A Prayer at Christmas

We offer our thanks today for the gift of a story of a baby born in Bethlehem whose own offering of grace and love has sustained us for centuries and given us hope and strength to overcome murderous dictators and those who have brokered power through violence.

We give thanks for our own free press and reporters like Nicholas Kristof who recently forced us to look see the image of Abrar Ibrahim whose starvation in Yemen at the hands of powerful men, able to give her the needs of life but use her instead as a pawn in struggles for power. The image of a 12 year old girl who weighs 28 pounds on a planet of plenty gives us no room for excusing ourselves. And, in her misery, she represents millions of suffering children and adults. Continue reading “A Prayer at Christmas”

Beto O’Rourke comments on the holiday shutdown and the motives behind it

The government of the greatest country the world has ever known, the wealthiest, most powerful nation on the planet: closed until further notice.

This shutdown – hundreds of thousands of our fellow Americans working without pay during the holidays, basic government functions no longer available to the taxpayers who fund them – didn’t have to happen. The Senate passed a compromise government funding bill two days ago, 100–0. The men and women who can’t agree on what to name a post office were able to unite and unanimously agree on how to fund the entire government.

But maybe it was intended to happen. Continue reading “Beto O’Rourke comments on the holiday shutdown and the motives behind it”

The Press and the Prez

I watched the latter stages of the White House press briefing yesterday. The one some call the leader of the free world appeared in person. He behaved in all the disgusting ways you have come to expect. He is full of hate for everyone except, of course, himself.

The performance for the press corps was much more alarming than it was informative. And, yes, performance is the correct word. I left the experience with renewed disdain for His Worshipfulness. (Thank you Han Solo for allowing me to borrow the appellation and its load of irony.)

I always find it interesting to read The Guardian for a slightly different view than I get in American media. Their writers are often confounded by their spinoff ally that poses as the very model of the modern major democracy. More Americans should read this discussion of the structural elements of our system of representation. I’m not sure that most people really understand how grossly un-representative our system is.

But back to yesterday’s press conference with the president. A Guardian writer reminded me that the American press is like a bag of candy for a demagogue. They have a symbiotic relationship in which a president with no manners co-exists perfectly with a press with no cojones. The Brits see it clearly. Today’s piece in The Guardian by Suzanne Moore makes the case for a press corps walkout. What they were able to deliver to their readers and viewers as their work product yesterday was all reality show and it had little to do with the work of a democratic government. Trump was the star and they were the foil.

Ignore him and let’s get on with the business of governing America. There are taxes to collect, schools, bridges and hospitals to build, people to be educated, a nation to be protected from other countries’ dictators, and, of course, the golden door must remain open and managed for the welfare of both the current citizens and those who seeking asylum. He doesn’t seem interested in any of that business. But I am. And you should be, too.

 

Bring Back Checks and Balances: GO VOTE and VOTE for DEMOCRATS.

If you have not seen this Washington Post report, you should give it a look before you go to the polls on Tuesday.

The occupant of the Oval Office has told so many lies that the media he loves to malign keeps count of them. His supporters are easy on him as they seem to have as little regard for truth as he does. Demagogues have never done it by themselves. They have always needed willing followers who, for whatever reasons, were just fine with the lies.

According to the Washington Post Fact Checker, they have documented 6,420 false or misleading claims by the president through October 30. And in the month preceding the coming election, his fib rate has gone up to 30 a day.

If this election does not change the balance of power between the executive and congress, he will continue another two and maybe six years completely unbridled. That means he will continue to stir up the worst impulses of his followers.

He personally insults me every time he refers to Democrats as an angry mob intent on opening the borders to criminals and terrorists. It would feel good to engage in a little name-calling but why play his game? I will let him do the name-calling and you can look and listen for yourself.

 

A Suggestion for the Trump Cabinet Talent Hunt

The president has been losing key leadership at an alarming rate and there is talk that he plans to replace his Attorney General after the November elections. According to the Washington Post he is beginning to make plans, including holding discussions with the AG’s own Chief of Staff.

Should the president be interested in my advice, I think I have found an ideal candidate, This is someone who would be a perfect fit for the Trump White House ethos – the current Texas state Attorney General, Ken Paxton.

Paxton has demonstrated an ability to operate under felony indictments and he looks certain to be re-elected with a comfortable Texas Republican majority. This is Trump’s kind of guy.

Oh, and as Michael Barajas points out in his Texas Observer article, Paxton was talking about witch hunts before Trump made it cool.

This, by the way, is some outstanding reporting in the Texas Observer. This story has been unfolding over the last four years and it has been impossible to keep up with all the legal machinations of Team Paxton. This is an excellent retrospective piece.

 

I Meet Our New Justice . . . He Likes Beer

I had no plans for watching the Kavanaugh hearing today before the Senate Judiciary Committee. I had heard about all I needed to know about the president’t nominee for the Supreme Court. And somehow I knew I was going to feel a little dirtier if I spent a day watching the U.S. Senate at work.

But I turned it on early, just after Dr. Christine Blasey Ford had been sworn in. Her testimony was riveting as the Republican majority sat off to the side and had a local government sex crimes prosecutor ask all the questions. They apparently didn’t want to risk seeing themselves later in their electoral opponents’ campaign commercials questioning Dr. Ford. They didn’t want to make it too easy for to show them as what they are: white male Republicans with no aptitude for empathy.

I decided to continue watching after lunch and saw our future justice performing most un-judicially for the next three hours. He was angry. He was aggressive. He was rude. He interrupted U.S. Senators. He cried. He told touching stories about his family. He blamed everyone else and took no responsibility for anything. He congratulated himself at every opportunity on how great he is. He had finally mastered the skills of a reality television star. He conducted himself a lot like his new role model, Donald J. Trump.

So much for judicial temperament.

Good luck, America.