Hypocrisy is a Flex

I can’t stop thinking about something I read in August. An author named Peter W. Singer wrote, “Hypocrisy is the point. To show your power.” It shook me. My dad taught me I should break my own neck to keep my word. This was the opposite. 

Think about it, though. Suckers stand in line outside the night club. Powerful people walk right up to the bouncer and he lets them in. Losers make reservations for the restaurant. Powerful people walk right up to the maître d’ and get a table. Late in life, I’ve finally learned that some people see hypocrisy as a goal, not a flaw. If you’re powerful, you’re not bound by norms, standards, and practices. Rules are not for you. You’re not even bound to your word. You’re completely free. Laws are for the little people.

I actually read the Mueller Report. Volume One describes Russian interference in the 2016 election, which continues in the 2020 election according to our intelligence community. It’s not shocking that a hostile foreign adversary is screwing with us. Volume Two surprised me, though. It lists ten possible cases of obstruction of justice by the President. If I did just one on the list, I’d probably be in prison. But our Constitution provides only one path to deal with Presidential crimes: impeachment.

I wrote Congressman Pete Stauber (R-MN) and told him I thought the President should be impeached for the incidents in Volume Two of the Mueller Report. On May 15, 2019, he wrote to me, “There is no evidence that President Trump has committed any crime while in office and we cannot impeach someone solely based on a difference of opinion.” My opinion is that Special Counsel Mueller gathered clear evidence that these ten cases were a matter of law. Anybody other than the President would’ve landed in court.

Later, the President asked Ukraine for a favor. Solicitation of a bribe is explicitly named as an impeachable offense in the Constitution. Seeking help from a foreign nation is also a violation of federal election law. I wrote my congressman again. I asked him what he was going to do about it. On October 18, 2019, he wrote me, “I am not serving in Congress to engage in political games.” I think violating the Constitution is much more than a game. The President violates the Constitution’s emoluments clause every single day because he hasn’t divested himself from his businesses. I don’t think that’s a game. When the President held back the money that Congress allocated for Ukraine, he violated the Impoundment Control Act. The President broke the law and usurped the Constitutional powers of the legislative branch. You’d think that would piss off my representative in that branch. 

The Ukraine issue turned into a House vote on impeachment. I called my congressman’s office and said I was a constituent who thought the President should be impeached. Congressman Stauber voted no on both articles: Abuse of Power and Obstruction of Congress. I’ve written to my congressman several times, mostly about veterans issues and federal public land policy. But contacting my congressman was useless when it came to holding the executive branch accountable. 

My congressman repeatedly says that the country has a lot of other pressing issues. I agree. I would prefer to talk about any of them, especially the virus. But, in my opinion, when our form of government is repeatedly attacked from within, that should be the top priority for him as my representative. For all of us. Individual policies pale in comparison. 

The word “hypocrisy” comes from the Greek word for “acting a theatrical part.” My congressman talks a lot about law and order. His slogan in this race is: Fighting for Our Way of Life. I took the same oath that he and the President took. But when my congressman had the opportunity to actually fight for our way of life, he voted no. His inaction placed the current occupant of the White House above the law. When it comes to holding the President accountable for violating the Constitution, my congressman is acting. He’s playing a theatrical part where he seems concerned about law and order.

After Congressman Stauber voted against impeachment, he released a statement, “We have a Presidential election next year and the American people deserve to decide the outcome.” For the first time in American history, an impeached President is running in a general election. My letters didn’t work. So, I held my congressman and my President accountable the only way I know how: I’ve already voted. I’m one of the losers and suckers that still believes the rule of law applies to everybody.

I agree with my congressman: We deserve to decide the outcome. 


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The Wave One Project (#8): Dumbbells

Two dumbbells

So, you’re about to start a ski and somebody comes up to you and says, “Here. Carry this 20 pound dumbbell in your pack.” You’d say, “Um. Screw you.”

But I’ve been voluntarily 20+ pounds overweight for years. Well, I hit a milestone this morning. Weighed 176, down from 196 on August 3rd. Well, I was briefly at 176 before the 2019 Grandma’s Marathon. But before that, 2013 was the last time I was that light.

This is just a momentary celebration of hitting the milestone of a 20 pound drop. Really hits you when you pick up a 20 pound weight. Feeling pretty good about not dragging that jiggly mass uphill anymore. My doc authorized a blood test so I can check that my cholesterol has also improved. Which is the overall reason for changing my diet.

