The American Dilemma and How We Can Fix It

Posts tagged ‘Hillary Clinton’

HOW MUCH DO TWO POUNDS WEIGH?

Moving into my first apartment was a great thrill for me.  Finally, life in a college dormitory was at a merciful end.  No more waking up at three in the morning because a fellow student was inebriated and decided that it would be fun to pull the fire alarms that appeared in several places on each floor.  Of course, as exciting as this all was, there was a daunting challenge ahead.  Furnishing this new space.

Fortunately, as the organist at the local Roman Catholic church, I had connections.  A number of the parishioners were kind enough to lend or give me some of their old furniture until I could afford to upgrade.  One of these gifts was a double bed frame which came without either box spring or mattress.  So I bought a futon and laid it on the bare frame.  This proved moderately uncomfortable so I soon placed the futon on the floor where it belonged anyway.  But I did make the decision to buy several pillows, slip covers and pillow cases – leaving the purchase of sheets for a later date.

I returned home with my bulky pillow purchase, removed the contents from the large bags in which the store had placed them and began putting the slipcovers on the pillows when I made a discovery.  On both of the standard size pillows there was a tag which had been machine sewed into the welting.  The tag contained information on the content of the pillow, the content of the ticking, the place of manufacture (this was the early 70’s so it naturally said, “Made in the USA”), and then followed an ominous warning which read:  “DO NOT REMOVE THIS TAG UNDER PENALTY OF LAW”.

Reading this warning naturally caused me to wonder what law I would be breaking should I choose to disregard the warning and what was it intended to prevent from happening?  For the life of me, the only logical danger I could see might be that if I were not careful cutting it from the pillow I might accidentally incise into the pillow and expose the duck feathers that were inside.  Well, I decided not to chance bringing about the apocalypse so I slipped the pillow cover over the pillow and then put them into the cases, artfully arranging them on the futon.  Then I stood back and viewed my handiwork, looking forward to a comfortable night’s sleep.

Well, I did get a good night’s sleep that night and for the next several weeks.  But after not too long a while I found that those little tags were getting bunched up from the pressure of my head and were ratting up into annoying little wads.  So I made the major decision to get out my best scissors and eliminate them.  But I took precautions.

I still had not been able to afford window coverings in the living room so I decided that removing the tags there would merely invite government intrusion into my illicit operation.  We were all a little paranoid back then, thinking that the government was spying on us.  Little did we know what the 21st century would bring in that regard.  I retreated to my bedroom, excluded my Irish Setter, Finney from the room as I did not want him to be implicated should this matter ever come to trial.  And I lit a housewarming candle which was dedicated to St. Bonaventure and had been given to me by the parishioner who had donated the somewhat delapidated couch which was the focal (and only) seating in the living room.

I gave the candle a moment for the wick to burn down to the wax and searched my memory to recall what St. Bonaventure was the patron saint of – pardon the grammar. I wasn’t sure which saint was responsible for interceding for those of us who broke laws here on earth – but I was sure that St. Bonaventure would know the correct department to which he would forward my case.

With the skill and adeptness of a brain surgeon, I cut the tag from the first pillow.  I held the wadded up label in my left hand and looked around the room to see if there might suddenly be a water leak or any cracks in the ceiling, caused by my defiance of the regulations prohibiting what I had just done.  I breathed a sigh of relief, quickly grabbed the second pillow and dispatched the other label in the same way.  Still, no signs of structural damage to the apartment and no seismic shaking.

I quickly cut the two labels into a myriad of pieces and flushed them down the toilet in four separate batches over several days so that whoever was in charge of  investigating the removal of labels from pillows would find it difficult to trace this crime back to me.  I also put a portion of the two labels in two separate kitchen garbage bags so that even if the remainder of the labels were retrieved from the sanitation system and pieced back together, a portion of each label would be missing.  I was fairly comfortable that I had covered my tracks and was about to blow out my St. Bonaventure candle when suddenly it hit me.  My fingerprints were all over those two labels.  So I decided to make a novena to St. Bonaventure over the following eight days and I hoped that would save me from arrest.

Well, I ended my novena, much to my relief no one came knocking at my door nor was there any police tape indicating that my apartment was a crime scene.  But it was a full two months after my deed before I began to breathe a complete sigh of relief.  I had gotten away with it.  These days I think of this as my Hillary Clinton moment – but, of course, on a much smaller scale.

Being a curious sort, once my angst had abated, I thought about why this pillow regulation existed in the first place.  That seems like a rational question, don’t you think?  I mean, if there is a rule or a law, it should have some basis in common sense.  When I was in school it was forbidden for us students to run on the stairways.  The faculty explained that doing so could result in a student’s tripping and injuring her or himself. That made sense.  But the only thing that I could see as a result of the “Do Not Remove” tag was that it caused me, and I presume others, to have less than a restful sleep.

It took half a century for me finally to come up with the answer to that question.  These regulations are not intended for the most intelligent of our citizens but for our least bright.  And as sad as that admission may be, I do believe it is the truth.  Had I questioned that hypothesis before, it was completely confirmed by a shopping trip to Target a few days ago.

I had intended to order some Pupperoni for my companion dog, Gracie on the internet.  However, I received a new debit card from my bank and within a week it was already frozen because it had been “compromised.”  So much for the latest and greatest in technology.  As a result, I was low on this favorite treat of hers and I decided to go to Target to replenish our stock until I got my replacement card.  I would bite the bullet and pay a little more than I would have to spend from an internet provider.

