It’s that venerable holiday when Americans have picnics, parades and fireworks. Often times when people go away to the beach, the mountains or other places.
It’s supposed to be in recognition of that day in 1776 that patriots declared their independence from the British Empire and its monarch, King George. Most people don’t give that a great deal of thought, one suspects.
Ironically, today one is reminded of those allegedly tyrannical times by the Tyrant Trump. An aspiring autocrat more concerned with increasing his own and his family’s wealth. A man who disregards the checks and balances established the Founding Fathers, aided by Banana Republicans.
Since the end of World War II, America has been the dominant military and economic power throughout the world. Trump, in his profound ignorance and self-delusions of greatness, has nearly succeeded in destroying America’s reputation and leadership.
Admittedly, America has had its low points. Slavery. The Civil War and Reconstruction. Vietnam. The training and support of Latin American military forces of despots. Racism. Income inequality. The intervention of the CIA in the affairs of other countries. Corrupt politicians of every party, every era—and from local officials to the White House.
Nonetheless, America has been a shining city on the hill. Better than many other countries–though not as great as it once was. Trump’s slogan is an oxymoron–Make America Great Again. By his actions and ideals, he will return it to an abysmal past.
Trump is an aberration. One that can and must be corrected. Just as true patriots declared their independence those many years ago, we must do so again. Not by taking up arms but by removing the worst President in American history. Impeachment must begin NOW. Failing conviction, he must not be restored to the White House. Then he must be prosecuted, convicted, sentenced and imprisoned.
Today, in his unmitigated gall, Trump dares make the celebration of America’s independence all about him. Worse, he does so by offering remarks at one of America’s best Presidents—Lincoln. One could expect that leader of the Republican Party to turn over in his grave at the offenses of Trump and the lack of any morality, decency or honor among the current so-called Republicans.
Happy Fourth of July—celebrate it by urging your elected officials to do the right thing: remove the abomination occupying the White House illegitimately with aid of Vladimir Putin. America CAN be great again–greater than ever before, once the criminally insane man in the White House is gone and Americans come to their senses.
No President has committed more offenses. None has obstructed justice more often. Abused power more cavalierly. Been so manifestly unfit for the office. High crimes and misdemeanors? Let me count the ways–no, on second thought, there’s too many. That would take too many pages.
I am SO tired of not-quite-treasonous, Republicans
They not only tolerate but excuse Trump’s lawlessness. He couldn’t get away, so far, with what he does without their support. About the only thing Trump hasn’t done is the oft-quoted shooting of someone on 5th Avenue.Forgive me for doubting that few Republicans would do more than wring their hands and say tsk, tsk if Trump actually did.
Meanwhile, Nancy Pelosi is SO afraid of political fallout from impeachment that she considers talking about it something like discussing the pros and cons of incest.NO Nancy—impeachment is NOT a dirty word. It’s a legitimate response to abuses of power, obstruction of justice and all the other offenses for which Mueller could have indicted Trump—if not for the OLC flawed and outdated opinion that a sitting President cannot be indicted.
Now Trump has a cadre of lawyers willing, apparently, to risk judicial sanctions for filing frivolous suits or motions. Like what? Asserting executive privilege over anything former White House Counsel Don McGahn might say in testimony before House committees. Having waived privilege to allow McGahn to freely talk to Special Counsel Mueller, the privilege cannot now be asserted.Some say such legal cases might take months or years. Seriously? Slam dunks. Dismissed with sanctions on the lawyers. Quickly. Short appeals. Denial of hearing by the Supremes. Six weeks total unless heard by Trump appointees.
Should be a writ of mandamus to the IRS Commissioner issued by a Federal Court to immediately release Trump’s tax returns.Ways and Means Chairman Neal needs to stop pussyfooting along and get this before a judge—who will warn the IRS (and Steve Mnuchin) of the penalty for violating applicable IRS codes, five years in the slammer.
Yes, the American public isn’t yet ready to support impeachment. Trump’s approval rating has dropped five points since the Mueller report came out and his disapproval rating gone up. Yes, the public needs live testimony reciting the contents of the Mueller report. Yes, they need documents and testimony from the banks, mortgage companies, accounting firms, etc. With all those, large numbers of Republicans would still kneel before Trump or kiss parts of his anatomy. But the public would support impeachment.
