of these disgusting sleazebags as a Supreme Court Justice — after somehow managing to get the revolting Clarence Thomas in all those years ago — leaves me wondering if we have made any social progress at all. Or ever will.

Is this never going to end? Will there never be a time when a woman can openly complain about the men who persecute her at play and work and often, at home … and be believed?

Will this never end?


ViolatION.


Every woman I know has at one time or another been violated. For all I know, it’s not just women, either.

Shame on us. Shame on everyone who puts up with “the way things are.” A pox on all who encourage it then gives it a wink and a shrug because “boys will be boys and that slut must have asked for it.”

FROM THE SHINBONE STAR – “WITCH HUNT” KNOCKING ON DONALD’S DOOR – REBLOG

‘WITCH HUNT’ KNOCKING ON DONALD’S DOOR

Terrible Tuesday, Donald? Your head hurt? Are you tongue-tied? Feeling a little burnt? Yes, this is a “witch hunt,” but it sure isn’t rigged.

You’re the “witch,” Donald, and the hunter, Robert Mueller, will soon be knocking on your door in the wake of your once “fixer” Michael Cohen pleading guilty in federal court to violating campaign finance laws “at the direction and in coordination of a candidate for federal office.”

That’s you, Donald, in case you forgot that you ran for federal office in 2016 and weren’t appointed to the position by Russian president Vladimir Putin.

Yep, Cohen tagged you with directing him to make hush payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels (Stephanie Clifford) and Playboy model Karen McDougal to kill their stories alleging you had affairs with them in your sordid past. For some, $280,000 is mad money — $130,000 to Stormy and $150,00 to Karen. But it all adds up to perhaps your having to leave the White House a bit sooner than 2020.

You and your cohorts might try to find comfort in the fact that Cohen’s plea deal didn’t call for him to cooperate with federal prosecutors in New York. But there’s bad news for you even in that development: The agreement doesn’t stop him from telling Mueller all he knows about you and your campaign’s involvement with Russians during the 2016 campaign.

Remember, Cohen has claimed that you knew in advance about the now infamous Trump Tower meeting with Russian representatives, your golden boy Donnie Junior, son-in-lawlessness Jared Kushner, and then-campaign manager Paul Manafort in attendance. And the headline at that meeting? The Russians offering dirt on your soon-to-be opponent in the general election, Hillary Clinton.

That’s probably just the tip of the iceberg of what “The Fixer” will be sharing with Mueller in the near future. Keep in mind that Cohen has tapes and e-mails at his disposal. Keep spinning your side of the story, Donald, and let’s see what Cohen’s treasure trove of possible — no probable — criminal activity reveals.

You see, Cohen doesn’t want to spend too much time in jail. He’d rather see you suffer the consequences of your nefarious actions used to flim-flam an unsuspecting American electorate into putting you into the White House.

How many more lies are you going to foist on our country in a desperate attempt to stay in office, and to prop up your failing real estate enterprise at taxpayers’ expense?

Will Melania stick with you when the money disappears? By the way, in case you didn’t notice, she hates living in the White House. She wants to go back to New York, probably without you.

Cohen’s courtroom revelation was just the highlight of Terrible Trump Tuesday: Cohen also pleaded guilty to multiple counts of bank and tax fraud; Manafort, who helped rewrite the Republican platform at the convention to favor the Russians, was found guilty on eight counts of tax and bank fraud by jurors in a federal court, and Manafort has another trial in Washington next month on charges of lying to the FBI, money laundering and foreign lobbying.

Sure, you can pardon Manafort, Donald, but what will that get you?

Additional suspicion that you are trying to hide your connections to the Russian meddling in the presidential election?

Yep.

Plus, Mueller did a little piling on Tuesday. He asked a federal court to extend the deadline for sentencing Michael Flynn, your short-lived national security adviser, who has already pled guilty to lying to the FBI about conversations he had with Russian operatives, and is cooperating with the special counsel’s probe into Russia’s meddling — on your behalf — into the 2016 presidential sweepstakes.

Why would Mueller ask for a sentencing deadline extension for Flynn? Is he giving up still more information about you and your campaign’s connection to the Russians? Are there other insider items concerning obstruction of justice issues that he can guide the special counsel’s team through?

Yesterday, Donald, you thought White House Counsel Don McGhan spending 30 hours talking with Mueller and sharing millions of pages of documents with him was just a bad dream.

\Today’s Cohen-Manafort-Flynn triple-header had the makings of a season-ending episode just perfect for reality television. The phrase, “You’re Fired” jumps off the screen as your worst nightmare.

Sweating a little more than usual, Donald? Shirt collar feel a little tighter? Fried chicken dinner on the flight over to West Virginia for tonight’s campaign rally not sitting too well on your stomach? Think about how prison food will taste. Or, if you manage to avoid jail time, you might want to start exploring lunch and dinner sites that will help you shed a little of that excess baggage around your middle.

Dinners at Mar-a-Lago may soon be out of reach. Maybe you could ask Putin for a dacha outside of Moscow — well-stocked with your favorite Russian comfort food.

You’re right about that “witch hunt,” Donald, and it’s about to knock down your door.

From: ‘WITCH HUNT’ KNOCKING ON DONALD’S DOOR

A WOMAN’S RIGHT TO LIVE – Marilyn Armstrong

I remember those bad old days. When contraception was nearly impossible to find and no matter how hard you tried, you could still end up pregnant. We fought a lonely battle to retain control over our own bodies. We won. I was sure we won, didn’t we?

