By now you all know that the full (but redacted) Mueller report has been made available to the public. I am slogging through it now. It’s long. Four hundred and eighty eight pages long. And I’m only one guy. It’s gonna take me awhile to get through it all.
But I have read a decent amount of it. It’s broke down into two volumes.
Volume I details Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and "if the Trump Team conspired with the Russians."
Volume II deals with the president's “actions towards the FBI investigation” and if any of said actions are "obstruction of justice."
So far - I have some thoughts.
So, what does the Mueller report actually say about Russian interference and collusion?
A lot. Like, way more than I ever expected it to. From Mueller’s introduction to Volume I of the report:
“The Russian Government interfered in the 2016 presidential election in sweeping and systematic fashion. Evidence of Russian government operations began to surface in mid-2016. In June, the DNC and its cyber response team publicly announced that Russian hackers had compromised its computer network. Release of hacked materials -hacks that public reporting soon attributed to the Russian government-began that same month …. Trump foreign policy advisor George Papadopoulos … (said) that the Trump Campaign had received indications from the Russian government that it could assist the Campaign through the anonymous release of information damaging to Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. The information prompted the FBI on July 31st, 2016, to open an investigation into weather individuals associated with the Trump Campaign were coordinating with the Russian government in its interference activities.
That fall, two federal agencies jointly announced that the Russian government “directed recent compromises of emails from US persons and institutions, including US political organizations,” and, “these thefts and disclosures are intended to interfere with the US election process.”
So, this all makes it very, very clear that Russia, a hostile foreign power, endlessly interfered in the US presidential election. That’s not even in debate.
The next part of the introduction talks about how Mueller was assigned, came on board in May of 2017 as Special Counsel and was authorized to investigate “the Russian government’s efforts to interfere in the 2016 election,” including any links or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump Campaign.
Okay. We all know this. And then the report clearly says this:
“As set forth in detail in this report, the Special Counsel’s investigation established that Russia interfered …. principally through two operations. First, a Russian entity carried out a social media campaign that favored presidential candidate Donald J. Trump and disparaged presidential candidate Hillary Clinton. Second, a Russian intelligence service conducted computer-intrusion operations against entities, employees, and volunteers working on the Clinton Campaign and then released stolen documents. The investigation also identified numerous links between the Russian government and the Trump Campaign. Although the investigation established that the Russian perceived it would benefit from a Trump presidency and worked to secure that outcome, and that the Campaign expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts, the investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.”
Hrmmm. The words “numerous links,” and “did not establish” don’t seem to fit together. Let me unpackage it all:
Mueller felt that the while the Russians instigated cyber terrorism and the Trump team accepted the stolen material there was technically “no collusion,” because both groups acted independently towards the same mutually beneficial goal.
Okay. I understand. That’s fair. The Trump team never called up the Russians and said, “Can you steal a bunch of stuff in order to help us win the election?” In which case, for it to be collusion, then the Russians would have to respond with, “Of course! We’ll break into the US Government and steal a bunch of information that will help you win!” Because that specific agreement - tacit or express - did not seem to happen - then there was “no collusion.”
Which … is not exactly how Barr’s four page summary spun it. But, whatever.
Also, I’m only about fifty pages into the report so far.
More to come.
Jack hates Trump. Jill hated Obama. And thus, Jack and Jill now cannot stand each other. This is today’s America, where lines are drawn and the population is bifurcated. We are somehow losing our love for each other, sharing common bonds of freedom as a nation. Is it because of the polarizing nature of Trump? Or Obama? No. Our collective angst has been misdirected towards the wrong culprit—the ire belongs with the unfettered growth of the power of government over our lives.
Would Jack hate Trump as much if the government was vastly less impactful on his life? Of course not. The emotional highs and lows of 2016 were extreme. We hear ad nauseum that every election is the most important of our lifetime. This last one, though, should have been no more extraordinary than any other. Sadly for our mental, emotional, and financial well-being, each election becomes progressively more polarizing, and more anger-inspiring—at least on one side. The reason is simple: the government becomes incrementally more gargantuan.
