Mental Health Thoughts – Sometimes there is not Enough Money

I have problems, that I cannot solve on my own.

I have a collection of old photos of myself, that either I had taken and they ended up with someone who sent them to me, or people have old photos of me that they took, and also sent to me, I look at these photos and I think to myself, I have no memory of any of these photos.

I used to be young and pretty. As a young gay boy, young and pretty went very far, if you had both of those attributes. Add some alcohol, and like my shrink once told me … Fireworks will happen.

And that was definitely the case, until I hit the trifecta of bad alcoholic decisions. I was young, I was a drunk, I was drinking at 7 am in the morning, and I had sex with two men, one of whom shot that proverbial bullet at me, and it was definitely a direct HIT.

For a while, I was still pretty, until I wasn’t.

As I grew older, I hit several key moments in my life, where I looked in the mirror and said to myself, I really don’t like who’s looking back at me.

The first time, was back in Miami Beach, years ago, when I realized I was looking at my father, and I ran to the nearest hair salon, and went from dark hair to platinum blonde.

That was an expensive, I hate myself realization.

That stage did not last very long, because I could not maintain that luxury. Or that luxury I thought I really needed.

Nowadays, when I look in the mirror, I see myself. I don’t necessarily like the visual looking back at me either. My friends would disagree with me on this. Because none of my sober friends would ever tell me to my face that I had “issues” with my looks.

I have not aged gracefully. And in today’s reality, there is not enough money, nor the insurance, nor medical coverage, to correct my personal “looks” problems.

In the last two years, my tooth issues have brought me to an all time low, in self esteem. And I’ve accepted, however terrible that statement is, that, I may go to my grave, looking the way I do, because One, Quebec insurance does not cover major dental, and Two, There is not an insurance plan available anywhere that will cover the massive work I need done.

So I’ve accepted this truth. A bitter pill to swallow.

Let me tell you, I go to meetings, and see my friends, and I see that look. Some turn their heads when I talk to them, others, just nod.

I know.

Instagram is evil. Bot not as evil as Face Book.

I take pictures of myself for my feed, and I think to myself, why do I torture myself with images of myself? I don’t smile, I won’t smile. I keep my mouth shut, and I quietly hate myself.

Things are becoming clear to me about what I want out of time right now. I know that I won’t settle for second dibs on truth and sobriety. I’m not wasting my time with people who do not see me as equal or valued.

Like I said before, being GAY in a Straight Sober World has its perks, but also has its drawbacks. I know who my friends are, truthfully. They would stand with me at any point, for any reason, at any time.

If I had the money, and I know I don’t, things would be better. But nobody is going to loan me $25,000 for major dental work. And that is the cheapest route I can take, with a dentist I have been seeing for some time now. I mean they’ve removed enough teeth that I have to carefully chew my food, in the rear on the left and in the front on the right, because I don’t have enough teeth to do the job as a whole any longer.

UGH FUCK ME

You know those boutique dentist offices that give you these beautiful pictures of beautiful teeth, will run you over $60,000 for an entire mouthful of pretty teeth. I went to two of those boutique offices over the past six months. I sure as shit cannot afford that kind of cash and no bank in the city is going to front me that kind of dough.

We might have stellar medical systems here, and I want for nothing medically, because I have two of the best doctors in the world, on my speed dial. I can get in if need be, on a moments notice.

Too bad government medical does not cover dental too.

That’s not a high priority for the Quebec or Federal Politicians.

In one breath I hate myself, but out of the other side of my life, I am grateful I am still alive and have the life I do today, and the friend I have as well.

You’d never know how much I hate myself, because I work hard at being genuine to my friends, well as genuine as I can be on any given day.

Money cannot buy everything to make everything better. That is a bitter pill to swallow, but it is the truth. And sometimes there is not enough money to go around to make everything better.

That is the unvarnished truth.

Short Changed …

Do you ever feel shortchanged in life ? Like one is not getting the whole story, or ALL of the TRUTH available ? Do you ever feel like the people you surround yourself with, or had surrounded yourself with were not being completely forthright with you ? Like they had the market on full disclosure and that you were not worthy of that full disclosure ?

Being Gay in a very Straight sober world has its PERKS, but it also has its drawbacks. I’ve been pondering this same truth about myself recently.

I sat with my sponsor the other day, and I shared with him my observations of people in our rooms here. Everything I said to him, about what has been my experience over the last eighteen years, he agreed with me. Because he has seen the same things with his own eyes.

A couple months ago, I changed up my game, and began attending a stand alone, closed men’s meeting, with a handful of men, I know well, and they know me well, because we attend other meetings together, and have been for a very long time.

