GOVERNMENT GAMES – Marilyn Armstrong

In my neighborhood, my right-hand neighbor hates cops. He doesn’t want to pay for them. The guy on the left resents school taxes.  He never had kids. Never wanted them. He doesn’t want to pay for education none of his children will ever use.

Meanwhile, down the road, that guy has a big powerful SUV. He doesn’t care if the roads are plowed because his transport can plow through anything. If you can’t get through, well, too bad. Why should he pay for your transportation? He’s got his own. He also probably would step over you if you had a heart attack and were lying nearly dead on the sidewalk.

Photo: Garry Armstrong

Then there’s that odd family up on the hill. They home-school their kids and don’t let them talk to anyone who isn’t on their “list.” They don’t believe in government. He doesn’t feel he should have to pay for anything. They are the creepy family who wouldn’t turn their hose on if the neighbor’s house was on fire. You want him choosing which taxes to pay?

In theory, Americans settled this issue at the beginning as part of the Revolution.

Taxes exist and we pay them because we are required to do so. You don’t have to like anything about the government, governor, Congress, or the school board. Or the cops, the town selectman, or the Mayor.

There are laws and we abide by them. Our government is not lunchtime in a diner where you pick what you want from the menu. The closest you can get to that kind of choice is voting for whoever you believe will support the programs you support.

If you don’t have children, you still need to recognize how important education is. It isn’t whether or not you or yours use the school. Failure to educate is how we got to the sad state we are in. If we continue to keep slashing education the way we have in the past, our national life will be worse, maybe even worse than we imagine.

Every time we need to cut government funds, we slash education as if education is of so little importance, we needn’t bother with it. We underpay teachers, underfund schools — and then complain that people are stupid. Meanwhile, we work very hard to make sure they remain stupid and their kids, too.

I think we need to look at the bigger picture. We don’t live in little tribes in caves. We all depend on our government and each other for survival, socialization, culture … everything. I need Social Security and Medicare. We all need roads, even if we don’t drive because whether it’s our own vehicle or a bus, it runs on a road. If all our “stuff” is delivered, they too need roads. We need bridges repaired whether or not we cross that river. Our visitors, doctors, delivery people, friends, and family may cross that river and may not have a convenient canoe for paddling.

Education benefits us all, as does the fire department, police … and oh yes, roads. And the military, National Parks. If I don’t get to visit every single one of them, I am happy they exist.

Even if I never drive through Texas, the roads there are part of the bill that makes sure my roads are paved. And I actually care whether or not people I don’t know live decent lives. It isn’t just about me or mine. I don’t believe the government should be a game where people we elected are allowed to pick and choose who lives and dies. We aren’t pieces on a board.

Vote sensibly, try to make sure other intelligent people vote. Set the glibness aside and make the best choice you can. Not every pol is bad. True, the awful ones are currently in charge, but who put them there? People voted for those losers. We didn’t have a revolution and it wasn’t a junta. It was voters — and the Russians.

There’s a lot of stuff — like disability, for example — for which a lot of people don’t want to pay. Or Medicare and Social Security. There are a million things the government does to keep things going. Take that away and we are alone, making do and only the wealthy survive.

To make a country, you need people who care about each other and share some fundamental beliefs. We need to believe that other people matter and recognize that we will share the funding with people we’ll never know. That is what makes a nation as opposed to a bunch of tribes living in caves and throwing rocks at each other.

Round two of four – Detroit

I never believe anything politicians say when they are trying to get elected. At best, they can promise what they want — hope — to deliver. The result will depend on many variables so whatever they say is what they want to do. It doesn’t make them liars or evil if they can’t deliver.

They can’t promise anything because no matter what you-know-who says, a president doesn’t make laws and can’t do whatever he or she wants to do. Elections and nominees offer us hopes and dreams, but they aren’t etched in stone. We can reasonably assume many of them will not be met.

Not all politicians are the kind of sleaze we see in Washington today. Many have the world’s best intentions but have a congress who won’t pass their ideas into law. Or have a Supreme Court that doesn’t think the legislation is legal — or at least this court says that. Who knows what the next one will think?

We do the best we can or we’ll live under fascism or in chaos. Take your pick. Neither sounds good.

We have made some progress throughout the years. Not enough, but some. Before you throw out the bathwater, make sure the baby isn’t in it.

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.

WHAT THE DOES THE FEDERAL JUDGE’S RULING ABOUT MCGAHN MEAN? Reblog – Washington Post

This is one of the contextual posts The Washington Post sends out to help us understand complicated rulings from courts and congress. This one is important insofar as it says what many of us have been thinking.

