349 Comments

I had to come out of hiding for this Richardson masterpiece.

Heather opened this letter with a picture and ended it with another. First, her words had us seeing that door lock, which had been wedged in the Democratic National Committee headquarters located in the Watergate Office building. We see it twice because we are following the security guard on his rounds. He spotted them. So was the beginning of the end of Nixon's presidency.

In closing, Heather takes us to Florida and a recorded telephone call. A Republican, William Braddock, who is running for Congress is on the phone with a conservative a activist. Braddock says he has access to a 'Russian and Ukrainian hit squad' and threatens to have them eliminate his main opponent in the race. These guys on the phone are like so many mobsters we've seen in the movies. “I am in deep, I will admit that,” Braddock allegedly said. “If I lose, I’m going to have to move out of the country. But if I win, I’m going to help make a difference for everyone in the country.” (Letter)

Heather started with Watergate and ended with a Republican congressional candidate threatening to hire a hit squad for the purpose of murdering his opponent. The combination of a Russian-Ukrainian hit squad did strike my funny-bone.

It's been 49 years since the Watergate break-in and a big step from that to the contemplation of murder by a Republican candidate . Of course, it is also a big step from a President to congressional candidate.

Heather Letter encouraged one more step and that is to the subject of morality. We, subscribers, have been steeped in the issues of equality, voting rights, the filibuster, the BIG LIE, Joe Manchin, Mitch McConnell, the Republican Party, minority rule... it is not time for full-throated discussions about morality in America?

Expand full comment

Thanks for bringing up morality. Just a focus on basic honesty would be a step forward. (I still hear my father's oft-repeated, terse admonitions: one lie leads to another, two wrongs don't make a right — not that I didn't stray from his clear path.) But honesty is essentially dead in many quarters.

Skillful lying is seen as an important skill by many, in all aspects of life. Look how it's deployed as a weapon on Fox and other right-wing shows. Among the innumerable things I will never understand is how evangelical Christians excuse it, not to mention a litany of other moral transgressions. I guess blatant hypocrisy is part of this bubbling over stew of sins.

Expand full comment

Hear hear, Michael! And I hear my father saying "the ends don't justify the means"

Expand full comment

And if I lied, the punishment was worse than whatever I lied about.

Expand full comment

My mother said lying made for two sins, 1) what you did wrong to start with 2) lying about #1. That made for really big trouble in our house.

Expand full comment

It also would suggest that something has to be done to lead to significantly more rapid prosecution of people that contravene the law....even if it is "only" the Hatch Act! Saying that the law is "difficult" is BS. The law can be "clarified"and changed. That's what politicians are for. If the will is there it can be used to punish those being "immoral" in these ways, if it is not then we are not living in a democracy. Boasting that you know hit men is probably not illegal in itself....jus a bit stupid but what's new about that?... but conspiring to use them and actually doing the job is another. It would also be instructive to ask the person how he knew them and to follow the trail it offered.

What appals me with the many examples of such "immorality" and clear illegality offered by the Republicans from Ex-President on down is that nothing seems to happen! Where is the will to uphold all of the law all of the time. I thought France was bad with the length of time it takes to get any delinquant into court and thereafter into jail...but at least they finally get there even if it is 20 years later. The French spend only half per head of what the other wealthy European countries spend on their justice system....its getting some attention now only because it is becoming a problem for the politicians! Canada attacked the problem differently. As the Canadian Constitution guarrentees fair and timely procedure, the Supreme Court, in a fit of frustration with the lack of ressources etc for Canadian Justice system and consequent unconstitutionality of actual process, decreed that any crime not brought to court within 2 years of the perpetrator being charged is null and void....even murder. This put a spur up the government's rear end....imagine the "popularity of having to release a rapist, murderer or a bribed politician! The government took notice, massively increased ressources going to the justice system, reorganized the whole system and made the judges work significantly harder and more often.

We don't want "show trials" but the people demand action and action requires ressources.....not just debate about the possibilty of such iniquities and a fervent desire that people reflect on their inner values and adopt firm intentions to be good.....in some distant future.

Expand full comment

Stuart:

It has only been in the last decade, a US federal judge was given a time period in which to decide on a case. I believe it to be 2-years which is an awful long time to sit in a level 4 waiting for a decision. Before, that time waiting could be much longer for them to "just" decide.

Even so and after the AEDPA was passed, District Federal courts were limited in deciding the legality of a state conviction.

"AEDPA bars a federal habeas court from granting a writ to any person in custody under a judgment of a state court “with respect to any claim that was adjudicated on the merits in State court proceedings unless the adjudication of the claim (1) resulted in a decision that was contrary to, or involved an unreasonable application of, clearly established Federal law, as determined by the Supreme Court of the United States."

The ADEPA passage was the first time in decades (centuries) a legislature of a western democracy had put restrictions on the “Great Writ." Before the AEDPA, >50% of Death Row convictions were able to get relief through the Federal Courts. It dropped to 12% afterwards. Biden saw issues with it and big daddy Clinton did not. But Biden did back the 1994 crime bill which put many who could not afford a good attorney into prison. Most cases are plea-bargained and if you contest and make them work, you can be assured of a longer sentence. Law and order politicians and citizens are a blight on this nation.

Any idea how long it takes for SCOTUS to say "no?"

The days of Gideon v. Wainwright are little more than a footnote in history as is equality under the law.

The US court system is flawed for citizen without influence and empowered to be so by the Federal legislature. Then too, the courts make bad decisions which are not changed by the legislature Where would the MBNA Senator be today without Marquette Nat. Bank of Minneapolis v. First of Omaha Service Corp.?

We are not good at demanding action or even acting.

Expand full comment

Just makes me think of a project that i had with KPMG in the early 80s in Montreal. I forget what it was about but it meant that i had to interview a very senior judge. I found to my dismay that he actually worked 4 hours on Tuesdays, 2 hours on Wednesdays and 4 more on Thursdays for no more than 8 months a year and fairly early retirement. The rest of the time was rest, relaxation and oh er...reflection!

Expand full comment

Just like 45's "executive time" LOLOL

Expand full comment

It got in the way of his golf

Expand full comment

Good morning dear Fern. I understand your coming out of hiding for this Letter. And your question of exploring the thread of morality in the many topics which we on this forum have engaged in with great discussion tugs at me. Yesterday, TC brought up a comment from Congressman Matt Rosendale regarding his strong opposition to making Juneteenth a federal holiday. I quote…

"This legislation is the culmination of decades of efforts by the Left to prevent unashamed celebrations of our national story, heritage, and history." 😳

I read this and commented to TC how difficult it is respond to this type of rhetoric because it brings up in me the exact feeling I had watching the January 6th insurrection in live time and all the recordings of it after. Feelings of trauma, stress and distress, stunning witness to violence, chaos, reality out of order. That event on January 6th and all the implications after reflect to me the breakdown of the moral structure I hold around certain foundations of the 3 branches of government and inalienable guideposts such as “we the people hold these truths to be self-evident that all men are created equal….” When one is reminded again and again by egregious lies, running commentary, and traitorous behaviors that tear away the moral threads that hold a democracy together, it become this morass of sludge. One goes to bed tired and wakes up tired. It’s like this devised force wearing and weighting one down. There is no draining of any proverbial swamp. When morality is compromised , the moral compass struggles to find true north.

