I'll drive. You ride shotgun.

DISCLOSURE: I'm not sure this is in good enough shape to post. However, since it seems we're heading toward impeachment, I figured I'd better post it fast or it will be moot.

Yesterday, I posted an essay about a life lesson I learned from a Western. This essay is about the other life lesson Westerns taught me: Life is much more fun when someone's riding shotgun: The stagecoach driver can be chill because a-settin' right beside him is a steely-eyed guy with his finger on the trigger of a loaded shotgun.

A modern, everyday example: A husband, his wife and their young son came to visit. The father was allowing as how he believed in minimal parenting. While he held court on parenting, his very young son was lunging at just about every breakable and/or potentially dangerous object in the place. The dad continued talking, pretending not to notice. Not a single thing went awry: Shotgun Rider Mom was all over the boy like Seal Team Six on Osama. Stagecoach Driver Dad also pretended not to notice her efforts. (Of course, the boy far preferred his dad. Kids! Amirite?)

It's not quite the "good cop bad cop" charade, but it's not entirely dissimilar. Those playing the roles of amiable stagecoach driver and on ready shotgun rider may not even realize that they're playing roles. They may just be living in the grooves into which circumstances and/or their basic personalities slid them. Perhaps their respective roles are what attracted them to each other, or what keep them together, or what make them, as a unit, able to function vis-à-vis the rest of the world.

I have noted the combination in siblings, especially, sadly, in a home in which one or both parents are abusive or alcoholic or otherwise problematic for the kids. I have also observed this kind of interaction in couples, and in friends, and in business partners, and in corporate executives and their aides and in actors and their agents. I'm guessing "in your face" Rahm Emanuel rode shotgun for empathetic Bill Clinton and No Drama Obama.

Still don't know what I'm saying? Think Lady MacBeth or check out youtube clips of the Three Stooges, or Laurel and Hardy, even Ricky and Lucy. Perhaps the best fictional example, though, might be the couple played by John Travolta and Emma Thompson in Primary Colors. The husband character pretty much indulges his every whim, from fast food to baby mamas. Meanwhile, his wife struggles to manage him and clean up his messes. He seems charismatic and caring, while his wife seems to be made of little more than ambition. (Any similarity between that film couple and any real life political couple is totally coincidental.)

BTW, no matter how it may seem to onlookers, the Shotgun Rider may be the weaker or needier of the duo, having been manipulated into that position by the Stagecoach Driver. After all, life is considerably more pleasant when you get to do pretty much as you please while someone protects you zealously and unceasingly.

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Comments

CB's picture

based on grounds of mental impairment. Apparently, they want to cover all the angles.

Got to go for popcorn. This is looking to be quite the show.

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Pricknick's picture

@CB
that you also have some quality kush on hand to put you to sleep during the upcoming proceedings.
Should be a real snooze-fest.

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Regardless of the path in life I chose, I realize it's always forward, never straight.

@Pricknick

So, we'll see how they interact with the hearings. I couldn't watch Clinton's, only the excerpts on the nightly news, if that. I never just watch TV anyway. I'm always doing something while it drones in the background.

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@CB

Trump. So, I'm ready. Not pleased, but ready.

When they get Pastor Pence in, they will give him even more of a free pass than they would have given Hillary because (1) they will look fake if they get Trump out and still don't dial down; and (2) Pence acts like they do, only perhaps a tad more smarmy about religion. However, that's in now.

Remember that set up with Hillary and the guy reading the Bible in the bakery early in her 2016 primary campaign? and Obama, who almost never went to church, sure said "God bless America" a lot. Then again, the DLC advised Democrats to be "open" about how religious they were--or how religious they may need to pretend to be.

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Phoebe Loosinhouse's picture

@HenryAWallace
will end up being ousted as well. I see how Pence will be swept up but I was more skeptical about Ryan but the ground does seem to be being laid for that as well with the McCarthy/Ryan
"Trump is on Putin's payroll" tape.

