The Best And The Brightest

And now, gentle readers, I feel morally compelled to reflect upon the murder of Ahmaud Arbery, and the audacity of his killers’ defense at the subsequent trial.

My reiteration of the events relating to Arbery’s murder will be brief. My goal is not to revisit this crime in all of its horrific and absurd minutia. A recap:

On February 23rd, 2020, a young Black man (Arbery) who was a devoted jogger and aspiring electrician was jogging along the streets of Satilla Shores, Georgia, in a neighborhood where some of the residents don’t, well, cotton to a young Black man jogging along their streets, because, dog gone it, if he’s running he must have done something wrong. Two men, Gregory McMichael, 64, and his son Travis McMichael, 34 had seen Arbery in the neighborhood before, which reflexively raised their suspicions. Gregory and Travis, along with neighbor William “Roddie” Bryan, 50, in separate trucks pursued and cornered Arbery. When Arbery was boxed in, Travis jumped from his truck, aimed his shotgun point blank at Arbery’s chest, and as Arbery tried to escape he was shot three times. The pursuit of Arbery was ostensibly to affect a citizen’s arrest because they believed Arbery may have been involved in a series of burglaries (not to digress, but a citizen’s arrest where there is no actual evidence of a crime is illegal- even in the state of Georgia.) For reasons I will conjecture upon later, “Roddie” videoed the pursuit and killing with his cell phone. Initially, no charges were filed. The presiding D.A., Jackie Johnson, knew Gregory, who once worked for her. Ah, the prevailing attitude- let’s sweep this one under the carpet, tidy things up a bit and move on. But alas, the video was inexplicably turned over to police by “Roddie.” Somehow, he later claimed, it would justify the actions of him and his friends. Not surprisingly, it leaked, and soon went viral, generating global outrage. The case was turned over to The Georgia Bureau Of Investigation. The bureau concluded that all three men “Chased, hunted down and ultimately executed Arbery.” In due course, the case went to trial.

But, the murder was on video, for gosh darn. The accused men’s’ attorneys heads were spinning for a defense. Brainstorm! That’s it- defense- self defense! Why, it’s all there in, well, Black and White. When Arbery was cornered between the two trucks, “Trapped like a rat,” as Gregory later stated, Travis jumped out of the truck, aimed his shotgun point blank at Arbery’s chest, and shot him three times. But you see, he had to! He had no choice. When the unarmed Arbery instinctively tried to wrest the shotgun barrel from his chest to save his life, he could have- no, better, make that would have- wrenched the gun away and murdered poor Travis. Why, it’s common sense that this would have happened. Look- look you eleven out of twelve White Georgian jury members. Yes, yes, we’re not supposed to think these things, but you know how these people are. How fast, powerful and violent they are. Why, as one of the defense attorneys stated, “Arbery was not an innocent victim. Why, he wore no socks to cover his long, dirty toenails.” Ah ha- a smoking gun, if you will. By the way, not to digress, as I am wont to do, but how did she get close enough to Arbery’s feet to discern the state of his toenails? Fascinating thought- does she live a secret life as a necrophiliac foot fetishist, sneaking into morgues at dead of night to drool ghoulishly over dead men’s feet? Did she produce evidence, statistics or scientific studies that suggest that long dirty toenails correlate to criminality? I mean the dirty toenail argument is pretty slim pickins’, but they have to come up with something. Or, perhaps she thought a radiantly stupid, racist, ad hominem and non sequitur attack on the victim might sway some fence straddlers on the jury.

But the defense’s case was problematic. Optics are important. It didn’t help that the three defendants looked like racist rednecks plucked out of Hollywood central casting. What to do? Ignorance of the law may not be an excuse, but how about severe stupidity? That was the track taken by “Roddie’s” lead attorney. His counsel brilliantly did the impossible, by characterizing “Roddie” as even more dimwitted than his co-defendants. Yes, his attorney argued, that even if a crime had been committed, his client was such a dullard as to be rendered harmless. Look at him- the neighborhood fool. A bumbling buffoon lacking the grey matter to participate in a homicide. Oh the chutzpah! Could Alan Dershowitz have argued more effectively?

