Point of View Columns

He Said. She Said. We Said.

It should come as no surprise that a president who has credible sexual assault accusations in the double digits would, in his haste to select a right wing of the right wing justice to the Supreme Court, end up selecting a candidate with sexual assault accusations in the mere single digits. We can be sure that in Trump World, Brett Kavanaugh is an altar boy in comparison to Donald Tinyhands.

As we watch the made-for-t.v. soap opera featuring Kavanaugh and Dr. Christine Blasey Ford play out on smartphones and television screens and computer monitors throughout the country we can become distracted by the opera and miss the real story. We may never know the entire truth about Brett Kavanaugh and Dr. Ford, but anyone who has traveled the elite prep school/Ivy League universe knows that her story is not implausible. The boys to men story in these institutions features behavior that ranges from puerile to criminal. And when these boys become men they become corporate titans, bank executives, high powered lawyers, Midas-like investment bankers and, Congressmen, governors, presidents and……..judges.

But while the nation ponders the He Said/She Said conundrum, it is barely noticed that Trump is seeking to appoint a beast of a conservative to the Supreme Court. Kavanaugh’s views on women’s rights, civil rights, environmental issues and executive privilege would make Antonin Scalia proud, but he will wreak havoc on this country for a quarter of a century if he makes it to the Supreme Court.

And short of him being the featured star in a video involving a menagerie of farm animals, the Republican majority in the Senate will allow this judicial beast to roam the halls of the Supreme Court for the rest of his life. Even if that means that during his lifetime Kavanaugh will do all that he can to make lives miserable for millions of Americans. And he will also serve as the poster boy for why voting matters. And for all the men and women who sat out the 2016 election, or voted for Bernie or Trump or Howdy Doody because they didn’t “like” Hillary, now they can only look back in sorrow at the horrific consequences of their error.

Meanwhile, we see the Teapublican white males who populate the majority of the Senate Judiciary Committee pontificating on the horror, the horror, of even accusing Kavanaugh of sordid behavior, only giving the appearance of concern for Dr. Ford. One would think that after the recent revelations of sexual misconduct in corporations, movie studios, the Catholic Church and Congress, Dr. Ford’s claims should not be dismissed without a full investigation. Yet there is this rush to confirmation that reflects a Republican-imposed timeline.

And we are supposed to ignore the fact that in 2016 the Republicans erased any semblance of a timeline when President Obama nominated Merrick Garland for the Supreme Court. In that case, of course the nominee did not even get a hearing, much less a vote, but now, even the delay of a week to allow for a full investigation of Dr. Ford’s claims is unthinkable. And the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote to confirm Kavanaugh as soon as day breaks.

Clearly hypocrisy is best kept in the dark along with Brett Kavanaugh’s secrets.

Point of View Columns

The Only Thing We Have to Fear is Fear

In 1933, in an effort to raise the spirits of an America that was in the seeming death spiral of the Great Depression, then President Franklin Roosevelt stated, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself”. Having read “Fear”, Bob Woodward’s epic account of the chaos in the Trump White House it is now appropriate to say that we actually have to fear is fear.

There is no doubt that Donald Trump is an agent of chaos. It may also be true that Trump is a punishment visited upon America for all of its collective sins. What is undeniable is that his disruption and attempts at destruction of American institutions is more dangerous than all of his foul rhetoric and dismaying disregard for anything resembling the truth. To be clear – the man lies….all the time, every day, every time that he opens his mouth or tweets his latest institutional obscenity. But that aspect of the Trump terror is not what we should fear the most.

There is this prevailing notion that the possibly mythical “Blue Wave” will cleanse this nation of the Stain of Trump in the November 2018 midterm elections. And in any event, so the thinking goes, there is no way that Trump will be reelected in 2020 and his successor will right all of his wrongs and wash away the trash and garbage that characterizes his presidency.

That kind of thinking is reflective of the kind of distraction that has allowed Trump to wreak such horrific damage to the environment, social justice, immigration equity, foreign relations, criminal justice and healthcare in the first place. The notion that a new Congress or a new president will be able to right the Trump wrongs is a dangerous misperception and diminishes the understanding that the time to resist Trump and all that he stands for his today, every day – and at the rate Trump is going, that will not be enough.

