I Stand With Nancy!

There is a growing clamor among Democratic ranks to begin Impeachment proceedings against Donald J Trump. And now a lone Republican member of the House – Representative Justin Amash of Michigan – says he believes the president has, indeed, committed impeachable offenses and should be held to account through the Constitutional Impeachment process.

I think Speaker Nancy Pelosi is right that to do so is a bad idea.

Why, because I don’t agree that Trump deserves by his conduct to be removed from office? Far from it. He has so disgraced the presidency and himself that a  catalogue of his crimes and failings would require hours to recite. Moreover, Trump presents a mortal danger to our Country that until recently has been the leader and envy of the world.

No, Impeachment is a bad idea for practical reasons. If the goal is to remove Trump from the Oval Office, the Impeachment process would at this point in time actually hinder that goal.

   -First, with Republicans firmly in control of the Senate removal from office would not occur no matter what evidence the House reports. When Richard Nixon was clearly headed toward a Senate conviction both parties led by the Democrats clearly had assembled the votes for removal.

In those days the evidence on the “tapes” in which you heard Nixon commit the felony of obstruction of justice by devising a plan to cover up the Watergate burglary was so conclusive as to  pierce any partisan cover Congressional Republicans might have attempted to give him. And in those days, many Republicans who had been Nixon supporters looked at the evidence and left his camp voluntarily.

But today, and I  hate to say it, Congressional Republicans either through conviction or fear of their Trump constituents are almost solidly the president’s sycophants no matter what. They see the same evidence the rest of us see and simply deny it. Is it really realistic to believe any bill of particulars presented to the Senate by the House would cause Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to lead his troops to vote  for removal?

But why not make the case in the House anyway? It would show a  willingness to do the right thing using the Constitutional process set up by the Founders for just such a circumstance that now exists. It would highlight the fact that a great majority of Americans want Trump removed and thus a rebuke to the minority who support him. It would show that the Democrats are up to doing their duty. But those arguments bring me to a second reason why Impeachment now is a bad idea.

  -Second, the Impeachment process in the House would take time. Court battles over House demands for evidence – records, tax files, testimony from Trump officials past and present – would require not weeks but months. To try to rush through the process would play into the hands of Trump crying to his supporters that he is being “railroaded.”

But let us assume by next year Impeachment by the House would be voted and despite the lack of Republican support in the Senate, a Senate Trial would be scheduled (see the Clinton time table) in early 2020. And now, for sake of a discussion, let us assume I am dead wrong and by mid-summer the Senate has voted to remove Trump from office.

What do you think happens then? Like Nixon, he leaves chastened without a murmur, waving from the door of his helicopter before he lifts off from the White House for the last time? And what do you think that hard core of Americans who have supported Trump despite all his lies and dangerous and cruel ignorant actions will do? Accept that he was fairly judged, that they were wrong, taken in by a con-man and retire to bitter but silent acquiescences?

I need not give you my answers to those questions but merely ask you to think about them and reach your own conclusions.

But removal appears highly unlikely. So Trump stays, again what harm in making the try?

I believe the main goal now is to remove Trump from office and I further believe the best chance to do that is in a fiercely fought 2020 election. An election that not only defeats him soundly but a defeat so overwhelming that any attempt on his part to subvert it would fail and one that would leave his hard core supporters no choice but to accept it.

Anything that gets in the way of that election, that distracts from that effort draining energy and risking public apathy or worse disapproval and energizing Trump’s hard corps supporters to defend him even stronger, would deporadize the main goal. And that’s what I believe a failed Impeachment proceeding now would do.

I can just see Trump’s call to his base for resistance to what he will say is the “deep states” attempted coup.

And with people now discussing the possibility of violence if Trump is fairly defeated in the 2020 election,  what do you think the possibility is of violence if he is under siege by an Impeachment process as the election approaches?

No, Impeachment is not the way. Keep the spotlight on his many sins against truth, facts, justice and regular order. Work hard for his removal less than two years away through the election process.

To get the job done then let’s stand with Nancy now!