How then to get that testimony before House committees? Get Mueller, his legal staff and/or FBI agents to appear—hopefully with video recordings of the interviews with those people. Can Trump block that? He’d try. But the harder he tries, the more counts of obstruction pile up. At that point, either Nancy Pelosi gets over her fears or she can expect to have a great many Democrats receive primary opponents next year—especially including herself.
Woe is we, many Democrats fear. If we impeach Trump and the sycophantic Senate fails to convict, we’ll lose in 2020. Bulls**t! With all the Trump offenses already known, the GOP risks massive losses in the Senate. They have MANY seats up in 2020.Those who continue down the Trump path are who needs to worry–NOT NancyPelosi.
We won’t have the Barr/Mueller report until Thursday–heavily redacted by Trump’s Roy Cohn. I’ll wait a bit for the dust to settle but as of now, it appears I blew these:
Sealed indictments, along with the Mueller report, of:
Donald Trump, Jr.
Probably Steve Bannon
Those sealed indictments are NOT happening, according to Barr. Reportedly, they werenot requested or filed by Mueller.Why NOT?
All have lied to Congress and most to investigators. Could have charged them with that. Why NOT? Did Mueller chill? Afraid of blowback from Trump?
OK, enough Mueller bashing–for now, see let the dust settle comment above.
Trump, his sycophant posse, the news media, et al ALL seem confused by the alleged finding by Mueller of no conspiracy. FEW distinguish this from Trump’s refrain of NO Collusion. WRONG!
The alleged finding, per Barr, is that Mueller found no evidence of conspiracy between the members of the Trump campaign and the Russians.Explicated, this means Mueller supposedly found insufficient evidence to support a criminal conviction. Therefore, no indictment of anyone. Criminal conspiracy, however, is NOT synonymous with collusion.Hence, a finding of NO conspiracy does NOT mean NO collusion.
Did Trump family members and campaign staff/officials meet with Russians? YES. Did they accept or welcome help from them? YES. Did they offer sanctions relief? YES. Did they lie about those meetings (import, purpose, etc.)? YES. Did they call, text or otherwise communicate with them about all of this? YES.
It DOES matter if a political candidate welcomes and accepts help from an adversarial foreign power in his or her campaign. It matters if they are elected and try to work on their behalf.
It matters if a counterintelligence campaign is launched into that candidate and his/her campaign. THAT part of the investigation may not be in the Mueller report. America NEEDS TO KNOW the results.
I had a waking dream this morning as I lay in bed half asleep before rising. Wishful thinking perhaps. Trump had died of a massive stroke during the night. It didn’t happen. The facts are that he has put on weight since silly Ronnie Jackson’s first medical exam. He gets too little sleep (five hours maybe). He drinks more than a dozen diet sodas (caffeinated). His golfing exercise consists of getting out of the golf cart to swing the club and riding to the next hole (including driving onto the green). He gets no other exercise besides ranting. So his supposed good health is a myth by sycophantic medical personnel. A stroke or a cardiac event could well happen before the next election or even this year. Karma will get him–sooner or later.
Which also means, Trump may still resign–if the fecal matter hits the fan this spring or summer.
For the after the dust settles post, perhaps the new hashtag will be #ImpeachBarr.
The third and final book in The Sevens Prophecy continues in the same vein as the first two–challenging the light versus the dark psychics. If I knew more about it, I might say it has some allusions to Manichaeism–the 3rd century Persian dualistic religion. In any case, the characters continue to use both latter day technology and their own supernatural powers to meet the challenges facing them from the opposing side. I found that a creative and workable approach. Without adding any spoilers, I can say that some don’t survive (more on the dark or evil side) and nearing the climactic scene, the pace of the conflict ratchets up appropriately. Stay tuned for a surprising twist (or you could say two–given the denouement) about who is who. I’d recommend it to those into supernatural, paranormal and the current issues facing people around the world–various sorts of crime, drugs, the climate, etc. Read the series; you’ll see what I mean.
