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Wednesday, November 14, 2018

The Myth of the Dissident Republican





("I Take Back My Praise of Jeff Flake's Book")

What we want is a Republican in full out mutiny. Sticking his or her head out the window, sreaming in semi-lunatic manner, "I'm mad as Hell and I'm not going to take it anymore" and then voting against absolutely each and every item proposed by the full out lunatic in the Oval Office. Such a creature does not exist. Not Susan Collins, not Lisa Murkowski, not Jeff Flake, and truth be told, not even the dearly departed and nearly sainted John McCain.

The recent Supreme Court appointment of Justice Kavanaugh is a perfect case in point. Ms. Collins protested and then dissolved, Ms. Murkowski threatened and then vacillated, Mr. Flake demanded and then disappeared. It is the mantra of the mostly unhappy, the dissidents who promise revolt and then, revoltingly, don't live up to their promise.

And if Mr. Flake's book snookered you, shame on you. For we have, time and again, been witness to the embodiment of the mantra, "actions speak louder than words." And Mr. Flake's many words in his book are no match for the actions that betray them.

Don't let the door hit you on the way out Jeff Flake.

Monday, November 12, 2018

Don't Let the Rain Fall Down on Me

I can't stand what it does to my hair
All the moisture leaves it matted down
Can't go out, don't give a damn, I don't care
Screw the French I won't look like a clown

I work too hard to keep this nest from falling
Sitting high atop my orange face
I'll stay here, my friends from Fox are calling
Get some fool and send him in my place

Don't let the rain fall down on me
Don't get me wet,
There's too much chance that all of you will see
Can't allow a photograph like that
To wander free
Cause messing up my hair
Is like the sun going down on me

Tell them I'm sick, just make up a stupid lie
Do it now, I need them off my back
If the sun should shine let them know I'm fine
But for now just keep them off  track

What's the forecast - is it sun this afternoon
I'll show them all how good my hair looks then
Keep them guessing, say I'll update very soon
Never tell them how or why, where or when

Don't let the rain fall down on me
Don't get me wet,
There's too much chance that all of you will see
Can't allow a photograph like that
To wander free
Cause messing up my hair
Is like the sun going down on me




Saturday, November 10, 2018

At Journey's End

She is consumed with fear that her young boy, still a month from his fifth birthday, might be suffering from dysentery. For five days, he had been in increasing discomfort, now screaming at times with the pain. There is no doctor here, no medical assistance. No answers. Except maybe one..

She must think only of him now. She is with her two other children, girls aged six and nine. Her husband is dead, gunned down last year in the cross fire of gun violence in the only town she had called home her entire life.

She was now more than six hundred miles from the terrible memory of finding his blood stained body less than 50 feet from where the family lived. She had spent the last three days carrying her little boy on her back, trying desperately to keep up with the rest, praying that tomorrow by some small miracle he would be cured, would be able to take his own steps forward.

She wept quietly, trying to shield her face from the prying eyes of those she protected. Her feet were blistered and swollen, the dried blood caked in the one remaining pair of shoes she owned. She had lost 15 pounds in the month since this all began. Her two girls also looked so thin, so terribly thin. They did not complain, but she knew how impossibly difficult this had been for them. They were all past the point of exhaustion to a territory even she could barely comprehend.

She reconstructed how she had gotten here. She thought of the family and friends she left behind uncertain if they might ever meet again, trying before this trek began to sear every memory of them into her brain. Holding onto her mother and father, her older brother, her niece's and nephews in one final aching embrace, having failed in her pleas to convince them to join her and her children in attempted escape.

Armed for this journey with virtually no possessions, almost no money, little reason to believe that this would end well, but with the immutable knowledge that this would end badly should she not try to gain freedom from the fear, the omnipresent sense of impending violence, the suffocating poverty, the hopelessness that she had carried with her every moment of every day. This was the only option.

She recalled the searing heat for days on end, relentless even for one who knew no other universe. The heavy weight of understanding that tomorrow and for many tomorrow's to come, there would be nothing but this endless march. The universal kindness of those along the way, who helped sustain their souls as much as they provided nourishment for their bodies. The incredible resilience of her young ones, following without question, surely comprehending little of why this was happening.

She wondered when they matured, what scars her children would carry with them. She knew nothing of the concept of post traumatic stress disorder, her education having ended far too early, the demands of life taking her far away from the classroom.

She had dreams of one day going back to school, of earning a degree, of becoming a teacher. And she pictured her children, each one so bright, having the opportunities that had eluded her. But right now she was consumed with the worry of the cost of this endless odyssey. The hope of tomorrow replaced by the pounding reality of today.

As she looked at her young boy, at the one she called her precious child, she fell to her knees.. She remained there, in silent prayer, for several minutes. She gave thanks to God for allowing her family to come this far, and told Him she believed, she had to believe, that all of this was happening for a good reason. 

She motioned to her children to come close to her and gathered them as one in her arms. "We have reached our destination. For us there is now only making your brother better, stronger. And when he is better, we will start again, on our own, in this place, our new home. I love you with all my heart and promise you we will make a good life here." 

Thus their journey ended.

And so, the caravan that menaced the border of the United States grew smaller by four invaders, their desperate attempt to overthrow our way of life thwarted.



THIS IS BUT AN IMAGINED TALE (OR IS IT?)