Much to my surprise, Target was running a sale on Pupperoni.  The two pound price was reduced from $13.99 to $9.99.  And, by buying two packages, Target was offering a $5.00 gift card on a future purchase.  As I browsed through the numerous flavors that were available I noticed that the product was also offered in a 25 oz. size at the same $9.99 price – except that there was no gift card offer on the smaller size.  I wondered, why would anyone purchase the smaller sized product?  It wasn’t long until I had my answer.

As I was surveying the shelf, a woman I put in her middle thirties came up to the dog treat aisle with a rather full shopping cart.  She walked up to the Pupperoni area and grabbed a 25 oz. bag of the product.  Being the helpful person I try to be, I pointed out that if she purchased two of the two pound product, she would pay the same price as for her smaller package and get the $5.00 gift card as well.  Her response surprised me.

She asked, “How much does two pounds weigh?”

Fortunately, my right knee was paining me fiercely and my long journey through Target to the second to last aisle in the store where dog treats were housed did nothing to ameliorate that.  Otherwise, I would have impishly responded, “Well, it depends.  As you know, feathers weigh less than lead – so it sort of depends.”  But instead, I recovered from the stupidity of the statement to respond, “Two pounds.”

She then followed up with another question which also surprised me, “How many ounces are there in two pounds?”

Forgive me but if you’re over forty years old you probably knew the answer to that question when you were in second or third grade.  Maybe fourth – I’ve forgotten.  Nevertheless, I took a deep breath and answered, “Thirty two.”

Fortunately, mankind is blessed with having five senses, one of which is feeling.  A reasonable person doesn’t even need to know the answer to this shopper’s question.  One could pick up both similarly priced products and determine which is the heavier and therefore the better value.  I felt as though I were on an episode of Watter’s World on the O’Reilly Factor.  You probably know the segment where Jesse Watters interviews people who are so thoughtful that they think that George Hamilton is the president on the one dollar bill.

Despite the pain I was feeling in my knee, I couldn’t leave this alone.  Call it a weakness on my part.  So I followed up with the statement, “You know, you look like the kind of person who is probably voting for the same person as I am for president and that’s the reason I wanted to point out the better value so you could save some money.

This woman responded, “Oh, you’re voting for Hillary too?”

I answered her, “How could you think anything else?”

So she picked up her 25 oz. package of Pupperoni, put it in her cart, and wished me a good day.  I remember shaking my head, picking up my product and leaving the store after I had gone through the self-checkout and getting my gift card.

And so the lesson to be learned here is an old aphorism.

“There’s no fixing dumb.”

“Deus in adjutorium meum intende.”

LET HE WHO IS WITHOUT SIN WITHHOLD THE FIRST VOTE

John 8:1-7 (KJV)

1 Jesus went unto the mount of Olives.

2 And early in the morning he came again into the temple, and all the people came unto him; and he sat down, and taught them.

3 And the scribes and Pharisees brought unto him a woman taken in adultery; and when they had set her in the midst,

4 They say unto him, Master, this woman was taken in adultery, in the very act.

5 Now Moses in the law commanded us, that such should be stoned: but what sayest thou?

6 This they said, tempting him, that they might have to accuse him. But Jesus stooped down, and with his finger wrote on the ground, as though he heard them not.

7 So when they continued asking him, he lifted up himself, and said unto them, He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

(Apocryphal addendum)

At this point a rock flew past Jesus’ head and hit the woman squarely in the stomach.

Jesus looked up to see who had cast the rock and said, “Oh, really Mother.”

The question of Mary’s status had been debated by the Doctors of the Church until Pope Pius IX in 1854 issued an encyclical promulgating the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, thus requiring all those in communion with the Roman Catholic Church to accept Mary’s status as a person who was conceived without sin.  Please forgive the somewhat irreverent  conclusion to the well-known story of the woman taken in adultery – but if one accepts Pius’  ex cathedra encyclical, it is theologically sound.

Fortunately for those of us who are not theologians, there has been no debate over the fact that all the rest of us have flaws, are sinful and are redeemed through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross (or so we Christians believe).  That would, of course, include candidates for public office – even for president of the United States.

The two presumptive presidential nominees prove daily in the tabloids and other news media, neither of them is a candidate who any reflective person would support with unbridled, unquestioning enthusiasm.  Perhaps the greatest difference between this and previous election cycles is that the turpitude of the candidates seems to have reached a new apex – or, if you will a new nadir.  Notwithstanding, there are mathematically only those two choices and one will emerge as the leader of what is left of the Free World for at least a four year term.  How did this happen?  Because we as a collective people and nation have chosen to ignore the obvious warning signs of a nation in decline and, rather than attempt to rectify the sins of the past, have chosen a path of apathy until the proverbial wolf comes to our own door.  That time has probably now come.

Seldom in my experience have I ever worked for and voted for a presidential candidate with unbridled enthusiasm – though it has happened.  Like most people, the media find it more titillating to expose the flaws of a prospective office holder and that is the information to which we are primarily exposed.  Negative news stories work to increase circulation and viewer ship.  Positive stories, if they appear at all, are buried deep in the recesses of the paper and have no interest to those who believe social media is a reliable source of information – which they aren’t.

