A “Nothingburger” And Other Oddities

In reviewing my Posts, I discovered that one I had written weeks ago never did get Posted but was lodged in my Draft file.   But why waste Copy?  And besides, it is practically Trump free, something that until we are rid of our Presidential man-child you may never find on this website again!!!

From out of the past, read on:

In talking to a young friend today about the Trump-Kim summit I said it is my view that the meeting produced little more than a spectacular theatrical bust.

“You mean it was a “nothingburger,” he replied. He said the word “bust” has lost its impact in describing failure or something less than advertised. The word is “nothingburger.”

Which got me to thinking about all the other ways English usage has  changed since I was a lad.

At the breakfast counter the server asks “Did you want another cup of coffee” and I feel like answering the question asked, as in “Yes, I did want another cup and I still do” or “Yes, I did want another cup but you didn’t come by quick enough and now I don’t have time for one. The check please.” Once I did try “no, but I do now” which only confused my server and I never got it.

Why ask about my past desires? Why not make it what it is, the present, as in “do you want…” or “would you like…”  I  suppose the answer is that for some people it sounds more polite to be less direct.

Well, usage changes, like it or not. And so does other ways and customs.

I hate it when a sale clerk, restaurant server, other people I go to for services greets my wife and me with a cherry “how you guys doing today” or “just a minute, you guys, I’ll find you a table,” etc.

I’m a guy but my wife isn’t. And besides, there is no need to address us with any salutation. A simple “good evening, may I help you” will do.

But I suppose the person thinks calling us “guys” sounds friendly. But at a restaurant I’m not looking for a friend, I’m looking for a meal.

Which brings me to the awful use of over cordiality in what is at heart a business transaction.

When I approach the check-in desk at a hotel and the  clerk greets me with “Hey, good to see you, how you doing today, did you have a great trip coming in, where are you from, are you here for the Buck’s game (?)” I grit my teeth to keep from snarling “None of that is any of your business, here’s my credit card (and driver’s license) just give me my room key.

The point is,  we, the clerk and I, are not “friends” although each of us should be courteous in handling our business transaction.

But cut the small talk, the “touchy feely” talk. They must teach clerks, servers, and others who wait on the public to make it personal, to make me feel special, to make me feel, well, befriended.

What I feel is often tired and out of sorts. But I try to hide it, particularly when a stranger approaches me at, say, an airport because I look familiar to them  having spent fifty two years in the television news business. They were once my customers and you want to always treat the customers with respect.

Often they think they know who I am and address me as “Dan Rather, Tom Brokaw, Ted Koppel…” to which I reply “No, I’m not him” and move on quickly. When they try “Peter Jennings” I reply, “No, he’s dead” and move on quickly.

Sometimes they actually know my name and use it immediately which surprises me since for years now I have been a “nothingburger” when it comes to TV exposure.

But more often than not they aren’t sure who I am and employ various techniques in an effort to find out.

For instance:

-“Are you somebody I should know” and “Are you a celebrity?”  To these I answer a polite “no.”

-“I know I used to see you on TV news, but can’t think of your name – what is it?” To this I reply “Sam Donaldson.” Usually that does it although once when I gave that answer, the person said sharply “No, that’s not it” and demanded that I try again.

A few timid souls who  know my name are so afraid they might have it wrong that they try the following:

“Excuse me, but has anyone every told you, you look like Sam Donaldson?” For the longest time I couldn’t figure out how to answer that – “Yes, No, I can’t remember?”

Finally I decided to respond with “Yes, my mother did. When I was born she told me ‘you look like Sam Donaldson, so that’s your name. Remember it’.”

But no matter what a stranger says, if he or she wants  a “selfie” I throw my arm around them and put on a big smile.

As we squint into the camera I hope when the “stranger” is convicted of being the biggest drug dealer on the East Coast or an ax murderer in the style of “lizzie” Borden, the newspaper picture will read “Here  (the convict) is seen with his/her good friend Tom Brokaw!”

Time to go – See you guys later.


Our Fellow Americans?

Jennifer Rubin’s column in the Washington Post of August 1, 2018, has energized me to blog again. It has been some time since my last blog only because of the fact of summer vacation and other pressing matters.

But Ms. Rubin struck a nerve of mine that has been twitching for some time.


At first glance this column  appears to be about Trumpsters treatment of the press but it soon reveals itself to be about the hard core Trumpsters themselves.

