This, that and the other thing – a few Monday musings

It is 12/12 in the calendar, so let’s offer some random musings for this Monday morning. In no particular order, here is a rendering of this, that and the other thing.

Many Republicans have now spoken to how poor some of the candidates who were pushed by the former president, especially the football star in Georgia. I agree. As a citizen of this country, what perturbs me is so-called leaders knew they were bad before the election and yet pushed people to vote for them. This does not respond well to the oath of office of elected officials to push a candidate they know is inferior to garner a vote.

In this vein, I must give a shout out to Republican Senator Thom Tillis who last spring told Republicans DO NOT vote for Congressman Madison Cawthorn as he was bad news for the party and our country. He was right and many folks agreed, so Cawthorn lost in the primary. It would have been nice to see more Republicans follow suit and call on the carpet more candidates, especially incumbents who have shown their lack of mettle over the last two or more years.

Continuing in this same spirit, it is good to see the House looking into possible ethics violations for AOC. I am not saying AOC deserves the scrutiny and may be innocent, but what I am saying is when an issue is raised like this, it is important for the powers that be to follow process to govern the concern. It matters not the party. When an incumbent possibly dishonors the position, the governing body needs to treat it with seriousness of purpose. The Catholic Church, Boy Scouts of America, Southern Baptist Convention and numerous universities failed to heed this lesson and damaged their credibility.

Back in the late 1980s, Senator John McCain got too close to a funder who did some bad things in the Savings and Loan financial crisis. McCain was censured for his role, but learned his lesson and did better by it going forward running for president as a worthy candidate. Holding people accountable is a must, regardless of party, whether your name is Donald Trump, Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, Ronald Reagan, LBJ, JFK or George W. Bush. If they are never held to account, then it gives them impunity to repeat their bad behavior.

For folks who think I should not have included some of the names on this list, I would suggest you Google the Iran-Contra Affair, The Pentagon Papers, Watergate scandal, Monica Lewinsky scandal, George W. Bush (and Tony Blair) and the Iraq invasion, and the numerous transgressions and crimes (alleged and convicted) of the latest former president.

We must hold our leaders accountable. It is important that we are represented well by people who strive to be among our better angels, not our worse demons.


Be mindful of what you say

We should be mindful of what we say as what sounds good may not be all that good or not possible. On occasion, I may question someone as to “do you really believe that or you just saying that for affect?”

A key news item of yesterday is a famous shock jock has lost a second court case for denigrating the bereaved loved ones of the Sandy Hook school shooting victims consistently referring to the shooting as a hoax. He wanted to sound cool to his conspiracy thirsty followers, but paying out multiple hundreds of millions for saying inane and hurtful things is not a recipe for success.

I have seen on more than one occasion a follower of a well-known individual say a variation of “I like him because he speaks his mind.” The problem with this individual is he really is not conversant on many issues, so speaking his mind is not necessarily a good thing. In fact, he looks smarter the less he talks.

This same person while president took credit for creating a great economy from day one, when he actually inherited a, you guessed it, great economy in the third longest economic growth period ever in US history. His followers had believed his campaign BS that the economy was terrible, when it was not, so he convinced these same naive folks that “he alone” saved the economy.

Another president was once criticized by the same people for being Muslim and also attending a Christian church whose minister is a tad rebellious. OK, which is it – Muslim or Christian? He cannot be both for different arguments. As funny as this sounds, this contradiction continued all the way to the election.

The same president was also criticized by some for starting the housing recession. What needs an answer is how is that possible when the housing recession was underway when he took office. In fact, Senator John McCain, his opponent, wanted to postpone a presidential debate to go back to DC and discuss, you guessed it, the housing recession. Just for those who don’t want to realize this point, debates occur before the election.

While more jobs were created under a president from the 1990s than under any other president, including FDR who was president for three terms and a couple of months, he had a major problem of being a philanderer. What still amazes me is his wife stood by him, but took crap for so doing. This came from the same crowd whose religions frowned on divorce. She is not perfect, but at least people should be singing from the same hymnal to criticize her. What did Tammy Wynette sing, something about “Stand by your man?”

Finally, the Muslim or Christian president noted above, got into trouble with a line to sell his new Affordable Care Act noting, “If you like your doctor, you can keep you doctor.” His advisors should have told him that was a promise that could not be kept, as any network will leave off doctors you want, which is why you check it out first. It sounded good, but was not true.

