The right-wing did it

My version of Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia’s death follows. It is based on 25-hours a day of research conducted in a little adboe church outside Magma, Arizona, where I spend a great deal of time playing ska on a mandolin.

In the early morning hours of February 13, Scalia heard a knock on his door. He arose from bed to see it was the man he had been waiting for.  They said nothing to each other, merely nodding.

Sam, the new arrival, carried a small satchel.  He unzipped it and pulled out a syringe with a bottle labeled XXX Poison.  Scalia looked on grim-faced.  He was ill.  His physician in Washington told him he had only months to live.  The cancer that had been publicized as diabetes had spread.

Scalia slipped in to bed and turned over on his stomach.  Sam filled the syringe, pulled down the Justice’s top-of-the-line PJs.  Sam was familiar with syringes.  He had worked for many Planned Parenthood clinics, killing embryos after they showed signs of life following an abortion.

The two met months earlier in an Alexandra, Virginia, think-tank.  Mitch McConnell and other high-ranking Republicans surrounded Scalia.  It was called “a political intervention.”  They all knew about Scalia’s fragile health.

“Think about it, Justice,” McConnell said, placing his vulture-face next to Scalia’s ear so no one could hear perfectly.  “We’re all going to die someday.  You can make your death truly important to the conservative movement.  You die under a veil of mystery and we’ll be able to convince our base that it was murder.  We win the election in November, and name a conservative to replace you on the Court.  Really, you know as well as I, Supreme Court appointments in the next eight years will greatly shift America one way or another. .  So how about it?  We’ve got an out of the way resort in West Texas to do it. Sam here will take care of you.  Uttelry painless.  What do you say?”

A McConnell minion delivered the word orally to Scalia’s children.  “Think of your father’s great legacy,” thye were told, each in turn bowing to the powers that be.

Sam stood over the obese Justice and pushed the needle deep into the fleshy butt.  It was a kind of poison that works fast and could not be detected easily.  The local police and county sheriff and judge had been bought off.  The aftermath would be easy to handle.

Scalia closed his eyes and pulled the pillow over his face as he had done as a scared child 75 years before.  He took one last deep breath. The flicker of a smile quickly vanished.  He was gone.

The rest is history.



Scalia ‘Assassinated’

Scalia in EnquirerEven if there had been an autopsy on Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia, wild speculation would have arisen.  Was the autopsy rigged?  What part did President Obama play in the death of this right-wing jurist on February 13?

It was unbelievable, at least to some, that no autopsy took place.  Here was the death of a famous and controversial Justice, a lightning rod for division whose conservative judgments have helped shape the United States for many years.  His demise left the court’s previous hard-right stance at bay, reducing it to eight justices, or a 4-4 split, liberal and conservative.  And to boot, Scalia died alone in a room (with a pillow over his face, according to the Engquirer) at an isolated West Texas resort, and a judge who never saw the body ruled cause of death as “natural causes.”  Scalia was 79, yes, and in not in the best of health, but still . . . . You never know.

Scalia’s family for some reason waived an autopsy and the door swung wide open for conspiracy theorists.

Never a publication to shun a sensational story, the tabloid National Enquirer jumped in with a highly speculative story under the headline, “Scalia Murdered by A Hooker! ”

In summary the story alleges Scalia’s death was “political assassination orchestrated by the CIA and carried out by a $2,000-a-night hooker.”

The proof?

  1. An anonymous Washington, D.C., source’s comment that Scalia’s “murder” can be traced back to the White House.
  2. That Scalia was injected with poison in the buttocks by a hooker apparently from Ojinaga, Mexico, just across the border, according to “an insider.”
  3. A former Secret Service agent, John A. Carman, was quoted as saying, “This death has all the markings of a political assassination.”
  4. A “mystery woman” was caught on the resort’s surveillance camera (the killer-prostitute or someone’s wife?), “The Enquirer was told.”
  5. The motive was “to keep (Scalia) from ruling on key upcoming court cases and to stop him from revealing explosive secrets that could rip apart Obama’s legacy.”  Notice the word “could.”

All plausible if not for one thing.

This is such a flimsy story, pure speculation.  The “sources” offer nothing definitive, but the Enquirer fills in the missing facts.  A photo showing Scalia’s flag-draped casket says, “Scalia’s body was embalmed (true) to prevent further analysis (no proof).”

The problem is this,  America is a country with a growing segment of uneducated, angry, irrational people known widely as “the Republican (Party’s) base.”  They will and do believe anything they are told that fits their personal belief system.

For that reason alone, this story, and others, will stay on life-support for years to come. To read the tabloids for entertainment is one thing.  To read them minus a skeptical eye is quite another.

So Scalia’s death will sadly go down in history books as mysterious, if nothing worse.


Cam Newton’s moment of horror

I believe there’s a moment in almost everyone’s life when they commit an act of cowardice. No one may notice it, but it lives within you forever. I know it has for me. And I’m ashamed of myself every time I think of it.  That’s why I have sympathy for Cam Newton, the Carolina Panthers quarterback, who seemed to show fear in not diving for his fumbled pass attempt late in Super Bowl 50.

I wonder if that is why he was so sullen and silent in the post-game media session. Perhaps he was waiting for someone to ask him about that moment for which he had no answer and may have had to lie.  He could have said, “I thought it was an incomplete pass, not a fumble.”  Yes, he could have said that.

That moment there on the football field late in the fourth quarter was so out of character for Newton’s cocky demeanor that it would be doubly humiliating to confront reporters after the game.  Many of those reporters, he knew, probably did not like him and wished him the worst.  Some of that dislike was provoked by the quarterback’s seemingly sky-high views of himself.  Some of it was racist.  Reporters, no different than American society, are at odds with blacks who show-boat while accepting in their white counterparts.

Like Newton’s moment of fear, mine occurred on a football field when I was 18. The fear came upon me so suddenly that I was unprepared. I can not explain why it happened. It just did. No one ever mentiioned the incident to me. Maybe no one saw it for what it was. So it has gone as a dirty little secret all these years.

The difference for Newton of course was quite different.

NFL players are not to show fear. It is an unwritten rule of the game.  They must appear above all towers of physical and emotion strength.  It is the image the NFL likes.  To appear human is the antithesis of everything NFL.  

And of course while only a few hundred witnessed my dreary moment in a long-forgotten high school game, millions saw Newton’s so-called disgrace on television.  And the CBS analyst covering the game, Phil Simms, mentioned it for what it was to most of us viewers:  Newton was afraid to risk his body for what could have been a game changing moment.

If you really look at Newton’s demeanor in the post-game interview, it was not that of a fierce warrior crushed by defeat on his sport’s biggest stage.  What I saw was a little boy, pulling a hoody around his torment and sinking into the blackness of a reality that may scar him a long time.

It is a hard thing to get over, that moment, when the doubts that long have existed in you seem to prove utterly true. Will we ever see again the hot-dogging, fun-loving Cam Newton so visible before Super Bowl 50?