Political Fix (6 September, 2018)

What Does Being Indicted Mean?

Being indicted is a term thrown around in the news a lot these days. But what does it mean?

Being indicted is when someone is accused by a grand jury of serious crimes.

Four former Trump advisers, and 25 Russians who meddled in our elections have been indicted.

Of those indictments, President Donald Trump’s campaign chairman has been convicted. Two of his campaign aides and his former national security advisor have pled guilty.

His personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, has pled guilty to an illegal corporate contribution and making an excessive campaign contribution at the direction of Mr. Trump.

Even though implicated in a federal crime, there is a consensus that Mr. Trump cannot be indicted because he is a sitting president.

So that makes Mr. Trump an unindicted co-conspirator of federal crimes.

Meaning: The only thing standing between our president and being arrested is the fact that he is president.

“Trump is clearly guilty of violating campaign finance laws and also guilty of federal conspiracy as well,” said the Vice Dean of Cornell Law School, Jens David Ohlin.

How do we know that Mr. Cohen is not lying? Because the judge and prosecutors would not accept his guilty plea in exchange for leniency unless they knew (evidence) that he was telling the truth.

Mr. Trump’s name was not mentioned during the funeral services of the late Senator John McCain, but listening to the eulogies, most people could figure out to whom the mostly Republican attendees were referring.

A quote from Sen. McCain was printed in a tribute to him, “I have long believed that the true worth of a person is measured by how faithfully we serve a cause greater than our self-interest that encompasses us but is not defined by our existence alone.”

President George Bush said in his eulogy, “John’s voice will always come as a whisper over our shoulder–we are better than this, America is better than this.”

Megan McCain, in her remembrance to her father, said, “The America of John McCain has no need to be made great again because America was already great,” eliciting enthusiastic applause of a group of people attending a funeral.

Sen. McCain’s funeral has been described as a gathering of the Washington political underground coming together to mourn what the Republican Party used to be.

Sen. McCain was considered a different kind of Republican, the kind we remember.

This begs the question – Why can’t patriotic, God-fearing Republicans follow their patriotic, God-fearing Republican leaders?

While I was getting myself worked up in a high dudgeon, I realized my extended family acted exactly the same way in the 1970’s as Trump supporters do today.

We maintained our support even as Mr. Nixon became an unindicted co-conspirator of federal crimes.

In the days after his resignation, Mr. Nixon was even prepared to go to prison, because just like Mr. Trump, the only thing between him and being arrested was the fact that he was president.

And the only thing that kept Mr. Nixon out of prison was a pardon by President Gerald Ford.

I have mentioned in earlier columns how my grandmother, Florence Doe, was celebrated as being Tulare County’s Mrs. Republican.

She was a political friend of Mr. Nixon and was there when he was named as President Dwight Eisenhower’s running mate in 1952.

She ran the Nixon campaign office in Tulare County in 1968 and 1972.

I remember as a child my dad coming home with Nixon campaign paraphernalia for me to hang up in my room.

I was particularly intrigued by a clear plastic cover with a red elephant in the middle that I immediately affixed to my door.

I still have that door cover along with a box of my grandmother’s memorabilia of her time working on the Nixon campaign.

Fast forward 40-plus years and Mr. Trump will also be heading to prison unless he gets a presidential pardon. The charges have been clearly laid out for any layperson to understand and there are more to come.

With everything Mr. Trump has done, and the fact that he could be a convicted felon after he leaves office, it makes me mutter to myself “what is his ‘base’ thinking?”

But then, back in 1974, what was my family thinking?

Do all dogs go to Heaven?

I was feeling a little teary eyed about my son’s dog Roo so I texted Petra of Labrador Retriever Rescue. I asked if she thought dogs go to heaven. She responded with an emphatic, “Yes.”

That realization raises a lot of questions. If dogs go to heaven then do they have a soul? Do they go to the same heaven as humans?

The Evangelicals believe that God created animals for human’s sake, for our use and for our pleasure. They believe that God’s purpose for animals is fulfilled here on earth. “Man, as the highest order of creation, has been given dominion over the animal kingdom” (Genesis 1:26-28).

But others believe that animals do go to heaven. In Genesis 1:31, it reads: “God looked at everything he had made, and he found it very good.” Among God’s creations are humans, animals, and plants. We could argue that once God gives life he would not destroy it.

Catholics are told to believe that the human soul is unique. “No other earthly creature has an immortal spirit for a soul. Their (dogs) souls are not immortal, but mortal; it’s their nature to come to an end when they die,” According to a Catholic newsletter.

