The National Divide

Number 3 of a possibly infinite series

As I previously mentioned, our nation is divided, and, furthermore, I am comfortable with that. There is a segment of this country, and there is a class of thought and activity, that I want to keep compartmentalized. Let’s start with this:

PITTSBURGH — Armed with an AR-15-style assault rifle and at least three handguns, a man shouting anti-Semitic slurs opened fire inside a Pittsburgh synagogue Saturday morning, killing at least 11 congregants and wounding four police officers and two others, the authorities said.

Fortunately we have a president who abhors this kind of activity and who works tirelessly to unite the country. But, I jest.

President Trump defended the white nationalists who protested in Charlottesville on Tuesday, saying they included “some very fine people.”

Some very fine people:

The words that go with these images are telling:

They immediately went after the Jews. At their Friday night rally at the University of Virginia, the white nationalists brandished torches and chanted anti-Semitic and Nazi slogans, including “blood and soil” (an English rendering of the Nazi “blut und boden”) and “Jews will not replace us” — all crafted to cast Jews as foreign interlopers who need to be expunged.

President Trump, whose daughter married a Jew and has converted to Judaism, does not embrace this kind of rhetoric and never has:

Wednesday 1 March 2017 02:22

Donald Trump has suggested that Jewish people might be committing anti-Semitic hate crimes to make himself look bad.

After days in which he refused to comment on a spate of anti-Semitic attacks, Mr Trump broke his silence to repeat an neo-Nazi conspiracy theory that has claimed that the attacks are “false flags”. Supporters of that belief – who include leader of the Ku Klux Klan, David Duke – believe that such attacks are being perpetrated by Jewish people in order to undermine the White House.

Pennsylvania’s Attorney General, Josh Shapiro, said that he had spoken to the President about a wave of threats to Jewish community centres. And Mr Trump said that they had been designed to make “others look bad”

A uniter, not a divider.

But not always.

It really is best that our nation is divided and that we know where the line is.

The National Divide

Number 2 of a series

There are those who tell me our nation is divided. I am not one to disagree, nor do I object. We have been divided for a long time, and that’s a good thing. There are those things, and there are those with which I would not like to be associated. There is a sharp line of division that separates me from the following:

Funny how lowly rated CNN, and others, can criticize me at will, even blaming me for the current spate of Bombs and ridiculously comparing this to September 11th and the Oklahoma City bombing, yet when I criticize them they go wild and scream, “it’s just not Presidential!”

That will about do it for the fake civility and the phony grasping at reconciliation. Stay on your own side of the line.

Dying to Believe

Number 128 in a series

Posted on Facebook by a religious “friend”

This series previously reported on the campaign by Seth M. Asser and Rita Swan “To evaluate deaths of children from families in which faith healing was practiced in lieu of medical care and to determine if such deaths were preventable.” Swan was motivated by her own experience with faith healing as practiced by the Christian Science sect:

Rita Swan of Sioux City, Iowa, a former Christian Scientist, has led the campaign for such prosecutions after being convinced that her reliance on spiritual healing was largely responsible for the death of her infant son. ”I’m sure the church has never faced a challenge like this in its history,” she said. ”The church has been so sophisticated and so smooth that coroners and prosecutors and social workers have just assumed that Christian Scientists have the right to do this.”

Mrs. Swan resorted to spiritual healing when her 2-year-old son, Matthew, took sick in November 1976. Christian Science practitioners attributed the boy’s illness and his failure to improve to Mrs. Swan’s decision to have surgery a few months earlier to remove a cyst – which had failed to respond to faith healing – as well as on a feud she was having with her father.

The boy died of meningitis in July 1977. Within days, Mrs. Swan broke with the church, and in 1983 she founded Child, an organization whose name is an acronym for Children’s Healthcare Is a Legal Duty.

As the Times article reports, the church expends money and energy to defend against legal prosecutions for child neglect, citing religious liberty as the basis for their right to refuse treatment for children.

May Jesus have mercy on their souls.

The Omen

We should have picked up on the signals back when horns were blaring and red lights were flashing.

NYPD Blue, a series that ran on TV from 1992 to 2005, is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video, and I am following episodes from start to finish. It’s now season 2, and we see Detectives Andy Sipowicz (Dennis Franz) and Greg Medavoy (Gordon Clapp) dealing with a character they ran into, literally, in the street. They are in their car when they get clipped seriously by another in traffic. While everybody is out inspecting the damage, the two cops hear thumping, and they force the driver to open the trunk. There’s a woman inside wanting out. He says the guy grabbed her off the street and forced her into the trunk. Then he drove around for two hours, making some stops, before running into the cops. The guy is a real nut case. Further inspection of his car reveals homemade bombs. They take him in.