And I don’t like it. Sigh. A “full throated discussion” about morality in America is overdue and avoided by ones who we assume to lead it. Do we know how to have such?

Expand full comment

Christine, you have articulated so well the feelings I have, but have been unable to put words to. I “go to bed tired, and wake up tired”. The assault on the moral fabric of my life, and the very society that we all deserve to live in, is both unsettling and exhausting. I live in a constant fear and anxiety. I try to tell myself to let it go, to walk away and ignore it and just “live my life”, but morality won’t allow it. “If I don’t fight, then who will?”

Expand full comment

In the years since WWll, Germany has had to look at itself in the mirror and recognize its national sins. America needs to do the same thing, but has a much greater time period to cover. America was created in the idea that all people are created equal, but has only acted on that idea in fits and starts. We cannot long endure if when crimes are committed and come to light, the response is “So what.” That applies at every level from local to national and in every company in the country, as companies can also be corrupt.

Expand full comment

Hi Jenn, well, the idea in the constitution was that all MEN are created equal, and the rules anointed property owners of a certain level as "men".

Expand full comment

You are absolutely correct, which was a novel idea at the time, the old world idea being the aristocracy were the people with rights. The R’s are right in line with that antiquated thinking.

Expand full comment

Ah, Fern, thank you--I forget how the past 5+ years have been so wearing on many of us on top of this global pandemic. Some days I just cannot understand why this weariness encompasses me suddenly, and then passes after about 24 hours and my desire to fight for our country re-emerges again, thank goodness. Thank you for the reminder of how we are bringing out Light through some pretty figging thick sludge of anti-American, anti-POC officials and their supporters. This is so surreal.

Expand full comment

As long as something is done about it thereafter so that things change for the better.

Expand full comment

Morning, Fern!! So glad to hear from you. As always, you get to the heart of the matter, that intangible we on this page have been pursuing IMO, though not directly calling it out.

Expand full comment

I've been thinking this very thing about morality in America (possibly since the days of the "Moral Majority", and certainly since Al Gore was robbed of the White House). The conservatives boast about their "family values" (with policies that mostly harm families - especially any family NOT composed of a relatively wealthy, generally white, male married to a dependent, generally white, woman, and a couple of privately-schooled, trust-funded children) - when it has always been clear that, in my own lifetime, it has been liberals and progressives who made efforts to protect families and to expand the definition of family to include all of us who care about and for others in groupings that do not fit that very limited "ideal".

Expand full comment

Thank You Fern!! These 2 pictures needed your illumination! Sure hope this moment is as pivotal as that one in 1972.

Expand full comment

Hey Fern!

Expand full comment

I was at a Joni Mitchell concert when Nixon resigned on August 8, 1974. She relayed the news to the audience at the Pine Knob Music Theater outside of Detroit and the place went bonkers.

Expand full comment

what a great memory

Expand full comment

I was in High School in 1974 and I would wear a 6" diameter button proclaiming "Nixon's the One" Irony in its fullest expression.

Expand full comment

I recently read, "When the Center Held" by Donald Rumsfeld about the Gerald Ford Presidency. I'm not a fan of Rumsfeld, but I though in the interests of looking back on those times I would get an insiders view of President Ford. And I have to say, I came away thinking that President Ford was a pretty decent guy, a good human being. I've been to the Gerald Ford Museum in Grand Rapids, MI and after that visit I was leaning that way before reading the book. He also gives a view of a very conniving Richard Nixon.

Expand full comment

Changing the rule from requiring 60 votes to stop a filibuster to requring 41 votes to continue it is enough to render the filibuster ineffective. Adding to that the restoration of the talking filibuster would totally emasculate it. If Manchin and the other recalcitrant Democratic senators get behind these proposals, good democratic governance might be possible.

Expand full comment

I'm not sure the 41 votes in today's senate would be hard to get. McConnell seems to have them well trained to vote as a block.

Expand full comment

Nah, the last time there were only 35 of them because the others had left (it was a Friday). So making them fight it means they can't get home for the weekend fundraiser, etc.

Expand full comment

Very jaundiced view, but accurate.

Expand full comment

But they would have to be on call 24hrs a day. Schumer could call a vote at 3:00am or other time, day or night. No problem for McConnell to get 41 votes, but getting them at all hours, over and over would put a severe strain on his organizational abilities.

Expand full comment

Very likely, but "organizational abilities" puts it mildly; more like conniving powers.

Expand full comment

And if we institute a recount every 15 minutes?

Expand full comment

All I know is what I see in the movies. This whole thread about conniving Senate rules as if it were a bunch of inner-city boys playing in some dirty tenement back lot, brings to mind the traitorous senator in Frank Miller's grafic novel "300" (Spartans). Our seat of governance has become a comic book.

Expand full comment

Even more so if the numbers change from 41 to 46. Changing the filibuster rule only takes 51 votes - all Dems plus VP Kamala Harris. There is possibility here. Now everyone go make your preferred type if political noise in favor of it.

Expand full comment

Manchin's proposal and Abrams' endorsement thereof opened the door to compromise which the GOP quickly shut. If he cannot come up with the Republican support needed for his compromise, which means getting GOP Senators to defy McConnell, even Manchin should give up on bi-partisanship and fall into line with the rest of he Democratic Party. Behind the scenes, could changing, or not changing, the filibuster rules be part of what today seems to be an otherwise dead compromise effort to pass voting reform legislation?

Expand full comment

The Babcock story is not only unhinged, it is a reminder that the GOP continues to reveal that it is little more than a gang of treasonous thugs poorly disguised as patriotic citizens.

Expand full comment

How does one become acquainted with Russian/Ukrainian Mafia hitmen? Is Bancock also in commercial real estate?

Expand full comment

Like tRump, you mean?

Expand full comment

Republican William Braddock

Expand full comment

Now that's funny. He's just blowing hot air because he thinks it makes him look cool. Marginal teenager who says he knows people in 'that gang downtown' who he can call and they will come kick your ass. How juvenile.

Expand full comment

Actually it sounds more like someone has him by the …. He’s scared too.

Expand full comment

that's what I presumed too.

Expand full comment

Similar to Guiliani being buddies with his Ukraine-born friends??

Expand full comment

Rudy Giuliani. Terrorism Consultant or Corruption Consultant?

Expand full comment

Charlie, who was the first FBI Agent to bust a Russian Mafia member in the USA?

Expand full comment

Good question. I don't know.

Expand full comment

Why was it so important for former guy to fire both FBI's most experienced agents working with Russian Mafia cases? Andrew McCabe and Peter Strzok.

Expand full comment

Dah! OK I get it now. Foggy Friday. Thank God Mercury leaves retrograde Tuesday.

Now having come from the same pedigree (don't ask) those type folks keep VERY detailed notes and such. Sometimes one has to sit on that stuff for a long time, but, but eventually, a truck drives by an investigative reporter's place and a bundle falls off the truck. Funny how that happens (insert smiley emoji here).

Expand full comment

Andrew McCabe.

Expand full comment

Hopefully hot air, but like everything with the former guy, the more we learn, the more we uncover, and the worse it really was, or "is", Too much money coming out of Russia and into this country, and in that grift and graft, a % of the profits goes to buy political influence through dark campaign finance.

