Tag Archive: Joe Biden


“The constitutional power of a president to pardon is unique and sacred, meant to give the chief executive the ability to correct injustices.” – Hamilton Jordan, chief of staff to former President Jimmy Carter

“I think either the president (Bill Clinton) had an incredible lapse in memory or was brain-dead when he did that one (Marc Rich pardon),” – Sen. Joseph Biden of Delaware, ranking Democrat on the Judiciary Committee, February 11, 2001

An Outgoing President’s Trifecta?

Close Guantanamo.

Visit Cuba.

Pardon Edward Snowden.snowdenSXSW

If true, all Snowden has to do is keep his comrade warm for 10 or 11 more months in the Rodina (until a few days or even hours before the inauguration of the 45th president) and then return to the U.S. as a free man and a hero in many circles.

How many U.S. universities would welcome Snowden as their commencement speaker in May or June, 2017? Ring those First Amendment bells.

Two of Snowden’s biggest fans are Michael Moore and Oliver Stone. And what do these two gents have in common? They make movies. How about an Academy Award epic about Snowden capped off by footage of a presidential pardon and a grateful nation? Guess what?

A New York Times best seller?

An eight-figure Snowden bank account? All for pilfering and leaking top-secret documents in an age of global Terrorism?

Outrageous? Maybe to the majority of Americans, but do our elites really care about them? Besides how many news cycles will it take for most plain folks to forget about the Snowden pardon?

What are the Kardashians doing today?marcrich

Does anybody remember Marc Rich? The spouse of the man who pardoned Rich is ready to become the first woman president of the United States. Did the presidential pardon of Marc Rich hurt her electoral chances?

For those scoring at home, Rich was one of the world’s wealthiest men. He was wanted for more than 50 counts of wire fraud, racketeering, massive income tax evasion and trading oil with Ayatollah Khomeini’s Iran, Khadafy’s Libya, Milosevic’s Yugoslavia, Kim Il Sung’s North Korea and Apartheid South Africa. He even renounced his U.S. citizenship.

Rich’s former wife, Denise, provided $450,000 to the Clinton library, and another $1 million to Democratic campaigns. Rich was pardoned. And with his pardon a legal and political precedent was established.richclintons

Strange Bedfellows?

Even though Snowden is exiled in Russia his influence resonates and an ultimate irony has ensued.

The progressive Feel-the-Bern crowd castigates “corporate” interests (e.g., publicly traded companies). In turn, many conservatives have trouble believing the government does anything right.

Isn’t ironic that many in the anti-Wall Street movement are backing publicly traded Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and anti-government types are supporting the FBI in the fight over unlocking the cell phone of a deceased terrorist?

Some have suggested a “Snowden Effect” in which his theft of and subsequent disclosure of NSA files made him a “hero” with many in the political class, empowered Apple to not cooperate with the FBI.

Privacy über Safety … at least in Cupertino.

Timing Is Everything

Some will contend that pardoning Snowden is a ship that has already sailed.

The White House last year responded to a petition with more than 167,000 signers asked for the fugitive to be pardoned. The chief executive’s office suggested that Snowden should come back and face a jury of his “peers” about charges of theft of government property, unauthorized communication of national defense information, and willful communication of classified intelligence to an unauthorized person. It all adds up to at least two counts for violation of the Espionage Act of 1917.

The petition’s timing was all wrong. Most of all, it was way too early.inaugurationday

Let’s see, the president’s last day in office will be Friday, January 20, 2017.

Almost DailyBrett instinctively knows the best day of the week for bad news: Friday.

What else will be happening that day? The inauguration of the new president? Why not just slip Edward Snowden’s name into a long-list of folks who are being pardoned?

There will be screams and howls mixed into stories about the oath of office, the inaugural address, the balls and the first 100 days. All of these will be presented on a wintry Friday night or Saturday morning. The outgoing president’s legacy will suffer a temporary blow, but still will be intact. Snowden will be a free hombre.

