“HAVE YOU NO SHAME, SIR?”

I’ve not yet read the Mueller report. I will. I read the Warren report on the Kennedy assassination. I read the Pentagon Papers about the Vietnam cover-up,  and I read the Watergate reports. Mueller will be the easiest read of them all. It’s very straight forward and mostly in the “king’s English.” Besides, even if it weren’t, I feel it’s part of my citizen’s responsibility to read it.

In considering a title for this piece, which is not about the report per se, but the Republican actors in and around it, I considered falling back on my muse of American political wisdom, Will Rogers. He said, “When you find yourself in a hole, stop digging.” Mr. Barr didn’t bring enough shovels and ladders to climb out of the hole his ramblings on the report put him, nor certainly enough for his party, and his president. But much as Rogers’ wisdom is to the point, I went with the most famous quote from the McCarthy hearings. It tops this piece and begins my head-scratching.

We can start way back when, before the Congressional elections, with then-Chairman Deven Nunes. Here’s an elected representative, chair of a key congressional committee. And what does he do? He sneaks material to the White House, then does this out-the- back-door and in-the-front-door routine to fool people into thinking he was just arriving. Mind you, this is an elected representative who took an oath to uphold the Constitution.

What about Senator Lindsey Graham? The weeping and wailing over the death of John McCain and his principles and the multiple statements he made stating he would be picking up the mantel so the backbone of McCain would at least survive. What happened to those speeches?  Somewhere along the way, he dropped the mantel with a resounding thud.

These are not stupid people. They know there are cameras everywhere, that everything they say is on tape, that reporters are following them everywhere. So you listen to Nunes and Graham and Barr and you have to ask, “Would the real fill in the blank please stand up?” And since they’ve contradicted so much of what they said, one has the complex problem of figuring out what was the lie and what was the truth.

And Congressman Jordan who was able to use the Kavanaugh hearings and the Mueller bru-ha-ha- to conveniently bury in the political weeds that he’s being investigated for knowledge of and maybe even participation in a sex scandal when he was a wrestling coach. Another fine fellow along with the California Congressman and his wife indicted for tax fraud and about to go on trial. What did he do the other day? Why he waltzed over to the Mexican border and in a big Shakespearian comedy he stepped across it and then gave a monologue on the wall. and magnificence of Trumpism. ‘problem? Since the court took his passport and prohibited him from leaving the country before the trial, he set up his stage works hundreds of yards from the real border and didn’t tell anyone about the lie until he was called out publicly on it. What was he thinking? Shame on him.

We could wonder why Attorney General Barr obfuscated about and even lied about the contents of the Mueller report. This is a man who has already been Attorney General. He knows what he’s supposed to do–and not do. Rats have the intelligence to flee a sinking ship. Barr it seems woke up one morning and decided he wanted to jump onto a ship that was likely to go down and take him and his reputation with it. I don’t get it unless of course, someone at 1600 Pennsylvania suggested a script for him. One hundred and sixty-eight pages on obstruction of justice, drowning in evidence given under oath and he somehow missed it? Again this is not a stupid man.

And Paul Manafort? What can you say about this piece of work? A crook’s crook. And he got rich being one.  Campaign Chairman for free? Give me a break! Please.

Then there was the masochist Jeff Sessions who looked in the mirror every day at his black and blue marks and said, “More. I want more. What can I hide or twist for the president today that he will then beat and humiliate me for  because even though I did it for him, he just likes beating me up?” Go know, as we said in Brooklyn, what makes a guy tick.

Frighteningly enough, and it should be frightening, this is our executive branch, Senate, and House minority we’re talking about not some off-Broadway re-enactment of the Keystone Cops.

