Jan
30
2024

My Thoughts On Traylor Swelce? Tayvis Keft?

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My fellow oldies complaining about the TV / NFL love affair with Traylor Swelce is like complaining that the Superbowl halftime show has rappers now…

It’s not for us.

The network and NFL execs have one job – to get as many eyes watching as possible to justify the huge amounts of money shoveled out to pay for the product. Now football fans are going to watch regardless of whether the camera constantly shows Swift and Kelce or not. The constant fawning over the power couple is for one reason – to get those young viewers who may not care much about football to watch.

AND, to promote endless discussion on social media. Yeah. You may not be talking about the action on the field, but you’re still making the game and the NFL a trending topic. Even though you’re complaining, you’re still helping the NFL accomplish its objective.

My advice?

If you are annoyed with Tayvis Keft, ignore it. Life is too short to worry about innoquous marketing campaigns.

Jan
23
2024

Trump Fraud Case

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We will be seeing the Trump fraud case coming to a close in the next few weeks. Team Trump has made a big deal about one single aspect of the fraud case, the valuation of Mar-a-Lago, to try and sow doubt on the entire case. It’s a smart move, as that one property evaluation has the most wiggle room when considering the difference between property tax evaluation and asset valuation. Team Trump wants the public to believe the whole case centers on the value of this one Trumps asset.

It is not.

That is only one of the many examples of fraud listed in the case. I’m bookmarking this PDF file listing all the proven instances of fraud committed by Trump for future use.

PS: When I created the tag for Politics / Law, I had no idea at the time that putting the two together would be so useful and accurate.

https://ag.ny.gov/sites/default/files/tto_release_properties_addendum_-_final.pdf

Jan
16
2024

A Comic Outing

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My “outing” was pretty hilarious really.

It’s 1994, and I’m working for a regional pool supply wholesaler. Work had recently hired this guy who was a bit odd. He was a health nut. Now being health conscious is great, but this guy was extreme, going out of his way to extol the greatness of his all-veggie smoothie diet. He was obnoxious about it and never stopped talking about it and showing us his liquid food pouches. We quickly gave him the superhero moniker OrganicMan. Oh, he also bragged that he never sat on a toilet. Because your intestines are not “aligned properly” when you sit, he bragged that he stood on the rim and squatted. Soon enough confirmation emerged in the form of shoe prints on the rim of the employee toilet seat.

OrganicMan was in very good shape. He went to the gym, and in case you haven’t guessed… Yes, he bragged about it every day. Shoehorned into that boast was another; all the gay guys at the gym were always hitting on him.

“All gays just want me”.

Yes. He proclaimed it often.

So one day, as OrganicMan was boasting about this, Tommy, the young jokester employee hired at about the same time, turns and says “Well Mike is gay, and he said he’s not attracted to you”. Now Tommy has no idea that I’m gay, nor does anyone else, but the shocked reaction of OrganicMan upon hearing this made my response perfectly obvious. He was shocked, dumbfounded. I HAD to run with this. OM would constantly ask me why I’m not attracted to to him. I just told him I don’t know, I’m just not. At some point during the week he asked if it was because his arm were too hairy. Even though I had said that was not the reason, he came to work the next day and proudly showed everyone that he trimmed his arm hair.

In today’s world this would be flagged as harassment. I’m not sure if management was aware of how much this guy was getting on everyone’s nerves, but they might have, because I know a number of employees were really getting sick of his schtick, and he soon he ended up pulling delivery driver duties, which got him away from us.

Meanwhile, one of the fellow not-weird employees ask if I was actually gay, and I answered honestly. A couple of the guys would give me the “I’m not gay, but it’s no problem” nod, while a couple of others made their negative view of such things known. All in all, it wasn’t the bad experience it could have been.

Jan
16
2024

A Request… Biden… Step Up To The Plate

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While I was in Washington over Christmas break, I had some very interesting convo with my sister and her husband, both former journalists, about the continuing low polling numbers for Joe Biden vs Trump. Before I get to that conversation, I’ll share my opinion…

Right now, polls are meaningless. There are a couple of factors why. In the name of “balance”, major media outlets consolidate polling output from several different services. Some of those services, taken individually, have been pretty reliable. But others have not. The latter skew right. This was why polls in the last few elections have predicted the vaunted “Red Wave” that never materialized.