In America, we do not have Kings. We do not have monarchs with unlimited powers. That is what the Revolutionary War was about. In all of our history, this is the one thing the U.S. has always stood against: allowing unlimited power by one person over all others. We are not Trump’s subjects. He is our subject. We elected him — and he is not in any way the absolute ruler here.


The Daily 202: In ordering McGahn to testify, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson broadly rejects Trump’s absolutist claims

November 26 at 11:32 AM

With Mariana Alfaro

THE BIG IDEA: In her ruling that Don McGahn must comply with a congressional subpoena, U.S. District Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson of Washington goes to great lengths to illustrate how far out on a constitutional limb President Trump and Attorney General Bill Barr have crawled with their absolutist claims of executive power.

Jackson invokes “Animal Farm” as she dismisses the Justice Department’s position that the president alone has the authority to make unilateral determinations regarding whether he and his senior aides, current and former, will respond to, or defy, subpoenas from House committees during investigations of potential wrongdoing by his own administration.

“For a similar vantage point, see the circumstances described by George Orwell,” the judge writes in her 118-page decision. “All animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others.”

House Democrats want the former White House counsel, who left his position in October 2018, to testify about the episodes of possible obstruction of justice that former special counsel Bob Mueller outlined in his report. They are debating whether to proceed with articles of impeachment related to the president’s alleged efforts to undermine that investigation. Jackson said McGahn can assert executive privilege when asked specific questions, but Trump cannot issue a blanket order to stop his former aide from showing up to testify.

“Compulsory appearance by dint of a subpoena is a legal construct, not a political one, and per the Constitution, no one is above the law,” she concludes.

— The Justice Department, which is representing the former White House counsel in the case, quickly announced plans to appeal, and the White House decried the ruling in a statement. McGahn’s lawyer said his client will comply with Jackson’s order to appear unless a court issues a stay pending appeal.

— Jackson accuses the Trump administration of “emasculating” the House by trying to thwart its ability to seek redress from the courts when subpoenas are ignored. The judge quotes from “The Federalist Papers,” specifically No. 51 by James Madison and No. 69 by Alexander Hamilton, along with Alexis de Tocqueville’s “Democracy in America,” as she rejects the administration’s argument that White House senior staff are “absolutely immune.”

— Trump has cottoned to describing his authority as “absolute.” He has publicly declared his intention to stonewall and ignore all subpoenas. White House counsel Pat Cipollone said in an Oct. 8 letter that the administration would not cooperate in any way with the House’s inquiry into whether the president abused his power vis-a-vis Ukraine.

— Some variant of the word “absolute” appears 124 times in Jackson’s opinion. She picks apart each of the Justice Department’s arguments with often elegant prose and lays out a standard for compliance that would apply just as much to, say, former national security adviser John Bolton as McGahn. She apparently wrote this opinion knowing that her decision would be appealed, and the case could eventually wind up before the Supreme Court. Some Democrats hope that her ruling, in the meantime, could embolden other current or former Trump administration officials to comply with subpoenas and appear for depositions.

“Stated simply, the primary takeaway from the past 250 years of recorded American history is that Presidents are not kings,” Jackson writes. “This means that they do not have subjects, bound by loyalty or blood, whose destiny they are entitled to control. Rather, in this land of liberty, it is indisputable that current and former employees of the White House work for the People of the United States, and that they take an oath to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States. Moreover, as citizens of the United States, current and former senior-level presidential aides have constitutional rights, including the right to free speech, and they retain these rights even after they have transitioned back into private life.”

— Jackson, nominated by Barack Obama, has been a district court judge since 2013. Still only 49, she’s often mentioned in elite legal circles as a possible nominee for the Supreme Court by a future Democratic president, which could make her the first black woman to join the high court. The judge studied government as an undergraduate at Harvard and stayed for law school, like Chief Justice John Roberts, where she was a supervising editor of the Harvard Law Review. Jackson clerked for Justice Stephen Breyer, served as a federal public defender and spent a few years in private practice.

— The judge blasts the Justice Department for arguing in the McGahn case that courts don’t have the jurisdiction to adjudicate disputes between the legislative and executive branches while the president’s personal lawyers simultaneously ask courts to block subpoenas for his tax records. “A lawsuit that asserts that a legislative subpoena should be quashed as unlawful is merely the flip side of a lawsuit that argues that a legislative subpoena should be enforced,” she explains. “DOJ implicitly suggests that (much like absolute testimonial immunity) the subject-matter jurisdiction of the federal courts is properly invoked only at the pleasure of the President.”