Take the Environmental Protection Agency as an example. The EPA has, over the last 18 months embarked on a campaign to roll back, diminish or eliminate literally hundreds of rules and regulations that protect the air we breathe, the water we drink, the national park lands that we treasure and the health of millions of Americans. The sludge that is flowing into rivers, the mining that is taking place in former national park lands, the lead that is being consumed by children as you read these words, cannot be reversed by a new EPA director in another 18 months. The damage is real. The harm is in many ways irreversible for today’s victims. And all the while we watch in horror as Trump lurches from obscenity to tragedy to horror show.

Take the Department of Justice as another example. The successful efforts by the Session DOJ to increase incarceration penalties for various offenders means that as you are reading these words there are thousands upon thousands of Americans (and their families) whose lives are being ruined by such draconian measures. And a new President, a new Attorney General, a new Congress, will have an uphill battle to reverse these tragic consequences.

It is important to vote in November. It is important for Democrats, Progressives and any Americans who truly care about something more than tax cuts and bully talk to find a way to reclaim the federal government apparatus that has been hijacked by Trump and his feckless enablers.

But is it truly important to realize that whatever happens in November 2018 or November 2020 the damage has already been done. The damage is real. And while that damage is reversible there will be no miracles as the planet is fresh out of magic wands.

Any commitment to change needs to be a commitment to a lifetime of change. That is only answer to the Fear that is Trump.

Point of View Columns

The Beginning of the Beginning of the End

It is said that hope springs eternal. In the Time of Trump it is most certain that hope is the sustaining force that will ultimately prevail. Nevertheless, there are those who find hope in the most recent current events. The epic failure of even basic human character that Trump displayed in disrespecting John McCain – even in death, the publication of Robert Woodward’s revelation of the chaos that is the Trump White House and even the now famous Anonymous  Resistance Op-ed in the New York Times all speak to the imminent demise of Donald Tinyhands. But is this just a matter of  time or a matter of wishful thinking?

Taking these items in their totality, there is reason for the hopeless to have hoped that the nightmare that is Trump might finally be coming to an end. But this is where caution and clear thinking are most important. It is true that President Trump did all that he could to disrespect John McCain during his storied and legendary life. But even those who objected to and opposed McCain’s political points of view had to be offended when that serial draft dodger named Trump said that this war hero prisoner of war was not a hero. Nevertheless that serial draft dodger was elected president with many of his supporters being veterans who otherwise honored McCain’s heroism.

When John McCain realized that he was terminally ill he planned his own funeral and memorial ceremonies and specifically refused to invite Donald Trump to participate. And then, once again acting in the role of Toddler-In-Chief, Trump only ordered American flags to be flown at half-staff for a day, finally relenting to have flags flown at half-staff for McCain’s funeral and burial after a firestorm of criticism. But like a summer storm, that criticism has dissipated and moved over the horizon of memory.

And then advance copies of Fear, written by two-time Pulitzer Prize winner Robert Woodward, appeared and the chaos and craziness that is the Trump White House made itself known to the general public – again. Trump called Woodward an “idiot” which will go down in history as the blackest pot calling any kind of a kettle black. Trump claimed that the contents of the book in which his most senior officials refer to him as an “idiot” and “retarded” were nothing but lies. But the melody that is in Fear sounds too familiar to be false.

And then “Anonymous” writes an Op-Ed column in the New York Times and reveals that everything in Fear and Fire and Fury and Unhinged and all the of the rest of the Trump tell-all books and basically confirms that the Trump White House would make Bedlam seem like a monastic retreat. And yet, through all of these “revelations” the support of the Trump base remains rock-solid and the so-called resistance remains dispersed and unfocused. Which leads one to believe that despite the fondest wishes of every one outside of the Trump base, if the presidential election were to be held of October 1, 2018, Donald Trump would be re-elected president? After all, how can Nobody beat Trump?

And so, while many might hope and wish that recent events are the forerunner of the beginning of the beginning of the end of Trump, unless and until the resistance to Trump gets serious about ridding this nation of this unprecedented menace, the Trump Era is going to continue, much to the shame of this nation.