Trump vs John Marshall

Donald J Trump says he, the president, will not obey the demands of Congress for records or testimony from administration officials, past or present, as Congress pursues its Constitutional oversight authority. 

Trump is used to getting his way. But in this fight he faces the most formidable opponent yet.

Not Joe Biden or any of his other political opponents.

But a man who has been dead for one hundred ninety four years named John Marshall who was the 4th Chief  Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

It was Marshall who established the bedrock principle that when a dispute of law and the Constitution must be resolved it is the Courts of our land that will resolve it.

And the Courts decision will be obeyed!

Thus it was in 1974, when president Richard M Nixon fought the Congressional subpoena that demanded he turn over his White House tapes. The case made its way to the Supreme Court.

The Court ruled against him and  he turned over the tapes.

Today, the first of several showdowns between the Congress and the President has received an initial ruling.

And Marshall wins the first round.

As the Washington Post reported: “President Trump on Monday lost an early round of his court fight with Democrats, after a federal judge ruled the president’s accounting firm must turn over his financial records to Congress as lawmakers seek to assert their oversight authority.

Trump called the 41-page ruling from U.S. District Judge Amit P. Mehta of Washington, D.C. “crazy” and said he would appeal, adding: “We think it’s totally the wrong decision by obviously an Obama-appointed judge.”

An “Obama” judge?

Well, consider this. When the Supreme Court had to rule in the case of Richard Nixon’s tapes there was a vacancy so the unanimous vote against Nixon was eight to zero. Four of the eight Justices voting were nominated to the court including Chief Justice Warren Burger by – you guessed it, Nixon.

If Mr. Nixon thought  that was a “totally the wrong decision” by Judges not nominated by a political opponent but by him he had the good sense not to voice it.

Instead, he obeyed the court.

When the Congressional lawsuit against President Trump was filed, Trump’s private attorney Jay Sekulow said the president’s team “will not allow Congressional Presidential harassment to go unanswered.”

But Judge Metha flatly rejected the idea that the subpoena from Congress for records from Trump’s accounting firm, Mazars USA was “harassment” that served no legitimate legislative function.  

 Judge Mehta wrote “It is simply not fathomable that a Constitution that grants Congress the power to remove a President for reasons including criminal behavior would deny Congress the power to investigate him for unlawful conduct — past or present — even without formally opening an impeachment inquiry.”

Well, you say, when this and other cases of Subpoenas not obeyed reach the Supreme Court Trump will win in the end.

Don’t be too sure of that. 

I believe Chief Justice John Roberts will vote to uphold the Constitutional authority of Congress and guess who I believe will do so also – Justice Cavanaugh. In fact, it is not beyond reason to forecast that the vote would be unanimous or at least eight to one against President Trump’s attempt to obstruct Congressional authority.

No, Donald J Trump for all his boasting that he always is a winner will have met his match at last.

And from a dead man at that.

Deadbeat Donald & Me

The New York Times story that disclosed that in ten years to 1994, Donald J Trump lost over a billion dollars may have been a shock to some people but not to me.

I didn’t know the exact figure but twenty nine years ago, with the help of a Forbes magazine article and Trump himself  I knew this self-proclaimed billionaire was blowing smoke and was on track to lose every penny he had to his creditors.

In the Spring of 1990, the Forbes business magazine published an article on what they had learned from sources about Trump’s financial situation. It caught our eye on the ABC network program Prime Time Live which I co-anchored with Diane Sawyer.

I called Trump and asked to interview him about his finances. He said come on as long as I agreed not to ask questions about his marital difficulties with his first wife Ivana which was then spread all over the NYC papers. I readily made the deal.

On Thursday morning ,May 3, 1990, we taped an interview with Trump in his office and that night aired what he said about the Forbes article. We were both younger and looked better and he was able to finish his sentences without wandering off into irrelevances.

But the Trump Style of denying facts, spinning a false picture, stroking his own ego and attacking the message (me) was already in full bloom.

Watch for yourself. Here is the link.

Now, let’s look at what happened.

    -No one offered more than he paid for his airline and in fact Trump defaulted on his 380 million airline loan and in September of 1990, a consortium of banks led by Citibank assumed ownership.

