Cat Rider

How crazy is Alan Dershowitz?

Answer: not crazy at all - acting in bad faith.

(Quick note: Dershowitz advanced a theory that it's not a crime for the President to try to get a foreign country to investigate a political rival, because it's perfectly natural for the President to think his reelection is what's best for America, and that he's therefore serving the national interest by violating the principles in the Constitution.)

Look: Dershowitz isn't stupid. He may play stupid on TV, but he's not stupid.
He is undoubtedly aware that the reason "treason" is defined *extremely* narrowly in the US Constitution is that kings will claim a person who acts against the desires of the king is committing an offense against the crown (i.e.: the state, not just the king).

So: Dershowitz is 100% aware that the founders wanted to create a stark separation between what's partisan/political, and what's nation-affecting, and they decided that crimes of "attacking the state" would be restricted to fighting the US, or giving aid and comfort to its enemies (and not merely it's "adversaries"). It would never, ever, be proper for the US to try to say someone (like a rival candidate) was working against the US, just because you don't like what that rival might do (like, "win the election").

If he were stupid and incompetent, he might not recognize how that plays out in the real world. He might really think something as pathetically stupid as "Trump thinks getting reelected is best for the nation, so it's okay for him to abuse the power of the state to secure that reelection". He's not that stupid.

And it's not like this is a difficult argument. First, there's the preamble to the Constitution. We, the people of the United States, ordained and established that Constitution. The President's service is to the people, not himself. And sure, it's perfectly human for a dolt like Trump to think he's the bestest ever because he's got so many media-fluffers saying he is. Nevertheless, no matter what the right wing media claims, trying to service himself, by attacking a private citizen, is flat out wrong, a violation of his oath of office, and of everything that our founders wanted for the United States.

Second, there's the Fourth Amendment; the government is supposed to keep out of the business of private citizens, unless there is cause to investigate them. The President violated that most sacred of duties, by deliberately trying to set up a fake investigation. Any other President might, just maybe, be able to argue "it's just an investigation, to answer some questions" but old WhinyPants McWitchHunt can't make that claim. He's been complaining about how horrible it is to be investigated, when there's plenty of cause for suspicion. He can't pretend he doesn't realize how serious his crime (requesting a baseless, bogus, investigation) really is.

Third, only the damnedest of fools would ever suggest that a person's personal feelings (like "it's better for the US if I'm reelected")should ever be permitted to override their sense of duty and responsibility. Face it, if a bank robber thinks stealing the bank's money, and putting it in circulation, is better for the local economy, that doesn't make it any less criminal, even though it's *not* an abuse of power granted under the Constitution to rob a bank. Why should personal feelings then excuse an abuse of power that is granted solely to serve the people?

Far down the list, we could note that Dershowitz made one claim in the past, and gave a completely self-serving reason for why he's correct now, claiming that *this* time, he's really thought about the matter. Since a lawyer is not forbidden from presenting a bogus legal argument, when defending a client, why should we pretend to accept that he's right this time, when he's paid to make a different argument? One would be wiser to assume the difference is the client's desires, not the considered legal opinion.

So, how crazy is he? Not very. Nor is he stupid. He is acting to protect the bad guys, he is advancing the most ludicrous of excuses, and he is trying to keep people in power who have shown that they will abuse their power, to the detriment of the United States.

There are a lot of words that might apply, but "crazy" is, alas, not one of them.
Cat Rider

The Senate cover-up begins...

So, folks.

If you live in a red state - one with Republican senators - please call your senator - the Capitol switchboard is 202-224-3121.

Tell them anything.

The President abused his powers, in trying to start investigations into two innocent men.
The President tried to get a second foreign power to influence his election.
You don't expect your senator to fulfill their duties, but you do expect them to admit the President committed a terrible crime, and tried to cover it up.

Frankly, I like the last one - it makes the accusation cleanly, while sticking in the shiv quite neatly.

Face it, the Very Serious People have convinced the news media that impeachment isn't just a *political* struggle (which it is) and has instead decided that it's a *partisan* political struggle, as if the 4th Amendment, bribery, extortion, abuse of power, and obstruction of justice were partisan issues.

I know, no one's mentioned the Fourth Amendment yet. No one's pointed out that the chief over all law enforcement in the nation tried to get a pair of innocent people in trouble with a foreign government, falsely claiming that *terrible* things were done. I don't get that. I mean, I know the GOP *CONGRESS* has pulled investigations "to dig up dirt" on political opponents, and the Press has all dutifully pretended they were started, and continued, in good faith (at least, I hope they were pretending - are they really *that* stupid? *Probably* not.). But Congressional investigations leave Congress control of the investigation and scope.