American Elections Have Become the Prisoner's Dilemma
Contemplate the prisoner’s dilemma that has become our elections. In a traditional prisoner’s dilemma problem, two people that together perpetrated a crime are given a choice to either stay silent or betray the other. If they both stay silent, they will both go to prison for a short period of time. If one stays silent, and the other betrays, the betrayer stays out of prison, and the silent one goes to prison for a long time. If they both betray the other, they both go to prison for a medium length of time. If they both act rationally, yes—an oxymoron for a criminal, then they will each betray the other.
Our elections are analogous because we are trapped in a scenario in which it seems impossible to behave rationally and have a positive outcome for all, or even most. Presume we live in a roughly 50-50 country, where people are split down the middle. After an election, half of the people are ecstatic, half the people are devastated, and all of the people can barely stand each other. There is, however, a way to solve the dilemma problem. It is a solution in which both sides are at least better off: limited government.
Our federal government is a behemoth. The fiscal year 2019 budget stands at $4.5 trillion, which is 21.3 percent of GDP. The current federal debt, on paper, exceeds $22 trillion and has grown on average nearly a trillion dollars a year over the last decade. Off the balance sheet, the unfunded liabilities could add at least another $50 trillion, depending on how it is estimated. The federal government employs approximately 2 million people.
There are 15 executive departments, and the number of agencies depends on who is counting, and how. As citizens, we experience an ever-growing expanse of government, impacting virtually every aspect of our lives. Thus, elections become commensurately impactful. Those who win elections direct this bloated mass of resources and power in a manner which the losing party inevitably finds antithetical.
Of course, emotions are not some mathematical game theory problem. The results are real and impactful. They have become rather binary, and we have become vastly forked along political lines. But there is a correlation in our prisoner’s dilemma puzzle between the severity of outcome and the power of the government. The less impactful government is on our lives, the less a binary election matters. The more impactful government is in one’s life, the more extreme the results of an election will be. Is everyone willing to simply flip a coin to be extremely happy or extremely bitter? That is where we currently stand.
Perhaps, instead, we can limit government. By reducing the magnitude of government, we can move our country to the point where elections are vastly less impactful on our well-being. We can reduce the animosity we currently have for each other, and instead bask in the glow of the freedoms we have been bestowed. Government has a natural tendency to metastasize. It is our duty as citizens to curtail that.
Abraham Lincoln declared our government to be of the people, by the people, and for the people. Sadly, our reality is a government that no longer derives its power from our consent. The simple fact is that Obama was your President, and Trump is your President. Instead of #notmypresident, how about #limitedgovernment?
Dave Sukoff is an advisor to the investment management community and previously co-founded and ran a $500m fixed income relative value fund. He is also the co-founder of a software company and inventor on multiple patents. Dave graduated from MIT, where he majored in finance and economics. This piece appeared on pennypressnv, reprinted in full with permission.
The media continuously attempts to divert your attention to the southern border through the circus of politics. You know, where the left blames the right, and then the right blames the left, and in the end, the American people are stripped of their God-given rights.
People need to awake to the fact that this administration has eradicated NAFTA by implementing something far worse called the USMCA in helping set up a global government (Luke 22:48).
A popular constitutional attorney from Washington DC shared with me this last week that this president has the power to put a stop to all of this illegal immigration across the country if only he would enforce the immigration laws, which he has not done. He went on and said that if you are waiting for this administration to enforce immigration laws, forget it, this president is sitting on his hands.
Many are not aware of the fact that several states have passed unconstitutional legislation, policies which counter and undermine the US Constitution, in order to hand your country over to illegals within the borders of the United States of America (Deuteronomy 28:43).
Just this last week, we’ve seen the manifestation and exhibition of this in my state of Minnesota, where they want to hand driver's licenses to illegals. Yes, you read that right.
New, Governor Tim Walz wishes to implement something called a “Sanctuary City.” He is joined by Attorney General Keith Ellison, whose objective is to bring in 300% more Somalis into Minnesota to illegally enforce, through totalitarian means, that which is clearly contradictory to the US Constitution (Article 6, Section 2, US Constitution).