Friday, November 9, 2018

In Contemplation of the Loss of RBG




Weekend at RBG's. Hearing of the broken ribs of our most beloved Justice caused more than half of this nation (yes, Mr. President you did lose the popular vote) to wince in pain. It was the imagined agony of a Supreme Court tilting even further right, our star pitcher no more. It is the stuff of nightmares.

But this octogenarian and a half will not be going anywhere as long as the orange faced monster and his party control the appointment of her successor. No matter her infirmity she will remain. Neither wind, rain, snow nor gloom of night will keep our anointed heroine from her appointed rounds.

And even should death take her from us, she will still sit Supreme. For like Weekend at Bernie's, we will make certain that RBG takes her place. We have not heard an utterance out of Clarence Thomas for decades, for all we know he may have passed away sometime before the end of the millennium. So what would be the difference if our dearly departed RBG took up another chair in silent contemplation. I wish RBG a speedy recovery and know she will soon be her feisty self. But, if tragedy should befall her, we are ready.

The Good Old Days of Beauregard

Mr. President had no regard for Beauregard so this Sessions has now been ended.

Jefferson Beauregard the third. Going to miss the name if not the man. Somehow went from sinner to saint just by refusing to offer Mr. Mueller as a sacrifice to the gods. Truth: a saint he ain't.

And now, playing the lead role of "acting" attorney general is someone with a much less interesting name. Whittaker doesn't even rhyme with anything.

And if he intends to be nominated for an Oscar for his performance Matthew will have to convince us that he alone is the driving force in the imminent slicing and dicing of the investigation into how well Mr. Trump speaks Russian.

Surely his appointment is in direct contravention of the Constitution, his installation a not very clever ruse to obstruct justice. But this President does not major in subtlety and his stated wish to be "softer" lasted about as long as it took for him to accost Acosta.

And so now we begin Chapter Two in the book of Donald. Second verse same as the first. Only maybe a little worse. 

Oh for the good old days of Beauregard.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Now What? Make Us Proud

AN EDITED VERSION OF THIS POST APPEARS IN LETTERS TO THE EDITOR IN THE NEW YORK TIMES

("The Democrats Won the House. Now What?")

The mandate given to the House Democrats was definitely not to spend the next two years obsessing about bringing down Donald Trump. Don't focus on those damn tax returns. Don't get tunnel vision on impeachment. Instead, concentrate on the job that Congress was elected to perform, governing. Leave the rest to Mr. Mueller.

Make it hard for Mr. Trump in ways that change lives for the better. On protecting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid. On improving the health care system. On rebuilding this nation, literally as well as figuratively. On tearing down the imaginary immigration wall. On making it uncomfortable for the Republicans in the Senate and the President to just say no.

We are so desperate in this country to feel encouraged by our political system, not buffeted by it. Even those who are saddened by tonight's results in the House are sick and tired of our internal wars.

Show us what this nation is capable of accomplishing. Make us proud.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

The Great Caravan

Mr. Trump was right to fear the great caravan, marching inexorably in ever increasing numbers toward a destination it has long dreamed of reaching.

It is the millions of Democrats standing in line, waiting for their opportunity to cast their vote today.

Saturday, November 3, 2018

Make America Great Again



Mr. Trump is right. What makes America great is protection. Protection of:

Our vote
Our environment 
Our speech
Our education
Our infrastructure
Our poor
Our health
Our minorities
Our beleaguered
Our equality
Our integrity
Our morality
Our commitments
Our dreams

Make America great again on Tuesday. Vote Democrat.

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Taking Stock

In the swirl of insanity that has swallowed us whole in recent days, there is one not uninteresting story that has gathered but scant notice. The stock market appears to be in near free fall.

In a matter of a blink of an eye, 10 per cent of its entire value has vanished. It is, one would think, a defining statement of the unease we feel as a nation under constant siege, not being steered to safety but directed into the path of the storm. A leader who creates nothing so much as frictions, destroying bonds and causing uncertainty to burgeon.

As the mid terms near, should we not be wondering if this nose dive is in contemplation of the possibility that this man will not be stopped, but rather emboldened by its results. That as horrid a two years as we have endured, the next two will make this seem child's play by comparison.

Maybe I am overreacting to but a momentary hiccup, a plunge symptomatic of nothing more than a long overdue correction. But it's timing certainly feels like much more than mere serendipity, pure coincidence.

Maybe this is a true barometer of our fear of the pain this President is capable of inflicting on us all.

And maybe it is why when we now take stock of the looming possibilities, we take our stock and head for the hills. 

The Conflagration

("Hate is on the Ballot Next Week)

He created this conflagration, his venom relentless, his message undeniable. The dead in Pittsburgh, the pipe bombs scattered across this nation, these are his children, these are the progeny that he has birthed. He invites evil, he incites evil. 

I am sickened by these acts, but dare not for one second blame the actors without also blaming this President. He stands as unindicted co-conspirator, clear in his participation. As certain in the damage he was unleashing as we are certain of his indifference to the resulting pain. 

Donald Trump knows no other way. He has no other avenues, no other answers. He is as pathetic as he is dangerous. We suffer his shortcomings. We are overwhelmed by the magnitude of the calamities that follow in his wake. We pray that we survive his intended destruction. 

