Tuesday, February 28, 2017

A Month of Music, Day 1

“OK—this isn’t starting so well,” I told my friend Lady. “As always, it sounded easy, when I first thought about it. 31 days, 31 pieces of music—simple, right?”

“Well, it should be,” said Lady. “You do know more than 31 pieces of music, don’t you?”

“Yeah, and that’s the problem. I don’t just want to do an electronic version of ‘Classical Music for Sunday Mornings.’ And God knows I don’t want to do ‘Mozart for Baby.’”

“What’s the matter with Mozart for babies?”

“You know, Mozart is not a vitamin pill. And there are at least 30,000 better reasons to listen to Mozart than the alleged boost to cognition, or whatever it is. I’m so tired of all this business of justifying classical music education based on the supposed neurological benefits. Do we study literature because of its effect on the brain? Or art? Of course not. Oh, and notice that the football coach never has to jump through those hoops….”

“So what’s the problem?”

“Well, in the first place, what to do with the war-horses?”


“You know,” I told her, “Beethoven’s Fifth, the William Tell Overture, Carmina Burana, and that damn Bolero. The problem is that some of them are wonderful pieces, but who can hear William Tell without thinking of the Lone Ranger? Anyway, I’m not going to waste one of my 31 days on Rossini….”

“We have a grudge against Rossini?”

“Not as seriously as I have a grudge against a lot of people,” I told her, “and Beethoven said Rossini’s opera buffa…”

“Ah, opera buffa,” said Lady, “not a great favorite of mine….”

“It’s just comic opera,” I told her, “unlike opera seria, which is….”

She just gave me a look.

“Anyway, Beethoven liked the opera buffa, but told Rossini he couldn’t write the serious stuff. Oh, and then there’s his reputed comment; Rossini would have been a great composer if his teacher had spanked him enough on the backside….”

“OK, so no Rossini. So now what’s the problem?”

“Well, should I simply devote each day to a different composer? Sort of, ‘if today is Tuesday, it must be Fauré?’ But there’s a problem, there….”

“And that is?”

“Oh come on, does that mean that Bach and Beethoven only get the same attention as Reynaldo Hahn? I mean, I love Hahn, and I wouldn’t be without Hahn, but still….”

“I see the point,” said Lady. “So spend a week on Bach, if you’re so inclined….”

“And then, of course, there are all the composers I should like, and don’t. Which means, of course, that I’m the complete Philistine. Sorry, but almost everything I’ve ever heard of Debussy make me want to jump off the balcony, if not the nearest bridge. So though he’s important compositionally….”


“Sorry—anyway, it’s my book, and if I don’t want to invite Debussy into it, well, so what? Mr. Fernández loves Debussy, so he can write a rebuttal, or his own damn book. Anyway, Debussy is out, and very likely so is Wagner, as well as most of the 20th century. I might make an exception for Samuel Barber….”

“All of this,” said Lady, “is nothing more than an excuse to get down to work. You’re throwing up objections simply to avoid getting the nose anywhere near the grindstone….”

“Easy enough for you to say,” I told her. “But what about chronology? Shouldn’t we progress in orderly fashion from Monteverdi, say, to Barber? That seems like the serious thing to do…”

Lady yawned.

“Aren’t you forgetting,” she said, “that this is supposed to be fun? As in ‘not a chore?’ Anyway, how did you begin to listen to classical music? Surely your mother didn’t sit you down with a study guide….”

“Absolutely the opposite,” I told her, “my mother, by the time I came around, was considerably worn down. She had a sort idea that it didn’t matter much what you did, your child was either going to turn into a mass murderer or not. Well, she may not have been quite that loose, but still…”

“Well, so what did you listen to, early on?”

“Oddly enough, quite a lot of The Weavers, as well as Burl Ives. I think my father was into that; it was when she was alone, and very often when she was editing, that she played classical music. Mostly, of course, because it’s hard to edit if you’re distracted by the lyrics of ‘itsy bitsy teeny weeny yellow polka dot bikini…’”

“Surely you jest….”

“The fifties brought us many things,” I told her. “Including, I’m sorry to say, the infamous witch hunts, led by Joe McCarthy from Appleton, Wisconsin. And oddly, The Weavers and Burl Ives—who I always thought were hopelessly square and old-fashioned—suffered greatly under McCarthy. Nothing as seditious as a folksong, is there?”

“Folksongs? Seditious?”