Was this a racially motivated hate crime? Nonsense, the attorneys would opine. When interviewed by police, “Roddie” of the dim light stated that Travis called Arbery “A fucking nigger” as he lay dying on the road. The image of the Confederate flag appeared on Travis’s truck, and overtly racist text massages were found in “Roddie’s” phone. Irrelevant- coincidental! Uncanny perhaps, but nothing of import nonetheless. And that video. As mentioned, though not a member of Mensa, did “Roddie” really believe it was to their benefit, proving they tried to arrest Arbery- proving if nothing else his attorney’s depiction of his client’s mental acumen? But allow me to posit an alternate explanation:

The video does not show decent citizens protecting their neighborhood. No. This was a lynching. A father and son bonding lynching as in the good ole’ Jim Crow days. Why did “Roddie” video the proceedings? Why do some hunters bring along a buddy to video the taking down of an elk- or a buck? To memorialize the victory for posterity.

Ultimately they overplayed their cards, an inherently losing hand. The mostly White jury didn’t close ranks along racial lines. They had it within them to think critically, examine the evidence, and arrive at a just decision. All three, guilty of various counts of murder.

And so, for all you White supremacists, look at your shackled brethren. Do they look supreme, slouching as they shuffle from the court room to their new home- the penitentiary?

Take pride. They may be the best and the brightest of you.

The Trouble With Kyle

Look at him. Such a sweet innocent face. Those plump cherubic cheeks, the kind of cheeks my Sicilian uncles would reflexively pinch and not let go. Come on. He’s just a kid. All kids get into mischief from time to time. Did you see the video? Did you see him traipsing about the streets, the burning streets of Kenosha, like a carefree, frisky puppy, his baby fat jiggling as he ran? How could such a harmless looking boy be a killer? Rather easily, it would appear.

On August 25th, 2020, at a protest that turned into a riot in Kenosha, Wisconsin, resulting from the police shooting of a Black man multiple times in the back, seventeen year old Kyle Rittenhouse crossed state lines from Antioch Illinois into Wisconsin. Ostensibly, he was there to join other civilian militia to guard and protect property. Was he invited by property owners? No. When interviewed by a roving reporter, young Kyle stated he was an EMT (emergency medical technician) and wanted to administer medical attention to anyone he encountered who was hurt. He was not an EMT. He carried with him a medical kit, a fire extinguisher and- an AR-15 semi-automatic rifle. Why, every earnest EMT should carry one- they are designed to save lives, are they not? Now the narrative becomes obfuscated, a la Rashomon Effect.

At one point, Young Kyle is seen running across the street, away from the roving interviewer. There is a confrontation with a man named Joseph Rosenbaum. Rosenbaum threw a bag at Young Kyle and allegedly issued verbal threats. Young Kyle shot him four times within four feet. The crowd observes. Is he an active shooter? Is he not decked out in the typical garb of civilian militia? He is pursued and falls on his back. A man named Anthony Huber attempts to disarm Young Kyle, and strikes him with a skateboard. He is shot in the chest and dies. A third man, admittedly brandishing a hand gun, is shot in the arm. Most of the bicep is blown away. Young Kyle gets up and flees from the crowd, and encounters police. He tells them he has shot people. They give him water and tell him to go home. Honest Injun’. What is it about cops and baby faced right wing killers? Remember Dylann Roof? The cops gave him Burger King when they arrested him. Now, if at all possible, try to imagine the above described scenario, all details identical, except Young Kyle is Black. He tells the cop he has shot three people. How might they reply? “Aw, get out of here kid. Here’s some water. Now scram and go home.” I know. You can’t imagine it.

Eventually, our young rascal was arrested and charged with multiple offenses, including murder. When Young Kyle appeared before a judge, Lady Luck was beaming at him. He went before Judge Bruce Schroeder, who at an earlier hearing, denied a request from the D.A. to increase bail by $200,000 because a video had surfaced showing Young Kyle in a bar drinking beer with members of the “Proud Boys,” the notorious White Nationalist group who were key players in the January 6th storming of the nation’s capital. Well, is not storming what storm troopers do? Our boy, who for the remainder of this piece shall be referred to as YK, was wearing a “Free As Fuck” tee shirt and flashing the OK sign (thumb touching index finger), often displayed by White Supremacists. The charge of a minor in possession of a firearm was dropped because YK did not buy the weapon, but borrowed it, and within the infinite wisdom of Wisconsin law, the barrel was too long to qualify as a hand gun, which would have been illegal. I hope you are processing this better than I am. The honorable Judge Schroeder also ordered that the three men who YK shot could not be referred to as victims by the D.A., but the defense could refer to them as arsonists or looters, if there was evidence they were involved in such activities. Question: if there was no such evidence, then why could they not then be described as victims? Ask the judge. Throughout the trial the judge excoriated in near rage the D.A. over technicalities. Such an impartial adjudicator. He may as well have been wearing a sandwich board stating, “I’M WITH KYLE!”