Monday, October 29, 2018

Now is the Winter of My Discontent



ROBERT I

ROBERT, FATHER OF RICHARD II, SON OF RICHARD I:

Now is the winter of my discontent
After glorious spring by my men of York
Oh, of all the demons to destroy our treasured house
Their dagger deep in my bosom buried
My head bowed before their victorious wreaths
My battered ego gazing upon our lifeless monuments
My screams of delight turned shrieks of agony
Their dreaded march played to final measure
Gruesome war hath drained hope from my wearied visage
For now, it is the morning of their barbed tongues
Piercing the very soul of a vanquished adversary
Their frolic done through the Coast of West
Their song of victory stinging as vipers in my ear
I am filled with envy for their sportive tricks
I dare not gaze upon their winner's glass
I, stamped so fragile of heart, deprived of such fair possession
Cheated of lauding by this most horrid contrivance
Depressed, my stanza unfinished, cut to the quick before its time
Cast out into a desultory universe, but poorly made up
And that those so harsh and unseemly
Would bark their howling tune for yet another eternity
Why can I find in this hour no sliver of silent peace
No hint of shadow for there is found no moment of sun
I descend into an endless night of bereavement
And dare not dream of the possibility of a glorious tomorrow
There is but nothing to fill the emptiness of these days
 I have been struck a mortal blow by an empire of villains
Pleasure but derisive enemy of my most withering pain
Thoughts I once dared now haunting my wounded soul
Dreams, like vicious swords, cutting me through and again
Oh that my eyes could not serve as witness to their thorny crown
In desperate hate we have forever stood one against the other
Yet if somehow the gods be compassionate and just
And have pity upon one laid so despairingly low and forsaken
If one day they should know the sting that so cleaves me now
And if it be not cruelty that envisions near my men king slayers 
But for now I must rest my bloodied brain of such useless dreams
For the conquerors once more descend upon me in their unadulterated glory

Friday, October 26, 2018

The Caravan


  • AN EDITED VERSION OF THIS POST IS SCHEDULED TO APPEAR IN THE RECORD, A BERGEN COUNTY NEWSPAPER



It has been the principal catalyst of his candidacy and now his presidency: a loathing, an obsession, with those South of the border seeking refuge.

Why has his heartlessness and cruelty played so well? As we watch a caravan of aching souls on an incredible trek of over 1000 miles, it is manifest that they pose no danger and seek to do no harm.

We speak with reverence for those in our own distant past who trekked long distances over forbidding terrain, those our home grown caravans, pursuing a possibility, their grit and relentless determination making them heroes. The stuff of legends. Go West young man.

    And what of the estimated two and a half million of our most beleaguered, our "Okie" migration in the desperate hours of our Great Depression less than a hundred years past? Were they not entitled to seek escape from the pounding poverty and suffocating hopelessness?



And yet, somehow, we denigrate and debase the ones who now travel a different route with the same fervent hope of finding not a pot of gold, but merely a roof over their head and safe haven for their family, at journey's end.

Mr. Trump, the thousands who now march step by endless step towards the dream of a better tomorrow should be considered an intended gift to this country. You are the real threat, you with your contemplated executive action and your call to arms.

It is you, not those you seek to turn away, who constitutes a true existential crisis for America.

Wednesday, October 24, 2018

A Small Favor (If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, Updated)



If you ask me for a small favor, I will surely say yes.

If that favor involves travelling by Uber to a designated location just over the George Washington Bridge then I will have to put the Uber app on my phone and learn how to use it.

If I fail to put that app on my phone because I am an idiot then I will have to take the bus over the bridge.

If I have to take the bus over the bridge I will have to learn how much it costs and if I have to bring exact change.

If I have to bring exact change then I will fill my pockets with twice as much change as I need just in case I misunderstood exactly how much it was.

If I walk to the bus to get across the bridge and it looks like the cars are not moving then I will decide to continue my walk across the bridge, while still carrying all that change in my pocket.

If I begin my walk to the bridge and I take a short cut that is in fact a dead end, then I will have to retrace my steps.

If I have to retrace my steps then I will be delayed in walking over the bridge.

If I am delayed in walking over the bridge then I will worry that I will not get to where I am supposed to be on time.

If I do not get to where I am supposed to be on time then what was the purpose of my doing a small favor.

If  however I do get over the bridge quickly and get where I am supposed to be on time, then I will have successfully completed my small favor.

If I successfully complete my small favor and you are grateful, then I will be happy.

If I am happy then I will want to do another small favor.

If you ask for another small favor then I will surely say yes.

But knowing what you now know, you may be better off not asking.

Tuesday, October 23, 2018

Two Gifts for the President

First it was poor, beleaguered Brett Kavanaugh. Now it is a growing caravan of ruthless demons ready to rip the very heart out of this nation. Perfect themes for Mr. Trump to latch onto in the moments before election to rouse his base, prod the undecided and bring lies to truth. 

If Mr. Trump were to have scripted the weeks before the midterms, he would likely have wished exactly for this. The Democrats brow beating a teary Mr. Kavanaugh, ever unscrupulous in their baseless attacks on a fine upstanding family man and brilliant jurist. And then the terrorist horde, ever growing in numbers, relentlessly moving closer to our borders. Oh how we need that wall, the one that this President would have if only we let him do his job. If only the Republicans could retain control of both Houses.

