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Is Nikki Haley That Glimmer of Hope?

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At the close of the second day of the prosecution of Donald J, Trump’s impeachment trial, several GOP senators met behind closed doors with the attorneys for Trump, among them Ted Cruz, Lindsey Graham and the aggrieved, misquoted Mike Lee of Utah.   Previously that day, media reported fifteen empty Republican seats on the floor of the Senate. Taken together these two events might be regarded as clear signs that Republicans on the Senatorial “jury” will deliver a verdict without considering the  evidence and are working hand in hand with the defense to insure a favorable resolution to their collective will. 

 Fear of Trump reprisals has overwhelmed these “Chicken-Littles,” but the depth of their spinelessness is best understood when looking at the totals of those running for re-election in 2022.  Of the 50 Republican Senators, only 16 seats are at stake in 2022.  34 need have no fear of being primaried. These men fear not only their careers, but their very lives and those of their families for a vote of conscience.  There is ample evidence of the ire of the mob in this regard.

Further codifying that “the fix is in,” the defense team leaked that they plan to wrap it up in a few hours, perhaps as little as three or four, not the allotted sixteen they have been granted. While it can also be interpreted as futile to argue against the overwhelming and irrefutable evidence presented by the impeachment managers, the mendacity of this move is little more than lipstick on a pig for an indefensible position, signaling a corrupt bravado not unlike a mob boss who has bribed and threatened a jury. Considering the imbalance of firepower, a short rebuttal was best.

For all their whining about the need for unity, these short-sighted dullards fail to understand the depth of anger that will permanently lodge in the throats of reasonable Americans witnessing these proceedings and the negative impact it will have on the image of the United States throughout the world, especially with our incredulous democratic allies.  In what other system of justice are witnesses also jurors and permitted to conspire with the defense? In what other system is corruption so openly flagrant?  The very idea of America has become a laughing stock, a perpetual late-night, talk show joke.

But our humiliation does not stop there.  Perhaps the one sad example of unified disparate elements within our society can be readily identified in the diversity of flags carried by the mob of Trump supporters on January 6th, the “patriots,” he called upon to storm the Capitol building to “Stop the steal.”  Trump flags and MAGA flags severely outnumbered the Stars and Stripes, but Civil War Confederate flags waved proudly among and alongside Nazi swastikas, next to the familiar Revolutionary War snake decrying “don’t tread on me,” Jesus flags, “Thin Blue Line” flags, an overwhelming assortment of flags identifying radical fringe elements, and even the flags of Mexico and South Viet Nam, an amalgam of the insane and profane with the holy.  Is this the new “melting pot?”

And what of Trump.  What were his expectations?  What was his endgame? By inviting his supporters to “Stop the Steal” on January 6th, he must have had some idea of just how that might be accomplished.  Only a violent protest held any real possibility for that outcome.

 As Impeachment Manager, Representative Neguse summed it up:

  1. Was it foreseeable?
  2. Did Trump encourage the violence?
  3. Did he act willfully?

 Regarding assertion 1: After months of propagating the “Big Lie” and the failure of all other attempts to overturn the 2020 election, there was no other alternative left to Trump but to stop the certification as a remedy.

Regarding 2: There is a long well-documented history of Trump encouraging violence at his rallies, against dissenters and against the press. When flag waving supporters drove a Biden campaign bus off the road, Trump tweeted support. He has expressed his love for violent fringe groups and tweeted support to the armed mob that surrounded the home of Michigan Governor Gretchen Whitmer and threatened to kidnap her.  He has remained silent in the face of the many death threats made against lawmakers and politicians who do not agree with his position regarding the election he regards as fraudulent.

Regarding 3: Did he act willfully as he stood before the mob and directed them up Pennsylvania Avenue to the Capitol. When he was informed of the violence, he was indifferent and ignored the many requests made by those close to him to intervene to stop it. 

All we can do is wait and see.  But there is a small glimmer of hope this morning as Nikki Haley breaks with Trump, “He let us down.  We shouldn’t have followed him.”  

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Idjitz Stoopidshitz and-Dumfux

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Idjitz, Stoopidshitz, and-Dumfux

That’s how the growing resentment against the unvaccinated is best expressed.   Somehow these people regard their decision to flirt with imminent risk as an act of patriotism, the pure expression of American individualism boldly spitting in the wind of governmental control and the face of death itself.

On the eve of the 20th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks, we might do well to remember the heroic efforts of the true patriots among us, first responders and committed civil servants, and not the swollen pride of the few who carried the banners of plastic flagstaffs, boldly flapping stars and stripes, on the roll-up windows of their Cadillac Escalades to tailgate parties on the weekends that followed.  Some people can sure talk the talk, and the rest, Hillary’s deplorables, show up at events like that of January 6th.

