Devil’s Advocate bows out

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The unspeakable evil that is Harold Ford, Jr. has formally ended his “exploratory campaign” challenging Democratic Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.  Let the Church say, Amen.  There has never been a corporate whore more skilled in the art of seduction as Harold Ford, Jr.  He was so close to regaining a foothold on power. Ford’s bid collapsed under the weight of his opportunistic lies, galactic narcissism, rank hypocrisy and the threat of a general election challenge from the right in the person of Billionaire New York Daily News Owner Mortimer “My-Only-Concern-Is-Israel” Zuckerman.   I hope The Devil’s Advocate slithers back to the pit of Hell and den of Wall Street thieves from whence he came.

The Devil’s advocate made a triumphant return to MSNBC’s Morning Joe today. Mika all but threw her panties at Harold as he walked on set and eagerly complied with her request for a kiss in a way that made it seem there might be an assignation in their future.  It went downhill from there.

Wall Street’s crown prince of deception put on a brave face as he gravely recounted his brief foray into the rough and tumble of New York politics. Harold laid it on thick as he described his harrowing trial by fire as the victim of party bosses and unnamed insiders maneuvering against an altruistic bid to push Kirsten Gillibrand down a flight of stairs so that he could better serve the people of New York.

Joe Scarborough and Newsweek’s John Meacham played their assigned roles as keepers of the flame of Harold’s burning ambition. Poor Melissa Harris Lacewell could hardly get a word in edgewise and never laid a glove on the pedicured prince. Mika, delirious with jungle fever, acted as though MSNBC hired her to play footsie with Harold under the table. After it was over, I ran to the bathroom and blew chunks into the toilet.

The Devil’s advocate is biding his time.    I see a UN Ambassadorship in his future.  If Hillary is serious about serving just one tour as Secretary of State, and Susan Rice is elevated to succeed her, there will be a vacancy at the UN. Harold would be the perfect fit.  The UN Ambassador’s stately Manhattan residence has cachet and is the perfect place to cement his ties to the powerbrokers of New York. Moreover, he could shamelessly showcase his fealty to Israel’s war crimes and seal the cracks left by Kirsten Gillibrand’s brief flirtation with J Street, AIPAC’s moderate rival for the leadership of the Israel lobby.

Kirsten’s foolish schoolgirl flirtation with a dangerous J Street thug and Harold’s brief challenge left the door open for Mort-My-Only-Concern-Is-Israel-Zuckerman to challenge Gillibrand from the right.  It is clear that the Devil’s Advocate expects Gillibrand to lose and for a 78-year-old Mortimer Zuckerman to stand down in six years.

Senator Gillibrand just appeared on Andrea Mitchell’s MSNBC show in rebuttal to the Devil’s Advocate.  The gloating over her vanquished Negro rival was short lived and she had no real answer to the question of how she could defeat a billionaire’s bankroll. Andrea’s questions stripped Gillibrand naked in front of a national audience and her manifest weakness as a candidate was made plain. Girlfriend is doomed.

The battle is not over and the saga continues.

Harold Ford’s gay marriage reversal is a bad omen

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Writing of Harold Ford in the past, I have made snarky references to the fundamentalist end times theology in the book of Revelations about the Antichrist and the Omen trilogy of horror films. I make no apology because the evil that the corporate whore from Tennessee represents cannot be understated by my use of a provocative rhetorical device.

That said, I think if somebody were to check underneath Harold’s fade, I sincerely believe you’d find a 666 birthmark in the back of his head. The way Harold has effortlessly revived his political career in the most cutthroat place imaginable and become a contender for New York Senate seat is, to be frank, fu*#ing scary. He pushed up and outmaneuvered the top dog in New York politics, Chuck Schumer, like a seasoned ward heeler.

The last several months of maneuvering reads like the script from the Omen. To review, the son of Satan is “born” to an influential political family and the minions of the devil eliminate all obstacles and kill off all people that seek to thwart his rise to the presidency and his eventual dominion over the earth.

Yesterday’s nakedly political and deeply disingenuous reversal on Same Sex Marriage is just further evidence that Harold Ford Jr is a congenital liar that will say or do anything to beat Kirsten Gillibrand’s political career to death.