Early on, I wrote a blog about Americans who had voted for Trump. Exempting the Nazis and those dedicated to refighting the civil war in order to reclaim their former slaves, I said these voters are our fellow Americans and we must help redress their grievances that caused so many to believe erroneously that Trump would be their champion for a better life.

You know, the usual “claptrap” from a “lilly livered liberal.”

But as I’ve watched the hard cored Trump supporter  remain unwilling or  unable to spearate lies, cruelty and failure from the facts and truth and decent moral values which have been the bedrock of our Country, I have come to the conclusion that many of our “fellow Americans” are not reclaimable, can not be brought back through a calm recitiation of the evidence and personal help.

Like all of us, they have “made their bed” and must now lie in it (a helping hand extended is simply bitten off) but the rest of us are not obligated to lie in it with them.

Whether through willful ignorance or calclated malevelance, they are beyond redemption. That does not mean they should be deprived of their right to “life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness,” or Constitutional and Legal safeguards, only that in their twisted “pursuit of happiness” they must be resisted, not coddled and cuddled, but resisted with every legal means at our disposal.

Voting and shunning come to mind.

Enough of this “let’s respect the other fellow’s point of view and accomodate it” when that view is one of know-nothing, unthinking  hatred of the methods and values that guide our democracy and civil life.

Throughout our history, there has always been a body of Americans who march to a different and false “drummer.” We have survived them and we will survive the ForeverTrumpsters.

Resistance to Donald J Trump and his hard core band of followers, fueled by never ceasing outrage at their attack on the rest of us, is the key. And our non-Trump majority of Americans must follow Benjamin Franklin’s advise rendered on the occassion of the first crisis of our new Nation: ”We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately.”

The Valkyries Ride Again

Now comes the child king, the infant terrible, forced by those around him to attempt to dial back his remarks, clean up his act, talk as if he were the president of the United States instead of Vladimir Putin’s great friend, benefactor and protector.

Trump had clearly said  (the video tape of his remarks leaves no room for ambiguity) that while U. S. Intellgience agencies insisted the Ruissians had tired to interfere with our elections President Putin had made a very strong statement that they had not and, said Trump, “I have confidence in both parties.”

No, Donald, there are not two parties, only one – the facts, the truth.  Russia either did or didn’t.

And you, the President of the United States, said you couldn’t decide whether the Intelligence chiefs (unanimously) whom you had appointed to their positions were correct or not.

The communication networks – commerical, social, pubic and private lighted up with outrage. And, never wanting to give ground even when the ground on which you stand is quicksand, you decided to “walk back” your statement and view.

Did you do that in humble apology, contrite admission of error, promising to do better in the future?

Don’t make us laugh.

Of course not.

The report in the Washington post of how Trump did it is classic. It reads, in part:

“As he began to read his statement reversing what he’d said in Helsinki, Trump, who started his appearance with less formal comments about his European trip, made a show of demonstrating to the TV audience that he was now reading from a script.

Although he’d been speaking for several minutes, he abruptly changed to a more formal tone of voice, and said, “So I’ll begin by stating that I have full faith and support for America’s great intelligence agencies.”

Trump, seen here in a file photo, likes to toss aside the script to signal to his audience that they should believe what he says off the cuff, not what he has been required to say. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

He read from the paper: “Let me be totally clear in saying that — and I’ve said this many times — I accept our intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election took place.”

Then he looked up. Change of tone, to the casual Trump, the voice his followers know conveys his true feelings. And he interjected: “Could be other people also. A lot of people out there.” (bolding added)

Ho, Ho, Donald, the “dog whistle” to your faithful followers has been sent. And he knows that the rest of us know what he did. But that is not important to him.

What is important to him is that his “base” understands that what he said in Helsinki standing besides Putin is what he means and this “sop” to the critics around him means nothing. He is still their strong champion against the Establishment Elites and the more he sticks it in the eye of those “elites,” the more they love him!

Later, in a second attempt to wiggle out from under the great rock of outrage under which he had placed himself, Trump tried telling us that he had “mispoken” when he said the following, as heard on the video tape, as written in the official transcript:

“My people came to me, Dan Coats came to me and some others and said they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin. He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this. I don’t see any reason why it would be…But I have confidence in both parties.”

Trump now says he meant to say “I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be(bold added)  rather than what he actually said.

“Would” turned into “wouldn’t” and that makes it all right?

Again, don’t make us laugh.

How will he try to clean up the truly daming  line that follows whatever word is there, the line that he has “confidence in both parties,” meaning U S Intelligence agencies… and… Vladimir Putin?

