That Watergate deja vu

I had just turned seventeen in 1974 but today, for the first time, a lifetime later, a very unsettling Watergate deja vu envelops me, not as history or All The President’s Men, but of the experience of being outside that spring and summer as momentous political machinations turned inside behind closed doors. A feeling of utter helplessness. This is how history, big history, happens. If only we knew how it will all turn out. Time to turn off the news and get off the internet and disappear into a book or an old movie or more Duke Ellington. Time to escape this reality and slip into another, if only for a couple hours. Time to sign off.


Chief Wahoo

My wife is an Indian (Sioux and Oneida) and has no problem with Indian team names/mascots except for two: the Redskins because light as she is she was still called a redskin, and Chief Wahoo, because it’s so damn insulting.

Then again, like all tribal Indians, she considers that their business and not ours. There is no faster way of getting on a tribal Indian’s nerves than telling them what they are supposed to think and why. Or even worse, think we are one of them. We aren’t. We come from over there. No matter your color or creed or ethnicity, if most of your ancestry did not come across the Bering Strait land bridge, you are not one of them. And you will never be, no matter how many pow wows you’ve been to. Not that they would ever tell you that. They’ll just roll their eyes when you turn around.

Unfortunately neither Bevis nor Butthead had attained the constitutionally mandated minimum age.

I don’t understand the objections to celebrities for president. I voted for Johnny Carson for president (twice), then Cher, then Meat Loaf, and finally the entire cast of Hill Street Blues, or would have if they’d fit on the ballot.

Is Miley Cyrus thirty five yet?

Seismic shift

​Trump is giving a speech right now and it’s not being covered live by CNN or MSNBC, rather they’re both discussing if he’s mentally fit to be president. Two weeks ago both networks would’ve put their regular programming on hold and broadcast the speech live.

It feels like something cracked and gave way. Someone tweeted from a sports bar in Georgia, and when Donald strode onto the football field, everyone in the joint loudly booed the TV. 


Right now I’m guessing that the Democrats will gain some seats in the House but nowhere near enough to take the majority, and I think we will wind up with less Senate seats then we do now. I didn’t think this a month ago, but the way we’re headed is that we’ll win big in blue states, bigger than ever. And that’s about it. Don’t expect any big shift in governorships and state legislatures either, except that blue states on the coasts will get bluer, a deep California blue. But though the GOP will be crippled going into 2020 by their own civil war, the Democrats could come out of 2018 with less seats than they have ever had. Still, it’s highly doubtful a Republican will be elected president in 2020, even though they will dominate every other level of government in the country. Ain’t politics funny. As for 2018, we lost that this summer. Too late to fix now, and the red states will come out of this summer redder than ever. Purple is a fleeting color, and it already flit.

A mistaken cop can shoot you down at any time, and that is the law.

Despite what you keep reading on social media, it’s not likely that the cop who shot the woman in Minnesota would be convicted by a jury, provided it even goes to trial. Because if the cop believed the person he shot was potentially a mortal threat, he will be acquitted. He apparently shot her from the passenger seat through his partner’s door where she was talking with his partner. She died from a shot to the abdomen, though not instantly. She might have quickly bled to death, or went into cardiac arrest. There is no word on whether she was handcuffed. Nor is there any explanation as to why she was shot. We can only assume the shooting officer thought she had a gun in her hand. No gun was found, however her cell phone was found, and the officer must have assumed that her cell phone was a handgun and that this lady in her pajamas could be a cop killer. And that is the key. Even if the partner who was talking to the woman knew she had no gun, the fact that the shooting officer thought she had a gun in her hand is all that is required for acquittal. This has been famously established by several juries. You can see the impact of these latest jury decisions on police behavior. They shoot, knowing that all they have to say is that they thought their victim was armed and might be going to kill them. Providing clear cut evidence that the victim was neither armed nor intending any sort of violence will not convict the officer. All that is required for acquittal is that the officer thought his life (or his partner’s life) was in jeopardy. Prosecution will have to prove that the officer could not have believed his life was in danger. And juries have shown absolutely no tendency to believe an officer could be mistaken. The bar has been set so low for justifiable homicide by a police officer that convictions, no matter how egregious the shooting, are just about impossible. Indeed, Justine Ruszczyk (aka Justine Damond) is just the latest in a line of women who officers somehow believed were cop killers. Seattle police shot an unarmed pregnant woman named Charleena Lyles in her kitchen recently. She was African-American, and just as Justine Ruszczyk had called the police (to report what sounded like a sexual assault nearby), Charleena Lyles had called the police to report a burglary. At some point the two white responding officers suddenly decided she was a cop killer and shot her repeatedly in front of her children. The department found that they followed proper procedure. Odds are that the Minneapolis Police Department will come to the same conclusion in this latest shooting. It’s not that Justine Ruszczyk did anything wrong. It’s just that the officer did nothing wrong either. He apparently thought she had a gun, and while shooting someone to death through a car door based on a wrong assumption will get you a long stretch if you are a civilian, it is legitimate self-defense for a police officer as far as juries are concerned. He may be a Somali cop and she a pretty white lady, as both ends of the political spectrum keep pointing out, but he is still a cop and she wasn’t and the cop is always right. As jury after jury has established, a mistaken cop can shoot you down at any time, and there is nothing anyone can do about it. That is the law.