So the alternative in most elections is determining who is the lesser of the two evils, holding one’s nose and ruefully casting a vote for the candidate who is qualified by his or her opponents’ even greater concupissance.  This year promises to exemplify that way of determining my vote – except that this is a year on steroids.

“It is indeed difficult to imagine how men who have entirely renounced the habit of managing their own affairs could be successful in choosing those who ought to lead them. It is impossible to believe that a liberal, energetic, and wise government can ever emerge from the ballots of a nation of servants.”
– Alexis de Tocqueville

Whether we like it or not, politics is at the core of each of our lives.  If we vote for someone who brings about rules and regulations that adversely impact our day-to-day existence, vote for a more enlightened opponent who is defeated or, worst of all, choose to pretend that how we are constrained by government is simply not important and choose to try to validate that opinion by not participating in the political process by not voting, there will be consequences.

In the last two presidential elections, most of us conservatives were presented candidates by the Republican party who in only a limited way appeared to champion our core principles.  Yet, most of us sucked it up and voted for them anyway because the alternative, Barack Obama was so odious.  It truly disturbs me that Gov. Mitt Romney, one of the least conservative people within the GOP is now on what I can only take as a personal vendetta to bring down the presumptive nominee in the general election, Donald Trump not only by withholding his support but by trying to find a candidate who would be the sacrificial lamb spear heading the efforts of a third party run, thus assuring Hillary Clinton’s election.

It is at the least ironic that Mr. Romney who withheld his tax returns until Sen. Harry Reid (D-NV) got up on the Senate floor, lied and said that “he had information that Romney hadn’t paid a cent in taxes for years” only then put out his own returns and is now squawking so loudly about Trump’s returns .  (Frankly, I think this is a red herring issue – but, of course, the media loves it).  What a hypocrite.  Romney would better serve the Republican party and, more importantly the county, by insisting that the Clinton Foundation explain publicly the changes they made to their returns which, after scrutiny from outside organizations, forced them to amend and refile multiple years.

I’m not sure that Mr. Romney ever heard the old adage about people living in glass houses – but if he missed it, he might consider my version, the title of this piece:

LET HE WHO IS WITHOUT SIN WITHHOLD THE FIRST VOTE

HILLARY AND THE THREE PRESIDENTIAL SPIRITS

With her poll numbers sagging, the server scandal getting deeper and deeper and the possibility of Joe Biden getting in the race, Hillary Clinton was beginning to wonder whether her ultimate ascension to the presidency was indeed guaranteed. She returned home from a lackluster and poorly attended campaign stop and had difficulty sleeping.

At midnight she awoke sensing there was someone else in the room.  When she saw the spirit of George Washington she abruptly sat up in bed.

She hoped that this was a sign that the spirit world was looking on her candidacy favorably.  And she really wanted to ask him how she could win both the nomination and the general election.  But, for a fleeting moment, some sense of conscience overtook her and, not wanting to sound self-serving, she thought for a moment how to ask the first president a question that would sound diplomatic rather than political.

“President Washington, what is the best thing I can do for the country?”

Washington quickly responded, “Never tell a lie.”  And then his spirit disappeared.

Hillary thought to herself, “Hm, that’s going to be tough.”

But she lay back down and tossed and turned through the balance of the night considering how or whether she would comply with Washington’s advice.

The next day a new poll came out and Hillary’s popularity among women had fallen further.  She was truly getting upset as she could see her life’s dream slipping away.  So she fell into a troubled sleep until midnight when she again sensed a presence in her room.  By her bed stood the spirit of Thomas Jefferson.

Hillary repeated the question of the previous night.  “President Jefferson, what is the best thing I can do for the country?”

Jefferson quickly answered, “Listen to the people and do what they tell you.”  And his spirit immediately vanished.

Hilary thought to herself, “Yeah, right.  Like those fools know anything.”

The following day Hillary received a letter from the FBI for further information regarding her private server.  This darn crisis was getting deeper and yet more troubling.  She fretted over this all day and finally went to bed.  For the third time at midnight another spirit came to her bedside.  This time it was Abraham Lincoln.

Again she asked, “President Lincoln, what is the best thing I can do for the country?”

Lincoln smiled and answered, “Go to the theater.”

And the moral of the story is, “Hope springs eternal …”.

SMOKE, FIRE, HILLARY

Many years ago a friend who was studying to be a rabbi put forth an interesting situation and asked my opinion.  This was the scenario he presented.

You’re driving home on your way from work.  As you pause at a stop light, you see smoke rise in the sky.  It appears to be coming from an area where your home is located.  Almost in an involuntary way you exclaim, “Oh my God.  I hope that isn’t my house that’s on fire.”

The question my friend posed was, is that a moral thing either to think or say?

Naturally, the basis for this conundrum is that you certainly don’t want your family, your home or your possessions to be in danger.  But the implication is that you are perfectly content to be spared that loss and let it fall at the feet of one of your neighbors.

My answer was that even though I might have made the statement it didn’t imply that I wanted someone else to suffer a loss.  I simply hoped that there was nothing more than a garbage can on fire and that neither my nor my neighbors’ houses were threatened.

Over the years there’s been more smoke surrounding Hillary Clinton than can be seen at all the restaurants in the country which specialize in barbecue.  And as the adage goes, “Where’s there’s smoke, there’s fire”.  Unless you listen to Ms. Clinton and her camp.  I’m startled that wherever she goes the locals don’t declare that it’s Christmas for all the driven snow she brings with her.