And what about some of you who are parroting the President saying nothing was found, exoneration was the bottom line? Did you not read or hear about page one, section one where there is presented conclusive proof again swimming in sworn testimony that the Russians have been inside our political tent and personal computers and have been there well before Mueller? The Russians, having looked around inside, then figured out Trump was the better presidential candidate for them and used in their own words “electronic warfare” against our electoral system and his opponents to try to make that happen. You missed that? Maybe you started with page three.

Did you not hear about the 168 pages about presidential obstruction of justice that didn’t end with an indictment only because the laws and protocols of the Department of Justice prohibit the indicting of a sitting president? Oh yes, and the part that points out that there are, what, a dozen open counter-intelligence investigations on-going as a result of the evidence? The only reason they were not acted upon by the Special Council was that he felt the constitution (remember that one?) gave that job to Congress. ‘miss that one too, folks?

Do you not have a tickle of wonder why all candidates running for president in modern times cough up their tax returns but Trump, even though he said on national television he would, but hasn’t? Did you not hear the IRS say that even a return under audit can be released? So why hasn’t it been?  Could it be because it would put to the lie his vaunted philanthropy? Could it be the arithmetic lies that would abound in the property sections of the returns?  Oh yes, they also are not being released because the Secretary of the Treasury, who is in charge of the IRS won’t allow it and may even be risking jail for that decision. Maybe the private plane travel and taking his wife to see Ft. Knox on their honeymoon on our dime seems like a good enough tradeoff to him. Beats me. I’ve visited people in Federal prison. Even the nice ones don’t compare to any place you’d like to live for a few years.

Have you forgotten all the lawsuits and potential indictments awaiting Trump when he’s not president? What is wrong with you? Has this administration given you, your family, your business so much that you are willing to forget the Access Hollywood tape about Trump’s liberties with women? Is it that maybe you guys, secretly wish you were him–and of course that none of you have no daughters? I mean–really?!?

Is it not chilling to “we the people” that a four-star general, the former head of an intelligence agency is fired for lying to the vice president, and then is indicted for playing both sides against the middle, making money while arranging meetings to lift sanctions against Russia? A four-star general for goodness sake!

Nor should we skip the thousands of fact-checked lies told to you, the people, with a straight face by your president. Would you allow your children to tell lies like they were water running out of a faucet? I think not. But the president of the United States? That’s ok? To quote one of the greatest baseball shortstops, Phil Rizzuto, “Holy Cow!”

Oh, there were heroes and they should be noted even though some of them were nasty, bad people like Cory Lewandowski. Yet when they got to the sign that said, “Abandon all hope ye who enter here” they stopped. They didn’t deliver the illegal message the president told them to. They faced down the president and threatened to quit, like White House Council Don McGhan.  Men like Reince Priebus who desperately tried with all his might to hang on to the White House rudder to keep the ship of state going in a straight line instead of straight to hell. Hopefully, history will not forget them.

Yet of all the liars and scalawags that abound in the Congress and the Cabinet, what bothers me the most is “we the people.” The politicians have no shame, but we the people don’t call them on it. As much as I want to shout at them, “Have you no shame, sir?” It is the “we the people” business that scares me most. So many people have had their mouths pried open to be stuffed with lies and half-truths like French geese are stuffed with fats and food so when slaughtered they’ll produce the even-so-costly pate de fois gras that the 1 % love and the rest of us can’t afford. It is more than a worry. Jefferson believed that given the facts we the people would have the intelligence to make the right decision. Was he wrong?  If Jefferson was wrong, as a democracy we’re cooked–at least from my perspective.

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Well, Bill is back to politics and he’s smokin’ mad. You can find more mad columns, and some just plain madness, by checking out his blogs at http://www.atleastfrommyperspective.net. You’ll find access to his two books on American politics, “Mirth, Wind and Ire” and “More Mirth, Wind and Ire.” You’ll begin reading about this summer’s release of, “The War of the Itchy Balls and Other Tales From Brooklyn” a coming of age memoir set in Brooklyn, NY. and remember what he always ends with, “Read! It’s good for both of us.”

 

 

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