In October of 2006, right in the middle of his fevered Tennessee Senate Race, the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled unanimously that gay unions had to be recognized under the state’s constitution. A majority of the court left it up to the legislature to design what shape the recognition would take. After the decision was announced, Harold Ford Jr released the following statement:

I do not support the decision today reached by the New Jersey Supreme Court regarding gay marriage. I oppose gay marriage, and have voted twice in Congress to amend the United States Constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage. This November there’s a referendum on the Tennessee ballot to ban same-sex marriage – I am voting for it.

Harold’s position, as wrong as two left shoes, was unequivocal. Gillibrand’s people have done some good work in poisoning the well against Harold because of his positions on choice and same sex marriage. He finally responded. On the Today Show the demonic spawn said, “My support for fairness and equality existed long before I moved to New York.”

Bull*hit

He continued spinning the lie after being asked if this was a major change. He said, “Maybe in the language.” “…But I’m a believer that benefits should flow to same sex partners and if indeed the fiction of the language, the title, should be changed, much like Chuck Schumer who changed his mind on it and Bill Clinton’s evolved, I’m of the opinion now that nothing is wrong with that.”

The following clip must be seen to be believed. It puts to bed any notion of Harold’s veracity.

The Whore must defeat NY Senator Kirsten Gillibrand because she stands in the way of Harold’s nefarious designs on the seat of ultimate power. Moreover, he is running to put himself into a position to one day become President.

Everything seems to be falling into place in the complicated chess game that is New York identity politics.

Last week, according to the New York Times, Al Sharpton and Ford, “chatted warmly for about 10 minutes. Mr. Sharpton did not seek to discourage Mr. Ford from running, and recommended that he begin to reach out to the state’s black leaders and clergy.”

They end the article by telling us, “Mr. Ford will be the keynote speaker next month at the conference of the state’s Association of Black and Puerto Rican Legislators.” And that the organization’s leader believes Harold will encounter a “receptive” audience as he debuts before the state’s Black and Latino establishment.

Taken together, these developments are a bad omen indeed.

Harold Ford Jr: Rotten Apple

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The “news” broke yesterday that former Tennessee Congressman Harold Ford Jr’s three year effort to revive his flagging political career in the cesspool of New York politics has borne rotten fruit.  Since leaving the congress, Ford has kept busy with a few media gig’s on Fox News and MSNBC as a “political analyst,” Chairman of the Democratic Leadership Council, and most important, a corporate executive at Bank of America Merrill Lynch—a bank that acquired the largest predatory lender, Countrywide. These corporate entanglements coupled with his unabashed support of estate tax repeal for the wealthiest among us make it clear to all sentient beings that Harold Ford Jr is nothing but a shameless corporate whore with an insatiable lust for power.

The day began with an appearance on “Morning Joe,” MSNBC’s corporate sponsored Salon of establishment propaganda. The Whore played coy as Mika and Joe held forth on the NY Times story detailing Harold’s courtesan seduction of powerful and prominent Jewish fundraisers and corporate heavyweights in an effort to line up enough cash to mount a serious primary challenge to Hillary Clinton’s designated successor, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand.

The Whore even got Mayor Michael Bloomberg to say he would “take a look” at supporting him.  Y’all can believe what you want to believe, but the Whore is serious about this sh*t.  In one fell swoop, he has damn near neutralized Chuck Schumer, a man not to be trifled with.

Schumer considers himself the godfather of New York Politics and certainly the top Jewish pol. When he couldn’t control Mayor Bloomberg, he put his wife, Iris Weinshall, in his administration as one of Bloomberg’s commissioners.  Former Governor Spitzer was Schumer’s top rival  and his downfall in a tawdry sex scandal was relished with glee.  Harold is playing this political game of chess like Bobby Fischer.

All of this inside baseball is important considering his unmistakable fingerprints in clearing the field for Gillibrand.  As a former Senate Campaign Committee Chair, Schumer modis operandi is to clear the field for his favorites and to dry up the money for their opponents. Threats are exchanged and favors extended. It always worked.  It worked for Gillibrand up until now. Steve Israel and Carolyn Maloney dropped their bids after being passed over for appointment after being threatened by the White House at the behest of Schumer.