“Surprisingly. After all, when you sing, ‘this land is my land, this land is your land,’ well…has anyone ever sung ‘this land is Monsanto’s land?’”

“That actually might not be a bad idea….”

“Well,” said Lady, “since you obviously are turning just a bit chicken-livered about this whole project, why don’t you simply invite whatever composer is hanging around, over there in the dining room of Fortaleza Street? You know, if you really can’t decide, well, let it be open mic. What’s wrong with that? After all, I do it every Tuesday night at the café….”

“Well,” I said, “if it got me off the hook of deciding on one masterpiece and throwing out the other, it would be worth it. And it is, after all, how I came to so much music….”

“So, folksongs?”

“Hmm…folksongs. Wonder what Alfred Deller is doing, at the moment.”

“I’m right here,” said the disembodied voice. “nor did I think anybody at all remembered me. It happens, you know. They tell you that you are immortal, that you’ll never be forgotten, and now, who remembers Deller? Or my son? Or both of us together, since we often sang together….”

“Oh dear,” said Lady, “is it really starting? And who might these dellers be?”

“Not dellers, Dellers. And they have every reason to be a bit miffed. Alfred was the father, and Mark was the son…but they both were countertenors, which at the time was a bit of an eye opener.”


“It’s a man who is singing in the traditional female vocal range. And please, don’t get me started on whether it’s falsetto or not. You never, ever want to get into vocal production, because singers have the weirdest ideas about what it is, or what it isn’t. Somebody or other—Renée Fleming, I think, but anyway, somebody famous—seriously thinks that to produce a beautiful, pianissimo high note, you have to pitch the note through the tiny little indentation of the nose as it curves towards the cheek. Physiologically impossible, of course, but who cares? However she does it, or thinks she does it, well it’s glorious. And of course, could I do it?”

“Am I, or am I not, to be allowed to speak?” Said the querulous Deller. “I have been, after all, dragged from the dead. Though I must say, I was hardly the only male alto around: in fact, it was often said that if they had allowed women in the cathedral choirs, there would have been no male altos. But as it was, there were many of us….”

“So there were,” I said. “But you were one of the trailblazers, weren’t you? And now, we have people like David Daniels and Philippe Jaroussky, but you were standing out there, quite alone, and doing your thing….”

“The Deller Consort,” said Deller, “we were pioneers in the early music field.”

“You were,” I said, and thought, but did not say, that his voice had been sadly surpassed by our current generation of countertenors. “Well, shall we listen to something? How about ‘She Moved Through the Fair?’ It has to be one of the most haunting songs in the world. And then, what about some Vaughan-Williams? It doesn’t seem right to slight poor Vaughan-Williams, who did so much to save and preserve English folksong. Though really, I think I’d do ‘Silent Noon,’ since it’s so beautiful, and such a good interpretation of the text of Dante Gabriel Rossetti. And then, of course, we’d have to do “Orpheus with his Lute…”

“What? I thought it was just five minutes a day! Three songs? That’s already 15 minutes!”

“Bother,” I said, “I knew this project was unfeasible from the start. Well, have another glass of wine. Oh, and I suppose I should pour another two for you?”

There was no response, as the music soared, but at the end, Deller and Vaughan Williams had finished their cups.  

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

First Sweden, Now Russia

“It’s just not right,” I said, as I often do, to Lady. “First there were the tragic events in Sweden, which caused me to search endlessly on the internet, to make sure that ABBA was unaffected….”

“But nothing happened,” said Lady.

“Exactly,” I told her. “And ‘nothing’ is a very terrible thing, fully and as potentially dangerous as ‘something,’ which can also cause untold anguish. Indeed, I have suffered through ‘nothing’ thousands if not millions of times in my life. I sit, for example, at my computer, preparing to emblazon the world with my words, and what happens?”

“Let me guess,” said Lady.

“I look around my apartment, and where have all the intentions of doing a little cleaning….”

“I do understand,” said Lady. “At any rate, the Swedes are quite all right. Although I’m sure they’re grateful for your concern….”

“So if that wasn’t bad enough, I now have a monga.”

“I thought you didn’t believe in monga,” said Lady. “You once described it as a mythical though dreaded disease occurring when one raindrop descends on a Puerto Rican.”

“That’s profoundly politically incorrect,” I told her, “which probably means that yes, I did say it. Anyway, whether I believe it or not, here it is. In that sense, it’s just like the political situation, or perhaps the terrible events in Sweden. I can’t believe Donald Trump, so why shouldn’t something have happened in Sweden, even though I don’t believe….”