Oh, as the old saw goes, “what tangled webs we weave when first we practice to deceive.” 

So, why does he go to great lengths to keep the lie alive that our Intelligence agencies have it wrong? Because the same Intelligence assessments he tries to undermine also say the Russian efforts were aimed at helping Donald J Trump win the presidency. And if you follow that string to a logical conclusion you may find he and his friend Vladimir Putin were working together on this project.

And that, my friends, would bring the Valkyries down on him with a fury (Odin’s maidens who flew to a battlefield to decide who would live and who would die). Trump would be buried, his memory to live forever only in the anals of histories most comtemptible figures and biggest losers.

Ride, Valkyries, ride!

delenda est Trump(ism).




A Date Which Will Live In Infamy

Listening to the joint news conference in Helsinki as Donald J Trump and Valdimir Putin stood side by side in blossoming solidarity and friendship with our president taking Putin’s side continually against the facts and finding it impossible to render even the mildest of complaints against Putin’s evil actions, I heard a voice from the past play through my mind.

I heard the voice of Frankline Delano Roosevelt.

“Yesterday, December 7, 1941 – a date which will live in infamy – the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.”

And I thought –

Today, July 16, 2018 – a date which will live in infamy -the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by the President of the United  States of  America, Donald J Trump.

Then our nation faced  mortal danger from large, foreign military forces arrayed against us.

Now  our nation faces  mortal danger from a President and his domestic allies who work to destroy our Institutions,  our world wide alliances, our inherited values of comity and humanity and our pre-eminent place  among nations.

And today, instead of defending our country, Trump in the presence of a clear enemy of our country attacked it!

As I listened, Roosevelt’s words on that other day of “infamy” took on new meaning –

“Always will we remember the character of the onslaught against us. No matter how long it may take us to overcome this premeditated invasion, the American people in their righteous might will win through to absolute victory.

I believe I interpret the will of the Congress and of the people when I assert that we will not only defend ourselves to the uttermost but will make very certain that this form of treachery shall never endanger us again.

Hostilities exist. There is no blinking at the fact that our people, our territory and our interests are in grave danger.

With confidence in our armed forces – with the unbounded determination of our people – we will gain the inevitable triumph – so help us God.”

Pray that the victory after  December 7, 1941, will be joined by a victory after July 16, 2018 – that Donald J Trump and what Trumpism stands for will be excised from the fabric of our nation and that we will then have  the same “new birth of freedom, and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth” which Abraham Lincoln wished for in 1863, at Gettysburg.

Lincoln’s wish was fulfilled.

But if Trump and Trumpism is not defeated, it may well be that this nation as we know it shall indeed perish from the earth.

Footnote – In 1945, July 16 produced another “day of infamy” if one considers that the weapon born that day within weeks had killed 120 thousand people instantly and eventually many tens of thousands more. And by now has multiplied in the stockpiles of many nations to the extent that if fully used it can kill us all.

That morning before dawn, J.Robert Oppenheimer and his fellow Los Alamos scientists, huddling in the New Mexico desert, suddenly saw a brilliant burst of light as if from the sun and heard the giant thunder clap of a mighty explosian.

It was not Roosevelt’s Pearl Harbor speech that came to Oppenheimer’s mind.

He said what he thought of at that moment was Vishnu’s terrible line from the Hindu scripture, the Bhagavad Gita, “Now I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”

The Queen and Donald J Trump

Your first thought in reading the title of this little piece is that once again I’m going to “hammer” Donald J Trump. If you’ve read any of my past blogs that would be the logical assumption.

But in this case, that would be wrong!

I see that many on social media and columnists in some newspapers are taking our president to task for “walking in front of the Queen.” the lady whose title in England is”  Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas Queen, Defender of the Faith.

When Trump met the Queen the video shows that he was somewhat ackward and looked somewhat uncomfortable (but who wouldn’t in a first time meeting  the Royalty of Royalty)?  But it appeard to me from what I could see in watching the video that he was trying hard to do the right thing. I know, I know, that thought is indeed foreign to almost anything connected with this man but that’s what I think.

At the moment that has “lighted up” the gadflys, they have been walking mainly side by side but have reached the point where they must pivot to walk in front of the royal guard to troop the line and inspect the guard.

The Queen is seen to gesture to Trump and indicate he should pivot to the right. He clearly hesitates not sure of how he should do that but it looks to me like his hesitation springs from a desire to do it right rather than from some country bumpkin feeling of disrespect.