There’s more. The driver is a whacked out Romanian immigrant, who babbles about conspiracies and the need to take down the rich and evil. When the two cops go by to check out the man’s apartment they find a load of anti capitalist literature, and behind a panel in the wall they find a stash of more bombs. They figure to call the bomb squad and get back a few hundred yards. As the two exit the apartment post hast they go by a poster plastered on the wall by the door. See the image at the top.

This is from season 2, episode 15, which should have been running about 1995. We were warned that early. Did we pay attention? Not I. About that time I was working on a project to track enemy communications signals. At the time we thoughtthe enemy might be the Russians. Little did we suspect.

The Government You Paid For

Number 45 of a Series

This series is not for liberals. It’s for these supposed conservatives who voted for Donald Trump and for those who still support him. It’s my way of showing them the moon by way of dragging out the government they paid for. Yeah, the image above says it all.

It’s called flipping, and it almost ought to be illegal.

If it is illegal, then a bunch of Trump supporters are going to jail. What am I saying? A bunch have already flipped and gone to jail.

Possibly there could be more.

Mr. President, I am sure there are special visiting hours for close family members, especially for close family members who are technically in charge of the American justice system. You can stop by on your way to the golf course.

For now, a few more delicious images to put your mind at ease in case you have trouble getting to sleep tonight.

Dudes, you are getting the government you paid for.

All images are from ABC World News Tonight with David Muir, 14 September 2018.

This is your President speaking.

Number 144

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

“The President has absolutely demonstrated no wrongdoing whatsoever & that the Special Counsel has no evidence of any wrongdoing. In other words, it’s time to end this Witch Hunt.” Russian “collusion” was just an excuse by the Democrats for having lost the Election!

I don’t know about you, but I am glad that matter has finally been put to rest.

Dying to Believe

Number 121 in a series

Welcome Jesus into your home.—say goodbye to your children. A loving example:

Christian Parents Charged With Murder After Starving Daughter For ‘Religious Reasons’

What a wonder it is when faith is stronger than basic humanity. Would that more of the faithful were so caring.

This is your President speaking.

Number 140

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

Two long running, Obama era, investigations of two very popular Republican Congressmen were brought to a well publicized charge, just ahead of the Mid-Terms, by the Jeff Sessions Justice Department. Two easy wins now in doubt because there is not enough time. Good job Jeff……

….The Democrats, none of whom voted for Jeff Sessions, must love him now. Same thing with Lyin’ James Comey. The Dems all hated him, wanted him out, thought he was disgusting – UNTIL I FIRED HIM! Immediately he became a wonderful man, a saint like figure in fact. Really sick!

In case you missed it, the “Good job Jeff” part was pure sarcasm

So that we have this straight—two staunch Republican supporters of Donald Trump have been indicted on federal charges. Let me amplify “staunch.” Chris Collins, congressman representing the New York 27th District, was the first sitting congressman to endorse Donald Trump’s presidential bid. He was arrested on 8 August, charged with insider trading. Duncan D. Hunter, congressman representing the California 52nd District, was the second member of Congress to endorse Donald Trump, in February 2016. Last month he and his wife were indicted on federal charges for stealing about ¼ million dollars in contributions to his political campaign. That is staunch.

So, who’s in trouble? United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions, to be sure. Jeff Sessions runs the Justice Department, and these two are charged with violating federal laws, and it’s the Justice Department that prosecutes these kinds of cases. Jeff Sessions.

And why? Because the two did not commit any crimes? How about because these two are running for re-election, and indictment on federal charges is the kind of thing that turns off voters. With the Democrats 23 votes shy of having a majority in the House of Representatives, two votes that go from Republican to Democratic are two votes too many. And it’s Jeff Sessions’ fault. Is he ever in trouble!

So, what should happen? Right! Since the party needs these two, Jeff Sessions and the Department of Justice, which works for President Trump, need to go easy. Maybe not back off completely, but at least wait until after the November elections, when it won’t matter so much. In short, the law must bend to political expediency.

And the President of the United States said it. And that is all I need to say.