But here's my question which I haven't seen asked or answered - who the hell is secretly taping the Republicans in their conference?! Do they all have those microphone pens in their pockets? Video cameras in their eyeglasses? Nothing would surprise me, but why is no one asking this very obvious question?

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" “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR "

@Phoebe Loosinhouse

Maybe he'll pick Romney as his VP!

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Phoebe Loosinhouse's picture

@HenryAWallace
to bring him up to speed. This is from highly unreliable sources that get about 1 out of 15 things right, but it's fun to daydream of a tsunami washing out Trump, Pence and Ryan in one fell swoop. I like to imagine Ryan starting up an Ayn Rand Reading group in whatever Club Fed he ends up in.

Since Orrin Hatch would be in the unelected caretaker position he would simply be the new Jerry Ford and would have no coattails or expectations for 2020, IMO.

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" “Human kindness has never weakened the stamina or softened the fiber of a free people. A nation does not have to be cruel to be tough.” FDR "

@Phoebe Loosinhouse

Of course, Hatch could refuse to serve, which would give us Tillerson. An oil exec running the US seems very logical. Repugnant, but logical.

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@Phoebe Loosinhouse

Trump, Pence and Ryan occur in the same instant and I can't imagine that happening. Besides, I don't think Ryan is subject to impeachment.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Phoebe Loosinhouse The people who think they'll get Pence as well are fucking deluded. The CIA doesn't want to get rid of Pence.

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The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@HenryAWallace I can't wait to see the pussy-hat wearers cheering about President Pence. To say nothing of all the LGBT people who will also be cheering on this "victory."

This absolute lack of vision and ridiculous gullibility makes me embarrassed, for the first time, to be a feminist and an LGBT person. I've never been embarrassed by those things before.

Watching my fellow feminists and fellow LGBT folks cheering on the ascension of a far-right-wing religious right Dominionist fundamentalist who believes in criminalizing abortion and praying the gay away is unbelievable. Apparently partisanship does that to you. If your leaders tell you that Donald Trump in the Presidency is the apocalypse then you have to support any action against him, regardless of outcomes, am I right?

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The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

Okay, I can't prevent that, either. I can only tell you that feminists and members of the GLBT community have so many strides to be proud of. Besides, shame is not very productive.

((((CSTMS))))

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@HenryAWallace Thanks, Henry. This is the heart and source of my demoralization over the past six months; watching the left behave like a bunch of idiots with no morals, basically confirming for the right everything they've ever said about us and allowing them to project upon us all the shitty qualities they themselves have also repeatedly enjoyed.

god knows we'll never again be able to accuse them of being mindless authoritarian team players who ignore the truth.

Thank you again for your kind words.

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The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

@CB Otherwise no President is safe and Obama would have been impeached.

The Democratic Press is destroying the Constitution. I'll have none of it.

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@The Voice In the Wilderness

My assistant and I went in search of it once because a relative of hers seemed incompetent. Before seeing the relative, the doctor we interviewed managed to make it clear that he would pretty much testify to whatever we wanted him to testify. Thing is, we actually wanted to know if the relative was incompetent or just nutty about money. (His utilities had been turned off while he had over $100,000.) Sadly, he died, so his precise mental state became moot.

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Alligator Ed's picture

@CB This would call forth the Battle of The Experts. One bullshit evaluation countered by another. Put 6 psychiatrist in a room together and you will get 7 diagnoses (old medical joke). What constitutes mental impairment? Greed? Can't be that because all the political Bozos have that. Can't be lying--lying is the politician's stock-in-trade. How about psychopathy, a test which 9 out of 10 politicos would surely qualify for. How about worst hair? No that might be something, but then we'd have to impeach Maxine Waters' horrible wigs too. How about lack of eloquence? Trump surely fits this category but Nancy Pelosi excels at this.

The only thing with a reasonable chance to succeed is violation of the emoluments clause of the Constitution. But the legislators have done so well at accepting bribes, I'm not sure if they could resist laughing, or being laughed at, if this topic is the basis for impeachment.