“That makes no sense,” said Lady.

“Exactly,” I told her.

“Anyway, what I really should do, since Tuesday morning is the new Monday morning…”


“Presidents’ Day,” I told her. “Anyway, I should get right down to work, even though what I really want is to go back to bed. But now it’s time to put aside our grief…”


“Sweden,” I told her, “how it afflicts the mind, and indeed the spirit. Well, we have to carry on. Now then, there’s excellent news! An eye-stabbing flash of light in the vexing question of Russia and the Ukraine!”

“Yes?” asked Lady.

“You know, of course, that we have to move on. We can’t dwell on these dark events forever. Though I just read this, in The New York Times:”

In a Twitter post on Monday, he accused American journalists of glossing over a dark and dangerous situation in Sweden. “Give the public a break,” he wrote. “The FAKE NEWS media is trying to say that large scale immigration in Sweden is working out just beautifully. NOT!”

“A courageous stand,” said Lady. “Wonderful to know that our president will not step down, or step back, or step wherever. The Swedes must be breathing a sigh of relief, knowing they have so ardent a champion in the White House….”

“One begins to wonder,” I told her, “if the atrocities in Sweden were all a red herring. Or perhaps it’s that damn FAKE NEWS media that is trying to deflect attention from Trump’s remarkable success, based on the well-oiled machine he has created from the ruble….”

“Marc, you’re wandering….”

“Russia,” I told her. “You remember, the little problem of Russia and the Ukraine. Though in fact, the Ukraine is considerably more affected….”


“Anyway, we’re well on the way—quite far down the path, actually—to a true and lasting peace!”

“So what happened?”

“Well, here’s The New York Times again, if you trust that dirty rag….”

A week before Michael T. Flynn resigned as national security adviser, a sealed proposal was hand-delivered to his office, outlining a way for President Trump to lift sanctions against Russia.

“Whew,” said Lady. “Well, that’s definite progress indeed!”

“Mendacious tongues,” I said, “which are absolutely the worst tongues of all…”

“How they have afflicted me, my whole life,” said, nay cried Lady, “I hardly walk out the door, in the morning, and there they are!”

“Mendacious tongues,” I said, “with their corollaries, tainted minds, are questioning the whole affair, since the plan is put forward by a rather shady character, Felix H. Sater.”

“And what has Mr. Sater done, to earn his place in the shade?”

“Well, we can start with this:”

After the lawyers got involved, Trump said he barely knew who Sater was. But there is voluminous evidence that Sater, a Russian emigrant, was key to channeling Russian capital to Trump for years. Sater is also a multiple felon and at least a one-time FBI informant.  

“Lovely,” said Lady, “nice to know we’re getting help from multiple felons. Ah well, any port in a storm! OK, so why were the lawyers involved?”

“It all was a messy little business down in Soho,” I told her. “You know, after the string of bankruptcies, Trump got involved in building a luxury condo / hotel down in Soho, to the annoyance of all the artists down there. But the project hit some bumps, especially in the downturn of 2008 and 2009….”

“Well, well,” said Lady. “And any idea what the plan might entail? The plan to bring peace to the Ukraine and Russia?”

“Well, first the authors allege that they have incriminating stuff on the president of the Ukraine….”

“I recoil in horror,” said Lady, “though indeed it took me quite a moment to realize that I had. Never having recoiled for any reason, you know….”

“And then they go on to this:”

Essentially, his plan would require the withdrawal of all Russian forces from eastern Ukraine. Ukrainian voters would decide in a referendum whether Crimea, the Ukrainian territory seized by Russia in 2014, would be leased to Russia for a term of 50 or 100 years.

“How can you ‘lease’ a territory as large as the Crimea for 50 to 100 years? And why do I feel rather doubtful about the validity of any ‘referendum’ that might take place?”

“Well, it’s all very strange,” I told her. “Anyway, could I interest you in making a little donation to my latest charity? I’ll be going forward with it on Facebook in just a few minutes, but if you’d like to prime the pump, with a donation of 500 dollars or more, I’ll send you a complimentary T-shirt! Just my way of saying thank you….”

“And what would that be?”

“’I stand with Sweden!’’ I told her. “After all, if they can go against the Swedes, for God’s sake, who among us is safe!”

“Ahhh,” said Lady, “do you never rest, in your efforts to cozen the weary?”

