Mueller Report

Being several thousand years old (I forget my exact birthday) I can sometimes have difficulty telling the difference between true reporting and satire. Therefore, without deciding which this is, I share it with you.

New Attorney General William Barr is at risk of losing three stars and being demoted to Attorney Brigadier General after a flurry of lawsuits have been filed in response to his handling of the Mueller Report. While there were protests over Barr’s four page synopsis to a document that is reported to contain over 400 pages, no one foresaw recent developments.

Readers’ Digest filed suit against Barr for copying, without permission, their popular Condensed Books style that was first published in the early 1950s. Many people used Readers’ Digest Condensed Books to experience popular literature without the need to spend inordinate amounts of time actually reading. No sooner had the Justice Department been served with a cease and desist order (and President Trump had tweeted, “Totally exonerated! No confefe! WHICH HAUNT!”) than the second of three shoes dropped.

Cliff’s Notes, a popular study guide, that has been published in the United States since the late 1950s argued that the truncation and radical editing performed by Barr was more like their system than Readers’ Digest’s. “Every student,” they protested at a frantically scheduled press conference, “knows that they can turn to Cliff’s Notes as a concise, terse, minimalist synopsis of traditionally assigned readings.” When asked if Donald Trump ever used their product, the press conference was abruptly halted.

An industry insider anonymously provided additional information . “With Readers’ Digest Condensed Books, it is still necessary for the customer to read dozens—if not hundreds–of actual printed pages. Cliff’s Notes, on the other hand presents lengthy classics in a format that can be read–cover to  during a single visit to the bathroom!”

In the meantime, the same industry source tells us that Classics Illustrated is in negotiations with the US Government Printing Office to reproduce the Barr version of the Mueller Report in four-color comic book format. Classics Illustrated hasn’t published in years, but is prepared to print this special edition because it appeals to those who prefer to never read real books.

Neither Cliff’s Notes nor Classics Illustrated would provide specifics as to the length of their proposed publications, except to say that they would be “more than four pages, but less than 400.”

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Fact and Fiction

Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.

John Adams

If something is a reasonably accurate representation of reality, it is a fact. As humans, we’re incapable of observing, remembering, and then stating any event with 100 percent accuracy, even though most people try.

However, if you tell a lie, that’s what it is.

If you repeatedly tell a lie, it remains a lie.

If you get a million people to repeat your lie, it still remains a lie. It does not become a fact.

You may be able to kiss a frog and have it become a prince, but a lie is a lie is a lie.

It’s not a difficult concept, so why do so many people find it impossible to understand?

Are You Being Targeted?

I’m glad I died long before humans and computers began consorting. I never claimed victory in my search for an honest man–although, then again, was I honest when I said I was searching?

In any case, in your time, Facebook, video games, Twitter, and the computer thingie du jour draw you in like flies to a jar of honey. Even worse, you go willingly. Pity.

What if they worked together–or are working together? Google and Amazon know what you want. Facebook knows almost everything else.

But, what if one of the search engines or bots (they’re really the same) tracked your ability–or inability–to separate fact from fiction? If you readily believe the various conspiracy theories without adequate facts to support that belief?

There would be lots of money to be made by selling lists of such people to advertisers, scam artists, and (of course) all of the Nigerian Princes who are trying to get their inheritance.

Fool me once, your fault. Fool me twice, my fault. Fool me three times and I’m an easy target.

Hey! This magic potion will make you rich!

Out Damned Spot!

One of my friends, who lives in this god-forsaken twenty-first century, just finished a blog on WordPress, and it disappeared.

In my day, whatever I said was heard by those within earshot, and promptly misquoted or forgotten. It’s likely that there were others who spoke, but I didn’t notice, if you haven’t noticed, I’m a bit self-absorbed.

My advice to him? “If it’s not forgotten today, it will surely be forgotten tomorrow.”

He was not assuaged.

 

God

While I haven’t actually lived 2300 years, I’ve been sentient–in one form or another–throughout all that time. It has its advantages. For example, I believe I have a better understanding of God than those who’ve only been allotted a lifetime of three-score plus ten years. So here goes:

God – Don’t try to figure Him out–you can’t. Don’t try. Don’t interpret on his behalf. If He we human think we can speak for Him, it would make him crazy.

Scripture – Scripture, regardless of the flavor (Torah, Bible, Q’ran, Words of Bahá’u’lláh, whatever) is a book of lessons. It is not a historical record!

Why?

