Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Move over for the dream police in Key West and beyond




There is a "theory" I have heard tell of and have actually seen in action plenty, that just about everything of import that happens to people is a "waking dream", which has as much meaning as sleeping dreams, if you have eyes that see and ears that hear.

A waking dream started when this sailed into my email account yesterday:
Oh, how hard does old age beat down on a poor man that he would beg, plead and bargain for a soft bed, a room with a view, a golden leash... things so insignificant compared with those he once gave up without ever looking back, long ago when the World was young!  How low you've fallen to be willing to be dressed up like a store window fixture or a pet, at best... somebody from your old hometown is playing you like a marionette, I don't need prophetic dreams to see that what happened to you in Birmingham and what's happening to you now is being orchestrated by people behind the scene who want you, let's say, "nullified". Actually, being "crazy" has probably kept you alive all these years!  

Sincerely, Anonymous

I replied:

Yes, perhaps people thinking I'm crazy, thus not responsible for what I think, say or do, blunts their desire to kill me, now that state mental hospitals are harder to find and get sent to. Some have said I'm crazy like a fox, but the truth is harder to unravel. The dilemma for the lady in Alabama who wants my scalp and more, if I get bumped off, she gets zip in her lawsuit and I get what I wanted for quite some time - to be bumped off. I swan, the harder I try to get bumped off, the more hopeless it seems that it will happen. I failed at that, too.

This sailed back:

Maybe Judge Judi is not working alone!?

I replied:

That's what Brenda, Young Prophet and Hoodoo Witch think. I know Judith is getting supernatural help. She has the backing of Mike Tolbert, of Key West, and Roger Shuler, formerly of Birmingham area. Brenda is convinced Judith and my stepmother are in cahoots, and were teamed in bringing me to Birmingham last December. I think Young Prophet agrees with Brenda. That has not been shown to me, though. I don't think Judith has a lawyer advising her. If she does, then the lawyer needs to be lassoed and hogtied by the Alabama State Bar, which would freak out to think a lawyer had drafted Judith's complaint and amended complaint. Maybe the angels will show me something tonight. 

I did see a man o' war bird floating easily not far above me today, as I was waking up from a snooze in my donated travel hammock strung between two Australian pine trees in Ft. Zachary State Park. I'm really enjoying being in that hammock and reading and snoozing and listening to the wind chiming through the Aussie pine boughs, and watching the birds and lizards that use the trees, and birds soaring overhead. I saw an eagle there about a week ago, wing-beating for leather somewhere. Was surprised I didn't see an osprey or two on the eagle's tail feathers. Ospreys give eagles hell. 

Attended a Norwegian amiga's birthday party this evening on Stock Island. She drives for the city transit bus system, was a school teacher in Norway. Citizen activist. Founder of international women's flag football association. They went to Cuba a year or two ago for that. A woman at the party sang a love song she had written to the Florida Keys, in commemoration of her moving away. One refrain, something like, "The keys gave me the keys to myself" were poignant. I felt when I heard that, that the Keys have had that effect on me. I once loved the Keys for the fishing and water and skies and birds. It went a bit deeper the second time around.

A woman from Liverpool at the birthday asked me what I thought about a male musician's original song last night about oil and gas is what did America in? I said it reminded me of the Woodstock era, Peter, Paul and Mary. And kinda reminded me of Leonard Cohen. The woman from Liverpool asked, you like Cohen? Yeah, he's really deep. You think he was happy? I think he endured a lot of blackness, which happens when you go that deep. She said she loved Cohen.

She said she was a vegetarian. I said I used to be, and nearly starved to death. I ate two hot dogs with mustard and some kind of bottled onion and ketchup sauce, baked beans, guacamole and tortilla chips, two helpings of strawberry cheese cake, and drank two bottles of bottled water, as I could not get to a sink and tap water. Had a giant double cheese burger and potato chips for lunch. Very unusual cuisine for me today, after yogurt and mixed seeds and nuts for breakfast.

Left my bicycle locked to a bike rack at the bus stop near where my friend lives. Hope it's there when I take the bus back into Key West in the morning. Losing a bicycle is, for me, kinda like a wild west cowboy losing his horse. 

This sailed back:

You're a gifted story teller........... I hate you! *:D big grin

I replied this morning:

Tell that to my bank account and hear it cry.