“Never,” I told her. “In fact, I wake each morning, filled with dreams of cozening!”


Well, she was here, just a minute ago….



Thursday, February 16, 2017

Rats--and the problem of Matthias Goerne

“All right,” I told her, “today’s problem is what to do about Matthias Goerne. I’ve finished up with Trump—I got him straightened around yesterday. So, once everybody gets on the same page—it takes awhile for some people to catch up with my lightning intellect—we’ll be entirely done with him! Poosh! Back to reality TV, where we can all safely ignore him!”

“Poosh?” said Lady. “What’s Poosh?”

“It’s the particularly squishy sound that Trump makes when he goes ‘poof,’” I told her. “No idea why, but there it is….”

“Well, I’m ready to move away from Trump,” said Lady. “In fact, haven’t I told you that this blog used to be a Trump-free zone? And then, all of a sudden, there he was! Just as he was on television, every time I turned it on, and on every magazine cover, every time I went to the grocery store. It got to be completely annoying….”

“Definitely time for Goerne,” I told her. “You remember what I told Naïa, all those years ago? Back before the rats….”

Naïa celebrated her fifteenth birthday with the announcement that she wanted a couple of rats for her birthday. She reported this quite casually at an art opening that we all attended.

“Ahh,” I told her, “and have you informed your landlord that you’ll be keeping rats?”

She chose not to respond.

“What about the health department?”

She examined a corner of the ceiling intently.

“And the department of sanitation?”

Began whistling Dixie!

So the rats arrived. But there was, as anyone could have imagined, a problem. For it turned—and please don’t inquire too much right here—that the sexes of the rats were disordered. The intention had been to create a unisex environment, or perhaps a homosexual environment. But it turned out that one of the rats was male. Or perhaps it was female—I don’t remember. Anyway, it was some unwanted sex.

“So we had to call the guy in the outskirts of Caguas,” said Lady. “And he got upset and complained, but he eventually came. But it took him so long, that he came at rush hour, and the traffic was terrible. And then he couldn’t find parking, so he was calling us every two minutes, threatening to turn around and go back to Caguas. So by the time he arrived, everybody was in quite a state….”

“Well, of course,” I told her. “What did you expect, when you agreed to go along with such lunacy? And whoever heard of a fifteen-year old girl wanting rats?”

“What’s wrong with rats?” asked Lady. “And what should she want?”

“A horse,” I told her. “Which would be entirely more sensible. You can keep it in the shower stall—it’ll be entirely content there….”

“That’s ridiculous,” said Lady. “And how would we shower?”

“Atop the horse,” I told her. “Thus solving two problems at once. Oh, and the water will whisk away any little waste the horse might have shed….”

Lady went off to paint some houses—her own personal variant of whistling Dixie.

So the man with the rats—or the rattor—arrived with an assortment of rats, all of the desired sex. Naïa, unable to make up her mind, chose two. Oh, and that’s in addition to the two she already had. So that left the odd rat, of the errant sex, but the rattor had the solution!

And that was?

Throw the damn rat over the balcony and go home!

Both Lady and Naïa were outraged.

“Well, it sounds like a perfectly sensible solution to me,” I told her. “After all, that rat was shop-worn. In fact, it was a used rat—and who’s going to buy that? Besides, the rat will have a perfectly splendid time in Old San Juan, with its many exotic restaurants and their attached dumpsters. Monday, it’s Vietnamese! Tuesday…”

Lady was outraged.

“You can’t have a rat eating out of a dumpster!” she snorted.

“That is precisely,” I began.

“So then Naïa began to tear up, and it was her fifteenth birthday, after all, so we decided: we will keep the rat, even with the aberrant sex…..”

“This is getting to be like the Trump presidency after all,” I told her. “It’s going on and on, and the sordid details keep getting worse and worse.”

“You don’t know the half of it,” said Lady. “Because we decided: the rat would have to be fixed.”


“De-sexed,” said Lady. “You know, castrated….”

“What!” I told her. “You’re actually going to spend good money….”

Well, there was a problem, of course. And that was: who would fix the rat?

“The vet up the street from the café just laughed,” said Lady.

“The vet up the street charges people just for walking past his shop,” I told Lady. “Anyway, now you see the advantage of a horse….”

“Well, so we finally found one,” said Lady, “though it was out on 65th Infantry….”

65th Infantry is a charming road, with only two little problems. First, every driver on the Eastern half of Puerto Rico is on it, stalled, and honking their horns. Second, it will then start to rain, and the road will instantly be completely flooded.