God is not affected by time. That’s why He, when asked His name, replied “I Am!” He probably created time for us pathetic humans (by His standards) to sort things out. To Him, however, the past, present future, and whatever, are all at his–so to say–fingertips.

God’s relationship to man – God has sent many prophets, one of which was a piece of himself, which we perceive as his Son, and who we Jesus. Now the bad news for many who claim to follow Jesus.

  1. Jesus was a Jew. You know, the Jew–who people love to hate and blame for everything. Hitler wasn’t the first, and won’t be the last (even though his bloodline may have had a bit of Jewish blood in it.
  2. Jesus was not blond-haired with blue eyes. He was a person of color. People in that part of the world are not, and at His time COULD NOT BE, BY VIRTUE OF HISTORY, white, Anglo-Saxon Protestants.
  3. Jesus’ earliest followers saw Christianity as the next step for the Jewish faith and the Jewish people. It wasn’t until God knocked Saul off his horse with a lightning bolt (or whatever–God can use whatever he chooses) that anybody realized that Jesus came for everybody.
  4. Jesus spoke Aramaic. He did not speak Old English as in the King James Version of the Bible.  
  5. Jesus did not instruct his followers to restrict the teachings of scripture to the elect clergy of the Catholic Church.

So where does that lead us?

  1. There is a God.
  2. He loves us.
  3. He has jumped through hoops to try to get our attention
  4. We keep modifying our image of Him to fit our personal biases and benefits.
  5. He forgives us.

All in all, that’s pretty awesome. Thank you, God,

A United States President

 

tyler
John Tyler Gravesite, Richmond, VA Courtesy Wikimedia

Pardon me for not writing much lately because everything seems so contentious, so I avoid writing anything that might be offensive to the President, Congress, any City Council, or PTA, anywhere.

It’s not as if I don’t like writing about politics and presidents. With my love of history–considering I’m a historical figure myself–I naturally, I find them fascinating. However, I’ve decided to limit myself to politicians from the 19th century or earlier, one of the most fascinating of whom is John Tyler, our tenth president.

Originally a Democrat, he became a member of the Whig political party (gotta love the name–and it has nothing to do with hair!). The Whigs did not have a platform, choosing instead to campaign against Martin Van Buren and the Democrats, blaming them for the poor economy that had begun three years before the election.

The Whig’s candidate, William Henry Harrison was elected president in 1840 with John Tyler (“Tippecanoe and Tyler, too” was their slogan) as his vice president. Harrison died of pneumonia 31 days after being inaugurated, and before the cabinet could declare Tyler as “Acting President,” he assumed the title of “president.” He was derided, behind his back, as “His Accidency.”

As president, he was often at odds with the mainstream members of his party; he was a fan of tariffs and frequently vetoed bills–even those from his own political party. His reason was that he believed the president–not Congress–should set policy. Members of his cabinet resigned and a number of his nominees for the cabinet were rejected by Congress. There was talk of impeachment, and the Whigs expelled him from his own party. One of his major efforts was to annex Texas to protect it from Mexico, although Texas statehood did not occur while he was in office.

After the attack on Fort Sumter, Tyler signed Virginia’s Ordnance of Secession in November, 1861 and was appointed to the Confederate House of Representatives. He died before the first session in February 1862.

Tyler was the only President of the United States whose casket was draped with a foreign flag (the flag of the Confederacy). He was also the only president who was named an “Enemy of the State.”

I Hate You, Pick Me!

Today, pride and self-promotion are the primary driving forces; in other words, today’s philosophy is, “It’s all about me.” This cannot lead to good things for the nation in either the short term or the long term.

As the White House uses and discards people, there is no lack of others eager to step into those positions. These same people, last week, last month, or last year, were condemning the very administration to which they now bow and scrape for a piece of the action.

Power is that seductive; these glory seekers contradict their own statements without apology. John Adams told us that “Facts are stubborn things . . . ,” but many people are far more stubborn than facts.

The revolving door in Washington, DC will continue to spin. Ambitious people will step in—regardless of qualification or commitment—willing to do anything (and I mean ANYTHING) to wrap themselves in prestige, even if it’s only for a short while.

 

*“Facts are stubborn things; and whatever may be our wishes, our inclinations, or the dictates of our passion, they cannot alter the state of facts and evidence.”

John Adams, ‘Argument in Defense of the Soldiers in the Boston Massacre Trials,’
December 1770, US diplomat & politician (1735 – 1826)