Of course, let’s not forget the 74 said representatives acting outside of their scope of authority that just passed through the House a bill that would literally hand out licenses for illegals that are at this very moment being allured into this state (Deuteronomy 28:43).
Let me ask you, where did these said representatives receive delegated authority from “We the People” to implement such a bill? They didn’t!
No one has delegated authority to these said representatives to tear down the United States Constitution and recreate it in the image of the United Nations charters in making way for illegals.
The Minneapolis Star and Tribune reported, "Minnesota House votes to allow driver's licenses for immigrants in the country illegally."
The Democratic-led Minnesota House voted Friday to give immigrants the ability to get driver’s licenses even if they are in the country illegally, setting the stage for a potential clash with Senate Republicans who argue that the change rewards those who break the law.
“Immigrants, whether they are documented or undocumented, are Minnesotans. They are part of the fabric of our communities,” said House Majority Leader Ryan Winkler, D-Golden Valley. “It is time that we helped take away this shadow of not having a driver’s license.”
The 74-52 vote was a victory for the DFL House majority and Democratic Gov. Tim Walz, who have made it a top priority for this session. But it faces strong opposition in the Republican-controlled Senate, where some conservatives see it as an invitation to illegal immigration and possibly even fraudulent voting.
Sen. Bill Ingebrigtsen, R-Alexandria, said the proposal would set a “dangerous precedent” and “undermine our current laws.” “Minnesota shouldn’t be in the business of incentivizing illegal behavior, and by allowing illegal and undocumented immigrants access to driver’s licenses, that’s exactly what our state would be doing,” he said.
Senate Majority Leader Paul Gazelka, R-Nisswa, has called the chances that the bill would pass his chamber “small.”
If the measure were to clear the Minnesota Legislature, still a distant prospect, the state would become the 13th in the nation to provide licenses to residents who cannot prove legal status, fueling the national debate over immigration and access to social benefits.
Ron Branstner reported:
Most of you are aware of the house file that passed the floor this past week in Minnesota. H.F. 1500 passed the House overwhelmingly in support of giving illegals driver’s license on Minnesota roads.
Now, after finding out about this information, I immediately called my state senator and began asking what was going on down at the state capital. I inserted constitutional and federal law references throughout the conversation. I ended by stating that this is treason (Luke 22:48).
He replied, "We need help from a third party" and added that these said representatives that signed their names to implement such a treasonous bill need to be escorted out and into jail, I of course answered in the affirmative with, you’re exactly right (Isaiah 26:9; 51:4)!
Americans, how long are you going to play the fool with those who are trampling under foot your blood-bought freedoms, as well as those who are now handing off your country to those who mean to destroy it?
After everything we’ve seen, politically, since Donald Trump announced his campaign for President in 2015, is it unreasonable to believe, today, everything he has said about the Washington swamp?
In a word, no.
In fact, believing Trump and disbelieving pencil neck Adam Schiftless and his ilk is as reasonable as believing that baseball season started last week and the Stanley Cup playoffs start this week.
We have created a class of people in Washington, New York and other large Democrat controlled urban areas who simply do not care about what we, the people who actually own America, want. We didn’t intend to create this class of people—call them the Swamp class.
It happened because Americans are so in awe of our experiment in self-government, we have, over the last 200 years, forgotten that when you give people access to a vast treasury, many of them seem to want some of it for themselves. In short, we trusted them but we didn’t verify their intentions. It’s kind of like trusting that nice man who owns a casino in Las Vegas to play you with even odds. Not going to happen. Seriously. How is it that people who have served in the House or Senate almost their entire professional lives, emerge from public service as multi millionaires? How indeed, Harry Reid?
Ironically, it took a billionaire—who actually made his money in business—from, of all places New York City, to tell the public the truth.