T’was a jolt to wake up yesterday morning feeling my dreams before the dawn’s early light pointed me toward staying in Key Wild Wild West of Weird and running for mayor (again) next year.

When I woke up before the dawn’s early light today and looked at my cell phone clock with my own eyeglasses, this time, it was just turning 4:44 a.m. 4 means one thing in my dreams. Politics.

Yippiy ti! Hee, Haw!

This sailed back:

Had an upsetting dream, just before waking, about me being a guest  at a professors home, a famous one, who had written many books regarding Human behavior... I think his wife had been instrumental in his giving me an audience... the older man(I was young and at my peak of mental prowess) was lecturing me about things for which I had strong opinions, but I just listened because I felt indebted to the wife who was always present and would be upset if I misbehaved, but when the topic turned to how people change or how they could be changed, I could not help myself and let him have it... I argued passionately and effectively that it was through effort, exertion and pain that a person can be  changed, not through some type of self realization via therapy or meditation... he was very upset that a punk like me would dare contradict him and I was upset that I had let his wife down who was also upset... I woke up.   
 I don't dream much and forget them quickly!

I replied:

I think what you told the professor was dead on the money. Good advice for everyone. Including you and me :-)

Not to belittle insights gained in psychotherapy and meditation, nearly wrote, "medication" - and what we read - but if it ain't taken to where the rubber meets the road, where the ammo is live and not blanks, then it kinda dies at childbirth. 

This sailed back:

In Carlos Castaneda's books about his shamanic apprenticeship with the Nagual, Juan Matus(a Yaqui Indian from Mexico's Yucatan peninsula)  there is a recurring theme about how a "warrior" must face challenges and how important it is to find a ruthless, existential "bully" that would  drive you either to  madness or beyond the boundaries of ordinary perception into mastery of will and intention... "will" as a weapon of personal power. That was all very romantic and New Age, people ate it up... I did too, back in the 70's!  *:D big grin

What I have been able to verify, from my own experiences, is this relationship between Form and Function and how changing one directly affects the other. This is actually very simple and self evident, yet not so simple to  see it happening within us and around us... and even harder to make use of it in a World so fixated on Form, devoid of self reflection and awareness of the connectivity of all things.

I replied:

Si, Senor -

Don Juan, as Castaneda called this Yaqui teacher, said what a wonderful thing it is to find a tyrant and have to endure that quietly until the spirit world took care of the tyrant.

Also, Don Juan taught Castaneda about the dark double which can be seen by looking at oneself in a mirror with unfocused vision. I found that to be true. Freaked me out. 

I think that was in THE EAGLE'S GIFT, which I found in a lending library in a hotel with a pretty good restaurant on Tortola in early 1996, where I hung out for a couple of months, prelude I did not know to going into the black night of the soul for a while after I returned to Birmingham from the tour of the Windward Islands, mostly Dominica and Bequia. 16 months in that black hole. 

That's when psychiatry nearly killed me with its pills, which seriously exacerbated what already was horrible beyond human imagination after it set in. As if I had had a stroke in my spirit, part of my soul had died, even as I still had my spirit hearing and vision, but the sleeping dreams all but stopped.

I think I read somewhere that Castaneda finally admitted he made it all up, even though I myself experienced some of what he had published in his novel serials.

The New Age people I knew wanted nothing to do with the doppelganger, which I finally came to call the demonic twin. 

The New Age people I knew did not think Evil existed either. Evil, as in the Devil, Satan, Lucifer, using English terms to describe it, although I think Lucifer originally is Latin? The bringer of the light, until that one's doppelganger took over?

I never heard of it being described quite like that before. I hope I did not call something in I'd just soon get a free pass on.

5:22 a.m. today Email from Hoodoo Witch, in my dream and spirit code, 5 is the feminine and 2 is Jesus: 
Immediately upon falling asleep I found myself in the office of a man (name unknown).  An attorney who became a judge for a period of time, then returned to practicing as an attorney.  He is detailing/dictating to me an outline of how you should respond to Haney's complaint.... he mentions the word "demurrer" several times.  Later when I am awake for the day, I intend to research what that means.  He speaks of motions and directed verdicts.  Motions I understand.