But to be certain, those patriots on September 11th who went into those collapsing towers were heroes not solely because they put their lives in danger, took a risk to save others, selfless acts in defiance of the most certain of consequences, but because they truly cared about you and me.  All of America was in those towers.

Looking back on the death toll that day, as staggering as it was, it was even more shocking that the event occurred in our sacred homeland, a place of safety where we Americans enjoy our freedoms unhindered by fear.   To secure that same future, we accepted a massive loss of freedoms to embrace the Patriot Act and we shipped thousands of young Americans to distant lands, many to fall at the hands of unseen terrorists’ IEDs while on patrol.

So why is it that with the overwhelming statistics on Covid deaths, rising infections, the many at-capacity hospitals and the lack of safety for our unprotected children, do these anti-vaxers maintain that their so called freedoms take precedent over the safety of the community at large?  These people are not patriots.  They are the worst kind of self-serving cowards!

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Andrew Cuomo: The Roadmap from Free Love to Me Too.

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Whether Governor Andrew Cuomo is guilty of predatory sexual behavior has become the new media sensation of this last week. During that time, a single complaint against the governor has multiplied with the speed of a newly discovered Covid variation into six assertions of his past inappropriate behavior.  If the first person to come forward is to be believed as representative of all six, then it must be concluded that the complaints of harassment are all entirely credible.  After the New York Times broke her story, Charlotte Bennett, the first complainant, sat for a televised interview with Norah O’Donnell outlining the details of her allegations.

For his part, Cuomo met the charges head on with a firm denial of any wrongdoing.

It is however, most interesting to note that the Governor did not deny the validity of the details of the specific events outlined by Ms. Bennett.  What appears to be cut and dry is in fact probably too nuanced to make a criminal determination.  Without a doubt Ms. Bennett is telling the truth.  Might it also be possible that Governor Cuomo is also telling the truth and if so, how can that be?  I don’t think his intent was misinterpreted by Ms. Bennett, and I think he was fully conscious of his approach towards her. Nevertheless, wrong as he was,  it is quite possible that he did not comprehend the ethical problem he had created but felt safe within his understanding of the current social context.  Allow me to explain.

Was Ms. Bennett wrong in thinking, “The governor’s trying to sleep with me?”   I think not. Consider the following, “Without explicitly saying it, he implied to me that I was old enough for him and he was lonely.”  Further, Cuomo inquired about her romantic life and asked if a past trauma had affected her romantic relationships. “He asked if I had trouble enjoying being with someone because of my trauma,” adding that he also asked if I was “sensitive to intimacy, and if it was hard to really be with someone physically.”  He pushed for the close, going so far as to ask her if she had ever been intimate with an older man and offering that personally he was comfortable dating younger women saying, “He was fine with anyone over 22.  I’m 25.”  Can his intentions be any clearer?  He was searching for a way in.

Without doubt this is inappropriate and very creepy behavior, but the road to a determination of illegality is fraught with problems.  Such a conversation may not be criminal but it does require a course adjustment.  In a corporate environment Cuomo would be let go.  In politics, resignation is the remedy. But in spite of the unilateral support for Ms. Bennett by every New York State Democratic leader, and calls for his resignation, Cuomo refuses to resign. Why?

In the age of “Me Too” it is instructive to understand what has become of our cultural norms.  The journey to “Me Too” as a cultural norm begins with “The Pill,” a method of oral contraception for women that was introduced in 1960 and rapidly adopted by overburdened mothers, free-wheeling singles and promiscuous teens.  By 1965, it was common that many high-school and junior-high young girls bragged of carrying a packet of the Pill in their purse, hidden from Mom, proof of having achieved adulthood.

Meanwhile, pouring gas on this fire, young pubescent boys were scouring the magazine racks of the local grocery store in search of brown-paper wrapped copies of the latest “Playboy” magazine to fulfill their hormonal urges to practice that ancient ritual readying them fit for the hunt.  At this point, both sides were all-in and poised for action… but how to initiate?

Making the first move can undoubtedly be awkward for a novitiate.  Culturally, that has long been relegated to the male, but very soon the Pill would change all that.  But for the time being, in 1965 young boys had only the movies to guide them regarding how the approach is made.  Books, a technology of a previous generation, were dry and useless in this nuanced art and television was so sanitized as to be entirely bereft of any help.  No, it fell to movies to complete the circuit connecting the genders and to music in the form of contemporary song to stimulate the passions needed to break the logjam (no pun intended.) As flowed music, so followed the culture and by 1967 a new term had re-entered the lexicon, “Free Love.”