This? This was being handed to another nation, where there would be no control, and, where the other government might just decide they know what the US President really wants - announcement of an indictment, or even of investigation into "serious concerns". And, of course, this assumes the absolute best: that Donald Trump wasn't planning to have Bill Barr open a "parallel investigation, to help the Ukraine investigation." We know he was, right? But we'll all pretend there's no reason to believe that, because when Bill Barr was asked if the President asked for an investigation into a US person, he hemmed and hawed, which proves... uh... heh. See, this is why I couldn't be a right-wing "personality". I keep accidentally slipping, and telling the truth.

The point is, the President of the United States is hopelessly corrupt. To cover for him is also hopelessly corrupt. To cover for him knowingly (as 51 GOP senators have pledged) is aiding and abetting.

Yes, I know, there's a lot of fake propaganda claiming that it's "partisan" to have found he shook down the Zelensky, to have found that Trump withheld military aid to a military ally involved in a war, to have found that lots of people knew about it, and lots of people understood there was a clear price to obtain that aid (which Trump was legally and Constitutionally obligated to send), aka a "quid pro quo". We could believe that propaganda, or we *could* believe the testimony given, under oath, including those who had sudden *remarkable* recovery of memory, that said quite the opposite.

But this country wasn't founded on lies, and no nation can survive based on lies. Every American, even those who gleefully benefit from the corruption of the GOP, need to ask themselves, "if clear corruption, and clear violations of the law, with clear harm to a military ally, and harm to innocent US citizens; if all that isn't enough, what *IS*?"
Cat Rider

Still aitn't dead...

... though, to complete the allusion, I sure do feel like I'm "borrowing", sometimes.

(Granny Weatherwax of the Terry Pratchett Discworld, would "borrow" space in an animal's brain, allowing her to ride along, and control the animal. She would be still for long periods of time, leading to her writing a small sign to alert reasonably-worried visitors. I'm not sure I got the spelling "right" - that is, the correct incorrect spelling - but I think it's close.)

I think, in retrospect, that it's a good thing that I'm so optimistic about how my body is feeling and doing, and expecting things will be better Real Soon Now. If I knew, in July, that I'd still be in survival mode (eat, work, sleep, and otherwise do minimal amounts of life-preserving work) through all of March, I don't know how I would have survived (other than the obvious: not dying).

("How do you survive X? That's easy. Don't die. Now, how do you make your life a bit better, make it a bit more normal, or possibly even flourish, in spite of X - that's the tricky bit. It's not always easy, and rarely painless, and you can't be sure another person's answer will work for you, so you probably have to figure all this out on your own. I wish I could take that away, but I can't - it's a journey that only you can complete. But I'll do my best to support you along the way.")

Things have gotten better and my body is approaching reliability. For example, last weekend, my (local) girlfriend and I did something we hadn't done in a long, long time... we went grocery shopping, and filled the refrigerator and pantry. That I can set out a grocery trip as a big deal kind of gives you the sense of just how deep things get.

I still have hundreds of dreamwidth tabs, because for a long time (remember: July!) I've been trying to tab up two weeks of posts, swearing that once I'm better, I'll read and/or respond to them. It's iconic for me - it's like "yes, I was a total flake for the past 3 quarters, but I still cared! I still wanted to hear from and about you!"

I gave up on that after my last post - just not enough energy, and a subtle realization that no one will be all that impressed with a "me too"/"like" style response to a four month old, just-a-post. But I've been missing you all, and yearning to reconnect when possible. I hope you're all doing well, and finding happiness.
Cat Rider

(no subject)

I was going to return to posting with a bit about this scene and song:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Lr0RSnLn23Q

... but instead I felt moved to talk a bit more about my chronic fatigue and how I kind of lost February.

And then I decided, you know, if I'm going to battle despair in public, let's steal a meme from Last Jedi and fight for what we love, rather than against what we hate.

That scene is from Ant Man and the Wasp, a superhero flick from the Marvel Comics Universe. It's a cute song where Scott Lang (canon: the second Ant-Man who actually did get the costume by stealing it from Hank Pym.) is dealing with house arrest (no, not because he has a mystery malady - that would be House M.D. Arrest) trying to get right with the government so he can be part of his daughter's life more regularly - but he's forced to risk it all, to save a life.