Expand full comment

Agree. I actually think the bluff has been called. "Nice little oligarch you have there, it would be terrible if something happened to it". Hint: watch flows of foreign investment capital into/out of Russia.

Expand full comment

It is like a real life game of "Grand Theft Auto" in Florida.

Expand full comment

Good question Ted.

Expand full comment

Braddock you mean?

Expand full comment

Yes. Oops!

Expand full comment

Morning, all!! Morning, Dr. R!! There's good news and bad news. The good news is Stacey Abrams supports Manchin's proposals. The bad news is Stacey Abrams supports Manchin's proposals. Go figure. But, I urge everyone to focus on the good news!!

Expand full comment

Morning Lynell. The good news is what else Stacey Abrams said about Manchin's thoughts .....that they are building blocks for the future. Gotta start somewhere NOW! Combine this with reverting to Manchins suggested Filibuster solution and we might be getting somewhere. But it has to be now...move yourselves Schiff/Pelosi. Later we sideline Manchin.

Expand full comment

Stacy Abrams endorsement is all it has taken to change it from the Manchin Plan to the Abrams Plan and for McConnell to come out firmly against it.

Expand full comment

Yes, but isn’t it something that Stacy Abrahams has become so powerful in such a short time that Republicans rise up so quickly against anything she gives her stamp of approval to? Gotta love that woman!!! Many many disenfranchised citizens listen to her. We need to more like her!

Expand full comment

Not that he needed an excuse for what he would do regardless. Total opposition is total.

Expand full comment

True, and I like that you said "regardless". "Irregardless" drives me up a wall!

Expand full comment

I have a T-shirt that says "I am silently correcting your grammar."

Expand full comment

That gave me a laugh - because while I was reading the previous grammar freak-out I was not only thinking about my own tendency to internally correct others' grammar, spelling, syntax, sentence structure, etc., I was also judging how picky you all were being! My darling spouse and I had an amusing conversation this morning about my extremely judgemental attitude toward nonessentials and trivialities.

Please don't take this as criticism of this wandering thread - it made me laugh at myself for being very judgy about other people's judginess. ;-)

Expand full comment

I got that for a friend of mine!

Expand full comment

I need one of those T-shirts!

Expand full comment

I love my fellow Grammar Geeks. At one point, someone made me a police-type patch that said "Grammar Police: To Correct and Serve".

I was the training officer that got all of the "challenging" recruits when it came to written communication. Two of them are now sergeants with my former agency, the other is a very successful businessman in St. Louis (the only Black recruit that came through the pipeline while I was an FTO beginning in 1992; his wife hated the weather in the PNW, and really didn't like him being a cop.)

Expand full comment

Note to self: "Be careful in the future when replying to Ally."

Expand full comment

I trust that the resignation letters written by the whole Portland Crowd Control Unit as a result of their colleague being charged with assault on a "protester" where "spotless".

Expand full comment

Yes, thank you, Claudia, fellow grammar and usage crusader! ♥️

Expand full comment

Not to mention nails-on-a-chalkboard when the grammarians cave and adopt these non-words!

Expand full comment

The other one that bugs me is dilemna instead of dilemma. Sadly, irregardless, a non-standard word has been in use since at least 1795. Sigh.

Expand full comment

Wow, I didn't know irregardless had such a long and nefarious history! "Dilemna" is one of those words invented by people who think they know what they're doing.

Part of my rant list:

criteria or media used as singular

renumeration instead of remuneration

accept when they mean except

nefarious when they mean illustrious

infamous when they mean famous

"insundry" instead of "and sundry"

"hoi polloi" used for the rich and powerful, presumably because people imagine it translates as 'high people' (nope; it means "the many")

momento instead of memento

... ad nauseam.

I am also a Luddite fighting the disappearance of internal consonants:

"woyer" for warrior

"reckonnize" for recognize

and so forth.

<end of rant>

Expand full comment

So is knee jerk, reflexive opposition. Thy name is McConnell.

Expand full comment

Right. Don't forget that Republicans promoted Cap and Trade for CO2 emissions until Obama endorsed it.

Expand full comment

Nope. He'd oppose it anyway. This just gave him a reason his base likes - 'black be bad'. /s

Expand full comment

You're right.

Expand full comment

Building blocks has the hollow sound of defeat, a too often compromise to nowhere. I suggest this from a lesson I thought we might have learned with passage of the ACA. For nearly five decades some of us watched all those building blocks for healthcare reform (and civil rights reform) proposed from good men from on both sides of the aisle go nowhere every session of the Congress. They fiddled around the edges, didn't get passage decade after decades. But, every Congress would bring up some goarable horse (malpractice, religious protections, medical pricing) while insurance, pharma, and medical providers grew to profitable heights and comparative health of Americans declined. Some issues have to be legislated in a large, comprehensive way, because they are complex and interconnected. H1 and S1 fit into that category. Under ACA, the focus changed to focus on reforming and on health of Americans.

Expand full comment

T'would be nice but going for it all straight away might lead to you getting nothing, loosing the Senate and taking significant steps backwards therafter. The building blocks of the past have perhaps been wasted by the Republicans domination of discussions of the economy and the Democrats lack of attention to the electoral processes both in DC and in key, possibly "difficult" States. This time, one would have hoped that lessons had been learned.

Expand full comment

Would you prefer to get building blocks or to get nothing?

Expand full comment

I am enough of a realist to compromise, bargain for the must have gains, and both old enough to know when to fold and understand that politics is always about the possible. I am lamenting the potential death of a large systemic change toward full opportunity for voting by every eligible voter and having their votes determine elections and policies that are good because they are needed policies. Remaining at the whims of a McConnell or a Manchin/Semena or even Stacey's stand to get a deal cut bothers me as I fear that the lessons will not be learned and the building blocks will turn into the baby step of the 1950s; the go slow, wait for the right time, stay in line, don't push to hard. It took Selma to get civil right legislation and those gains where supposed to be the building blocks. Just thinking out loud, Stuart and Judith.

Expand full comment

Good morning Lynell! Stacey Abrams is a realist. Her interview on NPR yesterday morning was clear, precise, and focused. She has no illusions about anyone playing in this particular Great Game. It is basically the talking points she made on CNN, but in an NPR package (which I personally prefer!): https://www.npr.org/2021/06/17/1007493906/sweeping-voting-rights-reform-looks-unlikely-to-pass-at-the-federal-level

Expand full comment

Morning, Linda!! I have faith in Stacey to the nth degree. Thanks for the link; on my way there now.

Expand full comment

Indeed, we owe much of our democracy to Stacy Abrams at this moment.

(Oh, and morning all!)

Expand full comment

Rolling Stones. “Paint it Black”

Expand full comment

My thought exactly!! Love me some Stacey Abrams power.

Expand full comment

Truly Lynell we must find the good. Good morning to all of us.

Expand full comment

Good morning, Lynell. But of course a Republiqan would jump on an Abrams endorsement. You summed it up nicely.

Expand full comment

Does anybody know if campaign finance reform was in the Manchin Plan?