During the actual trial, the defense rolled the dice and put YK on the stand. It was self-defense, he pleaded. He only did what he had to do to stay alive. At one point, he broke down, poor boy, in sobs- enough crocodile tears to fill the Nile. Such a convincing performance- Stanislavski would be proud; a Proud Boy, if you will.

Then- the day of reckoning. Not guilty on all charges. More histrionic sobs, wracked with them; tears of joy, of vindication- and then he began to swoon.

And what now for YK? From day one he has been the darling of the Alt-Right and White Nationalists. He has been deified by the likes of Tucker Carlson, Ann Coulter and Matt Gaetz, the champion and protector of seventeen year olds. YK may himself emerge as a pundit on Fox, with a bit of grooming. But what about now. How can he make a bit of money?

Remember George Zimmerman, who, in my opinion, murdered another seventeen year old, Travon Martin, a kid who was unarmed, minding his own business and Black? Zimmerman sold the murder weapon, a 9MM hand gun, for $250,000 at auction. An AR-15, with two kills and a maiming on it’s pedigree, should do a Hell of a lot better.

Some Reflections On Samhain And A Halloween Poem

For years I felt freakish and aberrant. A grown man, well into maturity, who never lost his passion for Halloween, or Samhain as the ancient Celtic people called it. But with each year I learn how many adults, many well into the Golden Years, have also retained their love and excitement for Halloween. Some thoughts:

The psychologist Carl Jung believed there is a collective unconscious; that we all share ancient memories and beliefs that are inherent in the human psyche. We are drawn to Halloween and yearn for its arrival before the times of cold and darkness are upon us. We may never have harvested, but we remember the harvest. We may not be hunters, but we know the excitement of the hunt when The Hunter’s Moon glows from above. But Halloween presents a contradiction.

Halloween is in stark contradiction to most of our major holidays. There are Pagan elements and symbols in Christian based holidays like Christmas and Easter (mistletoe, eggs and rabbits, all of which relate to fertility and procreation, but have been neutered of their true meanings). But Halloween has successfully resisted being co-opted and remains essentially Pagan. Attempts to Christianize this Pagan holiday in the guise of All Saints Day or All Hallows Eve have failed.

Halloween is that time, that day and especially that night, when we are allowed to reconnect with our ancient roots; when fear and guilt are overwhelmed by excitement, and we revel in things seen and not seen. We feel it in the air, sense it underfoot and see it in the sky. Is that odd shaped cloud really a cloud? Doesn’t it look, at least somewhat, like a witch on a broomstick? Are those shadows really shadows, or shades from the spirit world?

This is not a day and night of contrition, shame or guilt. This sacred time is not for flagellants and brow beaters, when we must cower beneath the oppression of The One God, the God of floods and plagues. Was it not the poet Ezra Pound who said we should never have turned our backs on the Pagan gods? The spirits of Halloween smile like gleeful jack-o-lanterns and expect, for at least one night, that we feel joy and exhilaration as we dance before the bonfires of Samhain, bold, ecstatic, fearless and without shame.

Admit it- we’re all at least a little bit Pagan.

Treat- Or Trick?

Old house- old woman. A witch? We were afraid to knock on her door.

The most coveted treats were homemade- the candied colored apples; the sugary buttery pop corn balls. So trusting then. Razor blades? Poison? Allowing such treats now would be child endangerment.

The dichotomy then- the joy of running from house to house, amassing candy wealth in billowing pillow cases, balanced with a nocturnal dread. Things can happen, those unspeakable things that go bump in the night.

Innocence dies a slow death, like a Jack-O-Lantern, turning soft and black, rotting in the November sun. A Halloween will come, perhaps next year.

Bolder now, we approach the old house where the old woman lives, and knock.

She opens the door. “Trick or treat!” Why, she does not look like an evil witch, a cackling hag with a long crooked nose capped with a gnarled wart. She looks like grandma. A doting loving grandma. She smiles with delight at our varied costumes, and doles out homemade treats: candied covered apples; sweet buttery popcorn balls.

She is generous- and wise in the ways of tricks and treats – and of razor blades and poison.