Second: we’re nine months out. Ronald Reagan, Bill Clinton, GW , and even Barrak Obama were all behind in polling at this point. Granted, the margins weren’t as wide, but they were behind. Part of that is due to the propensity of media to again try to be “balanced” and include negatives in every story about the current state of the union. Half a year ago, we were seeing headlines like “Economic Data Is Strong, BUT A Recession Is On The Way”. Now, the headlines are starting to read “Economic Data Is Strong, BUT Inflation May Return”. Those negatives are gonna increase dissatisfaction with Biden in general.

Now, to the convo.

My stated beef with the Biden effort to secure reelection is that… There doesn’t seem to be any effort. Every single day, Trump is out campaigning for the Presidency.

Every

Single

Fucking

Day!!!

He not only wants it, he NEEDS it to stay out of jail. And, as is the case with most ALL fascist, he has an extreme talent for turning negatives into positives. He’s turned his legal troubles into a net positive by yelling at the top of his lungs that the ONLY reason he has legal troubles is because the Guvment is out to get him.

It’s amazing to watch. And frightening, because like Mussolini and Hitler, right wing political party has aligned itself with him, consequences be damned.

What is Biden doing to counter this???

He did have a press conference a couple of days ago, but there hasn’t been much of a counterattack to tout his record and go against the threat. My sister and brother-in-law support this. They think it would be better for Biden to hold his powder, wait a few more months, and then go hard.

Why waste the political energy.

In normal times, I would agree. But these are not normal times, and Trump is not a normal candidate. It not only cedes ground to Trump, but it also reinforces the right-wing message that Biden is too old and can’t do this job because he’s not up to the challenge.

We parted company disagreeing. The Biden strategy feels like the same one Hillary followed. And look where that got us.

Nov
3
2023

JUST ONE TEAR – A song for a lost friend.

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Many years ago, 1993, a friend of mine was taken from this world. Murdered because of who he was, who he loved. I wrote a song for him and promised I would play it for him on the beach in San Diego near where he lived. It took many years, but I fulfilled my promise in 2015. Now I’ve recorded the song and released it into the world. To say it means a lot to have it recorded is an understatement.

My post explaining how Rob Johnson became my friend and his loss is here.


Oct
8
2023

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As Mark Twain never said, but should have:

“History may not repeat itself, but it sure does rhyme a lot”.

When people think of Adolf Hitler in the court room, the usually go to the Beer Hall Putsch trial, where Hitler tried to incite an insurrection against the government, It failed and he got convicted of high treason, but gotta lenient sentence. Hitler famously wrote Mein Kempf while serving his sentence. There is a second trial many are not as familiar with. Two workers in Berlin were stabbed by four Nazi party SA officers – the SA would later evolve into the SS – and during their trial, the prosecution called Hitler to the stand to try and establish the intent of the attack, to eliminate enemies of the growing Nazi movement. In the years after Hitler had been released from prison, he had built the Nazi party into a viable political force. He did so by trying to put a moderate veneer on the darker philosophy and goals of the party. During this new trial, in an effort to show that the four men did not simply just get in a fight with the two victims, but had motive, the the prosecution called Hitler to the stand. The young Jewish lawyer Hans Achim Litten soon enough got Hitler to anger on the witness stand, and expose the true intentions of the SA. Though Hitler did not incriminate himself directly, he did say more than enough to land convictions on the defendants.

I write this because today the Trump business fraud trial starts, and all indications point to Trump taking the stand at some point in his defense.

Now is the part where I have to state the obvious:

Donald Trump is NOT Adolf Hitler. Hitler was smarter, and that’s about the only time I can say anything nice about him. But their temperament is the same, as is their desire for political destruction, chaos, and lust for power at all costs. As with Hitler in 1931, Trump will not be able to contain himself and, unlike Hitler, will likely incriminate himself and expose who he really is.

Of course, for the MAGA cult members, it won’t matter.

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2023/oct/05/trump-lawyers-argue-he-cannot-be-prosecuted-for-actions-committed-while-in-office?fbclid=IwAR27bj5ZX-pfXYpeb9mzA0OISIpNJApYCWmvISjbBKRY6k1K96t9OZTNoJk

Sep
11
2023

Closer To Fine – The New Musical Challenge

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Though I’m a bass player, I also play guitar. Bass is home, I’ve been playing bass for 30 plus years. It’s almost second nature. I have some skill on guitar, but it’s not on the same level as the other. Shiva Umesh, a drummer I’ve played with in the past, recently invited me to join the Indigo Girls inspired Close To Fine band he’s in, but as a guitar player instead of bass.