Expand full comment

Tnis from the Washington Examiner: "Manchin’s memo calls for Election Day to become a public holiday, mandates more than two weeks of early voting for federal elections, backs automatic voter registration through the department of motor vehicles, and calls for updates to the John Lewis Voting Rights Act.

"It also backs H.R.1/S.1's plan to alter campaign finance reform — specifically, the memo supports the DISCLOSE Act and the Honest Ads Act. Manchin has said that he does not support the For the People proposal."

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/mcconnell-shoots-down-manchin-election-compromise

Expand full comment

Ok then - which part does he not agree with? Is it that he supports a voter ID?

Expand full comment

To answer your question would require a reading and comparing the bill with his amendments. So I don't know is the short answer. Voter ID could be part of it.

Expand full comment

A simple summary list from a DailyKos post yesterday:

"Manchin's new memo identified several key aspects of H.R. 1 that he supports either in whole or in modified form, including provisions that would:

Mandate 15 consecutive days of early voting, including two weekends;

Ban partisan gerrymandering and "use computer models," the latter of which isn't further specified;

Establish automatic voter registration through state driver's licensing agencies;

Require states to promote registration for groups such as people with disabilities;

Ban false statements intended to discourage voting;

Improve federal funding for training election officials;

Require that states notify voters of polling place changes at least a week before Election Day;

Adopt prepaid postage for absentee ballots;

Allow voters to vote if they show up at the wrong precinct but in the right jurisdiction for races that they are eligible to vote on; and

Require disclosure for "dark money" campaign donations and ads.

Manchin's position on no-excuse absentee voting was more opaque, with his memo stating that the bill should "[r]equire states to send absentee by mail ballots to eligible voters before an election if voter is not able to vote in person during early voting or election day due to eligible circumstance and allow civil penalty for failure." Separate reports, however, indicated he opposes mandating that all states that still demand an excuse (now just a small minority) remove that requirement for absentee voting.​"

More in the article.... https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2021/6/17/2035783/-Voting-Rights-Roundup-In-major-about-face-Manchin-lays-out-path-for-compromise-on-election-reforms

Expand full comment

Good morning, Lynell! It's a puzzlement to be sure. The Rs simply refuse to be reasonable.

Expand full comment

Morning, Daria!! All this stuff is serious, but using gallows humor keeps me from going crazy!

Expand full comment

Now Lynell (fellow Virginian!!!), we all know there has to be compromise...to a point...and good morning to you as well!!!

Expand full comment

Morning, Alexander!! What I left unsaid about the bad news is that Stacey's support made the Republicans doubly against voting for the bill!! But hopefully, I speak too soon!

Aren't we having a run on great weather, keeping the humidity at bay. Now that's something to celebrate.

Expand full comment

On this date in 1972, it would be roughly six months until my mom died. In 1974, I was a senior in high school, homeless living on the streets or staying with friends when I could.

Maybe this is where my lack of being politically savy comes from. I spent too much time trying to survive to really care about anything else.

And maybe that is why so many people vote against their best interests. It's easier to listen to people and their talking points (faux news) than to take the time to do the research, or maybe it's not having the resources that you need to do that research.

Expand full comment

Beth, I think you’re absolutely right about why so many people vote against their interests, or can keep jobs, etc. They are in survival mode. I hope life has gotten easier for you. 🙏

Expand full comment

In this, the world's richest nation, It is the federal government's role to help those who possess only sufficient resources to exist no better than on a day to day basis. There should be no one in our country living in a "survival mode." Local government and charities are no solution.

Expand full comment

My libertarian-inclined brother (who believes 45 was the "best President in his lifetime") is proud of the work he and his wife do at a local food bank in AZ. While I applaud their volunteer efforts, I also believe their beliefs and the actions of those they support politically have created the necessity for food banks in this very wealthy country.

Expand full comment

I’m pretty sure my parents were Democrats because my mother admired JFK. but they were far from politically savvy. My father had a 9th grade education. But they had clear lines of right and wrong. I didn’t learn anything political until I entered the Air Force in 1978. I was aware of Watergate but didn’t understand it. In 1993 Barry Goldwater came to my History of China class and spent 3 hours talking about how Nixon changed things with China. It made him sound like a good guy who could have done good things for this country. But politicians all live in fear and greed so they use their power for themselves.

I think it’s hard to know who in telling the truth in the media and how many headlines are just clickbait. I get a lot of Twitter replies telling me I’m parroting CNN and all they do is lie. This is funny and sad since their information comes from Breitbart and Fox. They usually go away when I tell them I get my information from listening to the actual committee meetings on Cspan. If you don’t listen to the hours of meeting you will never know who to trust. After hearing them you can then read media reports and determine their accuracy.

My representative, Issa in CA 50, is on a binge of personally attacking Harris. He is relentless. He rarely sites a source and when he does it has a clickbait headline. I respond with quotes right from the article that exposes his lies. He is on a binge where he tweeted an invitation to Harris to join him at the border. He admitted he hadn’t sent a letter or made any other invitation. Two days later he started insisting she declined or refused his invitation that he only issued on Twitter.

But he is vicious, using his private and official accounts to tweet accusations about her. He NEVER does this about Biden or any other white man or woman.

Expand full comment

Hurray for C-SPAN - the best contribution to civic education made by the cable industry. I also listen to or watch quite a few hearings and other congressional proceedings on C-SPAN. When we depend completely - even on news sources we trust - for interpretation of what our public servants are doing, we are also relying on their subjective viewpoints of what actually happened. A case in point - the kerfuffle over Biden's response to Kaitlin Collins' (CNN) repeated qestions about his "confidence" that Putin would do anything about cyber crime. In her interview later on CNN - after his apology for saying she was in the "wrong business" if she didn't understand his response, she continued to reiterate that he had repeatedly expressed confidence about Putin doing something in the next 3 to 6 months about the problem. Well, I had watched that entire press conference myself on C-SPAN, and while he did say that we would know more about whether Putin would do anything over the next 3 to 5 months, he did not express confidence by word or demeanor that Putin would actually follow through. His clearly stated position was that we wouldn't know until some time had passed whether Putin would respond to the two countries' mutual self-interest in preventing cyber crime. When I listened to Collins later on, I made rude remarks to my computer screen because she certainly did not interpret the President's words in the way I had.

As I learned in graduate school, secondary sources are only as good as their accuracy in reflecting and interpreting primary sources when you are doing research. The problem, of course, is that we are all human and incapable of the much sought after but never quite achieved gold standard - objectivity.

Expand full comment

3 to 6 months, not 5! (I don't feel like copying, deleting, pasting, editing and reposting)

Expand full comment

Beth, you’ve made such a good point. Sadly. Those of us who have the time and interest to follow this thread actually have a luxury that we don’t even consider. Many, many more of our fellow citizens are just trying to survive. This makes it even more important to fight.

Expand full comment

From one Beth to another, I'm sorry for the pain in your young life and hope that subsequent years have been brighter and easier for you.

You're absolutely right that the vast majority of Americans are treading water as fast as they can and barely keeping their noses above water. They don't have time or energy to learn what's going on politically at any level. Sound bites is all they can take in, if that. And isn't that just the way the gop likes us to be?

Expand full comment

Beth, thanks. My life started getting better after I met my current husband and even though we are on a journey that will end sooner than it should, we are happy that we have our time together.