He details how to prove lack of jurisdiction including statement and proofs of your residency in Florida for more than a decade.  Including email correspondence used by Haney to lure you to Birmingham, number of days you were at the address she stated in the complaint, that you were there as a "guest" for less than a week.  That while in Birmingham you did not blackmail or extort her, but (emails prove) you called her on breach of contract. Contract demonstrated in her email correspondence with you prior to your travel to Birmingham.   That all blogs were written in Key West.  That you are not a drifter whose whereabouts are unknown from day to day.  That you are a well known KW personality and public figure. . indigent, unable to afford travel to Birmingham to apply for e-filing and that time is of the essence.

Exhibits would include 

FB and email conversations from her first message to you in December 2016, through your citing breech of contract when she demanded that you leave.
.
Statement that you are not a principal or an employee of  any entity included in your father's estate.  You are listed as a heir only.  You have no business dealings in Alabama. 

Copy of your Florida drivers license

Statement naming the service Haney used to serve you with papers during her failed action against you in Key West. 

And notarized statements from 2  individuals who are residents of the Keys stating that you are known to have resided in the Keys for more than a decade.

He goes on as well pointing to other matters that I don't believe would be included in a motion to dismiss.... those being false statements she has made in the complaint....  he has a bullet list of them.

Anyway, I don't know if this dream involves message or contact with an etheric atorney...  my tapping into your thoughts or those of another attorney who is aware of this case....  I need to try to sleep again now, but each time I begin drifting off there is more conversation coming to me from this man.

Some of it feels more like material that would be placed in an answer to the complaint that appropriate to a motion to dismiss.  But leaves me wondering if there is a way to combine the two.  My brain is scrambled right now... hope I can grab another hour or two of sleep.

I replied:

Morning -

I imagine that is Jim Haley, who was a highly-respected insurance defense lawyer in Birmingham for decades; then he became a circuit judge and was as good a judge as he was a defense lawyer; then he became a law professor at Cumberland Law School at Samford University, to which my father and his father gave a whole lot of money; then he became of counsel for the premier plaintiff law firm in Birmingham, Hare, Wynn, Newell & Newton.

Demurrer is familiar to anyone who practiced law in Alabama using common law pleading, before the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure were adopted, generally, by Alabama. Alabama was still a common law pleading state when I attended law school. Lots of lawsuits got won and lost on pleadings back then, as pleadings were construed most unfavorably against the pleader. The Federal Rules of Civil Procedure is just the opposite: pleadings are construed most favorably to the pleader. Substance over form.

Demurrer is what was filed to object to a pleading. 

I found this definition online:

demurrer
n. (dee-muhr-ur) a written response to a complaint filed in a lawsuit which, in effect, pleads for dismissal on the point that even if the facts alleged in the complaint were true, there is no legal basis for a lawsuit. A hearing before a judge (on the law and motion calendar) will then be held to determine the validity of the demurrer. Some causes of action may be defeated by a demurrer while others may survive. Some demurrers contend that the complaint is unclear or omits an essential element of fact. If the judge finds these errors, he/she will usually sustain the demurrer (state it is valid), but "with leave to amend" in order to allow changes to make the original complaint good. An amendment to the complaint cannot always overcome a demurrer, as in a case filed after the time allowed by law to bring a suit. If after amendment the complaint is still not legally good, a demurrer will be granted sustained. In rare occasions, a demurrer can be used to attack an answer to a complaint. Some states have substituted a motion to dismiss for failure to state a cause of action for the demurrer.
Besides motion to dismiss for want of jurisdiction, I been thinking that Haney's complaint should be dismissed for failure comply with the pleading requirements of the Rules of Civil Procedure: short and concise statements stating specifically what I allegedly did wrong (her two complaints look like a great deal of spaghetti thrown against a wall); and because her bare allegations do not contain supporting facts, such as what I actually published, as opposed to what she spun that I published, or cherry-picked out of context - the best evidence, what I published, is not in her pleadings; and because there is no way anyone could be expected to respond point by point to all of that spaghetti pasted to that wall (in her imagination); and because she clearly fibbed to the court about not being able to serve me in Key West; and because she did not include a necessary co-conspirator party defendant, Rick Boettger; and Imagine I will think of more.

My pleading might be voluminous, given all the Facebook and email between Haney and me.

Nothing in your dream about me asking the judge to determine Haney is mentally incompetent to prosecute her own pro se civil litigation, which is what the world needs to happen in this case?