One of those men, my new sponsor, I really enjoy sitting with him, because every time we sit together he tells me stories about his life. Usually, I leave home on a Wednesday night, uber early, so that I arrive at the hall, early, because I know my sponsor is going to be there. Which is where we began talking a couple of months ago. Talking more that we had been talking because of the spare time we have alone together to chat about life.

I used to hang around a group of long sober men, who, in reality, were not very sober, themselves. I used to go to Vermont with these men for step retreats. Being the only queer man in the sessions, nobody really engaged me honestly, and none of them desired to break bread with me either.

If you cannot break bread with me, I have no use for you.

For all those years, and even before, all my straight sponsors, save, just one, David, never gave me the full truth about alcoholism and The WORK. My step work was always cut short, incomplete.

Last year, when I sat with Noah, I chose to work with him, because I liked what he had to say, every time I heard him speak in a meeting. He knew what he was talking about, every time, with a conviction that was attractive to me. So I asked him to read me through The Book and The WORK.

I knew his sponsor, and he IS a no nonsense human being, who tells it like it is, every time, without fail. I loved that about him. So I knew Noah, got the very same truth, he would tell everybody else.

It was the first time, in all of my years sober, that someone told me the truth, and worked me through a full set of The WORK. He made me think, he asked me hard questions, and pushed me to grow up.

You can learn from many people in the rooms, no matter how long they are sober, if you listen well to them share, and you know just who they, themselves are working with.

I heard a lady share tonight, that “Sobriety, is cumulative. It is not just one thing that you do that makes the difference, it is all its constituent parts that make up the whole experience.”

She is right.

I read, A Lot. I pray as well. I read spiritual literature. I read The Book, and I work with others. I go to meetings, I do service. I do everything that was taught to me since the day I walked into my first home group here in Montreal. And I’ve been able to carry forwards that ritual work for all my years in sobriety. I still do the same thing I did eighteen years ago.

I make COFFEE !

I make coffee because I can get there as early as I want. Usually a hour or two prior to the first human being arriving. Because I know that if I build in that time, I usually get to have a one on one conversation with the first person who arrives as we drink our first cups of freshly perked coffee.

I got to have one of those conversations tonight, and it was fruitful.

The men I know, in the men’s meeting, tell me the truth. They are honest with me, because I try to be honest myself. I learn how to be sober, by doing what good sober people do. Good sober men are few.

There is a difference.

I know what I know today. And I know what I want for my sobriety now. Having thought about it over the past week or so. I’m tired of being short changed by men who think they are sober, but won’t tell the truth or give me all the facts, or give me true sober work.

I know what’s in the book. I’ve read it several times over. I’ve changed up my game enough to give me access to new men and women. Most importantly, the men at that men’s meeting on Wednesday.

If you feel like your sobriety has been short changed, there is a solution.

You just gotta do the footwork and find a meeting where there are long sober men and women who will tell you the truth.

I’ve been GAY a very long time. And I know most uber straight men don’t want anything to do with me, and I know that, by what they do, and what they don’t do, in front of me. If you have to overcompensate, and constantly piss in front of me and tell me how big your dick is, I don’t have any use for you.

My sponsor agreed with me on this the other day.

Even my Gay brothers in the rooms want nothing to do with me. Is it my backstory or that I am not a gay like them? I will never grow up to be a fumpy old gay man. I don’t dress like them, I don’t act like them, and i sure as shit don’t want whatever it is they have.

I sat in a room with all of them for fourteen months reading the Big Book, during the hardest emotional bottom I’ve ever experienced in sobriety yet. And in all that time, not one gay or straight man or woman, ever walked up to me and said …

I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL, LET ME TELL YOU HOW I DEALT WITH THAT.

These are the the most important life saving words an alcoholic has, because we have back stories. Experiences. Life Experience. In all its forms.

I’ve NEVER heard these words come out of ANY sober mouth, anywhere in this city, in ALL of my sobriety.

That is a shame.

Because it took a lady from New York to come here, talk to us, and share those words with us.

I won’t be sort changed any longer.

Truth

When we were kids, what was the one thing our parents told us, that was the most important idea ? Always tell the truth.

Growing up, I told the truth. Sometimes at my own peril. I learned early on, just How Much Truth, to let loose. When alcohol entered the picture, truth and all those other necessary ideas of honesty, went out the window.

Tonight I heard what happens, when you cannot tell another lie, to cover up all the lies you had already spoken, and the world caves in on you.