    -In 1992, Trump declared Pre-Packaged Bankruptcy/Default on the Plaza Hotel. He had paid 407 million of borrowed money to buy the hotel and had put in 25 million more for renovations. His trophy the Plaza was sold in 1995 for 325-million.

    -The person who was going to buy the Princess in the next week after our interview for 115 million never showed up (didn’t exist?). Trump had paid 29 million for the boat and had renovated it for an additional 9 million. He sold this trophy in September of 1990, for 20 million

     -As for the 835-million Trump had borrowed to build the Taj Mahal hotel/casino in Atlantic City, Forbes magazine was correct. He couldn’t service the debt and arranged a Pre-packaged bankruptcy In 1991.

      And that would have “cooked him” for good except for the fact at this point Carl Icahn, a real billionaire friend, agreed to assume the Taj’s debt and allowed Trump to keep his name on the property under a Management agreement.

     The management didn’t go all that well – in 2015, the U S Treasury financial Crimes Department fined Trump 10-million for “Money laundering.” 

Since his failures in the early 1990s, the New York banks have refused to lend Trump money. But he got it somewhere in order to keep going in his wily pursuit of conning the rubes, in the process destroying others financial well being through a variety of schemes and refusal to pay his debts even to workmen and jobbers with whom he did business.

We may learn from whom and how much money he has borrowed since 1994, on the day we see Trump’s tax rerutrns.

The same day, I assume, that I will receive his books!

MUELLER PUNTS

Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Report has been turned in to the Attorney General and the Attorney General has now made public to Congress the bare-bones conclusions on two central questions.

On Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election – The Special Counsel’s Report says, according to Attorney General Barr’s letter to Congress, that the Russians did, indeed, try to influence the election and in the process committed crimes, however : “”[T]he investigation did not establish that members of the Trump Campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities.

On Obstruction of Justice – The Special Counsel’s Report states, according to Attorney General Barr’s letter: “while this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

That means that Barr makes the decision on whether to prosecute Tump for Obstruction of Justice and on that, Barr said he and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein concluded “that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel’s investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.”

First, “hat’s off” as the old expression has it to Robert Mueller and his team. Any good prosecutor – and Mueller is one of the best – will not go forward with a criminal charge if he/she does not have rock solid evidence to convince a jury “beyond a reasonable doubt,” particularly in this case against this man.

Attorney General Barr told Congress “the report sets out evidence on both sides of the question and leaves unresolved what the Special Counsel views as “difficult issues” of law and fact concerning whether the President’s actions and intent could be viewed as obstruction.”

Now, when we see, if we ever do, Mueller’s full report which will show us what evidence he had and how it was weighed any one of us is free to disagree with his decision not to take a yes or no position. It is important that we keep the pressure on Barr to release the entire Mueller report.

And in its own investigation of this matter, the House of Representatives has the ability to prefer an Article of Impeachment on Trump based on an Obstruction charge. However,  regardless of the mountain of evidence testifying to his unfitness  there is not enough support to remove Trump through the Impeachment process. His loyal, fanatical supporters could prevent it.

Second, another tip of the old hat to Attorney General Barr who points out in his letter that an Obstruction charge flows from an attempt to impede an investigation of a crime and in this case, says Barr, the Special Counsel concludes that “the evidence does not establish that the President was involved in an underlying crime relating to Russian election interference,” and while not determinative, the absence of such evidence bears upon the President’s intent with respect to obstruction.”

Therefore, Barr says he and Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein concluded “that the evidence developed during the Special Counsel’s investigation is not sufficient to establish that the President committed an obstruction-of-justice offense.” 

I’ll leave it up to the lawyers to argue whether a public effort to shut down an investigation of the Russian activities which did constitute a crime is enough to charge Trump with Obstruction of Justice even though he was not a participant in the Russian effort.

But for now, Trump has slipped the noose of a criminal court charge. Trump and his merry band of greedy enablers will hail this as a victory and try to convince the world that the President is home free.