Imagine If You Can

Imagine if you can parents screaming, yes screaming, their rage at city council and school board meetings. And imagine if you can these parents in such a venomous frenzy that their hatred seems to spray out of their pores; spores and droplets of hatred circulating among the attendees, none of whom are wearing masks. Listen to the banshee wail of these suburban parents as masked board members go from being quietly stoic, to terrified as the parents roar that they know where the board members live; then crank up the decibels, threatening not only the board members but their friends, families and children with mayhem, sexual violence and death. What horrific and barbarous behavior have these board members exhibited? What taboo and debased proposals have they made that would turn sane and civil citizens into a frothing lunatic mob, prepared to lynch, maim and tear limb from limb well meaning members of community boards and councils? Brace yourself, oh gentle reader. They have proposed that children, for their own protection, and the protection of others, wear masks at school, and be vaccinated for Covid.

Small measures you may think, to affect a greater good for a greater number, i.e. the general welfare of society.

Have things truly regressed to a state of mindless, primitive tribalism for a substantial portion of society? Imagine if you can when the Salk vaccine was introduced, which effectively provided immunity from crippling and sometimes fatal polio, parents exploding, ranting psychotically, “How dare you- how dare you! Our little Bobby has a God-given, constitutional right to live a life of quiet introspection within the protective womb of an iron lung. How dare you deprive him of that right!” Or imagine if you can vicious parental hysteria regarding tetanus vaccinations. “How dare you! How dare you unpatriotic bureaucrats preventing our little Judy from attaining her full womanhood by depriving her of the joys of lockjaw!

I have a theory regarding ignorant, hateful people. Why do they behave like that? Well, here it is: It’s because they love being ignorant and they love hating. Do neon vacancy signs flicker in their eyes at the mention of critical thinking and logical consistency? If they believe that mandated protective masks and vaccines are a violation of individual liberty, do they get hysterical when driving and must stop for a red light? How dare the oppressive state dictate when we must stop. Do they understand- even an eensy bit- that stopping for red lights is not only for their protection, but for the protection of their fellow citizens, many of whom desire the liberty of not being broadsided by some idiot?

If these outraged citizens, with their warped one way our way or the highway mentality feel compelled to play Russian Roulette- with masks, vaccinations or traffic lights, I say hear, hear! Just make sure the gun barrel is resting on your temples, and not ours.

Introducing: The Red Wing Chronicles (A Stream Of Consciousness Personal Exorcism)

I really don’t know how many people read my blog posts. For the past year or so, at various times, I have posted several pieces with subtitles like “A stream of consciousness rant, or lament, etc. from “The Red Wing Chronicles (A stream Of Consciousness Personal Exorcism). This is my latest book- part memoir of my first 30 years or so, and part stream of consciousness rant. Stream of consciousness is a technique in which the writer’s thoughts are quickly rendered into written words with minimal thought or fermentation. James Joyce, Jack Kerouac, and Virginia Wolf have used this technique in various of their works and when it is successful it often is akin to a jazz improvisation in words.

Although the words often flowed, this was a difficult book to write. My childhood was hardly a pleasant one. It was rife with serious illness, bullying and family abuse. The serious illness was ulcerative colitis, and during a six week stay in a “teaching hospital” (charity ward euphemism) I nearly died. Whether my precarious condition was due to the illness, or patient neglect (as evidenced by permanent bed sore scarring) or both, is conjectural. I will leave descriptions of abuse and bullying in the book, for those who care to read it. A heads up- today there is cyber bullying. The abuse and bullying from my childhood was physical and emotional, and much of it would be deemed criminal today.

The memories in my story trigger the rants, which are often raw and vehemently emotional (but still peppered with my cynical, sarcastic and sardonic sense of humor pervasive in my blog posts). They are also cerebral, and deal with topics such as the fragility and illusory nature of memory, the subjectivity of sanity, the relativism of good, evil and morality, and the hypocrisy of authority.

Catharsis is never easy. Nor is exorcism of one’s personal demons. This book is, I believe, unique; not just in content but in conception. It was conceived and written with my feet up on the couch, staring as if in trance and being steered and inspired by the greatest pair of shoes ever cobbled. My scuffed up, wise and seen it all from the ground up shoes. My dear old Red Wing friends.

Sharia Law Texas Style

They’ve taken control with little resistance. Tribal people with rules, laws and sensibilities from the 7th century. For a time, there had been progress, measured in inches, moving toward the civilized world, but the regression was quick and draconian.

