January 30, 2023
Thank you Robert. I love the sign.
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Robert, it is very admirable that you and your wife have sat shiva in honor of your friend. In Orthodox Judaism, relatives are not to listen to music and the mirrors are to be covered so that individuals will concentrate on mourning and grief. It is meant to “prevent selfish thoughts”. When my dad died, my mother felt we were too vain, so the mirrors weren’t covered. I found that amusing rather than sacrilegious.
The Plague of Darkness started when Trump illegally became number 45. The clouds over our heads were lifted when Biden won the presidency. But lo and behold, they appeared again when the Dems lost the House and Qevin McQarthy became speaker. Everyday, we are subjected to new evidence, new indications that something’s afoot. Fani Willis will let us know her intentions. Letitia James also appears to be sharpening her tools and then there’s Jack Smith and Merrick Garland. Are those guys waiting in the wings, ready to pounce? Gawwwd I sure as hell hope so!
Thank you sincerely for your thoughts today. They mirror my own. Since the release of the details and the video of Tyre Nelson at a traffic stop gone wrong my own reflections have centered on my first lesson on social justice delivered when I was quite young by my Grandmother.
Just because something is not your fault does not mean it is not your responsibility -
Tyre Nichols was not beaten to death because he resisted arrest, acted violently toward the police officers who stopped him, because he was driving "recklessly," or because he was carrying a weapon of any kind. I also do not believe he was beaten to death simply because he was "black while driving." Instead, he was beaten to death because we have failed to create an acceptable public safety culture within at least some law enforcement agencies. To be clear, it is not law enforcement or policing culture I am angry at; I am mad that last year 11,000 people died at the hands of law enforcement who have among their highest priorities "public safety."
I realize that there are likely many contributing factors to this challenge. I also recognize that this is a problem that does not exist everywhere. But it does happen far too often and in far too many places. Most importantly, it is a problem we do not seem to be making any progress on or working hard enough or effectively enough to solve or even make progress in addressing.
In 1952 at the age of 5, my then 83-year-old Grandmother took my hand and told me we were going to work. "But Grandma," I said, "You don't have a job."
"Bruce," she told me, "We all have a job, and it is time you got busy working on it."
"Where are we going, Grandma," I replied.
"We are going to march." I asked her if it was a parade and what holiday we were celebrating. She told me it was only a Saturday, not a holiday and not a parade. She told me it was a Civil Rights march for equality and justice for our neighbors and community.
That was my first Civil Rights march. But, of course, I have attended a lot of marches, demonstrations, and protests over my lifetime. I have worked on a lot of causes. But that day in 1952 was my first lesson on "my job" from my Grandmother.
When we got home that day, I asked her why she was so angry. I had never seen her that mad. After all, she was such a kind, gentle, peaceful person. But that day, she was furious. She told me she was angry that at the age of 83, she still had to work on the same problems she had been working on her entire life, and she was mad that we had not yet done enough to fix them.
"But Grandma," I said, "It is not our fault." After all, we lived in a mixed-race neighborhood where we all got along well. Our next-door neighbors and my best friend Arnold were black. I never thought of Arnold as black or any color; he was just Arnold.
"Bruce," my Grandmother said, "Just because something is not your fault does not mean it is not your responsibility." I would hear that advice many times growing up from my Grandmother. I have also shared it many times over my life with others.
So, here we are in 2023, and we have this severe problem with too many people in too many places being killed by those responsible for "public safety." What makes me mad is that we are not working hard enough or effectively enough to make progress on that problem. The problem is not owned by law enforcement or the police. It is not a "systemic" problem. That is simply an excuse to see the job of solving it as someone else's responsibility. It is a societal problem, and it is up to us, all of us, to work on it and fix it.
Just because something is not our fault does not mean it is not our responsibility. So let's all get to work on the problem and do something to make progress on fixing what is wrong.
So what is it that we need to work on? What is the cause of the problem? Too many believe the problem and it’s cause is centered on failures in policing. But that fails to recognize the breadth of the challenge. Too many of us fail to recognize the humanity of all those we share this planet with. We fail to recognize that no human is unworthy of respect and decency. We believe there are some “like us” who are more worthy than others who are not “like us.” But humanity is not a team sport in which their are opposing teams or a league in which we are competing for a championship. In life, either we all win together or we all lose.
When we deprive others of respect because we see them as unworthy for any reason, we diminish ourselves. What happened to Tyre Nichols and so many others is not a “systemic problem” limited to law enforcement. That view is simply a way to make the problem someone else’s to solve. It is a societal problem that we all share responsibility for. It requires all of us to accept responsibility for if we are to make progress on solving it.
Just because something is not our fault does not mean it is not our shared responsibility.
Every morning I open my device to read. This Newsletter, LFAA and others.
The thoughts I have as I embrace that first slug of coffee: "Is today the day that Jack Smith will make his recommendation to Merrick Garland? Is today the day that Fanni Willis' grand jury will indict the Mar A Lago Monster? " And another day passes. Nothing.