Ha! That’s like trying to convince a sailor who makes it through the first hurricane wall and into the eye that the storm is over

The Special Counsel farmed out other matters being investigated in other jurisdictions. And the Attorney general of New York is hard at work investigating subjects which could bring Trump to criminal court.

But, there is a more important Court that Trump is already squarely in – the Court of Public Opinion . And the jurors in this court will have the final say.

Lincoln was right, Trump cannot fool all of the people all of the time. In fact, every indication we have is that a large majority of Americans is appalled at what the election of 2016 wrought and will rise up at the ballot box to correct it. 

We must work unceasingly to see that that happens.

Mueller punted, probably for good reasons.

Now the rest of us must kick this case through the goal posts.

And kick Donald J Trump out!

 

 

Rethink The 1st Amendment?

Yes.

In light of the latest example in the New Zealand massacre in which at least forty nine people were gunned down while the alleged gunner broadcast via the Internet platforms not only his intentions but delighted in exhibiting pictures of his massacre I am for rethinking this most important safeguard for the freedoms we  have enjoyed in our Country.

For years people have asked me how the news business has changed in my working (and non-working) lifetime. I always have begun my answer by saying every change in what we consider news, in how to package and deliver news, was preceded by a change in technology.

From the simplest of things – the ability of new cameras to broadcast color on television to the emergence of Cable to the World Wide Internet delivery we have adopted (meaning we have changed) how we think of what is news and how we deliver it.

I’m saying this in our own USA system, the (modified) capitalist system in which the profit motive is very important, if let loose out of hand (oh please deregulate some more)  the most important motive.

I learned to move from Here’s what we journalists think is important for you to know to What would you like to hear. Want to know about who is Jlowe’s latest boyfriend instead of the latest movement in controlling the proliferation of nuclear weapons, no problem. We can package “Jlow” as an important example of societal movement for a changing time and lead with it.

Which brings us to Facebook and Twitter and Google and those other methods for giving everybody, I mean everybody their ability to communicate.

So, isn’t that good?

Almost the day before yesterday, I might have said Yes. Remember, I’m a 1st Amendment guy.

Today, I say No. If you want to go up into the Sandia Mountains where I live in New Mexico and amid “baying at the moon” spew forth your hatred and twisted concept of human life, perhaps okay. Speak to the coyotes and occasional cougar.

But I would strip you of your “1st Amendment” rights to take to the Internet with your hatred and despicable speech which leads to violence. And the Platforms that you have been using must, by force of law if necessary, employ whatever technology available and at whatever cost to them to stop you, to render you silent!

Yes, I know, I am advocating that the meaning of the 1st Amendment which was designed to protect unpopular speech be changed to protect only speech that does not incite to violence and hatred and murder and that those who wish to speak it be banned from modern technology ability to do so.

And if you tell me how difficult it would be to know where to draw the line precisely, I fall back on Justice Potter Stewarts famous reply when asked how to define hard core pornography.

He said I can’t give you an all embracing definition, but “I know it when I see it.”

In the case of the suspect in the Australian massacre, we surely could have known it in his pre-massacre writings when we saw it.

And rendered him silent!



Impeach Trump?

Tom Steyer, the billionaire Democrat, is running a high profile campaign advocating the Impeachment of Donald J Trump. He’s a serious person, he gives logical reasons and strong arguments in favor of removing Trump.

And there is no one more in favor of removing Trump from the Oval Office and the Presidency than I.

But spending time and energy on Impeachment is a “fools errand,” as the saying goes. Nancy Pelosi is right in saying she’s against making such an effort, not became she wants him to stay as president but because the politics in our country at the moment make it impossible. And the opposition energy is best employed elsewhere.

Why?

I covered the Impeachment of two of our presidents who were heavily involved in the process – Nixon and Clinton (I was on another assignment when Andrew Johnson felt the hot iron). And each taught a fundamental lesson in applying the Impeachment process.

The Founders were  wise is writing an impeachment provision into the Constitution that does not call for a Court Room which requires rules of evidence and procedure with a conviction for removal demanding a decision beyond “reasonable doubt” of a definable guilt.

Impeachment of a president simply requires that the overwhelming majority of the Country’s citizens think the removal of the president from office is fair and just and necessary no matter what the reasons.