There is something I cannot wrap my brain around today.

Why are people so averse to telling the truth and also, hearing the truth?

Why are people so hell bent to shut you up and walk away from friendships and relationships, because you tell the truth ?

I’ve been sober a long time now. And I’ve seen a great many things over time, and I’ve also heard many things in many places. I had this conversation with a couple of friends tonight.

I’ve said, in an earlier post, that the train of thought in our rooms is this:

Feel Nothing, Say Nothing, Do Nothing.

God forbid, I speak a feeling in open community ! God forbid, I loose my cool, or even slightly raise my voice in a public setting. An Heaven Forbid, I tell the TRUTH, in front of my friends.

Over the past few years, I’ve learned about vulnerability, guilt and shame, from the Master Teacher Brene Brown. Vulnerability is not a liability, it is an Asset. And I live by that thought today.

We go about our lives, listening to people, tell us to just shut up. Listen to people tell us, that to openly feel an emotion in the general public is not advised. To the point, we become a Vulcan.

Say Nothing, Feel Nothing, Do Nothing.

Like I said before, I am not a robot.

If someone upsets me, I feel an emotion. In sobriety, the book tells us that “Acceptance is the key to all of my problems.” And that to admit that I am Powerless over People, Places, and Things, is the first thing I need to know before I open my mouth and say anything.

The book also says that “If I have a problem with somebody else, that in reality, the problem exists within me.”

Which means, SUCK IT UP BUTTERCUP.

You’re not supposed to say that someone upset you, because you are your own problem. You are not supposed to be resentful at all, because an alcoholic’s worst adversary is an unjustified resentment.

That we aren’t supposed to get angry, If we’ve read the book, and worked our steps and we are OH SO SOBER !

We all have feelings. And to just sit back and listen to people read these passages from the book ad nauseum, turns my stomach. Because I cannot ignore my feelings any longer. And I am not just going to:

SUCK IT UP BUTTERCUP, and KEEP YOUR MOUTH SHUT !!

Why are people so afraid of the truth ? And why is it such a sin to speak the truth when the necessity of speaking said truth arises?

I see, and I listen, and I watch. I remarked also tonight, that over as many years, I hit meetings, and listen to the reading and I share whatever it is on my mind, on any given night.

And I wait, for Someone, Anyone to challenge me, to tell me to keep my mouth shut, or maybe I am not so sober, if I am having a reaction to someone or something.

The implied silence rule still applies. Say Nothing, Feel Nothing, Do Nothing.

None of my peers would ever break protocol and challenge me. Not one Old Timer has the balls to call me on the carpet or even say something like, you’re talking bullshit, or maybe:

I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL, LET ME TELL YOU HOW I DEALT WITH THAT!

I’ve never heard ANY of my friends, fellows or any old timer, for that matter, say this particular phrase to me or anyone else around me.

My best friend pissed me off. I sat on my resentment for weeks, until two nights ago, I wrote him a letter, and told him the truth. And tonight, two nights later, he has not a word for me, sideways.

He’s gonna walk away because I told him the truth. The last time I was in a situation where I was on the emotional bubble, and I spoke a truth, all of my friends, and ALL of my sponsees ran for the hills, and never spoke to me again. Because I was feeling in open community. Because I had an emotional reaction to being over worked, stressed, and tired.

Yes, I think we can be overworked, stressed, and tired. Making seven meetings a week, for months on end, doing all the work to keep an entire fellowship floating, takes a toll on you after 4 months of doing all the jobs IN a meeting, while everyone else is away on Summer Vacation. And needing people to step up and assume responsibility, is not a lot to ask for, in my opinion.

We get sober. We learn how to live soberly. We learn how to deal with life on life’s terms, and we learn how to tell the truth.

The proviso: DO NOT BE Vulnerable. DO NOT say anything, and for God’s sake NEVER tell the truth to your friends. And never tell the truth in a meeting, because like to old adage go …

YOU CAN’T HANDLE THE TRUTH.

How true those words are in today’s climate of lies and untruths.

Fuck me for being Honest.

I just don’t understand, and I wish someone would explain this to me in language I can understand.

Because I don’t lie to my friends, let alone my hubby.

At least that is a Sober Act.

Seasonal Changes

The weather has been stellar over the past few days. Stellar enough to crate the winter gear, and closet the winter coats. I’ve changed up my wardrobe, and ordered some new clothes suitable for warmer weather.

My usual train of thought is this … Everything I buy, clothes wise, needs to be suitable to wear all year round, meaning, I don’t change up many things seeing I have been in sport mode for a couple of years now. So if I buy it, I need to be able to make it work, in four seasons.

