Friday, January 31, 2020

Trump’s Consciousness of Guilt Will Haunt Him Forever

Donald Trump cares about one thing: image. His.

He obsesses over size, stature, popularity, accomplishment, wealth, power and success. Racked by crippling insecurities and self-loathing, he sees himself as small, insignificant, ignorant, incompetent and illegitimate…yet spends every waking minute of every day trying to convince us he’s the biggest, the best, the smartest, the richest and most successful human on the planet.

One thing Trump doesn’t have is a poker face. He wears his heart on his sleeve. He lets us see him sweat. He’s as transparent as a Glad bag. We can literally see right through him.

Which is why Trump will never be at peace. Why no amount of ‘exoneration’ will ever satisfy him. He knows what he’s done. He knows we know what he’s done. He knows Republican Congressman and Senators know what he’s done. He will never accept ‘exoneration’ because he knows no one actually believes he’s innocent. And that just kills him.

Take the Mueller probe, which ended almost a year ago. Trump declared his innocence. Proclaimed the investigation “totally exonerated” him. Yet he’s spent almost every day since attacking it as a witch hunt. A hoax. A coup. He can’t let go. He’ll never let go. Because he knows he’s guilty and got away with it. Because he knows he’ll forever be an asterisk in history. Because his illegitimacy consumes him.

And now there’s the Senate impeachment trial, where later tonight he’ll likely be acquitted in the biggest cover-up in political history. But it won’t matter. Because, again, he’s tortured by his own guilt.

Last night Sen. Lamar Alexander (TN), the heretofore presumed critical “4th” Republican “yes” vote, issued a statement that he’ll vote “no” today on allowing further evidence and witnesses. But he also said Democrats successfully “proved” their case with a ‘mountain of overwhelming evidence.’ He said Trump’s behavior was “inappropriate.”

So Alexander’s position is this: Trump illegally withheld Congressionally-approved Ukraine military funding in a quid pro quo for dirt on political rival Joe Biden to influence our election— serving to harm an ally while empowering an enemy, Russia, and threatening our own national security…but that this egregious abuse of power is not “impeachable.”

In short, Trump did it. He fucking did it.

And that is what Trump will obsess over. Because he knows Alexander, and Democrats, are right.

Because he knows the cavernous depths of his corruption and treason.

Because for the first time in history there’s now a Senate impeachment trial with not one single document of evidence or one single witness.

Because he knows he’s been ‘covered-up’ not exonerated.

Because he’s been impeached, and that’s forever.

So no matter what happened in the Mueller investigation…no matter what happens in the Senate impeachment trial…he’ll never truly be exonerated.

Because only one person can truly exonerate Donald Trump. And that’s Donald Trump.

To be sure, a month from now, a year from now, five years from now and so on, we’ll continue to see the tweets, the rallies, the manic, rambling Fox & Friends and Hannity interviews to desperately spin his innocence and legitimacy.

We’ll continue to see Trump ravaged by guilt like maggots on roadkill.

A witch hunt. A hoax. A coup.

He will never stop.

He’ll be the angriest, most bitter, least-satisfied exonerated man ever.

A prisoner of his own guilt. And it’s a life sentence.


Saturday, January 11, 2020

An Open Letter to Donald Trump: What Are You Hiding?

Ever since you stepped into the Oval Office you’ve waged a relentless, ruthless, unprecedented campaign of distraction, deflection, dishonesty and obstruction. You’ve lied, discredited, spun bizarre conspiracies and refused to cooperate with any investigation and hearing concerning your alleged High Crimes and Misdemeanors.

You constantly claim ‘I’m innocent…it’s all a hoax and a witch hunt!”Which begs the question, if you’re so innocent why are you desperately trying since the Mueller investigation and then the House impeachment hearings to keep all direct evidence secret and critical first-hand witnesses from testifying? Let me help you: it’s because you’re guilty as hell.

