How Many Hail Mary’s Should I Say?

I’m not a member of the Roman Catholic church. I have Catholic friends, I’ve been to a few Catholic funerals, attended services a few times over the years and even been served the communion wafer which I now understand is highly questionable. I’m not Catholic but I’m feeling these days like I ought to be saying some Hail Mary’s or something because I’m feeling twinges of guilt about taking satisfaction in another person’s misery.

As I understand it, mostly from watching television. In the Catholic church, you can go to the priest, confess your sins and be given absolution. Typically given a parting statement such as, “Say three Hail Mary’s and sin no more.” There’s a significance to the Hail Mary’s I’m sure I don’t understand. It’s a petition for purity and much more. It seems to me there’s a potential for abuse in the process if someone has every intention of saying the Hail Marys… then going back out and committing the same sin. I need that kind of absolution because I have every intention of going right back and taking a gleeful satisfaction in Donald Trump’s misery every day until he’s gone and probably after that. It’s wrong, but it’s nice to think I can wipe the slate clean by saying some Hail Mary’s and start fresh the next day.

Donald Trump is totally screwed, and sad to say… I’m loving it. There are almost too many investigations into his criminal and treasonous behavior to keep track of. Besides the Mueller Special Counsel investigation into whether he and/or his campaign conspired with Russia to affect the 2016 Presidential Election. He is being investigated by the Southern District of New York and the New York State Attorney General among others for things like money laundering, fraud, Federal Election Campaign (FEC) violations, his fake foundation, foreign bribery charges and more. Every damn day (excuse me Lord) there is at least one breaking news story with more evidence of his corruption. Today we learned Trump was in the room with Michael Cohen and AMI Chairman David Pecker when they discussed the payoff of one a Playboy Playmate to keep her story of an extramarital affair with trump out of the papers prior to the election. Just another day in Trump’s life, and I was thrilled.

Every day I look forward to the next event. There’s good reason to believe his associate Roger Stone will soon be indicted. Also Donald Trump Jr, Jared Kushner and possibly Ivanka Trump as well. When the Mueller report is released, odds are very good Trump will be Impeached and it will be televised. Every single day he will be excoriated and diminished on national television, and I’m stockpiling popcorn, snacks, and drinks so I don’t have to miss an instant.

It has to be a sin to take this kind of pleasure in watching the complete and utter demise of a fellow human being. Then I remember it’s Donald Trump and get over it. But in case it is a sin, I have no problem saying a few Hail Mary’s as a preventive measure. just tell me how many and I’m good to go.

Michael Cohen Should Be Glad He Wasn’t A Black Woman

Michael Cohen, former personal attorney, and fixer for Donald Trump was sentenced to three years in prison after admitting guilt in several felonies including tax evasion, fraud, and lying to Congress. The sentencing range for his offenses on paper was from 51 to 63 months. I’m all in favor of Cohen going to jail despite having flipped on Donald Trump (who should get an even longer sentence). Yet, as more and more people are getting sentenced for crimes that in some cases are ultimately treason and crimes against the nation. I can’t help but notice the discrepancy in sentencing vs. black women who arguably shouldn’t have gone to jail at all.

Cyntoia Brown, a 30-year old black woman, is serving a sentence of a minimum of 51 years before becoming eligible for parole. In 2004, when she was a 16-year-old sex trafficking victim forced into prostitution. She shot and killed 43-year-old Johnny Allen, a Nashville real estate agent who she claimed was reaching for a gun. The case went as far as the Tennessee Supreme Court which affirmed she must serve 51 years before becoming eligible for parole. The Tennessee Governor is currently considering her case for clemency.

Marissa Alexander served almost six years after firing a warning shot at her husband, Rico Gray who had threatened to kill her. Gray had previously assaulted Alexander and threatened her life on separate occasions including 9 days after giving birth to her daughter. Marissa claimed to be “standing her ground” which was the defense successfully used by George Zimmerman. Alexander was prosecuted by Jacksonville State Attorney Angela Corey who failed to convict Zimmerman but had no such problem convicting a black woman. When an appeals court said faulty jury instructions had been given in the case. Corey threatened to charge Alexander with three felonies and ultimately agreed to a plea deal where Alexander admitted guild in order to be released based on her time served.

Crystal Mason voted in the 2016 election after her mother urger her to do her civic duty. An ex-felon, Crystal said she didn’t know her rights had not been reinstated and was sentenced to 5 years. The mother of three is serving her time in a Federal prison in Ft. Worth, TX.

While watching the various sentences handed down thus far related to the Robert Mueller Special Counsel and the Southern District of New York. One can’t help but notice how light the sentences are? Michael Flynn lied to the FBI, was an unregistered agent for Turkey, and infamously shouted, “Lock Her Up!” about Hillary Clinton, and will likely get zero jail time. Dutch lawyer Alex van der Zwaan got 30 days after refusing to cooperate with prosecutors. AMI President David Pecker will not be prosecuted after participating in the Trump/Cohen felonies. George Papadopoulos just served twelve days of a two-week sentence after lying to the FBI and whined like a baby that he had to go to jail at all. His sentence and location in Oxford, Wisconsin was akin to the average stay in summer camp.