In the case of Nixon as it became clear such was the case, he resigned before going through the complete process. In the case of Clinton, while in a court of law there well might have been enough evidence to convict him of perjury, in the court of public opinion he still commanded enough majority support for remaining president. 

Which brings us to Trump.

In recent polls, more than sixty percent of the public wants him out, gone, adios. But that isn’t enough. He maintains a strong, unyielding base of support which does not care how much he abuses the office and threatens democracy and peace. Whatever their reasons, they find in him a Champion for their grievances and prejudices, an instrument to “stick it in the eye” of the rest of us who they see as “elites” disregarding their needs and snobbishly putting them down.

Yes, Donald J Trump is a heartless, ignorant thug.  But he is their Thug! And with them behind him, he cannot be successfully removed  from office through the Impeachment process.

But he can and must and I believe with determination and hard work will be shown the door in 2020. In the meantime, there will continue to be strife and upset and many people will be hurt and our Country’s domestic and foreign well being will continue to suffer. But we will make it through.

What’s important now is that we continue to push back and resist. He must not be given a penny for the Wall, we must not continence a “negotiation” on any selfish and ignorant matter of his. The answer to his demands to get his way on such things must be “no,” nothing doing, nada!

We must do this not to punish him and not only to restrict his ability to do continued harm but to show his faithful base that they have backed a con-man loser and to the extent they will never concede that to show them he and they cannot win! When Trump goes they must be made to understand that the truly mean and evil things he stands for go with him and they must join the rest of us in employing civility and factual reason to restoring our Country’s well being.

We must also work hard without any slackening  to elect his successor. Of course, at the moment there are many contenders for the job of next president and the Democratic party will be roiled in intra party warfare but by  the summer of 2020, the party must settle on a candidate who is electable and to me that means someone who reflects the progressive movement of the leftists but recognizes that, as the cliché goes, “politics is the art of the possible”  and that means appealing to a wider base of voters in order to get elected.

Seldom has falling on one’s sword in the name of purity appealed to me but in 2020, to do that and thus make Trump’s re-election possible would be a tragedy of incalculable proportions.

So, let’s make the word Defeat, not Impeach.

Charge!

WASHINGTON POST HEADLINE:Hillary Clinton puts to rest lingering speculation about a White House bid but says she’ll keep speaking out

 To which I say, using an old country expression, “in a pig’s eye!”

So, let’s talk about it.

I have not blogged in over two weeks until now.  As our man child wracked up new stupidity and outrage almost minute by minute, I thought “so, what else is new. What else is to be said?”

It’s as if we are sitting in a court room during the trial  of an accused serial killer. As the  compelling evidence that he/she has murdered 26 people is being presented to the jury, the door bursts open and someone shouts “hold everything – we’ve found a 27th body.” Our reaction, my reaction is “So what? Who cares?” Let’s get on with convicting this murderous, despicable human for killing  26 people. The 27th, 28th, so forth is simply icing on the political Electric Cake.

So, instead of  beating DJT over being taken once again by Kim Jong Un (and other recent follies) today let’s talk about the case for HRC for President.

Of course, as the Headline I cite suggests, she is doing exactly the right thing at this point – any whiff of an expression that she is running would rain down a torrent of abuse from Trump, Republicans everywhere, quite a few Democrats and much thortling  and castigation from the press (in addition to Fox).

She must speak out, loosely keep her team together waiting in the wings and watch the announced contenders contend. What must happen is that the white hot candidates on the far left fight each other to a draw and that no moderate left centrist emerges with any great support.

For instance, based on his record, what I know of his views and his ability at presentation, Colorado’s Hickenlooper might fill that spot but we’re a long way past the time when a “Jimmy who (?)” is likely to emerge.

I like my old friend Jay Inslee but he has the same problem. Sherrod Brown (?), perhaps. He’s solid but where is the pazzazz?

A recent op ed Headline in the Post said of Bernie “His time came. And went.” And as for Biden, I like Joe. Lots of people like Joe and I would certainly vote for him without any reservation should he be the nominee. But he does not have it in his gut (and I’m really not talking age) to fight the fight that will be needed to defeat Trump and his merry band of electorate thugs.