Women are no longer sovereign within their own bodies. The tribal rulers have declared that women can no longer terminate pregnancy after the sixth week- a period when most women may not be aware that they’re pregnant. No exceptions, except endangerment of the mother’s life; not even if the pregnancy resulted from rape or incest.

You may think I’m describing the barbaric patriarchy of the Taliban as they impose Sharia law in Afghanistan. You think wrong. I’m describing Texas, which has signed into law Bill TX (SB8). But although the new law may seem like a blast from the Stone Age past, the method of enforcement is so ludicrous as to render Texas the scourge and laughing stock of the civilized world. The police are keeping out of this- private citizens are tasked to enforce the law!

Yes, any private citizen. With or without standing. Anyone who suspects that someone, however obliquely, has aided or abetted an abortion, can be sued by an abortion vigilante. The plaintiff doesn’t even have to reside in Texas. Any plaintiff who brings forward civil action against an aider or abetter and wins will be rewarded a minimum of $10,000, to be paid out of the defendant’s pocket. And who would be considered an aider or abetter? Included would be the Uber or taxi driver who drove the woman to the abortion clinic; the neighbor who helped fund the abortion, or even pays for the transportation to the clinic; anyone who provided funding for the woman’s health insurance and of course the physician who performs the procedure. Why stop there? How about anyone who wishes the woman good luck, or gives her a hug en route to the clinic? And why should pets be off the hook? If Bowser the Golden Lab jumps up and slobbers love and encouragement to the woman as she’s out the door, should he not share in the guilt? No doggy treats or tummy rubs for him, let’s say, for six months.

Anyone remember the reality T.V. show “Dog, The Bounty Hunter?” You know, the buffed bad ass biker dude who apprehended people who jumped bail? Well, welcome to the new breed of bounty hunters, lurking about, spying on their neighbors, snooping into other people’s affairs and lives. Why, are they not doing God’s work, sparing the lives of billions of zygotes from genocide (we can’t say infanticide; not at six weeks) and earning money in the process?

Imagine the chaos! How would the abortion “Dog The Bounty Hunter” equivalents gather information? What specific evidence would be required? What if they couldn’t find any and made things up? Why, the guilty could be anyone: that rude kid at the local take-out; that despised neighbor who keeps driving over your chrysanthemums; the obnoxious uncle you only see on Thanksgiving, crashed out on the couch after eating too much mince pie. These aiders and abetters are everywhere and must be stopped. And what if some of them do not like being snooped upon? Texas is a stand your ground, open and carry without a permit state, and dog gone it, trespassers can be shot. Think of the excitement- the Wild West mayhem of gun toting abortion snoopers in shoot outs with heavily armed abortion abetters. Ah, the delicious irony, people killing each other over the sanctity of life. Davey Crockett and Sam Houston would be proud!

The Quran does not address abortion. In some Muslim majority countries like Tunisia, and authoritarian countries like China and Russia, abortion is relatively accessible. In North Korea the margin is wide; a woman can obtain an abortion for “important reasons.” The reality is, there is no complete ban comparable to Texas under Islamic law.

Oh that liberal Taliban. Way out in front of the second largest state on abortion. How they must frown upon the primitive tribal beliefs of the extremists in Texas.

Perhaps in due course Texas women will break free from the shackles of the Lone Star State and make a beeline to the land of the Burka.

The Ghost Of Bridget Bishop

Does the name Bridget Bishop ring a bell? It would be remarkable if it did.

Bridget Bishop was the first woman to be hanged as a witch in Salem, Massachusetts, in 1692. Eighteen other women were subsequently hanged, along with one elderly man who was pressed to death. All were convicted of being Satan worshiping witches. Based on what evidence, you may ask? None. They were murdered per allegations, waged by hysterical children and religious zealots. It was alleged by her accusers that Bishop, with the merest of glances, could inflict fits and paroxysms upon them. Her trial lasted eight days. Quite speedy, expedited by growing hysteria within the Salem community, and the absence of deliberating over evidence. There was none.

No doubt the accusers, the law enforcers and the Puritan hierarchy which included the notorious Cotton Mather, believed they were being diligent and dutiful in affecting the harsh will of God. After all, was not the New World the battleground in the war between Satan and God? There were no recantations or regrets, let alone remorse from the righteous Christian soldiers who issued the condemnations and pulled the lever on the gallows. Bishop’s reported last words were, “I am innocent. I am no witch. I know nothing of it.” Were any of the executed truly in league with the Devil? In hindsight, the question itself is absurd.