So a few people are going to jail for relatively short terms (save Paul Manafort who’s totally screwed). But had they been black women, I suspect their sentences would be much different. One last example of a black woman who didn’t fare well when confronted with the criminal justice system. Sandra Bland… she’s dead.

Tipping Point! When Republican Senators Turn On Trump

The Republican-controlled Senate is all he has left. Once the House of Representatives was lost to the Democrats in the November mid-term elections. The question about Impeachment went from if to when with only timing in doubt. Democrats appear to be wisely waiting for the Mueller report to be issued, possibly combined with separate actions from the US Attorney from the Southern District of New York (SDNY). Providing all the damning evidence needed to begin the process.

House Democrats already have the simple majority of votes required to Impeach the President and send the matter to the Senate for trial. The question has always been, “What will it take to get enough Republican Senators to join Democrats to get to a two-thirds vote to remove Donald J Trump? What will be the final straw?

Trump has already survived “final straws” which would have been sufficient to undermine most others even while he ran for President. The Access Hollywood video where Trump described his ability to sexually assault women and infamously, “grab them by the pussy,” should have been enough. Yet he survived and went on to win the election. Since then he has been exposed as a serial liar, admitted to making payoffs to two women that alleged sexual relationships with Trump, and acknowledged long-running negotiations with Russians to build a Trump Tower Moscow while continuing to run for President. He’s obstructed justice in plain view and still, he stands.

Republican Senators have continued to lower the bar as to what is acceptable to accommodate Trump and for now would refuse to convict him despite what already appears to be overwhelming evidence the President has committed crimes, some while in office.

Reaction from Republican Senators has ranged from diminishing the seriousness of campaign law violations, ignoring the evidence of additional crimes, and waiting to see what other shoes drop before deciding which way to turn. New reports confirm that Republicans are already discussing at what point do they run away from Trump, whether it should be done sooner than later? Thus far though, they are standing firm in supporting Trump, fearing their future is tied to the Trump base. They are waiting for the public to lead them rather than the other way around. So what will it take?

Senate Republicans will be oblivious to each new days release of, “Breaking News” when we learn one more new thing to add to what they already know. The eventual release of the Mueller report will send them into hiding for a few days, avoiding reporters and cameras. Eventually, Fox News will provide them a narrative although it may not pass the smell test. Only when their constituents let them know they have no hope of reelection as long as they continue to stand by a criminal that has committed treason against their country will they begin to listen.

The other thing that will cause them to act is timing. As they watch their own brands being tied to Trump’s and realize the Senate will face devastating Republican losses in 2020 unless something changes. Someone will produce the narrative that if they could get rid of the Trump anchor, they could salvage their reputations with President Mike Pence.

If they wait too long… it won’t matter. If Pence also finds himself embroiled in conspiracy charges… it won’t matter. When all the soundbites are played of them standing with a liar and a crook… it won’t matter. Truth is, they’ve already waited too long. Any pretense of the country first and not the party is long gone.

Finally, they will go to Trump in secret and tell him as their predecessors once told Nixon, “You don’t have the votes!” Trump is less likely to resign than Nixon unless it’s tied to the freedom of his children. The Senators will eventually have to go public in standing against the President. Finding nerve in numbers as they were afraid to stand alone. It will happen, but way too late.

The Grace I Would Offer Donald Trump

I have been giving serious thought to something the brilliant writer and political activist Victoria Christopher Murray said to me after a comment I made following the death of former President George H W Bush. She had only positive things to say about the late President while I felt the need to set the record straight about Willie Horton, The Southern Strategy, and parts of the Bush legacy nobody was talking about. She said, “ I have grace because I pray that grace will be given to me. At the time of my death, I pray that I’m not judged by the worst thing I’ve ever done. Not rewriting history, just handing out what I pray will be handed out to me. At the time of a person’s death, I can ask that they Rest In Peace. It’s God’s judgment now, not mine.”

How was I supposed to respond to that? Nothing I could say even sounded good to me. We both agreed it would be much harder to show grace to the current occupant of the White House once he reaches his inevitable demise, as must we all. I began to wonder what would I say if called upon to eulogize Donald J Trump, focusing on the good he has done without outright lying. Slowly the words began to come, with thanks to the late Richard Pryor for the beginning.

“We are gathered here today on this sorrowful occasion to say goodbye to the dearly departed. He was dearly and he has departed. Thus, that’s why we call him the dearly departed. In other words, he’s dead.