People Unclear

This is number 48 of a series

I posted another of these yesterday. It’s from an email, the kind of which I receive regularly, since I sign up for these lists. The other was purported to be from Melania Trump, First Lady of the United States, although we need not believe Mrs. Trump was the actual author. This latest listed the sender as Lara Trump. She is the wife of Eric Trump, son of the president. We suspect she is a Republican, and we further suspect she is not the actual sender. Campaigns of both species send out solicitations of this sort with headings representing people it is believed we will respond to. Anyhow, Mrs. Trump addressed me by my first name, and I am honored.

John,

That’s what CNN said about being at a Trump rally in Florida…

I have some breaking news for CNN… That is the real America that exists outside of the liberal bubble.

It’s time for us to give the media another wake-up call from the American people.

The President needs you to take the Media Accountability Survey to do your part in fighting back against the fake news’ attacks and bias against hardworking Americans.

The opening line refers to a headline immediately above that:

“It felt like we weren’t in America anymore…”

To summarize, this is what a reporter attending a Trump rally reported back. He reported that being there had the feel for not being in America. Mrs. Trump wants us to know that what CNN saw at the rally is the real America and that what CNN (and others besides Fox & Friends, etc.) are experiencing is from inside a bubble of their own making. And this is so interesting. To further explore, allow me to illustrate what you are likely to experience if you are in the real world and not at a Trump rally. Here are some screen shots from various news sources, and please feel free to bang back at me if these do not reflect the real America as I understand they do.

It could be I’m beating a dead horse, so I will ease off while readers still have their dinners. At any rate, somebody, after all of this, is still unclear, and Lara Trump needs to come to grips while there is still time.

People Unclear

This is number 47 of a series

Did I mention that I signed up for any number of odd-ball email lists? I’m sure I did. Anyhow, I get them—emails of the most bizarre kind. A few hours ago one hit my in-box that rattled my cage more than usually. By the return address it’s from the Republican National Campaign Headquarters (rnchq.com). The “sender” was filled in as “Melania Trump,” but I am sure Mrs. Trump did not personally hit the send key and likely has no direct knowledge that this was sent. Campaigns work that way. Solicitations are sent out over a variety of signatures with an eye to attracting the attention of recipients. Anyhow, this one reads:

John,
From the moment my husband, Donald, placed his hand on the bible and took the oath of office to serve as America’s President, he has worked nonstop to deliver on his promises.

Democrats and the opposition media are doing everything they possibly can to discredit Donald with false accusations by spreading their fake news and making it appear that he does not have the support of America’s voters.

That is why I am asking that you join my husband as he fights for our nation by signing your Presidential Pledge of Support.

I find that bit of addressing me by my first name most compelling. Knowing that the First Lady of the United States knows my name gives me a special feeling. I won’t describe it.

But that’s not what makes this worth mentioning. What does so is this: “Democrats and the opposition media are doing everything they possibly can to discredit Donald with false accusations by spreading their fake news and making it appear that he does not have the support of America’s voters.” Yeah, that gets my attention.

I will pretend for a moment that Melania Trump (not actually knowing my first name) sent me this note, and then I have to observe that she is totally unclear on some critical details. Then I have to respond.

Lady, are you out of your mind? Look around. The leaves are brown, and the sky is a hazy shade of winter.

[With apologies to Paul Simon]

Somebody’s world is coming apart at the seams, and if you haven’t yet noticed, then it’s time for you to start looking for lifeboat. As a reminder, here’s what the fake news was putting out last week.

  • Monday—not much
  • Tuesday—Paul Manafort, your husband’s former campaign manager, was convicted of eight felony crimes, and Michael Cohen, your husbands former attorney/fixer, pleaded guilty to felony crimes and threw in his lot with the prosecutors.
  • Wednesday—not much
  • Thursday—David Pecker, your husband’s partner in crime, agreed to cooperate with prosecutors.
  • Friday—Allen Weisselberg, the chief financial officer of your husband’s business operation, agreed to accept immunity from prosecution and to give evidence against the president.

You husband, Donald J. Trump, has long engaged in various criminal schemes, including operating a fraudulent university and operating a fraudulent charity, and the prosecutors are coming after him. And you have the temerity to tell me the news is fake? Totally unclear. Mrs. Trump, you need to stand back. Sometimes this stuff rubs off.

The Government You Paid For

Number 43 of a Series

American conservatives are hurting, and they are ducking for cover and lowering their faces. Embarrassment seems to come unbidden to some, and excuses stand in for apologies. I see this in daily headlines and in the revealing posts on Facebook. To wit:

Here in lies the problem, this headline would never have existed during the era of Walter Cronkite. The media should not be rejoicing at the results.

