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no_hypocrisy's Journal
no_hypocrisy's Journal
April 26, 2024

There are people who have dogs as possessions, and then there are people

who are truly emotionally attached to their woofies.

The former have a dog for company, but ignore them and neglect them. My father was one of those. When I was a child, he got an Alaskan Malamute. But never took responsibility for her. Didn't walk her. My mother wouldn't let the dog in the house, so instead of finding another home for the puppy, my father had a literal cage built outside for her. Cement floor, a dog house, wire and wood walls. He fed her by tossing the contents of canned dog food from the opened door. She was out there by herself, ignored. All the seasons. Hot summers, snowy winters. Rain in all temperatures, leaving her fur soaked. Didn't brush her shedding fur, which there was a lot of. We could hear her howl. Never taken for a walk. Her urine and excrement were hosed to the sides of the cage. The stench was unimaginable. For more than 5 years, she was imprisoned. I was relieved when someone offered to adopt her.

Towards the end of his life, my father did it again with a lapdog. Didn't train her. She urinated and defecated all over the house, including two of my mother's expensive Persian rugs. He left the dried shit on the floor. Yelled at me when I bent down to remove it. Had a neighbor walk the dog, but she held it in until she was inside. My father fed her "people food" which didn't help with the digestive tract. In the summer, he took her with him in his car. And left her there. I mean when the car temperature was over 110 degrees. Finally, someone called the Police on him and he actually argued with the officer.

This sounds terrible, but fortunately my father died before he killed the dog.

My point is he had no business having a dog, period. Neither did Kristi Noem.

February 13, 2024

I finally found the name of the woman who took care of me as a baby.

She was the first person outside my family whom I learned to love. I was told to call her "Baba," which is Grandma in Czechoslovakian. She left when I was about two. My parents couldn't remember her real name except for "Annie."

She took care of me. She loved me. And I loved her.

When my parents purchased our family home two years before I was born, Baba was part of the deal. No Baba, no house.

I was two years old when I came into my bedroom and found her not only outside the window, cleaning the glass, but standing on the roof (second floor) which was sloped. I ran to get my mother to "save" Baba.

I found her name on a very old check when I cleaned out the papers when I was getting ready to sell our house after my father died.

I finally got on Ancestry and I "found" her. Not much information, but enough. I have the address where she lived. I have her obituary (1979). I now know that I'm about the same age as when she took care of me. I have the location of her gravesite which I fully intend to visit.

I know this is a bit obsessive, but her presence in my life at such an early age was huge. I always wondered what happened to her. After all, you just don't call anyone "Baba."

February 9, 2024

I don't get it.

How could a special prosecutor make a diagnosis of age-related forgetfulness without a degree in psychiatry? How is his opinion credible?

And when Joe Biden left D.C., it was 2017, seven years ago. Can you remember specific details in your life from seven years ago? I mean lots of specifics. And he wasn't 80-something eight years ago. He was younger than Trump is today.

I recognize a hit. My own sister asked me if I was "all right . . . . mentally" last year. And she's been telling people I have Alzheimer's at age 66. She has a BA in French versus my three degrees, culminating with a J.D. and a law license. See where I'm going?

Age has its benefits of more education and experience.

If Joe Biden has deficits because of his memory, and the economy is doing this well, OK then. He has staff. He has advisors. He's not doing this alone.

Wake up!

February 6, 2024

My father disinherited me and my siblings almost 10 years ago.

Years ago, my parents partitioned 50/50 the property and house where I grew up.

Mom died and left her half to me.

Dad died and left his half to four charities. No $$ to me. Gave me a life estate to his half, meaning if I died or sold the property, the four charities would get half of the proceeds of the sale. For ten years, I alone carried the burden of paying the property taxes, paying for repair and maintenance, and paying to restore the house from its decrepit state.

OK, so I sold the house for a good price last June. Worked with the four charities during the sale. It is what is/was.

However, feeling unsettled about being disinherited, I decided to volley the ball back over the net.

I asked the charities to use every cent of my father's donation solely for their projects, e.g., scholarships, research, new programs, etc. and not to dedicate even a plaque with my father's name to memorialize his largess.

Yes, they were taken aback, as a lot of donations have a qualification of remembering a donor. And they were gratified. And so was I.

Am I petty? Perhaps. OTOH, the charities had their money. Obviously, I couldn't address my father for his testamentary choice. I feel/felt that I could move on.

January 29, 2024

Alina Habba

Now that the dust has settled, here's my take on Habba, Trump, and the Carroll trial.

Habba seemed oblivious to the basic courses in law school of evidence, trial advocacy, and even orientation where you're introduced to civil procedure.

According to Attorney Ethics, you are charged with "zealous representation" of your client. IOW, you do whatever you can to put the position(s) of your client before the factfinder, whether it's a jury or a judge. You do your research, you consult your client, you're organized when you appear in court, and your presentation is coherent and persuasive.