Fast forward about three hundred years to a quaint California coastal city called Manhattan Beach, where the McMartin preschool was located.

In 1983, Judy Johnson, mother of one of the McMartin preschoolers, reported to the police that her son had been sodomized by her estranged husband and McMartin teacher, Ray Buckey, who was also the grandson of the school’s founder Virginia McMartin. Why did Judy Johnson, who was an alcoholic and diagnosed with acute paranoid schizophrenia, conclude that her son had been sodomized? Because he had a series of painful bowl movements. There are mothers in this world who would have contacted a gastroenterologist if the symptoms persisted. But Judy, a stranger to Occam’s Razor, instead contacted the police. In addition to the sodomy accusation, Judy also made accusations that other McMartin staff engaged in beastiality in front of the children and that Ray Buckey could fly. At this point one might assume that discerning members of the Manhattan Beach Police investigating unit might conclude that Judy was- well, bat shit crazy, and buried the case in the coo coo file and moved on to more pressing matters. But nay. They elected to do something that still ranks at the apex of law enforcement stupidity. They mailed form letters to about 200 parents of McMartin students informing them that Ray Buckey had been arrested for suspected child molestation, and their children should be questioned as to having witnessed, or been the victim of, oral sex, fondling of genitals or buttocks and sodomy under the pretense of taking the children’s temperature. Also, had they ever seen Buckey disappear with a child during nap time or tie a child up? A questionnaire was to be completed and returned in the enclosed stamped envelope ASAP! Then it was off to the races.

Hysteria spreads like wild fire doused in kerosene. Several hundred children were interviewed by an L.A. based abuse therapy clinic run by a woman named Kee McFarlane. A well known local T.V. reporter named Wayne Satz was assigned to the case. It was later learned that Satz and McFarlane had struck up a romantic relationship. Many of the questions posed to the children were suggestive and leading, tantamount to, “Bobby, did Mr. Buckey ever touch your privates? No? Well Billy said he did, and you’re as smart as Billy, aren’t you?” Ah, to have one’s lover leak lurid and lascivious information. Satz was like a pig at the pastry wagon in his nightly reportage.

When the trial began, Judy Johnson’s alcoholism and mental illness were withheld from the defense by deputy D.A. Robert Philibosian, who was also accused of committing perjury. Oh, this milk train had enough for everyone! Such an opportunity to gain notoriety and establish brands. A clinical psychologist for the defense testified that after viewing the videotaped interviews, that the children’s statements were coerced and scripted.

In addition to Buckey, his mother, grandmother and several other McMartin staffers were charged with 321 counts of child abuse. There were two trials; one in 1987 and one in 1990. Ultimately all charges were dropped. Ray Buckey had spent five years in prison. Several children later recanted their testimonies. Not a scintilla of evidence was ever produced. Mary Fischer of the L.A. Times stated that the case was “Simply invented.” The McMartin preschool was later demolished, along with the lives of the accused.

And all of this brings us to Andrew Cuomo, governor of New York, who, facing imminent impeachment, resigned today. Questions abound:

(1) 11 women have accused him of sexual harassment. Some of the allegations, like grabbing a woman’s breast or buttocks, are disturbing. Others are disturbing by their vagueness. Allegations of “inappropriate behavior” or “unwanted touching”could be placed on a wide, subjective spectrum. For some people an embrace, pat on the back or even a handshake may be unwanted. Key question- did he know at the time the touching was unwanted? Cuomo’s m.o. has always been a “touchy-feely” politician of the old school.

(2) Is there any tangible evidence supporting his behavior? Eye witness corroboration? videos, text or sext messages?

(3) At what point do uncorroborated accusations equate to guilt? Is there a general rule of thumb, or better, a mathematical formula or equation? Is there a threshold- say, less than five equals hearsay, one equals he said she said, over ten equals guilt? Are points given or taken away based upon the perceived veracity and character of both accuser and accused?

(4) What ever happened to the concept of due process? Of reserving judgement until both sides have presented evidence and all parties have been vetted? All human motives are mixed motives. What do the accusers have to lose? Or gain?

(5) Why now? Did Cuomo have a lascivious transformation after 60? He’s been in politics for decades. Surely there must be incidences from years ago?

Do I think Cuomo is, at least to some degree, guilty? Probably. Do I think there is at least a possibility he is not? Certainly.