“We have a lot of great support, far more than you think,” said President Trump. “But where we really have the support are the voters that pull that handle, or whatever the hell they are pulling, they are pulling it for us. So, the Russia hoax proves more than ever that we need to finish exactly what we came here to do. Drain the swamp! The Democrats have to now decide whether they will continue defrauding the public with ridiculous bullshit — partisan investigations, or whether they will apologize to the American people, and join us to rebuild our crumbling infrastructure, bring down the cost of health care.”
So, when these clowns get caught trying to manipulate the system to their advantage with their panties down around their ankles, why are they amazed that our pitchforks are out for them?
Donald Trump may be a little crude, but he’s certainly been effective.
Ask any member of the Washington Swamp class. After they get done sputtering.
Their newest scam is to insinuate the Mueller Report is, somehow, flawed. CBS is trumpeting a report that certain unknown members of Mueller’s team are “unhappy” with Attorney General Bill Barr’s summary of the report.
It’s not enough for them to have spent more than $25-million of our money to try and unelect a duly elected President they hate. Now, they need to trash their own work. Or, the Democrats do. (Maybe that’s one and the same.) Think about it. This Attorney General has spent an entire career building a sterling reputation. He didn’t need this job. Mueller is exactly the same.
Do you seriously think they would endeavor to ruin their reputations by involving themselves in a bizarre conspiracy to protect Donald Trump?
Do you seriously think that either of these two would allow their names to be used in some illicit scheme to tilt the results of this investigation? If you do, we have bigger problems than Adam Schiff.
People used to know who their doctor was. His name and phone number were on the wall or the refrigerator next to the telephone. He was there for you and could manage most of your problems.
When I was about 13, my mom took me to our pediatrician for belly pain. He was on his way out the door, but he stopped to take care of me. He diagnosed appendicitis based on history and physical examination. He called his favorite surgeon (“Billy,” a Tucson legend), who came from the golf course to meet me in the emergency room. Within hours, my red-hot appendix was in a jar. My parents paid the hospital bill ($150—10 days’ pay for a construction laborer) as I was discharged a few days later.
Today, the patient with abdominal pain could wait for hours to see the ER provider—possibly a nurse practitioner or physician assistant who had never seen a case of acute appendicitis. She’ll probably get a CT scan, after another wait. Eventually, Dr. On-call may take her to the operating room, hopefully before the appendix ruptures. And the bill will be beyond the means of ordinary people.
I used to be able to direct-admit patients from my office and send them with a set of orders to the hospital admitting office. For years, this has been impossible. The hospital is decidedly unfriendly to independent doctors. There’s now a gatekeeper in the emergency room, and most patients are under the control of a hospitalist.
This hospital, still Catholic at least in name, is now owned by a huge national conglomerate. Recently, it thwarted all efforts to keep it from dehydrating a patient to death despite lack of an advance directive or permission from next of kin. The patient’s mother disputed the diagnosis of brain death. The gastroenterologist of her choice was willing and able to place a feeding tube, needed in order to transfer the patient to a skilled nursing facility, but the hospital would not permit it. An outside physician whom the mother had called on was removed from the patient’s room by security, when she was merely praying with the mother. The mother could not get a phone call returned from an attending physician. Who was the doctor? Apparently, the hospital system.
Recently, a physician called me about her mother, who was seemingly a captive in a world-renowned hospital. She was concerned about her mother’s nutritional status and falling oxygen level. She could not speak to the attending physician. “They play musical doctors.”
Largely driven by government policy, the System is increasingly in control. A new level of intrusion is being proposed in California in a bill (SB 276) that would outlaw all medical exemptions for vaccines, unless a public health officer approves each one, based on the very narrow list of contraindications accepted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Doctors traditionally swore an oath not to harm patients, and are liable if they do. But government officials are immune from liability, even if they overrule a physician’s judgment that a particular patient faces an unacceptable risk of harm from a vaccine.
If you disagree with your private doctor, you can fire him or simply decline to follow his advice. But what if the government is your doctor?