Hardly needs another review, but I’ll say this–it was hard to put down. Also very scary. Makes you wonder if this could happen to you. Not the kind of book you want to read if you have any sort of mental insecurities or disabilities. Do you believe in string theory? Parallel universes or the multiverse? Can you imagine what it would be like traveling between them and not losing your mind? Blake Crouch will help you with that in this book. He’ll also inspire other authors like me to go further in my own writing world. It’s a great book. I don’t give a lot of five stars, but I had to for this one.
NOTE: I managed to snag a library loan of Dark Matter through Overdrive. That’s a plug for those of you who are connected through your local or state library system. Support your indie authors when you can by buying their eBooks. For the $10 and up big five eBooks, I don’t feel badly getting them from the library.
Two crashes, over 300 people dead–in less than five months. Boeing engineers concluded that a fix was needed after the Lion Air crash in October, 2018. Boeing and the FAA haggled over how extensive the fix should be.
Then Trump’s Shutdown happened–for FIVE WEEKS. The fix won’t be applied until April.
It could have been installed in January.
BUT FOR the shutdown of the FAA.
So let’s call this the #Trump Effect—how things go wrong that need not, just because he is America’s so-called President.
NOTE: The FAA still has an acting director–two years after Trump took office. Because he hasn’t submitted anyone to the Senate for confirmation!
Some folks have said I should be on TV as a political pundit. Not happening. But I did get a lot of predictions right last year. Let’s recap those [see notes for what I got right] and add some new ones:
Fancy Bear, Cozy Bear and Guccifer 2.0 (Russian hackers; Mueller indicted a bunch of them on July 13, 2018)
Wikileaks and Julian Assange (mistaken filing by prosecutor shows Assange has a sealed indictment pending)
Cambridge Analytica and possibly Brad Parscale (not yet,but I still expect it)
Roger Stone–yes!, finally
In August, 2018, I reiterated those predictions and considered adding Steve Bannon to the Cambridge Analytica indictment PLUS, predicted these winners:
Trump will never sit down with Mueller (he did submit written responses to questions–all the better to trap him)
Manafort will be convicted in his first trial and plead guilty in the second—whoa, did I nail this one!
The Democrats would have a massive victory in November, taking control of the house—YUP, nailed that
Mueller will NEVER issue a subpoena to Trump
The report will come out after the midterms (coming soon)
Trump may be named an unindicted co-conspirator (stay tuned and see below)
Trump will be unable to tolerate the investigations that will ensue in the House–“which will undoubtedly include examination of his personal and business tax returns”
A mistaken prediction:
Indictments of Americans will come in September–didn’t happen, but plenty already have been
In that August 19 post from last year, I noted that it would be 45 years since Nixon’s resignation on that date in 2019. A good commemorative anniversary for Trump to pick as his day to go.Could still happen. But here’s my current assessment.
Sealed indictments, along with the Mueller report, of:
Donald Trump, Jr.
Probably Steve Bannon
More indictments from SDNY–stay tuned for predictions on those.
One more recap before the grand finale (for now) from way back in May, 2018.
Eventually, RICO charges will be filed against the Trump Organization–with the bulk of its assets seized by the US Government and the entity dissolved (this will take several years at a minimum)
Note that there is lots of discussion happening about RICO on the cable news channels. Just Google it.
So what’s next?
More hearings in the Democratic controlled House will drive Trump crazy–could have a stroke or gain ten more pounds anyway
SDNY couldtry to indict Trump this year (against OLC policy)
New York State will go after Trump big time
The Mueller Report
Trumpmaytry to pardon the Trump Organization but may throw Don, Jr. under the busif it’s either him or Jr. on the hook
Trump will NOT be in office for the 2020 election–I’ll handicap that in another post.
If you don’t, how do you expect your readers to? Well, OK, of course you identify with them. You write from life, don’t you? Some people say you should talk to your characters. I try, but most of the time they don’t answer. You remember Robin Williams and Jonathan Winters–it’s dangerous to get too far into your characters.
But lately I’ve found myself talking like my characters, more than to them. It started with the ones on TV series or movies we watch on TV. What happens when you’re around people from a different part of the country, speak with a foreign accent or have a cultural vocabulary wholly apart from you. Do you become a verbal chameleon, emulating them?
If you can do that, you can build better dialogue. You can better identify with your characters. Caution–be careful trying on the verbal tics of others, they might find it a tad offensive. Duh!
