Revolted Colonies

U.S. Politics and Culture

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Lawyers Without Boundaries

#MeToo Schneiderman

Ronan Farrow and Jane Mayer of the New Yorker quietly assembled unassailable facts, charging New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman with sexual violence based on corroborated statements of four victims.  The New Yorker published the story Monday evening. Before the clock struck midnight, Schneiderman resigned his post after Governor Andrew Cuomo demanded him to quit.

The Schneiderman takedown was remarkable for a number of reasons.

—His Office led the fight to bring Harvey Weinstein to justice and was a vocal supporter of the #MeToo movement. He was investigating Manhattan D.A. Cyrus  Vance, Jr., for pulling his punches in his Weinstein investigation. Vance is returning the favor by opening a criminal investigation on Schneiderman.

—Along with other Blue State AGs, he was positioning his office to challenge the Trump regime by challenging action that disproportionately affected New York.

—He was a fierce critic of Trumpism and marshaled the resources of his Department against its agenda.

—His office went after Trump University, based on the complaints of former students, and settled the suit for $25 million.

—His office spearheaded challenges to federal environmental rollbacks by notorious Scott Pruitt.

What stands out most is that the movement to end sexual predation and violence against women is taking down its alleged male allies. Progressive politicians aligned with the movement squirmed when Al Franken’s number was pulled, albeit for violations less serious or well-supported than the brief against Schneiderman.

Democrats who agonized over Franken’s loss in the U.S. Senate did not skip a beat over Schneiderman’s fall.  Sure, the acts are lurid, and the charges look solid. Still, progressives must force resignations of their miscreants or face rancor within their own ranks. The swiftness of his ouster may have been accelerated by vote-counting in the New York legislature, where Democratic control likely will replace the outgoing AG with a like-minded successor.

Are You Tilting at Windmills or Can You Handle the Truth?

We at the Colonies welcome people of all beliefs, including those who believe in alternative facts; even those who tilt at windmills.  The phrase, alternative facts, was coined by Kellyanne Conway, to explain why the new administration had claimed its inauguration crowd was bigger than that of the 2009 Obama inauguration.  The National Park Service tweeted a side by side photo comparison showing the claim couldn’t possibly be true.  The Department of the Interior promptly shut down the NPS twitter account. 

For example, one of our readers who I will call Sasquatch (the mythical hairy, upright-walking, ape-like being)  did not agree with the latest post about the impact of the Michael Cohen investigation moving to New York.  Sasquatch concluded that I was a loser and a whiner. Now, I did lose a pair of gloves over the winter, but Sasquatch could not have known that.  Furthermore, I never whine, although sometimes I rhyne. That’s rhyme.

I decided to see who Sasquatch was and whether there were other “facts” which Sasquatch believed, but in fact were false.  I went to Sasquatch’s Facebook page and found this meme: 

The meme, with a quote by Thomas Homer-Dixon, a Canadian ecologist, allegedly concludes that the windmill pictured above requires so many hydrocarbons to build that it could run indefinitely and never generate enough power to save the hydrocarbons discharged in construction.  Is that the truth?  No, it’s not, unless the windmill is set down in a windless spot.

If the windmill is erected in a place that is windy, it will recoup the carbons in clean energy savings in as little as 3 years. If poorly placed,  it may never recoup its carbon cost. 

The meme based on the quote from Dixon’s book, Carbon Shift, purposely left out an important sentence.  According to fact-checking site,

In August 2015, a meme posted to the Google+ group “The Secret Society of Anti-AGW-ACC Cultism,” an organization that claims climate change is a hoax, started circulating online. While that meme (shown above) does reproduce the words of Thomas Homer-Dixon, the Associate Director of the Waterloo Institute for Complexity and Innovation, it elides a crucial section of the passage to significantly change its meaning.