The Queen persists in gesturing him to move on. He does but in so doing necessarily moves ahead of her and since she has not sprung forward (she’s 92, you know and not given to the spritly girlish sprint) for two or three steps he is walking directly in front of  her (since she is only 5 feet 4 inches she almost disappears).

Now, we might imagine that the Trump we know and do not “cherish” would, having found hmself in the “cat bird” seat, move forward smartly to inspect the troops by himself. But no, realizing he is alone, he stops. And the Queen comes round from behind to his right and then the two march forward.

In sum, I yield to no one in my criticims of Donald J Trump, a truly ignorant and dangerous man who “by the grace” of a minority of the voters landed in the Oval Office. Others may disagree withe me, of course, but I am prepared to defend my criticisms with facts and logic.

But in this instance I have explained why the facts (as I know them) and the logic is on the side of defending him from the awful crime of “walking in from of the Queen.”

In the spirit of full disclosure, I tell you of an incident involving the Queen from which much criticism was heaped on me by the British press and some portion of the British public.

One time when President Reagan and his wife Nancy visited the Queen, I was a member of the press pool that was taken to a room in the palace where the three of them were to meet.

The Queen and the Reagans faced the cameras and began a “photo op” chit-chat.

I spoke up with one of my “rude, mad dog, gotcha questions.”

“Your magesty,” I said ( addressing the Queen although I thought Nancy twiched a bit), “is it good to see your friends the Reagans again?”

The Queen smiled faintly, for a moment stared into space, then led the Reagans from the room with nary a word.

The British press present jumped on me, I received a number of invitations to appear on local television shows to receive additional plummingly as “the ugly, disrespetful American.”

You see, I had forgetton that one does not speak first to Elizabeth the Second, by the Grace of God, of Great Britain, Ireland and the British Dominions beyond the Seas Queen, Defender of the Faith. 

One speaks to her only after  she has first spoken to you.

Under the rule, then, it was no wonder that the Queen did not reply to my  viscous question with something like “You ‘betcha britches,” they are wonderful kids, such fun people and I’m looking forward to “dishing the dirt” with them over a few glasses of good port” or reply at all.

I’ve confessed my error and you may think I am supporting Donald J Trump in the present instance because I want to get back at the Queen for throwing me “under the (British) bus.” I assure you that is not the case.

I thoroughly enjoyed joisting with the British press, replaying Yorktown, the Burning of the White House, and other moments in our two countries history. Moreover, I like and admire the Queen and believe she has throughout her long reign conducted herself with dignity, propriety and humanity.

Okay, there was the time when she seemed to want to ignore the death of Princess Di until Prime Minister Tony Blair convinced her if she didn’st snap to she was in danger of losing her throne.  But, hey, we, Donald Trump and I, have demosntrated  anyone can  make a mistake and understanding and forgiveness is a big part of the Chritian faith.

I’m not sure how the Muslims and the Mexicans feel about it.



Outrage Fatigue? Fight It!

Much has been written about Outrage Fatigue when it comes to the words and actions of Donald J Trump, the infantile ignoramous who contaminates and disgraces the office to which 62,980,160 United States voters  endorsed his occupancy  in 2016.

One of the latest such expressions on the subject comes from the Washington Post’s op-ed contributor Alexandra Petri,  whose recent column is titled “The disgusting ‘normal’ under Trump.”

The link:


I was particularly struck by Petri’s adaptation  of one of Abraham Lincoln’s observations. As she wrote it:

“You can be upset about some things all of the time, and everything some of the time, but you can’t be upset about all of the things all of the time.

Or can you?”

Well, we’d better be!

Let our outrage at his ignorant, vulgar, egomaniacal and dangerous conduct wane and we are lost.

Lose the outrage when he calls Senator Elizabeth Warren  “Pocahontas” and says he wants to throw a DNA kit at her to test her claim to native American ancestry just because he’s said it before (nothing new here) and we are lost.

Accept his ignorant notion that beginning a world-wide Trade War is in our best interests and we are lost.

Lose intensity in fighting for humane treatment of people who cross our borders and in fighting for sensible control of guns and we are lost.

Stop vigorous opposition to his moves to isolate our Country from Alliances and Global Institutions that have served us well and we are lost.

Accept the incivility of social intercourse and cruelty of social policy he practices and advocates and we are lost.

Yes, the Courts are still there to check him but for how long unless his power is trimmed? One more Gorsuch-like Justice and that bulwark is breeched.

The Republican controlled Congress is no friend to us in its’ servile allegiance to his every whim.