In Arizona, law enforcement officers in tactical gear broke down the door to a home where children were sleeping, entered with guns drawn, and took three little children away from their parents. The stated reason: the mother had decided not to follow a doctor’s advice to take her two-year-old to the emergency room for a fever, because the fever broke and the child got much better soon after leaving the office. The main concern seemed to be that the child was not vaccinated.
Americans need to defend their right to have an independent physician, to choose their physician and type of care, and to give or withhold informed consent to medical treatments. Otherwise, their “doctor” will be a protocol in a system staffed by interchangeable automatons. Treatments will be inaccessible or required, tailored to meet the needs and beliefs of the system.
If the government is the ultimate authority on your “health care,” remember that its tools for checking whether a child has a life-threatening disease such as meningitis include battering rams and assault rifles.
Jane M. Orient, M.D. obtained her undergraduate degrees in chemistry and mathematics from the University of Arizona in Tucson, and her M.D. from Columbia University College of Physicians and Surgeons in 1974. Her views and opinions, if expressed, are her own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of GCN. Her column can often be found here at www.pennypressnv.com. Her column has been reprinted in full, with permission.
After a weekend full of Lucy Flores, the time has come to ask why the former gang banger, Nevada Assemblywoman and two time Nevada political loser found it necessary to wait four and a half years and then come after Joe Biden for alleged hair sniffing. Or alleged back of head kissing. Or alleged shoulder holding.
All while Biden, then the Vice President of the United States of America, was lending his support to what would soon become her massive loss in 2014 for Light Gov.
And, did I mention that it was four and a half years before she trotted out Biden’s “crime?”
“I had never experienced anything so blatantly inappropriate and unnerving before,” she (or someone) wrote in New York Magazine.
You mean the abortion you had when you were gang banging at age 16 was perfectly appropriate? The fact that your solution to becoming pregnant was to kill the baby? That was appropriate?
Or does it mean you have a very short memory?
Let me refresh it from your own website:
“By 15 I was on juvenile parole and by 17 I had dropped out of high school.”
Now, Lucy. I’m NOT kicking you when you are down. In fact, the exit you made from that life is impressive. It shows that President Trump is on the right path with his criminal justice reform efforts—which, thankfully, your Democrat buddies seem to be supporting.
Also, I’m not here to make Joe an example of who I would like to see as President, since we already have a perfectly good President in Donald Trump.
But, he is, at least, the sanest of the Democratic candidates so far and is a decent man who doesn’t deserve the negative publicity you and the lamestream media have whipped up, presumably at the request of one of the other crazed Democrat candidates. Further, you seem just a tad too concerned with your political relevance which is actually somewhere between that of Jussie Smollett and Hillary Clinton.
And as far as this #MeToo crap goes, count me out.
As I have said in this space before, my Father took me aside when I was about 13 and told me that I had a Mother and two Sisters and I had better treat women the way I expected others to treat my Mother and two Sisters. Left unsaid was what would happen if I violated those strictures but it wouldn’t have been pleasant.
Somehow, given your gang banging background, if you had been all that offended at the time, Biden might have suffered a groin injury (although the Secret Service might have been upset). Something tells me you didn’t say a word at the time because you are full of crap.
You appreciated his trip to attempt to bail you out of a horrible campaign back then and you feel like there’s nothing he can do for you today.
In short, madam, cut the crap.
You don’t deserve any of the time the lamestream media has wasted on you and, if you want to be an example to troubled youth, maybe you should endorse the President’s First Step Act and get on with it.
Or you can continue to act like Jussie Smollett and become even more irrelevant than you are now.
If Jussie Smollett isn’t at least whistling this old blues tune highlighted in the classic movie “The Blues Brothers” he’s even dumber than he looked when he got caught faking a so-called hate crime. And make no mistake. He got caught with his panties down around his ankles by the Chicago Police Department.
While we still have never seen this clown on a TV show, we have to admire his lawyers’ understanding of how identity politics works in Chicago.
They managed to get a hopelessly conflicted, elected State’s Attorney to drop all charges against Smollett after he was indicted by a Grand Jury on 16 felony counts. Her conflict, apparently, was between her patron Saint Michelle Obama and reality. Imagine if a Federal Grand Jury had indicted the President and the Attorney General decided not to prosecute.