More importantly, who will own the movie and book rights? And the newly wealthy Snowden? He will Move On with his eight-figure life.

http://www.wsj.com/articles/SB982638239880514586?mg=id-wsj

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/story?id=121935&page=1

http://www.economist.com/news/obituary/21580438-marc-rich-king-commodities-died-june-26th-aged-78-marc-rich

http://www.newson6.com/story/7683995/specter-hints-at-clinton-impeachment

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/07/11/pr-advice-for-edward-snowden/

http://nypost.com/2016/01/17/after-pardoning-criminal-marc-rich-clintons-made-millions-off-friends/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2013/07/11/pr-advice-for-edward-snowden/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2014/03/25/intellectual-property-matters-really/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Snowden

http://time.com/3974713/white-house-edward-snowden-petition/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snowden_(film)

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Edward Snowden

Dear Edward:

Something tells me the Sheremetyevo Airport Transit Zone room service menu is getting old.

How many different ways can one prepare bowls of borscht and/or cucumber sandwiches?

Think of it this way, a prison cell with room service and a view of the parking lot with birch trees is still a prison cell without the iron bars. There is a bar in the hotel lobby with plenty of Stoli, but are you allowed to go there?

For the record, it has been 18 days since your arrival in Russia and counting…and counting…and counting…

Pretty soon, you will forget what day of the week it is. You may satisfy yourself by sending out media statements from the WikiLeaks folks, but soon you will have nothing new to say and the media will cover the Trayvon Martin/George Zimmerman trial instead.

One Latin America government after another (e.g., Nicaragua, Venezuela, Bolivia) has extended a welcome to you, but how will you get there? Will Scotty “beam” you up? You can imagine the tropical drinks with umbrellas and the wind-swept beaches (okay not in Bolivia), but you are still stuck Back in the USSR.

Napoleon and Hitler were stranded in Russia as well with winter approaching. It’s amazing how history repeats itself…not that I am comparing you with Bonaparte or der Führer. Maybe you can visit the Stalingrad Museum? Strike that, your passport is not valid.

Bummer.

Another bowl of borscht?

To some in America, you are a whistle-blower and a hero including a collection of voices who together make for very strange bedfellows indeed (e.g., Michael Moore, Glenn Beck, Oliver Stone, Michael Savage).

Maybe one or all of them or the WikiLeaks gang can shell out a few shekels to arrange for a private jet to transport you to a socialist paradise? The sponsoring country could issue you a passport, once you renounce your U.S. citizenship of course. Are you willing to take this step with the knowledge you will never see your native North Carolina or adopted State of Hawaii ever again?

Fidel Castro and his brother, Raul, conceivably could welcome you to their island gulag with palm trees, but is that where you want to spend the rest of your life? Keep in mind; you are only 30 years young. Venezuela may be more inviting, but what happens if there is a government coup d’ ‘etat and the new management honors an extradition agreement with the United States? Ditto for fun-in-the-desert Bolivia?

You may end up Back in the USSA anyway.

Maybe you should think out of the proverbial box, and follow in the footsteps of Martha Stewart?

What if you accept Vice President Joe Biden’s offer of a one-way, fully escorted trip home?

Okay you don’t want to go to prison, but aren’t you effectively eating prison food right now? And how long is Putin going to allow you to stay in Russia anyway?

moscow

Do you think that you couldn’t receive a fair trial back the states? Didn’t O.J. receive a fair trial? Maybe we could fit you with a bloody glove, forcing the jury to acquit? Or maybe not.

One thing I can guarantee you, there will be lawyers galore clamoring to represent you before the glare of the television lights. Greta is always in need of a new trial to micro-analyze. You will set in a motion a nationwide debate about what is the proper amount of government surveillance in this era of global terrorism.

If you head off to Bolivia never to be heard from, let alone ever seeing your homeland again, what have you accomplished? Aldrich Ames is serving out his life in prison. No one cares about him. Who will care about you in Venezuela? Isn’t publicity and attention what you ultimately crave?

Reportedly, you are facing up to 30-years in the slam. Do you really think that is going to be the outcome? Maybe you can strike a deal, preserving your rights to your autobiography and upcoming made-for-television movie?

And just as one Clinton in the White House pardoned the dearly departed tax-evader-rogue-trader Marc Rich, maybe a future Clinton in the White House could pardon you too?

Anything is possible. Come home Edward to the land of hot dogs, college football and apple pie…before you are forced to endure yet another cucumber sandwich.