Law Enforcement and Intelligence Agencies which work to keep us safe are themselves under attack from the very person Constitutionally  charged  with  protecting them.

Significant numbers of religious leaders have abandoned their duty to preach tolerance and the Golden Rule in favor of support for him.

The only true check on the spreading darkness of his “rule” which is dimming the light of our land is our outrage.

To try my hand at adapting someone else’s words, what we must do is (as DyanThomas wrote):

“Rage, rage against the dying of the light.”

Yes, we’d better be outraged “all of the time” and “rage” openly, strongly and effectively in public and at the ballot box on every level until this malignant disease spreading from 1600 Pennsylvania is quarantined.

And then eliminated.


Knife Fight In The Back Alley, Democrats. Do You Play Or Fold?

With Justice Anthony Kennedy’s resignation from the Supreme Court, Donald J Trump now gets to nominate a person who would ensure a partisan Republican, Conservative Supreme Court majority which will turn this Country to the “Dark Side” for decades (of course, he might nominate a non-partisan Centerist but I’ll take the wager).

Yes, our Constitution gives presidents the power to nominate but the power to actually appoint (meaning confirm the nomination) belongs to the United States Senate which must “consent.”

Some Commentators and some Democrats are saying that Trump’s nominee  can not be defeated, no matter who he or she may be. The presumption being Trump’s nominee will be another Gorsuch style hard right Republican conservative and the Republican majority in the Senate, listening to the whooping and hollering on Fox News and its faithful Trump acolytes, and fearful of crossing the Child King who rules their party will vote unanimously for confirmation.


Of course such a nominee can be defeated.

Assuming John McCain may be absent, the Republicans have a 51 member voting majority. Lose just one Republican and Vice President Pence breaks the tie. Lose two Republicans and it’s “game over” for Trump’s nominee. And if it turns out Trump has to lose three Republicans, that can be done as well.

But to win, Democrats must come out of the gate in furious opposition, fight the Republican’s game hard and never stop.

When I say “fight” I don’t mean in the style of a  genteel, Sunday afternoon croquet match. Democrats must undestand the Republicans of modern times engage in a back alley knife fight and Democrats must grab a big knife of their own and jump in.

They don’t have to start it; they just have to finish it.

But many Democrats are reluctant to do that. To them, it smacks of going “down and dirty,” of unseemly un-sportsman like conduct. They hold their noses at the thought of engaging in such thuggish behavior.

It was the sports writer Grantland Rice who put it this way: “For when the One Great Scorer comes To write against your name, He marks-not that you won or lost- But how you played the game.”

I watched three Democratic presidential nominees who could have won take Rice’s advice. I do not pretend to know how  the “One Great Scorer” marked them in His book.

What I know is that they lost.

Mike Dukakis was eighteen points ahead of Vice President Bush in  late August of 1988, eighteen points (!) but within three weeks the Republican attack machine led by Roger Ailes and Lee Atwater had erased Dukakis’s lead by painting him as a looney “leftist” who was soft on crime.

A Massachusetts Governor named Sargent, a Republican, signed a law that released eligible prisoners on a weekend pass years before Dukakis took office. The idea originated in another State whose Republican Governor signed the first such weekend  prisoner release law.

That state was California, that Governor was Ronald Reagan.

So, the  weekend prisoner release program was operating in Massachusetts when a released prisoner named Willie Horton raped a white woman and brutalized her boyfriend.

Lee Atwater pounced.

“I’m going to make Willie Horton the most famous black man in America,” Atwater told reporters. The Republican attack ads made it sound like Dukakis had thought up this terrible idea and had personally selected Horton for release (to rape a white woman).

To which Dukakis answered, well, even though I covered his campaign on the bus I don’t recall that he said much of anything.

I don’t recall that he ever made a point that one of his Republican predessors as Governor had signed the law for Massachusetts and then thrown the name of the first Governor to sign a weekend prisoner release law in Atwater’s face.

“Okay attack team, if you want to attack your parties’ hero, attack Ronald Reagan as “soft on crime,” Dukakis might have said.

Why, indirectly, Ronald Reagan ultimately is to blame for releasing Willie Horton (to rape a white woman). No?

No, but it might have shut down the Horton ads.

Instead, Dukakis’s friend New York Govenor Mario Cuomo advised  that the voters would never believe such “junk” as was being thrown by Ailes/Atwater and  besides, said Cuomo, we’re better than to get down in the mud. Dukakis stayed “clean” and never really fought back.