“In his book, “Carbon Shift: How Peak Oil and the Climate Crisis Will Change Canada (and Our Lives),” Dixon wrote that some windmills might not recoup their energy construction costs, a windmill at a good location could pay back the energy costs of creating it in under three years. That section was omitted from the above-displayed version of the quote:

‘The concept of net energy must be applied to renewable sources of energy, such as windmills and photovoltaics. A two-megawatt windmill contains 260 tonnes of steel requiring 170 tonnes of coking coal and 300 tonnes of iron ore, all mined, transported and produced by hydrocarbons. The question is: how long must a windmill generate energy before it creates more energy than it took to build it? At a good wind site, the energy payback day could be in three years or less; in a poor location, energy payback may be never. That is, a windmill could spin until it falls apart and never generate as much energy as was invested in building it.’

The meme distorts the truth. By example, drilling an oil well that turns out to be dry will be a net loser, just like a windmill set up in a windless place. The meme leaves out this critical fact, and Sasquatch, who didn’t bother to question it, is none the wiser and in fact propagates the lie by reposting it.  Alternative facts are lies—untruths and half-truths, told to advance a false agenda.  Really, Sasquatch, you also need truth-tellers on that wall.

The Pardoner’s Tale

Riding the Scooter

Scooter Libby, an adviser to former Co-President Dick Cheney, can rest easy now that Donald Trump has lifted his cloak of infamy. Libby is no longer a felon, convicted of lying to federal investigators about his outing of Valerie Plame, a CIA operative. President George Bush II commuted the sentence but refused to pardon him.   I disagreed with many of Bush’s values, but at least he had some. Disclosing the identify of an American spy is wrong.  Libby did it to protect his boss, for which he got a slap on the wrist. Bush would not remove the taint.

Now comes before us Donald Trump, future ex-President of the United States. In his first year in office he pardoned Sheriff Joe Arpaio, the sadistic xenophobe who incarcerated and tortured undocumented immigrants. A federal court held him in criminal contempt for his miscarriages of justice. Enter Donald Trump. With a wave of the executive baton, he exonerated Sheriff Joe.  This pardon sent a message: Illegal measures taken to rid America of illegal immigrants are no crime.  They are acts of heroism.

Trump’s pardon of Libby last week sent another message:  I’ll scratch your back if  you scratch mine.  Trump loyalists facing charges or guilty pleas for lying to the FBI need not fear the power of the Deep State. The magic wand of the Shallow State will release them.

Comic Timing

The pardon was issued at a fortuitous time, as the Mueller investigation was sending its case against Michael Cohen, the President’s own Ray Donovan, to the US Southern District, James Comey’s old stomping grounds. Many of the career prosecutors in that office were outraged by the Comey firing. They signed a letter to the Deputy Attorney General, petitioning for the appointment of a Special Prosecutor to investigate Trump’s involvement. The NY attorneys and FBI agents have now been presented with the opportunity to vindicate Comey themselves. How’s that karma thing working for you, Mr. President?

Right out of the box, the government agents obtained a warrant to seize Michael Cohen’s belongings, which they did.  Cohen’s lawyers petitioned the court to restrain the government from reviewing the records. Judge Kimba Wood, an unsuccessful Clinton era nominee for Attorney General (see Nanny-Gate), turned down the request. The Cohen motion backfired, with Cohen’s lawyer coughing up the name of Sean Hannity as client no. 3 in Cohen’s portfolio. Hannity places third behind Trump and Eliott Broidy,  whom Cohen extracted from a sex scandal of his own.  He’s currently under investigation for a bundle of white collar crimes.

Pulling Hannity’s name out of this pie was a plum for the media, Fox excepted, and possibly for the government investigators as well.  Hannity has been something of an off-campus Chief of Staff for Trump and his loyalest media supporters.  Clearly, Hannity wouldn’t have gone to Cohen for a house closing or a new will.  Something sleazy that way lies.  We’ll know soon enough.

Coming Home to Roost

While all of this is bad news for the part-time occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, there is possibly worse news.  Now that Trump’s road show has gone on tour, it’s a new ballgame, especially in New York, where it can play in two locations.  There will be federal charges against Cohen for sure.  But there also may be state charges against Cohen and possibly Hannity.  Once the production opens in New York’s criminal courts, the rules change dramatically.