She does. She had a rough but fruitful learning experience in 2016, as to how to handle him.

Next time if Trump were to stand up in a debate when it was her turn and loom behind her she will calmly stop and tell him to sit down until it is his turn again and if he doesn’t, turn around and slap his face!

The party may well come to the end of this year looking at nothing more than an inconclusive primary bloodbath. Then comes the moment of decision as to allowing ones self to be “drafted (there being no such thing)” to enter the fray.

When you objectively think about it, of all the prominent Democrats available (except Biden), HRC has the experience, the understanding of how to make progress on the progressive agenda as speedily as politically possible and certainly she has the determination and skill needed to fight the fight against Trump.

And, of course, if things progress her way Bill must (and I’m sure he knows it) sit this one out.

When I broach this matter when it is appropriate with people here in New Mexico the common reaction from her friends and foes alike is that her negatives are impossibly high.

Lots of people at this point in an election cycle have high negatives – Nixon certainly did and whatever happened to that other woman whose negatives this time last year were even higher than Hillary’s? Oh, yes, she is now the celebrated and effective Speaker of the U S House of Representatives.

Say this is a long shot. But it is a shot worth taking, important to take. 

I know, I could be wrong about this, about her since I don’t claim to know her extremely well – only as a reporter who over the years has followed her trajectory.

When the “Clintons” were elected in 1992, the Washington Post reporter Donnie Radcliffe who had been preparing a long piece about Hillary in anticipation of the election called me to say that Hillary had told her how the two of us had long talks outside the House Judiciary room where she was a young staff lawyer and I was a somewhat younger reporter. That was where I  got to know her. And like her.

So, take what I say here as coming from someone who is not writing as an objective reporter but as someone who got on the HRC train earlier and sees no reason now to get off.

The Education of Donald J Trump

When Nancy Pelosi and her merry band of insurgent Democrats won the battle of the “Federal Shut down” it was over.

Donald J Trump’s terrible “Wall” would not be built, not now, not ever. A wise opponent would have accepted defeat and moved on.

But wait, that was a non-sequitur. This fool – ignorant, vain, narcistic and cruel – was never a wise man. Instead, even to the moment I write, it is reported he wants to continue to dig himself and his faithful followers into a deeper hole of defeat and pubic contempt. And at this point, all for the purpose of attempting to persuade some of his faithful followers he actually was the victor.

We are told that tomorrow Trump will sign the bill to keep the Government open but at the same time declare a National Emergency in an attempt to divert more billions from where, the Defense Department (oh that’s a PR winner) and elsewhere in order to Build his Wall.

Never mind the Constitution of the United States which gives the “power of the purse” to Congress, not the President. Never mind the advice of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell who reportedly has warned him repeatedly that any attempt to do an end run around congress could well end in another disastrous defeat. Sure, McConnell, in order to keep the baby on board to sign the authorization bill, told him he, McConnell, would support a Declaration of National Emergency.

I assure you, McConnell’s support will be in tepid lip service only and behind the scenes worried Mitch will do what he can to save his fellow Republicans and himself (he’s up in 2020, also) from going down with this rotten, sinking ship.

The Courts, you say, the Supreme Court which will in good time hear the suit(s) that seek to forbid the end run around the Congress and the Constitution, the Supreme Court with its solid Conservative line up will side with Trump and he’ll get his money.

No it won’t – he only has four votes, not five. Chief Justice John Roberts saved the Affordable Care Act not once but twice. The other day he sided with the Liberals on the Court to stay the ability of the 5th Circuit to defy past SCOTUS rulings and allow the State of Louisiana to further limit the ability of women to obtain an abortion there.

Oh, Roberts is no liberal, he’s a solid Conservative, but he is not a fool, not an ignorant wrecker of American values and Americans sense of justice.

Roberts will vote against Trump’s attempt to get his way no matter who or what he tramples on to do it.