Two gifts for this President. While James Comey may have handed Mr. Trump the presidency in 2016 these recent events may prove equally pivotal. If on election day the enormous blue wave turns instead into a continuing red tide, Mr. Trump could be sending thank you notes to some very unlikely, unintended and unwilling, assistants. 

Friday, October 19, 2018

Just Another Death

("In Shift on Khashoggi Killing, Trump  Edges Closer to Acknowledging Saudi Role")

 I would venture a guess that M.B.S. is enormously surprised by the level of attention and outrage generated by the death of Jamal Khashoggi.

 In a world where the cannibalizing of a country (Syria) by its own leader, an estimated 400,000 deaths having been reported as of the last count in 2016, has drawn only ever more receding spasms of protest and where Saudi Arabia has not faced serious repercussions for playing a central role in a humanitarian crisis in Yemen resulting in untold thousands of civilian deaths and up to 13 million men, women and children facing famine and the possibility of starvation, what can the loss of one more life mean?

In a time where dissidents are being routinely silenced in China, Russia and in countries around the globe, what could the loss of one more voice mean?

In a political universe where our President turns a blind eye and a cold heart to brutalities near and far those who would commit the worst of atrocities are only emboldened. And so what has occurred is both unimaginable and not unexpected. What could the loss of one more irritant mean?

Who could blame M.B.S. if he thought this grotesque act, behind closed doors, would go virtually unnoticed by the world?

For those in charge in Saudi Arabia it was clearly envisioned as but one gruesome mutilation in an endless sea of man's inhumanity to man.

How could they ever have suspected it would be seen as anything else?

Thursday, October 18, 2018

Do We Care?

Do we care?

Do we care about our freedoms?

Do we care about our morality?

Do we care about our planet?

Do we care about our future?

Do we care about our standing?

Do we care about our democracy?

Do we care about our presidency?

Do we care about our leaders?

Do we care about our promises?

Do we care about our dreams?

Do we care about our children?

Do we care about our health?

Do we understand that there but for the grace of God go I?

Do we understand that the world does not end at our borders and neither should our compassion?

Do we understand that there are truths and lies, rights and wrongs?

Do we understand what is happening to this land day by day and step by step?

Do we understand that if we are not forever vigilant this will only get worse?

Do we understand that we deserve everything that befalls us if we let this go on one moment more than it has to, if we are too tired, too bored, too busy, too uninformed, unthinking, unmotivated to express our opinion, to exercise our most fundamental right?

Do we understand that not only do actions have consequences but so do inactions?

For God's sake, for my sake, for your sake, for your children's sake, for the sake of this planet, get off your couch get out of your chair, your bed, your stupor and VOTE.

Your life depends on it.

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

The Opening Statement of M.B.S. to Congress



"I like beer. I like beer a lot. I drink lots of beer. But then who among you doesn't like beer. Oh, sorry, wrong speech.

I went to university. The best university. And I graduated at the top of my class (don't dare check facts on me). I am married with 4 lovely children (bring them to me now. No, not Tiffany and Barron. They are not my children). And my wife can drive if she chooses to do so, and go to the movies whenever she wants. Now what more could a woman ask for?

This is who I am. Not the monster you would portray who orders the death of one who would speak out against me, against my kingdom. Imprisonment, sure. Torture, maybe. But not this, never this.

I shed real tears for the man's death, but I never met him, I don't remember him, and I have an affidavit from three million of my loyal subjects saying that each one of them was the force behind this tragedy. I swear on the life of Donald Trump that this was not my doing.

In closing, I ask each of you to look over your shoulder. See those two men standing with AR-15 assault rifles in the corner. Just think of them when you decide my fate. And yours. God Bless America."

Monday, October 15, 2018

The Art of the De(ni)al

It is the art of the firm denial. It seems it has been mastered by a Saudi prince charming and it's king,  a nominee for our Supreme Court, the leader of Russia. For those adept at its practice you are, in the eyes of the President, relieved of any possible culpability in murder, in sexual assault, in changing the very outcome of our 2016 election. Because, as Mr. Trump has informed us, they really, really proclaimed their innocence.

Yet it appears that some have not learned the necessary intricacies of this practice. No matter how many times Barack Obama explained to Mr. Trump that he was not born outside of this country, no matter the production of a birth certificate it did not deter the mouth that roared. And now Elizabeth Warren has given us DNA evidence of her ancestral ties to the Native American community. Yet Mr. Trump insists that he alone (as the DNA expert he most certainly is) would have to perform the distasteful test himself before he would relent in his Pocahontas mocking of the Senator from Massachusetts.

Maybe the title of Mr. Trump's next book will be the art of the firm denial. With foreword by all those who have firmly denied their way into his heart.

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Seeing Red (a Death in the Bronx)

("Behind Enemy Lines: The Red Sox Fan at Yankee Stadium")

They smelled blood, those scattered among us hoping to watch us suffer a slow painful death. They were seated behind me, even next to me. Armed with the knowledge of 16 to 1, with 108, with possibilities in every at bat and CC, at least what was left of him, all that stood between them and the kill. 

I squirmed in my seat, uncomfortable with the reality of the moment. And with the young woman and her Irish green colored Red Sox hat on my left.