I am always trying to push boundaries, play and do things in music that I haven’t done before. It’s one of the reasons I’ve not been in a ton of cover bands. I could be like many of my musician friends and gig every weekend playing in three bands that play the same basic set list, but that’s not my way, at least, not at the moment.

I know a couple of the songs in the two sets we are working on, but most are new to me. And as I delved into those songs I realized had set myself up with a much greater challenge than I knew. The songwriting and musicianship of “The Girls” is amazing!!! Again, I’ve never been a guitarist in a band before. I’m not gonna lie, there are times when I was tempted to say, “hey, I’ll move back to bass”, because I hear what to play evertime we’re playing / practicing, but I won’t give in to taking that easier route.

I really REALLY am gonna have to up my game here. I wanted a challenge… I got it.

Jun
27
2023

I’m not a lawyer, BUT… Part 2

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A Facebook friend recommended I listen to a recent Hugh Hewitt podcast, on which both Marco Rubio and famed Conservative laywyer Andrew McCarthy react to the indictment of Trump by special counsel Jack Smith in the stolen documents case.

Now that I’ve had a chance to listen to the Hewitt interview….

First: Marco Rubio. He doesn’t bring any real insight to the table here. And, on a sidebar… Has Marco Rubio never heard of what has gone on during “Crossing The Line” ceremonies? My Dad, who was a merchant marine working for the Navy, showed some pics of some of the things that went on during the celebration for those crossing the equator for the first time. The pics he showed us were pretty raunchy, and he made it clear there were things he was nOT gonna show his kids. I’m quite sure some of my friend who were in the military have stories.

Second: McCarthy was totally playing defense lawyer here. He left out a few crucial details when comparing Trumps document situation. It’s lying by omission:

The concept of “spillage”. McCarthy doesn’t mention it.

Those in the highest positions of power, President, VP, heads of cabinet positions, are always on duty. They are never really done for the day as it were (which is why I don’t get worked up over golf trips or whatever – they never have time off). They take their work with them. Though they are required to keep track of all paperwork, things do get separated.

Spillage.

Typically it’s less sensitive docs, docs that contain some classified material, but are not in folders marked TOP SECRET or similar docs. From what I’ve gathered both the Pence and Biden classified materials were of that nature.

But, they did have the doc, which is against the law….

Which brings us to the next omission:

The Presidential Records Act. Both McCarthy and Hewitt mention it, but they don’t ever give the explanation of the law:

*Establishes public ownership of all Presidential records and defines the term Presidential records.

*Requires that Vice-Presidential records be treated in the same way as Presidential records.

*Places the responsibility for the custody and management of incumbent Presidential records with the President.

*Requires that the President and his staff take all practical steps to file personal records separately from Presidential records.

*Allows the incumbent President to dispose of records that no longer have administrative, historical, informational, or evidentiary value, once the views of the Archivist of the United States on the proposed disposal have been obtained in writing.

*Establishes in law that any incumbent Presidential records (whether textual or electronic) held on courtesy storage by the Archivist remain in the exclusive legal custody of the President and that any request or order for access to such records must be made to the President, not NARA.

*Establishes that Presidential records automatically transfer into the legal custody of the Archivist as soon as the President leaves office.

*Establishes a process by which the President may restrict and the public may obtain access to these records after the President leaves office; specifically, the PRA allows for public access to Presidential records through the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) beginning five years after the end of the Administration, but allows the President to invoke as many as six specific restrictions to public access for up to twelve years.

Codifies the process by which former and incumbent Presidents conduct reviews for executive privilege prior to public release of records by NARA (which had formerly been governed by Executive order 13489).

Whenever a Trump defender brings up the “what about _______, he / she didn’t get charged, there is a reason why. For both Pence and Hillary, it is clear they followed the proper procedure at the end of their respective tenure in office; it can be demonstrated they did things by the book as much as possible….

But some spillage did occur in both instances. The law, as enforced, gives some leeway for spillage, which is why, at the end of the day, the Trump Dept of Justice under both Jeff Sessions and Bill Barr did not prosecute Hillary. If you recall, when the Republican Congress was investigating Hillary, they got access to 60,000 emails from the State Department. She followed procedure. The 30,000 that got deleted had been approved by State as being personal email, which is allowed to be retained by according to law. The FBI recovered the emails, and found only a few to have any classified material…

Again… spillage.