But I also found myself fascinated with a relentlessly cheerful song I remember from the 70s. It had to be the 70s, right? The Reagan era DEA surely classified such songs as Schedule I - high potential for abuse, no known profitability medical value for drug companies. One line stuck out for me...

"We had a dream we'd go traveling together,
Spread a little loving, and then moving on..."

What a dream! Go to a place, spread some loving, then find another place, and do it again! Can you imagine a more wonderful dream? I don't mean a better dream *for you*, because dreams are personal (it's very hard to get someone to dream on your behalf, after all!). But for a person who can *have* that dream?

Seriously: can't you picture the world's surliest curmudgeon grudgingly admitting that, okay, for fools that have dreams like *that*, it's a pretty good dream, even if it's totally unrealistic. And that thought would come to them no more than 30 minutes after they harrumphed away the starry eyed idealist's iteration of the dream. Heck - if the curmudgeon's a gift giver, they might even donate some traveling stuff, not to pursue some cockamamie dream, but, you know, ":if you're going to be traveling off on some dumb fantasy, you might as well travel a bit (better/safer/etc.)."

I love how my brain sometimes pulls bits of music out of context to find delight. Today, I can also add the *next* line of the song, and my childhood recollection.

The song continues:
"...Something always happens whenever we're together,
We get a happy feeling when we're singing a song...."

Remember, I was, like, 4, when the Partridge Family came out (the song is the theme to the Partridge Family - and IIRC, the 3rd number 1 hit from a fictional band) but to that child's brain, the two parts to that line were completely independent, and stated
"this is one episode of a TV show, wherein something happened, because we were together" and
"by the way, we get a happy feeling when we sing a song."

Seriously: how many four year olds infer the episodic nature of TV, realizing that *something* must happen to create the episode, and that each episode must show one of those somethings? (I also realized that Snuffleupagus had to be real because *HE MADE DECISIONS*. We'd *see* him decide to wander off before Big Bird's friends came back to see him. A kindergartener was rocking Descartes! ("I think therefore I am" - something/one must be contemplating existence).

("Snuffleupagus?" An elephant/mammoth on the TV show Sesame Street. Initially, he was intended to be Big Bird's imaginary friend. Later, the writers realized that having adults constantly insist to a child that something real and visible didn't exist wasn't exactly *right*, so his existence was revealed. I nevertheless insist they'd already forced the issue by showing independent action and decision making.)

Another beautiful interlude happened when listening to "Ain't No Mountain High Enough." Talk about out of context - there's one bit about "since I set you free," and damn if it didn't make me cry. See, overblown "I love you, my sex/romance partner, and would do anything for you!" songs are a dime a dozen - cheaper, if you can find the collections of "almost big hits".

Ah, but songs that say "Hey, you, you *aren't* my sexytimes person, but I still care. If you needed me, there's no mountain I wouldn't climb, no valley I wouldn't cross, no river I would not ford, to help..."- well, they can also be a dime a dozen, especially because they don't tend to sell as well, *but* they're far more precious. Sex and romance are fine and wonderful but there's a deeper love that is more fundamental, and far more powerful (and empowering, IMNSHO).

Which brought me to the final bit of modern movie making I wanted to share, since I'm all over love today. I've come to a deeper appreciation of the Guardians of the Galaxy movies. They have the troubled family vibe ("You're not friends! All you do is yell at each other!" "That's right, we're family! We leave NO ONE behind! (pause) Except maybe you." Hands up for those who love a family with lots of yelling, but which knows how to close the circle when necessary!)

See, love isn't always as well appreciated or seen as strong, but in the second movie, there's this wonderful turnaround. It's a minor spoiler (not much worse than "oh, the good guys win, and it starts with...") so I'll put it behind a cut tag (I hope).

The setup is simple - Ego (the bad guy) is telling Peter (sorry, I mean "Star Lord") how to use the power that is his birthright. Peter can't figure it out, and Yondu mentions to him "you think I fly that arrow (Yondu's magical, nigh-invincible weapon) with my head, boy?"

That sets it up perfectly well, right? "Don't use your BRAIN, use something else!" Except...
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We value courage - the ability to do what's right, even when you're scared, because you realize there's something bigger than your fear. We don't always value love, which is one of the strongest motivations for courage.

I'm kind of glad that our stories are starting to talk about, and demonstrate, love a bit more. We need more talk about, thinking about, and use, of love. I don't know if anyone said it better than Jimi Hendrix: When the power of love is greater than the love of power, the world will know peace.
Cat Rider

Pondering...