There is no greater indignity than being forced to endure a Red Sox fan victory dance in your own home. While this was not the House that the Bambino built (Ruth being received in fair exchange with the Beantowners so that No No Nanette could be yes, yes on Broadway) it still was close enough so that the echoes of Babe, DiMag, Mickey, Derek were ringing in our ears and dancing in our heads.

There was the feel of inevitability in the air from the first pitch to the last excruciating one, when we were forced to stand for an extra minute more before we were finally pronounced dead. No beating on our collective chests could bring us back to life. Nothing left to do to wipe the smile off the face of our executioner.

And yet the woman next to me, between the intermittent screams of delight was, strangely, a very pleasant human being even in the heat of battle. Not the devil herself, but merely someone who had chosen the devil as her God. Not someone I could hate but rather, in a different universe, one I could possibly consider as a positive member of society.

That is until the last out was registered and I was trudging, dejected and depressed, away from the scene of the crime. For there at the railing still stood one person, yelling in absolute shrieking delight at the covey of Sox gathered in prolonged celebration directly on OUR mound. There she was, my next door neighbor for the evening, her inner demons fully unleashed, lording over us, bathed in the triumph of the moment. Her fangs exposed, our blood dripping from her lips.

Et tu Brute. Even you.

Tuesday, October 9, 2018

The Visit


It is amazing watching a new life take shape. Staring for the longest time at the tiniest of forms seemingly doing little more than existing, hardly aware of its own purpose much less the universe it is  trying to comprehend. The smallest sign of recognition, imagined though it may well be, a cause for celebration.

Birthdays now counted in weeks. Sleep counted in hours. Feedings counted in minutes. Every aspect of this being's being important. Nothing beyond the ever watchful gaze of those entrusted with preserving and protecting. Every moment shouting to be recognized

As we step onto the terrace, she and I enter into a lengthy discussion about the sounds and sights of the city, the colors, the noises, the possibilities and dreams of those who move about below us. It is our first adventure together, alone.

Watching as her parents dress her, trying to fit an arm in here and a leg there like a geometry equation. Seeing her pressed in a snuggly against her father's chest, a protective womb enveloping her.

Each movement of a hand, each wrinkle of a face, each suggestion, each hint, each action a world unto itself.

I try to recall what it felt like for me when this little girl's mommy was my little girl, when she was in her own embryonic stages. But I cannot bring up the intensity that surely consumed those days. There is a small sadness in my failure.

Yet I am grateful for the second chance I now have. To feel the feelings that only a new life can bring. Thank you little girl.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Til Death Do Us Part

Til death us do part.

If there was one lesson to be taken from the Garland to Kavanaugh fiasco that played out over these past two years it was that the time has come to face head on the ugly reality of lifetime appointments to the Supreme Court.

Our founding fathers lived in a universe markedly different from ours. It has been a near quarter of a millenium since the birth of this nation and death has receded farther and farther from our collective being with each new medical advancement. We stay healthier and fit longer and our capacity to be productive, or destructive, members of society has lengthened with each passing decade.

Term limits for our highest office in the land were codified in the 22nd Amendment, passed by the 36th state (There were only 48 states at the time) in 1951, in clear response to the only President who ruled for more than two terms in this nation's history. Concerns  on the length of power of the presidency were voiced from the time of the framers of our Constitution forward. But it was only the reality of FDR's tenure that spurred this nation to action.

We are now at such a point in history regarding appointments to the Supreme Court. On the next occasion sane people are in position of power, the first order of business should be to call for a constitutional Amendment for an 18 year term limit for a Supreme Court Justice. Come Hell or Mitch McConnell, during each four year presidential term there will be two new appointments to the highest court (and with its effect, the current Justices would be unseated in FIFO order). 

The bloodbath we have recently witnessed will thus never be repeated, the urgency to rule this land in perpetuity having been muted. 

We stand at one of the lowest points in the arc of this nation. If we do not treat the disease now infecting us with immediacy and urgency it will continue to fester and make us sicker and sicker.

Til death do us part.

Friday, October 5, 2018

#HimToo

This vote will mark the proclamation of the #HimToo movement, the declaration of independence from an overzealous prosecution of the male id. The response of those offended by the mere suggestion of a problem in need of correction.

The belief that Harvey Weinstein and Bill Cosby are nothing but aberrations, that while the Brett Kavanaughs of this world may proliferate, they are but harmless exercisers of the right of free expression, a virtual first Amendment, constitutional, America born and bred, God given, man driven expression of love, not hate or domination or whatever ill intended motive those with overzealous imaginations and easily bruised psyches might otherwise suggest.

This is not merely a statement that Mr. Kavanaugh is qualified to judge all of us but that no woman is qualified, emotionally and intellectually to judge him or the many other Brett Kavanaughs who lord over this culture and this nation.

Make no mistake about what is now happening in our hallowed halls. Women are being put back in their place, pushed into dark corners, groped, demeaned and diminished while Mr. Kavanaugh takes his wrongful seat as the rightful heir to a lifetime throne.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

The Sound of 50,000 People Exhaling

That was the sound of 50,000 people exhaling. The thought of a season, which began with such soaring hopes and then settled into long stretches of mediocrity, ending in one cruel slap across the face, had been avoided. 