But after looking at the love in these two men’s eye’s, I seriously doubt whether a call from the White House will be forthcoming this time.

Senator Caroline Kennedy

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GET FILES-FRANCE-US-KENNEDY

I find it ironic and disengenuous that the Hillarycrat detractors of Caroline Kennedy, a New York resident for over four decades, would have the temerity to suggest that the Harvard University educated author, lawyer, and philanthropist lacks the necessary qualifications  to represent New York State in the United States Senate.   Ms. Kennedy has always been a dignified, understated and classy mover and shaker that has used her celebrity,  talent, and money to help other people.   Politically, nobody could beat her under any circumstances.   She can raise the money and would maintain the current number of women in the senate, which is already too few. Where the hell were these people when Hillary decided to accept the phony draft of New Yorkers to run for the Senate in a state she had never lived in?  Caroline Kennedy has been a New Yorker longer than the Queen of Triangulation has been a blond.   I am relieved that she has decided to throw her hat in the ring.   If David Paterson is smart, he’ll appoint Caroline without any more deliberation and secure his re-election at the same time.


			

Officers in Sean Bell case acquitted

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Hat Tip: By Michael Wilson, NY Times

Three detectives were found not guilty Friday on all charges in the shooting death of Sean Bell, who died in a hail of 50 police bullets outside a club in Jamaica, Queens, in November 2006. The verdict prompted calls for calm from the mayor, angry promises of protests by those speaking for the Bell family and expressions of relief by the detectives.

Detective Michael Oliver, who fired 31 bullets the night of the shooting and faced manslaughter charges, said Justice Arthur J. Cooperman had made a “fair and just decision.”

Justice Cooperman delivered the verdict in State Supreme Court at 9 a.m. Giving his reasoning, he said many of the prosecution’s witnesses, including Mr. Bell’s friends and the two wounded victims, were simply not believable. “At times, the testimony of those witnesses just didn’t make sense,” the judge said.

Several supporters of Mr. Bell stormed out of the courtroom, and a few small scuffles followed outside the courthouse. By midafternoon, there were no suggestions of any broader unrest around the city. Mr. Bell’s family and fiancée left without making any comments and drove to visit his grave at the Nassau Knolls Cemetery and Memorial Park in Port Washington.

The verdict comes 17 months to the day since the Nov. 25, 2006, shooting of Mr. Bell, 23, and his friends, Joseph Guzman and Trent Benefield, outside the Club Kalua in Jamaica, Queens, hours before Mr. Bell was to be married.

It was delivered in a packed courtroom. Mr. Bell’s family sat silently as Justice Cooperman spoke from the bench. Behind them, a woman was heard to ask, “Did he just say, ‘Not guilty?’ ” Detective Oliver and the two other defendants, Detectives Gescard F. Isnora and Marc Cooper, were escorted out a side doorway as court adjourned.

The acquittals do not necessarily mean the officers’ legal battles are over. Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said the three men could still face disciplinary action from the Police Department, but that he had been asked to wait on any internal measures until the United States attorney’s office determines whether or not it would pursue federal charges against them.

The seven-week trial, which ended on April 14, was heard by Justice Cooperman after the defendants waived their right to a jury, a strategy some lawyers called risky at the time. But it clearly paid off.

Before rendering his verdict, Justice Cooperman ran through a narrative of the chilly November evening when Mr. Bell died, and concluded “the police response with respect to each defendant was not found to be criminal.”

“The people have not proved beyond a reasonable doubt” that each defendant was not justified in shooting, the judge said, quickly adding that the men were not guilty of all of the eight counts, five felonies and three misdemeanors against them.

Roughly 30 court officers stood by, around the courtroom and in the aisles. At one point as he read, Justice Cooperman paused to insist that a crying baby be taken from the courtroom. Immediately a young woman who appeared to be among the Bell contingent got up and left with a baby.

The Rev. Al Sharpton accompanied Bell family members to the cemetery, and said later that they will join him on Saturday at a rally protesting the verdict. He said he had spoken to the governor and the mayor, and that he believed a federal civil rights prosecution of the officers would be appropriate.