Sloan

Walking out to US 1, to catch the city transit shuttle back into Key West, I pulled out my cell phone to check the time and it went off, a call from Kari Dangler:
Kari said she was at the hospital visiting a mutual friend of ours, who recently had an appendix rupture, which I had been avoiding talking straight with her about. I said that I would come by the hospital after picking up my bike where I had left it locked to a bike rack and a bus stop last night, if the bike was still there. If it was not still there, then I would deal with not having a bicycle. I said, tell our friend that I said her ruptured appendix reflects the company she has been keeping. Kari said she would do that and she tried to end the call.

Just a minute, I said. Did you have a dream last night? 

Yes, but I don't want to talk about it right now. 

Don't do that with me again. I might need to know what the dream is. I am up to my ears in shit. 

Okay, I'll tell you the dream.

A man in black on a black horse with a silver sycle was chasing me and I was trying to run away and he was going to catch me. 

I said, I doubt that dream is about you being killed, but your soul probably is thrilled, but not your ego, which might get killed. Silver is the female precious metal.

When I reached the hospital, Kari was still in our friend's room. I told the friend the appendix filters out toxins and her ruptured appendix is about the company she has been keeping. Some real low-life homeless people she keeps trying to help. 

She said she was about to be released, then blood clots were discovered, and now they have her on a heart monitor and a blood thinner, which is derived from rat poison.

I named one really toxic homeless woman she needed to shed completely. She has been living in a local church. She invited the toxic woman into the church. She said she can't make the woman leave, because the minister came back into town after being away for a while, the word had been that the church was closing, and he said the toxic woman could stay.

I told her she had to leave that church. 

She said some old friends had invited her to come live with her in North Carolina.

I said, go there as soon as you can and don't take that man with you, who you keep trying to save. She said she would go alone. Time will tell about that. But she needs to leave and shuck that man, for good.

I asked Kari to tell her dream. Kari told it. She asked who the man on the horse was. The woman friend and I both said at the same time, "Death". 

I said, but not physical death probably. Probably the death of your attitudes and drug habits. I hope that's it. 

"Bring it on!," Kari said, like, she was not afraid, could care less.

I said, "I don't believe you should have said that. I don't believe you should have said that, sister." And I left.

Later, I sent this Facebook message to the toxic woman, who had messaged me a while back letting me know my friend was in the hospital with a ruptured appendix, which I told her I had already heard:

Saw S this morning. Told her the ruptured appendix reflects the company she has been keeping. You, especially. And J. Told her to get you out of her life, even it meant leaving Key West. She has blood clots, too. Taking rat poison derivative for that. Very dangerous, her situation. Kari's back remains really messed up from when you knocked her into her bicycle, which is still messed up from that, and then you stomped her back, and she reported that to the police. Word on the street is you are a snitch and screw cops, and that's why you get away with so much. I don't know about that, but my dealings with and observation of you is, you are headed for a really serious crash if you don't get off whatever chemicals you are using and start behaving really differently.  

A nice waking dream was in yesterday’s Key West Citizen (keysnews.com), my impliedly invited thoughts in bold italics:

Plans under way for clinic move

By Scott Unger Key West Citizen
August 1, 2017
Plans are moving forward to replace the former Bahama Village Roosevelt Sands clinic with a new facility in the former Frederick Douglass Band Room. 
Key West Assistant City Manager Greg Veliz met with Florida Department of Health’s Monroe County Administrator Bob Eadie last week to move the project along, agreeing to install the clinic in the band room instead of its former home at the Frederick Douglass gym annex, which is slated for renovation by the city. 
“We’re going to sit down and craft a lease that will enable them to move into the band room and do the necessary outfitting they need to get in there,” Veliz said.
A lease is needed to secure funding and grant money for the renovations of the building, Eadie said.
“I need to secure funding for some of the renovations and equipment we would need and in order to do that … I need to have some sort of legally binding agreement,” he said.
The clinic, which primarily offered immunizations, maternal and child care services, is currently combined with the general adult clinic in the Gato Building, according to Eadie.
The city’s approximately $2.2 million renovation of the Frederick Douglass gym created a need for the nearby clinic to be moved and the city commission voted last year to spend $247,000 to white-box (essentially reducing the building to a shell) the Petronia Street band room to provide a new home.
Last August, the clinic was moved to its temporary home at the Gato Building.