And now the seemingly inevitable dance awaits. Nirvana or desolation knocking at the gate, our arch enemy, Lex Luthor to our Superman, poised to do battle to the death. Can we wipe the smile off their face, the swagger from their step, the painful memories of the recent past from our minds? Can we teach those boys from Beantown why we really deserve the moniker Bronx Bombers?

For this night, Aaron Boone looked every part the genius. Sacrificing the safety of Happ for the possibility of Severino, the offensive fireworks of Andujar for the defensive wizardry of one who leaped into the heavens to pull down a line drive and justify his manager's decision.

And then there was our Judge, the one who did not need to gain approval of a committee to demonstrate this was a man well suited for his chosen field of endeavor. His first inning laser an exclamation point that calmed us down and revved us up into a frenzy at one and the same moment.


It was but a single evening, yet it embraced a much larger meaning, giving us a chance to watch the sunrise in all its glory, allowing us to bask in the warmth of a glorious early October night, permitting the dream of champagne and championships to persist.

No matter the swirl of insanity that grips our nation, at least for these nine innings, in this Stadium, sitting in our seats and standing in unison and in appreciation, all was right in the world.

Wednesday, October 3, 2018

Cannibalism

("The American Civil War, Part II")

We have always been a country replete with skirmishes. It is the nature of human beings and the nature of democracy. The freedom to be, to express one's views and flex one's muscles. But never, in any of our lifetimes, has it been a call to war. Until now.

It is not a case of class warfare that tears us asunder, but classless warfare, the kind employed by Republican leaders. Not merely the head of the snake filled with bile and venom, but the body coursing with fury and fanaticism, sending its poison through the system, seeking with each opportunity to strike a fatal blow.

Don't blame myriad social ills, globalization, abhorrent sexual proclivities of the powerful. The sky is not falling for any other reason then those in power on the right have made a conscious determination to take us down a path that can lead only to bloodshed, to kill or be killed, to darkness, to moral failings and absolutes.

Donald Trump is the result, hissing with hatred, destined to lead us into the abyss, a walking talking neon sign of what we can never be but somehow are.

What we have witnessed this week in our most cherished institutions is not normal. Except that, owing only to the bargain the Republican party struck with the devil, we have a new normal. A nation in perpetual crisis, in unending turmoil. 

We have become cannibals.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

Unmoored

I vividly recall candidate Trump vilifying Mexicans, denouncing John McCain's heroism, attacking his Republican opponents in terms puerile and demeaning, ridiculing the parents of one who died in service to our country, treating the truth as a chew toy in his relentless assaults upon Hillary Clinton, the media, on anyone with the audacity to challenge his greatness, his capacity, his manhood, his ability to lead this country forward. 

Surely these were each and every one disqualifying events that would prove his undoing, his death knell. Surely we as a nation knew there was a better option awaiting us, that we were entitled to something more than this.

For those already proclaiming the nomination of Brett Kavanaugh to be beyond redemption, certain that the future of our country will not be placed  in the hands of one who has shown himself to be unmoored, uncouth, untethered to reality or truth, I have three words for you. President Donald Trump.

Monday, October 1, 2018

An Inconvenient Truth

(Democrats Denounce Limits on Kavanugh's F.B.I. Inquiry As a 'Farce')

It is an inconvenient truth that Brett Kavanaugh wants you to ignore. The "I like beer" boy who would suggest that his excessive consumption was nothing to fear, but rather something to embrace.

As though there is a nobility in this, an All-American patriotism. And if you dare to question whether his abuse of alcohol could be linked directly to abusive behavior, to exactly the type of assault of which Dr. Blasey-Ford testified, it is you the questioner who is the one at fault.

We have long been schooled by our President that the best defense is to be as offensive as possible, and Mr. Kavanaugh was nothing if not offensive. 

Now we learn that the FBI, with all the tools at its disposal, has been limited to questioning four individuals in connection to the allegations raised. The alleged perp, the Republican controlled Judiciary Committee and the President all with but a single goal. To keep this nation from ever learning the inconvenient truth about Mr. Kavanaugh.

Friday, September 28, 2018

Why?

Despite the angry denials, the tears of apparent frustration, pain, embarrassment, the accusations of a witch hunt, Brett Kavanaugh failed to answer the single most critical question raised: why had she chosen him?

Had Dr. Ford demonstrated any history of aberrant behavior, of psychosis, of obsession? Did her background provide even a hint of any animus toward her alleged perpetrator, any rationale for her present actions, any predicate at all for what we were witnessing? 

If there was any basis to suspect that Dr. Ford had motive or incentive to take herself on this journey into Hell or that she suffered from bizarre delusions, I did not learn of it yesterday. What I heard, what we all heard, was a woman 100 per cent certain of the attack and the attacker. 

And no matter the outrage of Mr. Graham, no matter the loud protest of Mr. Kavanaugh directed at the Clintons, at the Democrats seeking revenge for their stunning 2016 election debacle, at the unstated elephant in the room, the loss of the seat rightfully belonging to Merrick Garland, none of this could adequately explain why this trembling woman had come forward. 

Did Mr. Kavanaugh plant the seeds of reasonable doubt with his notes from 1982 (although that July 1 entry did raise interesting possibilities), with his spit out the words statements that his admitted love of beer to the point of puking could never lead to a moment such as the one detailed, with his adamant denunciation of others who had recently come forward with their own wild tales of his wrongdoing? For the 51 Republicans looking for a reason to approve the nominee, the answer is undoubtedly yes.