It was completely predictable. As it happened, I was in Chicago the week Ms. Hopelessly Conflicted Prosecutor was warming up for something like this and now, she’s busy defending her office by suggesting—among other things—that she saved the taxpayers’ money.
The actual assistant State’s Attorney who handled the case said it wasn’t an exoneration and Smollett said he didn’t do it. The Mayor said he did do it, a Grand Jury said he did and the Police Superintendent said he did.
If Joliet Jake (John Belushi) were still alive, he would have probably been proud of Smollett. Or, maybe not, because at least Jake did his time.
The only problem with Smollett’s legal tactic was the unanticipated consequences of Federal involvement. It takes a lot to put President Trump, Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago Police Department on essentially the same page, but Jussie Smollett did it. Trump has announced that the Federal Government is looking into the case. This could be the Rodney King case of the 21st Century where we get to explain to students who went to school after the teachers’ union took over, that double jeopardy does not attach in such situations.
This is the way it works in Chicago and has worked from time immemorial. Remember, this is Illinois where being Governor is prep school for prison and the TV show, The Good Wife was either a documentary or a soap opera depending on where you live or grew up.
It’s also hard for someone who grew up in Illinois not to see some parallels to the Blues Brothers.
Mayor Emanuel and the Chicago Police Department have threatened to sue Smollett for the $130,000 they say was expended pulling his panties down after he filed a false police report. And Emanuel—in an attempt to keep his street cred with the left, told the President to butt out.
Smollett’s lawyers say that he doesn’t owe the city an apology but rather the Mayor and the Police owe HIM an apology for dragging his name through the mud.
That’s like Al Capone suing Chicago for letting him under-report his income.
The biggest problem with the entire nation seeing a clown show like this one is that not everyone grew up or lives in Illinois so there is a huge group of people out there who don’t understand the Chicago Way and don’t understand that in Chicago, truth is often stranger than fiction.
As we’ve observed before, maybe Law and Order’s Dick Wolf will explain it to the audience writ large with a one or two episode show next season on Chicago PD, ripped from the headlines. That he didn’t come up with a scenario similar to this up to now is only a reminder that you cannot make this stuff up.
Sweet Home Chicago, indeed.
Let’s start from the premise that Jerrold Nadler, chair of the House Judiciary Committee is so full of crap that his eyes are brown.
He suffers from a case of political Diarrhea which will ultimately consume him and his cronies who absolutely hate the President and simply cannot help themselves—even in the light of Robert Mueller’s nothingburger which was handed to the Attorney General over the weekend.
That said, we hope he continues along the path he is setting out on—impeachment. It will guarantee this President another term in office because the American public is simply not as stupid as Nadler and his fellow travelers think we are.
And then, there’s Senate Minority Leader, “Chuckie” Schumer, who thinks he’s way too important to lower himself to Nadler’s level. In point of fact, he’s much lower—if that’s possible.
Both of these clowns stand before lecterns and calmly, professorially, lie to the public. They sound a lot like Donald Sutherland’s college professor in the classic movie Animal House. Why, you’d think they actually a) knew what they were talking about and, b) were telling the truth.
Truth be told, they’re Washington swamp hucksters who only want to make sure they hold on to whatever sliver of power they think they have and they see Donald Trump as the guy who can take them down by telling the American voter the truth.
They have a hard time believing a) that Trump could have been elected in the first place and b) that a good share of the voting public—possibly a majority—likes him and approves of the job he is doing.
And they think that by doing everything possible to undermine Trump they will, somehow, gain the hearts and minds of the voters and vanquish the Trump dragon. You know, kind of like how Lyndon Johnson won the hearts and minds of the Viet Nam’s citizens by bombing them into submission. Not.
The truth is that America is so much smarter than the brain trust of the Democrat party that Democrats are heading for an extraordinary beat down in 2020. Think Ronald Reagan in 1984.