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mimi's picture

@Alligator Ed
that people might just have wet dreams about ... shooting themselves or someone around them. I think sabotage in the production of the bullets will be one of the pipe-dreams.

I thought often how many references this site's writers and commentators draw from movies. It's hard for me to follow, I haven't seen lots of them and can't forget that behind each movie there is a director/producer/script writer, whose intent is not often comprehensible to the viewer, especially foreign ones. So I have to remain silent.

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"History is what the present chooses to remember" - Carl Becker

@Alligator Ed Maybe a catatonic state or inability to recognize anyone. It would have to be a very obvious defect, not just a bad personality.

Being a compulsive liar is no impairment for a politician. And not liking policy just won't cut it.

He might be impeached over the EO's as overreaching his powers. This was the basis of Andrew Johnson's (unsuccessful) impeachment. Or lying in a court, the basis of William Clinton's (unsuccessful) impeachment.

Democrats want to make impeachment into a vote of no confidence. That requires a Constitutional Amendment.

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@The Voice In the Wilderness

of Nixon, which he resigned to avoid. Obstruction of justice for, I think, both Clinton and Nixon.

Bill Clinton was indeed impeached by the House. He was not convicted by the Senate, but he was impeached.

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@HenryAWallace Technically, you are right, both Johnson and Clinton were impeached and acquitted. That's what I mean by an unsuccessful impeachment.

Nixon was never impeached by the House so no legal precedents are set by him. He "voluntarily" resigned after Goldwater told him that the Republican votes were not there for him. They sent Goldwater because they knew Nixon would know he was not a Liberal plant.

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@The Voice In the Wilderness

that are grounds for impeachment because charges were prepared. (Because only two Presidents have been impeached in our entire history, every little bit gets looked at.) The charges prepared against Nixon, Johnson and Clinton all help flesh out the Constitutional language of "high crimes and misdemeanors." And, indeed, the charges against Clinton repeated the charges against Nixon.

Poppy Bush, then head of the RNC, seems to have played a role in eliciting the resignation as well. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/northamerica/usa/11218323/Geor...

Here's one about Goldwater, Rhodes and Scott. http://www.azcentral.com/story/azdc/2014/08/03/goldwater-rhodes-nixon-re...

My guess is they probably had every Republican they could talk to him that day because they felt he was hurting their party and an impeachment proceeding would hurt it worse. (Johnson was a Democrat, so, as of today, anyway, the only impeached Presidents have been Democrats.)

I am not a fan of Poppy by any means, but he is so much better than any of his sons.

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Alligator Ed I know I'm fucking laughing.

I can't even believe what they're accusing Trump of. If those things were prosecutable crimes, you'd have to take down 99% of the current government.

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The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

enhydra lutris's picture

@Alligator Ed
I'll just leave it at that.

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

riverlover's picture

And I have, too. Was he allowed a rifle?

In a couple situation, each may be shotgun for certain purposes. When one peels away, in my case by death, I must take full blame for all home screwups. That is thought-provoking.

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Hey! my dear friends or soon-to-be's, JtC could use the donations to keep this site functioning for those of us who can still see the life preserver or flotsam in the water.

CB's picture

@riverlover
Tonto: Ke-mo sah-bee, what we do?
The Lone Ranger: Tonto, you and I are going to rescue everyone.
Tonto: Masked man, brave.
The Lone Ranger: When the cart stops, we'll jump out and hide in the shadows.
Tonto: Ah, masked man, fearless.
The Lone Ranger: And you and I will attack the tank with our bare hands.
Tonto: Ah, masked man, loco.

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@riverlover @riverlover

in terms of protection. I was thinking of scenes in such Westerns as I have been forced to watch where the stage is actually stopped, picking up passengers. The driver gets to chat amiably with people at the stop. Then, the camera pans out and you see the shotgun rider. He or she cannot afford to chat because he or she has to be vigilant in case someone attacks the coach or its cargo or passengers. And you get why the stagecoach driver can afford to be sociable. (There were a few females who rode shotgun).

