The Case for Pardoning Hillary Clinton

hillaryI am sure this will elicit a backlash from those who want to “Lock Her Up”.  I am also pretty sure that her still stunned supporters will protest that she has already been cleared of any wrongdoing and should not be investigated.

But, hear me out.   A protracted investigation will do nothing more than increase the divide between the left and the right.  It will cost the tax payers millions.  It will derail any effort to move forward with reforms or simply doing the nation’s business.  It is a losing proposition no matter which way you approach it and, in reality, will only serve to create a martyr out of Hillary Clinton at a time when many just want her to go away.   It will be an unnecessary distraction at a time when we all need focus on the future of this country.

The headlines today seem to indicate that the President-elect does not want to initiate an investigation in order to allow Mrs. Clinton to “heal”.  If you take him at his word, that seems to be a reasonable position to take to avoid looking like you are vindictively prosecuting a political rival.  But tomorrow is another day and Mr. Trump  retains the prerogative to change his tweet without warning.

He did not ask the Speaker of the House or the Senate Majority Leader to shut down Congressional committee investigations that are still looking for a pound of her email.  A few of the Republican chairs of various committees don’t seem inclined to let go of ongoing efforts that could result in requests from the House or Senate to the  incoming administration’s Justice Department to indict Secretary Clinton.

I do believe she lied about everything from Benghazi to her reckless mishandling of classified information.  I think the advisors around her were corrupt and complicit in trying to coverup the extent of her willful disregard for laws governing the handling of material.  I believe, despite the declarations of current FBI Director and Attorney General that her actions did not rise to the level of a crime,  there is ample evidence that could lead to her conviction in a court of law with an impartial jury.

I don’t think we can find an impartial jury for her.

Here is my recommendation.  President Obama should grant her a blanket pardon for her actions while Secretary of State and the coverup of her email server after she left office.  I also think that her immediate aides should also be pardoned.   It would be grossly unfair for Huma Abedin to be punished when Secretary Clinton gets off with a pass.   Besides, isn’t being married to Anthony Weiner enough punishment for any human?

President Obama will not likely suffer any further decline in popularity for doing this.  The people who will howl about the injustice of a pardon don’t like him anyway.  Those that would support it are already in Secretary Clinton’s camp or realize that the future of the country is more important that living in Hillary’s past.  I don’t see a downside.  I even think this will take some of the pressure off of the incoming president.

In a way, this could be a turning point in moving towards a better future in the same way that  President Ford’s pardoning of Richard Nixon was back in September 1974.

Elicit

In Search of Fred Goat



It all started with a homework assignment from my Aunt/God mother at the Kelly Family Reunion in October.  She wanted a photo of Fred Goat.

I remember Fred Goat from my childhood. We lived in the Park Slope neighborhood of Brooklyn  during the 1960’s, just down the street from my maternal  grandmother’s house.  Nana, as we called her,  often hosted major holiday and family dinners at her house. After those dinners, my father would usually end up driving my  great-uncle and a cousin, both bachelors, home to the brownstone that they lived in on Dean Street in the Boerum Hill section of Brooklyn. My mother called the two of them “the Dukes of Dean Street”. On the return trip, after we had dropped off the Dukes, we would wish Fred Goat a good night.

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Office for Metropolitan History

I really don’t know how the tradition started.  I know that my mother’s sisters would say good night to him when their father would drive them home from Dean Street in the 1940’s and 50’s.  Fred was always at the corner of Dean Street and 3rd Avenue. Day or night, year after year he would be standing silent vigil.  “Fred Goat” was the logo of The Fred Goat Company.  It adorned the top of the turret of the building that once was home to the Federal Brewing Company .  The Fred Goat Company took over the building in 1914 and began manufacturing  and repairing machinery.

You would think that a landmark such as Fred Goat would be a an easy find on the “Google Machine”.  Alas, no photo of the old goat has revealed itself to me on the internet.   So I had to do some detective work.  No easy feat from here in southern Virginia.

