Archive for Crime

Pile on the Shame

[Quick note of apology. I haven’t been commenting. The rest of the world has. So there.]

Al Franken…MeToo…sex monsters (almost entirely men in power). Just maybe a major flip has occurred. We’ll agree on that when self-identified conservatives/Republicans and then Europeans get with the program.

Meanwhile, I’ll note that I was one of the many who feared bandwagon joiners would muddle the vast good with false accusations. Instead, I find the bad so far comes in the form of schadenfreude. For some abused or harassed women, Dems and lefties taking the blame for their crassness and crimes, and then the GOP supporting the likes of the despicable Donald Trump and Roy Moore types is not enough. They want to inflict maximum damage and disgrace.

How much is too much?

I found myself in dolor about of my recurring raps about convicted criminals. I’ve long held and written about serving your time and clearing the blackboard. Those who want to perpetually punish convicts by not letting the vote and keeping them from getting jobs are just awful people who seem to lack an understanding of humanitarian and religious values.

Regardless, this came to mind again when one of Sen. Al Franken’s maybe victims, Stephanie Kemplin, made the talk-show circuit saying his apology and pending loss of Senate seat (and likely permanently ruined career, political and otherwise) were nowhere near enough to satisfy her.

She holds convincingly that she remembers his cupping one of her breasts (through multiple layers) at a photo-op. She is particularly irritated that he claims not to recall that and thus has not abjectly apologized.

In the unlikely case that Franken is not guilty of this exact charge. we cam pretty much be sure he has been a real ass around women and mildly sexually transgressed repeatedly. So we can then turn to ask whether is loss of face, loss of positions, and much dimmed future is adequate punishment. At least one accuser holds that it is not.

Walks of shame

I am bad on TV and watch little. However, I did not pass on any Game of Thrones episodes. The current news and opinion brings me back to Queen Cersei Lannister’s parade of shame, during which she walked naked through the capital as citizens chanted, “Shame!” and “Guilty!” while pelting her with spit, feces and garbage.

Clearly in her case and time and place, too much was not enough.

That I dread for the MeToo movement. We have plenty to atone for as a society and male gender. Not knowing when to modulate or stop won’t advance the movement.

I thought back to decades ago and one of the sermons I preached at the Arlington Street Church. It was on resilience. I spoke of the different reactions we have to the sundry misfortunes that are thrust or fall upon us. How in my volunteering at veterans hospitals in high school I’d met WWI vets still shell shocked (now PTST) and others missing limbs still incapacitated from wars long years later. Other vets made it their duties and hallmarks to forge on to careers, marriages, parenting and more in the same circumstances.

After the sermon, a couple of women and one man who never really recovered from sex crimes said how much they were insulted and how they felt disrespected. Many others told similar tales of their own survivals that those of relatives and friends. One elderly woman I had been in a UU sexuality course with pulled me aside with the definitive comment. I knew she had been raped and had to heal from the traumas; she said it was important to discuss how we deal with such; she said it was important to tell the personal story, but “don’t make a career out of it.”

Amen.

 

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Down the Trump Funnel

Of course, I’ve avoided commenting on Russia scandals and twitches. Blowhards as well as sages have analyzed and discussed these beyond death.

However, I note that the indictment of three of his minions today was a welcome movement (a political laxative as it is). Moreover, his and his spox’ claims of no-collusion and nothing-to-do-with-the-orange-guy are remarkable.

That remark is that Trump has been reduced to the defensive at best. From I’m innocent and look at Hillary, he now squeezes into the chute of really-I-don’t-know-these-guys and whatever-they-did-has-nothing-to-do-with-me.

This is beyond risible. l

He now claims innocence by distance of time and reporting order. These are not legal nor moral defenses.

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Trump’s Cleverness Ruse

Pro Tip: If you are about to say or write something oh so clever, don’t. Delete or erase or forget it. Everyone else will see through it and no one will think you are at all clever.

Alas, POTUS Donald Trump seems too dull-witted to understand his limits. We saw that from the moment he began campaigning. It plunged to a new nadir in the past several days after the Charlottesville white-supremacy riot and murder.

For three days, he alternately whined and brayed. What he did not say until forced to today was what even the bigots in white hoods or red caps spoke freely about to all who’d listen — those dressed up to role play neo-Nazi or camo-soldier were there to insult and physically assault blacks, Jews, Muslims and others.

Instead, he fell back on his weasel words, saying “all sides: and from “many sides” were to blame. How the white-supremacy rioters had any equivalence in the counter protester group befuddled all except for Donny-jo. The bigots with brass knuckles, helmets, cudgels and pepper spray were not the same as protesters chanting for them to stop the hate.