It’s not that we love Donald Trump—although many of us do. It’s that Trump has this bad habit of actually standing up for what he believes and doing what he promises. The Democrats aren’t scared that what the President proposes won’t work. They’re scared that it WILL work. That it IS working.
Yet the Democrats are shameless. John Podesta—whose emails were almost as embarrassing as Hillary Clinton calling half of America ‘deplorable’—was on CBS screeching that the report was not an exoneration of the President. Seriously? The poor dear. His emails were supposedly hacked. He didn’t bother to mention that they were all written by his own hand and that he’s so crooked they couldn’t straighten him out with a crucifixion.
Somehow, the party of tolerance and free speech has become the party of Fascist thought. The party which Jews endorsed has become the party of anti-Israel anti-Semitism. The Democrats are the best reason for Israel’s existence, because they have proven that, put into power, another Holocaust CAN happen again!
It’s as if Firesign Theatre and Monty Python have taken over the Democrat Party. Actually both of those early 70’s groups usually made more sense than the Democrats do these days.
Watching Democrats dance over what they still insist is the President’s political grave is like watching an alternate version of Saturday Night Live.
We’ll see how funny they think it is in November of 2020.
Fred Weinberg is a columnist and the CEO of USA Radio Network. His views and opinions, if expressed, are his own and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of GCN. Fred's weekly column can be read all over the internet. You can subcribe here www.pennypressnv.com. His column has been repritined in full, with permission.
“The Killer” needs to take a break from Rock and Roll. Jerry Lee Lewis had a recent stroke and will spend the coming months in a rehab facility near his home in Nashville. I was looking forward to his April 28th concert at the Jazz and Heritage Festival in New Orleans, and had already lined up my tickets for his show. But that’s been cancelled. So let me look back on a few memories about Jerry Lee.
In 1958, I was at a high school hop in St. Louis when the number one song in the country was performed. I danced with my girlfriend to Jerry Lee’s hit, “Whole Lotta Shakin’ Goin’ On.” We played the song over and over. My favorite part was when his vocals got quite and in a soft voice he sang.
I play a little music myself, but I have never heard anyone play a boogie woogie piano like he could. He often played standing up and could even play with his feet, after he kicked over his piano bench. Jerry Lee was something else.
Fast forward ten years almost to that day. I’m sitting in my office as a new country lawyer in Ferriday, Louisiana. I had few clients so I was always anxious when the door opened. One afternoon, in walks “The Killer” himself. I recognized him immediately with that long wavy hair and pointed chin. He didn’t need a lawyer but had a family member that was in a bit of trouble with the local game wardens. I was glad to help and that forged a long relationship with the king of rock and roll.
There were other incidents from time to time, and when a relative or friend appealed to Jerry Lee for help, I would get a call. I never sent him a bill for my services, but I could get front row seats to his concerts. He played at a Baton Rouge club called Floyd Brown’s back in the 80s, and Jerry Lee kept my group entertained backstage for a good while after the show.
You have to admire his resiliency. Jerry Lee has certainly had his highs and lows, but in his worse moments, he’s always had the heart and stubbornest to fight back. His popularity today continues at a high level that most star musical performers envy.
I attended a dinner in New York last year for a relative, and a wealthy hedge fund CEO came to my table and introduced himself. He had heard I was from Ferriday. All he wanted to talk about was Jerry Lee Lewis. “My musical idol,” he told me. “I even have a piano in my office, so to unwind, I play “The Killer’s music.” This guy has billions, travels the world in his own private jet, and to relax, he plays the music of a Ferriday boy who cut his musical teeth hanging out with the likes of Mickey Gilley and Rev. Jimmy Swaggart.
The three cousins all were self-taught and could each play the piano before they reached 10 years old. They went separate directions and each found success. At one time, Rev. Swaggart (whose family I also represented) had a worldwide following, and his preaching is still watched in numerous countries. Mickey Gilley, who did several concerts for me in my political days, was named the country singer of the year, and performs now at his own club in Branson, Missouri.