The turret of the building was on the corner of 3rd Ave.  I found  a letter in the real estate section of the NY Times on Oct 18, 2012 to Christopher Gray asking for information on the building. It was written by the same aunt who had tasked me to find Fred.   I found the owner of the company’s obituary in the online archive of The Brooklyn Daily Eagle Archives from Feb 7, 1939 and confirmed the information on the building.  I next went to the NYC Department of Taxation website.  Between 1939 and 1941, and again in the mid-1980s, the city photographed every house and building in the five boroughs.  I ordered a photo of the building from the 1940 collection. It arrived on 18 November 2016.

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NYC Municipal Archives

As luck would have it, the angle of the photo does not allow a look at the logo on the turret seen in the photo just to the left and above the street light.

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The Brooklyn Daily Eagle, May 4th, 1925 – page 20

The ad from the Brooklyn Eagle shows the logo that was at the top of the turret on the corner of Dean Street and 3rd Avenue.  But a photo of the tower with “Fred” still eludes  me.

The building has gone through a lot of changes since the 1960’s. The top of the turret has been removed, Fred was painted over.   The eight story section of the building shown in the first illustration has had several floors removed.

federal-breweries-of-brooklyn

The search will continue.  I will try to track down the descendants of Mr. Fred Goat, you know, his kids ( I couldn’t resist).  Perhaps one of them has the photo I seek.  Maybe someone reading this will have it and drop me a line.  I may have to go up to Brooklyn to see if I can find any other architectural archives for the City or in the Brooklyn Public Library.  Somewhere out there is a photograph of the turret at the corner of Dean Street and 3rd Avenue with Fred Goat overlooking the traffic below. Someday, I will be able to say “Good Night” to Fred Goat once more.

Time to stop the tantrums

Full disclosure:  I am a white male, mid 50’s, with an education.  I am just the sort of person you don’t want to listen to if you are one of the people wearing a safety-pin and protesting the election. If you don’t want to read this, please go find some kitten videos on You Tube, I don’t want to bruise your feelings.

I had no problem with the outcome of the election.  I had a problem with the choices in this election.  In one of my early posts on this blog I went through my reasons for disliking both candidates. I won’t rehash my thought process, you can read it if you want. My home state of Virginia went blue in a tight election.

I am not happy that we have a buffoon as our new president-elect.  I am old enough and well read enough to understand how the election works. Start with Article II, Section I of the Constitution and then go read the 12th Amendment  if you need a refresher.  The lofty ideals of the Constitution were put down on paper in order to establish a country where a peaceful transition of power could take place, especially in times when social discourse is less than polite and the candidates have set aside the real issues of this election in favor of an unnecessarily dangerous division of the population.

I see the protests after the election and I have no issue with them until they become violent and destructive.  At that point, I am deaf to your cause and I am all for correcting you on the spot.  What I find particularly amusing is that these protestors, who think the end of the civilized world is nigh, are rampaging through the streets of the cities that supported their candidate.  On Wednesday night, “protestors” marched on to I-95 and stopped traffic in Richmond.  Congratulations for stopping people from getting home and interfering with interstate commerce. Your message was lost. In Chicago, a motorist was beaten by a bunch of thugs because he was white and they assumed he had supported Trump.  That would be a hate crime.  In Oregon protestors walked along the roofs of cars in a dealership and kicked in all the back windows and windshields.  Lets call it like it is, this is the kind of anarchy and destruction caused by criminals who are hijacking a protest.  If you support the “protestors” that do this, I will warn you that at some point, it is going to blow up in your face.  There will be a reaction and it will probably not be an equal and opposite reaction by any means.

There are remedies for this election.   In 4 years there will be another presidential election.  If you don’t like what he has done, vote him out.  In two years the entire House is up again as well as 1/3 of the Senate.  Vote for the candidate that supports your position. Do what you need to do, within the law, to correct the path you fear the country is on.  Just remember, people with the opposite point of view will be doing the same. A little respect goes a long way.