In this regard, Comey, for all his faults, was correct, the DoJ would have lost the case.

**Note: I haven’t mentioned Biden because that case is still under investigation.**

Here’s the most interesting omission that makes the case for everything I’ve typed above. Jack Smith is prosecuting former President Trump for a lot of things, BUT, not among them are the first batch of documents the former President turned in a year after the DoJ and NARA notified them that a lot of national defense documents were not accounted for.

If Donald Trump would have given everything he had back, and demonstrated good faith in the endeavor, he would, like Pence and Hillary, not have been charge. The reason he got indicted is because, unlike Pence and Hillary he showed intent to keep the documents and continued to actively flout the law, the DoJ, FBI, and NARA.

So yeah. McCarthy is an excellent lawyer… And he’s doing a ton of lawyering here on behalf of team Trump. But Trump is NOT being charge with violating the Presidential Record Act, which he knows. So yeah, he’s lying by omission.

PS: One of the reasons I stopped listening to most Conservative media is because they thrive on lying by omission. Rush was a master at it. I also don’t listen to a lot of liberal media either for the same reason. But on a scale of 1 to 10, conservative media has always been much worse… Like… $787 million dollars worse.

——————————-

How did I do Rich Merritt???? ????

Jun
13
2023

I Am NOT A Lawyer, But…

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Way back when, when I was blogging full time, I did quite a bit of discussion about legal stuff; Supreme Court decisions, stuff like that. As I drifted away from blogging – blame facebook – and I got busy with career and the like, I stopped following law as much.

Something that is happening recently is pulling me back into that game.

It’s important enough that I’m going to create a new tag for it : Trump Legal.

Posts coming soon.

May
13
2023

The Powerless Media

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Jack Shafer at Politico is telling us to be OK with what happened at CNN last night. It was CNN trying to be more of a news network instead of just another opinion / editorial service:

“…having signaled that it wants to restore news to primacy, an interview with Trump was a good idea…”

Except… Trump lying is not news. It’s propaganda, pure and simple. And CNN is now as complicit as FOX in helping to spread it.

“But the job of journalism is to confront the world and its actors as they are, not shrink away from them in fright because covering them might benefit them.”

That wasn’t “confrontation”. Confrontation is stating, flat out “you’re lying, and I’m not going to let you continue if you’re not going to be truthful”. Or something. Collins got rolled like everyone else because the play by the rules, and Trump doesn’t. It’s like the Greek armies facing the Romans. The Greeks would line up in the standard phalanx formation, while the Romans implemented a new strategy, the maniple formation, which neutralized the phalanx. Instead of changing and adapting, the Greeks continued to rely on the phalanx. Since 2015, it’s been quite obvious that the press, or more specifically, broadcast journalists, when using the typical interview standard set long ago, and most effectively used by Edward R Murrow, simply doesn’t work. Shafer even admits:

“Nobody practiced in the art of the interview has ever been able to stop this lying chatterbox in a live session. As scholar Michael Socolow points out, Chris Wallace, Lesley Stahl and Jonathan Swan successfully tamed him, but all of those Trump interviewers were taped and edited, which neutered his predictable and exuberant filibustering. Plus, those interviews were conducted without an audience. Trump’s CNN town hall, on the other hand, was stocked from stem to stern with cheering acolytes who rewarded his every insult and evasion with laughter and applause. It’s hard to conduct an interview when rotten fruit and vegetables are being hurled onto the stage”.

So why do it???

We are in a war for not just truth, but accuracy. Every time Trump is allowed to go on air, those things are destroyed under the weight of his cult status. It doesn’t matter if the ratings were lower than his normal FOX ”News” interviews. It doesn’t matter if Biden’s town hall had higher ratings than this Trump one. Trump is a lying sick sociopath once again running for office. But he’s dynamic, and once again has played the press like fools. And worse, CNN didn’t just interview Trump, they went out of the way to fill the Town Hall with Trump cult members, giving him a cheering squad, which is NOT what you do if you’re trying to “restore news to primacy”.

This turned into a campaign rally.

If you don’t think so, look at the propaganda below that I grabbed from the page of a conservative friend.

Sometimes, to quote the movie War Games, the best way to win is not to play.

Ruben Navarrette bait.

https://www.politico.com/news/magazine/2023/05/11/trump-cnn-town-hall-reaction-column-00096507