He lost.

In 2004, Demoratic presidential nominee John Kerry, running against a president whose Iraqi war adventure was unpopular,  was “swiftboated” by an attack team that said he didn’t deseve the Vietnam war medals for bravery he had won.

Among his medals was the Silver Star (second highest award for heroism in the face of the enemy). Kerry was in command of a Navy patrol craft which was coming under fire from the Viet Cong enemy dug in on the bank of the Bay Hap river. Kerry’s official Silver star citation reads, in part:

“… Lieutenant (junior grade) KERRY ordered his units to charge the enemy positions…an enemy soldier sprang up from his position not ten feet from Patrol Craft Fast 94 and fled. Without hesitation Lieutenant (junior grade) KERRY leaped ashore, pursued the man behind a hootch and killed him, capturing a B-40 rocket launcher with a round in the chamber.”

The Republican attack team found Navy personel who were in the vicinity (around the bend in the river but not where Kerry was) to charge that he had never done heroic things, that he was making it up, etc.

Kerry said his attackers were wrong but I never saw him (or his team) read the citation to voters. I never heard him challenge the Navy personnel who claimed they were there.

“Where were you (calling them by name), well not on my boat, not with me but here are some of the Navy personnel who were on my boat at the time, who saw what I did. Listen to their eyewitness account of what happened and then call all of them ‘liars,’ if you dare.”

Kerry never got down in the trenches to “Swiftboat” the Swifboaters” attacking him.

He lost.

As to Hillary Clinton, she never found a way to fight back and in her case, the Republican attack team had spent years laying the ground work to demonize her.

To point out “I’m not him” and stay out of the mud was certainly not good enough. Bythe time in the second debate when he loomed behind her when it was her turn to speak  it might not have made enough difference to make her a winner if she had turned around said  “Get out of my space, Donald,” and slapped him in the face.

But I certainly would have liked to have seen it.

So, let’s talk about this coming fight over the soon to be open Supreme Court seat.

Once upon a time in another desperate Supreme Court nomination battle the Democrats did fight back and when they did, they won!

In the summer of 1987, President Reagan nominated just such a person as is widely suspected Trump will nominate now to fill a Supreme Court seat – Federal Judge Robert Bork. The Republicans did not control the Senate but such was the custom of the times to defer to a president’s nomination that the last person to be confirmed to a Supreme Court seat before the Bork fight (also a Reagan nominee) was given a favorable vote of 98 to 0.

Antonin Scalia, who became leader of the hard right conservative wing of the Court.

But when Robert Bork’s name was announced it was different. Given his decisions as a lower court judge and his many writings, clearly the fate of such past rulings as Roe v Wade (abortion rights) and Civil Rights rulings might hang in the balance if this man was confirmed.

Forty five minutes after Bork’s nomination was announced, Democratic Senator Edward Kennedy rose on the Senate floor to call for Bork’s rejection and launched a “broadside” that set the stage for a winning fight, saying in part:

“Robert Bork’s America is a land in which women would be forced into back-alley abortions, blacks would sit at segregated lunch counters, rogue police could break down citizens’ doors in midnight raids, schoolchildren could not be taught about evolution, writers and artists would be censored at the whim of government, and the doors of the federal courts would be shut on the fingers of millions of citizens for whom the judiciary is often the only protector of the individual rights that are the heart of our democracy.”

These were inflammatory charges but Bork’s record gave them credibility.

TV ads produced by People For the American Way and narrated by Gregory Peck attacked Bork as an extremist.

And NAACP executive director Benjamin Hooks described their position on the Bork nomination: “We will fight all the way—until hell freezes over, and then we’ll skate across on the ice.”

So much pressure was put on the Republicans that six Republican Senators joined the Democrats in defeating Bork’s nomination by a stunning 58 to 42.

Ultimately Reagan nominated Anthony Kenendy to fill the vacant senate seat and Kennedy was confirmed 97 to 0. Kennedy’s record as the “swing vote” provided victories for both Left and Right but certainly enough for the Left to have made the fight to defeat Bork well worth while.

Defeating a Trump nomination can be done. But not by avoiding meeting the Republican attack team in the back alley.

Grantland Rice said the way you play the game is what matters most, not whether you win or lose.

That’s a noble thought but in this case (say the question of whether a woman’s basic “right to choose” is at stake)  I like the advice of another sports figure, the coach Vince Lombardi who famously said:

“Show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser.

Winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.”

Boss Tweed Had It Right -It’s Those Damned Pictures!