I am tired of partisanship on both sides. Truly tired of it, because it does nothing but divide the nation. It leads to kneejerk defenses of Trump and kneejerk condemnations of Trump.
I once challenged my Democratic friends to say something good about the President, not one did. I once challenged my Republican friends the same thing about Obama, not one did.

I can tell you many good things about Obama and many things that I disliked. It’s not hard when one focuses on results and principles versus politics.

Here is a real secret, having worked inside on politics for years, none of those that you love so much give a damn about you personally. They use you. Secretly on both sides, they despise the most partisan and view them as foolish and/or annoyances.

Why? Because nothing gets accomplished by ideologues.

https://www.msn.com/…/stranger-than-fiction-jou…/ar-BBMgH1o

“It does nothing but divide the nation.”

What a pathetic pleading. My response to this was and is:

If the nation is to be divided, let it be divided along these lines. There are ignoramuses who put one of their own in power, and I am having a joyful time watching these people stew in their own juices. They are getting the government they paid for.

Criminal Empire

The DVD has been on my shelf for several weeks, and today I got around to watching. Worth the investment—this is a compelling story. Screen shots are from the DVD. Details and quotes are from Wikipedia.

Spotlight was (is?) the name of an investigative team at The Boston Globe. The 2015 movie is about their investigation into corruption in the local diocese of the Catholic Church. Priests were sexually molesting (raping) children, boys and girls, and the Church was covering it up. The relevance of this film has gained monumental strength with additional revelations earlier this month.

The movie opens with a scene in a Boston precinct station, where a priest, Father John Geoghan, is the subject of an investigation. A young policeman converses with the desk sergeant about the matter, and he is assured that the matter is going to be handled in the usual way. It’s 1976.

A young prosecuting assistant district attorney exits the interview and tells the sergeant to keep the matter quiet. The priest is hustled out of the station and driven away.

In 2001 The Boston Globe hires a new editor. He is Marty Baron , played by Liev Schreiber. He is a Jew. The previous editor was Catholic, as are about half the population of Boston. This is significant, because the previous editor was reluctant to publicize Catholic Church misdeeds. Here Baron discusses strategy with “Walter “Robby” Robinson, the editor of the newspaper’s “Spotlight” team,” played by Michael Keaton.

The Globe was acquired by The New York Times in 1993, losing some of its independence. Also, the newly surging Internet is draining readership from print media. The newspaper has to win back readership by providing insight not available to thinly sourced Internet sites. Baron tasks the Spotlight team with investigating and reporting on Church corruption. Here Robby strategizes with the team.

Reporter Michael Rezendes (Mark Ruffalo) holds a conference over lunch with Mitchell Garabedian (Stanley Tucci), a lawyer for several victims of Church abuse. Garabedian tells him there are documents under seal that can be made public. Abuse by diocese priests has been ongoing for decades and Cardinal Bernard Law (Len Cariou) has been covering it up. Priests have been shuffled from place to place as they continue to molest children. We learn from psychotherapist Richard Sipe (Richard Jenkins) that 6% of Catholic priests are guilty of child molestation. With 1000 priests, that means approximately 60 Boston priests are involved.

The newspaper has in its library records of Boston priests—their tenure in the diocese, reasons for leaving.

Rather than search for victims, the reporters decide to identify guilty priests. Many have been reassigned for other than legitimate reasons.

“Unassigned.” “Sick Leave.”

Reporter Sacha Pfeiffer (Rachel McAdams) digs into the “morgue” files and hands Robby a story from years back. The newspaper has been party to the cover-up.

Sacha tracks down priests they have identified and interviews one at his house. As described by Sipe, this one has the maturity of a child and fails to recognize he did anything wrong. His sister interrupts the interview and orders Sacha to leave.

Disaster! As Garabedian prepares to file the motion that will unseal the critical documents, the terror attacks of 11 September disrupt air travel and all news reporting. The documents remain public for weeks before Rezendes can get access to them and bribe a clerk to make copies. There is much resistance all along to allowing the documents into the open.

The air clears, the paper waits until after the Christmas holidays to print the lead story, and the presses roll. All great newspaper-themed dramas have these scenes. Miles of newsprint churning through the presses and the folding machines.

Bundled by automatic machinery.

Loaded onto trucks and driven into the streets for delivery.

A reporter places a copy on a critical doorstep.

The reporters go into work the following day, their day off. The news story carried the phone number (and URL) for the Spotlight hotline. The phones ring continuously as victims and others contact the paper.