For good reason, Jerry Lee was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. He is just one more of the musical legends that call Louisiana their home. Here’s hoping he makes a full recovery and is back on the concert stage again soon. We all want to hear again about “a whole lotta shakin’ goin’ on.”
Another white supremacist right-wing terrorist commits mass murder. I’m sure you’ve heard all about it. I’m not going to talk much about gun control because you already know where you stand on that issue. I’m not going to even talk about the actual massacre because you’ve probably heard all about it and, honestly, I doubt I have anything new to say. I do want to talk about the fact that I wish I was more shocked. I mean, do you actually remember a time when it would be shocking to hear about any kind of massacre? I certainly do, and I honestly feel like it was decades ago. Now, I just wait for it to happen, knowing it will.
Remember back in 2011 when a white supremacist right-wing terrorist massacred 79 people in Norway? I hope you do, because I actually forgot all about it. I seriously did. This morning I read Huffpost’s really excellent: Mass Shooters Have Exploited the Internet For Years. New Zealand Took It To A New Level. (No, seriously, it’s great, you should take a few minutes to read it because they accurately point out some of the social problems that lead to mass shootings). Somewhere within the Huffpost story, the writers mention the 2011 attack in Norway that killed seven nine people, and I immediately thought, “Attack on Norway? Jesus, I don’t even remember that one.” I had to look it up. It took me a few moments of reading to recall the details. And then I thought, “Oh, I think there's a Netflix movie about it that just came out a few months ago - maybe I should watch it.” Sadly, my thoughts were not “What a horrible, f**king thing to have happened!” Nope. My thoughts were, “Don’t remember it. Oh, right, now I remember it. I should watch the movie.” =(
I mean, there are plenty of mass shootings I do remember. Without looking anything up: Vegas. The Ariana Grande concert in the UK (I think this was a bomb and not a shooting, or maybe it was both, or maybe I’m mixing up concert attacks). The FL nightclub massacre. Columbine. Virginia Tech. Sandy Hook. The Synagogue attack in … um, I can’t recall which city (and I even wrote about that attack). The attack on the movie theater where viewers were watching Batman, but I don’t remember the name of the theater chain or the city it happened. Multiple attacks on black folks while they’re in church. Multiple attacks in Paris within the last five years. The Kenya school attack. The Australian massacre in Port Arthur and I only remember this one because of the Jim Jefferies stand up routine about the attack and his views on gun control (which, is a pretty good routine). The Amish school shooting in … actually, I don’t remember where. Those are the ones I remember off the top of my head and there are clearly important details that I just can't recall - like the horrible massacre in Norway where 79 people died! Five years from now, after another couple dozen mass shootings have occurred, I wonder which of the above I will have forgotten?
Obviously the point being that mass shootings happen often enough that I no longer even remember some of them. I don’t claim to have a solution; however, I do see a few things in common with modern day massacres.
And there we have our game of Clue: The modern day massacre edition! Pick a mass shooting and ask - who did it? Oh, I know! I know! Is it ”the crippling insecure white male right-wing extremist, in the city, with a semi-automatic weapon?” (Well, not 100% of the time but, close enough).
Hey, how about this for a new law - men are banned from owning and operating guns! No, that's illegal. Let's remember the Second Amendment here so, oh, I know! Men can own, like, a flintlock rifle or a blunderbuss, or something as equally inefficient in the modern world - but women are allowed to own Uzi's and 9mm semi-automatic pistols! That would probably cut down on mass shootings. =)
Anyway. We all know mass shootings are not going away. Maybe the next time a cripplingly insecure man decides to shoot up a movie theater - I’ll be there and get killed. Or maybe the next time a cripplingly insecure man decides to “ignite a race war” by walking into a church filled with black folks and gunning them down - you’ll be there and get killed. Or maybe the next time a cripplingly insecure man decides to walk into a nightclub and gun down dancers - your kid will be there and get killed.
But I hope not. I hope someone, somewhere has a solution. And I hope it comes sooner, rather than later. Until then, I will cynically just wait for the next mass shooting to happen. I’ll probably post a bitter story about that one too - "full of sound and fury, signifying nothing."