When City Commissioner Sam Kaufman 
asked me yesterday morning if I was going to the commission meeting?, I said I was going to a friend's birthday party. Maybe I should have gone to the city commission meeting. I wuz at the city commission meeting back when it was adamantly argued by city staff and City Commissioner Clayton Lopez, 
that there was no way the medical clinic could even be temporarily relocated to the Gato Building, because Bahama Village residents would not travel that far with their children to use it. Sam Kaufman, who lives at the upper end of Key West, maybe 3 miles from Bahama Village, told me yesterday morning in Sippin' Internet Cafe, that he took his children to the clinic in the Gato Building, but it will be too much traffic and trouble to take them to the clinic, if it is in the Band Room. There is a group of Bahama Village blacks, who want the Band Room, named after Frederick Douglass, a freed slave who advised President Abraham Lincoln and the U.S. Congress, to turn the Band Room into an African-Caribbean museum. Commission Lopez, who works for the county health department, viciously attacked those people at a city commission, after they had left the meeting. It was the most cowardly, low-down, dirty, chicken-shit thing I had ever seen happen in a city commission meeting. I have heard a number of Bahama Village blacks refer to Lopez as an "Uncle Tom". Yet, he keeps getting reelected without any difficulty. If you have attended city commission meetings, then you know that when it is Lopez's turn to say how he feels about something before the commission, his words go this way, and go that way, and his words to that way this way, and you are sitting in the peanut gallery pondering which way he will land, and you figure it is where he figures he won't lose the most votes.
Once a lease is in place, some services could be quickly moved to the new facility, but it could be a year to 18 months before the Bahama Village clinic is fully operational, Eadie said.
“My hope would be we could move as quickly as possible to move some services back there,” Eadie said. “We (will) come up with a transition plan and we’re looking constantly at what makes the most sense to put where.”
The clinic in the Gato Building will remain open after the move, continuing to provide adult services. The move will ease the current cramped conditions and return a needed service to the neighborhood, Eadie said.
“If you look at the number of people we serve, a significant number are from that Village, plus it’s an anchor for all the other renovations that the city wants to do,” he said.
Earlier this year, the city commission approved $1.4 million to renovate the office area and restrooms adjacent to the gym and city officials are mulling plans for the annex, including expanding the building’s footprint and possibly constructing a community center on the property, but no decisions have been finalized.

But no African-Caribbean cultural center?
sunger@keysnews.com

Another nice waking dream is in today's Citizen:

City OKs country music festival

By Scott Unger Key West Citizen
August 2, 2017
After a long discussion, the Key West City Commission narrowly approved a four-day country music festival as the first major event to be held at the Truman Waterfront Park amphitheater.
The Mile Zero Fest, described as a boutique songwriter’s festival, will be held Feb. 7-10 at the amphitheater, with additional performances at five Duval Street bars, according to festival organizer Tim Cable.
Cable spent nearly an hour in front of the board discussing details of the event and addressing concerns over parking, traffic and noise. Many aspects of the original application were subject to change because it was filed in February without full parameters of the venue, Cable said.
The Oklahoma-based organizers want to create an annual festival and will use the first year to gather information for future events, Cable said.
Ticket sales will be capped at less than the venue’s 3,500 capacity, though an estimated 1,500 to 1,800 guests are expected in the first year, he said.
To control noise and traffic, a staff of 30 to 40 security guards will be on hand to move the crowd out when the shows are over and the promoters are in talks with trolley companies to transport citizens to the venue, mostly eliminating the need for parking, Cable said.
The noise exemption granted as part of the approval will be counted as one of six annually allowed on premises, as the exemptions routinely cover more than one day, according to City Manager Jim Scholl.
In addition to the concerts, the festival will feature charity golf, fishing and poker events to raise an estimated $50,000 to $75,000 for charity, he said.
The promoters will pay the city $5,000 to rent the facility, submit a $5,000 deposit for any damages and each ticket will come with a $2 surcharge fee to the city.
The first motion to end the concerts at 11 p.m. each night failed 4-3 before a second motion limiting the Wednesday and Thursday shows to 10 p.m. and the weekend shows to 11 p.m. passed 4-3, with commissioners Sam Kaufman, Margaret Romero and Jimmy Weekley against.
Weekley and Kaufman cited concerns for neighbors of the venue while Romero cited the lack of event details and a business plan, repeatedly lambasting city staff and apologizing to Cable for the city’s unpreparedness.
When I talked with Sam Kaufman in Sippin' Internet Cafe yesterday morning, I said there is a 14-day concert brewing next door in Fort Zachary State Park, which the promoters of the event went through Governor Rick Scott's office to grease the way, and the park rangers are all against it. A 14-day concert?, Sam asked. Yeah, it was in the Key West Citizen a while back. I think Sam was in Israel with his family when that Citizen article came out. A 14-day concert in a state park as small as Ft. Zach is obscene, outrageous. Maybe I should have been at the city commission meeting last night, instead of at the birthday party? 
“As a city we’re not ready to go,” Romero said. “Hopefully this will give an impetus to staff to come back so we have some real numbers.”
Eventually Scholl responded to the criticism by listing many major events the city has overseen at the waterfront and assuring the board that details will be worked out as there is a lot of information that can only be known by holding events at the venue.
“I’ve been an operations guy my whole life … we can make it work ma’am I assure you,” Scholl told Romero.
Mayor Craig Cates led the charge for approval, arguing no one knows what the impacts to the surrounding community will be and the festival will provide information for future events and act as a promotional tool for the amphitheater, which is scheduled for completion this fall.
“This is our first event. We’re all saying the impact on the neighborhood and we have no idea,” Cates said. “All the sound is directed away from the community and it’s hundreds of yards away from the nearest house.”
Too bad Mayor Cates does not live in Bahama Village or Truman Annex, which neighborhoods are adjacent to the new city park. If he did live there, he would know in spades after the concert what impact it had on his "quality of life".
Ticketing and lineup information for the Mile Zero Festival will be released on August 15 and can be found at www.mile0fest.com, according to Cable.
Maybe I should have been at the city commission meeting last night? Maybe I would have reported what I had told Sam in Sippin' yesterday morning: that during Mayor Cates' 5 terms, the city did not build one stick of new affordable housing. You used up your best piece of land for that, by building the new Truman Waterfront park right next door to a truly beautiful state park, which costs the city nothing. You even yet don't know how, or if, your new park will pay for itself, or for its ongoing maintenance. You talk about affordable housing, but it's a joke. Sam Kaufman told me just this morning that 100 percent of the city's scarce and valuable building rights allocated by Tallahassee were suppose to be restricted to affordable housing, and, what?, 20 percent ended up going for affordable housing, and was it actually affordable? Sam told me that's why he appointed Ed Russo to the city's Planning Board, because Ed said he thought the most important thing was more affordable housing. But what does Ed mean by affordable? Peary Court? $2,500 a month for a 2-bedroom apartment, to buy which the city gave a private developer $12.5 million to use for his down payment, which let him get it for no money down? Or Housing Authority Housing, where a 2 bedroom is half or less than Perry Court? Housing Authority housing is the only actually affordable housing in the city, and you don't even consider it, because the rents are subsidized. You are still in bed with developers. You need to get out of bed with developers and in bed with the Housing Authority. I reminded Sam yesterday, that Ed Russo touts himself as Donald Trump's environmental adviser. Russo's wife, Jennifer Hulse before they were married, was the spokesperson for the cruise ship industry and the local chamber of commerce's drive a few years back to bring in even bigger cruise ships. I cannot say that I thought Hulse ever told the truth in any of the several public forums I attended during the run up to that city referendum, which was crushed by the voters.
Comic relief: White House waking dreams

Syndicated "fake news" op-ed in today's Key West Citizen. I have come to think that just about anything coming out of the White House these days is spun, twisted, garbled, manufactured, fake, like I figured last year would be the case if Donald Trump got elected - figured the same, if Hillary got elected.

The poor members of Trump World


By Kathleen Parker Opinion writer July 25 

Eventually, everyone in this town seems to wind up with the word “poor” in front of his or her name.
Such a fate is especially likely if one has associated with President Trump. As in, Poor Attorney General Jeff Sessions. He is latest to the firing line that has included such formerlys as FBI director James B. Comey, national security adviser Michael Flynn and acting attorney general Sally Yates, as well as the “voluntarily resigned” — press secretary Sean Spicer and communications director Michael Dubke.
Trump has begun making inquiries about firing Sessions, barring a resignation prompted by the president’s tweeted attempts at shaming him into resigning. His crime? A perceived lack of loyalty. Having recused himself from involvement in the FBI’s Trump-Russia investigation — and, therefore, from defending the president, as Trump sees it — Sessions is no longer useful. (For the record, Sessions did reportedly offer to resign at one point.)