P.S. You may want to contemplate saying you are sorry for your actions instead of being self-righteous. Americans are a forgiving people.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-202_162-57593011/edward-snowden-likely-to-pick-venezuela-for-asylum-journalist-glenn-greenwald-says/

http://worldnews.nbcnews.com/_news/2013/07/10/19389337-venezuela-is-most-likely-asylum-option-for-edward-snowden-leak-journalist-says?lite

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Edward_Snowden

http://www.cnn.com/2013/07/05/opinion/obeidallah-snowden-suggestions

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aldrich_Ames

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marc_Rich

The Right Woman

DSC00344

 

This is not a gushy blog.

Instead, it is a response to one of my earlier epistles that resulted in many pairs of panties getting themselves all in a twist.

It amazed this writer how my April 15 blog…as in the April 15, 2012 The Trouble with Widowers post managed to get so many (mostly of the feminine persuasion) so riled up. The offering is one that keeps on giving and gosh darn it; the piece helps my SEO as well.

Go ahead, I dare you…Type in The Trouble with Widowers into your Google search and let’s see what comes out on top. I am as confident as Muhammad Ali stepping into the ring.

Okay, it’s time for a little humility for a change.

I never wrote The Trouble with Widowers for pure SEO (Search Engine Optimization) glory. As a widower, I was perplexed and a little irritated … okay a lot irritated … why I was not doing better when it comes to the affairs of the heart.

Deep down, I am a nice guy with a fun career. I can communicate with the best of them; heck it’s my profession. If you don’t believe me, just ask me.

And yet, my efforts at honest, effective communication with the fairer gender were coming up empty. One of the problems was the image of the woman in my past: The one, who passed away eight years ago tomorrow.

May you rest in peace, Robin.

Looking back on the past 15 months, I am amazed how one blog could draw 1,338 page views-and-counting and a record 28 comments some of which telling me that I was “clueless,” an “attention seeker” and my favorite, a “martyr.” Ready to nail me to the cross?

As the famous cliché states, “You can’t always tell a book by its cover.”

The title, The Trouble with Widowers, may have been akin to Xmas morning for youngsters. The majority of the readers of this particular post (e.g., women) most likely saw presents under the tree in the form of a new avenue for male bashing. Let’s give it to those widowers…until…oh…the blog wasn’t pounding men with deceased spouses into fine grains of sand. Instead, it was a call for understanding and communication.

It was a call for the right woman.

There are approximately 3.6 billion card-carrying females on this planet. Thankfully for heterosexual widowers, there are more women than competing men. Finding that woman, an understanding woman, is an exercise in patience and perseverance. For me, it took seven years to find Jeanne.

Vice President (and fellow widower) Joe Biden lost one-half of his family in a horrific traffic accident in December, 1972. It was several years before he met his Jill. And it was even longer before he could think of his deceased wife and baby daughter with a “Smile of the lips before a tear in the eyes.” Jill is an understanding woman.

The same is true for me, even though one of my readers wrote: “God help the next woman who enters into a relationship with you” and another, who offered, “I doubt your girlfriend is as secure as you maintain.” Thank you, Gloomy Gus, Negative Nancy and the other human barbiturates.

What seemed in particular to get everyone’s bowels in an uproar was the prospect of a “shrine” to the deceased and the notion that a new GOW (girlfriend of a widower) or WOW (wife of a widower) was second best.

Growing up in Southern California, my mom at dinner time would turn on a small electric light to illuminate a large portrait of her mom (my grandma Peggy) and turn it off shortly before retiring. Was that a “shrine” to a deceased member of the family? What constitutes a shrine? The next question: Is it appropriate? I never questioned it.

As I offered before, photos of a deceased grandparent, parent, sibling, (Heaven forbid) child are kosher, but photos and art work from the late spouse are insensitive? Each and every one of them were family members. Why is it different if one married into the family?

And then there is the notion that the GOW or WOW is somehow “second best.” Let me ask this question: Does a mother with multiple children numerically rank her Kindern? Is this the equivalent of the BCS standings with the top two children vying for the mother’s number one spot when it comes to love? Will a trophy be awarded for winning the maternal, “Natty?”

There is no denying that a GOW or WOW is second, chronologically. That’s just common sense. The deceased spouse came first. That doesn’t make the new love of your life, second best. She is second. The same is true for children…only one can be the first child.

Let me offer the following: The venom that has been directed at me may be a cry of frustration. Dating a widower is not as easy as it seems. He usually does not carry the bitterness of many divorcees or those currently separated. He does not bring obvious questions of those post-40, who have never been down the aisle. In most cases, he brings to the party the experience of a successful marriage that was cut short by the Grim Reaper.