The closing credits tell the horrific details that came to light as a consequence of The Globe‘s revelations.

That was 17 years ago. Earlier this month it became apparent that the Boston episode had no impact on the Church’s corrupt practices.

Catholic Priests Abused 1,000 Children in Pennsylvania, Report Says

Bishops and other leaders of the Roman Catholic Church in Pennsylvania covered up child sexual abuse by more than 300 priests over a period of 70 years, persuading victims not to report the abuse and law enforcement not to investigate it, according to a searing report issued by a grand jury on Tuesday.

The report, which covered six of the state’s eight Catholic dioceses and found more than 1,000 identifiable victims, is the broadest examination yet by a government agency in the United States of child sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. The report said there are likely thousands more victims whose records were lost or who were too afraid to come forward.

It catalogs horrific instances of abuse: a priest who raped a young girl in the hospital after she had her tonsils out; a victim tied up and whipped with leather straps by a priest; and another priest who was allowed to stay in ministry after impregnating a young girl and arranging for her to have an abortion.

The sexual abuse scandal has shaken the Catholic Church for more than 15 years, ever since explosive allegations emerged out of Boston in 2002. But even after paying billions of dollars in settlements and adding new prevention programs, the church has been dogged by a scandal that is now reaching its highest ranks. The Pennsylvania report comes soon after the resignation of Cardinal Theodore E. McCarrick, the former archbishop of Washington, who is accused of sexually abusing young priests and seminarians, as well as minors.

There is much more I could mention here, but it has become no longer necessary. The implications and the remedy must by now be manifest to all—all but a few in a small enclave in Rome.

The Government You Paid For

Number 40 of a Series

I was talking to Bill (not his real name) last week, and he told me how he could not bring himself to vote for Hillary Clinton in 2016. I had to agree, considering all that Clinton would do if she had been elected. I mentioned her intent to appoint Rick Perry the Secretary of Energy, Ben Carson the Secretary of HUD, and Betsy DeVos the Secretary of Education. I forgot to mention that Clinton was likely to appoint Michael Flynn as National Security Advisor and to nominate Scott Pruitt to head up the Environmental Protection Agency. Then I remembered where I had got it all wrong. It was Donald Trump who got elected, and it was Donald Trump who put all these people into positions of power.

Bill pretended to be embarrassed, but in reality he was not. He felt Donald Trump would be a strong leader, and he allowed that recent history has borne this out. President Trump’s public swaggering and his rude and stiff-necked approach to our allies and trading partners are the kinds of thing this country needs in a leader. Bill made his remarks without a hint of embarrassment, to say nothing of shame. He is getting the government he paid for, which government I like to shine the light on as often as possitle. So, what’s latest? After eight years of boredom we finally have an administration that provides endless entertainment.

Yes, that’s former Trump campaign staffer Rick Gates along with his business parter and former chairman of the Trump campaign Paul Manafort. While he was working for the campaign, Manafort, along with Donald Trump Jr. and Trump son-in-law Jared Kushner met with Russian lawyer Natalia Veselnitskaya and others at Trump Tower, ostensibly to obtain juicy information the Russians had on opponent Clinton.

Imagine their chagrin (the Trump critters, not the Russians) when it turned out Veselnitskaya only wanted to talk about smoothing over the matter of Americans adopting Russian orphans. In fact, Donald Jr. expressed his disappointment.

No, wait. That’s not the right picture. Here it is.

Actually, that’s former Press Secretary Sean Spicer saying the words for Don Jr., but I’m sure there is somewhere the Jr. did express disappointment.

And the reason that Trump campaign manager Manafort was at the meeting was the same reason he joined the campaign in 2016. His income from supporting Russian lackey Viktor Yanukovych, had been ousted as president of Ukraine and was no longer able to pass on to Manafort the money (supposedly) provided by the Russian government. Manafort needed to get in with the United States government in order to wield the influence that would draw rubles from Russia in exchange for influence. Manafort figured Trump was his best bet, and he was on the team until August of 2016, at which time the stench became to much even for Trump critters.

But, as they say, that’s so much water under the Zhivopisny Bridge. Paul Manafort has been disassociated from American politics for mostly two years, and in the intervening period President Trump has fired FBI Director James Comey, apparently for refusing to back off on his investigation of Russian attempts to influence the 2016 elections. Exit Mr. Comey, and a new Assistant Attorney General has charged Robert Mueller with continuing the investigation. Mueller’s arm reaches far, and Mueller’s arm reaches wide, and in its reach it came to scoop in Mr. Gates and Mr. Manafort. It became apparent why Mr. Manafort had agreed to work for free for the Trump campaign.