Roe V. Wade put an end to getting abortions in a back room somewhere. Right?

pro-choice-advert

I remember backroom abortions performed with chlorine bleach, coat hangers, and turkey basters. When sepsis or perforation of your uterus was not an unusual price to pay to end a pregnancy. Where young women, unable to obtain an abortion threw themselves off bridges rather than have an unwanted baby, or tried to abort themselves, often with terminal results for mother and child.

Despite conservative backlash and brainwashing on this issue, and despite the current frenzy in Washington DC, having an abortion was not and is not a sign one is irresponsible or anti-life. It’s a choice to have a good life when the alternative is at its best, bleak.

suffragettes

Women have abortions for all kinds of reasons, including a desire to be more than a mother. Physical health. The welfare of existing children. The basic will to survive. Meanwhile, men are trying to stop a woman’s access to abortion are simultaneously determined to keep women from getting effective birth control.

That isn’t “pro-life.” It’s entirely “anti-woman.”

It has nothing to do with preserving life. It’s about power. Getting women back to their position of subjugation so old white men can regain world control. It has always been about that.

So many women my age went through an abortion. Were we happy about it? No, but we weighed our options, then did what we felt was our best (only) choice.


The most significant gains in personal freedom women have won are at risk. If we don’t speak up, speak out, and stand together, we will lose it.
All of it.


I am many years past child-bearing. This is about women. All women. Whether or not we are fully equal in our world and have the right to decide what happens to our bodies.

If there is a right to life involved, how about the right of women to have a good life, to bear the number of children we want from none to whatever.

No one wants an abortion, but sometimes, you need one.

WHAT’S AT STAKE – Jan Wilberg

As a young woman, one of the few major triumphs socially and politically for women was when in 1965 the Supreme Court ruled birth control legal — for married couples and later for everyone — and then, in 1973, came Roe v. Wade. Until those two decisions, women weren’t full and free citizens. A man could make a baby and walk away. A woman could not.

I and most other women believed we won that battle. We had won the right to decide what was right for our bodies. To be equals to the men in our world. Never did any of us imagine that as senior citizens, we’d find ourselves fighting the battle again.

I believe we will win this again, as we did before. I do not believe the courts will undo a couple of generations of law to make some old white men feel more powerful … but it’s a strange world into which we have roamed. I suppose anything is possible.

And now, from Jan Wilberg: WHAT’S AT STAKE.


sub-ju-ga-tion
noun: the action of bringing someone or something under domination or control


The guys in Washington can puff themselves up and talk all they want about their belief that life begins at conception, that the ‘unborn’ have rights that take priority over a living, breathing, born woman, that overturning Roe v. Wade would right a 45-year old wrong and set this country on a path of morality and righteousness. They lie.

All of this fervor to pack the Supreme Court with a solid anti-choice majority is about one single thing: subjugation.

The linchpin of gender equality is control over one’s own person. My husband controls his body. I control mine. Taken more broadly, men control their bodies. Women control theirs. That’s what we have now, more or less, although creeping restrictions on birth control benefits and access to abortion services erode this notion.

However, if one gender controls their person but the other cannot, then the two genders are not equal. In the event of an overturned Roe v. Wade, the genders would again become quite unequal with men having full agency over themselves while women’s agency is limited, proscribed, and subject to government intervention.

Taken a step further, if a pregnancy results from the actions of a man and a woman, it will be only the woman’s body subject to external review. The guy can pretend it never happened.

I know how this works. I lived through it.

I became pregnant before Roe v. Wade. I’ll die before I get the image of being completely trapped out of my head, a young, witless woman with no money, no options, boxed in by secrecy and shame, fraught with fear, fear of being found out, fear of doing something illegal, fear of getting hurt or worse. Just utterly trapped.

Meanwhile, my boyfriend was unmarked, he had not a single stain, he was unscathed. A not unkind person, he was, just by virtue of his gender, filled with options, not the least of which was driving away. How is this fair? I thought at the time, that I should be so stricken by this situation and he can be so free?

Because, dear one, you and your boyfriend are not equal. He controls his body. You do not.

How do I say this to women in the plainest possible way? If Roe v. Wade is overturned, the government will control what is happening inside your body. 

Years ago, I did abortion clinic defense with a friend of mine who was a devout Catholic. I would pick her up early in the morning and we’d drive to whatever clinic was being targeted that day by the anti-abortion protesters being bused in from other states. Once there, we would link arms with hundreds of other people, women in suits on their way to their office jobs, college students with Rasta hair, men wearing feminist t-shirts, and the protesters would yell at us, really yell at us, inches from our faces.

“Would you ever have an abortion?” I asked my friend one morning, the sun just barely up and the grass wet beneath our feet.

“Never in a million years,” she answered.

We pulled our linked arms closer so there was no space between us, each of us clenching our hands together into tight, strong fists. What we stood for was clear – our right to be in control of our own bodies, our own lives, our own beliefs, no one telling another what she should do. Freedom.


LEGALIZING THE RIGHT TO A GOOD LIFE is my own take on the matter and you are welcome to peruse it at your leisure.

_________________

Photo by Jose Fontano on Unsplash

via What’s At Stake

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