Trump learned his playbook from his father and more importantly, from Roy Cohn, Senator Joseph McCarthy’s loyal henchman in divining communists everywhere in our Government and destroying decent Americans lives in the process,

Cohn was Trump’s mentor who taught him that he must win always, no matter the tactics it took, no matter the injustice it wrought, no matter how many decent people were destroyed.

Just win!Now, Donald J Trump is faced with the biggest defeat in his life. Except for his poor, dumb faithful followers, there is no escape or way to spin it. With his Declaration of a National Emergency he may twist and writhe for a while but sunset comes and the corpse lies still. And with it for Trump, the death of his self proclaimed omnipotence.

They say we get “too soon old and too later smart.” In this case, in the Education of Donald J Trump, I fear he will never get smart. I believe this poor, tormented human being is incapable of learning. Certainly incapable of admitting the truth of the lesson being imposed upon him.

As for the rest of us, complacency is an enemy. We must work tirelessly to make certain that less that two years from now, we have a new, decent and above all sane adult president.

Embrace Cato the Elder’s admonition with which it is said he ended every speech in the Roman Senate no matter the subject with these words:

“delenda est Cartago.”

For us,

Delenda est Trumpism!

Governor Northam – RIP

Oh, if only we could erase the mistakes of our youth.  But no, as “ Omar Khayyam warned us –

“The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all thy Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all thy Tears wash out a Word of it.”

So, now Virginia Governor Ralph Northam takes the fall for the horrible picture in his Yearbook and his racist “nickname,” seen later. And who can say that he doesn’t deserve it?

Not I.

The times have changed – unquestionable for the better – and those who would cling to a dark past deserve no sympathy.  

But who is Northam today? The man who liked the horrible picture and racist nickname? Or the Governor who by most accounts has been a good friend to civil rights for all and rights for women?

I don’t know but I do know of cases where when people age they change. For the better. Allow me to cite just four examples, two I witnessed personally, the other two which are said to be true.

Lyndon Baines Johnson spent twenty three years in the United States Congress, first in the House, then in the Senate. In all that time he voted against every civil rights bill that came before him. Every one including anti-lynching measures. Was he just bowing to political expediency In the Southern state of Texas. Or was that his heart then?

I don’t know.

We do know that once he became President, Johnson forced through  the great Civil Rights Act of 1964, which freed black people from lawful segregation and injustice in public accommodations and housing and much else. He pushed through the Voting Rights Act which expanded the ability of black people and others to participate meaningfully in elections. He elevated the first black person to a seat on the United States Supreme Court. He worked to see Medicare and Medicaid enacted and began a War on Poverty which, if his mistake of expanding the Vietnam war had not brought him low might have freed countless millions from a life of poverty.

Lyndon Johnson was the best civil rights president the United States has had since Abraham Lincoln.  His votes on the other side before his presidency?

If not forgotten long since forgiven.

Then there was George Corley Wallace, Jr, the one time arch-segregationist Governor of Alabama. In his first race for the Gubernatorial nomination he was a “moderate” by Southern standards of the day and was beaten by a truly evil segregationist. Wallace said, “I got out-seged and I’ll never get out-seged again.”

So he won next time around and became the man standing in the schoolhouse door against Federal Integration force, the man who defiantly proclaimed “Segregation today, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.”

Until black voting registration in Alabama swelled. At which point, Wallace ran for re-election as the friend of black people. They supported him enough for him to win against a segregationist opponent and he rewarded his black constituency with high offices in his Administration and policies for their benefit.

Was Wallace just a person who bends with the winds and stands for nothing certain or did he come to be a better person?

I don’t know but I do know that having had his State troopers rip the film from my cameraman’s shoulder in1968, because we had filmed him shaking hands with Robert Shelton who was then the Grand dragon of the main Southern  Ku Klux Klan, Wallace in his wheelchair in 1996, at a gathering we were both attending sought me out to apologize and ask me to forgive him. He seemed sincere and I forgave him.

I never met John Newton, he was long before my time. But I have been to the church in Olney, England, where as Curate, Newton, a priest in the Anglican Church, wrote Hymns, including one known by it’s first words “Amazing Grace,” one of the most famous Hymns of all  time.