Manhattan D.A.  Cyrus Vance, Jr. didn’t have the grit to take on the Trump family when they and their Russian partners raked investors in the Trump Soho. He hasn’t’t shown the grit to bring many high profile cases.  He’s not the kind of tough-minded, big city prosecutor New Yorkers expect.  In fact, Vance accepted a $50,000 campaign contribution from a Trump lawyer after he dropped charges against Ivanka and Don Jr. for defrauding Trump Soho investors.  He’s timid, and he’s been bought.

Still, Vance won’t have to do much.  If the feds send over some state-based charges against Cohen, if may be enough to rattle Trump’s teapot. The Presidential pardon power does not reach state charges or state prosecutions. The smart money says that the Cohen files are full of material on state-based schemes to tie him and at least two of this three clients up.

A well-founded state claim against Cohen especially or a number of other acolytes is Kryptonite for the Trumps.  There are several contingencies in this scenario.  It’s not hard to see one of them falling into line.

Without the protection of a pardon, Cohen is as good as under the bus. If Cohen is forced to plead out his case and turn government witness, he will do it. By now, he has seen that in  Trumpland, loyalty is a one-way street. He’s not bailing Cohen out.  Let’s say, though, that Cohen fixed something for Jared and Ivanka.  Trump just might fall on his sword for Ivanka.

Calling Cousin Vinny

Citizen Trump is not locked in a holding cell in Wazoo City, Alabama, flat broke and accused of murder. Cadillac One will never be confused with a 1964 Buick Skylark, with or without posi-traction.  But Vincent Gambini may be the only criminal defense attorney left in the country with the rare constellation of skills needed to face off with Robert Mueller and his team.  At least, he may be the only one willing to take on the case.  Gambini won the acquittal of two New York youths in a criminal murder trial in Beechum County, Alabama. The prosecutor, the judge, the jury and the witnesses were all ready to convict but Gambini’s brilliant cross-examination of the prosecution witnesses saved them from execution.  Never underestimate a Gambini.

Mr. Gambini could not be reached for comment.  He and his wife, Mona Lisa Vito Gambini, are celebrating their honeymoon, after a protracted engagement, in the foothills of the headlands of the Pocono Mountains.  However, Mr. Gambini’s answering service, who sounds quite a bit like Mrs. Gambini, said that he would call back right after Easter.  Gambini has a few DUI and turnstile-jumping cases to hand off and is otherwise prepared to take on his new client.  A senior White House adviser, whose information is normally dead-balls accurate, has stated that the Gambini’s Cadillac convertible received an oil change and lube last night.  It is gassed and ready to go.  For the record, the Chinese in D.C. is not terrible.

The Future Ex-President was advised sometime last month that he was a subject of the Special Counsel’s investigation for “conduct while in office,”   likely referring to the Comey firing at least.  He declared that he was exonerated (“No Collusion!”), assuming that as long as he was the subject rather than the target, he had nothing to fear He reiterated his willingness for face-to-face interview with Robert Mueller.  It was probably then that Trump’s chief counsel, the deeply experienced John Dowd, headed for the exits. He leaves the Trump ship of state manned by a crew of people who have never sailed in such dark and deep legal waters.

Most highly prized white-collar defense attorneys begin their careers as Assistant U.S. Attorneys, one of many line prosecutors in the Department of Justice. They know the defense because they know the prosecution. They have put together the cases so they know how to dismantle them. For the best, it is as easy as correcting the ignition timing in a 1964 Bel Air (4 degrees before top dead center).   Gambini has never been a federal prosecutor, and that may be to his advantage.  He won’t be deterred by the usual course of dealing of the seasoned pros. In addition, Gambini is willing to work without a retainer, unlike his more experienced colleagues.

Gambini stands out because he is willing to work day and night for as long as it takes to read every document,  review every surveillance recording and take an accelerated course in federal criminal procedure (it wasn’t on the bar) to prepare himself to joust with the prosecution. For his prospective client, it’s ten minutes to midnight, so there is not much time to prepare.  Vincent Gambini is willing, able and almost ready to serve.