Jackson emphasizes that a 1971 memo from Richard Nixon’s Office of Legal Counsel asserting that senior White House aides do not need to appear before Congress is “neither precedential nor persuasive.” She argues that the executive cannot be the judge of its own privilege. “Fifty years of say so within the Executive branch does not change that fundamental truth,” she adds.

The judge notes that Ronald Reagan, during the Iran-Contra affair, declined to assert executive privilege and even furnished relevant excerpts of his personal diaries to Congress for review. She recalls how George Washington turned over records so that Congress could investigate a military operation that went awry. She also notes how legislative and executive branches have often reached accommodations to prevent courts from getting involved and points out that Trump has rejected this approach.

— Jackson repeatedly cites a 2008 decision in which U.S. District Judge John Bates, also of Washington, rejected President George W. Bush’s bid to block testimony by his former counsel Harriet Miers to the House Judiciary Committee on the firings of U.S. attorneys. An appeals court never ruled on the case because the White House and Congress reached an accommodation. But Bates, a Bush appointee, concluded that the Bush administration’s claim of “absolute immunity from compelled congressional process for senior presidential aides is without any support in the case law.”

Jackson cites or refers to Bates’s ruling more than 40 times. “Just as with Harriet Miers before him,” Jackson writes, “Donald McGahn must appear.”

— She explains how legislative subpoenas are older than the country itself. Citing a 1926 law review article, Jackson notes that, even before the ratification of the Constitution in 1787, the colonial assemblies, like the House of Commons, assumed, usually without question, the right to investigate. She shows how the historical roots of the concept of a “subpoena” go back to the times of ancient Rome and Athens. Jackson traces how the concept evolved in English common law. Jackson quotes an opinion from Chief Justice John Marshall in 1807 that concluded “the obligation [to comply with a subpoena] is general, and it would seem that no person could claim an exemption” from it.

“As far as this Court can tell, no federal judge has ever held that defiance of a valid subpoena does not amount to concrete and particularized injury in fact; indeed, it appears that no court has ever even considered this proposition,” Jackson writes. “And perhaps for good reason: if defiance of duly issued subpoenas does not create Article III standing and does not open the doors of the court for enforcement purposes, it is hard to see how the wheels of our system of civil and criminal justice could keep turning.”

— Judges always cite precedents, of course. That’s their job. But it reveals something deeper about the present political moment that so many federal judges, appointed by previous presidents of both parties, feel compelled to offer what read like increasingly discursive and detailed, history lessons in their rulings to illustrate why Trump’s conception of his power is so at odds with the American tradition. In May, for example, another judge at the same courthouse likened Trump to James Buchanan, who also whined about “harassment” from Congress. Perhaps part of the impulse is the incumbent’s clear disinterest in U.S. history or his demonstrated lack of basic historical knowledge.

— For his part, Barr has been accusing “the left” of trying to “incapacitate” Trump by conducting oversight, which he likens to a “war” on the president. “The fact of the matter is that, in waging a scorched earth, no-holds-barred war of resistance against this administration, it is the left that is engaged in the systematic shredding of norms and the undermining of the rule of law,” the attorney general said at the Federalist Society’s annual meeting earlier this month. “I don’t deny that Congress has some implied authority. But the sheer volume of what we see today, the pursuit of scores of parallel investigations through an avalanche of subpoenas, is plainly designed to incapacitate the executive branch and indeed is touted as such.”

— This case could certainly end up on the Supreme Court’s docket. The justices, including two appointed by Trump, may soon weigh in on other major cases revolving around the separation of powers.  Last night, for instance, the Supreme Court blocked a House committee from immediately reviewing Trump’s financial records after the president’s lawyers agreed to an expedited review of a lower court ruling granting access.

“The court’s action signals that, even as Congress considers impeaching Trump, the court will undertake a more complete consideration of the legal powers of Congress and state prosecutors to investigate the president while he is in office,” Robert Barnes reports. “The court instructed Trump’s lawyers to file a petition by Dec. 5 stating why the court should accept the case for full briefing and oral argument. If the petition is eventually denied, the lower-court ruling will go into effect. If accepted, the case probably will be heard this term, with a decision before the court adjourns at the end of June.”