Americans as well as the whole world was watching. What they saw was an indisputable riot by hatemongers, hatemongers who had come padded and armed for violence.

Let us note that miraculously none of those wearing side arms or long guns in this open-carry state murdered anyone by bullet. The irony here is that many protesters would have had clear self-defense arguments had they been armed and protected themselves. Small favors here.

So the candidate who boasted repeatedly that he had “the best words” again does not. He thought his false equivalence of blaming the victims as well as the attackers would fly. He’d say he condemned violence…while continuing to pander to his far-right supporters.

That was not lost on racist supporters like David Duke and the neo-Nazi site Daily Stormer. Several expressed delight that he did not call them out.

So this President believes he is just so clever that he can pull out a word trick here and there, and all will be overwhelmed by his cleverness. The public and press are overwhelmed, but by his cowardice and amorality.

Again, if you think you’re being clever, you almost certainly are not. That goes all the way to the Oval Office.

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Inevitable GOP Grudge

About that cliché of elephants never forgetting, U.S. Republicans truly do not, ever. It happened with Nixon and we are still bearing the aftereffects. It’s about to happen again with Trump.

When Pres. Richard Nixon slithered out of the White House in disgrace, that was a not-to-be-forgotten humiliation, for the party more than for Tricky Dick.  That POTUS hopped about between amoral, immoral and criminal. He snuck away before the Senate could impeach him, and then his VP-becoming-President Gerald Ford pardoned him, so he never faced criminal trials and certainty of prison.

Years later, Nixon was re-imaged as a statesman. In fairness, as terrible as he was domestically and as much as he disdained democracy, our laws and the Constitution, he had foreign-policy credentials — much stronger than any Democratic President since FDR.

In those ways of escaping impeachment, get-out-of-jail-free cards, and rehabilitation, he fared much better than he deserved. Nonetheless, the GOP has never forgotten his disgraced exit.

I have no doubt that is why they so eagerly pursued Bill Clinton’s impeachment, constantly threatened Barack Obama with various legal actions, and did beyond their best to smear and bring bogus charges against Hillary Clinton. They don’t, can’t, won’t forget.

So here we are coming around the flee or take-it bend with Donald Trump. As has been the norm with post-WWII GOP Presidents, his appointees and staff are resigning or facing various charges. That won’t stop.

As it all closes in on this young presidency for an old man/boy, at some point he is likely to realize he’s cooked and facing either absconding or impeachment. I have predicted here that he is most likely to play his usual drama queen, quitting while saying the mean old media and Congress won’t let him do wonderful things and save the nation.

While it is possible he might stick it out and take impeachment, I don’t think that would give him the deniability he so often uses.

When he is forced from office one way or another, the GOP also will not forget. Already, they bait-and-switch with Dem miscreants. Of course Bill Clinton accepted fellatio in the White House, former Rep. Anthony Weiner is a pathetic sexter, and a handful of other Dems have run afoul of laws or social norms. They can’t or won’t consider the huge number of their party who are proven crooks, adulterers and worse. It’s key to pretend here.

The point is when Trump stomps away, that will be the real beginning of the newest GOP feud and grudge fest. They will live and act primarily to pay back Dems for anything that happened with their guys, regardless of how many Republicans joined in calling out and punishing Trump and his minions.

Personal responsibility is not a Republican hallmark.

Of course, for the nation, the big pity is that we have much to accomplish to fix problems and to advance us economically, socially and politically. When Republican office holders are as stupid, malicious and counterproductive as they were with Obama, much less gets done.

Still, let’s get on with it. Dump Trump, and accept that the GOP will play at revenge instead of cleaning their own house. As a group, they just don’t have a culture of advancing the nation.

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Oh-oh-I-was-so-scared defense

Excuse me, boys and girls, how do we stop this horrifying carnival ride? Just today, a jury acquitted a murderous police officer of a cold-blooded slaying. Stopping black motorist Philando Castile for an alleged damaged tail light, Jeronimo Yanez claimed he feared for his life, even though Castile was passively obeying and told him he had a licensed gun.

Not only is the norm for murders by LEOs, it parallels exactly those atavistic states with stand-your-ground laws.

Basically, the first clown who whips out a gun and shoots to kill gets a free pass. Oh, oh, I felt threatened. The jury says, “You did the right thing.”

Like hell.

Whether it’s a cop or a citizen at home or a plain folk guy who imagines himself a vigilante, No it isn’t OK.

In particular, if you are a police officer, you have been trained at length on defusing interactions and on, well, being brave. If ordinary interactions in your job make you want to pee your trousers and compel you to murder citizens, you need to lose your badge and likely go to jail.

Go a pair — balls or tits, depending. Do not kill someone on a whim and claim irrational, emotional fear.