And thus, by implication, we as a nation will be told that Dr. Ford was not credible, or at least not credible enough. 

It has been a sad moment in the history of our democracy as we stagger under the weight of the presidency of Mr. Trump. And yesterday it just got a little sadder. 

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Threading the Political Needle

This is the Republican response AFTER Christine Blasey Ford's testimony:

"She is a remarkable woman, courageous for coming forward to bring to this nation's attention her concerns regarding Judge Kavanaugh. But while we believe she may well have suffered the attack of which she complains, we cannot conclude that this was the act of the man who stands accused.

We have listened to Brett Kavanaugh deny this assault in clear and unambiguous terms. We have no corroborating evidence that he committed these wrongs save that the complainant first made and later repeated these allegations some three decades after their occurrence. We have a lifetime of evidence that would stand in contradiction, that would strongly suggest that Brett Kavanaugh was not the perpetrator of this wrong but merely the unfortunate victim of a case of mistaken identity.

We fully appreciate Ms. Blase Ford's testimony and her honest attempt to inform this body, but we must reject the same if we are to be faithful to our duty to those we serve.

There is great tragedy here. The wrongs sustained by those like Christine Blasey Ford have far too long been ignored or minimized, women's voices crying out in pain the subject of ridicule or scorn. We stand before you to say this lack of compassion, of understanding, of belief in the integrity of those who speak of grievous wrongs, will no longer be tolerated. Not today or in the tomorrow's to come. But we cannot and will not make Brett Kavanaugh suffer for the misdeeds of others, nor for our past transgressions in this country's treatment of claims of sexual assault.

Simply put, Brett Kavanaugh is deserving of this nation's trust and our vote for confirmation."

The above is forever after to be referred to as threading of the political needle.

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Extinguished

("Trump Administration Aims to Sharply Restrict New Green Cards For Those On Public Aid")

Give me your tired (but not those wearied of war and the smell of death), your poor (but not those whose hands are too deeply in our coffers), your huddled masses yearning to breathe free (but not those little ones gathered in cells bewildered and beleaguered by an openly hostile universe).

We have abandoned the principle that was our beacon of light. Dismissed in anger, consumed by the excrement that masquerades as concern for our own well being.

"Send these, the homeless, the tempest-tossed to me."

It has become the empty and darkest of nights 
Danger residing deep within our troubled souls
We are blind to the pain directly in our sights
Our beating heart turned hard, harsh and cold

We are deaf to the sound of their fervent cries
As if they are but a grain of sand on our shores
We are lost in a sea of endless aching lies
And Lady Liberty resides among us no more.

Friday, September 14, 2018

Welcome to the World

To my granddaughter:

I wish for you a heart full of compassion, a mind full of questions, eyes that see not what we are but what we can be, legs that take you where your dreams insist,  arms filled with love, a voice that demands the best in others and in yourself.

 I wish for you that every pain passes quickly, that each tear dries instantly, that the darkest night leads swiftly to the brightest day, that heartaches are few and vanish in the blink of an eye, that you are fierce and resilient, able to weather each storm with certainty and determination.

I wish for you that you are filled with wonder and expectation, joy and happiness, smiles and laughter, wit and humor.

I wish for you that your life is one of which you are proud, that each year brings you satisfaction, each day brings you hope, each moment brings you knowledge.

I wish for you that you feel in the core of your being the depth of a parent's love, the breadth of a family's trust in your greatness and potential to change the universe.

I wish for you that you believe in your own capacity, you rely on your strengths, you strive to meet all your promises, you act not on your fears but on your visions.

I wish for you romance and passion, excitement and anticipation, the touch of one that brings meaning beyond all others.

I wish for you a long and important life, deep and abiding respect for others, the desire to make this planet a better place than the one delivered to you, causes that stir you to act, ideas that matter and demand your attention.

I wish for myself that I am a part of your existence, that I bring you pleasure, that you await my arrival and are saddened by my departure. I wish that I am privileged to witness you in all your glory.

My wishes for you are without end. But beyond all I wish you are a good and decent person.

Welcome to the world. I love you.


COPYRIGHT 2018 ROBERT S. NUSSBAUM

Sunday, September 9, 2018

Tears of Sadness in Victory

We all rooted for Serena. Our American idol, almost two decades on top of the tennis world, domination interrupted only by the arrival of her child and the very real complications of childbirth. Now at the ready to reclaim the throne here, at home in NYC, at our Open. A perfect fairy tale ending. And then this.

We can argue the merits of Serena's claims of sexism another day, the propriety of prohibiting coaching during the match, the consequences of an outburst resulting in the loss of a game at such a crucial juncture.

But what struck me most was how the joy of the moment was sapped from a 20 year old new star on the horizon. Tears of sadness and pain, not accomplishment and wonder, making her cover her face in the immediate aftermath of her astounding victory. Serena eventually recognizing that her anger was doing such damage to this young woman who was among the many who revered our American Idol. And then publicly lamenting that her unhappiness had spilled over to the other side of the net.

This was to have been Naomi Osaka's time in the sun. Sadly, it was not. I applaud her for her extraordinary skill and determination. But most of all I will remember this day for why she cried.