— In the meantime, Trump’s refusal to cooperate with the House investigations is likely to emerge as the basis for its own article of impeachment. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) said in a letter to his colleagues on Monday that he plans to send a report summarizing the conclusions of his investigations to the House Judiciary Committee soon after Congress returns from Thanksgiving break next week. “We will catalogue the instances of noncompliance with lawful subpoenas as part of our report to the Judiciary Committee,” Schiff wrote, “which will allow that Committee to consider whether an article of impeachment based on obstruction of Congress is warranted along with an article or articles based on this underlying conduct or other presidential misconduct.”


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LIKE WATERGATE. DRIP, DRIP, DRIP – Marilyn Armstrong

Da Prez has been shrieking “Witch Hunt” but not everyone is quite as stupid as he thought they were. Where there was no one willing to testify, now they have more people lined up who want to “tell the whole truth” then they have time to listen to.

Drip, drip, drip.

It takes time. Years. But now,  we want to know what happened. Really happened.

First, there was Mueller. We were disappointed. We wanted more than that. Nothing wrong? Are you kidding? I assumed he had done everything wrong. It was more a matter of proof, evidence, facts, legal stuff. This has been a lot like Watergate times 20. I remember the joy I felt as during  Watergate when 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, a climate to save. Oceans to clean and wildlife to preserve. Medical care to make available to all. There’s barely anything that doesn’t need some degree of 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.

There are no innocents in this mix. To say that all politics is corrupt is more or less true and always had been … but not like this.

I don’t merely want to “know more.” I want the whole story. Paragraph by paragraph, line by line. I want to know what happened and more than that, I want to know what I can do to make it better. I’m tired of feeling helpless while the world crumbles around me. Maybe now we can make a start at changing the world into a place my granddaughter can build a life.

IT’S CONSTITUTIONALLY SIMPLE: TRUMP HAS VIOLATED THE LAW: THE SHINBONE STAR – Marilyn Armstrong

From the U.S. Constitution (as amended; emphasis added)

“It shall be unlawful for a foreign national directly or through any other person to make any contribution of money or other thing of value, or to promise expressly or impliedly to make any such contribution, in connection with an election to any political office or in connection with any primary election, convention, or caucus held to select candidates for any political office; or for any person to solicit, accept, or receive any such contribution from a foreign national.”

It’s this simple: Read the Constitution. It states it’s “unlawful” to “solicit” help from a foreign national to dig up dirt on a potential political opponent. It’s a crime. It’s spelled out in black and white for anyone and everyone to read.

The Constitution does not provide a political partisan spin on what’s legal or illegal. The document crafted by our founding fathers — sustained as the foundation for the safety and security of our republic for more than 240 years — is clear, crystal clear on this topic.

To repeat loudly from the Constitution: It’s “unlawful” for any person “to solicit, accept, or receive any such contribution from a foreign national.”

Notice no mention here of any need for a “quid pro quo” to make a solicitation of aid illegal. Simply asking for help is against the law.

Just to make certain the facts of the issue are clear in all of our minds, here’s what pertinent portions of a White House-provided “memo” — a heavily edited and heavily redacted “transcript” of the July 25 phone conversation between Trump and Ukrainian President Volodymr Zelensky — reveals. It’s important to note this is not a “perfect” phone conversation.

UNCLASSIFIED
Declassified by order of the President
September 24, 2019

MEMORANDUM OF TELEPHONE CONVERSATION
SUBJECT: Telephone Conversation with President Zelensky of Ukraine
Participants: President Zelensky of Ukraine
Notetakers: The White House Situation Room
Date/Time: July 25, 2019/9:03-9:33 am EDT
Place: Residence

“President Zelensky: … I would also like to thank you for your great support in the area of defense. We are ready to continue to cooperate for the next steps specifically we are almost ready to buy more Javelins from the United States for defense purposes.

The President: I would like you to do us a favor though because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike … I guess you have one of your wealthy people. The server: they say Ukraine has it. There are a lot of things that went on, the whole situation. I think you’re surrounding yourself with some of the same people. I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it … Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you do it if that’s possible.

President Zelensky: Yes it is very important for me and everything that you just mentioned earlier … I will personally tell you that one of my assistants spoke with Mr. Giuliani just recently and we are hoping very much that Mr. Giuliani will be able to travel to Ukraine and we will meet once he comes to Ukraine … I also plan to surround myself with great people and in addition to that investigation, I guarantee as President of Ukraine that all the investigations will be done openly and candidly. That I can assure you.

The President: Good because I heard you had a prosecutor who was very good and he was shut down and that’s really unfair. A lot of people are talking about that, the way they shut your very good prosecutor down and you had some very bad people involved. Mr. Giuliani is a highly respected man. He was the mayor of New York City, a great mayor, and I would like him to call you. I will ask him to call you along with the Attorney General. Rudy very much knows what’s happening and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him that would be great … The other thing, there’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it… It sounds horrible to me.”