Being a lawyer, Ms. Clinton naturally is drawn to a defense which is based on the law – and the fact that none of the allegations leveled against her have been “proven” – yet.  Part of the reason may be that among other allegations that have most recently surfaced about her method of doing business as Secretary of State she may have destroyed or attempted to destroy the evidence which might convict her if this matter actually goes to a court of law.

The latest flak is coming from the fact that in a small sample of emails which two IG’s randomly chose, ten percent were found to contain material that they determined contained “Classified” or “Top Secret” information.  And now the legalisms begin.  The Clinton camp is claiming that while those emails are “now” thus categorized, they weren’t at the time they were sent to then Secretary of State Clinton.  Of course, all of this would be moot if Ms. Clinton had followed protocol and conducted her correspondence on a government server.  But even that is beside the point.

Let’s think about the position she held for four years.  She was the second most important person in government who had responsibility for foreign affairs and ultimately safety at home as it might be imperiled by groups like ISIS.  One has to ask the question, was she so cavalier in maintaining an unsecured server because the only correspondence she anticipated receiving was the “Daily Sudoku Puzzle” or because she was exchanging cookie recipes?  If that is the case, it’s no wonder that our foreign policy during her watch has turned into such a shambles.

On the other hand, one would expect that a functioning Secretary of State would be privy to information, some of which would have been sensitive if not downright dangerous should it fall into the wrong hands.  Wouldn’t a rational person, entrusted with such a responsible position do everything in her power to make sure that information was secure?

So whether or not Ms. Clinton broke the law and might be prosecuted for dereliction of duty there is a far more fundamental question which anyone who is thoughtful should ask.  Is a person who exhibits such poor judgment as Secretary of State the kind of person we want in the Oval Office?

That’s not a matter of partisanship.  It’s a matter of common sense.

THE SHANGHAI SURPRISE

It was one of those evenings, perhaps you’ve experienced them as well, when I couldn’t decide what to have for dinner.  I thought about my menu options and suddenly an incredible sense of gratitude swept aside my indecision as I realized how fortunate I was to live in a country and be in a position where I actually had so many choices available to me.

I reflected on growing up and the role food played in my family life.  Being raised in a home where there were two incredible cooks, my mother and grandmother, food was not merely something we needed for life’s continuation, something to be enjoyed.  Our evening dinner provided us an opportunity to reinforce our relationship as a family as we would discuss the day’s events and what each of us would be doing the following day.  It was the focal point that allowed us to bond.  It was an expression of our love for one another.

Well, back to my debating what was to be for dinner.  I seldom either eat out or buy something to take home and eat here.  While I enjoy cooking, making dinner, eating it by yourself and then cleaning up sometimes is more of a chore than a joy.  So I frequently will prepare multiple meal-sized quantities of food, soups or stews, and freeze them for future use.  But with the return of 100 degree plus weather, neither a hearty beef stew nor a bowl of bean soup seemed too appealing.

It had been some time since I had eaten Chinese food, one of my favorites.  And while I often will prepare it myself I wasn’t in the mood to cook.  So I consulted the website of the local Chinese restaurant from which I order occasionally.

The first thing I noticed was that the prices had increased by one or two dollars an item since I had last ordered.  That nearly deterred me from ordering, thinking that a bowl of granola with some fresh strawberries might be sufficient for my evening meal.  But then that didn’t sound too appealing so I started to read through the menu to see if anything caught my fancy.

I ruled out the appetizers as they were completely overpriced – and I make a better egg roll than the restaurant.  Of course, appetizers are one of the most overpriced items at any restaurant and the reason they push them is there is a large profit margin in them – more so than in their main courses.  So I made a note to myself to make up a large batch of egg rolls and freeze them for future use.

I scrolled through the main dishes but nothing jumped out at me until I hit the section entitled, “Chef’s Specials”.  These were not to be confused with the “specials” that your waitperson will tell you about at a nice linen tablecloth restaurant which, incidentally, are normally creations that are put together from leftovers that the restaurant wants to dispose of.

I do enjoy the fancy names that Chinese restaurants give these dishes.  “Seven Happiness”; “Lotus Delight”; “Wise Man’s Joy”.  Fortunately, they always list the ingredients that make up these creations as no one could deduce from the names what actually goes into them.  And I noticed that rather than the typical eight or nine dollar price for a full order of their more mundane offerings, these dishes were all priced several dollars higher.

I was about to return to the main menu when suddenly I saw a dish which was entitled, “Shanghai Surprise”.  It wasn’t the name which drew my attention but the price.  Unlike the other “Chef’s Specials” which all ran about twelve dollars each, this one was $250.00 for an order.  I thought that this must merely have been a typo and perhaps this dish really was fifteen dollars.  In reading the ingredients, it sounded as though it was merely a variation on Moo Goo Gai Pan.  But I thought that out of curiosity I would inquire further of the restaurant what made this dish so special – or at the least point out to them that they had made an error in posting this dish’s price.

So I called and after a brief hold spoke with one of the ladies who work taking orders for those of us who would rather deal with a person than simply placing the order via the internet.

“Hello, could you tell me if your ‘Shanghai Surprise’ is really two hundred fifty dollars per order?”  Naturally, I expected her to gasp and tell me that price was incorrect and that they were going to fix it and thank me for letting them know.  But instead I got a response which surprised me.

“Yes, it is.”

