Thursday, May 30, 2019

Honor ....

Here under leave of Brutus and the rest -
For Brutus is an honourable man;
So are they all, all honorurable men -
Come I to speak in Caesar's funeral. (From Mark Antony's eulogy of Caesar in William Shakespeare's "Julius Caesar" (Act 3 Scene 2)

Robert Muller has issued his final statement. It was subtle, circumspect and respectful of many institutions. Buried in his remarks he states that if he had been able to exonerate Trump, he would have said so. Muller is an honorable man.
Rod Rosenstein ran out of the Justice Department with his tail between his legs, after supporting an alleged attorney general who has turned the Department of Justice into a wholly owned subsidiary of Trump Inc. Rosenstein is an honorable man.
Gary Cohen, James Mattis, H.R. McMaster sprinted away from the Trump Administration, leaving the American people to the tender mercies of an unbridled lunatic. These men keep their own counsel because they are all honorable men.
All of these men and others dutifully protect institutions; protect what is laughingly referred to in the Age of Trump as "the rule of law"; protect a Justice Department memo - memo I say, not a law, that suggests for it cannot compel - that it is unconstitutional to indict a sitting president; protect the office of the presidency itself. In the final analysis, the question becomes who is protecting the American people?
The honorable men and women in the House of Representatives vacillate - protecting their 2020 electoral prospects. While they fiddle, Rome burns. Dutifully and honorably they will attempt to contain the blaze with investigations and legislation that will die in Mitch McConnell's graveyard of a Senate. In the meantime they assert, honorably, that the most important thing we can do is defeat Trump in 2020 - while asking us to ignore the fact that they stand impotent to contain the damage he is doing in real time.
It is my humble opinion, perhaps corrupted by a cynical turn of mind, we are overwhelmed with honor in this country. Courage not so much.

Monday, October 8, 2018

The Mean Streets

Currently I am reading a biography of Raymond Chandler; well a fourth actually. In reading it I am reminded that when he started writing for “The Black Mask” in the ‘30’s he was living in L.A. He worked for the oil industry and was astounded at the level of corruption that flowed between the industry and the city. In creating Philip Marlowe, his detective, and the world Marlowe inhabits, the mean streets as Chandler generally calls it, the writer used the profound corruption of the city as his moral backdrop. Accordingly, Marlowe who is an honorable man is drawn in stark contrast to his world even though he is forced at times to engage in behavior that is less then honorable on the surface. In his essay, “The Simple Art of Murder,” Chandler defined his detective thus: "... down these mean streets a man must go who is not himself mean, who is neither tarnished nor afraid." 

It is the quality of being neither tarnished nor afraid that inoculates Marlowe from the corruption. I say inoculates because it is clear in Chandler’s work that his view of corruption, like mine, is that it is a contagion.  Moving from person to person, place to place it swells and grows and feeds on itself. It can be barely perceptible in the beginning, but left to its own devises it will become rampant.  

Last week we watched an epidemic explode from the growing corruption that has plagued our body politic for a very long time. The legalized bribery and fraud that has grown evermore acceptable for both political parties have taken their toll in a numb acceptance of sleaze, hypocrisy, obfuscation and the outright swindling of the American people. The acceptance is so wide and deep as to make many Americans willing, even joyful, participants in their own abuse.

Donald Trump isn’t the first of his kind; he is just the worst of his kind.  A Libertine by disposition, a con artist and thug by philosophy and a cheat by profession, Trump fouls everything he touches. Those who follow him slavishly, admiring, supporting and making excuses for him are tarnished and afraid of everything he tells them to fear. As such they are irredeemable.
Out of dozens of jurists Trump picked the one most likely to save him from the law; a pathetic, aging frat boy with the firm belief that whatever he wants is his due.  What happened in the course of shoving this ill-suited man onto the court was a travesty against the American people, womanhood, the law, the Senate and the court. Trump and his cabal of screaming fanatics were acting out of pure self-interest. That is the only way Trump knows how to act. That is his corruption, and it is a contagion.

If we are going to become inoculated against the contagion, if we are going to become untarnished and unafraid we will have to face some facts. First, too few people run too much in this country.  From the electoral college that allowed a minority party to put its minority president in office; to the coalition of small Conservative states, with less than half the population of this country, which control the Judiciary Committee and have now forced their ideology up the people’s rear end against the people’s will, it is time for the majority to raise some serious hell. We can stop allowing the media to tell us we are outnumbered to start.

Secondly, in this country that harps on democracy and the rule of the people no one, but no one, should serve anywhere for life.  If the Supreme Court ever was a nonpartisan arbiter of the rule of law and the Constitution, Kavanaugh has demonstrated for all time that it is now the strong legal arm of a partisan agenda.