Before he came to God fully, John Newton was the Captain of slave ships. He brought blacks from Africa to their bondage in the New World. He made a living for a time doing that before the injustice, the inhumanity of slavery gnawed at his soul.

But now, his days as a cruel Captain of slave ships no longer defines him

Now, we see John Newton through the words of his hymn “Amazing grace, how sweet the sound,

that saved a wretch like me,

 I once was lost but now am found,

 was blind but now I see.”

My fourth example was of someone I also never met. He lived so long ago and was for his early adult years the cruelest of all the examples I am citing.

His name was Saul, described thusly by a Bible student a few years ago:

“Saul became the worst enemy of Christians. He hunted them down and dragged them out of their homes, imprisoning them and even having them killed. In fact, Saul was a witness to the stoning of the first Christian martyr, St. Stephen. Because Saul was a leader, he stood by and watched as those stoning Stephen laid their cloaks at his feet. It’s very likely that Saul ordered Stephen to be stoned”

But one day as Saul walked the road to Damascus, a light shone upon him. He heard a voice from heaven that said: ‘Saul, Saul, why do you persecute Me?’ And Saul said, ‘Who are you, Lord?’ And He said, ‘I am Jesus, Whom you are persecuting; but rise and enter the city, and you will be told what you are to do.’

After some time of penance Saul was fully redeemed and took the name Paul, and, it is said:

“Paul spent the rest of his life traveling and spreading the Gospel of Jesus, establishing churches and teaching others to lead in his absence. Paul’s epistles to the churches that he established make up over one-fourth of the New Testament. He truly is the greatest missionary in Church history.”

St. Paul’s conversion is a dramatic and inspiring story and except in reciting the man’s background, who condemns Paul for once being Saul?

I have told these stories not to excuse Governor Northam. He must pay the price for his early folly; the community fairly demands it.

However, these stories do make the point that the important thing about life is how it ends. The important thing about a person’s heart is where it winds up.

Who among us wants to be known by the ancient contents of the closet we keep so strongly locked and not by the works we stand for today?

Trump & Shakespeare

Acting White House Chief of Staff Mike Mulvaney says Trump will secure the Border “with or without Congress (to which the Constitution gives the power of the purse)” meaning, we assume, build his wall, one way or another. 

Really?

You mean even if Congress disagrees the mighty Trump will just do it anyway (somehow).

As usual, Shakespeare says it best: “Upon what meat doth this our Caesar feed That he is grown so great?”

I suggest the “meat” of egomaniacal ignorance, fueled by a desire to assume the purple robe of a dictator. Here is the man who said “If we don’t get what we want…I will shut down the Government.”

Which he did.

And now he threatens to do it again or to force his will and just build the Wall on his own authority.

How?

Perhaps he will order money taken from food assistance for the poor, from assistance to Puerto Rico still trying to right itself after that disastrous hurricane (it is a U S Commonwealth and its inhabitants are U S Citizens, or didn’t you know) even take it from the Department of Defense. These are just three of the places his aides are said to be busily searching for Government money that can be diverted to build the Wall.

Perhaps he will declare a National Emergency and attempt to use that Act’s power to just order the Corps of Engineers to start building.

The fact is, any attempt Trump makes to go around Congress (and the will of the majority of Americans) will be met by a flood of lawsuits. And does he think he can thumb his nose at the Courts which will surely stop him at least temporarily while the case(s) are adjudicated?

And surely an Impeachment proceeding (sparked by Trump’s defiant stand on his Wall together with whatever the Special Counsel reports) will begin in the House of Representatives to further slow the Government’s ability to work on other important problems both domestic and foreign.

But Trump doesn’t care. He must have his Wall or his hard-core base of believers may abandon him. Their eyes opened to see the Con Man at last.

Let us hope Donald J Trump does none of this and after the three week respite from Government shut down ends and still Congress won’t give him money for his Wall he stops blustering and accepts the will of Congress and of the Majority of the American People.

To do other wise is dangerous for the Country.

As for Trump…

Listen to  Shakespeare’s soothsayer –

“Beware…Caesar”