“Forgive me for asking but what is there in the ‘Shanghai Surprise’ which makes it so expensive?”

“It comes with two fortune cookies,” she replied.

“But all your meals come with fortune cookies.”

“Yes, but these are special fortune cookies.  One of out of four of them contains a micro fiche of a Hillary Clinton email from her unsecured server, expertly hacked by a group in Shanghai.”

I wound up having the granola with fresh strawberries for dinner.

THE NUDIST REVOLUTION

Thankfully, we survived the dire warnings that there would be an ISIS strike against the homeland on the 4th of July weekend.  (Those in my former home town, Chicago, didn’t fare quite as well with fifty shot and ten killed there).  Perhaps the attitude of the gang members, presumably the ones who were the perpetrators of these crimes was that if ISIS is going to take a break from terror, we’re here to stand in for them.  As a side note, not one single NRA member was arrested in conjunction with any of those shootings.

Perhaps it’s one of those glass half empty/glass half full scenarios.  No reasonable or even anemically red-blooded American would hope that there had in fact been an ISIS related incident this past weekend.  But what is disturbing is that there was a bombast of information spread through the media that we should all be on our toes and report any suspicious behavior – although if this message were really intended for us to do that, one would expect that there would be some central phone number which we should call.  Most of us do not have the number for the FBI on our speed dial.  And while there was no ISIS incident this weekend, the unfortunate side-effect of that is that in the future we are more likely to be skeptical and less inclined to be vigilant should another such alert be broadcast.  Most humans have an attention span of a goldfish and at least some of us have read the story of The Little Boy Who Cried Wolf.

Perhaps our biggest impediment to defeating the potential of an ISIS attack, other than the present administration, is that a significant portion of our population, we’ll call them the far left, are more concerned with seeking political advantage than they are addressing real problems – and one of their most potent tools is trying to dissect the population of the USA by dividing us into preformed little cubby holes.  Among those are gender, race, sexual orientation, national origin – but the list goes on and on.  So as I was thinking about this I realized that there is one thing that is true of all humans, irrespective of any of the pigeon holes into which the left would assign us.  We are all naturally nudists – or at least we are all born naked.

Now I defy anyone to dispute that claim.  No, I don’t have a science background (which is to say I’m not dependent on a government grant to maintain my life style by coming up with “data” to support what the bureaucrats in Washington, D. C. want me to find).  And it’s true that I have not been personally present at the birth of every human child since mankind discovered whoopee and began making more of us.  But I’ve never yet heard of a later to be straight woman being born wearing an Hermès scarf or a future lesbian woman being born wearing a newborn-sized set of steel toe boots.

Nudism could unite the country.  If nothing else, if we all adopted a nudist lifestyle, those of us – and I include myself in this group – who are a bit out of shape, could perhaps find motivation to eat more healthfully and perhaps get more exercise.  Think about the money that would be saved by not having to buy the latest fashion since there would be none.  Granted, we might cause significant damage to the industrious, hard working and underpaid people in Sri Lanka and other third world countries which manufacture the stuff that we find in our retail stores.  But that might encourage them to find new jobs in agriculture, turning previously unfertilized land into new and rich farm soil and increasing the rice crop which might go far in eliminating hunger globally.

The largest impediment to bringing about a nudist revolution in the United States is probably the airlines.  (But since they’re presently under the scrutiny of the Department of Injustice – their days may be numbered anyway).  No longer will they be able to gouge the flying public with outrageous fees for regularly checked or overhead placed baggage since all we would need for our trips would be a toothbrush and some mouthwash.  And as an improvement to national security, we would no longer be faced with the threat of some militant jihadist trying to get on board wearing an underwear bomb since Fruit of the Loom (a Warren Buffet company) would be a thing of the past.

You might think this idea farfetched – but rumor has it that if she’s elected our next President, Hillary Clinton plans to issue an executive order, mandating that all Americans go nude.  Of course, as is characteristic of Ms. Clinton’s past behavior – this newly enacted edict will apply to everyone else – but not to her.  And that would be a blessing.

FAREWELL, ALEXANDER HAMILTON

My interest in Alexander Hamilton began with my first summer job with the Wall Street firm, E. F. Hutton.  Their offices at 60 Broad Street were just a short walk from Trinity Church and its very old graveyard among whom was laid to rest the first Secretary of the Treasury of the then newly born United States, Alexander Hamilton.

There is no doubt that Hamilton was one of the most influential of the Founding Fathers of the nation.  Born out of wedlock, he was raised in the West Indies and was educated thanks to the beneficence of some wealthy islanders who recognized the young man’s brilliance and talent.  And for years, we have continued to honor his memory by ensconcing his portrait on our ten dollar bills.  But that is about to change.  A movement is afoot to replace the esteemed Mr. Hamilton with a person of the female gender – the left proclaiming that, “It’s time we finally had a woman on our currency.”  Like so much of the rest of the pother they put out they’re wrong as there has already been a woman featured on our currency – none other than the nation’s first First Lady, Martha Washington.

 

dollar

 

The notes, which were redeemable for one silver dollar, a sound fiscal policy which incidentally was abandoned forty-seven years ago today, continued to be printed for ten years when they were replaced with the famous “Educational Series” notes which bore portraits of both Martha and President George Washington.