Speaking of loyalty, Trump offers little of what he expects from others. Way back in early 2016, when few were willing to sidle up to the Republican front-runner, Sessions bet the farm on this reality-show celebrity. He was the first sitting senator to endorse Trump, trading his legacy for the near-certain promise of a top position in the new administration.

Whatever Sessions’s hopes for the job, Trump apparently assumed that the attorney general would serve at his pleasure, regardless of what inconvenient ethics might preclude Sessions from also acting as the president’s personal defense attorney — that is, should any preemptive measures prove inadequate to thwart unwanted scrutiny.
Sessions’s recusal wasn’t only correct but also probably unavoidable. It was revealed the day before his announcement that he had twice met with then-Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak, in July and September of 2016, despite having said during his confirmation hearing that he hadn’t. Like so many others who joined the Trump White House, Sessions seemed to have forgotten the meetings.

Kislyak must be one forgettable fellow. Everyone he meets from Trump World suffers amnesia, recalling not so much as a handshake. Though I’ve not had the pleasure, Kislyak looks like a jovial sort who enjoys a hearty chuckle. His sides must be splitting these days as Trump repeals and replaces officials who are investigating Russia or who deny knowing any Russians.
Testifying before the Senate Intelligence Committee, Sessions said that his meetings with Kislyak, come to think of it, were routine and part of his activities as senator, not as campaign operative. Except for the fact that Sessions was part of the campaign at the time of those meetings, there’s no reason to doubt him.
Trump seems less bothered that Sessions, Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner all have contradicted his claims that none of his campaign people had ever met with any Russians associated with the government than by the realization that Sessions isn’t protecting his backside. To the nation’s chief executive, the latter spells “kaputzkah.” In recent tweets, the president called the attorney general “beleaguered,” accused him of being “very weak” on Hillary Clinton (why now?), and questioned his competence, saying: “Ukrainian efforts to sabotage Trump campaign — ‘quietly working to boost Clinton.’ So where is the investigation A.G.” (Say this for Trump: He has resisted servitude to punctuation and grammar.)

Sure, Trump must know that Sessions vowed during his confirmation hearing that, if confirmed, he would recuse himself from any matters concerning Clinton. After all, the hearing was televised. But why mention Clinton in this episode of Trump’s reality presidency? Because when the heat is on, Trump always sprinkles a little Clinton in the mix. How better to turn his supporters against Sessions and create momentum for him to resign than to remind Republican voters that Sessions let Clinton get away with (fill in the blank)?
In the latest in his series of off-the-cuff true confessions, Trump last week told the New York Times that he never would have nominated Sessions as attorney general had he known he’d recuse himself. Recall that he also said he fired Comey because of the Russia investigation. Nobody ever accused the president of subtlety. The question now is, who’s next?

We’ll know soon enough, but Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price might want to keep his medical license current. As the Senate was preparing to vote again on the Obamacare repeal bill, Trump gave a rousing speech, saying he knew Price, who formerly sat on the House Ways and Means subcommittee on health, would get out there and get those votes.
If not, Trump quipped, “You’re fired!”
Poor Price.
Lawsuit: Fox coordinated with White House on false story
·   BY DAVID BAUDER AND JILL COLVIN, ASSOCIATED PRESS
NEW YORK — Aug 1, 2017, 10:14 PM ET

A lawsuit filed Tuesday lays out an explosive tale of Trump allies, the White House and Fox News Channel conspiring to push a false story about Democratic leaks and an unsolved killing in order to distract attention from the Russia investigation that has been swirling around the president.

The lawsuit was filed against Fox by an investigator who had been looking into the killing of Seth Rich, a former Democratic National Committee staff member killed in 2016 in what police say was a botched robbery. The investigator alleges that Fox quoted him as saying things he never said and was willing to show President Donald Trump its story before it was posted online.

It's the second time in two days that Trump has been accused of being actively involved in pushing a public narrative to lower the heat of the Russia story. The Washington Post reported that the president had written a misleading statement for his son to give to The New York Times about Donald Trump Jr.'s meeting last summer with a Russian who promised dirt on Democrat Hillary Clinton's presidential campaign.
Rich's death has become fodder for conspiracy theorists, deeply angering the 27-year-old's family. In May, the story was thrust into the headlines again when Fox posted a story on its website in which investigator Rod Wheeler said there had been contact between Rich and WikiLeaks, the organization that posted a trove of DNC emails last year. The story was heavily promoted by Fox News host Sean Hannity, who has informally advised the president.