In 1967, during the “Summer of Love,” a social phenomenon erupted in San Francisco when over 100,000 young people under the spell of “flower power” converged on Haight-Ashbury in free-flowing, colorful “hippie” attire, melding music, hallucinogenic drugs, anti-war sentiment and the concept of free-love. These “flower children,” most often referred to as “hippies” were by nature united in their suspicion of the government and opposed to the Viet Nam war.  They rejected consumerism and were more often concerned with art and a generalized spiritual self-awareness often realized through the practice of meditation, all of which equated with “Peace.” Simultaneously, as this movement spread throughout California, hippie communes developed.  These communes were the perfect breeding ground as a foothold for free love to become a cultural norm.

At its core, free love demands freedom from state regulation and church-defined personal relationships, a perfect fit with the ideologies found in communes of the day.  Whether emotional or sexual, legitimate relations between consenting adults are off limits to regulatory oversight and commune residents often interacted freely with many short-term partners.

In free love both men and women have the right to enjoy sexual pleasure without social or legal consequences.  For women, this could not have been made possible without the pill.  In essence, the pill severed the connection between love, romance and sex and opened the door to a more transactional practice of engagement that dispensed with the niceties of dinner and flowers, long walks holding hands and that first moment when a young boy tenuously slips his arm around a young girl on the family couch.  Now it was OK for that young girl on her first kiss to reach down and rub his crotch.  No big deal.  They called it petting back then.  Young girls instinctively knew that Free Love was inextricably linked to the same anti-authoritarian ideals pervading the communes out west and popularized in song, and so, grasping their equality (forgive me) by the balls, they exercised their rights in a most overt way.  While this may have been confusing to some young men, it was most certainly welcome.

But the long term consequence of Free Love was the displacement of the nuanced approach to a romantic relationship with a more direct, transactional approach of a sexual one.  Romance. Requires time and energy and is uncertain, fraught with insecurities, sleepless nights and possible rejection.  It’s never quite fully resolved, and requires constant maintenance, always open to future competition.  Sex on the other hand is short and decisive, over in minutes and quite conclusive.  The approach to sex can be as simple as a question.  The answer determines the possibility.  It can be as crude as, “Hey, you wan’na fuck?” or implied, “have you ever been intimate with an older man?  I’m personally comfortable dating younger women.”

If you understand that the fundamental principle in a proper “Me-Too” relationship is consent, then simply asking the question or indirectly implying it might be considered as a hands-off approach by a lonely, clumsy and rather oafish old man whose only social contacts are made through his work.  Without doubt, it’s a move of desperation.  All the good ones were taken long ago, and many of the ones who got out are embittered and angry and far too wise to be managed or controlled.  After years in office the transactional approach might seem innocent to Andrew Cuomo, after all he was only asking questions, seeking consent. Lacking a proper channel for his physical and emotional urges, he went for the “easy marks” the ones at hand, the pretty ones who he engaged his fantasy of a replenished youth.  His mistake was an abuse of power.  He was their boss.  He should have known that he was making them uncomfortable to engage in such a conversation as he had with each of them.  But this oafish old man failed to understand that asking for a kiss from someone who works for you is as much a violation of “Me-Too” codes as taking the kiss without asking.

 

 

 

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Uncapped

A Lesson From Prince

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Far be it from me to offer help to the Republican party, but when it comes to Donald Trump we’re all in this together, like it or not.  Trump is the equal opportunity abuser.  His latest…  Trump has sent cease and desist letters to the three campaign-fund raising committees of the party, the RNC, the NRSC and the NRCC, seeking to stop the use of his image and his name in fund raising for the GOP.

Not that Republican leaders have ever demonstrated an astute cognizance of the lessons of history, especially in areas beyond the ideas of Nicolai Machiavelli, and hardly funk music, but let’s just say that when this very problem presented itself to Prince, the young artist outwitted one of the biggest corporate giants in the entertainment industry.

You see, when Warner Brothers and Prince had a parting of the ways over the direction of Prince’s next album, Prince was under an ironclad contract that stated that if he left the label he “could not record under his name or any other name.”  Brutal, huh?  That’s when his true genius rose to the occasion and he invented the much renowned symbol that identified him with his music. For DJs all across the country, he was referred to as the artist formerly known as Prince.

So you see, the simple workaround is to never use the Trump name,  but to refer to him as “Former President,”  “Our beloved 45th President” (theirs not mine), or “Your Commander-in-Chief.” Meanwhile, it has not occurred to the vengeful halfwit that his image and name will be used in Democratic campaigns to rally against everything ugly he represents in the Republican party and he’s powerless to do anything about it.  Freedom of speech still exists, even after his scorched earth attempt to silence the GOP.

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