Expand full comment

Your last sentence is profound, Beth, with deep roots in the inequities in public education for marginalized groups of student.

Expand full comment

And Beth…. It is my hope that an HCR Letter one day will trigger a great discussion about poverty and the “poverty culture” as Dr. Ruby Payne references it.

Her book, “A Framework for Understanding Poverty-A Cognitive Approach” created for Educators, Employers, Policymakers, and Service Providers - Revised edition.

The first edition in 1995 was the most valuable resource I ever had as an educator in Title I schools. Dr. Payne changed my understanding of poverty and my instructional delivery to children who live in poverty—either situational or generational. Life changing for me. I think of Dr. Payne’s approach every time we in this forum talk about marginalized communities or the former president’s “base” of disenfranchised Americans.

Expand full comment

OH! Ruby Payne and her "Framework on Poverty!" We made this required reading when I was cooodinator for our 5 county children's interagency council. I had forgotten about the book, but the tenets she laid down re: "the culture of poverty" became a part of me and my world view from then on. Yes, Christine, amazing and life changing. How lucky for your students that you acquired this perspective decades ago. I would need to re-read the book (still on my shelf somewhere?), but a discussion on these pages would be most illuminating. HCR book Club?

Expand full comment

Get the revised edition. Dr. Payne adds content that arose from the great readership and implementation of ideas of the 1995 edition. Evolvement to working with entire communities.

Expand full comment

Interested in seeing if she compares her 1994 Income by Household to 2018's. The gap has widened terribly, and we thought it was unsustainable in 1998.

Expand full comment

Gap grows but Dr. Payne contends the culture and resources of each class do not change. I used her approach with its multitude of subtle understandings for 20 years with students and families. It is always timely. And strong relationship based on understanding always fresh, never adversarial. All too common in Title I schools where representation of poverty culture and race is not very evident in the teaching staff.

Expand full comment

Remembering all the exercises now: "Could You Survive in Poverty?..." Our community did all day workshops open to all the agencies, school personnel AND business owners. Wonder what has changed in this perspective since then?

Expand full comment

Same perspective rock solid. Just so much implementation using her premise and ideas. So each edition has new chapters and info. Started in 1995. Latest edition 2018.

Expand full comment

Just opened my 1998 "Revised Addition"! Wow!!

Expand full comment

I went to grade school in the richest school in our town but I was poor and lived on the edge of the district. I was made fun of all through grade school and once a month my mom gave me money to get lunch downtown. I would buy a grilled cheese and use the rest to buy penny candy that I would give to the kids with the understanding that they would leave me alone for the rest of the day.

Not only do we need to talk about poverty, I think we need to stop putting the emphasie on money being what makes people successful.

Thanks for the recomendation.

Expand full comment

Yes, definately: "stop putting the emphasis on money being what makes people successful." Beth, I am so sorry for all you had to go through, I am in awe of how you managed and coped, and very much appreciate your insights. This country has so far to go to be a fair democracy.

Expand full comment

Beth, that's a great point. At least some people who vote against their own interests are too exhausted by the struggle to get by, to do any research about what's behind the surface claims and promises. And since the FCC abandonned their Fairness Doctrine in 1987 and the internet developed in the late 90's into an information Wild West, what you see on "the media" can no longer be assumed to be mostly true. But having the background and time to critique and curate your news is a function of relative wealth, comfort, and privilege.

I am so sorry your growing up was so very hard. I can only try to imagine how traumatic it must have been to go through your mother's illness and passing, and end up homeless/ couch surfing while still in high school. You are clearly a very resourceful and resilient woman, and you are among friends here.

Expand full comment

I think you hit the nail on the head, Beth. Also, just surviving could put all else out of your mind. That thought sort of changes the way we should look at the people we disagree with. I hope that you've managed to get past that rough time. Looking at the news right now there are an awful lot of people that are living that way now. I cant imagine myself, or my kids or grandkids getting through that kind of life. Right now homelessness should be one of the top priorities that our government needs to make right.

Expand full comment

Another reason we need the infrastructure bill. Expanding broadband will also make it likely that there will be more public access to wifi - and with very inexpensive or subsidized smartphones, a larger segment of the population will have the ability to do that research. Even in the tent communities in my state capitol, I rarely see people who are not carrying smartphones. Free public wifi provided by coffeehouses and other businesses - and in some places, municipal free wifi - can be a valuable resource for those who cannot afford data plans.

Expand full comment

Don't forget the important place that free computer access in public libraries has played often during hard times. As a former President of the Friends of the Library I was so sad that our county commission closed the libraries so that people could not access those free computers during the long year of Covid --they did up the WIFI outputs but many of our state's forms for applying for lost wages, etc are difficult to fill out on a tiny phone screen. Our USA Public Libraries are a godsend to all of us but especially in poor neighborhoods.

Expand full comment

I understand. But I think there are things going on in Washington now that transcend politics. I mean so many of the things that Trump did were just plain wrong, if not criminal. That's where I have difficulty in forgiving people for supporting him. Whether you're going to slap tariffs on China is one thing. I might or might not agree with that policy, but I understand there are different theories. But when our president fails to take a stand against violence—that is happening in our own country, fomented by our own citizens, against our own citizens—I don't see how anyone, regardless of their education, can't see that that is just plain wrong. That's where I am currently, but I appreciate any thoughts that might offer another perspective or way to look at this.

Expand full comment

I had missed the phone recording of the Florida GOP congressional candidate discussing having a Russian-Ukranian hit squad assassinate his primary opponent "for the good of the country." It fits nicely with new polling showing the GOP gives Putin a higher favorability rating than Biden. Granted, Putin knows a thing or two about assassinating people.

When and how will this madness end? Not well, I fear.

Expand full comment

I'd like to know how Mr. Braddock is going to be held accountable. Like arrested? Will it take federal indictment? Like the madness of election officials receiving death threats, this has to stop. How? When?

Expand full comment

I just watched the film about the Salisbury, Novochok poisoning of the Skripals last night.

Expand full comment

Good morning everyone! At the same time as we celebrate the final passage of Juneteenth as a national holiday, and the provision that it will fall on the Friday before (or Monday after, I am assuming--haven't read the act) when the 19th is on the weekend, in order to have the day off, I have to point out that a UNANIMOUS SCOTUS moved against allowing Philadelphia to reject working with adoption and foster care services that discriminate against same sex couples and single people. They ruling is specific and narrow (it doesn't want to make Catholic Social Services workers feel "uncomfortable" when visiting a foster home because the fostering couple is gay), but it sucks. This is the same rationale as the "wedding cake" rationale but the difference, in my mind, is that it involves discrimination against families and endangers children. We are talking about one of the most egregious abusers of children and women, after all--the Catholic Church. Yes: there are other social services organizations that support LGBTQ foster families in the Philadelphia area, but this ruling does permit the demonization of LGBTQ families. This is of a piece, in my mind, with the resistance of American bishops to the papal ruling that they cannot deny the communion to people whose political views are different from those of the Catholic Church. Francis might have been talking specifically about support for women's right to choose, birth control, and support for the ordination of women, but really Catholic bishops of a particular stripe love to use the communion wafer as a bludgeon. And they have vowed to resist the pope's ruling.