Am I the only one who's noticed that the two recent "they called Martin Luther King Junior by a racial slur!" both involved potentially blending the K of King with the Oon of Junior?

I know I do that *all* the time when typing - start typing a word or two ahead before I've finished the word I'm thinking of. I would think that there'd even be a scientific name for the issue, where someone reading from prompts squeezes two words together.

I sure hope I'm not the only one who noticed that, if someone had insults hurled their way, it doesn't excuse that person getting in someone's face with a hateful smirk. Oh, and a quick note to the viewing audience: people who care about how they were perceived will apologize first, then explain that wasn't what they wanted. People who protest innocence, With Explanations? In my experience, they can't be trusted.

I also hope I'm not the only person who heard Escape (The Pina Colada Song) and thought "hey, they were just about to walk out on each other, without a word, but now they know they have some interests in common, when they couldn't be arsed to do so before, so I'm SURE they're well set for building a strong, healthy relationship!"

I also think that Brandi (who's a Fine Girl) rather enjoys having a sailor who will *never* settle down, and a locket, that gives her an excuse not to make any commitments with any other interesting sailors she meets, and might even find the sailor who is a bit more poly, and can love both a woman and the sea.

My health and mobility issues are resolving, though slowly and imperfectly. It is amazing how screwed up the body can become and still function. Right now, I have a sore spot on the right of my neck, that connects to my left hip, in part because of a connection between my right shoulder and the right side of my head, and in part because of a connection between my left shoulder, and the left side of my hip. These connections seem to be adhesions between muscles that shouldn't be adhering. But they're unpeeling. Slowly.

My main fear now is that this might not affect my chronic fatigue. It seems like it should, and I think my fatigue *is* getting better, but... well, hope as a beverage is as necessary as water, and sometimes, it's okay to get drunk on it... but false hope has the world's *worst* hangover.
Cat Rider

I aitn't dead... and might be starting to live.

Sometime in the summer, I realized the constant hip issues and constant fatigue from them was killing me - mostly because of the continued uncertainty, day to day, of what I could do.

Healing from a tilted pelvis is not for sissies - and it's like a programming job, it takes longer than you expect, even when you're sure you've accounted for "but it'll be longer than I expect."

But I'm 99.9% sure I've fixed almost all of the cross body issues - issues where the hip hurts because some muscle on the other side of my spine is trying to hold it in place, because the right muscles are engaged.

That's huge - at that point, there's less question about what's wrong.

But damn has it been exhausting. I'm responding to months-old posts sometimes, and I've been trying to keep up on DW, but I think I have two metric expletive-tons of tabs opened, and catching up the past two weeks would make it three.

On the plus side, I have more mental energy, most days if I slept well the night before. On the minus side, I'm less and less likely to sleep well as this thing winds down.

I'm still out there - I still care about you (yeah, you, reading this right now - you're important). And I hope to be engaging more now.
Cat Rider

Further damning evidence against Kavanaugh...

I had heard he'd made a statement to this effect, but he also made it during his prepared remarks:

"I was not at the party described by Dr. Ford."


That's a fascinating statement. He was not at "the" party described by Dr. Ford. Which party was that? I mean, we know it wasn't "the party at which Ms. (then)Blasey was assaulted," because, remember, he doesn't know _anything_ about her being assaulted. So again, _which_ party?

Life is *not* an Encyclopedia Brown story[1]. And yet someone learned enough in parsing facts that we are considering him for a seat on the Supreme Court, in prepared remarks, made a statement that contains damning knowledge (knowing *which* party he purportedly was not at), with no further explanation.

I wouldn't vote to convict him of perjury, and certainly wouldn't vote to convict him of sexual assault, based upon this statement. But that he makes such a damnfool statement, not off-the-cuff, but after careful consideration; and that he attacks this as a partisan issue (rather than a serious question that merits serious consideration); and the rest of his ridiculous testimony; convinces me he's unfit to hold a gavel at *any* level.


[1] A series of children's books in the US revolved around a character called Encyclopedia Brown - a youthful (12 years old?) detective who spotted flaws in stories told by wrongdoers - one example I remember is someone sees a knife stuck deeply into a watermelon and says it couldn't be *his* knife, his had a longer blade (longer than what? He didn't try to claim it was long enough to stick through of the watermelon).
Cat Rider

Just to make it clear...