OK, back to TV and scripted shows. Did you watch this year’s eight episode installment of “True Detective” on HBO. Outstanding for me and frustrating for her. The continual time shifting between 1980, 1990 and 2015 drove her crazy. Truthfully, I did find it confusing at times–OK, more often than I’d care to admit. All right, enough background–on to the writing tips (through the television lens).
Wayne Hays, played by the outstanding Mahershala Ali, has episodes of dementia/Alzheimer’s in 2015. Watch those parts to see how you might write a character with that problem (or, heaven forbid, you have family or friends who have experienced either of these and you don’t need the show).
Watching the final episode, I saw Ali stagger in confusion a bit during an incidence of the disease. But it wasn’t just that, it was aging. It brought the memory to me of an introductory/survey course to Theater decades ago. The professor illustrated how an actor portrays age–showing the effects of gravity on his or her limbs. Ali did that. Unless you’re adding illustrations to your stories, you must find words to show that aging. Words like ones I’ve used in the past:
He had attained that age in a man’s life when the hair on arms, legs and chest grows brittle and breaks off while other hairs sprout and flourish mysteriously from nose and ears.
I would be remiss in failing to mention the irony. Wayne Hays spends much time digging deeply in the recesses of his mind for memories of the case that bedeviled his partner and himself. Things pop into his head that explain it all, better than Clarissa. So, as I am watching the show, Wayne’s walk takes me back nearly 50 years to Arthur Ballet’s class–a teaching moment that I clearly visualized. No, I’m not on the verge of Alzheimer’s but there was an odd sensation. A reminder of how amazing the human mind of memories is.
You can find incidents in your life, moment by moment and day by day that will enrich whatever you write. Trust me on this.
We had a very nice–but very short, visit to Puerto Vallarta recently. It’s a resort on the Pacific coast of Mexico, south of Guadalajara–midway between the north and south. We had the time and wanted a brief getaway. Gave us the opportunity to meet face-to-face with my writer friend D.G. Kaye and her husband. We also went for some very nice sunny/warm (not hot) weather.
We spent no time in the ocean–OK, we did walk on the beach and nearly got our feet wet. How is it possible to go to a beach resort and not go in the water? Easy, you walk in the sand and swim in the pool.
In days gone by, my wife would comb the beach for shells on Ocracoke or Hatteras. I’d splash around close to shore, watch the kids or the dog. Later on, we’d be on the sound side of the Outer Banks—swimming and playing with the dogs. That was then, this is now—in Puerto Vallarta.
A guy asked where we were from and the weather there. After I told him, he asked why we here. OK, it’s not super cold in southwestern New Mexico. It is cold enough, however, to welcome the 80 sunny degrees of a Pacific bay in Mexico. Watch out though—all inclusive resorts are fattening if your discipline falters. Mine did. Try a little of this, a little of that—and then a little more of the other. But the few pounds added are coming back off. (You don’t have to go all-inclusive)
What a view from our 18th floor balcony! An enormous balcony for a room with only a king-sized bed and no chairs. The chairs were on the balcony. Did I mention big? Yes, 20 feet across—the width of the bedroom plus another eight feet it shared with the dining area outside the sliding glass door. The ocean side had an outsized L-shaped sofa seating eight and two chaises. The dining area had a table with six chairs. They called it a “romantic suite.” Maybe romantic parties with friends? Yes, the view itself was romantic, as you can see from the sunset picture above and the balcony below.
We watched the people in the pool from our vantage point, people on the beach under thatched umbrellas, sailboats, kayaks, fishing boats and more. Plus, an abundance of parasailers plying the skies. Oh, and a couple cruise ships coming into the three-pier berthing area a mile away.
If you’re under forty (or an adventurous middle-aged and up sort of person) the aerial adventures might be just your thing. Or you could go zip-lining, off-roading in the jungle or on somewhat less extreme tours of the nearby mountains. Not for us–maybe the mountains, another time.
We didn’t go in our pool, we visited my fellow writer friend D.G. Kaye and a few of her Canadian cohorts at her pool. Not without some hassles from the security folks at the palatial condo complex she and her hubby were staying in. There were the inevitable chaise reservation wars—people putting toys and towels on preferred lounges early in the day. I didn’t have to take her word for how much Canadians like Puerto Vallarta. We saw a quarter-mile long and three or four people wide line at the departure counter for a flight to Montreal. On that score, a word of warning—don’t depart on the weekend at the local airport. There’s not nearly enough seating for all. Also, watch out for the time share hawker gauntlet you must pass through to get to cabs when arriving.