11 women have accused Cuomo. They can’t all be wrong, can they?

Ask the ghost of Bridget Bishop.

When Hatred And Stupidity Collide

There is a now infamous picture of six members of a ragtag group of Michigan militia called the Wolverine Watchmen, standing against the wall of the Michigan State Capital Building, decked out in full battle regalia, staring balefully at the camera. Their AR-15 long guns are visibly brandished, combat ready. They are part of an armed protest staged on April 30th, 2020. Fury and outrage are in the air. Why are they there? Because Governor Gretchen Whitmer, like numerous other governors in the country, was using her authority to affect the greatest good and safety for the greatest number by shutting down her state and mandating mask wearing in the face of the deadliest pandemic in a century. The Wolverine Watchmen believed this warranted dragging her into the street and hanging her. But first she must be exposed. Social media was flooded with photo shopped images of Whitmer with her head on Hitler’s body, and another with her head on a porn actress’s body with the caption, “Gross slut fucks whole state.” Oh, such witty wordsmiths these Watchmen be! The delicious irony. Nazis depicting Whitmer as a Nazi. Do they know what a Nazi is? Do they know who they are? Or perhaps they were deliberately engaging in irony, as wordsmiths are wont to do.

Questions abound. Doesn’t this reaction seem, well, perhaps an eensy bit excessive? Whitmer is relatively young, attractive and one of the few women governors. Would such a draconian response be levied against a gnarled old man? The Wolverine Watchmen, brave patriots all, felt compelled, for the good of the country and preservation of the Constitution, to take action. Drastic action.

The main stream media, according to Watchmen member Adam Fox, had grown overly harsh towards militias, those stalwart sentinels of the American Way (as in way back, before the Civil War). As he so eloquently expressed on a clandestine recording, “They (the media) fucking called us domestic terrorists,” he stated, hurt and incensed. “We want to take that stigma off and let them know who we are because we’re not fucking racists, we’re not White nationalists. We just want our fucking Constitution and we want all these lawless fucking tyrants out of fucking power. It’s that simple.” Could Patrick Henry possibly have stated it better?

Extreme times demand extreme measures. The measure? Well duh. Whitmer must be kidnapped and executed. Plans were drawn, including maps, surveillance and videos of the governor’s property. There were practices and dry runs in the woods. A bridge would be blown up as a diversion, then the governor’s house would be breached and she would be snatched and grabbed. Lickety split. Easy as pie. Yeah. Pulling off the kidnapping and murder of a governor of a major state would be problematic, to say the least, for the Mossad or Seal Team Six. But were not the Watchman highly trained and intelligent operatives, knowing who to trust and when not to talk? As another of the Watchmens’ eloquent orators was recorded as saying if Whitmer was in his clutches, “I’m going to do some of the most nasty, disgusting things that you have ever read about in the history of your life.” Ah, nothing like a suave urbane assassin, radiating charm, a real lady killer if you will.

But, as fate would have it, early on an FBI informant had infiltrated the group, and, perhaps unsportingly, had worn a wire at all times. Soon thereafter multiple FBI agents had infiltrated, and the Watchmen were surrounded from within. At some point, one of the more observant Watchmen could have pondered, one might think, “Who in the hell are all these new guys?” But nay, perhaps they were so focused on their plan that their peripheral vision became blurred, plus those FBI boys can be so ingratiatingly brotherly.

By October 8th, 2020, while training near a barn, the doors burst open and The Watchmen were swarmed by FBI agents. Thirteen men were arrested and charged with plotting to kidnap Whitmer and violently overthrow the state government. Were they White Supremacists? No. Not even White Mediocratists.

And so a glimmer of hope. The dark forces of hate, racism and misogyny may be plotting and conspiring to wreak havoc on our increasingly precarious democracy, but alas, are probably too stupid to pull it off.

Ain’t Nothin’ But A Thing (Stream Of Consciousness From The Red Wing Chronicles)

Slavery. Are we not all slaves on some level and to some degree? We take orders all of our lives from parents teachers bosses cops captains generals and if we rebel there are consequences parental restrictions detentions tickets terminations court martials imprisonments executions racks thumb screws floggings flailings and even god forbid severe scoldings and eyebrow raisings. So behave yourselves watch your manners hold your tongues don’t talk back hop to it salute curtsy bow kneel don’t sass back pull over when you see red lights flashing in your rear view mirror and sirens screech keep your hands on the wheel is there a problem officer yes sir no sir what’s that you say sir I didn’t signal when I turned but officer I never turned the road is straight for twenty miles behind and twenty miles ahead I could’t turn if I wanted to uh oh wrong response don’t give me no lip boy don’t reach for that gun in your pocket boy but officer I don’t have a gun in my pocket I’m just happy to see you double uh oh some people have no sense of humor shots are fired your brains splatter a 9mm is discreetly placed in your hand then those five magic words taught in Cop 101- “I feared for my life.” No video no witnesses no crime. Ain’t nothin’ but a thing.