One thing’s certain, Donnie: you’re an egomaniac. A narcissist. A shameless braggart. Obsessed with image, brand and how the world perceives you. So if you actually had any of the evidence you always claim to have…if you knew a fair trial would in fact exonerate you…if you knew you could scream to the world “SEE!? I TOLD YOU THESE LOSERS HAD NOTHING ON ME!” you would seize the opportunity to do so.

But you don’t.

Instead, you’re fighting like a cornered animal, terrified that the truth will eventually come out.
Because you’re guilty as hell.

The latest example of this obstruction: your former National Security Advisor John Bolton, who was on the now-infamous Ukraine call and cited Rudy Giuliani and Ambassador Gordon Sondland’s military-aid-for-dirt-on-Biden bribe as a “drug deal’, has stated he’ll testify if subpoenaed for the upcoming Senate trial. But you’re now saying you won’t allow it.

Because you’re guilty as hell.

In your State TV-run propaganda sit-down Friday night with Fox News’ Laura Ingraham you said you’ll invoke ‘executive privilege’:

“Well I think you have to for the sake of the office.”

Actually, you don’t. If you really gave a shit about “the office” you’d respect it. You’d respect the Constitution and the rule of law. Two things, as the occupant of that office, you took an oath to uphold and defend.

And just for shits and giggles, do you even understand what ‘executive privilege’ is? It’s not some all-you-can-eat obstruction-buffet where you get to withhold every single syllable of conversation ever uttered between you and anyone who’s ever come even remotely close to the Oval Office. It’s not something you can hide behind to conceal every single document that’s ever run through you and/or anyone in your administration.

But here you are, continuing to simultaneously claim innocence as you do everything humanly possible to undermine the very process that could exonerate you.

Because you’re guilty as hell.

You even told Ingraham you actually want not only Bolton to testify, but others as well:

“I would love everybody to testify. I would like Mick (Mulvaney) to testify, I like Mike Pompeo to testify. I like Rick Perry to testify. I want everybody. But there are things that you can’t do from the standpoint of executive privilege.”

Then let them.

And while you’re at it, please explain the logic to us in declaring Bolton and the others couldn’t possibly have anything incriminating to say about you because it was such a “perfect” call yet claim ‘executive privilege’ to stop them from…what…saying it was “perfect?” We won’t hold our breath...

To be sure, your ‘shoot-’em-on-5th-Avenue’ cultists will continue to lap up your poor little ‘woe is me’ victim campaign. But everyone else sees right through you like a sheet of Saran Wrap.

Because you’re guilty as hell…

Thursday, January 09, 2020

Why Pelosi’s Won Not Just the Articles of Impeachment Battle, But the Election Too

When it comes to Donald Trump’s impeachment trial there’s the Court of Kangaroo and the Court of Public Opinion. Guess which one has tens of millions of voters?

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s been standing firm in her strategy since mid-December of not sending the Articles of Impeachment to the Republican-controlled Senate until Majority Leader Mitch McConnell agrees to a fair trial with key direct evidence and witnesses. It’s been a bitter standoff, but Pelosi and Democrats are the clear winners.

To be sure, there’s only one party desperately trying to get to the truth, and another that’s desperately trying to hide it. And let’s face it, no one works so hard to obstruct…so hard to conceal…so hard to manufacture conspiracies to distract from the truth…if they’re innocent.

Consider what McConnell declared in December:

“I’m coordinating with the White House counsel. There will be no difference between the president’s position and our position as to how to handle this…”

“I’m not an impartial juror. This is a political process. There is not anything judicial about it. Impeachment is a political decision.”

Think about that. The individual who’s Constitutionally mandated with conducting a fair trial has publicly stated it’s going to be a partisan circus, held in cahoots with the accused, absent the facts and with a predetermined verdict. This is justice? This satisfies the oath McConnell took?

The public is smart. It sees what’s happening. It understands that the Republican Party cares about one thing and one thing only: shamelessly protecting the most corrupt, treasonous president in American history even at the expense of our national security.