As far as home repairs, imagine a scenario where you get to serve the carpenter cocoa and be pleasant to him or her while someone else gives the carpenter a lecture for having done a poor job with the carpentry you needed done. Then you would be the Stagecoach Driver and the chastiser would be the Shotgun Rider. You'd get thanks and pleasantries from the carpenter while the Shotgun Rider would get the dirty looks from the carpenter. (But you would benefit when the carpenter re-did the work.)

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thanatokephaloides's picture

@riverlover

You forgot Tonto. And I have, too. Was he allowed a rifle?

Difficult to tell, as unlike the Ranger, Tonto was an entirely fictional character. (The Ranger was a rework of the life of Bass Reeves, a black U.S. Marshal from Muskogee, Oklahoma.)

One other thing I can tell you: Doc Holliday was allowed a shotgun -- at the most infamous use for such in history!

Smile

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"Some members of the government are now investigating opioid pain killers but they are investigating the wrong thing. Despair-masking drugs are not the problem. Despair is."
-- featheredsprite

Alligator Ed's picture

@thanatokephaloides

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smiley7's picture

does for failing eyesight, I don't know. Tis a good question, what is it to be human? Its long intrigue still challenges after all these powerful experiences--the abuse in childhood, not forgotten.

Not sure exactly where your thrust is here HW, as you raise many good universal questions with so few words.

Thank you for this essay!

This did come to mind:

No matter where; of comfort no man speak:
Let's talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs;
Make dust our paper and with rainy eyes
Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth,
Let's choose executors and talk of wills:
And yet not so, for what can we bequeath
Save our deposed bodies to the ground?
Our lands, our lives and all are Bolingbroke's,
And nothing can we call our own but death
And that small model of the barren earth
Which serves as paste and cover to our bones.
For God's sake, let us sit upon the ground
And tell sad stories of the death of kings;
How some have been deposed; some slain in war,
Some haunted by the ghosts they have deposed;
Some poison'd by their wives: some sleeping kill'd;
All murder'd: for within the hollow crown
That rounds the mortal temples of a king
Keeps Death his court and there the antic sits,
Scoffing his state and grinning at his pomp,
Allowing him a breath, a little scene,
To monarchize, be fear'd and kill with looks,
Infusing him with self and vain conceit,
As if this flesh which walls about our life,
Were brass impregnable, and humour'd thus
Comes at the last and with a little pin
Bores through his castle wall, and farewell king!
Cover your heads and mock not flesh and blood
With solemn reverence: throw away respect,
Tradition, form and ceremonious duty,
For you have but mistook me all this while:
I live with bread like you, feel want,
Taste grief, need friends: subjected thus,
How can you say to me, I am a king ~ Richard II

The scene may be found here: http://shakespeare.mit.edu/richardii/richardii.3.2.html

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Bollox Ref's picture

@smiley7

Quite the apt passage with regard to Trump the First.

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Gëzuar!!

@smiley7

several lines before I realize it was not something you had written yourself. (It began dawning on me when I got to Bolingbroke.)

I am not sure I had a thrust or deep message. My other "Western" essay was intended to shine a certain light on the behavior of Democratic politicians in D.C., in case people had not seen them from that angle or perspective before. This is is just the only other life lesson I've derived from Westerns. I wrote about the one, so I figured I'd round it out by writing about the other, too.

It's just good to know that the good cop bad cop dynamic occurs outside law enforcement and is not always faked. It's a good dynamic to know about. It does have application in politics, but not only only in politics.

"Seems great to me. I would go along with you, but, of course, I'll have to run it by my wife first." Is that true? Or is it just that the Stagecoach Driver doesn't want to take responsibility for saying no? Things like that. Just something to be aware of in general and to watch out for. No particular thrust.

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smiley7's picture

@HenryAWallace
ever look in mirrors, sadly.