So ignore all the noise that Trump has done nothing wrong, nothing impeachable, coming from the White House and Republican lawmakers across the country as public testimony begins in earnest Wednesday in the House impeachment investigation. All the nonsensical ravings from these lunatic minds are aimed at distracting “we the people” from the “unlawful” (illegal) and corrupt activities undertaken by government officials during the past few months at the direction of the current Oval Office occupant.

Focus on this fact: Trump has violated the law and is feverishly working to obstruct the Constitutionally-authorized impeachment inquiry by ordering White House officials familiar with particulars of the Ukranian phone call not to testify before House Committees involved in the impeachment process.

Focus on this fact: Ignoring a subpoena to testify is an “obstruction of Congress” or an  “obstruction of justice” both criminal acts. So, in essence, Trump is ordering executive branch employees — paid for with taxpayer dollars — to commit a crime

Focus on this fact: Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has stated emphatically that if the House passes articles of impeachment against Trump he will personally make certain the articles are “taken care of.” In other words either no Senate trial or no conviction.

Focus on this fact: House Democrats engaged in the impeachment inquiry continue to work up legislation to address many of the key issues that directly impact “we the people,” including measures on gun control, minimum wage, and health care. These bills once approved are sent over to the Senate where McConnell, in his role as majority leader, ignores them.

Focus on this fact: It’s the “do-nothing Senate Republicans” intent and obsessed with defending an unlawful president who are not going about the business of governing the country. Apparently, they can’t walk and chew gum at the same time.

The facts, Constitutionally speaking, show Trump is acting “unlawfully,” attempting to once again solicit help from foreign governments in order to win reelection as president (remember Russian meddling in the 2016 presidential election in order to get their man into the White House).

Our country, the global community, can not afford to allow this type of anti-American, treasonous behavior to continue. Focus on the facts provided by our Constitution, not the fiction flowing from the White House.

I COULD BE THIS YEAR’S SINGULAR SENSATION – Marilyn Armstrong

This has been a heavy news year and I can’t imagine anyone arguing this point. No matter where you stand, the news hasn’t just been The News. It has been … NEWS.

Giant hurricanes. Massive flooding, Russians trying to steer our election. A moronic president and his equally moronic cabinet. Destruction of everything we believe in or at least an attempt to destroy everything in which we believe.  Mass shootings. More mass shooting. Fires sweeping entire states. Sex scandals that will eventually include every man in Hollywood.

With all of that going on, there has been hardly any reporting of gruesome crimes and criminals. Usually, we are demented about serial killers and torture … but we haven’t had anything that could top the mass dementia that has taken over our government. That’s why I was thrilled to find this headline from overseas:


Italian lodger tells police he is ‘guilty’ of cannibal murder. 

I bet our newscasters would be thrilled to have a shot at something really juicy. Since the demise of Jeffrey Dahmer, there hasn’t been an incredibly disgusting, gory serial murderer to liven up the news cycle. It’s been all politics, government scandal … and tweets.

TWEETS! Do you believe it? I don’t. It must be fake news.

That got me wondering. Who among the outside world would I like knowing was reading our stuff? I know a few of my favorite authors drop by if I review one of their books. They are polite and send thank you notes. It makes me feel all warm and cozy, knowing at least some of the things I write is getting read by people who care about it.

But how cool to be followed by a cannibal? What a coup! That would definitely come with bragging rights!

While Garry was working, we occasionally got phone calls late at night from convicted serial killers, sometimes critiquing his performance. Turns out, they watched him on the telly. Who’d have guessed serial killers watch the news … and have phone privileges? They also sent Christmas cards and occasionally, letters.

Perpetrators of gruesome murders currently on trial used to wave and wink at him in the courtroom. I’m sure other reporters were jealous.

From my perspective, it was intensely creepy and occasionally, downright frightening. It also made me wonder if these weirdo’s fondness for my husband and his work might encourage one of these “fans” to drop by for an unexpected visit. They clearly knew how and where to track him down. And if they found Garry, they’d find me. They were his fans, not mine.

On second thought, I wouldn’t be surprised to discover I’m could be a big hit in prison. If seven or eight thousand of my followers are actually incarcerated, that might explain those thousands of nameless followers who never leave comments or even a “like.”

By any chance are you a big literary agent? Just asking.

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.

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.

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.