What you don't do is whatever your client tells you to do. Just the opposite: you advise your client of the limitations of his/her/their/its case. And there's always some limitations. Maybe you don't have necessary provable facts. Maybe statutes and caselaw are not promising. I've had to sternly tell clients that they don't have much of a case and we can only fall back on trial where hopefully, adversarial counsel will make mistakes that can be reversed on appeal.

From where I'm sitting, Habba promised Trump they'd win no matter what. She'd tell the judge where to get off. She'd make judicial history and give him justice simultaneously. She'd promise the judge that Trump wouldn't pontificate on the stand, then let him do exactly that while looking helplessly at the judge. TRUMP would win the case, not Habba.

IMO, their "strategy" was to get a mistrial. Or get jury nullification where they'd award E. Jean Carroll something insulting like $1.00. Or get just one juror to refuse to award any amount.

Remember, they could have made a settlement offer of any amount at any time to make this spectacle to go away. But they didn't. They could have asked for the amount to remain undisclosed. They didn't.

And how about THIS: Trump could have publicly apologized to E. Jean Carroll during the trial. I've done this with clients who were legally culpable. Had them write letters of apology, give ALL the money they took back to the Court to give to the victims, and apologize for their actions publicly in court. Did they want to do it? Of course not. But we didn't have a case and they wanted the whole thing to go away. Result: The Court accepted their guilty pleas, apologies, and money BUT didn't impose any fines or prison for larceny. We were granted mercy because of our accepting responsibility and showing humility. Trump *might* have had a reduction in the judgment by the jury.

Alina Habba reminds me of those unfortunate compatriots in law school, where they're called on by the professor about an assigned case, and they end up looking like abject fools in front of 100 students as well as the professor. (It happened to me once -- and once is enough for you to dedicate yourself to being prepared in the future.)

January 27, 2024

$83.3 Million verdict. I've been waiting for this moment since the early 80s.

Donald Trump was introduced to New York City somewhere between 1983 and 1984 because of the local city papers, specifically Cindy Adams and Liz Smith. New York Magazine had a spread on him and his family. ("Meet The Trumps" )

Trump was portrayed as the Boy Wonder Millionaire with the Midas Touch. Everything he touched turned to gold. The Grand Hyatt. The Wollman Ice Rink. Trump Tower. He bought a yacht. He bought a plane and a helicopter. He bought The Plaza Hotel. Three casinos in Atlantic City. Mar-A-Lago. And he regularly stiffed contractors who went bankrupt.

Beautiful wife and still a "Ladies' Man". At one point, Ivana asked/demanded that he stop going around with other women and he outright refused because his image as a magnet to women was part of his "brand".

Caught with his mistress by his wife at a ski resort where he had arranged for both of them to stay, he was unapologetic. No shame, no excuses, no apologies.

Trump's divorce played out in NYC. Ivana got a chunk of his money despite Roy Cohn's attempt to stiff her with an updated pre-nup.

He went bankrupt several times and banks continued to loan him money on terms favorable to him.

Trump went on to buy more properties. Bedminster. Doral. Turnberry (Scotland).

And he made some enemies along his travels: Leona Helmsley, Mayor Ed Koch, Michael Cohen, Chris Christie, Jeff Flake, Dean Heller, and many more.

Yet, save for his divorce settlement with his ex-wife, Ivana, Trump has yet to be seriously held accountable for his destructive deeds and words.

A woman. Someone without power and influence. A woman he raped. Not molested. Raped. Who couldn't put him in jail but found perhaps a better way of retribution.

To quote Eddie Murphy in Trading Places, "You know, it occurs to me that the best way you hurt rich people is by turning them into poor people." Taking away money and power (and media attention) from Donald Trump is almost a coda to a Greek Tragedy. Icarus flew too high to the sun where the wax on his wings melted, and he plummeted to his death in the sea.

It's the justice -- and the money that makes yesterday's verdict memorable and historical.

October 27, 2023

Even if you suspect you're in danger from a gun owned by a family member,

getting assistance can be a challenge.

It was 2013. My widowed father was 90 years old. Partially detached from reality, but not insane. FOX News devotee. And a history of him not liking me -- a lot.

He lived alone in our family home. I finally moved back in to at least prevent a crisis. (He already had set fire to the house 10 years prior.)

One day, my sister found a print-out by his computer of local and regional gun ranges. Dad had been in the Army and knew how to shoot. And he had just returned from driving to and from Florida. (We lived in NJ, where the gun purchase laws are not as permissive as FL.)

I immediately ransacked his room, his closet, his drawers for a hidden gun. I had no reason not to believe he would use it if provoked by fear and/or anger. And at me perhaps. I found nothing.

My siblings and I decided we couldn't engage the Police as he was well known as a community figure, a respected and retired physician. They would give him a pass the way the Fire Dept. gave him a pass when he set the fire.

We also discussed a civil commitment, but Dad had enough residual faculties that would frustrate getting two physicians to sign on.

Plus if we attempted and failed at the Police and/or commitment, he would be provoked, enraged, and would possibly use a firearm that was so well hidden that I missed it.

We were stuck.