Finally, blind self-interest is not patriotism no matter what Trump says or what kind of behavior he models. Some people of whom I am suspicious, Graham who wants to be AG; McConnell who wants to load the court with people who serve the donors he servers, God is not one of them; and although what she got out of this is unknown, Collins who stood on her feminist bonafides and told women that a half-assed investigation by the FBI and the word of a man who demonstrably lied in two separate confirmation hearings makes him more credible then his accuser. All of this clearly confirms a pernicious level of corruption as one Senator after another impersonated their man in the Oval Office, with half-truths, phony outrage and yes, slut shaming.

Last week we were told by people only too happy to use the Tea Party as a vehicle to destroy our first African American President that women protesting a Supreme Court appointment which threatens our liberty represent a mob. We were instructed that the battle over Kavanaugh represented the lowest point in the Senate’s confirmation process by people only too happy to ignore the outrageous treatment of Merrick Garland. If we didn’t know it before we must see it now, hypocrisy is the default position of the morally bankrupt. However, truth does not die because some would murder it.

Like just about everybody I have talked to in the last forty-eight hours who witnessed our national descent into the worst stink of the contagion of Trump, I feel exhausted, a little sick and mad as hell.  I keep wishing I could hire Marlowe to ride forward in his single-breasted armor and fedora helmet with his .38 at the ready to do battle with the corruption of the day. But, Marlowe isn’t real. There isn’t a hero to save us. We must save ourselves using our voices and our votes, our values and our veracity. It is imperative that down the mean streets we alone must go, remaining untarnished and unafraid.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Women Will Be Ready

I called Cory Gardner’s office this morning.  I left the message that while I don’t expect the gutless Republicans to buck Trump’s Supreme Court nomination, I do and they should expect a backlash.  It won’t come immediately or even quickly perhaps, still it will come if Roe is overturned or more severally restricted.  

No one is going to stop abortion, not the Republican Party, the Federalist Society, the Supreme Court or the shrinking, while still vociferous, Trump base.  They will only stop safe abortion. Women will die at the hands of butchers; with coat hangers and knitting needles embedded in their wombs; from pennyroyal tea brewed too strong and causing hemorrhage from every orifice of the body.

Yes, women will die. They will die badly. They will die tragically. And they will begin to die quickly because illicit providers will spring up to meet the need with options that the self righteous, the stupid, the fanatical and the demented have stripped away for no other reason than because they can.  Just like Prohibition an army of criminals will present themselves to make money off of the calamity of a misguided, ill informed, poorly thought out and, in no small part, self serving power play by people who think they have a right to control the lives of others.

Nonetheless, try as they will these misogynistic, knuckle dragging throwbacks to another age – both genders are sadly culpable here – cannot bring back the 1950s.  This time the horror and pain, the wretchedness and the murder will be seen.  Women’s organization will make sure that the plight of women who are doomed to choose between a child they can’t care for or feed, a child of rape or incest and their own lives is known.  Women like me with a voice and pen will see to it that stories are told.  Finally, those who condemn these women to this once and future hell will be known and will be seen to have aided and abetted the slaughter and waste their egomania will bequeath to members of over half of the population.

This will be the backlash. This will be the Gestalt of the Republicans, the Right and their assorted hand maidens, bagmen and sycophants.  I suggested that Gardener think on it, pray on it and dream about it.

For as Shakespeare said, there is a
special providence in the fall of a sparrow. If it be
now, tis not to come; if it be not to come, it will be
now; if it be not now, yet it will come. The 
readiness is all.

Women will be ready when the time comes.

Tuesday, June 19, 2018

True Believer

I have always been a true believer – a passionately committed lifelong Liberal and a devout Socialist since college.  First, let me say that I don’t discuss socialist theory with people who don’t know the difference between a Communist and a Socialist; or between a Utopian, Liberal, Libertarian, Ethical, Fabian or Democratic Socialist. Suffice it to say that I am not nor have I ever been a Communist or an Anarchist. Further, as I near 70 with many battles behind me, some won and some lost with the scars to prove it, and with many fewer years left to live than I have lived, I invite anyone who doesn’t like my politics to kiss my beautiful Italian ass at high noon on Main Street in any city of their choice.

Like I said, I have always been a true believer – in the common good, human rights, social and economic justices and peace. I believe that labor is just as important as capital because they share a reciprocity that is only misunderstood or denied by the greedy and the corrupt. 
I have always stood up for my beliefs.  I have marched, written, spoken out, demonstrated, engage in civil disobedience and gone to jail for my trouble.  I have done all of this because I truly believed in this country’s ability to evolve, to reach for its highest and best purpose.  I am having trouble believing in this country on this day.