If you want to have the president elected by popular vote only and disband the electoral college, you need to work for a constitutional amendment that repeals the 12th Amendment and establishes the popular vote as the metric that decides future elections.  There is a process for this that does not require the burning of buildings or the smashing of windows on police cars.  I will point out that in the wake of the 2000 election where the winner won the electoral vote and not the popular vote there was an uproar that fizzled out pretty rapidly.  No move to amend the Constitution was made, even when the Democrats had the White House and both Houses of Congress for a couple of years (2009-2011).

And just a note for those of you that have been watching the Hunger Games over and over to get ideas on how to deal with your new dystopian Trump reality, you need to understand something.   Some of us “deplorables” believe in the rule of law.  I see Roe Vs. Wade as a settled issue, the law of the land.  I see gay marriage as settled law.  Why should I deny the same right I have to be miserable in a marriage to a LGBTQ person? I don’t support the repeal of the 19th Amendment (yeah, I heard that one last week while in line to cast my ballot). And no matter what you hear, doctors will treat patients because it is their duty and solemn oath to do so. You cannot replace Obamacare unless you have something with which to replace it.

I see the far right as the same grave threat as the far left.

The new president is not a conservative, he does not have the full support of the Republican House and Senate Majorities.If you think there will be a republican love fest in the aftermath of the inauguration you are not paying attention.

The reason for the unrest is that the Democrats rigged the process for Hillary and she was too busy being entitled to her birthright as the first woman elected president that she alienated a huge swath of the population.  On the Republican side of the ledger, they chose a narcissistic toddler to be the  nominee.  Does the fact that she could not win the election against Mr. Trump speak volumes about Secretary Clinton?

In the meantime, let’s pull up our big boy/girl pants and stop throwing your post-election tantrum because you did not get what you wanted.  Time to grow up people!  The constitution is there to get us through difficult times.  We will get through this.

A note for those of you that did not bother to vote, I don’t want to hear a peep out of you. And for those of you moving to Canada, don’t let the door hit you on the way out.  My deepest apologies to the people of Canada for the coming trickle of knee jerked immigrants from your southern neighbor.

via Daily Prompt: Lofty
Lofty
I'm part of Post A Week 2016

When you say nothing at all…

The Song. It sticks in my head and it is a frequent companion on my travels between the Tidewater of Virginia and the Georgia Low Country.  In fact, I have more than one version of it.  One that gets played on the southern journey and one that plays on the torture list for the trip north.  See, I am spilling details of which even she is not fully aware.

I met her on the first day of 8th grade.  I had been transplanted from Brooklyn, New York to the Pocono Mountains in eastern Pennsylvania.  I was not a happy camper.

As in all first days of school, the new kid is put through the humiliation of stammering through an introduction.  Just the facts please.  Name, last home of record, new home of record, siblings (I have 5, so it was like a new infestation in the school) and finally, something interesting about me. It was a new personal hell.  I stood and looked at the new collection of faces and, at that moment, began to wish that Skylab would pick that moment to fall out of orbit and onto my head.

My Brooklyn accent betrayed me immediately. She turned her head deliberately in my direction as if tuning in a radio frequency. She was 13, I was 12.  She had also made the Brooklyn to the Poconos transition, albeit a few years earlier. I think she may have been the only one in the room to understand me as I mumbled through the self interrogation.

She took some pity on me. She became my translator and guide to this new universe into which I had been forced.  She gave me the inside scoop on our classmates and she laughed at my jokes.  She became my friend when I was awkward and fairly invisible.   It was a friendship that I cherished.  Her opinion mattered to me.  So much so that at a point  where I had to make a desperate decision, it was the fear of disappointing her that kept me from making a life altering mistake.

We went on to the same college after high school.   She was Pre-Med and I was not. We saw each other on the campus every now and then.  I wish I could tell you that I was smart enough to date her and find the “happily ever after” path with her as my translator and guide.  But that did not happen.  We went on to different lives and, as often happens, we lost track of each other.