They had Gates dead to rights, and he caved quickly. He had been helping his parter Paul Manafort cook the books.

Gates agreed to plea guilty to the charges that were so obviously true, and part of that agreement was that he would dish the dirt on Manafort.

Now Paul Manafort has gone to trial, and Gates is telling an Alexandria, Virginia, jury the same things he told the Mueller team.

Yes, he did. And what were those crimes?

To be clear, Manafort and Gates committed their crimes before they became associated with the Trump campaign, and none of the crimes being prosecuted today involve collusion with foreign governments. So, that’s the end of it.

Actually, no. Stand by, as there is more to come. There will be suspense (some),  and there will be drama ( a lot). But will there be embarrassment, and will there be shame? Not an ounce. Conservatives are getting the government they paid for.

This is your President speaking.

Number 131

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

Looking back on history, who was treated worse, Alfonse Capone, legendary mob boss, killer and “Public Enemy Number One,” or Paul Manafort, political operative & Reagan/Dole darling, now serving solitary confinement – although convicted of nothing? Where is the Russian Collusion?

Yes, it is breathtaking. And it’s coming from the President of the United States. Perhaps some examination is needed. “Serving solitary confinement.” Don’t know about that.

“Convicted of nothing.” Is he serious?

Paul Manafort was not one of those to plead, so he remained out of jail on bail, confined to his quarters and wearing two ankle bracelets to track his movements. The problem was they forgot to put ankle bracelets on his cell phone, and shortly the FBI, having obtained a warrant, noticed criminal activity salted among his communications.

Yes, he was caught attempting to influence potential witnesses against him. He wanted them to lie.

Of course, when Robert Mueller’s prosecutors presented evidence of this to federal judge Amy Berman Jackson she laughed it off.

Just kidding. She had some choice remarks relating to what actions she could take.

And she didn’t. She revoked Paul Manafort’s bail and ordered him to jail on Friday, where he has been since. Given his age and given the charges against Paul Manafort, if convicted he will possibly spend the remainder of his life behind bars. President Trump came forth quickly to comment on this obvious miscarriage of justice.

And back then the President of the United States was saying:

Wow, what a tough sentence for Paul Manafort, who has represented Ronald Reagan, Bob Dole and many other top political people and campaigns. Didn’t know Manafort was the head of the Mob. What about Comey and Crooked Hillary and all of the others? Very unfair!

And more:

Your Friend The Handgun

Number 121

Found one! Actually, there are several of these every year, and in fairness I post some of the cases involving a friendly handgun. This is from The Dallas Morning News:

‘I had to do what I had to do,’ says Dallas mom who shot man trying to steal SUV with kids inside

Loyd Brumfield and Claire Z. CardonaUpdated Sunday at 4:15 p.m.: Revised to includemore details.A woman shot a man in the head as he tried to steal her SUV with her two children inside Wednesday night, Dallas police say.An employee of a gas station in the 200 block of West Camp Wisdom Road, near the border with Duncanville, alerted the mother about 10 p.m. that a man was trying to get into her SUV.

The mother, identified by KDFW-TV (Channel 4) as Michelle Booker-Hicks, told the station she had been paying for gas at the time.

She jumped into the vehicle. When the man didn’t stop, she pulled a gun from the glove box and shot him in the head, police said.

So, there. Sometimes you do come out ahead being in possession of a legal handgun. If she had not obtained the weapon for her protection, as she told authorities, and kept it handy, then man would have stolen her car with her kids inside.

Of course, should have accomplished the same result without the expense of a handgun by taking the keys with her when she got out of the car. But, that’s just me talking.

People Unclear

This is number 46 of a series

This series is devoted to those people who, despite having to the best information services in human history, never seem to catch on. They are decidedly unclear. One of these would be conservative writer Ann Coulter:

Ann Coulter Retweeted The Hill

A.G. SESSONS GUILTY OF INAPPROPRIATE LAUGHTER!

Ann Coulter added,

All right. I think I get the point. This is a copy and paste from Ann Coulter’s Twitter feed. She is referring to Attorney General (formerly Senator) Jeff Sessions, laughing when high school students begin chanting, “Lock her up!
During the campaign, Trump argued that any presidential candidate under federal investigation — which Clinton was for her handling of classified information stemming from her use of a private email serving while serving as secretary of state — was unfit to lead the country. He egged on chants of “lock her up!” at campaign rallies and told Clinton during the second presidential debate that if he became president, “you’d be in jail.”