Trump has been designated a subject It means that the prosecutor or the grand jury has some evidence of the possible commission of a crime. For example, one witness may have implicated the subject but the testimony is unsupported by a document or another witness.  There could be an email to or from Trump reciting facts that fall within the subject matter, but it’s not clear what or when the correspondent knew the information and, more importantly, the nature of his intent.

For example, Hillary Clinton was the subject of a federal investigation over the use of private email servers for official business during her tenure as Secretary of State. As far as it is publicly known, she never became a target of an investigation.  James Comey suggested that she was not a target when he stated during the 2016 campaign that the FBI did not believe there was evidence sufficient to convict her of a federal offense.

A target is someone already in the crosshairs.  The prosecutor believes that there is enough evidence to convict a target.  The prosecutor informs the target of the status, at which point the target can expect an indictment. 

John Dowd’s resignation suggests that he already knew that his client had been named a subject. He quit because there was a split of opinion between him and his client, who no doubt was buttressed by the lawyers.  Dowd recommended not volunteering; at least Trump wouldn’t bury himself.  Even if Mueller issued a closing report raising the possibility of a crime, the Republican-controlled Congress would not vote to impeach.  If he were presented as a target based on substantial evidence, even the die-hards in the House would have to consider impeachment.  In any case, Trump would become a lame duck. He has nothing to gain and everything to lose by talking to Mueller.   Dowd, thinking like a litigator, gave him correct legal advice.  On the political side, he will look guilty if he doesn’t agree to meet. He’s forked but good.

Gambini is one of those “what have you got to lose?” kinds of lawyers.  How much worse can it be with Vinny than with Ty Cobb, the White House process lawyer, or Jay Sekulow, and Victoria Toensing and Joe diGenova? They are TV lawyers who don’t have any more firepower than a 1963 Chevy Corvair with posi-traction.

So, will he give Vincent Gambini a chance?  He worked miracles in Wazoo City. He can do it in Washington.  

The Trump Base is Hitting a Wall

I ran in an election once. Each candidate had to give a speech before the assembled student body.  During my speech, I referred to the low pressure in the school water fountains, eliciting titters from the crowd.

I won the election but I got my comeuppance about a month later. A student passing in the hall asked, “How are you doing with those water fountains?” I hadn’t done anything.  In fact, I knew when I’d said it that I couldn’t get those fountains fixed.  I’ve harbored a certain cynicism about elections ever since.

The memory brings me to Ann Coulter, the chronically skeptical conservative commentator who led the charge for Citizen Trump.   He had her the moment he glided down his gilded escalator, railing against Mexican rapists and promising to build a Wall – a Big, Beautiful Border Wall — and get Mexico to pay for it. Coulter is now a Former Trumper because he is not fulfilling his promise to build a wall. She and her cohort were the voters who forgave him all his character deficits and vulgarity. They’d walk through a wall for him if only he would build it. 

  During her interview with long-time sparring partner Frank Bruni, Coulter expressed her growing  disaffection.  “He had absolute, rock-solid, locked us in, on support [sic] because we thought we wouldn’t be betrayed — finally. He could sell Ivanka Trump merchandise from the Oval Office if he would just build the Wall.  If he doesn’t have us anymore — no, that’s what he should be worried about because, you play those people for suckers, the ones who stood by him through thick and thin, and thought this was finally something different. Finally we have a politician who wasn’t going to lie to us. No, former Trumpers should put the fear of God in him.”   

The sad-faced Coulter looked like a vampire at dawn who could not find the keys to her crypt.  She elaborated on what she has coined, “Former Trumpers,” registering her utter disappointment. 

“Don’t act like I’m a nut for wanting a wall. That was the chant at every rally. I didn’t make this up…I promise you we want a Wall. We don’t care who pays for it.”