 

educationalseries1896

 

Alright, having dispelled the notion that having a woman on U. S. currency would be a first, Treasury Secretary Lew has opened the public to offer potential nominees for the changeover which is to occur in 2020.  Among those who have been proposed by that esteemed publication known as, “Rolling Stone,” you’ll remember them for their publication of that fake story about a university rape without bothering to check the facts, is the singer, Beyoncé.  Other than the fact that as she is still reportedly alive, which would violate an 1873 law which requires that anyone featured on our currency be deceased, Beyoncé’s contribution to anything is, to my mind, fairly suspect.  But certainly there are some excellent candidates who actually benefited the nation by their lives and examples.  But it seems to me that the obvious choice for the liberal left is Hillary Clinton.

Now you may be saying to yourself, “Hold on, Juwannadoright.  Hillary is out of the question.  Remember that 1873 law that says only dead people can appear on our currency?”  To that I answer, “Hang on Bucko.  Have you seen her on the campaign trail?  And you’re going to tell me that this portly bit of protoplasm is alive?”  Do we not measure “life” by both brain and heart activity?  How can there be brain activity when all we hear is the same robotic monotony that sounds as though it is pre-recorded palaver, set on an endless cycling loop of “replay.”  And can there be a heartbeat when there is no heart to support it?

As you might have expected, I do have a possible explanation for Mrs. Clinton’s apparent mobility.  It has to do both with a thorough investigation into the concept of zombies and the transmigration of souls, the latter of which actually interests me.

Now all things zombie are big business.  They’re big box office, big Halloween costume business and an apparent requirement to work in the Federal bureaucracy.  As you know, zombies walk around, lurching this way and that and attacking all those who are actually alive, mistaking them for the drive in of a fast food restaurant.  We do not call them alive and yet they move and create traffic problems.

So you say that even though you’re going to spend your money to watch Hollywood’s latest zombie flick you don’t really believe they exist.  (You’ve never been to Haiti have you?)  But let’s talk for a moment about the transmigration of souls – a far more interesting concept.  And that brings us to a discussion of Chairman Mao Zedong, the late dictator of China who was directly responsible for the deaths, through his proclamation of the “Cultural Revolution” of at least one and one half million Chinese intellectuals and just plain ordinary folk.

Mao died in 1976.  At that time, Hillary was working her way up (somewhat infamously according to some) at the Rose Law firm in Little Rock.  She had been married to “The grass is always greener, Bill” for a year at the time.  So what happened to that Mao Zedong soul?  Clearly, based on the economic ruin he brought on the Chinese people and the misery and suffering he inflicted on his countrymen it was not ready to move on to a higher state.  And, according to some religious sects, it is possible for one soul to transmigrate into a person who is already living, forcing out that person’s soul and replacing it with their own.  Well, it’s a theory.  But is there evidence to support this speculation?.

BEFORE

 

mao headshot

 

AFTER’

 

hillary clinton cropped

 

Some things never change.  Taste in clothes might be one of those.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE HILLARY CLINTON CAMPAIGN (OR: THE VAGINA MOAN-O-LOGUES)

This weekend, lacking anything better to do, I caught the “”highlights” (no reference to hair coloring) of Hillary Clinton’s speech in NYC.  This event was branded by the former Secretary of State’s campaign as her “Re-launch; Re-set; or, in my opinion, Re-gurgitation of her aspirations to become Commander in Chief and President of the United States.  Needless to say, she hit all the liberal left’s hot buttons – putting forth herself as the champion of the oppressed, the long-suffering and the under achievers in our society – most of whom have attained their status through the mis-directed policies her party has advanced during the last half century.

Fortunately, she avoided mentioning any of the accomplishments that she achieved during either her tenure as a United States Senator or as Secretary of State or the speech might have been briefer than a commercial break.  But it is clear, lacking anything significant to which she might point, that her primary contribution to the world is that she happens to be female.  And, one could infer from the speech, that her primary achievement is that fact that she happens to come equipped with female rather than male parts.  Well, so does more than half the world – and in a world which enables people to change their gender more or less at will, that number might potentially increase.

During her speech, Mrs. Clinton invoked her mother’s story – which was part of the palaver to which I could relate.  Her mom had a hard life but succeeded in raising Hillary and her two younger brothers.  (Little mention was made of her father who owned a fabric store).  Parental struggle and sacrifice is something to which those of us who are part of the Baby Boomer generation can relate – as, for most of us, those are the same stories we heard from our parents and grandparents.  This lesson may well be lost or difficult for younger generations to appreciate since it was through their forebears’ difficulties and perseverance that their lives are appreciably easier and better than they might otherwise know.

While Hillary moaned on about the suppression of women and their inability to get ahead because of white male privilege, using her mother’s story as the setting in which to make her case, it occurred to me that she really missed the opportunity to invoke her listeners’ empathy by omitting her own story and not devoting more time to addressing one specific challenge with which she has lived for nearly four decades.  That, being her marriage to serial philanderer, former President Bill Clinton.  For thirty-seven years, Hillary has been the “other woman” in her own marriage.

Hillary is certainly not the first nor will she be the last person who is the victim of marital infidelity – of either gender (or however many there are this week).  But in my experience, it takes an extremely insecure person to put up with that sort of abuse for as long as she has.  And that, far more than the policies which she purportedly advocates or the email or Clinton Foundation scandals, makes me question whether this is a person (irrespective of gender) who has the basic self-confidence and integrity effectively to discharge the most important position in the world.