In the lawsuit, Wheeler now says that he never made that statement. He also contends he was told his false comments were put in the story because Trump wanted it that way.
Rich's family released a statement Tuesday night supporting the lawsuit. "While we can't speak to the evidence that you now have, we are hopeful that this brings an end to what has been the most emotionally difficult time in our lives and an end to conspiracy theories surrounding our beloved Seth," the family wrote.
Fox says it's "completely erroneous" to suggest it pushed the story to distract from the Russia investigation. Wheeler has made contradictory statements regarding the case and is simultaneously filing a racial discrimination lawsuit against the network, represented by a lawyer who has other lawsuits against Fox.
White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said Trump had no knowledge of the false story before it was posted and that it was "completely untrue" that the White House had any role in shaping it.
Wheeler, a Fox contributor on law enforcement issues, said he was brought into the Rich case by donor and Trump supporter Ed Butowsky. He says Butowsky, who has also made occasional guest appearances on Fox News, was intent on establishing a link between Rich and WikiLeaks.
Two days before the Fox article was published, Wheeler said he got a text message from Butowsky: "Not to add any more pressure but the president just read the article. He wants the article out immediately. It's now all up to you. But don't feel the pressure."
Butowsky said in a phone interview Tuesday he has never met Trump and his text message to Wheeler about the president reading the article was "tongue-in-cheek."
Fox removed the story from its website a week after it was published, saying "it was not initially subjected to the high degree of editorial scrutiny we require for all of our reporting." Hannity ultimately backed away, saying he was acting out of respect for Rich's family.
Wheeler also said that he and Butowsky had met with outgoing White House press secretary Sean Spicer and showed Spicer notes on Wheeler's investigation. Spicer asked to be kept informed, the lawsuit said.
Spicer plays down the importance of that meeting.
"Ed is a longtime supporter of the president's agenda who often appears in the media," Spicer said Tuesday. "He asked for a 10-minute meeting, with no specified topic, to catch up and said he would be bringing along a contributor to Fox News. As Ed himself has noted, he has never met the president and the White House had nothing to do with his story."
On the day the Fox story was posted, Spicer was asked about the report that Rich had emailed WikiLeaks. He said, "I'm not aware of that" and did not mention that he had met with Butowsky and Wheeler a month earlier.
One of Trump's attorneys, Jay Sekulow, also devoted attention to the Rich story during several Hannity appearances in May, before his hiring by Trump was announced.
"There's a lot more to this, I would suspect," Sekulow said on the May 18 show, which Hannity devoted almost entirely to a discussion about Rich. "You can't ignore the fact that it was a DNC staffer. You can't ignore the fact that there was nothing taken from the individual's body."
He said that while he hadn't seen "the files" on Rich, the incident "undercuts" the argument that Russians interfered in the election.
At the time, Trump was facing news stories about the investigations into Russian meddling in the 2016 campaign and possible ties between his campaign aides and Moscow. He continues to blast the inquiries as a "witch hunt" aimed at discrediting his election win and tries to focus attention on Clinton, who has largely faded from the headlines.
Jay Wallace, Fox News president, says, "The accusation that FoxNews.com published Malia Zimmerman's story to help detract from coverage of the Russia collusion issue is completely erroneous." Malia Zimmerman was a Fox producer on the story.
"The retraction of this story is still being investigated internally and we have no evidence that Rod Wheeler was misquoted by Zimmerman," Wallace said.
In May, Wheeler told Fox's local affiliate in Washington that he "absolutely" had sources at the FBI saying that there was information that could link Rich to WikiLeaks. But the station noted that Wheeler subsequently said contradictory things to other news organizations, and the station could not contact him again.
Fox News Channel's prime-time opinion hosts, particularly Hannity, make no secret of their admiration for Trump. But any charges that the network worked with Trump on a false story could harm the reputations of the network's journalists.
Trump has fostered an unusually close relationship with Fox and many of its personalities, particularly Hannity. Hannity gave Trump a frequent platform for non-challenging interviews during the campaign, along with advice on air and behind the scenes. The "Fox and Friends" morning show also is a Trump favorite.
———
Jill Colvin reported from Washington. Associated Press writers Donna Cassata in Washington and Shelley Acoca in New York contributed. 

sloanbashinsky@outlook.com

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