The constitutionally acerbic Coulter has been around long enough to know Trump’s playbook, and she’s nobody’s Pollyanna.  She wouldn’t be gulled by his wacky campaign promise.  She’s speaking for the Trumpers, those people who don’t care who pays for it.  She’s signaling Trump that his base is slipping. 

Trump heard the drumbeat.   That’s why he exploded with tweets this morning accusing Democrats of killing the DACA deal, the one he agreed to make and later reneged.  He’s accused Mexico of allowing Central American migrants to pass through the country and across the border.  In fact, despite Trump’s hawkish immigration policy, the number of people crossing has reached the same level as it was at its peak in the Obama era.

Coulter also must realize that her man’s Congressional support is flagging.  He had his best chance to get his wall funded within the first 100 days of his term.  It was a double bumble. Not only did he fail to make the Wall the first item on his agenda, but he and his party also squandered their pledge to repeal Obamacare by trying to ram a terrible health care bill down America’s throat.

He managed to get only $1.3 billion for the Wall in the recent spending bill.  That’s enough to cover the design and scale modeling, assuming they don’t go hog-wild on the dining room set. It’s not going to cover the cost of building a Beautiful Border Wall, unless in his classic form, Trump stiffs the contractors.  So there is not going to be a wall this year, and next year is not looking too good.  He and Coulter had to know it.  They must have thought that his supporters wouldn’t notice.

Back to the Future

This weekend shapes up to be uneventful, and that’s a good thing. There’s too much going on, especially here in the land of the free and the home of the brave . We’re  going through another national identity crisis. It happens every fifty years or so.


There is a podcast series called “Slow Burn,” a retelling of the story of the Nixon presidency. By design, its creators stuck  to the 1972 campaign and its aftermath.   They couldn’t stop Candidate Nixon from putting in an appearance.    In a foreshadowing of Watergate,   Nixon directed H.R. Haldeman, his chief of staff, to  disrupt  the Paris Peace Talks to forestall US withdrawal from the catastrophic war in Vietnam.  Johnson in effect sued for peace, which brought the warring parties to the table. 

Historians do not all believe that Nixon personally stopped the peace talks. Certainly, some people close to him believed that he did. 

Applying the Brakes

“There’s really no doubt this was a step beyond the normal political jockeying, to interfere in an active peace negotiation given the stakes with all the lives,” said John A. Farrell, who discovered the notes at the Richard Nixon Presidential Library for his forthcoming biography, “Richard Nixon: The Life,” to be published in March by Doubleday. “Potentially, this is worse than anything he did in Watergate.”

The Special Plan

“Jack Farrell is the F. Scott of The Boston Globe,” fellow columnist Maureen Dowd blurbed. I’ll credit him for being a reliable source.  His quote refers to a note hand-written by H.R. Haldeman, Nixon’s chief of staff.  Nixon said that a ” special  intermediary ” should continue to persuade the South Vietnamese to delay the talks until after the election. The suggestion being that Nixon would not sell them out, as Johnson was doing.

While one of Nixon’s men held off the parties from getting to the peace table, Nixon campaigned that  he had a plan for ending the war.  George Romney, another candidate for the nomination, asked Nixon about the Secret Plan,  and the moniker stuck. There was no secret plan. Instead, Nixon escalated a war that  was impossible to win,  as the mounting evidence  of Johnson’s mess showed; nevertheless, for his political advancement. purposely undermining Johnson’s effort to end it. 

Conspiracy Theories

It’s not hard to see Nixon’s prints all over this caper.  No one can say for certain that Nixon’s deceit was the reason for his victory.   It was a close race, and it could have made  a difference.  The Watergate story was a reminder of the 1968 campaign and the pre-Watergate dirty tricks that Nixon’s plumbers carried out on his enemies. Then,  I couldn’t help thinking about Sirhan Sirhan,  convicted assassin of Robert Kennedy. I’ve made a note to check if any of Nixon’s men were in Los Angeles that horrible night in June when Bobby Kennedy was murdered.