ABOUT THE GOOD OLD FIRST AMENDMENT – Marilyn Armstrong

1st amendment cartoonThe first amendment says you can say, write, or publish whatever you want without fear of being arrested, shot, imprisoned, or otherwise legally penalized. On television, the internet, as film or in print. From your mouth or on your blog, even if what you are saying is incredibly stupid, baseless, and factually incorrect. Even if it offends everyone who reads or hears it. As an American, being a loudmouthed jerk is constitutionally protected.

However. The first amendment does not say you are required to utter, write, film, broadcast, or publish whatever idiocy crosses your mind. Just because you can, does not mean you should. The Constitution protects your right to be a moron. It does not mandate you actually behave like one.

Those are your rights. My rights include the right to ignore you.

A right is no substitute for intelligence. It’s healthy to think. It’s good to read a book, check your sources, find out what’s really the right thing. Your opinion is not as good as everyone else’s, not if it’s based on hatred, ugliness, nonsense, and fake facts.

It’s perfectly okay to believe in the truth, to support provable facts, and live in the same reality as the rest of the world. Believing whatever you “feel” is “right” is crap.

Give reality a chance. Try reading a book, something your president hasn’t ever done.

Try thinking.

Our nation will be grateful to you. I personally will be grateful.

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

WHERE’S A GOOD LOOPHOLE WHEN I NEED ONE?

LOOPHOLE


noun
1. An ambiguity or inadequacy in the law or a set of rules, as in: “They exploited tax loopholes.” synonyms: Means of evasion, means of avoidance; More
2. Historically, an arrow slit in a wall.
synonyms: Means of evasion, means of avoidance.
verb
1. Make arrow slits in (a wall or building).


I was sure this was going to turn out to be something to do with hooking wool or weaving cloth. Who knew it was about arrow slits?

Plenty of loopholes?

As for ambiguities and inadequacies in the law or rules, we seem to have more than enough of them to last through a wide variety of lifetimes.

Right now, I’m looking for a loophole that will let us buy groceries when we are out of money. The loopholes all seem to be in the wrong place. A loophole that give us free food until the next check arrives. Now THAT would be a loophole worth pursuing.

A LEGAL ROMANCE – BY ELLIN CURLEY

In the 1970’s, I was wooed, the old-fashioned way, by a suitor. Because of our circumstances, the courtship took an interesting turn.

Larry and I were both at Georgetown University Law Center in Washington, D.C. I was in my first year of law school and he was in his second. So the focal point for the romance was, of course, the law library.

Georgetown University Law School law library

Whenever I was in the library (which was often) and wherever I was in the library, Larry would show up. He always knew how to find me. He always seemed to know where I was. That alone intrigued me. Then Larry would sit with me and talk. He’d often help me with homework or explain things to me in very vivid and understandable ways. He ‘got’ the law in a way most people didn’t. He had a brilliant legal mind and he was a very good teacher. For me, at the time, this was positively sexy.

Most of the time we just chatted. Larry had a great sense of humor and fun so we laughed a lot. Too much, in fact. On more than one occasion, we were asked to leave the library because we were laughing too much and too loudly.

Larry when we were in law school

Larry would also send me notes. Not your usual romantic, sentimental stuff. No. Useful notes for someone in law school. Let me explain. All exams and most teaching in law school is done in the form of ‘fact patterns’. These are carefully crafted stories packed with legal issues hidden in them that you had to find and analyze. So Larry would send me notes with ‘fact patterns’ on different legal topics so I could practice the art of legal analysis. To me (and to my study group), that was about as romantic as you could get!

The icing on the cake involved another library. The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C. My dad was a published author in the fields of psychiatry and anthropology. One night, Larry called me from the Library of Congress. He had looked up my father! He told me all the books and articles written by my dad that were in the famous library. He asked me to pick one for him to read. He took the book out of the library and actually read it. He later discussed it with my dad. Now that’s dedication!

Library of Congress in D.C.

I had always liked Larry. He was bright and funny and had incredible energy. But at first, I didn’t think of him as a boyfriend. I had just ended an ill-fated quasi engagement with an older man back in New York and was not looking for another relationship yet. But Larry was getting to me.

Over Thanksgiving, Larry’s father announced that he was leaving his mother after 33 years of marriage. Larry was devastated and he opened up to me for the first time. That took our relationship to another level and we started dating.

Me when I was in law school

In December, I went to Connecticut for part of the Christmas vacation. Like in the law library, Larry just showed up at my door one day! He had driven two and a half hours from his home in New Jersey to surprise me. And he wanted to meet my parents. That was the only encounter between Larry and my mother that ever went well. My parents were impressed by him. As was I.