I’ve amended that worry, and have invested in clothing that will work in Spring, Summer, and Fall. It’s all good.

With the weather getting warmer, the season of the terrace begins furiously. The sooner a bar or restaurant can roll out its terrace, outside, the better. That means more shift work for wait staff, more business for the location, and options to sit outside and eat and drink.

There is the rub …

Alcoholics are seasonal creatures. And tonight, I spoke the warning to my Tuesday group. Seasonal sober people are legion. Those who come in late in the year, in the Fall or towards the Winter, make it through maybe a couple of seasons.

As Fall turns to Winter, folks will triangulate the time they spend above ground, from Home to any particular meeting, because the colder it gets outside, and the depth of snow on the ground, dictates who will venture out into the cold, and for how long, to reach their desired destination.

In the Winter months, attendance numbers drops drastically. There are two groups. Those who decide to shelter in place, and hibernate for the entire Winter, and those intrepid souls who do come out, in any weather, because their sobrieties depend on making meetings, all year round.

I’ve been sitting in one particular meeting for eighteen years. And have seen a lot of things take place in front of me. And I said so much tonight. Our ladies, think me sexist and making obvious derogatory remarks about women, but the truth is harder than fiction.

I know, for a fact, who made it, and who did not. I know, for a fact who drank again, and who did not. Sit in a room for eighteen years, and you will see what I have seen and can attest to this line of truth for yourself.

As soon as it warms up and the terraces open, on the very first good day to ride ones bike through Montreal, it happens, like clockwork.

Many of my women I speak about fall into the trap, like clock work. They ride their bike, and after a bit, they get thirsty. They roll up to a terrace, park their bikes, take a seat … AND DRINK AGAIN !!!

I said this tonight, and one young lady said out loud that she indeed was a woman, feeling insecure and anxious, about the terraces outside and spoke those words … I want to drink again.

She heard me make the warning. Then she walked out of the meeting before the meeting ended. The rest is up to her higher power.

Seasons …

I am once again, learning the hard lesson that not everybody is meant to be in your life, for the rest of your life, or just for a season. Being a male who is vulnerable, in the rooms, is detrimental to relationships. Because not all people are willing to see themselves, or you for that matter, in all their vulnerability.

I live a sober life, to the best of my ability. But I have my limits of sucking it up and being a trooper and not letting life, as it happens, affect me outwardly. Like I said, I have my limits. I just cannot sit on my emotions and allow them to eat me from the inside out. I might not say too much about that when that happens.

When I am displeased, I try, to say very little. And if I do speak, the message is usually clear. My friends do not like me when I am truthful. People would rather me sit in a room, and go through my life, like SPOK. Be a Vulcan who feels nothing, says nothing, and does nothing, but be a robot who is placid, quiet and in control at all times.

I’m not a robot.

And now I am paying the price for being human. I did not agree with a certain decision, made by someone I loved dearly. I did not say enough to make my point, but kept my counsel to myself. Which has initiated a game of chicken.

Take two sober people. One goes to meetings, works steps, works with others, and does THE WORK. The other, does none of the listed work. I just wrote down. One sober, One a Dry Drunk.

At some point our character defects are going to go head to head. That is where we are right now. Playing chicken with silence.

I hate silence. I think that is the greatest punishment you can heap on another human being. My family did that to me until my father went to his grave in silence. It has taken me more than a year, post death, to finally come around and talk to him, I do that quite often these days.

That is a thing …

The trend of people who walk away, because I have an emotional response to outside stimuli is growing. People cannot cope with their friends being vulnerable. Because for the longest time, the silent understanding in the rooms here is … feel nothing, say nothing, do nothing.

That all changed for me when I hit the hardest emotional bottom in sobriety I had ever hit to date. I had nowhere else to go, but to cope with my emotions, sitting in a meeting, while everybody else just watched me crackle and fall apart. Not one soul said those words to me …

I KNOW HOW YOU FEEL, LET ME TELL YOU HOW I DEAL WITH THAT.

I’ve only heard these words spoken by one human, Lorna, God rest her soul. Not everybody who heard her tell that specific story at a round up, heard her.

Sometimes I hate sobriety, because I try to navigate pain the best way I know how. I make it most of the time, but at other times, I am just knuckling it badly.

More to come.

James Comey: How Trump Co-opts Leaders Like Bill Barr

New York Times Op- Ed, James Comey May 1, 2019

People have been asking me hard questions. What happened to the leaders in the Trump administration, especially the attorney general, Bill Barr, who I have said was due the benefit of the doubt?