“This verdict is one round down, but the fight is far from over,” Mr. Sharpton said.

He promised protests “to demonstrate to the federal government that New Yorkers will not take this abortion of justice lying down.” He even raised the possibility of taking protests directly to Justice Cooperman’s home.

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg called for calm. “There are no winners in a trial like this,” he said. “An innocent man lost his life, a bride lost her groom, two daughters lost their father and a mother and a father lost their son.”

The mayor continued: “Judge Cooperman’s responsibility, however, was to decide the case based on the evidence presented in the courtroom. America is a nation of laws, and though not everyone will agree with the verdicts and opinions issued by the courts, we accept their authority.”

He added: “There will be opportunities for peaceful dissent and potentially for further legal recourse — those are the rights we enjoy in a democratic nation. We don’t expect violence or law-breaking, nor is there any place for it.”

A subdued Queens district attorney, Richard A. Brown, whose office prosecuted the case, said at a news conference: “Judge Cooperman discharged his responsibilities fairly and consciously under the law. I accept his verdict, and I urge all fair-minded individuals in this city to do the same.”

Commissioner Kelly, speaking in Brooklyn, would not comment on the verdict itself. But he did say that while there were no reports of unrest in response to the acquittals, the Police Department was ready should it occur.

“We have prepared, we have done some drills and some practice with appropriate units and personnel if there is any violence, but again, we don’t anticipate violence,” Mr. Kelly said. “There have been no problems. Obviously there will be some people who are disappointed with the verdict. We understand that.”

Detectives Isnora and Oliver had faced the most charges: first- and second-degree manslaughter, with a possible sentence of 25 years in prison; felony assault, first and second degree; and a misdemeanor, reckless endangerment, with a possible one-year sentence. Detective Oliver also faced a second count of first-degree assault. Detective Cooper was charged only with two counts of reckless endangerment.

All three of the detectives, none of whom took the stand during the trial, spoke at the offices of their union on Friday afternoon. “I’ve just started my life back,” Detective Cooper said.

During the 26 days of testimony, the prosecution sought to show, with an array of 50 witnesses, that the shooting was the act of a frightened group of disorganized police officers who began their shift that night hoping to arrest a prostitute or two and, in suspecting Mr. Bell and his friends of possessing a gun, quickly got in over their heads.

“We ask police to risk their lives to protect ours,” said an assistant district attorney, Charles A. Testagrossa, in his closing arguments. “Not to risk our lives to protect their own.”

The defense, through weeks of often heated cross-examinations, their own witnesses and the words of the detectives themselves, portrayed the shooting as the tragic end to a nonetheless justified confrontation, with Detective Isnora having what it called solid reasons to believe he was the only thing standing between Mr. Bell’s car and a drive-by shooting around the corner.

Several witnesses testified that they heard talk of guns in an argument between Mr. Bell and a stranger, Fabio Coicou, outside Kalua, an argument, the defense claimed, that was fueled by bravado and Mr. Bell’s intoxicated state. Defense lawyers pointed their fingers at Mr. Guzman, who, they said, in shouting for Mr. Bell to drive away when Detective Isnora approached, may have instigated his death.

Spitzer resigns

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Hat Tip: New York Times, By DANNY HAKIM and ANAHAD O’CONNOR

Gov. Eliot Spitzer, reeling from revelations that he had been a client of a prostitution ring, announced his resignation today, becoming the first governor of New York to be forced from office in nearly a century.

Mr. Spitzer, appearing somber and with his wife at his side, said his resignation is to be effective Monday, and that Lt. Gov. David A. Paterson would be sworn in to replace him.

David Paterson

“I am deeply sorry that I did not live up to what was expected of me,” he said. “To every New Yorker, and to all those who believed in what I tried to stand for, I sincerely apologize.”

“Over the course of my public life, I have insisted — I believe correctly — that people regardless of their position or power take responsibility for their conduct,” he added. “I can and will ask no less of myself. For this reason, I am resigning from the office of governor.”

Mr. Spitzer is the first governor of New York to resign from office since 1973, when Nelson A. Rockefeller stepped down to devote himself to a policy group, and the first to be forced from office since William Sulzer was impeached and removed from his post in 1913 in a scandal over campaign contribution fraud.