Intolerance, bigotry, and double-dealing of any kind should be condemned. Juneteenth is a start, although I have to point out that the Emancipation Proclamation did not free all enslaved people, as it referred only to the part of the country that had seceded--here in good ole' Missouri, that meant that enslaved people had to wait until after the war was over and the 13th Amendment was ratified--in December 1865. That is, after June 19, 1865 when enslaved people in Texas were told they were no longer enslaved. Hmmmmmm.

Expand full comment

Linda, great points! I would only add that the Philadelphia foster case puts religious rights above LGBTQ rights. That’s point 1. Point 2 is if we have tiers of rights, why can’t we put the right to be safe from gunfire above the right of religion?

Expand full comment

Yes...and why can't we put the well being of our children above everything else? A good interview on NPR this morning with adoptive parents of 5 (who happen to be married, same sex males) made the point that the Ruling and the Philly CC forget about the children, esp the hard to place children needing a loving family. One of the men had "aged out" of the foster system and was immediately homeless, motivating him to be a family for these kids. Everybody wants an infant but the older kids are harder to place. Of course there are other agencies, but faith based agencies ought to be at least faithful to their principle of the value of all human beings. Catholic Charities's stated mission is to serve all, regardless of faith or no-faith..CC also has access to Federal & State monies in certain areas and is one of the U.S.'s largest non-governmental, social services entity, helping lots of people. But, as a Catholic, what bothers me most about this so-called "religious right Ruling" is that it allows U.S. church leaders to put another brick in the building up of church institutionalized discrimination against the LBGTQ+ community--regardless of church- speak to the contrary ( hiding behind the mask of religious freedom! ). Hobby Lobby and the Little Sisters of the Poor Ruling re: contraception is another brick, but one aimed at women. Except for a handful of them who are vocal, U.S. Bishops have chosen either to be silent or to go a politically partisan route. They are a weakened bunch, resorting to twisting their theology to make it fit their single- issue politics. Not good when our country faces so many critical human issues that faith-based communities could help address.

Expand full comment

Carol, I totally agree.

About 45 years ago, a young woman moved to DC for a job and to get away from home. She was hired by my husband’s employer and they became friends as well as co-workers. She was pregnant when she started her job and hid her pregnancy for pretty much the duration. She had arranged for the baby to be adopted through Catholic charities.

After the baby was born, she called us and asked if she could come stay with us for a while. We said yes. It turns out that CC was insisting that she provide them with the father’s name. She told them that she had not informed the father, that it had been a one night stand, and that she did not want him to feel responsible in any way for raising the child. They insisted; she resisted. After a while she basically told them to forget it.

Long story a bit shortened: She kept her daughter, but it was quite a struggle for a 23 year old single mother. I hope that particular requirement no longer exists, but the bad taste is still in my mouth.

The discrimination against LGBT+ couples reminded me once again of what seems to be screwed up priorities.

Expand full comment

I was outraged at this clearly unconscionable ruling. Article VI in the Constitution specifies that “no religious Test shall ever be required as a Qualification to any Office or public Trust under the United States.” Shouldn't that also apply to government contracted agencies using tax money from a secular community? As an Atheist, I am outraged that Philadelphia is forced to support a Medieval Bigoted Catholic Church that violates its legal civil rights protections.

Now I understand the misgivings I heard as a teenager in 1960 about electing John F. Kennedy because he was Catholic. I didn't realize at the time that Catholics are "dual citizens" of a foreign state, (The Vatican) and could be under threat of losing that citizenship based on the laws of that foreign theocratic state.

Expand full comment

Catholics are no more dual citizens than those who observe any other religion or those who are passionate atheists. If they were, and therefore Catholic clergy acted according to their supposed obligations to do according to Pope Francis, the problems lamented above would not be happening. Please do not allow your frustrations with some people to drag you down into stereotypes and bigotry.

Expand full comment

Perhaps the Pope should remind the clergy of their dual citizenship with the Vatican. I am in awe of how well Pope St. Francis (as I call him, but my priest friend protests), has managed to bring love and respect of all humanity (and science) to Catholicism, but he treads a very tenuous political tight rope with established members of the Roman Curia. I pray Pope St. Francis can bring miraculous healing power to the world, beginning within his walled Holy See.

Expand full comment

I call myself an Atheist for brevity, but in fact I am an Anti-Theist Agnostic, as my HS social studies teacher suggested when I came out in his class. In the '70s I got into Eastern thot, Occult leanings and with got into my partner Jim's spiritual master Meher Baba. That was why we decided to go to India, to Baba's Samadhi. On the way traveling overland we went to Assisi, Italy to pay homage to St. Francis, who BTW had his own conflict with the Catholic Church. (Seems fitting this most liberal Pope should be Francis). Our journey started from Miami on Oct 4, 1975, which we later learned is the Feast of St. Francis. These little synchronicities are why I still believe in "The Force." :)

Expand full comment

Wonderful spiritual journeys! And Yes, Francis and The Force! I believe in my bewitching Celtic roots, and the Power of The Great Irish Tea Party in the Sky (GITPITS) (not to be confused with that horrid earthly one), which consists of my devout and magical mother, aunts and grandmothers. Amazing, loving power bank. The nuns would wash out my mouth with soap and send me to the confessional for speaking such heresy.

Expand full comment

My aunts Mary and Pat, of course.

Expand full comment

Firstly, the argument at the time was not mine. I was 16 and just hearing on the news that Kennedy being Catholic was an issue of concern for his being POTUS. I lived in a Catholic community (St. Ann MO, on St. Henry Lane, where every lane was St. Somebody). I went to mass with a friend when it was still in Latin and you could smell the fish cooking in the neighborhood every Friday.

Consider “dual citizenship” a metaphor. But, unlike protestant religions where you could be drummed out of your church - only to find a different protestant church, Catholics had this prospect of “ex-communication” from the only Catholic Church hanging over their head by the leaders of an actual foreign state (The Pope in The Vatican).

Expand full comment

And excommunication meant an eternity in Hell.

Expand full comment

I think what is missing from most religio-political discussions -- it seems weird to be saying this on this site -- is the historical perspective. In Barbara Tuchman's foreword to her book, A Distant Mirror, she says, "People of the Middle Ages existed under mental, moral, and physical circumstances so different from our own as to constitute almost a foreign civilization."

The Roman Catholic Church, as we know it, is a Medieval institution. Calling it "bigoted" conceals more than it reveals. It would be much better to call it "alien." The idea of "dual citizenship" is simply wrong. Devout Catholics owe their entire allegiance to God, body, mind, and soul: there is nothing "dual" about it. It is their political and national allegiance that is contingent.

Most Roman Catholics in the US are not that devout.

This is all largely true of any of the home-grown American religions, as well. The major difference is that the American religions are offshoots of Protestantism, and are post-Medieval, and ... well, protest-based ("protest-ant"). Schism is a way-of-life. If you don't like the Baptist preacher, try the Methodist preacher. It's a kind of religious buffet, and you can typically find some nominally "Christian" denomination that will fit whatever religious and political prejudices you already have, at least in larger communities. In smaller communities, it's like shopping for gluten-free vegan muffins: you're just out of luck. In fact, in some small communities with insular churches, some people will drive an hour or two every Sunday to go to a church of their liking. If worst comes to worst, you can get a mail-order divinity degree (or not), and start your own church.