How could Mr. Barr, a bright and accomplished lawyer, start channeling the president in using words like “no collusion” and F.B.I. “spying”? And downplaying acts of obstruction of justice as products of the president’s being “frustrated and angry,” something he would never say to justify the thousands of crimes prosecuted every day that are the product of frustration and anger?

How could he write and say things about the report by Robert Mueller, the special counsel, that were apparently so misleading that they prompted written protest from the special counsel himself?

How could Mr. Barr go before the Senate Judiciary Committee on Wednesday and downplay President Trump’s attempt to fire Mr. Mueller before he completed his work?

And how could Rod Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, after the release of Mr. Mueller’s report that detailed Mr. Trump’s determined efforts to obstruct justice, give a speech quoting the president on the importance of the rule of law? Or on resigning, thank a president who relentlessly attacked both him and the Department of Justice he led for “the courtesy and humor you often display in our personal conversations”?

What happened to these people?

I don’t know for sure. People are complicated, so the answer is most likely complicated. But I have some idea from four months of working close to Mr. Trump and many more months of watching him shape others.

Amoral leaders have a way of revealing the character of those around them. Sometimes what they reveal is inspiring. For example, James Mattis, the former secretary of defense, resigned over principle, a concept so alien to Mr. Trump that it took days for the president to realize what had happened, before he could start lying about the man.

But more often, proximity to an amoral leader reveals something depressing. I think that’s at least part of what we’ve seen with Bill Barr and Rod Rosenstein. Accomplished people lacking inner strength can’t resist the compromises necessary to survive Mr. Trump and that adds up to something they will never recover from. It takes character like Mr. Mattis’s to avoid the damage, because Mr. Trump eats your soul in small bites.

It starts with your sitting silent while he lies, both in public and private, making you complicit by your silence. In meetings with him, his assertions about what “everyone thinks” and what is “obviously true” wash over you, unchallenged, as they did at our private dinner on Jan. 27, 2017, because he’s the president and he rarely stops talking. As a result, Mr. Trump pulls all of those present into a silent circle of assent.

Speaking rapid-fire with no spot for others to jump into the conversation, Mr. Trump makes everyone a co-conspirator to his preferred set of facts, or delusions. I have felt it — this president building with his words a web of alternative reality and busily wrapping it around all of us in the room.

I must have agreed that he had the largest inauguration crowd in history because I didn’t challenge that. Everyone must agree that he has been treated very unfairly. The web building never stops.

From the private circle of assent, it moves to public displays of personal fealty at places like cabinet meetings. While the entire world is watching, you do what everyone else around the table does — you talk about how amazing the leader is and what an honor it is to be associated with him.

Sure, you notice that Mr. Mattis never actually praises the president, always speaking instead of the honor of representing the men and women of our military. But he’s a special case, right? Former Marine general and all. No way the rest of us could get away with that. So you praise, while the world watches, and the web gets tighter.

Next comes Mr. Trump attacking institutions and values you hold dear — things you have always said must be protected and which you criticized past leaders for not supporting strongly enough. Yet you are silent. Because, after all, what are you supposed to say? He’s the president of the United States.

You feel this happening. It bothers you, at least to some extent. But his outrageous conduct convinces you that you simply must stay, to preserve and protect the people and institutions and values you hold dear. Along with Republican members of Congress, you tell yourself you are too important for this nation to lose, especially now.

You can’t say this out loud — maybe not even to your family — but in a time of emergency, with the nation led by a deeply unethical person, this will be your contribution, your personal sacrifice for America. You are smarter than Donald Trump, and you are playing a long game for your country, so you can pull it off where lesser leaders have failed and gotten fired by tweet.

Of course, to stay, you must be seen as on his team, so you make further compromises. You use his language, praise his leadership, tout his commitment to values.

And then you are lost. He has eaten your soul.

James Comey is the former F.B.I. director and author of “A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership.”

Mueller report: Eight things we only just learned

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation paints a decidedly mixed picture of President Donald Trump’s conduct, that provides ample fodder for either side of the political divide.

The 448-page report on alleged Russian interference in the 2016 US election confirmed what Mr Trump has insisted on from the outset: there was no collusion.

The inquiry also built an extensive obstruction-of-justice case against the Republican president, though it stopped short of concluding he committed a crime.

While there was no immediate “smoking gun” to trigger impeachment proceedings, Democrats said the report had plenty of ammunition to keep up congressional scrutiny of Mr Trump.

‘This is the end of my presidency’

The report details the president’s expletive-filled horror as he learned that a special counsel was being appointed in May 2017.

