The Supreme Lysistrata Solution

CNN is suing the White House to get Jim Acosta’s Hall Pass – Oops! “Hard Pass” -returned.

A “Hall Pass“ is issued by the principal, a “Hard Pass” is issued by the Secret Service. A “Hall Pass” is very hard to get, unless the principal likes you. A “Hard Pass” is easy to get if you’re a top reporter. But Trump keeps asking the Secret Service to revoke reporters’ passes, which creates bad PR for White House, so the Secret Service told Trump it is very “Hard” to take a pass away from a reporter. That’s why it’s now called a “Hard Pass.”

It worked pretty well until last week.

As everyone from the Beijing to Boise knows by now, Trump called on Acosta during a press conference the day after the election. It didn’t go well.

That really upset Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, daughter of one-time Arkansas Governor and former Presidential candidate, Reverend Mike Huckabee – this according to a source who almost begged me for anonymity.

Just before press conference, Sarah, knowing Acosta loves to bait Trump, almost begged him to give Trump a break.

“You know the President was up all night watching election returns in between golf re-runs. And when he realized red and blue didn’t mean southern and northern Republicans, it near destroyed him. He was overcome by sadness at losing to that witch-in-pink, Nancy Pelosi. And when he’s sad, he acts out. So, if you just kindly give him a break, I’ll let him call on you. OK?“

According to my anonymous source, Acosta agreed.

Then he accused Trump of demonizing the caravan of refugees working it’s way from Latin America to the US border. Sarah was behind the cameras in the back of the room, swearing under her breath (without taking the Lord’s name in vain, of course).

Acosta didn’t stop there. He got into an argument with Trump and asked why Trump described the caravan as an “invasion”.

“Good Gosh Almighty!” said Sanders under her breath, “Picking on one word?! Everybody knows Trump is still working on his vocabulary. Now he’s even sadder. And he’s going to act out even more. — Oh Lordy! He’s going to the WWI Commemoration in Paris tomorrow! ”

“He really needs attention now,” said my worried-source-whom-I-won’t-reveal later.

“Who needs attention?” I asked.

“I’m talking about Acosta, of course, not Trump.” Then,  “Oh no, I’m sorry. I’m talking about Trump, not Acosta.” Then, “Um, Well… Both…!”

“OMG! (Oh My Gosh!). I have to figure a way to keep Acosta out of Paris.…”

So, now we have a Freedom of the Press issue that could go to the Supreme Court and could have been avoided if either had needed less attention. Knowing Acosta loves to bait him, Trump could have simply called on any other reporter in the room. And Acosta could have given the kid the break he promised.

But, as my source-who-asked-for-anonymity later said, “Don’t forget. Trump was feeling sad and powerless that day. So, he did what he always does to cheer himself up; he bullied people. It’s almost like illicit sex for him.”

“Is that why he attacks the press so much?” I asked.

An opaque smile. And, “maybe, this will go to the Supreme Court and Kavanaugh can earn his promotion.”

But, there is another possible solution: the Lysistrata Solution. The press could follow the lead of Lysistrata and the other women of Greece. After 19 years of the Peloponnesian War, they refused sex with their husbands or lovers – which ended the war rather quickly.

Reporters could just stop attending Trump appearances.

Imagine, for just a moment, the next Trump press conference: “Ladies and Gentlemen, please stand for the President of the United States!” Trump walks in and… nothing. Just empty chairs.

Imagine reporters reporting what the Trump actually does, instead of what he says. No lies. No insults. No horse-pucky. Cool, huh?

Of course, the Supreme Court could also uphold the First Amendment.

Maybe both solutions would work. Acosta could get his “Hard Pass” back, then he and the other reporters could boycott Trump Press Conferences and rallies: The Supreme Lysistrata Solution.

I suggested it to my source-I-will-not-name, who liked it for a minute. Then she said, “If Trump loses in the Supreme Court and there are no reporters at his Press Conferences or rallies, imagine who and how manyhe’ll bully or fire in order to feel happy again. Oh my!”

Sometimes there are just no easy solutions.

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Hurray! The 2018 Election is over!

I feel like I just took my first bath in months. With soap and deodorant.

It feels like the sun came out, like winter has turned to spring, like there’s enough money in my bank account. It feels like my kids like me again, like the house doesn’t need cleaning, like I went to a bar and the best looking girl in the place smiled and bought me a drink.

All things previously impossible are suddenly possible. I haven’t felt that way in months.