Based on what I’ve seen of her over the last thirty or so years, I think not.

A TALE OF THREE LAWYERS

London – the year was 1535.  Sir Thomas More, a lawyer and formerly Chancellor of England was incarcerated in The Tower, accused of high treason for his refusal to sign “The Act of Succession” which had been passed into law by the Parliament.

Despite More’s reliance on the  law’s provision, “qui tacit consentire” that “silence gives consent” and that his silence on the subject should be construed as an affirmation of the act as it had been passed, More’s silence was generally construed by the public as meaning that he opposed the provisions of the law.  Because More was held in such high esteem this presented a political problem for his liege lord, Henry VIII who had done everything in his power to get More to acquiesce.  More would not, however, abandon either his position or his principles.

Finally, Henry tasked More’s daughter, Meg to try to convince him to take the oath and sign.  After trying every logical argument with her father, all of which he countered with his own, she finally said, “Father.  Take the oath and in your heart think differently.  God will know what you really believe.”

A dismayed More replies, “Oh,Meg, what is an oath but words we say to God?”

More continued his silence and refusal to sign the act, was tried and convicted through the use of perjured testimony and was executed.

Washington, D. C. – 1998.  The House of Representatives votes to impeach William Jefferson Clinton, President of the United States on two counts – “Obstruction of Justice” and “Perjury.”  Two months later the Senate acquitted the president on both charges with not one senator of the president’s party voting for conviction thus assuring that the vote would fall far short of the two thirds majority needed.

During the trial, President Clinton was asked about his sexual relations with women in the oval office, specifically Monica Lewinsky.  “”Did he have sex with her in the Oval Office?”  To this, Clinton said haltingly, “I did not have sex with that woman.”  That statement was later proven to be a lie and although he was not convicted by the Senate, he was stripped of his law license and ordered to pay a fine.

While we don’t know the finale to the “Clinton story,” we do know that the former President’s popularity is high among American voters, he commands half a million dollars for giving an hour’s speech and is one of the driving forces behind the Clinton Foundation which has raised hundreds of millions of dollars.

The contrast between these two lawyers is monumental.  Sir Thomas’ reputation was spotless.  He was revered by the general populace as a man who was both honest and fair, a man of integrity.  He is today perhaps most remembered for his book, “Utopia,” best translated as “No Place Land.”

In the book, More theorizes a society set in the New World – a communist society in which  there is no unemployment because everyone is required to work.  Meals are eaten communally and the population is regulated as to the number of people who live in a particular neighborhood so that if there is an excess in one locale, some of those citizens are relocated to a less populated area.

There is general equality between men and women although only widowed women may become priests in one of the accepted four religions.  Only atheism is not taken as a valid view, the basis being that if one has no fear of repercussions in an after life then that person has no reason to try to conform to the laws that the society has enacted.  Atheists are tolerated but are subject to vigorous persuasion by the priests of the society to “set them straight.”  Medical treatment is, of course, free and available to all citizens.  And lawbreakers are shackled with gold chains, to remind the society of the unimportance of wealth and money.

In contrast to More’s reputation, former President Clinton’s career and person have been mired in controversy and allegations of questionable behavior dating back to the time that he was Governor of Arkansas.  Many of those relate to his extramarital sexual activities although I believe that relates more to a matter of morality than to an ability to govern.  But the matter of his libido was one of the focuses of his impeachment.

What disturbs me about the former president is his response.  Frankly, while I do not condone his behavior – that is not within my purview – I would have respected him if, rather than falsely denying his tryst in the Oval Office, thus perjuring himself, he had said, “Hey, I have a very high sex drive and took advantage of an opportunity that presented itself.  Now what’s your point?  And if you don’t have one, let’s move on.”   I’ve generally found that the truth, as painful as it may be to admit is usually a person’s best defense.  We all make mistakes and most people can forgive someone who is honest about admitting to one.

Despite More’s reputation, he was, as Chancellor of England, responsible in an almost ISIS-like way for the persecution of Protestants in England.  That certainly puts some tarnish on More’s reputation.  As a devout Roman Catholic, I doubt that he would be apologetic for his actions, as reprehensible as we might view them today.

And I doubt that former President Clinton would apologize for his past sexual adventures as new information now surfaces that one of his close associates, the wealthy Jeffrey Epstein, a registered sex offender, convicted of soliciting prostitution from a 14 year old girl frequently entertained Clinton and other prominent people on his private Caribbean island, Little St. James, nicknamed “Orgy Island.”  Epstein has been a cash contributor to the Clinton Foundation, although he might have offered more to the former president in kind rather than dollars.

Without much surprise, the controversies which have swirled around the former president have adhered to his wife now that she is officially a candidate to hold her husband’s former position.  And the pending release of a book about how Bill and Hillary (also a lawyer) have conducted their financial affairs have brought the old controversies back to the public’s attention and have gone from a simmer to the boiling point.

Despite the Clintons’ efforts to divert attention from the issues by labeling them as “right wing conspiracies,” such publications as “The New York Times” and “The Washington Post” have joined the fray and brought out revelations about their and their foundation’s financial affairs which are causing the foundation to re-file at least five years worth of federal tax returns.  Neither of those publications could be accused of being conservative voices.