H. Richard Niebuhr wrote a book entitled Christ and Culture, which explores five very different ways the Christian churches have historically related to the culture they are embedded in. The book was published in 1975: if published today, there might be a sixth category, but that's my speculation. It's well-worth the read.

Expand full comment

Back to the 18-early 19th C on this one Rob when the P in Wasp in deciding who could be an American was very dominant and distinguished even between the Irish coming from the North as "good" and those from the South as being "bad". The arguement used at the time was yours.

Expand full comment

As a 10 year old Catholic in JFK days, I didn't understand why anyone would judge him based on his/our religion. I knew I was a dual citizen of The Vatican, but render unto Caesar and all that. Now, too, I "understand the misgivings" about electing him. Yet Joe Biden is Catholic. The Church does not represent all its parishoners. Why even the Pope probably doesn't accept this view. This issue isn't about the sex of partners, or when life begins - it is about secular power.

Expand full comment

I remember in those days, my father and I didn't agree on much, but while I was watching the evening news in San Francisco that carried the story, the phone rang. I picked it up and without even saying "Hello," there was a shout from him: "that sonofabitch is guilty as HELL!!!"

Expand full comment

My dad sensed character

1969 Memory trigger: not actually relevant

Edward M. Kennedy - Chappaquiddick incident

His remark -

I’d like to be a fly-on-the-wall when he tries to explain this to Joan

Expand full comment

I was paddling a canoe in Canada’s Quetico Wilderness Waterways when Nixon resigned on August 8, 1974. A half a week later when we paddled back into the U.S. and the Minnesota Boundary Waters Wilderness, the official at the backcountry island customs office announced in stern tones that he had serious news to share. “Mr. Hausam, you must know that you now have a new president.”

Expand full comment

That story reminds me of two similar but, thankfully, less momentous experiences I had in a single year. Twice, I was assisting in bringing sailboats up from Mexico to San Diego in 1981 when 1) Ronald Reagan was shot in an attempted assassination and 2) Pope John Paul II was shot in an attempted assassination. We later joked that perhaps we should avoid future boat deliveries 'just in case'.

Expand full comment

That’s an amazing moment. Thanks for sharing, David.

Expand full comment

The Watergate break-in, which happened between my freshman and sophomore years in college, did not register high on my radar. The Vietnam draft lottery was front and center. The live broadcast of the hearings in May 1973 were another story. Plus, my parents were friends with James St. Clair, a highly respected Boston attorney and early counsel to Nixon. He resigned from that (short term) role because, as he told his bowling league group, “that son-of-a-bitch lied to me”. These were people who all voted for Nixon, but St. Clair’s words were all they needed to hear! Nixon’s resignation, the end of the draft, and a college friend getting picked up by one of President Ford’s son and having a tour of the family residence was, in our mind’s eye, the start of the “best of times” …. Naïveté at its best!

Expand full comment

Memory trigger: August 1973: I was a passenger on the Siberian RR between Nakhodka & Irkutsk, en route to Ulan Bator.

Sen Ted Stevens (Rep AK) came on board. His aides scurried to find any Americans among the 99% Europeans. Nailed 3 of us & treated us to dinner in first class. Briefed us on Nixon’s speech Aug 15th speech.

“I neither took part in nor knew about any of the subsequent cover‐up activities; I neither authorized nor encouraged subordinates to engage in illegal or improper campaign tactics.”

Expand full comment

This was between my 8th and 9th grade years; my Dad was a news junkie, a staunch Democrat, and his interest in this event was high from the very beginning, so it was much on my radar. I had a group of 3 friends (all guys) who would come to my house and watch the hearings with my Dad, since their families were much more conservative. I wasn't as interested (way more into sports than politics) but even at that nominal level of interest, I knew this was a big deal.

Expand full comment

We must be almost the same age. My parents were republicans who seemed to support Nixon thought I paid little attention to politics then. I thought the subsequent hearings were a total bore. But I had a walking/biking daily paper route for a few years at that time. This was months later, but I will never forget the bundle of papers dropped on my porch steps with the biggest headline I'd ever seen: NIXON RESIGNS. Even I knew then it was a very, very big deal.

Expand full comment

I was a "professional substitute" paper carrier, and was covering a friend's route that day. (He is now the editor of that local paper). I remember that headline.

Expand full comment

There is clearly movement and the unhinged are feeling it. No coincidence you note the break in and Braddock in the same newsletter, both unhinged( literally the door!). But it feels like a scarier time, or is it?

Expand full comment

Then we thought that the "immorality" was circumscribed in the Oval Office....no longer. It has revealed a virtual epidemic of massive proportions for which the only vaccine is education and societal change....our national values need to be realigned so that the people come on top of the pyramid and not property and money. The minimum necessary time required to develop anti-bodies to such a disease is obviously very long....generational. In the meantime, isolation and/or stigmatization of those demonstrably and incurably infected is necessary to preserve democracy. We put massive health warnings on packets of cigarettes so why not on Trump, Greene, Gaetz, Graham. They should understand as their ideological predecessors put Stars of David on a whole people.

Expand full comment

Why are they not being held accountable? Branding them isn’t enough. Consequences need to be stronger. Threatening to call in a hit man seems to be cause enough to “lock him up”!

Expand full comment

I think it's called conspiracy to commit murder, but I'm not an attorney.

Expand full comment

I'm concerned that those who are assigned or employed to hold them accountable are part of the problem, evident in our courts, law enforcement, and military. One could add that the influence of unhinged is evident in textbooks and attempts to whitewash our history.

Expand full comment

As a follow up to my previous statement: I'm concerned about the control conservatives have over content and placement of textbooks in our schools. Am I up-to-date on this point?

Expand full comment

Yes.

Expand full comment

Stuart, You said it all in 22 words: "our national values need to be realigned so that the people come on top of the pyramid and not property and money. " No further explanation is required.

Expand full comment

Funny that you list education as part of the vaccine for the epidemic proportions of immorality and decline of national values.

Look at where many governors are focusing their vitriol. On education and control of curriculum to exclude CRT, as they put it. (CRT is not a curriculum product or component). What they are attempting to do is to whitewash history which, ironically, is a visual concept that they like. The white part.

Expand full comment

Well said, sir. Thank you.

Expand full comment

The beginning of a movie about 2019….as one of your responders wrote…Joni Mitchell announces the breakin at Watergate during her concert 1974!

Expand full comment

But now they only block the sun

They rain and they snow on everyone

So many things I would have done

But clouds got in my way

I've looked at clouds from both sides now

From up and down and still somehow

It's cloud illusions I recall

I really don't know clouds at all

Expand full comment

I never heard those words until just now, though my head spouted them countless times as sung. And now you have provided me with my ear worm for the day. Don't know whether to thank you or not.....