According to the Mueller report, when then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions told the president about the coming inquiry, he replied: “Oh my god. This is terrible. This is the end of my presidency.” I’m FUCKED !!!

Mr Trump added: “Everyone tells me if you get one of these independent counsels, it ruins your presidency. It takes years and years and I won’t be able to do anything. This is the worst thing that ever happened to me.”

‘Mueller has to go’

The Mueller report details how in June 2017, the president called White House counsel Donald McGahn at home from Camp David and ordered him to have the special counsel removed.

On a second call, Mr McGahn said the president stepped up the pressure, saying: “Call Rod [Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein], tell Rod that Mueller has conflicts and can’t be the Special Counsel”, and “Mueller has to go” and “Call me back when you do it.”

Mr McGahn was so upset by the interference that he threatened to quit rather than participate in what he predicted would be a Nixon-style “Saturday Night Massacre”.

After media reports in January 2018 revealed Mr Trump’s attempts to have Mr Mueller removed, one of the president’s lawyers made contact with Mr McGahn, asking him to publicly deny the reports. But McGahn, through his attorney, refused.

No collusion

The report found there were a number of contacts between members of Trump’s circle and Russia, and the campaign “expected it would benefit electorally from information stolen and released through Russian efforts”.

The Trump team also “showed interest” in the Wikileaks release of hacked emails and “welcomed their potential to damage” Hillary Clinton. Unpatriotic and immoral, Democrats say. But the Mueller team makes clear it did not amount to a criminal conspiracy.

“The Russian contacts consisted of business connections, offers of assistance to the campaign, invitations for candidate Trump and [Russian President Vladimir] Putin to meet in person, invitations for campaign officials and representatives of the Russian government to meet, and policy positions seeking improved US-Russian relations.

“While the investigation identified numerous links between individuals with ties to the Russian government and individuals associated with the Trump campaign, the evidence was not sufficient to support criminal charges.

But no vindication on obstruction

On potential obstruction of justice, the Mueller report is far from the “total exoneration” claimed by Mr Trump during a victory lap last month.

The report ultimately concludes: “Unlike cases in which a subject engages in obstruction of justice to cover up a crime, the evidence we obtained did not establish that the President was involved in an underlying crime related to Russian election interference.”

But it also pointedly notes:

“If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the President clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and the applicable legal standards, however, we are unable to reach that judgment. The evidence we obtained about the President’s actions and intent presents difficult issues that prevent us from conclusively determining that no criminal conduct occurred.”

While the report acknowledges a sitting president cannot be indicted, it also mentions Congress’ ability to investigate and potentially impeach him.

It says: “Congress may apply the obstruction laws to the President’s corrupt exercise of the powers of office accords with our constitutional system of checks and balances and the principle that no person is above the law.”

How else Trump tried to influence inquiry

The report cites 10 instances that were investigated as potential obstruction by Mr Trump.

Most have already been well documented, such as Mr Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey.

But the findings also validate past US media reports that were denied at the time by the White House.

When Mr Trump learned the media was asking questions about a June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower between senior campaign officials, including Donald Trump Jr, and a Russian lawyer who was said to be promising “dirt” on Hillary Clinton, the president crafted a misleading response, says the report:

“Before the emails became public, the President edited a press statement for Trump Jr by deleting a line that acknowledged that the meeting was with ‘an individual who [Trump Jr] was told might have information helpful to the campaign’ and instead said only that the meeting was about adoptions of Russian children.”

Mr Trump also asked former campaign manager Corey Lewandowski to get Attorney General Jeff Sessions to announce publicly that the investigation was “very unfair” and Mr Trump had done nothing wrong, says the report.

After Jeff Sessions recused himself from the Russia investigation, leaving an enraged Mr Trump feeling that he was losing control of the inquiry, the president pressed his attorney general that if he would only “unrecuse” himself he would be the “hero”.

Refusal to ‘carry out orders’

The Mueller report found that potential obstruction of justice by the president only failed because members of his administration refused to “carry out orders”, including former FBI Director James Comey, former White House counsel Don McGahn and former campaign manager Corey Lewandowksi.