The Evangelicals don’t completely discount the possibility of dogs going to heaven though.

Billy Graham said, “However, if animals would make us happier in heaven, surely there will be a place for them there.”

How magnanimous.

The subject of heaven and souls comes up in conjunction with Ron Abbott ‘s Top Dog Kennel because he used to be the charismatic pastor at an evangelist Pentecostal Church, Abundant Life Center.

Some former members have described Abundant Life Center as more of a cult than a church and that Mr. Abbott uses the church’s money to finance his elaborate lifestyle.

On the other hand, current members of his church are devout Christians who love the Abbott family and see them as their spiritual leaders.

Mr. Abbott has since handed over the leadership of the church to his son-in-law but still owns his mansion and large commercial kennel.

A lay person who loves animals is not aware of this religious debate, nor do they care. They just assume dogs go to heaven and can’t understand how someone runs a puppy mill and is a minister at the same time.

To be clear, not everyone believes that Top Dog Kennel is a puppy mill.

Top Dog Kennel is a legal business that for the most part operates within Tulare County’s codes.

The Tulare County Supervisors do not like to interfere with private business and Mr. Abbott has pointed out that people have the right to buy a pure-breed dog. He also has the right to conduct a legitimate business without being harassed.

Seeing as we are not going to answer the question if a dog has a soul in this column, the question we can grapple with is: Can we strike a balance between a Tulare County resident’s right to buy a pure-breed dog and the rights of the animal? How much does a dog have to endure before we have crossed the line of what is moral?

In other words, where does a dog’s rights end and customer’s rights begin?

People have given first hand testimonies saying that Mr. Abbott has over 100 dogs at his kennel during times of many aged-out litters and that he desperately calls them multiple times to pick up a dog.

They say the dogs, horses and other animals he sells live in filth, and are neglected or abused.

Mr. Abbott and his satisfied customers have, on the contrary, said that he loves his dogs and they are all well socialized and happy. They say his kennel is spotless and you “could eat off the floor.”

Let’s assume that Mr. Abbott’s dogs and kennels are clean, that the females are only bread once a year, and that all the animals on his farm are handled with loving care.

It is still not possible, on the one hand, to keep an animal pinned up for its entire life, and on the other, to claim you love your dogs.

I had a friend who bred shiatsus. She is what you would call a back yard breeder.

These types of breeders usually include mamma dog and her puppies in the family and the dogs are mostly free to run around in the back yard and sometimes even in the house.

This is not possible in a commercial kennel of Mr. Abbott’s size. He has on average three litters of puppies for sale at one time of varying breeds, and struggles to keep under the county’s limit of 45 dogs.

It’s hard to imagine Mr. Abbott’s having the time, or will, to play with each dog, or that the dogs even know their own name.

Crystal Bubeck, who confirmed she is not affiliated with the Abbott family, emailed to say that Mr. Abbott ran an excellent facility and that their dog, Sierra, who just turned three, is “absolutely the best dog ever.”

Ms. Bubeck writes about Sierra, “She loves the water, we all like to go hiking and she also likes to play hide-n-go-seek with my son, it’s absolutely hilarious. She is very protective of my son as if that’s her baby.”

Ms. Bubeck said it was one of their best decisions “to bring Sierra to her FUR-EVER home.”

But what about Sierra’s mother? Does she get to play in the water and go hiking? Does she have a little person to play games with and to protect?

Does Sierra’s mom get to have a “FUR-EVER home?”

I have a spoiled little dog who hangs her head out the window, runs on the beach and sleeps under my covers at night.

I would be beyond distressed to know that her mother did not know her name, lived in a pen, and was relegated to giving birth for the rest of her life for the financial gain of an evangelical minister.

I don’t know how Mr. Abbott’s customers square with the fact that their beloved dog’s mother will never have an owner.

She will never play fetch. There will never be a couch on which she can take an afternoon nap, and no one will be there to stroke her fur, telling her what a good girl she is, as she takes her final breaths.

If the Bubeck family loves Sierra so much, then why don’t they love Sierra’s momma?

If we should love all of God’s creatures great and small where does that put, in the scheme of things, Mr. Abbott and his customers?

If all dogs go to heaven – will we all be joining them come judgment day – or not?

2 thoughts on “Political Fix (6 September, 2018)

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  1. A bit dramatic don’t you think? Maybe his supporters continue to be just that, is because nobody seems to be able to come up with any real evidence of any “real” crimes. Come on….campaign finance discrepancies?!? Give me a break. Stick to the real issues. Even your precious Obama was guilty of campaign finance laws.

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