This was at the “Turning Point USA’s High School Leadership Summit in Washington.” After enjoying some brief laughter, A.G. Sessions joined in the chant. And that was funny.

But here is what is even more funny. Donald Trump is now President of the United states, and look who’s in jail;

Ann. Ann! Let’s make a bet. $1000. Just between the two of us. Who ends up in jail first, Hillary Clinton or Donald Trump?

Funny does not get any better than this.

This is your President speaking.

Number 128

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

The NFL National Anthem Debate is alive and well again – can’t believe it! Isn’t it in contract that players must stand at attention, hand on heart? The $40,000,000 Commissioner must now make a stand. First time kneeling, out for game. Second time kneeling, out for season/no pay!

All right. I think I have this straight now. The President of the United States, elected with the aid of a foreign power, now meets with the leader of the government that assisted in his campaign, alone, except for two interpreters.

He comes out of the meeting and announces said leader of a foreign government was not complicit in aiding his campaign, and he denounces members of this nation’s intelligence services, disparaging past members by name, calling their investigation into crimes committed by the same foreign power that assisted in his election a “witch hunt.”

And he calls football players, who kneel while the national anthem is played, unpatriotic. I now think I have a clear picture of what is going on.

Bye Bye My Love Goodbye

It’s sad to see long-time lovers breaking up. Somebody even wrote a song about it:

Bye bye love
Bye bye happiness
Hello loneliness
I think I’m-a gonna cry-y
Bye bye love
Bye bye sweet caress
Hello emptiness
I feel like I could die
Bye bye my love goodbye

[With apologies to the Everly Brothers.]

What’s even worse is when the breakup is above the fold on most news outlets. Double worse is when it’s about crime and politics and worse still when it’s presidential politics. Bye bye, my love, goodbye. The breakup is streaming now on ABC World News Tonight with David Muir on Hulu, where I obtained these screen shots.

This continuing saga has a history stretching back in time, before some of us were reborn. Like before the election of Donald J. Trump as President of the United States.

That’s right. Porn movie actress Stephanie Clifford, a.k.a. Stormy Daniels, and private citizen Trump had their own one-night stand a decade or so back. Actually, it may not be possible to classify this as a one-night stand, since (my understanding) a one-night stand lasts until morning. Furthermore, I cannot assure readers that anybody actually took their clothes off.

But that’s history, and although history may not always repeat itself, it does sometimes come back to haunt. Like when you are running for election for the highest office in the land, and election is a fortnight away, and you suddenly remember. “Oh, shit. There’s this Stormy Daniels business. That could put me down a half a point in the polling, and since I’m already 10 points down, it might be worth while shedding some cash and shaving a half point. Can somebody get Michael on the phone for me?”

Few deny that Michael Cohen, friend, attorney, and fixer for Donald Trump for over a decade, paid Ms. Clifford $130,000 to claim she did not hump the Trump while Donald’s sweet wife was preggers. So the money was paid, and the lady kept her mouth shut, and Trump eked out a win, and we have what we have today. Except…

Except the mouth did not stay shut. It’s amazing how mouths tend not to do so. At a point Ms. Clifford decided she had been screwed, and we wonder how long it took for her to figure that out. So she obtained another lawyer, figuring her then-lawyer Keith M. Davidson had been in bed (figuratively not literally) with Trump’s lawyer Cohen. So Clifford obtained new legal council in the person of Michael Avenatti, and Mr. Avenatti proceeded to unravel the NDA Mr. Cohen had negotiated on behalf of Mr. Trump.

Other lawyers began to look at the arrangement, and those lawyers work for the United States Government, and what they saw was possible violation of election law. Specifically, the payment to Ms. Clifford was a campaign expense, since it was an essential part of getting Mr. Trump elected, but said payment never showed up on any campaign financial disclosure filings. As lawyers, government lawyers at that, began to dig into the matter, other interesting stuff started to come out. Apparently government lawyers came to believe Michael Cohen had been practicing beyond the limits of established statutes, and they did what government lawyers often do:

Agents of the FBI seized documents and more than a dozen phones and electronic devices.

Yeah, here is some of the stuff the government lawyers suspect:

To obtain a warrant to carry out this search on Mr. Cohen’s office, house, and hotel room, they demonstrated to a magistrate they had probable cause Mr. Cohen had engaged in bank and wire fraud. Mr. Cohen is in deep trouble.