We think we’re slaves? We think our servitude is bad? Think twice unless you’re Black.

The myth. The great myth that slavery ended when Bobby Lee took the quill from Ulysses Grant and signed on the dotted line. The great war is over slavery is abolished emancipation is proclaimed free at last free at last well don’t be too fast loosening your shackles. Good old Abe as naive as he was appealing to the better angels of our nature why it was all a nasty disagreement and we did keep it within the family we forgive you oh Sons and Daughters of the Noble Confederacy we just didn’t see eye to eye on a few things let’s let bygones be bygones but the Confederacy as treacherous as a coiled snake on a flag kept their hatred alive inside their hearts inside their bones oh Abraham you should have listened to the whispers of the darker angels and broken the backs of the traitor states annexation absorption by the victors the righteous victors The North was voracious enough to swallow The South but temperance was observed in nothing be so temperate as in the handling of vipers their states stayed intact and slavery lived on manifested in different guise in Jim Crow chain gangs lynchings segregation now segregation tomorrow segregation forever slavery dies a slow death and without a stake driven through it’s heart it will rise again not that it ever truly fell.

A flawed but decent man once asked, “Can’t we just get along?”A simple and innocent question a bit odd perhaps in light of his having been beaten half to death by a phalanx of White racist cops getting their ya yas by subjugating a big Black buck. And the city of Los Angeles The City Of The Angels nearly burned to the ground when his oppressors, their brutality rendered forever on video, were yet acquitted. It ain’t nothin’ but a thing.

Was Sisyphus in fact a Black slave, rolling the great boulder of freedom up the steep mountain and just when he thought the back breaking soul breaking ordeal was finished, when he thought he was free at last free at last, the boulder slipping from his grasp just before the summit, rolling back to the bottom oh so near and yet so far so much struggle so much turmoil endured then having to start all over again. Regression is the equal and opposite reaction to progression maybe Newton called it right so to all of you descended progeny of slaves remember your roots and loosened shackles can be ratcheted back up at the drop of a hat so watch each others’ backs and when the wind blows keep a tight grip on that snazzy new Stetson. It ain’t nothin’ but a thing.

Of Dogs And Cats (A Stream Of Consciousness Observation From The Red Wing Chronicles)

Maybe I need a pet. It might be problematic as pets need to be cared for, and I it would seem am eternally on the couch staring at my Red Wings and even if I could get up judging by the scuffs on my revered and wondrous shoes I probably wouldn’t be any more conscientious about tending to a pet than I am to my Red Wings.

Dogs. Dogs make wonderful pets. They are unconditionally loyal absolutely loving categorically devoted to us most of whom are egregiously undeserving of their love and adoration. Most dogs are better people than most people so said the wise man look at us with our wars purges holocausts pogroms persecutions prejudices inquisitions rapes murders and lest we forget our abysmal manners and lack of etiquette using the wrong fork to eat our salad ordering the wrong wine with our entre forgetting to curtsy refusing to bow stepping on feet speaking in tongues telling untruths screaming great lies bursting with pride and behaving like boors.

None of the above would ever be associated with dogs. They love us so dearly slathering us with love pure love sloppy drippy love hysterical with joy at the very sight of us smelling us with voraciousness lapping and licking us with slavish adoration yes I know you naysayers they do sometimes bite and bark the bark always bigger than the bite small imperfections flaws that only make them more endearing. Yes, there is nothing like a dog.

But cats on the other hand. Those hissing treacherous creatures blase’ when we arrive home unappreciative when we feed and pet them as if it’s their imperious due snapping at us scratching us surely they are pretenders vile venomous vipers masquerading as mammals what is their allure why do we put up with them what purpose do they serve other than meowing and making blood curdling screeching sounds dogs despise them what better recommendation to follow suit and I can attest to this: women who love dogs are more tolerant of men than women who love cats so next time the coyotes roam leave the door open.