So much of what comes out of the mouths (or fingers) of politicians, opinion entertainment hosts, shock jocks, and social media are based on words that sound good, but may not be true. Some politicians and others have earned the right to not be believed at all, which is a pretty scathing indictment. The last former president fits into this category, as he rivals the shock jocks in lack of veracity.

What should you do about it? Find good sources of information. Read, listen and/or watch several of them. Do not take what an opinion host says as the truth, as it is at best embellished. Stop reading, listening and watching conspiracy sources. Conspiracy stories are made up to distract you. And, for the most part, take what a politician says with a grain of salt. Some politicians are much worse than others, but just check the facts to be sure.

Just a few thoughts from the cheap seats

When I was in college in Atlanta, the major league baseball team was in one of its ebb periods, where victories were less frequent than losses. Being a college student, we could get a $10 ticket to that night’s game and sit up in the right field bleachers. Yes, $10. Of course, we got what we paid for from these cheap seats, but two big beers later, the game got more entertaining, at least for us.

The cheap seats offer you a distant view of things, so please keep this vantage point in mind, as you review these thoughts.

  • If a politician has to tell you he or she is not a racist, ignore him or her. He or she is a racist. Senator Ron Johnson, who is not known for truthfulness, said he felt safe during the riots at the Capitol, but would have felt less so with a BLM crowd. This is beyond dog whistle racism and overlooks the fact, the BLM movement is multi-racial and largely peaceful.
  • If a politician has to modify an inane comment with two inane parts to it, eliminating only one of the inane parts, does that not mean they are doubling down on the other inane part? Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene has amended her conspiracy parroted statement that Jews are using space lasers to cause wildfires, by eliminating the slight on Jews. OK. Space lasers? And, you are in Congress?
  • If a politician has to film a commercial saying “I am not a witch,” she has already lost. In 2010, Tea Party proponent Christine O’Donnell defeated much better candidates in a primary for the Delaware Senate seat. It was reported that she had made earlier claims of being a witch. This story blew up her candidacy, leading to said commercial. She lost the Senate race in a big way. Given the previous story, she might have won in 2020.
  • If a politician or celebrity is known for womanizing and womanizes again, he is more than likely guilty as charged relative to someone who may have strayed once. That does not make the latter person innocent, but one does need to consider a person’s history. Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Jeffrey Epstein, Roger Ailes, Charlie Rose, Bill O’Reilly, Gary Hart, Prince Andrew, et al, are well-known for thinking with the organ below their belts. When someone has dozens of people with whom his philandering or worse occurred, then that sets a precedent. Andrew Cuomo looks like he might fit the bill.

That is enough from the cheap seats. What are your thoughts?

Gumpish questions

I have written a few posts on asking more why questions, but let me define a few dumb questions, in the spirit of a fictitious chatacter, Forrest, Forrest Gump. It is amazing how these questions don’t leap off the news pages or out of cyberspace.

In know particular order…

Help me understand how the president can cause a problem, then get kudos (or claim such), when he solves (or lessens) his own problem?

Forrest Gump answered his drill sergeant’s question of his purpose? “To do exactly what you tell me to do, drill sergeant!” The drill sergeant called Gump a “genius” for his answer.

Help me understand how one of the largest US Christian denominations cannot resolve conflict and will be splitting in two? What message does that send?

Forrest Gump’s girl Jenny gave Forrest the best answer to danger. What should he do? “Run, Forrest, run.”

Help me understand how legislators, presidential candidates and current president don’t seem to care that our annual deficit and debt are exploding?

Forrest’s mama answered her son’s question of what is his destiny? “Life is like a box of chocolates; you never know what you are going to get.”

How can people not see the intense and elongated forest fires in Australia, Brazil and California and not think we have a new paradigm with our heating planet?

Forrest got a Purple Heart. When asked where he was shot, he said “I got shot in the buttocks. They said it was a million dollar wound, but I haven’t seen any of that money.”

How can people feel that putting a face on an opposing argument, then beating on that person can pass for reasoned counter argument (think Al Gore and Greta Thunberg)?

Lieutenant Dan showed up at dockside to honor his promise that he would be Forrest’s first mate if he got a shrimp boat. He told Forrest he wanted to get his “sea legs.” Forrest said, “But, you don’t have no legs.” “Yes, I know this,” Lt. Dan replied.

Help me understand why important people are so cavalier with their reputations by spending time with Jeffrey Epstein and underage girls (think Prince Andrew, Donald Trump, Bill Clinton)?

Forrest answered Bubba’s mother when she asked “if he was crazy or just plain stupid?” Forrest uttered his classic line, “Stupid is as stupid does.” That is a profound statement.