Yes, share this widely. As to The Lone Ranger, who isn't?

Too old, I recall the advertisements of the 'High Ho Silver' series, pure gov't propaganda of the fifties.

Glad you are writing here. Smile

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@smiley7

all of it, but especially your wonderful poems.

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Steven D's picture

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-idUSKCN18D1XT

It is put up or shut up time now for those at the FBI CIA etc to prove Trump or campaign colluded with Russia to defeat Hillary.

Mueller is a former FBI Director during Bush 2 and early in the Obama first term.

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"You can't just leave those who created the problem in charge of the solution."---Tyree Scott

Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Steven D This is so fucking pathetic. So ridiculous.

If "the Russians" did do what they are accused of, then they committed a lot of espionage in order to do some opposition research on Hillary and publish it. Sounds like campaign workers, or journalists.

Nobody has ever shown that the information revealed was not accurate; in fact, up until Donna Brazile recently claimed some emails were falsified, nobody even claimed that the information revealed was not accurate.

So it's an act of war if somebody tells the truth about Hillary Clinton and the Democrats, and we should start World War III against another superpower with a large nuclear arsenal because...somebody said things about her that were true that she was trying to hide from the public so she could get elected?

What the fucking fuck.

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The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

@Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal

So it's an act of war if somebody tells the truth about Hillary Clinton and the Democrats, and we should start World War III against another superpower with a large nuclear arsenal because...somebody said things about her that were true that she was trying to hide from the public so she could get elected?

is about the best summation of the crisis that I have read all year.

In the process of reading about the DNC emails, I've learned about McCutcheon v. Federal Election Commission, a 2014 Supreme Court case in which the court made it legal to do the kind of money laundering that the DNC was caught doing, as expressed in their emails. So it's legal. So if you were a wonk and knew that this complex donation-bundling is legal, then OK maybe I can see how you would be outraged that someone revealed your emails and exposed you to moral criticism for doing something ruthless, but, outrageously, legal.

But how many Americans, including Clinton voters, know that's legal? Objectionable, but legal. Legal or immoral, it's still the truth! How, why, in what context, can her supporters see exposure of this truth as a national security threat? I'm still lost. Thank you for saying it so well.

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@Linda Wood

of the kind Goebbels described.

https://caucus99percent.com/content/big-lie-russia-interfered-us-preside...

An even bigger lie is that it was an attack by Russia on the United States, which I have heard a number of times now.

As far as the Goebbels reference: https://caucus99percent.com/content/breaking-repeal-godwins-law

Smile

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Cant Stop the Macedonian Signal's picture

@Linda Wood You're welcome. Thank you for your comments as well--I look out for them, because you've always got something cogent to say about how power is working in our society.

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The part of John Edwards could easily be played by a burnt out light bulb.
--strollingone

The issue is patriotism. You've got to get back to your planet and stop the Commies. All it takes is a few good men.
--Q

@Steven D

a couple of hours ago, but alas, too late to beat the news. https://caucus99percent.com/content/trump-committed-sin-america-does-not...

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free association about what you've written here is that it has occurred to me years ago that our whole country shows signs of either being in, or descending from, a family in which alcohol has caused the dynamic you describe, an impatient, irresponsible bully being covered for by an angry, hyper-vigilant worrier.

In the dynamic between Comey and Trump, I see Comey as the suave bully taking no responsibility for obstructing justice by finding that "no reasonable prosecutor" would indict Clinton, and Trump as the angry worrier, in the sense that he has to cover for this guy. Until he doesn't. I think Trump just said Enough! Enough suave double standards, enough bullshit feeling sorry for yourself for having to protect Loretta Lynch. Enough kindly bullshit artist corruption. Out!

It was kind of cathartic.