“You actually went out to 65th Infantry?” I asked her. “And did you get your will written? Your affairs sorted out? And why didn’t we know about this, so that we could have given a farewell party?”

“So we get to the vet,” said Lady, who has either learned from or taught to Naïa the fine art of ignoring, “and it turns out, yes! The vet will be happy to fix the rat!”

“Microsurgery,” I said, “though come to think of it, maybe he could do a job on Trump….”

Dirty look….

“Sorry,” I told her, “you know, it’s my King Charles’ head…”

She gives me the punch line.

“But it will cost a hundred bucks…..”

I’m speechless.

Fortunately, that doesn’t last long.

“You are absolutely NOT,” I begin.

“But then guess what,” Lady surges on. “It turns out that we’ve been to the vet before. In fact, that’s where we got Lorca!”

Federico García Lorca—in the rarified world of the Poets’ Passage, that’s a toy Chihuahua.

“And you know what? It turns out that we have a credit! They charged us for a medicine or a shot or something. Anyway, it was 90 dollars, and they kept it for us! Unbelievable!”

“Absolutely, since every one of those businesses on 65th Infantry is a den of thieves,” I told her.

“So now, it’s only going to cost us 10 bucks,” said Lady.

“And how much did you pay for the rat,” I asked.

“Well, that was only one buck….”

“Anyway,” I told her, “it’s not costing you ten bucks. You should ask for the ninety dollars back, get rid of the rat, and hold tight for a couple of days. Then I’ll go down to the bus depot, and pick up a couple specimens for Naïa.”

“It won’t be the same,” said Lady. “Naïa has fallen in love with that rat….”

She goes away, and I’m left thinking. Wasn’t today going to be the day to worry about Matthias Goerne? But then Lady reappears.

“Don’t tell Nico about the 100 bucks,” she tells me. Nico is her husband, a Frenchman. They like snails, but not rats.

“He might not understand,” she told me.

I go off, leaving the rats behind.

Now, what am I going to do about Matthias Goerne?   

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

What the President Knew? Really?

 I needed a reality check, last night, so I tried it out at dinner last night on Mr. Fernández:

“General Flynn called up the Russian ambassador and told him not to worry about the sanctions: Trump would take care of them. But Trump didn’t know a thing about the call, much less approve of it.”

Mr. Fernández just gave me a look.

I told you I needed a reality check, and that’s part of the story. But it’s more than that. I needed the answer to the question: why did we cede our government so easily, and so quickly?

Trump did what Trump does: he got the deal done. He’s been doing it ever since he first moved into Manhattan. Then, decades ago, the city was crumbling, the infrastructure was destroyed, crime was rampant, and the tax base eroded. So when Trump wanted to buy the Commodore Hotel, the city was more than happy.

I read about it in the book Trump Revealed; the details of the scheme escape me, but the essence is this. Trump had little money, and no history of doing a deal of that scope. Nonetheless, he was able to trick the city of New York into thinking he had financing (he sent them some papers, but they were unsigned), and also into giving him a 40-year tax break. Trump claimed that nobody else would have done the deal; in fact, several other developers did similar projects, without the gravy thrown in.

Trump, in short, is the grown if not matured version of the bully / show-off that you hated in junior high school. I get that, though I don’t like it.

What don’t I get?

I don’t get why everybody went along with it.

I tried to believe that the Republicans didn’t go along with it. In a sane world, having virtually every ex-president say that Trump was going to be a complete disaster….well, shouldn’t that carry some weight? And then came one outrage after another. Trump wouldn’t release his tax returns? We had just started to get upset, when he told us: not paying taxes meant he was smart.

It went on and on. He admitted he groped women, and then threatened to sue The New York Times. Finally, somebody acted like a grownup, and put him in his spot: the Times wasn’t defaming him, it was confirming his statements.

So then Trump sewed up the nomination, but surely the men (sorry, but there it is…men) in charge would prevent so disastrous a candidate from being chosen, right?

In fact, the convention was deeply disturbing. People who know Hillary are said to like her very much. But even if you don’t know her or don’t like her, can anything excuse the vitriol against her in the convention?

Lock her up????

Where was the convention held—Caracas? (Apologies to my Venezuelan friends….)

Nothing had been normal for a long time. Did it start when Obama was first elected, and then refused to enact his program? Remember all that time ago? Remember him trying to be the great conciliator, bring everybody to the table? Getting everybody who could be gotten onto the same page?