Men in power who don’t listen for the word no

I heard a quote from a women’s panel on sexual harassment and assault this morning and it is sealed in my brain. “Pandora’s Box is open and Pandora is pissed off.” I was thinking about this quote as I am disturbed after the revelations that veteran and award-winning┬ájournalist Charlie Rose was accused of sexual harassment and assault by eight women. This is like finding out your favorite uncle has done some bad things. But, even Rose does not get a hall pass for his behavior.

More women are feeling empowered to tell their stories that they have been tortured by for many years. Too many have been shamed into changing jobs, derailing careers, and losing their esteem because men in power are “not listening for the word no.” Whether they are in politics, business, religion, law, teaching, or run a store, restaurant or plant, men in power are used to hearing the word “yes” by subordinates. The more powerful they become, the more insulated they feel from culpability.

As a young District Attorney, Senate candidate Roy Moore felt insulated as he trolled the malls creepily looking for pretty teen girls he could influence. He said to several who balked at his advances to remember that “I am the DA and no one will believe you.” Arkansas Governor and President Bill Clinton used his sway to garner consensual sex with subordinates in administration and is alleged to have tried advances on women who were not consensual.

But, the one whose behavior┬ádisgusts me the most is the Man in the White House. Not only has he admitted to sexually assaulting and harassing women on several occasions (people tend to forget the Howard Stern interview admissions in light of the Access Hollywood tape), he bragged about being able to do it and not get caught. And, as for his defense that the Access Hollywood tape was “just locker room talk,” I personally find that a load of BS as I have never heard such talk in a locker room.

When his boasts are compared to the accusations by sixteen women, some who came forward before the Access Hollywood tape surfaced, it is uncanny how Trump describes precisely what he is accused of. But, these were not just adults. He bragged (and was accused) of his penchant to walk into beauty pageant dressing rooms to see the unclothed contestants. Mind you, he did this with the Miss Teen USA pageant, as well.

Pandora has the right to be pissed. CBS, PBS and Bloomberg have all fired Rose. I think Alabamans need to tell Moore that he is not worthy of being a Senator. While I love Al Franken, he needs to step down or announce he will when a replacement is found. And, the accusations of one Donald Trump need to resurface and his resignation needs to be demanded. They will not get it, but if others are being held accountable, then so should he. Then, other male managers may get scared straight to hearing the word “no.”

Some men in power are running scared right now

If you are a man in power and have used your power to sexually harass or assault a subordinate colleague or third party, my guess is you are running a little scared right now. Sexually assaulted and harassed women (and men) are more empowered to tell stories that have eaten away at them for years.

Ex-judge and Senate candidate Roy Moore keeps asking why are these women coming forward now? Really? First, you apparently assaulted and harassed these women as impressionable teens and used your power as local DA to silence them. Second, you are interviewing to be a Senator of the United States. But, just read the news and you will know why these women are coming forward now.

Yet, if he did join the Senate, he will find some company in the halls of Congress on sexual assaulting and harassing women (and men). At least two have been noted to have either disrobed in front of a female staffer or French kissed one on the floor of Congress. Now, Senator Al Franken has been accused of sexual assault for inappropriately kissing a woman shortly before becoming Senator.

Then, there is the current President who has been accused by sixteen women of sexual assault, some who came forward before he was caught on the Access Hollywood tape admitting to such groping because he could get away with it. Yet, what failed to garner attention is the man admitted twice on the creepy Howard Stern show that he liked to walk in on unclothed beauty pageant contestants because he owned the franchise. That would include teen girls in the Miss Teen USA pageant. This, by itself, should have made him lose the election. It is too bad Harvey Weinstein was not accused last year, as that would have sealed Trump’s fate as the sexual assaulter he has admitted to be.

Yet, Hillary’s husband was also a known philanderer. I don’t know if he assaulted them, but he did use his power to garner attention. Bill Clinton will be remembered for being a good President who balanced the budget and under whom more jobs were created than any other President. But, he will also be remembered as a skirt chaser. To her credit and resolve, Hillary stood by her husband, but I hope she slapped the crap out of him when he needed it.

If our leadership dishonors their position, regardless of party, they need to be held accountable. A Speaker of the House was forced to resign a few years ago for taking advantage of young wrestler he coached and he paid for silence. If we have members of Congress who have sexually assaulted women or men, then they need to do the right thing. The same holds true for Roy Moore and should have held (and should still hold) true for the Man in the White House.

If some of these leaders are worried about future accusations, they have no one else to blame. As for the ex-judge, my guess is there will be more to come forward.