Our relationship blossomed when we got back to Washington in January. We were together almost all the time except for classes. Larry asked me to marry him. I said not yet. Larry proposed again. I still said not yet. In March, I finally said, “Okay, let’s get married.” In typical legal fashion, he said that his initial offer had expired. According to the law, my ‘acceptance’ was now considered a counter offer. So he gladly ‘accepted’ my ‘offer’ of marriage. For 25 years he claimed that I had proposed to him. He was legally correct, but it still annoyed me!

So Larry won me over by persistence and creativity. He used the law to his advantage and got a wife in the bargain.

THE BUSINESS OF JURIES

I’ve been frequently called to jury duty. It’s the price you pay for voting because potential jurors get chosen from voter registration lists.

I’m convinced they call us in alphabetical order. It’s the only reason I can figure why Garry and I were called every few months. Good citizens that we are, we always showed up. Coincidentally, our last name starts with an “A.”

Garry and I were called up two or three times a year for more than a decade until one day I called them and said “I’ve had enough!” After that, they slowed down to every other year. I’m pretty sure there’s an outstanding warrant because I didn’t respond to at least one jury summons. It showed up while I was in the hospital trying not to die. So, it’s just possible I’m a wanted criminal.

I figure they’ll get back to me on that.

72-Statehouse-Beacon-Hill_126

They called Garry often, too, but never let him serve. Reporters are like cops. They’ve seen too much. Garry knew the judges, the D.A., the lawyers — and the criminals. And they knew Garry. Knew he knew stuff they preferred he not know. So, no matter how many times they called him, he was in and out in an hour. Maximum two.

I was a better pick. No connection to law enforcement. No lawyers, law suits, or weird political opinions. That I was a free lancer who was going to lose my salary if I couldn’t work did not matter to anyone except me. I went in, sat around. No trial needed me, so I went home. Done, until next time.

72-Beacon-Hill-GA_028

One day, they called me — and I got assigned a trial.

I had instant images of a long criminal trial. Being sequestered for weeks in some fleabag motel. Losing all my clients. Losing my house. I was  not an enthusiastic juror, but when duty calls, you might as well go quietly. Besides, they have officers with guns stationed at the exits.

It turned out to be a minor civil case. One woman hit another at an intersection. Woman A claimed Woman B was jumping the light. Woman B said she had mistakenly thought it was a cross street. There was no evidence except “she said” versus “she said.” I thought both of them were lying. It was a matter of who you believed less. Eleven of my fellow jurors were ready to acquit. I thought we should at least talk about it. But they wanted to go home and pointed out how everyone knows the intersection isn’t a through street. I didn’t, but I have no sense of direction.

There was nothing except a small amount of money at stake. Peer pressure got to me. Eleven people wanted to go home which I was preventing. That sort of thing can get ugly fast. I caved.

72-Beacon Hill Boston-GA_001

That was more than 25 years.

Tonight, we watched “Twelve Angry Men,” the movie (1957) in which Henry Fonda forces eleven of his peers to reconsider the evidence and fully grasp the concept of reasonable doubt. It’s a great movie which has aged well. Pretty much the way I remember the experience, except we had air-conditioning, sort of.

It left me wondering how many verdicts are based on jurors who just want to go home? How many people are convicted — or acquitted — because the jury couldn’t stand one more minute of examining evidence? How many jurors are bullied into a verdict with which they disagree because they are threatened — emotionally or physically?

72-Beacon Hill Boston-GA_033

There are no statistics on this and by definition, there won’t ever be any. No one, given the criminal liability and potential physical danger, is going to admit to it. But it makes you wonder, doesn’t it?

Next time a jury comes in with some absurd verdict, consider the possibility that at least some of them didn’t freely agree. I’m sure it happens, because it happened to me.

TWO MEMORABLE LEGAL CASES – BY ELLIN CURLEY

I had a very short legal career. I practiced for three and a half years in two small, general practice firms in New York City.

The first firm I worked for was most memorable for its dissolution. The firm did some criminal law cases. So it was even more shocking to discover that one of the partners was being indicted. And not just for your run of the mill tax fraud or other dry, boring crime. He was indicted for aiding and abetting a child pornography ring!

The partner considered himself a wheeler-dealer. So he put two acquaintances together who he thought could do business. And they did. The business was child pornography! I was never clear about how much the partner knew about the illegal and grossly immoral activities. It was a devastating way to end a legal partnership. And of course I lost my job.