“Boss” Tweed, the corrupt Tammany Hall politician who ruled New York City in the 19th Centurey had it right.

“Let’s stop those damned pictures, ” he said referring to cartoonist Thomas Nast’s drawings about him in Harper’s Weekly.

“I don’t care so much what the paper’s write about me – my consituents can’t read, but damn it they can see pictures.”

Yes. Look at this picture.


A little girl from Honduros crying as her mother is taken away for screening at the U S border with Mexico.

Look at it Donald J Trump and tremble.

Remember the little Vietnamese girl running screaming across a bridge as Napalm dropped from a U S warplane burned her back.

Remember the young man hands bound in a suberb of Saigon as General Loan took his pistol and at the moment Eddie Adams snapped the picture blew the young man’s brains out.

Remember the picture of the young Kent State student kneeling in tears over the body of a fellow student shot down by the National Guard of his own country.

What do we remember about Vietnam.

And now, remember the pictures of a smiling, joking president as he fawned over one of the World’s most brutal, murderous dictators in luxurious surroundings and put those pictures against this one of this little frightened girl from Hondurous crying for her mother.

Yes, “Boss” Tweed, it’s the pictures that indeed brought you down.

And you, Donald J Trump, you poor, pathetic example of a shrunken human being, it is the pictures which will force you to back down, to change this heartles policy for which you, and you alone, are responsible.

Rage against them, blame the democrats, Hillary, Barack, Canadian Prime MinisterTrudeau, the news media, blame me!

But as the Chinese once said “A picture is worth a thousand words” and you can’t “tweet” them down. This time your lie won’t stick. Even some of your Base which usually slavishly follow your every word with nodding devotion have a heart for children crying for their mother.

No,  it is you who chose to implement this cruel policy of seperating children and parents on our Sothern border in order to secure leverage for an immigration bill that would put our Country to shame, that would  say to the world we are no longer the haven for the weak and oppressed, the “tired and poor, the huddled masses  yearning to breathe free” but a Country bent on building a wall, a “beautiful wall” as you like to say.

And for that you would  separate young children from their mothers and fathers.

Well, Donald J Trump, this one thanks to the pictures – and many more are on their way – is one you can’t win.

You will reverse course. You will submit to the power

Of pictures.




Trump, Sessions, The Bible and Jesus

When I was a child I was taught the beginning of a wonderful poem penned in 1862

“Jesus loves me! This I know,
For the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong;
They are weak, but He is strong.”

The Scripture surely supports this theses, as in Matthew 19:13-15 King James Version (KJV):

“13 Then were there brought unto him little children, that he should put his hands on them, and pray: and the disciples rebuked them.
14 But Jesus said, Suffer little children, and forbid them not, to come unto me: for of such is the kingdom of heaven.
15 And he laid his hands on them, and departed thence.”

Now comes the Attorney General of the United States to defend the “zero tolerance” policy in taking children away from their parents who illegally cross our Southern Border.

Donald J Trump says the law requires this terrible, inhuman act, an assertion that is not true (the law allows it but does not require it and former presidents have never subscribed to a “zero policy”).

In defending Trump’s order, Attorney General Sessions carefully does not say the law “requires” the stripping away of children from their parents only that such policy which the law does allow must be followed because Trump says so and God says those who rule should be obeyed.

“Illegal entry into the United States is a crime — as it should be…Persons who violate the law of our nation are subject to prosecution. I would cite you to the apostle Paul and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained them for the purpose of order.”

And exactly what did the Apostle Paul say?

Romans 13 King James Version (KJV):

“13 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same”

So, Paul said Rulers are put there by God to do good (“for rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil”) and to keep us safe from evil.

But clearly, Paul erred in that not all rulers are “good” when they demand obedience to orders that harm their subjects, not protect them.

For instance, Our Founding Fathers laid out their reasons for declaring Independence from  England, charging King George the Third with transgressions against humanity and justice.

Again, In this Country we fought a Civil War to overturn Governors orders that made humans slaves to other humans.

And if the ruler is Hitler or Stalin, should they be obeyed? Would a loving God want them to be obeyed?

The Bible itself argues against a mis-reading of Paul’s words.

Jesus commanded us to “Love they neighbor as thy self” and the Apostle Peter rebuked the idea that rulers should be obeyed when their commands clearly run counter to the overwhelming thrust of Jesus’s teachings,

Acts 5:29 of the King James Bible reads:

“Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.”