Of course Nixon didn’t achieve victory in Vietnam, quick or otherwise.  He expanded the theater of battle, chasing  the Viet Cong into neighboring Laos and Cambodia before coming to the same  conclusion as Johnson: the war couldn’t be won. Prolonging it would capsize his presidency.  Four years after Nixon touted his Secret Plan, in the waning days of the 1972 campaign National Security Adviser Henry Kissinger went before the American public on TV and announced that “peace is at hand.”  It took another two years to extract the last American.  Not much  later,  Saigon fell.

Nixon’s Ghost

The world of 2018 feels like reminds me of  the Vietnam War. Candidate Trump,  a political neophyte,  didn’t understand the risk of aligning himself with Vladimir Putin  Maybe he thought that, as Masters of the Universe, he and Volo would’ve been the best of friends. Or maybe the Russians were so deep into Trump that they started spilling out the other end.  Either way, in this remake Putin got to be the master, and Trump got to be the puppet state.

Stormy’s Interview Will Be A Bust

Stormy Steps Out on DonaldStephanie Clifford, aka Stormy Daniels, will tell her story on national broadcast television tonight. After Michael Avenatti, her lawyer, has flogged this story on every major media outlet, it’s old news: already baked in. Overexposed, commercialized.

As Rosie O’Donnell ‘s character cracks to Madonna’s in “A League of Their Own,” playing on Madonna’s notoriety, “You think there are men in this country who ain’t seen your bosoms?”  Thus it is with Stormy.  She was a porn powerhouse: actress, director, producer. Hey, it’s a film industry!  Those are real jobs, and those who hold them wield real power.  But porn power may not be enough for Stormy.  Stormy in 2020. Too soon?

A salacious tidbit may turn up. A detail of presidential proportion may become part of the Trump canon. It’s not going to be much signal for all the noise.  Best to let sleeping dogs lay.

I couldn’t get excited about Monica Lewinsky, whose experience was sad and life-changing.   I’d be a hypocrite to make a fuss over Stormy Daniels. She knows her business. Besides, we don’t choose leaders for their moral incorruptibility. If anything, the less we see of it, the better.

Judging by recent example, the classified for a 21st Century President might read, “Need not be a statesman or an orator. Literacy a plus.” He (for the moment) must be bombastic and menacing. Teddy Roosevelt, talking softly and carrying a big stick, would be astonished by what passes for leadership these days.

The future ex-President described his following most accurately: He could shoot somebody on Fifth Avenue and wouldn’t lose a vote. The tales of Daniels, McDougal and Zevros actually might burnish his image.  Don’t expect Trumpty Dumpty to fall off his Wall over adultery.

Stormy will have her time in the spotlight, the jibes and jokes will fly around the world like an overexcited electron. Seems like nothing will change.

You and Your AR-15

The AR-15 is a rifle used in Vietnam to replace the M-14,  the last, official U.S. battle rifle.    As the nature of war changed, the instruments of war changed with it.  As a military weapon the AR-15 (M-16) was fully automatic.  In its civilian incarnation, it is semi-automatic, meaning each bullet fired requires a separate squeeze of the trigger.  The AR-15 can be accessorized with scopes, lasers and more. One of the mores is the bump stock, which uses the recoil of the weapon to reengage the trigger, converting it back into an automatic weapon. It takes about ten minutes to install, unless you blow your hand off. Then it  takes s little longer.

Even without a bump stock, the AR-15 is a very effective weapon, It has high muzzle velocity, and with a .223 caliber round with its violent ricochet, it can cause a freakish amount of damage if it hits something organic.

Simply put, even as a semi-automatic rifle, the AR-15 is capable of firing repeatedly. It’s a lot lighter than the traditional carbine rifle and has far less recoil. With this in mind, let’s take a look at the NRA’S TOP TEN REASONS FOR OWNING AN AR-15.  