Saturday, September 8, 2018

The less than supreme Supreme Court nomination hearing

The nomination hearing for Mr. Kavanaugh is ludicrous, a series of questions intended to increase the reputation of the solemn and increasingly discouraged inquisitors followed by replies intended to convey that either Mr. Kavanaugh is suffering from early onset Alzheimer's or that he doesn't have one fully formed opinion in his head.

It is a preordained determination masquerading as an important exercise in the preservation of our democracy. The Republicans already envisioning future victories for years to come, the Democrats still with righteous, smoldering indignation that two Supreme seats have now been stolen from them, one by a refusal of the opposition to acknowledge even the existence of Merrick Garland, the other a likely combination of bad timing on the part of James Comey and bad intentions on the part of Mr. Putin. 

There is no chance that even one Republican will break rank, no matter their opposition to some of the nominee's uglier positions, no matter his penchant for bending truth and logic. And so we are left with little or nothing to show for this show. 

Except, perhaps, increasing angst that our democracy has come to this. 

Friday, September 7, 2018

The Identity of Deep Throat, Revealed

Who is Deep Throat, Mr./Ms. Anonymous? 

It was a question I posed to my "sources" at the New York Times yesterday. Only give me the initials, I said. "And I promise not to tell anyone."

Surprisingly, the identity was not revealed to me. But then I, like countless other millions, began my own investigation, looking for clues in every syllable of the Op-Ed. And suddenly it struck me, the answer as obvious as the orange color of the President's face. A lightning bolt of revelation. It was Donald Trump himself.

The initials were the "tell". It was not mere serendipity that the last unknown hero and this one shared the same first letters. It was a clue, really the clue.

Mr. Trump was desperate to be released from the bondage of his office, the slings and arrows, the sticks and stones, the names that really did hurt him, finally all too much to take. The months and months of having to fight against an army of enemies who existed at every turn, too exhausting to allow him to continue. But he could not admit defeat, not to the public. It would be too humiliating to perp walk himself through the streets of DC, his bird's nest on the top of his head shorn, Samson no more.

And thus he conceived of his seemingly bizarre exit strategy, convinced that no one would possibly consider that he would orchestrate his own demise, certain in his knowledge that even the most astute would not reach the conclusion the President himself would ask the failing New York Times to be a co-conspirator in his own coup.

Only he knows the way this will play out in the coming days. He will manipulate us as he has every day of this presidency, pulling and pushing us hither and yon. Finally, one day we will awaken and the great man will be gone. And then we will be left with Pence.

We never thought we would long for George W. and his reign of Terrible.  But then D.T. came along and we learned the true definition of nadir. Until P.P.(President Pence) P.P's all over us. And then we will once again grieve what we no longer have. A bad case of the D.T's seeming much more palatable in our rear view mirror.

This man is a true genius.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

It Was the Best of Times. Or At Least, the Hottest.

It was one of those August days. When there seemed no air to breathe. When the temperature and humidity decided to try to collide at 100. When being outside was as dangerous to your mental well being as your physical.

Kind of the perfect storm of reasons not be wandering around a golf course for six hours. Particularly if you were not even playing. And your interest in the sport was definitely more lukewarm than the thermometer. And if you were in your last month of pregnancy you might strongly consider an alternative adventure for the day. Make that any alternative.

But there we were, my son, my wife, my daughter, with her omnipresent companion, and myself, from nearly sunup to sundown. We had all gathered to witness our daughter's husband attempt an ascent to the peak of this particular Mt. Everest, the club championship.

It was not enough that he was performing against an opponent of great skill, by most considered more than his match. He also carried the weight of winner's past, seeking to become the fourth successive generation of his lineage to wear the champion's crown. His mom and 91 year old grandma part of the human caravan wandering these hills, serving as constant reminder of the greatness of his golfing heritage.

For six hours the battle raged. Not only did I, as someone who has spent six decades with this sport's futility as a constant presence, find the event compelling, but so, amazingly, did the rest of my crew. My wife of 41 years, almost never subject to the fluttering of a nervous stomach, now riveted to the twists and turns of the moment. 

As for the pregnant lady, sometimes walking barefoot and looking for all the world as if she would, at any moment, announce the baby's imminent arrival, she was definitely going nowhere until the last putt had found its way into the cup. Even if she had to give birth on the final green.

One small asterisk was that I have a sneaking suspicion my son found the food at the halfway house nearly as memorable as the travails and triumphs unfolding upon this stage.

In the end neither rain (briefly torrential), suffocating heat nor that four putt on the fourth, could keep our hero from his appointed seat on the throne. He seemed to will his way to victory, refusing to allow his opponent any more than the most minimal of emotional air to breathe, the universe outside virtually identical to the one inside this contest.

He did not to wilt under the weight of expectations but thrived in them, absorbing the stress as easily as he did the scorching sun. In fact, as the euphoria pulsed over him, my son in law announced that, apart from every day with his bride, this was the best six hours of his life. A very wise young man indeed.



When husband and wife walked hand in hand, one golf shoed the other barefoot, up that last fairway and into glory, it was, for me, like the final scene of a movie too good to be true.


As for that unborn child, I could only wonder if she now felt pressure, in utero, of her quest to become a next generation star. Maybe even more pressure than she was exerting on her mom's belly.


I envisioned being part of her gallery on that day in the future. On an air conditioned course. Why not dream the biggest dream you can?