DripDripDrip Analysis for the week of May 30 2017

Drip, drip, drip…  It must be driving the republican administration crazy especially the US President.  The constant drop of information to the Washington Post, seemingly daily from one source in the intelligence community then another drop of information from within his administration.

While most Americans are too busy or indifferent to these daily leaks, many believe it is just “fake news” or not important.  Even the markets seem unaffected by it.  Yet, there is a consequence of these leaks: the Trump agenda has been stalled.  Whether the Washington Post or Indivisible coalitions across the country are having an impact, the Trump agenda is slowing as the distractions reverberate.  Health reform is on life support, there is tremendous diversity of opinion among Republicans, which while refreshingly exciting, means that the budget priorities of the administration are not able to be wholly implemented beyond the executive orders being signed.  If that is not enough, it seems the one enormous legislative goal, tax reform, will not be achieved this year.

With the hopes of some for an impeachment, there simply aren’t the votes in the House to impeach nor the two-thirds in the Senate to bring a conviction.  While a good lawyer could make the case that Trump sought to obstruct justice as the discovery intensifies in the Russia probe, most Democrats prefer to keep Trump in office, overwhelmed in office, rather than have Pence become US President.

What will the next steps be for Trump besides rallies to cheer him up?  With 40% of the American electorate fanatically loyal, he could threaten the media with legal action.  The public may support an assault on the press while the educated and political classes shriek in horror.  Staff shakeup as begun with the resignation of the Communications Director with more to come.  This president could either strike North Korea to change the subject.  More likely, he will dig in, fortress-like, and face a stalemate waiting for developments to unfold.

Failure abroad and the dysfunction of his administration and its execution of policies so out of date with the modern world continues to hurt the U.S. in its relationships with global allies.  Germany and France will lead Western Europe movement that excludes the U.S. and Russia influence, with overtures to India, Brazil and other countries tired of the Cold War Histories.  Muslim extremism notwithstanding, Western Europe is on the rise.

The reality is that with the Democrats have no coherent opposition strategy nor leaders of stature ready to take the reins.  Despite their inept handling of the last election, local groups organized through Indivisible and other entities, provide some minor pushback to the Health Bill passed by the US House.

The economy remains solid allowing the drip, drip, drip of the leaks, now ensnaring Jared.  Soon, either Mike Flynn or Paul Manafort will give up information rather than face jail time.  I make no bets who it will be.  Comey wants revenge.  The ugly truth is that Trump is the prize.

Three Years Later – Processing Grief

Last weekend, August 20, was the anniversary of Carleton Cannon‘s death. The last three years have passed exceptionally quick. Perhaps that is where the balance is with Grief. On one hand, when Grief visits, she brings excruciating painful loss while on the other hand, as time passes, those moment by moment times when you are completely overwhelmed, become mercifully manageable hourly, then daily, weekly, monthly, and longer.

Quietly and unannounced, Mercy, the sister of Grief, quietly enters your life. She does not make the grand entrance her sister, Grief, does. Yet, she begins the task of tempering Grief, admonishing moments of peace, and gradually persuades Grief to allow for longer times of peace between Grief’s unchained outbursts.

Yet, it is Time, Himself, that makes this passage nearly bearable. It is at this recognition on Friday, August 19, that I acknowledge it has been three years since Carleton passed from this physical plane. I credit Father Time with magically merging the moments of intolerable loss and modifying those feelings of absolute, overwhelm pain of loss, intimacy, and hope.

Time takes the immensely explosive emotional chaos of a terrible moment and begins to stretch that moment through a day, a week, a month, a year. Time works daily to mitigate the pain, reduce the excruciating, turning it first into tolerance, then into an ability to hope, and ultimately into a “new normal” that for me has taken nearly three years. So, it is with only a few tears today that I am so thankful and remember.

It is good to know that when Grief visits, whether expected or suddenly, that her Sisters – Mercy, Peace and Hope – are certain to arrive. You can rest assured that Father Time, or as I see Him – God – has a purpose in Grief’s visit. Her visits are never without loss, regret or pain. Yet, Grief creates a common ground between people who she visits. And, it is there, when others have visits with Grief, when I can share, as well as appreciate, the visits of Mercy, Peace and Hope who are sure to come.

Ultimately, this entire experience reminds me of one truth. Grief’s visit can never match the experience or value of pursuing God’s greatest gift – Love. Thank you, Carleton. Rest in God’s Arms.