 

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Hate Can’t Keep You Safe

The two most recent and most horrific London terror attacks put spotlights on NYC and LA and Seattle and Boston and like that. What does a Muslim ban have to do with safety and prevention? What will the dummies do when U.S. cities are the locales?

That ignorant, stupid POTUS alternately tweets and brays that if only we keep this or that group from visiting the U.S. of A. all will be well. Turtle feathers, says I!

We know that he and real Republicans don’t understand American principles and laws. We know they hate the liberties that our democracy exercises that differentiate us from the rest of the world. In fact, they make it plain they hate freedom and want oppressive government.

Yet, what #45 has been calling for has two huge flaws. First, and affirmed by courts from one coast to another, his proposals are patent violations of our First Amendment’s religion clause. They target exclusive brown-skinned folk who are not avowed Christians.

Second, with the extreme and notable exception of the 9/11 attacks, the thousands of Americans murdered on our soil are the opposite of #45’s bugbears. Our terrorists have been native born, white Americans, nearly all of whom identify as Christian.

Of course, we know these people as our basest criminals. The white, American self-identified Christians are invariably the rapists, adulterers, child abusers and murders, only more recently becoming domestic terrorists. There was a history in that latter category too, think the K.K.K.

So if #45 and his minions want to further limit our liberties in the guise of security, keeping out Muslims from six countries won’t do it…at all…particularly when the 9/11 crew was almost entirely from Saudi Arabia. They are investors whom #45 loves and gives a free pass to for travel.

We can be sure the emboldened ISIL and other terrorists won’t obey the borders and visa regulations, halting on the East side of the Atlantic. When they come to a city new you, you can be positive #45’s policies did absolutely nothing to prevent the deaths and maiming and, well, terror.

 

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Trump Kicks Against Goads

Lackaday, Donny Jo. The huge lesson before you will not disappear by neglect or denial. Our incidental POTUS has again chosen to teeter on the most dangerous path — feigning innocence while humming, “Catch me if you can.”

He returned from a disastrous foreign trip, replete with numerous Administration scandals, to assert all are fake news. We can easily understand why someone so dull-witted would rely on the artifice that has worked for him several times. Unfortunately for him (think Dunning-Kruger effect) as so many other dummies and mommy’s boys, he is not aware of the limits of such bluster.

I believe the current set of problems is beyond even his B.S. powers. He is no Mandrake the Magician or Obi-Wan Kenobi. He cannot misdirect the world’s attention from these entanglements.

Take his central premise — detailed, multi-sourced reporting by the likes of the WaPo and NYT are made up because the first wave of articles does not list every source. Each of us uses the internet and knows the stupidity and duplicity of trolls who demand details and links to all sources so that can find nits to pick and then claim everything is a fake, fake news in this case.

His double dog dare to reputable media can only backfire repeatedly and continuously. Only one actor here is a serial, pathological liar. As the evidence mounts and more witnesses are emboldened, his bluster will sound fainter and fainter. As his minions, including his son-in-law, face accusations to charges to trials or pleas, his imagined control will vanish.

Until recently, I bought into the concept that a GOP-dominated Senate would never impeach Trump. Yet, he has overplayed his had so far and given leeway to way too many corrupt buddies, I do not see any clean way out for him.

Were he more noble or driven by grand aims, he might be seen as a tragic figure. This is simply low comedy. The man is too dumb to know how to pick a fight he has a shot at winning.

 

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Non-Comical Comey

The WaPo The Fix column implying that unemployed guy James Comey wants to take down Donald Trump (a.k.a. the incidental POTUS) intrigues. One can suppose he’d have delusions of grandeur. But…delusions?

While the rest of Congress and all D.C. squealed and scrambled like Greek wannabes during pledge week, Comey took down the Dem Prez nominee Hillary Clinton (a.k.a. the coulda, shoulda been). Now he could easily do the same with 45.

My soft-sciences profs (anthropology, psychology, sociology) all said ascribing motives was the toughest and least exact part of the biz. We can be left wondering whether Comey wields his bolts from a platform of ego or self-righteousness or his Boy-Scout persona.

It makes no difference. If he can — and it sure looks likely —he shall dump Trump. Here’s a mid-level functionary who has already inscribed his own monument in history. He’s not through.

 

 

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Drive Out Demons — Impeachment Aftermath

Impeachment against Donald Trump, incidental POTUS, are increasingly likely to begin. As I recently predicted, he would certainly resign before any Senate trial.

He has a lifetime of quitting and doing the mommy’s boy it’s-not-fair act. He’s 70 and not likely to mature. He also is both too ignorant to know history and too stupid to grasp the law.

Familiar Feud

As much as  I shall be pleased to see him forced out, I do not want to hear his whinging. More important, I dread the inevitable decades of Republican spite and attempts to even the score.