In the interests of becoming a fully informed voter, I set up four TV’s in my living room: Fox, MSNBC, CNN and, occasionally PBS. I’d watch all of them at the same time. So, when Fox’s Tucker Carlson or Sean Hannity or Jeanine Pirro fawned over Trump, I could quickly get the opposite from MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow or Joe Scarborough or Larry O’Donnell – followed by CNN’s more middle-of-the-road Wolf Blitzer, or Wolf Blitzer or Wolf Blitzer. PBS was for intervals of sanity when the others became too circus-like.

And vice versa, vice versa, vice versa.

PBS offered comparatively dull news. But, hey, facts can be really dull when they’re not puffed up with OMG! delivery and “breaking news” headlines.

Still, I tried to follow it all. And did, for the most part. Everyone was voting for Trump, except those who were voting against Trump. See, I boil things down to their basic components.

Then there were those who didn’t vote. But this time, I couldn’t find any. It’s like no one had anything to do on Tuesday, so they all went out and voted.  I just have one question: who watched the kids? And who went to work? And who – OK, OK…

Now, with the election over, I can reconfigure all four TV sets to where they were before: on NFL football games. I’d far rather watch 300 pound men bashing heads than listen to a politician try to lie without getting caught. More blood, but more honesty, too. And football players follow rules, which is nice. I wish elections had referees, don’t you?

How about all those for sale signs in all those yards! Who knew so many politicians were trying to sell their houses? And who knew politicians owned so many houses? I always thought Republicans were smart, but boy, are they going to make a fortune in real estate.

Although the Democrats have invested heavily, too. I guess the winners will be decided by which party profits the most from the election.

Wow! I can read the newspapers again. And books. And listen to podcasts.

I am especially grateful for the return of pharmaceutical ads to TV news. I knew, years ago, that TV was becoming an old person’s medium and that I am – uh – know one.

I used to resent those ads, because they kept reminding me that every ache or pain was a sign of imminent death. But now, after learning from politicians how close my town, my county, my state and the country are to imminent death, my aches and pains seem – well – patriotic.

And, I don’t want to leave out all those car ads I’ve had to do without over the last few months. It’s like the return of long lost friends: “ If you don’t buy a new car from us, you paid too much!” and “Credit problems? Come see us!”

Not to mention beer ads, insurance ads, clothing ads… Oh Boy! Diversity is back in advertising!

Yep, I am on a better path now that the election is over. I can start talking to my family again. Maybe my daughter will forgive me for the way I voted. (I didn’t tell her who I voted for, but she’s very intuitive).

Life is good now that the 2018 campaigns are over. Well, until the 2020 Presidential campaign starts.

Tomorrow.

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Believers without facts are slaughtering Jews again

Nationalists, populists, rightists, racists, antisemites – whatever you call them – are all over the world now. Merkel is leaving leadership of Germany, Brazil just elected a potential dictator. Ditto Italy. Russia is back to a dictatorship. China is becoming one.

Their populations traded democracy for security – and lost their freedom.

But here’s what’s different about us. Our freedom is guaranteed in the Constitution. It is – at its core – a defense of individual rights, including freedom of religion.

We can’t lose our rights. Right?

Wrong. None of them, no matter how revered, are guaranteed.

They can be weakened by other laws, by strong-armed leaders, by apathy or just plain bigotry. Unless the essence of the ideals are taught in schools and held high every day by you and me, they are in trouble.

Last Saturday, 11 Jews in Pittsburgh lost their rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness, not to mention freedom of religion, to a guy with an AR-15 and 3 Glocks. He shot them dead and wounded 6 others. It was the biggest killing of Jews – just for being Jews – in US history.

Why did he shoot them? Because he was scared, this guy who was carrying an AR-15 and 3 Glocks.  He was scared that Jews are going to commit genocide in the US. Really. He believed 2.2 % of the country is going to commit genocide on the other 97.8%, because “Jews are the children of Satan”.

“I can’t sit by and watch my people get slaughtered”, he said just before acting on his beliefs.

He is a classic believer without facts.

He was spouting is Nazi propaganda, once left in the ashes of  WWII, now revived by the internet. While our public schools are dropping courses on civics and the Constitution, the internet is adding courses on hatred and bigotry.

I wonder if we’re approaching a time when being Jewish in the US is as unhealthy as being black.

Of course, 11 killed and 6 wounded is small potatoes, compared to, say, all those other mass murders by a deranged killer, right?

Wrong. He’s not mentally ill, according to the police, this guy, who I won’t honor by naming. He is not a just a lone, deranged killer who too easily got some guns and went on a killing spree.

And that’s the point. He’s not just a single guy at all. He’s an attitude, a conviction that started small in the late 1930’s and grew into the Holocaust. He is a belief system based on lies, not facts.