The public is perceptive. It sees McConnell and Republicans willfully covering their eyes and ears when direct witnesses like former National Security Advisor John Bolton, who was on the infamous Ukraine call and was witness to what he called the quid pro quo ‘drug dealing’ by Rudy Giuliani and Ambassador Gordon Sondland, have stated they’re willing to testify if subpoenaed.

The public sees the deception. It sees how Republicans are disingenuously claiming that ‘Democrats failed to call witnesses’ in the House impeachment hearings and therefore shouldn’t be able to call them in the Senate trial.

The public wants the truth. And we can only obtain the truth through direct evidence and witnesses.
The longer Pelosi demands the truth, and the longer McConnell is forced to publicly defend his refusal to allow it, the bigger the win for Democrats. Because no one runs from the truth unless they’re guilty.

So while McConnell might be victorious in his weak feckless cowardly servility to Trump, he is a loser in the eyes of the American public. You know…those people who vote.

And if we truly believe that elections are decided not by those on the far right or far left, but by the ‘20% in the middle’ — the moderates and independents — then McConnell’s lost way more than just this impeachment battle with Pelosi. He’s cost his party the election.

Saturday, January 04, 2020

As WAITRESS Musical Ends Its Run, It’s Like Saying Goodbye to Adrienne…Again

Tomorrow night’s performance will be the last for WAITRESS after an incredible four-year run on Broadway. As with most things about my late wife Adrienne Shelly these past thirteen years, this is an incredibly bittersweet moment. 

While it will be sad to see the show’s curtain rising for the last time, it is also cause for celebration of Adrienne, her work and her legacy. A legacy that this talented, determined, dedicated company helped expand with this beloved musical adaptation of her sweet story.

Adrienne was brutally murdered November 1, 2006 in what her killer staged as a suicide. She died a struggling filmmaker, anxiously awaiting word from the Sundance Film Festival whether WAITRESS, the little indie film she wrote, directed and starred in, would be accepted. 

It was. News of that coveted entry came the same morning as the eventual arrest of her murderer. Talk about bittersweet.

The film not only ‘got in’ the January 2007 festival, it debuted Saturday night before 1300 at the Eccles Theater and was sold hours later for almost $4-million to Fox Searchlight. Four months later it premiered in theaters nationwide and was the 4th highest-grossing film in the country over Memorial Day weekend.

Adrienne never lived to see even the smallest shred of its success.

Stage rights to the film were purchased in 2007, and the journey to Broadway began. It opened in April 2016 at the Brooks Atkinson Theater. 

I was a bit skeptical and, quite frankly, concerned when I first learned that WAITRESS was being adapted into a Broadway musical. It was more than a film to me. More than a story. It was Adrienne; who she was, what she represented and what I had been charged with protecting. Her legacy, and preserving the integrity of her work, was all I cared about. 

But I eventually heard the music composed by Sara Bareilles and was blown away by how she so masterfully captured the heart and tone of what Adrienne wrote. And then I learned that Jessie Mueller would play Jenna, the lead character. I’d seen her the night before in BEAUTIFUL and was awed by her performance. 

That was the moment I shed my concerns and knew the production would be a truly successful, organic extension of Adrienne’s work. A production I also believed Adrienne herself would’ve loved.
Over the last four years the city has been blitzed with promotion for the show. There are actors dressed as waitresses handing out fliers in Times Square. There are giant billboards and ads on garbage cans, buses and taxis. Times Square looks and feels like ‘Waitress headquarters.’

One night in the East Village my daughter Sophie and I stepped into the street, raised our arms and hailed a cab. When it pulled to the curb we marveled that on its roof was a big WAITRESS ad. It was as if Adrienne was following us. Always with us. 

And she was. The show brought her back. For four years she was with us again. Perhaps not in life, but surely in spirit. And it was great for Sophie to witness this cultural explosion of Adrienne’s legacy project and the awesomeness of the mother she so tragically and heartbreakingly lost when she was just two.

And now the show is leaving us. She’s leaving us. Again.  

And so the grieving continues. It never ends. 

But we will surely savor the success of the show and what it’s done for Adrienne’s legacy and the impact it’s had on our family. 

Sugar, butter, flour