So we tiptoed around Dad until he died.

I look back and I can't imagine other options. It was scary and depressing.

September 5, 2023

Two weeks ago, I took a Genealogical Tour

I returned to middle Pennsylvania, where my father's side of the family started their American journey.

Both grandparents were Lithuanian Jews. They settled in Dubois and Altoona.

Dubois. I first spent hours in the public library, furiously reviewing the city's Directories, starting at 1918. I tracked the five residences that my grandfather lived in until 1933 and the store he ran. Then I got in my car with my GPS and went to each site in chronological order. Many buildings (homes and businesses) were constructed more than a century ago. I walked up and down sidewalks and took photos, imagining that my grandparents and their family looked at the same things. Even the sidewalks.

Altoona. After years of locating my great grandparents (3 out of 4) on http://www.findagrave, I went to their cemetery to pay respects to them. My literal ancestors. They were buried in the same area. (How convenient). The only things that prevented me from staying longer was the area was on a very very steep hill. (Think 45 degrees.) And it was 88 degrees. And of course, I had no idea of their location. Maybe 900 gravestones on a steep hill. One wrong move and I would have tumbled badly. And I had to go to the ends of each row as the gravestones were maybe one inch apart. But there they were. And I found their siblings and some of their children.

Again, hours in the public library, reviewing Altoona directories that went back to 1893. Car and GPS. I went to their homes and gazed and dreamed. One great uncle was a big deal downtown. He had a grand department store, across the street from the Post Office. It's now an art gallery.

Vintondale. Where my uncle was born. Only later did I realize that I was there the day before his 110th birthday. The town has maybe 300+ residents. And it looks abandoned. I read that FDR's uncle (Sarah Delano's brother) founded this woeful place. I didn't see a single business.

I'm home now. I had to go. I had to look. I had to know.

August 28, 2023

I finally shared a secret that has been a burden for more than 30 years.

My father and I weren't especially close, but for some inexplicable reason, he decided to share a secret with me and made me swear never to tell anyone. And I promised with sincerity.

In the small city in central Pennsylvania where he grew up, was a childhood friend. They kept in touch and my father always looked him up when he came to visit. His friend became a successful physician/surgeon.

Around 1985, his friend returned to his home and found his (second) wife murdered, brutally shot. And the secret was this friend's son from his first marriage had killed her. And I shouldn't tell anyone. (Not that I knew anyone who would have the most remote connection . . . . )

So, last week, I was "in town" while doing genealogical research. I couldn't remember the name of my father's friend. Fortunately, I recognized it in the front of one of the city's directories.

And while walking around the city's business district, I made a decision. I made an impromptu, cold call to the Police. I mean, what the hell. My father was dead. The friend was dead. It might be a cold case. And I had information.

I was warmly received by a detective. I showed him my identification and a copy of a 1922 City Directory to show my connection to the City and my relevance. I told him the second-tier hearsay that my father told me.

To my relief, the detective knew all about my narrative. He even filled in the blanks. Turns out the son drove to the woods of another town where he shot himself. The police have a video of the investigating officer going through the house after the murder.

The case was decidedly closed. And I felt much better, having the opportunity to unburden myself of this information.

August 15, 2023

A comparison of Trump supporters being reluctant to give up on him.

Until August 31, 2001, there was a very progressive and independent radio station in NYC whose airwaves reached NJ and CT, WEVD. WEVD was created in memory of socialist Eugene V. Debs, hence the acronym.

The last few years of its existence, the first show of Mon to Fri was Bill Mazer, starting at 5:00 until 9:00 a.m. Yup, that Bill Mazer, the former sports broadcaster of Channel 5, WNEW. He had a great show with "amazing" interviews with journalists (Sidney Zion, Lars Erik Nelson, Wayne Barrett), local/regional/state/federal officeholders, and celebrities. And Mazer and his producer really did their homework: penetrating questions with follow-ups.

However, there were two subjects that Bill Mazer doggedly supported no matter how you challenged him: Israel . . . and Rudy Giuliani, the Mayor of NYC at the time. Mazer admitted part of his loyalty, perhaps devotion, to Giuliani was connected to Mazer's late wife, "Dutch" (Dora).

Dutch worked at City Hall with Giuliani, and tragically died while serving. Giuliani apparently made quite the eulogy for which Mazer was eternally grateful.

So, there were many controversies during Giuliani's tenure and Mazer glanced at them but stayed away from even the hint of condemnation. The listener of his program got the feeling that Mazer was personally disappointed, but yet reluctant to say anything on record that criticized Giuliani.

So, my point: Perhaps (just perhaps) there is a good chunk of Trump supporters who are like Bill Mazer. Minimally offended, disappointed that their hero is a fake, but remain devoted because of the past good feelings he gave them. They owe him.

As an aside, if Bill Mazer were still alive, I wonder how devoted he would be to Giuliani, considering all his shenanigans with Trump and the Insurrection -- and condemning Jews solely due to his misconception of the size of (or lack thereof) their non-gentile penises.

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