In another classic case of using tragedy to further his and the NRA’s agenda, our President skipped the obvious – that 80 year old propaganda targeted those worshippers – and immediately proposed adding guns to places of worship, just as he had for schools.

“Our Father, who art in heaven, hallowed be thy guns.“

I could launch into the idiocy of “Guns don’t kill; people do”, but anyone who’s watched the increase in gun deaths along with the increase in gun rights knows that. I could write about Australia barring guns in 1986 and their gun deaths drop 70% by 2016, but facts like that mean nothing in the US.

Believers without facts have always caused trouble. The Crusades was a war by Christians on Muslims because Muslims had control of some of their holy sites. Christians, for God’s sake, the “turn the other cheek” religion.

“Onward Christian soldiers, marching onto war”. Remember that hymn?

Christians thought they won the Crusades. But for the Taliban, the war never stopped. The holy site issue is long gone – fact – but the Taliban brought down the Twin Towers anyway.

You can find lots of facts in the Bible, but not the fact that the Jews killed Christ, which is the single biggest motivator for people to hate Jews.

The Romans killed Jesus by crucifying him, a Roman method, not a Jewish one. There were some politics among Jewish leaders, which put Jesus in the bulls-eye, but the Romans killed him, not the Jews.

It is 2018.  How can someone still believe Nazi propaganda? How can 11 innocent people get killed and 6 more wounded – by a guy who fears Jews?!

Because we’re losing respect for facts over beliefs. Because we have a President who foments and manipulates bigotries and hatred to his own ends. Because civics and the Constitution are electives, not required courses. Because the internet spreads lies faster than truths.

Because a believer without facts, but with an AR-15 and 3 Glocks, can.

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Braking news from the FEC

The FEC (Federal Election Commission) has asked the FDA’s (Food and Drug Administration) help in putting the brakes on the unintended physical and mental health consequences from the November 6 election. From now on, warning labels inspired by FDA drug warnings will be added to five parts of the election process: 1) cable, tv, and radio ads, 2) campaign rallies, 3) bulk email, direct mail, and robo calls, 4) voting places, and 5) all actual ballots.

This new set of labels results from the increase in fights, antipathy, and hurt feelings engendered by all those lies and attack ads about candidates (who we could easily name, but which courtesy and a sense of fairness precludes us from doing … but boy could we name names, Elizabeth Warren and Donald Trump!)

These warning messages will be apolitical and focused on prevention versus cure.

Below are some of the labels being considered.

1) For campaign cable, tv, and radio ads:

“View or read only after a good night’s sleep. Do not view alone if taking anti-depressants, in an acrimonious relationship, or seeing a therapist more than once a week – as you might experience sudden and extreme bouts of virulent anger, depression and/or panic. When viewing alone, one must be seated and far away from knives, tazers, or Hari Kari swords. If approached by a canvasser, do not – repeat, do not – shoot on sight or on site. Do not yell or threaten; these people are simply some of your neighbors after the Kool-Aid party. Instead, lock the door and call the nearest campaign abuse counselor at 1-666-Vote (that’s for those of you who read).”

2) For campaign rallies:

“This rally is sponsored by the following candidates and everyone who pays them off:  (Candidate names go here______________.) People with high IQ’s will be refused admittance. Ditto those with critical thinking skills. For your own safety, full body searches of all attendees are mandatory.After the rally, all confiscated campaign tools, such as knives, guns, or nasty placards will be returned for a fee.

3) For bulk email, direct mail, yard signs, and robo calls:

“Please do not read or listen to these political messages if you drink a lot or are new to marijuana products.  Do not read or listen unless fully dressed (although not common, there have been known instances of people who, after too much exposure to political messages, strip naked and run outside, screaming political obscenities at total strangers). If you must scream obscenities, please do so inside and without removing any clothing.”

4) For voting places:

“To all who enter here, please be advised: politics is not a science; it is an art – of lying. Most politicians lie – legally, of course – because: everyone-wants-what-they-want-which-politicians-can’t-give-so-they-lie-which-makes-everything-ok-because-everyone-thinks-they-got-what-they-wanted-even-though-they-didn’t. Bad politicians tell tons of really horrible lies and promote what’s good for themselves and those who keep them in power. Good politicians tell nicer lies in order to do what’s right for their constituents. Unfortunately, in our system, it’s hard to differentiate between the two. It’s not fair, but hey, neither is life.”

5) For the voting booth:

“Each ballot will be in the shape of a dart board, with names of candidates arranged according to the office to which they aspire. The voter will be given an electronic dart for each elected office. Republican and Democrat representatives will –together, so there’s no hanky panky – place a blindfold securely over the voter’s eyes and then, to ensure voter privacy, leave the booth. On the command “Ready! Set! Vote!” the voter will blindly throw the electronic darts at the dartboard, one at a time or altogether, according to personal preference. The darts will register electronically on a master computer built in China and monitored by Russia. The results will be reported to the FEC, which will, without comment, forward them to FOX News which will, being fair and balanced, report them to the public.”