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@Linda Wood

Independent. Since he failed to do that, Loretta Lynch should have. Since she failed to do that, and then befouled and recused herself, Comey should have refused to proceed unless and until an independent person got appointed. He didn't, then proceeded to befoul himself. Those two things are what backed him into having to write Congress ten days before the election. He testified that the idea that he may have affected the election makes him nauseous. To which I reply: Well deserved.

https://caucus99percent.com/content/hillary-and-jim-and-bubba-and-loretta

https://caucus99percent.com/content/last-week-double-standards-obama-v-t...

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@Linda Wood

Shotgun Rider.

He or she was not angry, just protective. And only because it was his or her job to be protective. In the real life situations in the essay for which I've used the stagecoach as a metaphor, the Shotgun Rider gets stuck with doing the dirty work and taking the blame, while the Stagecoach Driver reaps the benefits and gets to come off like the "good guy" in the bargain.

"Gee, if it were up to me, I'd surely help you out, but my (husband, wife, partner, boss, etc) would just kill me if I did what you're asking. I can't tell you how sorry I am to have to say no."

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janis b's picture

at your initials - HAW, like in HEE-HAW, cowboy.

My favourite Western …

As well as being funny and fitting, your essay also makes sense, unfortunately. Thanks.

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smiley7's picture

@janis b
Portobello Road, an avant garde movie theatre featured "Once Upon a Time in the West" 24/7.

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janis b's picture

@smiley7

The avant-garde also promotes radical social reforms. It was this meaning that was evoked by the Saint Simonian Olinde Rodrigues in his essay "L'artiste, le savant et l'industriel" ("The artist, the scientist and the industrialist", 1825), which contains the first recorded use of "avant-garde" in its now customary sense: there, Rodrigues calls on artists to "serve as [the people's] avant-garde", insisting that "the power of the arts is indeed the most immediate and fastest way" to social, political and economic reform.

Must be seen on the big screen once, or 24/7, even better!

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@janis b @janis b

In fact, it may just be the second best thing in my life.

The first being a truly marvelous chocolate. (What did you think I was going to say?) Wink

Actually, I keep forgetting to sign all my posts HAW! (Like JEB!)

But, Hee Haw is good, too. (Didn't one of the characters in It's a Wonderful Life use that as a tag line? George Bailey's rich friend?)

Westerns were never my favorite, but I did like The Unforgiven, with Morgan Freeman and I do have a soft spot in my heart for Along Came Jones because the life lesson that I learned from it has been so useful to me. https://caucus99percent.com/content/base-jonesing-lesson
HAW!

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janis b's picture

@HenryAWallace

You should have let me guess! Now you’ll never know ; ).

The message I got from your interpretation and analogy of the movie is: Just like Westerns, American politics and society has to Villians and Heros.

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enhydra lutris's picture

@janis b

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That, in its essence, is fascism--ownership of government by an individual, by a group, or by any other controlling private power. -- Franklin D. Roosevelt --

janis b's picture

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Citizen Of Earth's picture

yesterday was a tell of what is to come. “No politician in history, and I say this with great surety, has been treated worse or more unfairly.”

He is going on the teevee later today. Maybe he'll tell is faithful idiots to take up arms and come to his aid. Hahaha.

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Donnie The Douchebag. The Douchebag Who Would Be King.

@Citizen Of Earth

only a few Presidents so far have "enjoyed" 24/7 political TV coverage AND 24/7 political coverage on the internet.

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edg's picture

There has never been an impeachment where Congress and the Presidency were in the hands of the same political party. Any wet dreams that Trump will be impeached are just that -- wet dreams.

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@edg

They've done a great job selling the Big Lie that Russia hacked a US election. I've also heard it described as an attack by Russia on the US. Today, I am hearing that it's (investigating Trump) is a matter of patriotism. If they sell that, it's over. Graham and McCain have wanted Trump gone since Day One. Others whose districts were won by Hillary may join them. Others will chime in if they think they may have to pay during the midterms for keeping him on. On the other hand, 80% of people who voted for him still approve of him. On the third hand, that was not a lot of people and the House and Senate go by the popular vote, not some kind of electoral vote.

Bottom line: I can't predict yet.

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