Thus our Founders staked their “lives and sacred honor” on the proposition that Jesus teachings, not King George’s commands, ought to be followed.

They labeled the King a “tyrant,” that is by Webster’s definition:

1 a : an absolute ruler unrestrained by law or constitution
b : a usurper of sovereignty
2 a : a ruler who exercises absolute power oppressively or brutally
b : one resembling an oppressive ruler in the harsh use of authority or power.”

Only one of the above definitions is required to label a ruler a “tyrant,” not all (see 2b, above).

And how should we treat Tyrants?

In the 13th Century, the Catholic Saint Thomas Aquinas answered unequivocally: “to [a tyrant] no obedience is owed”.

Moreover, Our Founders , led by Thomas Jefferson, strongly considered making the national Motto the ancient phrase:

“Resistance to Tyrants is Obedience to God” 

Jefferson went even further in defining to what lengths resistance should go.

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants. It is its natural manure,” Jefferson wrote in a letter to William S. Smith, a diplomatic official in London, on November 13, 1787.

The Trump policy of stripping children from their parents in the false name of “required by law” is wrong.

Attorney General Sessions defense of that policy in asserting that God requires obedience to it is doubly wrong.

The policy and the men who have commanded it and defended it must be resisted.

They should take care that Jefferson’s Tree of Liberty does not await them if they continue,












Peace For Our Time

Donald J Trump has made history. No U. S. President has met the leader of North Korea until now.

Here is President Trump with a warm welcome for his counterpart Kim Jong Un.

Trump said he and Kim have forged “a special bond” and Trump said Kim is “very talented” as demonstrated by the fact “he took over a situation like he did at 26 years of age and run it, run it tough.”

Yes, having your Uncle publicly executed by machine gun fire, your half brother poisoned to death at the Kuala Lumpur airport, your own people regularly murdered and tortured, all that and more is running it fairly “tough.”

After several hours of talk the summit ended with, well, with what?

Once upon a time not so long ago or far way, Donald J Trump said that the de-nuclearization of North Korea must take place immediately, without delay, or, said Trump, he would walk away from a summit with Kim.

But that was yesteryear.

In the summit’s closing statement agreed to by both sides the nuclear issue is dealt with thusly: “…the DPRK commits to work toward complete denuclerization of the Korean Peninsula.”

To put it bluntly, in agreeing to “work toward” Kim is saying not now, perhaps someday in stages and in putting it in the form of “denuclarization of the Korean Peninsula” Kim is saying he wants U S military presence gone as part of any deal.

Donald J Trump achieved the same promise that North Korea has given four times since 1992, only to break its word each time about “denuclearization.”

Trump got nothing substantive, nothing specific as to actions necessary to achieve the goal of “denuclearization,” in fact he even gave ground in the iece of paper he grandiosely waved to reporters.

Just consider what Kim got from the Great Dealmaker.

-Elevation on the world stage to a place alongside the President of the United States. Moreover, gushing praise poured on him, a murderous dictator, by said president.

-The promise of a visit to the White House in Washington and more summits whenever necessary (as PR props).

-Perhaps most important and most dangerous, a public statement from Trump that the U S will no longer participate in military exercises with South Korea. These routine exercises meant to ensure preparedness if the North strikes are “very provocative” according to Trump. Why those are the very words the North has used for years in protesting those exercises.

For Kim Jong Un, this summit was a wild success.

However, Trump wants the World to believe he has achieved a “breakthrough’ of unprecedented importance. As usual, his self-congratulatory  rhetoric is over the top. You would think he is proclaiming “Peace for our time.”

That is an eerie phrase from yesteryear which was accompanied by another picture of warm friendship.

Hit this link and take a look (then return to the page using the back arrow button at the top):

Peace In Our Time

The smiling man with the mustache on the left is Neville Chamberlain who was then the Prime Minister of Britain. The man on the right with the swastika on his arm band, well who doesn’t know who he is.

Chamberlain returned home from a summit meeting in Munich asserting the signed paper in his hand meant “peace for our time.” Actually, peace was not ensured until some sixty million people world wide had died.

But let us not end on a note of suspicion and pessimism on the subject of peace as a result of the Singapore summit. Let the last word come from its architect Donald J Trump, who tweeted from Singapore:

“The fact that I am having a meeting is a major loss for the U.S., say the haters & losers. We have our hostages, testing, research and all missle (sic) launches have stoped (sic), and these pundits, who have called me wrong from the beginning, have nothing else they can say! We will be fine!”

Let us hope so.