Ok, we were just kidding about the voting booth section. In reality you will get a ballot that says: “Hey, the system isn’t great, but it’s the best we have. So just stop complaining, hold your nose, and vote.”

Sincerely, Your Federal Election Commissioners.

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Two Scared Women

After the Kavanaugh hearings a  Philadelphia area woman submitted a letter to the editor of the Philadelphia Inquirer and the NY Times. They didn’t run it.

Here it is (shortened for space):

                                    “SOS”

“I was born in 1948. In the 1950’s I led an idyllic childhood.

“I remember Ike and I was horrified by Kennedy’s death. I did not particularly like LBJ and hated that he was sending my generation to be decimated in Vietnam, but was encouraged by civil rights progress.

“I was astounded by Watergate and cheered when Nixon resigned. I liked Ford and was sorry he did not get re-elected.

“I thought Carter meant well but was not very effective.

“I was too busy raising my children to pay much attention to Reagan.

“I thought HW was ultimately qualified and was sad when he lost, but I was extremely disillusioned by the Anita Hill hearings.

“I was disgusted by Clinton’s morals but thought he was an OK leader.

“I thought W was an inarticulate, unintelligent leader, who drove us into war and debt, but that he basically was a good man.

“I was thrilled by Barak Obama’s election and felt calm, optimistic andrelaxed during his presidency.

“Throughout my life I felt our Ship of State was steaming ahead,progressing with the environment, civil rights, women’s rights,reproductive rights, and was highly respected throughout the world.

“I had confidence in our country’s leaders and rarely felt anxious about my future and the future of my children and grandchildren.

“Since 2017, I have a constant feeling of dread. I feel anxious and Iam losing sleep. I have tried to disengage from the daily disruptions, but every day brings new fears about our future.

“I feel our noble Ship has been hijacked by pirates who do not have a clue about sailing and are determined to run us aground.

“I am afraid our Ship is off course and may even sink.

“Please, Save Our Ship.”

This woman is a 70 year old retired pediatric occupational therapist, a mother, grandmother, and happily married wife of 46 years. 2017 was the year Trump and his pirates took over the ship.

Now, to a song  written by a 32 year old college dance teacher in San Marco, Texas in response to Trump’s Kavanaugh comment: “It’s a very scary time for young men.” It went viral on Youtube last week, shortly after which she performed it LIVE on Jimmy Kimmel. (https://www.hollywoodreporter.com/live-feed/lynzy-lab-performs-a-scary-time-jimmy-kimmel-live-1151936). Here are the lyrics  (also shortened) :

                           “A Scary Time for Boys”

“But it sure is a scary time for boys.

Yeah gentlemen! Band together. Make some noise

It’s really tough when your reputation’s on the line

And any woman you’ve assaulted could turn up anytime

 

“Yeah, it sure is a scary time for guys

Can’t speak to any women or look them in the eyes

It’s so confusing: is it rape or is it just being nice?

So inconvenient that you even have to think twice.

 

“I can’t live in an apartment if it’s on the first floor

I can’t be wearing silk pajamas when I answer the door

I can’t have another drink even if I want more

I can’t make you feel invalid, unseen, or ignored

I can’t jog around the city with headphones on my ears

I can’t speak out against my rapist after 35 years

I can’t be taken seriously if I’m holding back tears

And I can’t ever speak earnestly about all my fears

 

“But it sure is a scary time for dudes

Can’t text a girl repeatedly asking for nudes

Can’t make her have sex when she’s not in the mood

And what gives her the right to give you attitude??

 

“Yeah, it sure is a scary time for men

Girls like to act like you’re to blame and they’re the victims

Her dress was short and she was drunk, she’s not so innocent

Thank God your Dad’s the Judge and you won’t be convicted

Oh wait…that’s right…

 

“It’s not such a scary time for boys

They’ve always had the upper hand, they’ve always had a choice

It’s time for women to rise up,

Use our collective voice

The day to vote’s November 6, so let’s go make some noise

Go Vote!”

 

One person remembers a gentler time, when leaders assuaged fear instead of triggering it. The other doesn’t speak to a gentler time; she just yearns for it.

Neither names Trump or others. But there’s another, bigger connection between them: they’re scared – for themselves and the country.

Why tell you about just two scared people – miles, years, and cultures apart?

If you’re scared too, vote on Nov. 6.

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