In one unflattering passage, the document says:

“The President’s efforts to influence the investigation were mostly unsuccessful, but that is largely because the persons who surrounded the President declined to carry out orders or accede to his requests. Comey did not end the investigation of Flynn, which ultimately resulted in Flynn’s prosecution and conviction for lying to the FBI. McGahn did not tell the Acting Attorney General that the Special Counsel must be removed, but was instead prepared to resign over the President’s order. Lewandowski and Dearborn did not deliver the President’s message to Sessions that he should confine the Russia investigation to future election meddling only. And McGahn refused to recede from his recollections about events surrounding the President’s direction to have the Special Counsel removed, despite the President’s multiple demands that he do so. Consistent with that pattern, the evidence we obtained would not support potential obstruction charges against the President’s aides and associates beyond those already filed.”

‘Inadequate written answers’

Close followers of the Mueller saga may recall that in January 2018 at the White House, President Trump told reporters that he was “looking forward” to sitting down for an interview with Mr Mueller, that he would “love to do that as soon as possible”, and boasted he would do so under oath.

But in the event, the report notes, “after more than a year of discussion, the President declined to be interviewed”.

He agreed to submit written answers to the special counsel’s questions to Russia-related matters, but declined to “provide written answers to questions on obstruction topics or questions on events during his transition”, the report notes.

The Mueller report states: “Recognizing that the President would not be interviewed voluntarily, we considered whether to subpoena for his testimony. We viewed his written answers to be inadequate.”

But the Mueller team said they ultimately decided not to subpoena Mr Trump because of the likelihood of litigation would cause a substantial delay at a late stage in the inquiry.

Why Sessions, Trump Jr and Kushner weren’t prosecuted

The Mueller team did not indict then-Attorney General Jeff Sessions for perjury to Congress when he wrongly testified that he had no contact with Russians during the campaign because of the inexact wording of the questions, according to the report.

“The evidence is not sufficient to prove that Sessions gave knowingly false answers to Russia-related questions in light of the wording and context of those questions,” the report says.

It also makes clear Donald Trump Jr, Jared Kushner and other campaign staff were on legally thin ice with their June 2016 meeting at Trump Tower with a Russian lawyer.

The Mueller team says they declined to prosecute the president’s eldest son and son-in-law for campaign finance violations because they couldn’t prove they had “wilfully” violated the law.

The Catholic Church’s Dirty Little Secret …

St. John Vianney College Seminary Miami Florida

In the years 1986 – 1987, I spent that year, in a college seminary in Miami. The sainted priests of my home parish really thought I had a calling to the priesthood. They worked very hard at my formation prior to entering the seminary. Altar Boy, Eucharistic Minister, so forth and so on.

I loved the Pastor, Priests, and the many other people who served my parish so dutifully and loyally. We were a family. And I was safe. When I needed help the most, in my most desperate hours of illness, after I was diagnosed, the men of my parish really stepped up their games for me.

I really had nothing to loose, entering the seminary. My parents were going to get rid of me, and not have me under their roof any longer, that was good for all of us. I would no longer be abused mercilessly, but on the down side, I would have no support from home, except the parish priests.

I was two years out of high school, having completed a year’s scholarship at the community college. But I was destined for greater things.

I took all my tests and psychological exams. And I guess I passed well, because I was in, that fall. It was a learning curve for sure. The residence was located above classrooms of the main building, with double occupancy, Murphy bedded rooms. You were not alone at any point, unless your room mate was in class or off campus.

A retinue of priests were housed in the building with us, on each end of the building. And it seemed all was well, but something was just not right, all around.

I had not come out of the closet, because I figured that If I made it, I wasn’t going to have to worry about my sexuality because I would be serving Holy Mother Church. Not that being gay was top of mind, because it really wasn’t. I had eyes into ministry and I was singularly focused.

The other odd thing was that many GAY priests, and priests who had been diagnosed with AIDS, or had other parish issues, were sent to our school, to either teach, or be in ministry positions to the class in residence, and say mass every day and on Sunday.

Gay WAS a thing. It DID exist. Right in front of me. Nobody talked about it, but it was clear and out in the open, if you knew to look for tell tale signs of homosexuality. I had pretty good GAYDAR then.

There were three Catholic institutions that were located on a plot of land, who shared common outside space and school precincts. There was Christopher Columbus Boys High School, St. Brendan’s across the green space from our buildings. And the Seminary.

Out back of the three sites were baseball, and soccer fields. A communal pool, that was fenced in, and a perimeter road that circled the high school and the seminary grounds. We spent nights after dinner walking that circle, night after night.

I knew, after while, which of my classmates were gay. That was pretty apparent to me, at least, yet I asked no questions. EVER.

It was common knowledge that gay priests were in residence with us, and nobody batted an eye over that. The first rector of the institution had issues with the drink, and they sent him away to rehab. Which incensed me to no end, and I lobbied long and hard to get him back.