Me and my then husband when I was practicing law in NYC

I found another job, coincidentally in the same office building. What are the odds with all the offices in New York City? And it was the perfect location for my commute. It was right above Grand Central Terminal. So the subway to the office literally dropped me off next to my building.

My second law firm was also a small, general practice firm. We did a little bit of everything. Some Trusts and Estates, Corporate, Tax , etc. I had two memorable cases there, one in Criminal Law and one in Matrimonial Law.

My job in the criminal case was to deliver bail money from our client to the judge at the courthouse. It was cash in a brown paper bag. I’m not kidding! I had always thought that that was an urban legend. Apparently not. I actually handed a brown bag of cash to a judge and went home. Our client, skipped bail, as we had expected.

My second memorable case was a custody battle between two exes. Every other week I had to write motions accusing the ex husband of breaching the terms of the visitation agreement. For the family poodle. The complaints involved giving the dog too many treats and returning the dog to the ex wife in a hyper state, unable to go to sleep at night. I think I actually won a few of those motions.

It sounds trivial, but the level of emotional distress for my client was off the charts. I had to spend time on the phone with her calming her down and holding her hand. We laughed about the case at the office, but the couple were jerking each other around using the poor dog as a weapon. It was very uncomfortable to be in the middle of this battle.

So now you know the highlights of my legal career. Maybe you can understand why I haven’t missed it for 35 years!

THE WORLD OF ATTORNEY CONFERENCES – BY ELLIN CURLEY

My first husband, Larry, was a litigation lawyer in New York City. He specialized in bankruptcy law. Every year there are numerous legal conferences that provide continuing education for practicing attorneys all over the country. It’s a way to help lawyers keep up with the new developments in their fields. Attendance at a few a year is usually required by most large law firms. The firms usually paid for the airfare, accommodations and enrollment fees.

So these conferences were seen by practicing attorneys as mini vacation opportunities. They were always held in prime vacation destinations, like Scottsdale, Ar., San Francisco, CA, Park City, Utah and Jackson Hole, Wyoming.

Skiing in Park City, Utah at Norton bankruptcy conference

Larry gradually started speaking on the panels of these conferences. He eventually hooked up with the Norton Bankruptcy Judges’ Conference and became a regular faculty member at their meetings. We ended up going to at least two or three a year.

These conferences were a lot of work for Larry. He had to do extensive research on the new cases in his assigned topic area. He had to put together a huge booklet of materials for all the conference attendees. But he loved it. And continued to do it for many, many years.

I almost always went along with Larry. We also often took our two kids. We developed close friendships with the Norton family who ran the conference – senior parents and two adult children, plus their spouses and kids. We also became good friends with many other lawyers who also regularly spoke on the panels. Many of us had kids of roughly the same age, so our kids also formed friendships with their conference buddies from all over the country.

One of the Norton canvas bags given out at each conference

These conferences were often the highlights of our year. We loved them! We’ve done some wonderful things on our conference circuit travels. We explored Yellowstone National Park several times and did white water rafting and horse back riding in Wyoming. We once had a special, exclusive tour of Sea World at a party there in San Diego, CA. We skied almost every year in Park City, Utah.

Horseback riding at a Norton Conference

On one skiing trip, two other conference families got stranded with us at the top of a mountain in a white out, with zero visibility. We were stuck in the lodge at the top of the mountain until the ski instructors felt they could safely guide us down the mountain.

In Scottsdale, Ar., we all took a guided tour into the desert. Part of the tour was a mini lesson in shooting. The guide set up beer cans for us to shoot and taught us how to use his gun. No one got anywhere near the cans, even the instructor. Except for me. I hit one dead on. Larry insisted that it was a fluke or beginner’s luck. So I took another shot. Another can went down! Everyone was stunned and impressed. My nine-year old son turned to his Dad and quietly told him, “Dad. You’d better not piss off Mom!”

Whitewater rafting with the kids at a bankruptcy conference. We are at the very front.

I became known for one thing on these trips. I was the only wife who got up at 6:30 AM, on vacation, to go and watch her husband’s panel presentations. I was a lawyer so I could follow the discussion to at least some extent. And I was very proud of Larry. He was an excellent speaker and teacher. I felt it was important to be there to support him and cheer him on. Larry was very proud to be the only panelist with a claque in the audience.

My kids got their faces painted at a big event at one of the conferences

I have about twenty souvenir canvas bags from the various Norton Conferences over the years. I still use them, but I really keep them as souvenirs. They remind me of all the fun times we had traveling the country in the cause of bankruptcy law education!

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