Remember what a bust that was?

They vilified the man, and would he respond? No—he kept on being calm and reasonable, and that drove them more nuts. So he produced his birth certificate and went on doing his best. Which wasn’t bad: the BBC reported that two polls had found that 60% of the public approved of Obama by the end of his term.

But the Republicans had the taste of blood in their mouth, and nowhere was it more evident than in their declaration that they would not replace the seat that Justice Scalia left vacant.

This was unprecedented. And did it matter how much the left howled? No, because who cared? The base of the Republican Party no longer responded to what The New York Times, The Washington Post, CNN was saying. And worse, the Supreme Court itself did absolutely nothing. Did any of them speak out, to defend their institution? No, they were as mute as mules, with the one exception of….

Yup—Thomas got it.

So the Supreme Court snoozed away while its integrity got torn to shreds. Which meant and means that now we have no Supreme Court, because anything less than a unanimous decision is going to be suspect. And what, by the way, will happen if Trump decides to challenge the Ninth Circuit of Appeals’ decision on the illegality of Trump’s immigration ban? How will the Republicans react to a 4-4 decision, should it come to that? Then, the appeals court will be upheld—and how is that going to play? A constitutional crisis?

So the last six months have been a long, drawn-out and endless replay of that moment when, sitting frozen behind the steering wheel, you see the semi jump lanes and bear down on you.

It was unreal: the CIA, the FBI and everybody else and his brother said it. The Russians had interfered with the elections. And did anything Trump do or say indicate that they had not? Could anything be more blatant than Trump’s statements and actions? Or did we need to hear, “steal our vote!” shouted repeatedly at the convention, the way we heard, “lock her up!”?

So now it was that some sore losers—in fact the majority of voters—couldn’t get over the fact that the opponent won. And nobody said the obvious: this was a tainted election. The Russians screwed around with the most element of our democracy. We have to investigate, correct the situation, and do the election over. And right, this time.

This is what happens in junior high school, right?

But wait—it wasn’t just that Trump may or may not have been elected legitimately! In fact, Trump was conducting business before he had been sworn in! And so I sat around, one morning, and wondered: how could a president-elect summon every last ambassador home? Oh, and did any one of them say, “hey, you’re not my boss yet?” And where, dammit, was the boss? Because it’s time, Obama, to shoot a little of the spleen over at you.

It was, in fact, perhaps the most appalling sight of the whole election: Obama receiving Trump in the White House, Michelle serving tea (or whatever) to Melania. And what, by the way, was most shameful? This week, The New York Times had to chastise a female reporter who said, privately at a dinner, that Melania was a “hooker.”

Remember that old adage? If the question, “is she a lady” has to be asked, then you already have the answer? Sorry, but after you pose nude and handcuffed in a private jet for GQ magazine…well, the question of whether you’re a hooker or not becomes almost moot.

In short—absolutely everybody stood by and watched a sick fraud assume the presidency of the country through a fraudulent election.

So here we are. We are busy trying to wonder, as Bernie Sanders said on Facebook this morning, what the president knew, and when.

Know what?

I don’t give a flying eff what the “president” knew or when. I do give that eff about the fact that for the first time in my life, I had to watch somebody steal the election. And I had to watch us all watch him, while we did nothing.

It’s a little hard to imagine where this is going, but does anybody imagine that it’s good? And the Republicans—what are they going to do about this train wreck? Paul Ryan, of Janesville, Wisconsin? Saying that he “supported” Trump, late in the campaign, but that he would no longer “defend” him?


Well, it’s time to do what we have to do.

We have to get our ex-presidents together, from Jimmy Carter through Barack Obama.

All of them.

And then they have to go to the Organization of American States.

Remember them? The OAS?

Well, I looked them up, and they can help! Here’s the description, from their website:

The right to universal suffrage by secret ballot is a cornerstone of the democratic system. It is imperative that citizens of every county be able to rely on electoral processes that are free, peaceful and transparent. The independent, impartial observation of elections lends transparency and confidence to the electoral process and is one of the basic tools the OAS has to help strengthen democracy in the region. The Organization also provides support in the aftermath of elections, helping countries in their own efforts to strengthen the electoral system and make it more transparent.   

Wow—nice to know!

I’m kidding, of course.

Wait—am I?

Who knows? But why do I feel that, like asking whether a woman is a lady, asking whether an election is fraudulent is…

…exactly the same thing?