Senator Hatch fails the US Supreme Court

I respectfully disagree with the comments of Senator Orrin Hatch.  On March 28, in an Oped piece in the New York Times, Senator Orrin Hatch attempted to justify the refusal of US Senate Republicans to comply with the duties of the US Senate regarding the nominee of a US Supreme Court Justice.  Ultimately, the reason was politics, pure and simple.  Usually, Senator Orrin Hatch is above such political expediency, but not today.  Senator Hatch has provided political article to spread blame anywhere but squarely where it should be.  And, he has sold out his decades of protection of the US Justice System, the integrity of the US Supreme Court, and is participating in creating a new precedent that will surely be part of the complex disintegration of the US Senate.28hatch-web-master675

In grand fashion, Sen Orrin Hatch eloquently blames the reasons for Senate Republican’s refusal to fulfill their participation in the US Supreme Court nominee process on Obama overreach, the greatness of Scalia, and the political minefield that republicans want to avoid to protect the sensibilities of American citizens from especially during such “a toxic national election”.  He writes an opinion that at its core is quite simply an regurgitated political piece, only providing excuses, providing no balance, not once even mentioning the very terrible behavior of Republicans to attack Anita Hill to their chronic opposition to any fair minded judge in the decades of “tit for tat”.  In fact, Senator Hatch outlines only the grievances of republicans against democrats since the 1980s.  It is 2016, Orrin, get over it.

US Senate Republicans refusal to do its work is a grievance against America.  Refusal to even meet with the US Supreme Court nominee should be considered an act of treason.  Yet, this action by US Senate Republicans only proves that US Senate Republicans provide only lip service to their duties, rather than honestly feel compelled to fulfill their duties under the US Constitution.

It is well known that any judge who has any written articles of moderation or progressive wisdom to address legal harm are met with hostility. It is the Republicans own lust for those with antiquated knowledge to subvert democracy that resulted in the infamous Citizens United, leaving America trapped in a swirl of money, deception, disengagement of its voters, gerrymandering run amok, etc.

Senator Orrin Hatch, as any grandpa would, attempts to patronize the reader, letting us know that it is for our own good.  Senator Hatch, let me outline the reasons why your decision to not fulfill your duties as a Senator cause great harm to America.

This political posturing threatens democracy and this very institution, the US Senate. In its failure to perform its duties, Senate Republican hasten the demise of our system of democracy by this precedent and make vulnerable the US Supreme Court and its own institution for further oligarchy control and potentially led by a narcissist, xenophobic, fascist bully.

It is imperative that before this election cycle’s national election is conducted, a full complement of US Supreme Court justices be on the bench. The Supreme Court is one of the few institutions to provide oversight and act in a leadership capacity in rendering important decisions during any national crisis regarding the election in November. Do we not remember Bush v Gore? And, it would be a travesty of monumental proportions were the result to be a tie.

Republicans call out Democrats suggesting the terrible toxicity of the current national primaries is the main concern. They are protesting that postponing the confirmation hearings is to keep a lid on national politics. Let me be clear, it certainly is. And, without a Supreme Court with 9 judges on the bench, you can be sure the Republicans will be able to play politics.

This open US Supreme Court seat is the only reason that will attract many members of the Republican party to vote in this election cycle if Donald Trump is the nominee. Without the open US Supreme Court position, the Republicans could lose the US Senate and potentially the US House due to lack of interest in the Presidential Nominee or their outright disgust with him.

Further, an open seat provides advantage to Republican US Senators in negotiating any power exchange when a new administration is elected, while causing laws in different areas of the country to be determined by area, creating havoc and further fanning flames of discord and destruction that could be avoided if there were nine votes, rather than eight. While many in business cases have started to enter settlements without a US Supreme Court that was super friendly with big business, this system certainly deserves nine court justices, not eight, to address the weighty impacts that this court reviews.

In refusing to provide consent until after an election, the precedent provides the party in power of the US Senate to weaken our Executive Branch, hinder further any future decision or duty being pursued by the US President, until a distant national vote. If this is the new standard, why have the US Senate in session today?   They can go home until November, as well. If they are not going to do the most important work, specifically duties outlined in the US Constitution, why should they be doing any other work based on the same decision.

This precedent gives the majority party the power to “elect” not to perform its duties until such future time as it is politically prudent, or for a limited time, until after a national election.  This gives added meaning to the term “lame duck”.   Especially as each national election cycle seems to start earlier and earlier and the time grows shorter between election campaign time periods. This precedent, whether used by either party corrupts and threatens the balance of powers between the executive and the legislative.

Yet, because this political argument involves the appointment of a nominee to the US Supreme Court, this political game now imperils the judiciary where the executive or legislative branches regularly file suit to press for political advantage.   In this case, to address the refusal of the US Senate to comply with their duties under the US Constitution would cause irreparable harm to the Judicial System and the esteem in which most Americans hold the US Supreme Court to be the most judicious and fair in the world.

Lastly, in breaking with the traditions of the US Senate to sit a committee to affirm a presidential nominee to the US Supreme Court, republicans continue the toxic attacks on our most cherished institutions where “we the people” must go as a last attempt to make change against those more powerful, wealthier, or simply wrong. It is a terribly slow institution that just made its work that much harder to get accomplished for the people.

Senator Orrin Hatch used to be above politics. Whether I agreed with Senator Hatch, there always was a powerful and wise purpose he served to protect the US Senate as an institution.  Clearly politics in the US Senate has corrupted one of its most respected arbiters for Justice.  Senator Orrin Hatch has lost his integrity, his wisdom, and my respect.  I am certain the death of the institution itself is near.

It is a sad day.