Donald Trump in his own way has been a strong advocate for literacy, demonstrating that being well-read is essential, with people failing to do so at their own peril. Trump made clear that honesty is a virtue, he set an example for us all that character and reputation matter.

Donald Trump united people. He brought together diverse factions like Muslims, the LGBT community, black people and Hispanics, and women. In fact, much of the world has come together as a result of the policies of Donald Trump. ‘Some people’ think he’d have made an excellent recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. Donald has no problem reaching out to people others have shunned, skinheads, Neo-Nazi’s, white supremacists… are they not American’s too?

Most of all, Donald Trump was a family man. He instilled in them the same values that got him to the White House. Not one of them (so far) has been convicted of perjury, fraud, money laundering, or obstruction of justice, despite all the rumors.”

I still have some work to do to exhibit the grace Victoria challenged me to show. I’m still a work in progress.

The Man That Will Bring Down Donald Trump

There is a lot of speculation as to who will be the person to bring down Donald Trump? Besieged on all sides, Trump watchers are watching frantically watching new information this week about Michael Flynn’s 19 interviews with regard to three separate investigations, Michael Cohen’s latest admissions and revelations regarding Trump Tower Moscow and the soon to be revealed depth of Manafort’s crimes and lies. The media is laser-focused on each new shiny object while forgetting the man who will be the most damaging to Donald Trump. The man that knows it all.

For a few days back in July, the man made headlines when he testified before a Federal Grand Jury in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York in the Michael Cohen investigation. In late August, the man was granted immunity by Federal prosecutors. While media speculation is rampant about what Flynn, Cohen, and Manafort might know. This man knows everything about the Trump Organization, the Trump Foundation, FEC violations, payoffs to Playmates and Porn Stars. He can document any and all of Trump’s trips to Moscow. He has the still unseen Trump tax returns. Somehow forgotten in the constantly moving media frenzy is Allen Weisselberg, longtime account for Trump and involved in his business operations since the 1970s.

Allen’s name first came up in the Cohen tapes describing the $150,000 payoff to Playmate Karen MacDougal to keep her story of an affair with Trump out of the papers. Weisselberg is one of the three people in charge of the Trump Foundation which is facing civil and potential criminal charges in New York related to fraud and self-pay. Trump himself hasn’t contributed to his own foundation in decades, although he has allowed it to buy portraits of himself to hang in his golf courses.

More seriously, Weisselberg knows all about Trump’s mafia ties, fraudulent business practices, failure to pay contractors, money laundering and more. Red flags should have gone up when Allen was granted immunity. While we haven’t heard a peep out of Weisselberg since. We can be certain the 72-year-old accountant has no desire to spend his final days in jail. We can also be sure Robert Mueller now knows everything Weisselberg does about how Trump does business.

We can watch with great anticipation, every tidbit involving Flynn, Manafort, and Cohen (the free $50 million condo to Putin was a good one). But it’s the testimony of his accountant, Allen Weisselberg, that will do Trump in!

The Myth That Donald Trump Is The Exception And Not The Rule

Former President George H. W. Bush passed away last night at the age of 94. While listening to pundits describe his legacy, what they omit is just as important as what they describe. Some of them inevitably make comparisons to the current occupant of the White House, Donald J. Trump. They talk about the late President’s grace and empathy, placing him in stark contrast with Trump who possesses neither. Yet Bush helped lay the foundation that allowed a President Trump to be. It was the same roadmap that every recent Republican President followed to get to the Oval Office. The Southern Strategy.

For all the negative things that can be said about Donald Trump, in some ways he’s little different than those who came before. Before Muslim bans, Mexican rapists, and black thugs… there were Ronald Reagan’s welfare queens and Bush’s Willie Horton. Trump gets credit for expanding fear of black and brown men to the midwest. He didn’t invent the strategy.

Donald Trump is every bit the racist, xenophobic, homophobic bigot he’s made out to be. Let’s not pretend though, that the party that has institutionalized voter suppression and utilized fear of minorities as a means to hope to win elections with a dwindling percentage of the populace, isn’t complicit with his values. 49 Republican Senators were ready to give a lifetime appointment to the Federal bench to Thomas Farr, who wrote voter suppression laws designed with “surgical precision” to restrict black votes. Only because of Jeff Flake for reasons of his own and the lone black Republican Senator, Tim Scott drew a line he would not cross, did Farr not yet get his appointment. In January when the Republican Senate majority grows by two, Farr may be nominated again and breeze through. This is who they are.

Donald Trump is a vile creature, yet he did not evolve in a vacuum. He frankly isn’t bright enough to have developed these policies on his own. Making healthcare and housing less affordable, favoring corporations over people, giving tax breaks to the rich. Trump didn’t invent those, he’s just doing what they’ve always done.

There are good things that can be said about George H.W. Bush, all the networks are spending all day reminding us. We can remember those without forgetting his other legacy. The fear of a black man that Republicans since have honed to an art form.

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