Following Richard Nixon’s slithering retreat from the top office, GOP lawmakers obsessed with getting a Dem POTUS out of office. The more rational and mature response would have been to accept that he was dishonorable, dishonest, and disdainful of democracy and the rule of law. The party could have accepted that they operated in a poisonous environment and cleaned house.

Alas, that would have meant admitting current Dem moral superiority. That was a low bar though. Democratic politicians had their own share of corruption…a difference of degree and not kind. Nixon was simply base, even for a pol.

Every Dem Prez that followed and ever Dem nominee for the office had the hounds of political hell nipping at them, trying to drag them down. When they finally impeached Bill Clinton for lying about receiving fellatio, that should have settled them down.

Another round

But noooooo. They didn’t remove him from office or drive him out, as with Nixon. In their heart of hearts, voters largely know that Republicans are less honest and honorable, even among this group.

It seemed plain to many that the slander and lies about Hillary Clinton was more of the same feud. Maybe if they could get her jailed for imagined crimes, they would calm. As with her hubby, one would think that her defeat in the last election would have quieted the dogs. Again, noooo.

Here we are with Trump, as corrupt as anyone not already charged, tried and jailed.

Trump has broken too many laws and has one of the most corrupt administrations ever in the history of the office. His reckless bluster and his I-know-you-are-but-what-am-I taunts will not outweigh his sins.

He will go and many of those around him are likely to face various charges as well. Arrogance does not wash clean.

When Trump goes, the big feud will continue and intensify. I cannot see a large number of Republicans suddenly taking responsibility. The hunt to drag under Dem Presidents and candidates for the office will surely be nastier than ever and continue to dominate our political discourse.

Inevitable but boring…

 

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Trump Doctrine: Olly olly oxen free

Muse for a moment on candidate Donald Trump’s preemptive slurs. Every opponent from any party got a toxic nickname. The overused term irony is apt here. In particular, he repeatedly called his Dem foe corrupt Hillary.

Even before he became POTUS, Trump’s business and legal dealings, ploys and questionable activities made it far too plain who was corrupt here. Smearing another does not absolve him.

Suddenly, as attention-getting as DT’s admitted or accused sexual misdeeds, his stiffing partners and contractors, his blatant self-dealing and conflicts of interest may be the sins of his version of the best and brightest. His cabinet and lower lackeys one after another drop out, are forced out, or operate under clouds worthy of Joe Btfsplk.

Pic Note: From an Al Capp strip via wikipedia. Fair use.

Several dropped out when they were proven dishonorable and liars. A surprising number of candidates seemed to know trouble when it called and did not risk taking a DT job.

Free Passes

More intriguing are the hide-and-see crew. They may hear that kids’ call olly olly oxen free and return without fear of being tagged (or put on trial). The current administration, as you might expect of any corrupt regime, is not shy about giving minions a free pass.

Already called back to base has been Kellyanne Conway. The nominal senior adviser will not face any charges for her egregious shilling of DT’s daughter Ivanka’s clothing line on national TV. The WH Counsel’s Office gave the free pass, claiming her clear violation of federal law was inadvertent.

This indeed is one of the principal definitions of corrupt. Promoting products to benefit the POTUS or his family is illegal for good reason. Doing so is corrupt.

Most recently up in the shame docket is AG Jefferson Beauregard Sessions. In sworn oral and written testimony to Congress and the FBI, he averred that he had no contact with Russian government officials during DT’s campaign. In fact, we know now that he had multiple meetings with the Russian ambassador and likely several phone conversations with other officials. Now he claims that they didn’t discuss campaign matters.

Do Laws Matter?

Prima facie it appears he violated campaign law, committed perjury several times and perhaps was even treasonous. Can his pro-active (a.k.a. defensive in DT’s case) pardon, like President Gerald Ford’s of disgraced POTUS Richard Milhous Nixon, lag far behind?

Dems in Congress scream for Sessions to resign. Even some Republicans who have any moral and patriotic fibers in their personal covering left are muttering for Sessions to recuse himself from any discussion or action of investigation of DT’s Russian connections.

Here’s betting DT stonewalls this. He’ll claim Sessions is fine and should continue as is. Of course, the rational world then immediately wonders

  • What the hell happened in the election
  • How pervasive and powerful was Russian interference and influence
  • What does Donny hide-my-taxes owe to Russians
  • Was DT blackmailed by Russians
  • Did Sessions act as pimp for DT and Putin politically

If DT calls Sessions home free, that could be a serious error. With the corrupt appointees clinging to free base, all eyes will be on DT. How corrupt was and is he?

The game is afoot, but it’s not as simple as hide and seek.

 

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