It all comes down to two-way symmetrical communication. Both need to understand. Both need to be accommodating. This is not a once-a-week practice, but it is every day. Relationships take work, even those with widowers.

A widower needs to work every day with the new woman in his life, just as he did in his past relationship. The same is true with the woman dating and loving the widower. It all comes down to the right widower and the right woman.

As one of my colleagues said to me last year: “When it’s good; it’s good.”

Thank you Jeanne. It’s been good, damn good. You are the right woman.

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/04/15/the-trouble-with-widowers/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/06/02/smile-on-the-lips-before-a-tear-in-the-eyes/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/01/22/competing-against-the-dead/

“There will come a day, I promise you … when the thought of your son or daughter or your husband or wife brings a smile to your lips before it brings a tear to your eye. It will happen. My prayer for you is that day will come sooner or later. But the only thing I have more experience than you in is this: I’m telling you it will come.” Vice President Joe Biden

It’s not every day that I quote Joe Biden, but every once in awhile even a loose cannon can be right …err … correct.

biden

What compels me to write a non-political blog featuring the Democratic vice president and former senator are the lessons he teaches us in overcoming the loss of a loved one or in his case, two loved ones. Biden instantaneously lost his wife, Neilia, and one-year old daughter, Naomi Christina, when they were broadsided by a tractor-trailer on December 18, 1972. His two sons were in the same car. They were seriously hurt, but have fully recovered. Historically, Biden does not work on this anniversary.

I can understand why.

As I have mentioned before, I have seen a similar version of this movie and just like the vice president I cried at the ending. It will be seven years this coming July 10 when I lost my wife, Robin, to terminal stage four, fully methathesized stomach cancer … a death sentence cancer.

Both Biden and yours truly are mackerel snappers. And all the years of parochial education naturally prompt one to beseech the All Mighty as to how she or he could allow someone near and dear to you to be taken away in the prime of her life. I lost one in a relatively short period of time. Biden lost two immediately.

Biden, who had just been elected to the US Senate from Delaware in 1972, remembers staring up to the capitol rotunda ceiling and saying, ‘God!’ It was if I was talking to God myself. ‘You can’t be good! How can you be good?’”

A padre at the Cathedral in Portland, Oregon a few years ago commented how all deaths are by their very nature sad, but can be actually welcomed when someone is elderly, sick, suffering and has no hope of ever continuing a healthy, happy life. The opposite is true when someone is vibrant, full of zest and contemplating her next three decades or so of life…and then…

One of the keys to Biden’s recovery was a strong wonderful woman, Jill Biden, the second lady of the United States. She is absolutely gorgeous even as she approaches her 61st birthday next week. She is obviously understanding and was willing to work with Joe, the widower, in not only incorporating her own life into his, but helping him to overcome…not forget…the double tragedy that struck his life.

“This woman (Jill) literally saved my life,” said Biden to the Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors (TAPS). In that same speech with the media present, Biden bravely said he understood thoughts of suicide because someone may have been to “the top of the mountain and they knew in their heart they’d never get there again, that was never going to be that way ever again.”

Mercifully, I never had those thoughts. Having said that, I am searching for my “Jill.” I know she is out there. She may even be reading my blog.

jillbiden

As I have written before in related Almost DailyBrett posts, “Competing Against the Dead?” and “The Trouble with Widowers,” it will take someone strong and accommodating. She will need to understand that I simply cannot forget 22 years, but at the same time I am ready to move on. I am always amazed by the unprompted pronouncements about how I have not recovered from Robin’s passing. That’s where Biden’s comments come into play.

When I now think of Robin, I remember fondly the good times, the fun times, the playful times. A smile comes onto my face, before an occasional tear ventures into my baby blues. The vice president without saying it directly was referencing how time is a great healer. Forgetting is neither an option nor something I want to do, but going forward with a renewed spring in my step is something that I see in my future.

I have been accused of being a Pollyanna. I happily plead guilty.

http://www.latimes.com/news/politics/la-pn-biden-reflects-on-tragic-accident-loss-in-speech-to-soldiers-families-20120525,0,2650548.story

http://www.taps.org/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Joe_Biden

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jill_Biden

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2012/04/15/the-trouble-with-widowers/

https://almostdailybrett.wordpress.com/2011/01/22/competing-against-the-dead/

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/pollyanna

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