Hillary Clinton’s camp has pushed back strongly about the allegations that are being raised, specifically that there was a “quid pro quo” for donations made to the Clinton Foundation by both individuals and foreign governments and various accords that were reached that benefited them personally while Ms. Clinton was Secretary of State.  And it would be fair to say that at this point no smoking gun, no specific email can be produced to substantiate the claims that have been raised.  Perhaps that is a function of Ms. Clinton’s destruction of 30,000 emails that she deemed “personal.”  We will probably never know unless we can tap into the records of the NSA – assuming that they archived those.

But one thing is clear.  As in More’s time, if a person does not have an expectation of punishment for lying under oath either in this or a future life, then there would be little reason not to try to obfuscate the facts and put on one’s best game face using a strategy of total denial.  And while it might be impossible to provide the sufficiency of evidence that “influence peddling” took place during the time Ms. Clinton was Secretary of State to obtain a guilty court verdict, it should be a call to the American voter to question the qualifications of a person who may herself be implicated in this scandal and who is married to a man who clearly broke the law – a law which he had sworn to uphold.

We’ll see if anyone is paying attention – or more importantly, cares.

WILL XX MARK THE SPOT?

Once upon a time in America, long before we had large clunky voting machines which now have largely been replaced with far smaller, more sophisticated and technologically advanced apparatuses which enable us to determine who will mis-govern us for the next few years until we repeat the exercise, people cast their ballots using paper and pen.

With the introduction of the voting machine, at first we used them for the “important” races – president, senators, congressmen, governors and the like.  Things like constitutional amendments and people running for judgeships were still conducted using paper.  After all, no one understood the implications of those constitutional amendments and it was virtually impossible to get any information on any of the people running for judicial office so people, if they bothered to vote in those elections did so based on whether the name of one of the candidates appealed to them.  It seemed as good a way as any to cast an uninformed vote.

This is not to say that the votes cast on the machines were necessarily much better informed.  In Chicago, the Cook County Democratic party typically handed out a simple instruction guide for those who were unclear on which candidates might best represent their interest.  The one page instruction guide was simply entitled, “HOW TO VOTE.”  That pretty much said it all – and despite the fact that many voters in Chicago were Polish or Hispanic, the simple guide was only available in English.  But the graphics certainly overcame the prospective voter’s possible lack of familiarity with the lingua franca.

The “guide” instructed the voter to:

1)  Pull the red lever to the left.  (This closed the curtain to ensure privacy as the citizen went about his or her important business).

2)  Pull Lever “A”.  (This was a straight Democratic party vote).

3)  Pull the red lever to the right.  (This opened the curtain and recorded the vote on the meters at the back of the machine).

The guide concluded with the congratulatory message:

“YOU HAVE NOW VOTED.  THANK YOU.”

As simple as this was, there were some precincts in which technological advances somehow languished.  Interestingly, these were often in precincts which had a heavy concentration of SRO’s – Single Residence Occupancy buildings whose tenants were often street people who would panhandle during the day, buy their bottle of Ripple and return to their residencies at night to curl up with their bottle and a tattered copy of “Tropic of Cancer.”

These voters were often hung over on Election day and every other day, yet getting them out to vote was an important part of the local Democratic precinct captain’s job security plan with the city so a different strategy was adopted to make sure that they not only got out to vote but that they voted “correctly.”  The entire voter fraud scheme relied on stealing one blank paper ballot.

The precinct captain, perhaps in conjunction with the Judges of Election for that precinct, would obtain a blank ballot and mark it with black ink and then go about his business of knocking on the doors of the SRO’s residents to get them out to do their civic duty.  The prospective voters would have only one responsibility, other than to hand the pre-marked ballot over to the Judge in charge of dropping it in the secured ballot box, thereby ensuring the integrity of the election.  It would be his duty to return to the precinct captain one blank ballot which he would be given after he presented the Judges with his name and they certified his right to vote in that precinct in the election.  The reward, other than taking pride in performing his civic duty, was a pint bottle of booze.

Now the city of Chicago, concerned that people voted in a conscientious and sober manner prohibited liquor stores, bars and restaurants from selling alcoholic beverages during the time the polls were open.  So the precinct captains had to obtain the hootch in the days before the actual election.  Rumor has it that there were quite a few liquor stores that did a land office business during that period and there was one incident reported where a precinct worker’s car was vandalized while the polls were open and a substantial amount of cheap alcohol was stolen from it.  I never heard whether that precinct captain met his quota for getting out the vote that particular day.

Those who were all atwitter about the Florida “hanging chad” controversy, might have been interested to know that in the primitive days of paper ballots, we had our own controversies on how ballots were marked and whether those ballots were marked legally.  According to the Cook County Board of Election Commissioners, a valid ballot was one in which the voter had made an “X” in the little square to the left of the candidate’s name.  Some voters, unclear on the concept, circled the name, marked an “O” in the square or wrote the word “Yes” there or failed to have the lines of their “X” intersect – all of which were grounds for disqualifying that particular vote.

But we’ve come a long way from those days of marking an “X” to identify our choice of a candidate.  The main theme of Hillary Clinton’s run for the presidency next year will probably revolve around one issue – casting a ballot for an “XX” chromosome candidate.  As Ms. Clinton put it recently in one of her rare public appearances, (oh, I forgot this was a speech for which she received a $250,000 honorarium to spout forty minutes worth of generalities), “Isn’t it time we elected a woman president?”

She and the American people would have been better served if she had said, “Isn’t it time we elected a competent person president?”  That question, however, might not work well with her playbook.

Tag Cloud