Everyone with an ounce of intelligence has all the information required to know that "45" made multiple attempts to install himself as President/Dictator. And yet... we wait, we wait.
The FBI onion being peeled back seems to be huge...and rotten. There seems to be a triangulation evolving. Manafort, Russian Oligarch, FBI - all in support of NYC con man for President. Then I remember Helsinki. But yet, we wait. Two years and counting. Or, actually six years and counting, eh? We wait. We wait...
I quote again. Milton Mayer, last sentence of a bombshell paragraph in “The Germans 1933-45: They Thought They Were Free” “You have accepted things you would not have accepted five years ago, a year ago, things your father could never have imagined.” And when Joe was declared the winner in Nov 2020, I breathed a sigh of relief, and could never imagine that we could be where we are today. Of course, I thought that the 2016 election was a put up job. There was enough info for a sane assessment, just not for our “news as entertainment” media. Rupert leading the pack.
The ray of light is being snuffed constantly, and darkness descends again. Where are you Merrick And Mitch? Time to call much of the country what they are - proud Nazis.
From James Baldwin
“The sea rises,
the light fails,
lovers cling to each other, and children cling to us.
The moment we cease to hold each other, the moment we break faith with one another,
the sea engulfs us
and the light goes out.”
The Trump family's Islamophobia is remarkably selective. Was it not Jared Kushner who so happily accepted Arab money to bail out his failing 666 Fifth Avenue (NYC) misadventure and then, upon leaving the White House in early 2021, took lots and lots of Saudi money for his newly established PE firm? But I digress.
Those who think Trump will go away if we stop giving him attention probably also believe Santa Claus, the Tooth Fairy and the Easter Bunny are real.
We now know that our system of mirror neurons need to be trained to develop, just as our immune system, and the mirror neurons are what gives us the ability to feel what others feel, which is what we call empathy. Eye contact with parents is a major source for this training of mirror neurons. So, what happens with the children of parents who have been looking on their cell phones rather than their children. The Plague of darkness; "these myths never happened, they happen all the time".
Dennis McGonigal is accused of working for Albania, but that has to be nonsense. Albania is a very poor country with no dog in the fight. The Albanians, or those who said they were Albanians, must have been working for Moscow, and it is very hard to believe that McGonigal did not know it. The FBI field office in New York—and all who were there in 2016–needs a thorough housecleaning (with bleach). The entire Secret Service needs similar treatment, top to bottom.
I think it's much better to keep tfg in some form of limelight. Relegating him to the background, IMO, makes him more dangerous.
Thank you for keeping us updated on events related to your dear friend's passing. Her life, especially for you, deserves more than a one-time "honorable mention."
“… there is evidence in the congressional record and two public indictments that suggest the FBI interfered in the 2016 election on behalf of Trump. Six years later, we have two indictments against one agent.”
Hmmmmm… exemplifying that the House Select Subcommittee on the Weaponization of the Federal Government portends to backfire!
I, too, lost a dear friend last week who was a social justice warrior. As we read the same Torah portion and commentary this week, my thoughts turned to the obligation, we have to shed light on the darkness upon those whose thoughts and actions attempt to spread darkness in our communities. Only by spreading light can we overcome the darkness.
A big "like" as always for the empathetic tone, deep sense of decency and courage to stand up for what's right, but we've got to bring a lot more than "hope" into the picture at this point. "Let's hope that the DOJ is busily working on additional indictments against agents in the FBI field office who attempted to interfere in the 2016 election by selectively leaking information about an ongoing investigation for the purpose of harassing Clinton's campaign." Say what? The pitiful DOJ hasn't even indicted Trump, the proven racist criminal and domestic enemy of the Constitution who occupied the White House for four years and continues to spread the GOP hate-based "plague of darkness" over the land with impunity.
Trump is still walking around undermining the law of the land while his lackeys in congress cheer him on. "Geez," I hear a democrat exclaim after reading your report, " I hope" he doesn't do anymore damage with his cute little habit of assigning hateful racist sobriquets to people he doesn't like, which is apparently anyone who doesn't kiss his orange ass."
Speaking as a citizen, but more importantly as a human being who yearns for Justice, I've had enough of this shit show; we need to quit "hoping" and demand action. The DOJ needs to "see the light" and indict this maniac before following up on any attempts to bring the FBI to Justice. Hey, maybe it's time to investigate the DOJ . . . "
Let us not forget the hatred towards women is so deeply embedded in the world, that women are overlooked in the list of hated groups.
Trump’s behavior towards women is disgusting, yet accepted by many.
Mistreatment of women worldwide is a given. Sad.
I’m so sorry for the loss of your friend. When someone you love dies, it can destabilize your whole sense if the world and your place i it—there’s an existential crisis in addition to the loss of an individual person. I’m quite sure you and your wife/M.E. were wonderful friends who held a special place in your friend’s heart.