Expand full comment

Just for you Carolyn.....the full lyrics

Rows and flows of angel hair

And ice cream castles in the air

And feather canyons everywhere

Looked at clouds that way

But now they only block the sun

They rain and they snow on everyone

So many things I would have done

But clouds got in my way

I've looked at clouds from both sides now

From up and down and still somehow

It's cloud illusions I recall

I really don't know clouds at all

Moons and Junes and Ferris wheels

The dizzy dancing way that you feel

As every fairy tale comes real

I've looked at love that way

But now it's just another show

And you leave 'em laughing when you go

And if you care, don't let them know

Don't give yourself away

I've looked at love from both sides now

From give and take and still somehow

It's love's illusions that I recall

I really don't know life at all

It's life's illusions that I recall

I really don't know life

I really don't know life at all

Expand full comment

Thank you for sharing. I’ve always loved these lyrics….in today’s world they now have even more meaning.

Expand full comment

Gorgeous. the artists, poets, musicians know.

Ty Stuart!

Oh, and teachers too.

Expand full comment

Name of song, lead singer and or group??? Thanks.

Expand full comment

Hi Fern, delighted to see that you can be with us from time to time. The song is one of the best known written and performed by Joni Mitchell....first recorded by Judy Collins in 1968 and then by Joni Mitchell herself on her "Clouds" album in 1969.

Expand full comment

The song is Clouds from the album Clouds by Joni Mitchell, 1969

Expand full comment

Fern! Good morning!

Expand full comment

Judy Collins has also recorded this.

Expand full comment

It's not in your head already?

Expand full comment

Thank you for today's music!

Expand full comment

Oh come on, Carolyn! 🙂 Both Sides Now is a great song! The ear worms I get are awful ; some song by Kenny Rogers or something. Bleah!

Expand full comment

Oh I love the song. It's sheer poetry in music/music in poetry. But once I hear it, it's with me for days, even weeks. Her phrasing was unique. As a singer, I obsess about such things.

Expand full comment

How sweet a memory!

I'm a classical musician, and I can hear just the opening a-minor chord and snap out "That's Beethoven's seventh symphony, second movement." But when people start talking popular music, my mind is a complete blank. I could not have named this song, or the writer, or the singer.

But I got as far as reading the second line above -- They rain and snow on everyone -- and I immediately heard the song in my head. Clearly the Judy Collins recording. I loved it, as a kid. So wistful. So sad. I probably know a lot of these late-1960's folk songs, without even knowing that I know them.

Expand full comment

She was a big part of the folklore of the time of life in the "valleys" in California at the time. A Canadian singer/writer living with the Englishman, Graham Nash of Cosby, Stills, Nash and Young...part of our growing up.

Expand full comment

Sang along right away. Thank you, Stuart. Will put on the turntable today.

Expand full comment

Is it the desperation some feel that moves some to immoral actions….like a two year old who becomes aware of how little they really are? If so, then how to reach that existential threat?

Expand full comment

Despair in their case comes down to their status in the "pack" and to their pocket. In a system the trumpites control, their is much less competition to get to the top and thus white mediocrities can flower. Who says limiting competition, says monopoly profits and survival of zombies. They are afraid they couldn't "make it" if they didn't "fix" the fight.

Expand full comment

Exactement! Sadly, this existential threat is so deep, a developmental arrest in the earliest years of life! So fixing this problem of feeling inadequate takes more than government can offer…but it’s a start.

Expand full comment

I *really* need to get and read psychologist niece Mary Trump's book, "Too Much and Never Enough," subtitled something like How my family created the most dangerous man in the world." I hear it very clearly lays out exactly what his severe emotional damage was, starting in early toddler years. Your comment makes me wonder if early, severe, unexamined and unhealed emotional damage is the root of the main problems with all the R's whose attitudes and behaviors are so selfish and destructive. Thanks!

Expand full comment

It just occurred to me that we might be living out the old sitcom "arrested developement" indeed. An entire dysfunctional society. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arrested_Development

Expand full comment

Among others, president R. M. Nixon, the Plumbers, John N. and Martha Mitchell, Watergate, W. Mark Felt, the Tapes, John Dean and the others charged, Speaker Ford, VP Spiro T. Agnew, Judge John Sirica, The Saturday Night Massacre, the Heros of Watergate and two WaPo Reporters, the publisher and Ben Bradlee, set the bar we are now failing. Back then it was presidential paranoia. Today it is societal world wide prejudice akin to Nazi fascism, largely ignored by historians then and now. It takes Auschwitz. Crematoriums.

For Whom the Bell Tolls.

The bell tolls for thee.

Expand full comment

In the Watergate era we all realized what Nixon’s motley crew did was wrong. Today just south of half of the country supports and applauds the continuos attempt to overthrow democracy by the former President and his brainless followers.

Expand full comment

A fascinating roundup tonite, HCR! Plenty to choose from to expound on to be sure... With Watergate at the cusp of 50, it is a constant source of ribbing in my family that my father's birthday is today, too... Every year someone in the family asks the pregnant question of him about his whereabouts in celebrating his 45th birthday...

Anyway. Manchin's offering may not move too many chess pieces on the board, but it certainly moves him out of the doghouse a bit, particularly with Stacy's support. Not surprisingly the Republican response of tying this to her paints his effort... let's call it what it is... black. So grossly-pandering to the white-national base that it can't even be seen as anything but in my estimation. But we will see where this goes, as HCR points out. The real arguments against what will eventually become a "bill" I hope will become increasingly-focused on MORE democratic elections (read: more access and more voting) or LESS democratic elections (read: more impediments to access and non-sensical roadblocks to the process). History will (hopefully) not treat those that resist this John Lewis effort kindly...

The Florida election story is perhaps the most disturbing thing I've heard since they discontinued Tab. If anyone doesn't think there is something wrong with Trump-tied republicans: this story should push you over the edge. Clearly this man has anointed himself a self-styled patriot for the party, but he puts a new spin on the old meme that they will, "eat their own young." It now may read that they may 'assassinate' their own young. Wow. Might I suggest that dueling-pistols at 10 yards would be more honest? I hope that the aggrieved party files a serious complaint that that constitutes a, "terroristic threat," and that it is worthy of prosecution as such. In Minnesota we at least call it a, "boating accident," and don't own it as assassination. :)

Expand full comment

“most disturbing thing since they discontinued Tab”. Hahahahahahahaha. That was good, H.Alan!

Expand full comment

I think it is the most disturbing thing since T***p was installed.

But I do appreciate your Tab grief. I can almost taste the memory from my CA beach upbringing. Tasted less sweet than coca cola. Wasn't it one of the first sugar-frees?

Expand full comment

Yes. It and Fresca (which I hated).

Expand full comment

Haha! Fresca! I had forgotten that one!!

Expand full comment

Sen. Manchin is pushing the Republicans hard and would get a lot of the basic reforms in SR1 done. It would be nice if the Democrats showed as united a front as the GOP 'leadership'. Might even give some of the other Republican Senators an excuse to dust off their statespersonship disguises and vote in favour. I also like the 41 in favor idea for filibuster reform.

Expand full comment

“United front”?????? Manchin has been a deterrent to a united voting front (which is the block that counts with passing acts)by the Dems for weeks and weeks!

Expand full comment

Sorry Dave, my tone is strident. But I do not favor trying to cobble together a “united front like the GOP leadership”. Theirs is forced and held together with threat and immoral behavior.

Expand full comment

Watch out for rigidity; think about it for a while.

Expand full comment