Aside from the airport hassles, it’s a great place to get away from wintry weather up north. Daytime temps in the eighties and nighttime lows in the sixties in January and February. Wonderful places to stay at reasonable rates. If you like luxury you can try the upscale Nuevo Vallarta area farther up the shore. There are things to see and do for middle aged and up. Nightlife, museums, walking tours and shopping. We weren’t there long enough to do many of them. But we did eat out at some tasty and nearby restaurants. We also took a walk along the Malecon Boardwalk. I wonder, can a concrete surface of pavers, etc. be a “boardwalk?” Regardless, the evening stroll provided some very interesting sculpture. One might think Dali sculpted one or more, as surreal as they appeared—but I can’t say whether any were his or not.
What kind of sculpture you ask? Well, here’s a sample.
As for the twist
Here’s the background. Once, many decades ago, I resisted an urge to take a 100-foot leap from a bluff overlooking the Mississippi River. It (didn’t) happen, near Red Wing, Minnesota. I was a kid, with no death wish. Why the strange draw to jump?
The corridor to the elevator from our 18th floor room was open to the skies. It had just a four-foot wall keeping us from the pavement 18 stories below. I felt that pull again, looking over the wall. However, I didn’t feel that pull from our balcony. Why not?
The room next to ours had a red cloth banner strung diagonally across the door. We wondered what happened there. We didn’t ask. Use your own imagination—we did. Just maybe, an answer to why I felt that urge in Red Wing so long ago. But this is a travel post, not a horror/thriller item. Could work it into a story though—look for it on my writing blog, John Maberry’s Writings, someday soon perhaps.
It would be an exaggeration to say I am pounding the keyboard on my own work-in-progress, a 40-50,000 word short story collection scheduled for late fall. See a travel feature soon, right here, on our recent trip to Puerto Vallarta. Also, must keep reading works by others. One of them is K.E. Lanning, a scientist and writer formerly of Austin and now in the mountains of Virginia.
I finished the third book in her sci-fi/cli-fi trilogy earlier this month.[Note: it’s not out yet, I had an ARC; bookmark it and watch for promos] I recommend the set, although I like the third the best. You could read just that one, but better you at least read number two. Here’s the reviews:
The third book is the charm, to paraphrase an old saying. I received an Advance Review Copy for free from the author. Having read the first two books in this cli-fi series, I knew all about the protagonists John Barrous and Lowry Walker. The third picks up a bit into Barrous’s term as President of Antarctica. Because of climate change, Antarctica has become a refuge/resettlement target for those whose coastal cities have been flooded by rising oceans. Initially like America’s Wild West, the continent is settling down–somewhat. If you haven’t read the second book, you won’t be fully up to speed on the tension between Walker and Barrous–former lovers. The latter was incensed by Walker’s pushing him, successfully, into becoming the president. There are villains in this book as well as the first two–the conflict this time is with a religious zealot overstepping bounds and with a cabinet official with an alternate agenda. So, what we have is a mix of 1) politics, 2) crime/intrigue, 3) romance and 4) interesting descriptions of how people can adapt to a somewhat warmer (but still cold) Antarctica with technology that enables roadless transportation, growing crops and raising animals, etc. All-in-all, a feature-laden and well-written book.
Book two of the Melt trilogy surpasses the first. While you could start here, I’d suggest you begin with the first–A Spider Sat Beside Her. Lowry Walker returns to Antarctica as part of a land rush, like the old west in America. This time it’s run by the UN but not without the corruption and violence that accompanied that earlier one. Along the way, she gets into a relationship with a widower with a teenage daughter that’s fraught with challenges. This story continues the cli-fi theme, although it’s more of a subtext than the central element. All in all, it kept me turning the virtual page, knowing full well that things wouldn’t work out wonderfully for all parties concerned–good guys and bad. You can regard this as post apocalyptic and dystopian, but there are some redeeming values in the protagonists. I recommend it and will get to the third one, Listen to the Birds, when it’s out next year some time.