He was replaced with a papal wannabe Rector Andy Anderson, who thought himself Divine. And pranced around and acted like he WAS the pope, when he was in public and when he said mass. I hated Andy Anderson with every fiber of my being. I hated his sanctimonious attitude and his pride and arrogance as a priest.

HATED HIM !!!

Several of my classmates were sanctimonious pop tarts who walked around like they were above everyone else. Many years later, MANY years later, I turned on the tv once, and saw, one of my sanctimonious classmates saying mass on television. I was revolted for sure.

During the day and on Friday we had assigned chores every week, like mowing the grass on the quad, cleaning the house and the chapel, and odds and ends jobs.

One of the jobs we had during the day was serving the high school next door to the seminary, since we shared common space and their cafeteria. We served lunches and took care of the cafeteria. But I noticed that several of my upper classmates were passing notes to many of the boys as they came through the lunch line.

It was not kosher at all …

One night as I walked the quad after dinner one evening, I was behind the school, walking past the baseball dug outs and IN the dug out were several of my classmates having sex with kids from the school next door.

I averted my eyes so as not to notice, and kept walking. I was sure, I had seen what I had seen. Not long after that incident, I was approached by several of my classmates who made it perfectly clear to me that I should never tell anyone what I saw. They confirmed to me what it was that I did see, by telling me to shut up and keep quiet.

Or I would pay a price.

Each week we had spiritual direction, with a certain priest we had chosen to see on a regular basis. And I kid you not, it was like sitting in front of an inquisitor. The first question, every time I sat with my spiritual director was this … “Did you touch yourself this week, and how many times did you touch yourself ?”

Spiritual direction took a backseat when it came to sexual information.

Now, even if I had masturbated whenever I could get away with it, I’m not saying I did or I didn’t … I wasn’t going to give that priest the sexual satisfaction of hearing about “If I touched myself, and how many times I did so.” In essence, I lied to his face …

And I think to myself, you know, “Masturbation is a far lesser sin, then fucking kids in the dug out out back of the school after dark.”

But I didn’t ever say that to anyone.

Many years would pass, after my unceremonious expulsion from the seminary in the Spring of 1987. I was told by Rector Andy Anderson, that I was not ONE OF THEM, and that I did not pass my yearly review as a seminarian, so I had to go.

That unceremonious expulsion sent me on a tirade about God. I was terribly angry at God for a long time. I had later come out of the closet and was at one of the major gay watering holes in Miami one night, when five of my classmates walked into the bar, and hung out and drank and cruised like the other gays in the building.

But They Were Seminarians, Still in Formation at the College.

The Church today is facing the biggest problem of its life. Sexual abuse in the church by priests. They used to say that a homosexual man could not be ordained into the priesthood. After I left the seminary, they purged, or attempted to purge homosexuality out of seminary life.

I don’t think they succeeded.

Because when I was in that seminary, most every single priest in residence was GAY, or had AIDS and was GAY. And half of my classmates were GAY.

Over that year we hosted two retreats for prospective men who wanted to come into the seminary. A couple of them made it in, but after helping them unpack and sort themselves out, I knew it would not work for them, and they later were dismissed.

I NEVER had a gay issues in my home parish and the men and the priests who served my home parish were upstanding, respectable men with integrity and morals. All of them, were great men to me. I would never speak a bad word about any priest I knew growing up.

It wasn’t until I hit seminary that that all changed for the worse.

I studied Religion and Theology at Concordia University here in Montreal, and one of our Monsignors was one of my instructors. At the end of term I had to write a 40 page prospectus. I wrote on the care of the LGBTQ community, and how the church could facilitate that. He then offered me a place to work in the diocese when I graduated.

I did not get the job, and the offer was rescinded.

Because I was GAY.

The church is not perfect, by any stretch. And Gays, do exist in the church today and priestly abuse is a FACT, which the church has turned a blind eye to for decades and decades. Because of the culture of silence and coverups, by the highest men in the curia and the papal offices.

Decrees can come from Rome by the hour, but the farther you are removed from the center of power, the more diluted the order and the less the orders can be enforced by local Bishops and clergy. The farther you get from Rome, the Bishops around the world control the diocese they administer.

The farther away Bishops are, take more latitude in enforcing Papal decrees and laws. What happens in Rome, does not necessarily happen in North America or Latin America, or in any other far flung location, removed from the seat of Holy Mother Church.

We know who were abused, we hear about it very often. Pope Francis needs to be decisive and stern and certain with punishment and prosecution.

There is no room for men of the cloth who abuse boys and girls.

That is abominable.

And God Wept …