If Mr. Cohen is in deep trouble, then President Trump is in an inch of trouble, because Mr. Cohen had been doing a lot of dirty stuff for Mr. Trump. How about if Mr. Cohen would tell the government lawyers about this stuff he had been doing for Mr. Trump?

No way.

“I would do anything to protect Mr. Trump.”

“Mr. President, is Michael Cohen going to flip, sir?” I just love the way the report added the superfluous “sir” at the end of that question. Anyhow, the president has been adamant:

The New York Times and a third rate reporter named Maggie Haberman, known as a Crooked H flunkie who I don’t speak to and have nothing to do with, are going out of their way to destroy Michael Cohen and his relationship with me in the hope that he will “flip.” They use….

….non-existent “sources” and a drunk/drugged up loser who hates Michael, a fine person with a wonderful family. Michael is a businessman for his own account/lawyer who I have always liked & respected. Most people will flip if the Government lets them out of trouble, even if….

….it means lying or making up stories. Sorry, I don’t see Michael doing that despite the horrible Witch Hunt and the dishonest media!

I take that as a “no.”

Oops! That was then. This is now.

In an interview with George Stephanopoulos on ABC News:

My wife and my son have my first loyalty and always will. I put family and country first.

ABC News now has it that Michael Cohen sees losing everything over his loyalty to the president, which loyalty has historically never been reciprocated. Will Mr. Cohen cough up incriminating details on a sitting president in exchange for leniency on some serious charges? There are issues.

If Michael Cohen says, “Give me a break, and I’m going to tell you about some criminal stuff in Donald Trump’s past,” then prosecutors, and worst of all a judge, will be asking, “Is he going to make up stuff about the president in order to save his own hide?” It is a concern, but it doesn’t work that way. What Mr. Cohen can do is tell what he knows, and then prosecutors can use his statements in an affidavit, which they will take to a judge to obtain search warrants and subpoenas to obtain information that will corroborate what Michael Cohen has told them. Then, providing the there is verifiable criminal activity, they can begin criminal proceedings. Does anybody doubt the President of the United States has committed criminal acts worthy of prosecution? Not within shouting distance of where I now sit.

Michael Cohen has turned from “All the way with Donald Trump” (I know that doesn’t rhyme), to “Not so fast there, Mr. Trump.” He is expressing his legal view on the infamous Trump Tower of June 2016, saying…

“…an example of poor judgment.” You think?

Multiple news outlets, those which the president calls out as “fake news,” are reporting that Michael Cohen has obtained new legal counsel independent of the president’s legal team. That means that the Trump-Cohen partnership is coming asunder—the two will be going their separate ways. What’s about to play out could be very interesting and will likely end up in the history books.

Bye bye, my love, goodbye.

Your Friend The Handgun

Number 117

ABC World News Tonight with David Muir streaming on Hulu

The Second Amendment ensures the right of citizens to arm themselves for their own protection and for the protection of others. Tell that to Jeremy Webster of Colorado:

DENVER — A 12-year-old boy told police he saw a driver open fire on his family during a road rage confrontation in Colorado, killing his older brother and critically wounding his mother and younger brother, authorities said Friday. Police arrested Jeremy Webster, 23, hours after the shooting that killed a 13-year-old boy and also wounded a bystander not related to the family.

Apparently that did not turn out well for Jeremy. Fortunately for him, or maybe not, he had no past criminal record, so he was allowed to possess a firearm. Knowing he had “mental issues” and was on “new medication,” he failed to relinquish his right to carry. I’ve been told by others that people can obtain insurance coverage to protect themselves in case their use of a firearm causes harm. I’m guessing instances such as this are addressed by exclusion clauses somewhere down in the fine print. Tell that to Meghan Bigelow, who is now hospitalized in critical condition, her oldest son dead and another wounded. I am sure Meghan would rather not sue if she could only get her son back.

ABC World News Tonight with David Muir streaming on Hulu

It’s what we are willing to pay for the right to  “protect ourselves.”

This is your President speaking.

Number 118 in a long series

And now a few words from the President of the United States:

Democrats are the problem. They don’t care about crime and want illegal immigrants, no matter how bad they may be, to pour into and infest our Country, like MS-13. They can’t win on their terrible policies, so they view them as potential voters!

Although I do so much appreciate hearing what the president has to say, there are times I wish he would discuss matters related to home-grown criminality.