Reason No. 10: It is America’s Rifle:, the “musket of its day.”  A seasoned musketeer could get off two or three rounds per minute.  Statistics are inconclusive because not very many esrly Erivan tepieces came with sweep second-hands.  If you grew up with a phone on your wrist instead of a  watch, you might need to google that.    America’s rifle, you say? The NRA calls on no less an authority than former Navy SEAL turned Second Amendment advocate Dom Raso:

“I guarantee you, if the Founding Fathers would have known this gun was going to be invented, they wouldn’t have rewritten the Second Amendment, they would have fortified it in stone. Because they knew the only way for us to stay free is by having whatever guns the bad guys have. 

Well, hell’s bells!  I didn’t know that the Founding Fathers said anything about bad guys.   The second amendment mentions bad hombres, as I recall. And they  didn’t need to fortify it in stone due to  the invention of parchment – talk about a difference in muzzle velocity!  

Reason No. 9 Bringing Women Into Shooting.   The days of the derringer are long gone. No dainty handgun for the ladies. With those big pocketbooks, you can stuff an AR-15 right in the bag.  Apparently, the distaff side likes the “cool” feel of the gun and no hard recoil.  Gee, I’ve never heard it put that way.

Reason No. 8. Disaster Preparedness. Should you encounter a preemptive strike or the Zombie Apocalypse, which is what the NRA means by doomsday scenario, you would do well to have an AR-15 by your side.  Actually, I don’t think it would help with the bomb, but it’s a winner against the zombies, as long as you discharge before one of them eats your brain.  

Reason No. 7 Competitive Shooting.  I have friends who shoot skeet – they also shoot trapped, defenseless and mostly flightless birds I have never seen one of them use an AR-15 to do it but if you are having a dinner party for 20, or Mort, you can’t waste a lot of time shopping for the entree. 

Reason No. 6  Farm/Ranch Use. A farmer like Oliver Wendell Douglas  from Green Acres would need a semi-automatic to take down a fox or coyote.  Then again, he packed up and went back to Park Avenue. It’s ideal for predator control, when faced with a pack of coyotes or foxes-although, come to think of it, they mostly don’t travel in packs.

Reason No. 5 Tinkering.  It’s fun for kids of all ages!  Add a scope, a laser, change the hand guard or pistol grip.  Build your very own from scratch with a kit and a choice of wrappers. You’ll find a kit in your local Hobby Lobby.  If you really want to tinker, you can weaponize your Lego’s too!

Reason No. 4. Hunting.    For those of us who really do eat what we kill,  it has been scientifically proven that animals could not be bagged with a manual bolt gun or a bow and arrow, which is why we are all maturally vegetarians. Besides the lead fusillade adds that iron-rich flavor to your bison steak.

Reason No. 3 Teaching/Learning.   Do  you want to know the truth?  Can you handle the truth? We need the rifle to teach other people how to use the rifle.  If you didn’t have the rifle, how could You Tube  teach anyone to use it?   You need to hold it one to learn to handle one.  That’s also why bull whip practice is part of the core curricula for K-6 in charter and home schooling accreditation.

Reason No. 2. Fun and Recreation.   If you can impress your girl on a date with that “cool” recoil.  or bond with your kids  learning to tinker and discharge the AR-15, what could possibly be more satisfying? Imagine a snowy, winter day, just you and your brood competing to see who could break down and reassemble that little beauty the fastest. Girls, let those boys win once in a while!

Reason No. 1.  Self-Defense. How can anyone dispute the need to have a repeating rifle to fend off an intruder or put down a street attac?. You can’t take a chance of lodging one shot in the dark – you need to unload a clip or two to make sure you’ve nailed the creep.  Or picture yourself walking home from a night at the drive-in, when a homicidal immigrant attacks you, saying, “Gimme your iPhone!” You can draw that  AR-15 out of your Louis Vuitton and gun the rapist down.  

Picture  your old math teacher, chalk in one hand, AR-15 in the other.  Who’ve says our kids don’t learn the basics?

By now, I am sure you are as convinced as I am that the AR-15 is as American as apple pie. It is not just America’s rifle. It is America itself.

My only question is, if owning the AR-15 is America’s First Freedom, why is it only the Constitution’s Second Amendment? Let’s restore it to its rightful place. 