Through whatever mechanism, Republican hubris, Democratic stupidity, misguided and empty defiance or just plain apathy, we have placed a narcissistic monster in the highest office in the land. The monster has filled the halls of power with deceit and corruption. His cabinet is a Petri dish full of vicious and stunted personalities with the moral compass of the Ebola virus. Trump himself is a conman and an extortionist; holding the lives of children as leverage against the United States Congress in order to facilitate his xenophobic, white nationalist, extreme isolationist agenda. Making our allies furious while he sucks up to every murderous despot in the world, this crook is insane.  Wrapping himself in the flag, Trump spits on everything this country stands for, everything this country represents in the world and at home. My grandfather and father, veterans of WWI and WWII respectively did not fight for Trump’s America. My friends with their names carved on a black wall in D.C. did not die for Trump’s America.

Why have we committed this hideous, egregious, near suicidal betrayal of ourselves? Well, for a few dollars on the common person’s income tax return; for a promise of the return of jobs made obsolete decades ago; for the privilege of blaming immigrants for “taking” jobs offered to them by American business owners to cheap to pay American citizens; and for some the vacuous comfort of tribalism, hatred and bigotry.

My moral dilemma today is simply this. My doctors tell me I am too old for the fight. My therapist tells me that there is only so much fighting anyone’s psyche can sustain.  My Goddess tells me that the cruelty of Trump’s America is crushing my soul, and my soul is my center.  Yet can anyone be morally responsible and turn away? Can anyone say I am finished with so much wrong and so much more at stake?

Most of you know that next to my beloved husband, my cats and my roses there is one great love in my life.  That would be the exquisite thoughts and poetry of William Shakespeare. I have read and studied his work for many years.  Today more than any other day I truly understand the chronic indecision of his greatest character, Hamlet.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Kick the Bum Out

Call me crazy - its been done. Call me stupid - someone did that once when I was seven. Call me over emotional - hey, I am an Italian, of course I am over emotional, and proud of it. Still and all, I am appalled and sickened by the casualness with which the media and others are treating the idea that President Obama could have been under the immediate medical supervision of someone too drunk to help him if he had need of the help.
I spent decades in the medical profession. I know how easily staff is intimidated, tricked, bullied and lied into covering for a superior. Add to it the rank and privileged of the military and I can easily imagine many people covering for Jackson or anyone like him.
Having said that, and with the caveat that these are allegations, if this doctor was at anytime too drunk to tend to a medical situation involving or around the President of the United States whether the president was overseas or in the White House, he needs to lose his medical license and quickly, full stop. After that the military, Trump and his swaggering twats on Capitol Hill can stuff Jackson in whatever orifice he will fit.

Tuesday, March 6, 2018

Normalizing Trump

Trump is angry about Nunberg being on T.V. yesterday says the media as if speaking about Elizabeth I being angry about the Queen of Scots plotting to steal her throne. Who gives a fuck what Donald Trump is angry about? Just because the Idiot and Chief thinks he's a king, MSNBC doesn't have to agree.
I grow increasingly disgusted with the media normalizing Trump. I have said before, and will say again, they get up every morning looking for JFK, Reagan, George Bush the Elder or Obama in the Oval Office. Along about 5 pm EST they are pulling their hair out and running around screaming because Dumb and Dumber's crazier brother is still glowering at them from behind a camera.
They rant and rave about Trump's base or 80% of Republicans as if they are the majority of the American electorate. Somewhere between 23-38% of the voting public identify as Republican. Trump's approval rating this morning is 35%. Taking the high end figure 80% of 38% is roughly 30%. This is hardly a majority.
Between Gerrymandering and voter suppression - both of which are facing significant legal challenges and going down in defeat - the Republican Party has managed to hold power at the expense of the will of the people. Donald J. Trump is the logical outcome of winning by cheating and standing firmly on a platform of greed, xenophobia, legalized corruption and the perversion of the Christian faith to meet an ever more vacuous Conservative ideology.
A blue wave is said to be coming. That will only happen if the Democrats can manage to find a message and agenda, beyond the threat of impeachment, that serves the American people and not just K Street, Wall Street and a petri dish full of squirming donors who have infected this country with a plague of selfishness, gluttony and blind self interest.
We the people must do routine and rigorous reality checks on the would be jounalists who balloon the 30% into a majority to swell ratings and preserve their position of power in the cable news industry. We must insist that Trump is neither a king nor a popular president.
In point of fact, Donald Trump is a bad joke played on a gullible public by the establishment of both parties - the Republicans who supported him and the Democrats who let him win by default.
Come November VOTE!

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Bullshit, Thy Name is Politician

As you watch the self-righteous, duplicitous, money grubbing, double talking, triple dealing politicians pull their head out of the NRA's ass and slither to a microphone bemoaning the mental health problem in this country, REMEMBER THIS!!