In his brief statement at his headquarters in Manhattan, Mr. Spitzer thanked his family for offering support and compassion, and said he had spent the last several days atoning for his personal failings.

Mr. Spitzer ended his speech by saying he would leave politics, and then departed quickly without taking questions.

“As I leave public life, I will first do what I need to do to help and heal myself and my family,” he said. “Then I will try once again, outside of politics, to serve the common good and to move toward the ideals and solutions which I believe can build a future of hope and opportunity for us and for our children.”

Since issuing an initial apology on Monday, Mr. Spitzer had been holed up at his apartment at Fifth Avenue and 79th Street in Manhattan, where his aides said he had been engaged in an intense legal and family debate about whether to resign or, as his wife was urging, to stay on.

Mr. Spitzer emerged finally at about 11:15 a.m. Wednesday with his wife by his side and got into a black S.U.V., which headed for his headquarters on Third Avenue as news helicopters followed above.

On Tuesday, as Mr. Spitzer, a first-term Democrat, contemplated his next move, the New York political world remained in a suspended state, with cries — even from fellow Democrats — growing louder for him to step down.

In one of the last and desperate rounds of the end game, a top Spitzer administration official reached out to Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver’s staff on Tuesday to see if the governor could avoid an impeachment vote. But the prospects were grim.

Republicans had pledged to try to have Mr. Spitzer impeached and only 34 of the more than 100 Democrats in the Assembly would be needed for the matter to be referred to the Senate for an impeachment trial. It was clear during the discussions that 34 or more Democrats were almost certain to vote against the governor.

That outcome would have been a dire for the governor, because his top political rival, Senate majority leader Joseph L. Bruno, leads the Senate, where a trial would have been held.

“An impeachment proceeding would force Democrats to either abandon him or defend him,” said one leading Democrat. “They would abandon him.”

Sheldon Silver, the Assembly speaker, said Tuesday that Mr. Spitzer should do “what’s best for his family,” but stopped short of calling on the governor to step down. “It is now up to the governor to make a determination that’s best for his family. I pray for his children.” When asked what Mr. Silver thought was best for the Spitzer family, he did not respond.

Mr. Silver offered a few details of his conversation with Mr. Spitzer on Tuesday afternoon before the governor briefly spoke to the public. “I said to him then and I say it now, he’s got to take care of his family first and be concerned about them. I told him that we will carry on in the legislative process that moves the budget forward. We intend to pass our budget tomorrow. I hope the Senate will do the same.”

Mr. Paterson said on Tuesday that he had not heard from Mr. Spitzer since about noon on Monday, and did not know whether he would soon be sworn in as the state’s 55th governor.

“The governor called me yesterday,” said Mr. Paterson, who was driven to the Capitol on Tuesday and pondered going inside before deciding to avoid the swarm of journalists. “He said he didn’t resign for a number of reasons, and he didn’t go into the reasons, and that’s the last I’ve heard from him.”

Asked whether preparations for a transition were under way, the lieutenant governor said: “No one has talked to me about his resignation, and no one has talked to me about a transition.”

At a televised news conference on Wednesday morning, Mr. Bruno, the Senate majority leader who would become the lieutenant governor if Mr. Paterson replaces Mr. Spitzer, told reporters that he had not spoken with Mr. Spitzer or any of his top aides about the impending resignation.

“No one has contacted me officially,” he said. “We are following the reports as you are. But in the meantime, I am staying with our plan to pass a budget, talk to the speaker, and we’re going to go public in a real way on Monday.”

Mr. Bruno, a Republican who clashed frequently with Mr. Spitzer, said he was praying for the governor and his family and urged all New Yorkers to do so as well.

On Tuesday, Mr. Spitzer cut himself off from all but the most senior members of his staff. His lawyer, Michele Hirschman, was reaching out to federal prosecutors to try to strike a deal in hopes of avoiding charges.

Close aides to the governor suggested on Tuesday that the mood in the Spitzer home was tense, with the governor’s wife, Silda Wall Spitzer, recommending that he not step down, but they cautioned that the situation could change at any time.