House of Thugs


     “Lock Them Up,” the chant rises up. The tall dark-suited, white-shirted men, with monochrome neckties and spray-top haircuts will exit in the same kind of black SUV which had brought them to 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, and with the force as if they’ve been belched from a furnace, which, in a way, they have.
An estimated 130 White House staffers all in need of security clearances for their work, have been rolling along, their superiors and themselves oblivious to the risk they pose. This dereliction by senior personnel is on a par with giving the Lamborghini to your kid with the newly-issued learner’s permit. “Have fun in Vegas, Junior.” What could possibly go wrong?

     It’s not that serial wife-beater Bo Porter was planning to sell the daily intelligence briefing to the highest bidder.  It’s that he could be forced to cough up classified information to anyone possessing photos of his black-eyed ex-wife.  People with shameful secrets are vulnerable people, ripe for exploitation.
Son-in-law Jared Kushner, senior adviser and roving envoy to Russia and the Middle East, does not have and never will get security clearance. Nor will Princess Ivanka.  Kushner is being denied clearance for denying his meetings with Russians, exactly the kind of behavior an unclassified White,House Official should never do undertake. Like trying to establish a back channel to the Kremlin, kept secret from American intelligence. This intention to commit crimes is well beyond the obvious Trump amateur hour.

     And there are still 128 to go. The White House filled up its ranks with people having criminal histories. Ruling this pandemonium, floating above it all, is Gen. John Kelly, the chief of staff, brought in as the new sheriff hired to restore peace to this wild-west town. But the opposite has occurred. Kelly has been fully aware that a sizable part of the administration staff was a ticking bomb. He has been compromised and will be leaving soon. Even Sara Sanders won’t shill for him. She’s dodging Kelly Questions at her daily briefings, forcing him out into the open. Kelly has been spinning stories about his ignorance  of Porter’s violent history.

     “Thug” is derived from India. The Thugs were a gang of men , of criminal and violent disposition, engaging in assassination and other mayhem in devotion to Kali, the Hindu goddess of death and destruction, but also regarded as the mother of the universe.  This brings a nice irony to Kali’s followers, as well as the lawless mob now inhabiting the highest precincts of the American government.
It was thought that incompetence would be the worst part of a Trump presidency. In his thuggishness, he is far worse than incompetent. Trump’s lawlessness, his hostility to the rule of law and to those who honor and enforce it, make him a Thug, in its original and contemporary meanings. This White House is a place of evil, violence and lawlessness.

Command and Control at the Polling Station


Last October lawyers of the Supreme Court battled over the composition of the House of Representatives for the foreseeable future. Two cases address the extent to which a party in power is permitted to reshape its state’s districts to maximize that party’s partisan advantage. Yesterday a federal district court held that a North Carolina Redistricting plan violated the Constitution. The case joins cases from Wisconsin and Maryland which call into question whether the rule of law governing partisan gerrymandering needs to be revised.

Courts have previously decided that gerrymandering along racial lines is unconstitutional, and they have stated in principle that doing so along partisan lines is as well. Improved use of computer modeling provides legislators with more sophisticated ways to shape congressional districts. These models use the traditional rules to generate the optimum configuration within a state for the benefit of the party in power. The term, “efficiency gap,” has been employed to describe the inversion of representation in proportion to the voting population. We can expect to hear that term more in the coming years.

While partisan gerrymandering is banned in principle, courts have struggled to create a test that bars it effectively. This being Llaw, the wording of the test is decisive. The language of the rule affects the outcome of later cases, as lawyers and judges tinker with possible interpretations. Eventually the Supreme Court’s words will be read back to it, and the nine Justices, not necessarily the same nine, will have to interpret its interpretation.

Karl Llewellyn, a noted 20th century legal scholar, stated that the law is the way people resolve disputes. The statement itself is subject to interpretation. It is at once both self-explanatory and impenetrable. Indeed, in a given case, a dispute is adjudicated. But Law is a judicial tool used to set parameters for personal freedoms, culture, business and suffrage. The Law is more than a means of calling balls and strikes. Its a means of defining the strike zone.


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