Just to make it clear, the statements "I believe Christine Blasey Ford" and "this is ... (well, anything other than "a vital part of evaluating Brett Kavanaugh's fitness for the SCOTUS, but especially "a smear" or "an attempt to derail the nomination" or, especially, *ANYTHING* suggesting that it was late in the game, since Ms. Ford sent the information in with *PLENTY* of time for the Senate to perform its due diligence) are completely incompatible.

So, for example, Lindsey Graham? He's calling Ms. Ford a despicable liar.

(ob-Beetlejuice: "th-these are *not* MY rules!")

Look: if she's telling the truth (whether you believe the doppelganger theory, or something else), she was right to come forward, she did so in a timely manner, and chose to go public as quickly as we can reasonably expect someone to do so, given the (proven!) suspicion that doing so would lead to vile verbal and written attacks, and death threats.

The only way this can be a "smear" or an "attack" or "an (unjustified) attempt to derail the nomination" is if the accusation is not only false, but without merit. Even if you think "well, she thinks that, but she's probably some crazy (female dog) who doesn't realize she's making it all up" then you still have to admit that, given her perceptions, she was still doing the right thing to come forward, and not attempting to "smear", "besmirch", "attack" etc., Kavanaugh.

You see what I'm saying? Even if you think she's *DELUSIONAL*, once you accept that *she* believes, you have to accept she did the right thing.

The only way this is a "smear" is if she's *lying*.

So: everyone you hear saying "smear", "derail," etc., remember what you're *really* hearing.
Cat Rider

Woke up with muscle spasms - and that was the good news!

There's an old joke about how, if you eat a live frog, first thing in the morning, nothing worse will happen to you that day. Alas, that's probably wishful thinking, as I'm sure some condemned prisoners, kept in damp cells, have learned. The joke was given a sequel, too: if you eat a live frog first thing in the morning, nothing worse will happen to *either* of you that day!" and I approve - frogs need love too! It's not easy being green.

My right hip/leg had spasms this morning, and they've now released. It was a rude awakening (but effective!) and it was a good sign. My right hip now has a single set of muscles that aren't working right, and all the rest is fine. The muscles that reach from hip to knee are having problems because of a sore muscle in the back of my knee; because of that, the muscles that manipulate the hip itself can't quite make the flip to normal functioning because I already twanged that muscle, months ago, and it's still sore. No way I'm going to risk that again!

This means, roughly nine months after my birthday, when I thought "life, the universe, and everything, is giving me a birthday present, and unkinking my hip!" I'm almost done.

One thing that seems to have helped - by which I mean, caused more muscle spasms, but also more range of motion recovery - was cold baths (I tried to get the water down to the 50s - 58 is in the 50s! - with ice if it wasn't there already) to reduce inflammation, followed by a not-painfully-hot bath, both to improve circulation and make my legs a bit less friggin' cold. Initially, I was angry that my tub didn't get deep enough to cover my hips and legs. Then I realized a ziplock bag over the tub vent, and a set of magnets, would keep water from draining through the vent, and give me the few extra inches of water I needed. Kind of a shame, though, that I can't save tub water to water my lawn! I feel like a wastrel.

For these past 9 months, my chronic fatigue has been on a hair trigger. "Eat, work (be grateful I'm so productive at work that my boss lets me work from home as much as I need), sleep" has been the order of the day. And if you've ever had me advise you about mental health, I'll caution you that old demons creep back when you're tired/weak/sick. Let me assure you, that's from personal experience!

This isn't want prompted the angsty end-of-weekend/beginning-of-week posts - but it sure didn't help. A dear friend called me out for behavior that I didn't think merited it; add that to the sense that I have had no control over my life (because any day could have nasty muscle spasms, causing the next day to see me wrung out and useless) and it wasn't very happy-making. But it's over and done, and settled. (That doesn't mean we discussed it of course. Ah well.)

So I woke up extra early and the first thought I had was bacon... parboiled and fried. What's parboiling? Well, a likely false etymology is "partial boiling" - partially cooking good with boiling. You see, if you put the bacon in a pan, cover it (just a bit) with water, and boil off the water, you boil off all the water - the water in the pan, and the water trapped in the bacon. When the water boils off, you'll be awfully grateful if you have a non-stick pan - I don't know if I have the courage to try this in stainless steel! - because the water will also pull out some of the grease and such.

But once this is done, you can cook the bacon very quickly, without spattering, because the spatters are caused by small steam explosions in bacon where the water hasn't boiled out.

I don't even need to _tell_ you all that I was out of bacon, do I? :-) But the way I feel today, I don't think I'll be so exhausted tonight that I can't stop by the grocery store