The revelation of Mr. Spitzer’s involvement with the high-end prostitution ring gripped the nation, and more than 70 reporters and photographers clustered outside the governor’s Upper East Side high-rise on Tuesday, separated from the building by a metal barricade erected by the police.

Three helicopters whirred overhead as tourists atop passing double-decker buses snapped pictures of the scene.

Mr. Spitzer’s patronage of the prostitution agency, Emperor’s Club V.I.P., came to light after prosecutors charged four people with operating the service. They said the governor was intercepted on a federal wiretap arranging payments and an encounter with a prostitute in a Washington hotel room last month. The affidavit referred to a Client 9 and did not identify Mr. Spitzer by name, but law enforcement officials said that Client 9 was the governor.

Investigators reviewing the scope of Mr. Spitzer’s involvement with prostitutes said on Tuesday that just in the past year he had had more than a half-dozen meetings with them and had paid tens of thousands of dollars to the ring, one law enforcement official said.

A person with knowledge of the service’s operations said that Mr. Spitzer had begun meeting with the prostitutes of the Emperor’s Club about eight months ago and had had encounters in Dallas as well as Washington.

A law enforcement official said Mr. Spitzer also had an encounter with a prostitute in Florida. On some trips of several days’ duration, Mr. Spitzer scheduled more than one visit with a prostitute, this person said.

Paterson waits in the wings to become NY Governor

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Destroyed by hubris and drowning in a tsunami of hypocrisy, the political career and power so craved by Eliot Spitzer slips away into the ether never to be seen again. Into the den of lions steps David Paterson, New York State’s Lieutenant Governor and the first African American and first blind man to hold that position.

On the eve of his inauguration as New York State’s 55th Governor, David Paterson should consider the blueprint of his tri-state neighbor, M. Jodi Rell, Governor of Connecticut. Mrs. Rell was the longtime and longsuffering sidekick to the corrupt Republican megalomaniac, John Rowland, a three term governor. He went to prison having taken kickbacks from contractors doing business with the state.

Mrs. Rell moved quickly and decisively to distance herself from the former governor by endorsing an ethics package of reforms that banned campaign contributions from lobbyists and provided public financing for campaigns. Paterson, if he is smart, will do the same. Governor Spitzer championed limited ethics reform legislation. The crisis will allow Patterson to go much further.

Mrs. Rell established her integrity from the jump, and she gave excellent inaugural and state of the state addresses that branded her as an honest leader worthy of the people’s trust. Moreover, she extended her hand to the other party in a gesture of bipartisanship that won kudos from all. Her approval ratings are the highest on record for a Connecticut governor and she was re-elected in 2006 by a landslide majority.

Paterson, a former State Senator for two decades and Minority Leader of the New York State Senate, is no lightweight. A scion of a political family, his father, Basil Paterson, was a former New York Secretary of State and his son’s predecessor in the New York State Senate. He is well qualified to assume power. Nevertheless, it won’t stop his successor as Lt. Governor, Republican Joe Bruno and a host of others: Mike Bloomberg, Rudy Giuliani, and Andrew Cuomo from trying to knock over a blind man and take his throne.

The Republicans smell blood and are in a feeding frenzy as they consume the carcass of Eliot Spitzer like Sharks on chum. Once he is completely devoured, they’ll start in on Patterson. If Paterson doesn’t move decisively to assert his power and control, he’ll meet the same fate.

One way he could stake out some independence is by abandoning his support of Hillary Clinton. Surely he understands that if he wishes to seek re-election, he must do so with the unanimous support of African Americans. One way to reach blackfolks is by cutting the Empress of Triangulation loose in favor of the man who will be King.

As of this posting, word still hadn’t come from the Governor about a decision regarding resignation. Paterson should use my favorite Jamie Foxx line in “RAY.” Responding to his angry mistress who demanded that he leave his wife for her, Ray says, “You knew what it was before you got into it.” If Paterson still don’t get the answer he wants to hear, he should do as Ray did when a promoter tried to short him on his money: come across the table and whoop dat azz.

Man up. Issue a statement calling for him to resign and take what’s yours. He was man enough to leave the state in your hands to do his ho in peace, why can’t he leave for good, now?