Fast forward about 30 years and we had reconnected. An acquaintance  from the high school reunion committee passed her email address to me and I contacted her.  We corresponded.  We spoke on the phone.  We talked about everything.   I have to admit here that I have failed at every relationship I have been in.  I know that the blame is not all mine, but I own that which is. We talked each other through the aftermath of my divorce and the loss of her husband.  There was no room for secrets, but plenty for acceptance.  We still had not laid eyes on each other since college.

We agreed to meet for dinner while she was on a trip to a city that I was passing through to attend a family event.  In a bustling little bistro we found ourselves across the table from each other.  Telling stories about the adventures and tragedies of our lives. I could not look away from her.  There was something drawing me into her laugh, her voice, her eyes, her smile.  Her voice had been softened by a slight southern drawl  acquired in Savannah over the years.  Time stood still and evaporated around her. It was the first of many seemingly confusing emotions I experience in her presence. After dinner and a single malt tasting lesson (she is an excellent teacher) we strolled back to her hotel, her arm in mine as we walked through the cool night. The chill that ran through me had nothing to do with the weather.

As we were about to part company I leaned in to kiss her, “good night”.  It was soft and devastating.  It was comfortable and out of control.  It caught my breath and stole my heart.  It was as if the universe was smacking me in the back of the head and telling me that I should have paid attention in my youth.  As the kiss slowly released,  she turned her head in my direction as if she was finding that frequency, again.

A few weeks later, at the Savannah airport,  the kiss repeated itself, drowning out the crowd passing by us at the top of the ramp in the terminal.

This song captures the rain-soaked explorations of old forts, laughing in the grocery store, dancing to 40’s music in antique shops and watching her doze off in the front seat as we head out of Hilton Head.  I watch her dancing to 80’s music in the kitchen of a friend’s home and I see the face of joy. I feel like I am in a state of grace when I am near her.

You say it best…

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Song
I'm part of Post A Week 2016

Christmas Tunes All Year

At any given moment, it may happen.  Sometimes it makes me laugh, sometimes it makes me crazy. Sometimes, even on a hot July Sunday on I-95 North coming home from South Carolina it happens.  You may have the same issue I do, so you will understand. Christmas music on my smart phone. Need I say more?

I didn’t know I could create a completely different music library on my smart phone for Christmas music. I know it can be done, I just don’t think I can do it.  I am about as technology savvy as the next 50 something year old so why is it that I cannot keep my Holiday songs from playing on Memorial Day, the 4th of July or Halloween?  I am certain that I can find a random ten-year old to give me a condescending look as he/she reshuffles my smart phone with the magical touch that only a human born into the latest technology can.

There are moments though, when I am on the highway covering the distance from Chesapeake to Savannah, when I will give in.  Don’t judge me!   You know the moment when you have had a couple of great tunes hit all in a row on shuffle.  You are in full car karaoke mode singing along with the Eagles to the live version of “Hotel California” at the top of your off-key voice.  The crowd goes wild and then your travel lane encore is “Last Christmas” by Wham?  I don’t think so.  “Blue Christmas” by Elvis may sneak through though, even in August when the mercury is pushing north of 95. Mid March, yeah I am singing along to John Denver and the Muppets singing “Twelve Days of Christmas”. Bare Naked Ladies singing “God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen” will sometimes punctuate my afternoon commute in mid April. I have been known to sing the round on that song while waiting for the Great Bridge Bridge (that is really the name of the bridge, but that is another post) to finishing letting boats through on the canal .I have even been caught doing my Copycat version of Dean Martin’s “Rudolph”.

For now, because it is November, I can get away with a stray Christmas tune invading my shuffle playlist.  People will think I just need a little Christmas, right this very minute.  But come February, when I am doing the long distance run to my mistletoe partner’s Low Country kingdom,  that will be me passing South of the Border on I-95, polishing up my Brooklyn accent and joining in with Dave Koz and Friends on “Twas the Night Before Christmas”.

Copycat