If I’m 5’10” tall, I need to hit 174 to be BMI Normal instead of overweight. I’m almost 5’11”, so I’m really already there. But BMI “Normal” is a little arbitrary. This is all to say that I plan on continuing with what I’m doing diet-wise and see what happens. Shelley and I were doing this Whole 30 plan for the month of August. That’s over. I’m back to grains and dairy. The thing I’ve kept doing is avoiding ADDED SUGAR and BOOZE. I think the heavy lifting for my weight loss is found there. When you stay away from added sugar, it’s pretty amazing how much processed food has added sugar. Not just sweet stuff like “healthy” granola bars, but savory things like ketchup or salsa.

And when I stay away from booze, I stay away from more booze. Which is good. Because booze throws a switch that makes me set a chair in front of the pantry and the snacks.

So, here’s to reaching a milestone. And here’s to maybe finding the 160’s on the scale. Afghanistan in 2012 was the last time I weighed that little. Before that, college in the 80’s. I don’t know what the Birkie’s going to look like this year, but I hope to be a Thin Shmo for it. And to stay down here for years to come.

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The Wave One Project (#7): Pep Talk

I lost 14 pounds in August. I woke up a month ago at 196. I woke up today at 182. I have Shelley aka “The Chef” to thank.

A month ago, she was already 40 days into a diet for some medical reasons it’s up to her to share. Anyway, I was watching her suffer while slurping some brews and she said, “Hey, I’m going to do a program called “Whole 30.” Why don’t you do it with me?” I said, “Sure, why not?” (Note: Don’t decide to give up beer because you are feeling good from drinking beer.)

No dairy. No grains. No added sugar. No booze. Interestingly, the only thing that really bothers me is the lack of cocktails. And I think the heavy lifting on the weight loss is getting rid of that and the sugar. I’ve been running my ass off (literally) so that helps, too.

The green apple.

It was a stated goal of mine to lose weight this year for Grandma’s Marathon and American Birkebeiner ski marathon reasons. But the underlying reason is that I have bad cholesterol numbers. And some labs prior to my June hand surgery showed I was basically pre-diabetic also. So, when The Chef gave me a pathway, I took it. Uncharacteristic for me to “do” instead of “talk.”

So, it worked. Kind of. My goal is to be BMI normal. That means 174 for my height. I know that if I get there, based on past information, my cholesterol and other blood numbers should be good. Not just because of the weight but because of the better diet that gets me to that weight. So, this post is a pep-talk to myself. I’ve been right here near 185 before. On the line between Fat Shmo and Skinny Shmo. In the past, I collapsed, and got large again. I’m going to avoid that this time. After a momentary celebration (yes, I’m going to empty the cabin fridge of beer into my face over Labor Day), I plan on continuing with this Whole 30 model until I hit my goal weight.

Also, if I hit my goal weight, I will allow myself to shave my beard off. Not saying I will, but I will allow myself the option.

So, you can do it, Shmo. Hitting the goal weight will make me faster, healthier, and will allow me to remove the pelt from my face.

I was cruising along at an unhealthy weight. And felt fine. That’s the problem. I wish I felt “bad” at an unhealthy weight. It reminded me of a flying analogy. I haven’t flown an airplane since March, so maybe I’m missing that, too.

In my previous life, you got gas airborne from a tanker. There are pilot director lights, which show you whether to go up or down, forward or aft, once you’re connected. Your wingmen can see how you’re doing from their observation positions on the tanker’s wing by looking at the “green apple.” The circle should be right at the point where the boom extends out of the shroud. Some guys I knew liked to cruise along with one “up” arrow lit. They didn’t want to be near the tanker, so hovered low in the envelope.

I’m a simple guy. I just fought like hell to keep myself on the “captain’s bars” in the center of the director lights. That way, my wingmen could see that I was right on the “green apple” the whole time. And by being centered, I could more easily absorb turbulence or a turn by the tanker. I had the most margin for error around me in the envelope. I was more resilient and able to avoid the ultimate shame: falling off the boom. If you did that, you bought everybody in the flight a drink at the bar.

It’s funny how I fought like hell to be on the green apple in my previous life. But when it comes to my physical health, I was perfectly happy to remain 25 pounds overweight. The equivalent of a red down arrow if I was on the boom. One small bit of turbulence away from disaster.

So, thanks to The Chef for getting me going the right direction. I’ll get to the goal, dammit. Who knows what turbulence is coming for us these days. And I want to be ready.

And, at “2 seconds per pound per mile” I should be able to run 40″ per mile faster.

(Narrator voice: He means to say “jog.”)

I’m headed out for a week on the Border Route Trail next week. Two years ago, I lost 8 pounds in 5 days on the Kekekabic Trail. So, walking through the woods should help me get small, too.

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