On the Mar-A-Lago Raid … and Al Capone

[First, a qualification:  although I have heard legal analysts comment that the FBI’s recent search of former President Donald Trump’s Mar-A-Lago estate was not a “raid” because it was seemingly undertaken entirely according to lawful procedures, the word, “raid,” is nonetheless used at points in this note because it is significantly easer and shorter than the phrase, “a search conducted by the FBI pursuant to a warrant issued by a federal judge upon a finding of probable cause that evidence would be discovered leading to conviction of a crime.”  😉 ].

I suggested in an earlier post that in U.S. Attorney General Merrick Garland’s place, what might cause me to refrain from bringing criminal charges against Mr. Trump – despite my beliefs that no one is above the law, and that there is cogent evidence that Mr. Trump is guilty of seditious conspiracy – was the practical problem of empaneling 12 open-minded jurors in an environment in which at least a third of Americans are in Mr. Trump’s cult.  I would feel – and strongly suspect that Mr. Garland feels – that for the good of the country, one cannot afford to bring criminal charges against Mr. Trump, and lose.

That said, my reluctance was expressed when considering and in the context of crimes that inevitably have a subjective element – and thus, the potential for Mr. Trump’s plausible deniability – including not only seditious conspiracy but crimes such as the instances of obstruction of justice described by Special Counsel Robert Mueller in Volume II of his report.

In apparently determining to first pursue Mr. Trump under the Presidential Records Act (the “PRA”), Attorney General Merrick Garland and the Department of Justice (the “DOJ”) team are seemingly being pretty tactical, but pragmatic.  They have perhaps chosen to start with an arguably relatively innocuous statute – at least as compared to the legion of other, potentially more momentous, charges for which there appears to be compelling evidence against Mr. Trump – because proving a PRA offense could be the most objective, and thus, the easiest to establish.  (That said, how harmless the offense might be will obviously ultimately depend on what, if any, material Mr. Trump might be proven to have illegally kept; more on this below.)  It’s up or down, black or white.  Mr. Trump either had illegally retained documents under his control at the time of the raid, or he didn’t.  Clearly, Mr. Garland – and the federal judge authorizing the Mar-A-Lago search warrant, based upon the DOJ affidavit presented in support of the warrant application – had a strong belief that he did.  If such records were on the Mar-A-Lago estate, presumably the FBI now has them.  Since negotiations regarding these records have reportedly gone on for months between Mr. Trump and federal authorities, it will seemingly be difficult for the former president to claim that he didn’t know that he had them (if he indeed did).  The DOJ perhaps considers the PRA the simplest vehicle to establish a straightforward violation with the potential for securing a relatively quick conviction.

Even so – and despite all the chortling by liberal media outlets – the obtaining of a search warrant and the execution of the attendant search doesn’t constitute an indictment, much less a conviction, of Mr. Trump.  Even if he is ultimately indicted and convicted, a fairly quick internet search of legal authority sets forth a legal view that such conviction would not, despite the PRA’s purported prohibition upon a perpetrator’s holding of federal office, prevent Mr. Trump from seeking and assuming the presidency because Congress doesn’t have the power to add hurdles to a citizen’s right to become president that are not set forth in the Constitution.

The ramifications of this week’s raid may ultimately be determined by what was retrieved.  If something truly significant was recovered, and can be publicized, such will seemingly have an impact upon Mr. Trump’s political fortunes as well as his personal freedom.  (I note with interest reports that Mr. Trump’s legal and media defenders – who for the most part probably have no better idea than anyone else what might have been recovered – are suggesting that the FBI might have “planted” evidence on Mr. Trump, laying the groundwork to enable them to sow doubt about any serious transgression in the minds of Mr. Trump’s credulous followers.)  On the other hand, if what Mr. Trump had in his possession merely amounts to a technical but inconsequential violation – what basketball fans call a “ticky-tack foul” – such could have little effect on Mr. Trump’s political aspirations or perhaps even generate sympathy for him among the moderately-conservative voter segments whose support he needs to reclaim the presidency. 

As Mr. Trump was fond of saying during his presidency:  We’ll see what happens.  Maybe this week’s raid will amount to something; perhaps it will amount to nothing.  However, and as many are aware, Al Capone was never convicted of murder, extortion, or bootlegging; he was ultimately brought low by a conviction for income tax evasion.  Perhaps Mr. Trump will suffer a similar fate due to an infraction far afield from the many, seemingly more significant, betrayals of our republic for which there is persuasive evidence of his guilt.

A Political Ad Worth Posting

This was called to my attention yesterday. As of 2003, I didn’t think it possible that I would ever again cite or refer to Dick Cheney with complete approval, but here it is my honor to do so.

On the Passing of Vin Scully

As all who care are aware, Vin Scully, who was the voice of the Brooklyn/Los Angeles Dodgers for over 60 years, passed away yesterday at age 94.  Since Mr. Scully also broadcast nationally for many years, he was well-known by sports fans nationwide.  He had the classiest, smoothest delivery of any sports announcer I have ever heard.  The most dramatic baseball moment I have ever witnessed as it happened was the gimpy Kirk Gibson’s 9th inning homerun off Hall of Fame Closer Dennis Eckersley in Game One of the 1988 World Series (it was Mr. Gibson’s only at bat in a series ultimately won by the underdog Dodgers over the Oakland A’s), and Mr. Scully’s call of the moment – in which he said little, and then let the crowd tell the story – by itself ranks as a classic in sports broadcasting.

My mother was from Brooklyn, raised five blocks from Ebbets Field, and could recall Mr. Scully’s start as second chair to Red Barber (a legend in his own right in Brooklyn).  Both of my parents were big baseball fans (my father was as rabid a Yankee fan as my mother was an avid Dodger backer, which both later agreed made for interesting Octobers in the late ‘40’s through the mid-‘50’s).  Throughout Mr. Scully’s career, he maintained the even-handed style of baseball announcing in which he was trained in New York (and upon which my parents grew up).  When we moved to the Midwest in 1959, both of my parents were appalled by the Chicago broadcasters’ “root, root, root for the home team” announcing style.  To their mind, Mr. Scully’s delivery was the way it should be done.  I came to share their view.

Hear in your head one more time that rich voice, as you would if he were discussing another: 

“His reporting brought respite from daily cares to millions of Americans over scores of years.  May he rest in peace.”

It Is We Who Are On Trial

Countless pundits have intoned that the hearings of the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol (the “Committee”) have put former President Donald Trump “on trial,” at least in the court of public opinion.  While there is no question that the Committee has established that Mr. Trump had more knowing complicity – “aforethought” – in the attempt to overthrow our democracy than even I, who has made regular references to Fascism in relation to Mr. Trump’s activities, had appreciated before the hearings began, with no background in criminal law I cannot assess whether learned criminal counsel consider the evidence that the Committee has put forth sufficient to convict Mr. Trump of seditious conspiracy (even assuming that a jury of twelve unbiased citizens could be found).  However, I would venture this:  if nothing more, last night’s hearing – the last of the first series, with further hearings to be conducted in September – unquestionably “convicted” Mr. Trump of unspeakable dereliction of duty.

Although less than 50% of self-described Republicans are reportedly paying significant attention to the hearings, and I understand that alt-right outlets are now seeking to discredit the Committee’s efforts by asserting, in addition to other claims, that Mr. Trump and his cohort haven’t had the opportunity to cross-examine witnesses, I thought that one reminder by Committee Vice-Chairwoman U.S. WY Rep. Liz Cheney near the conclusion of the hearing was the most telling observation of the night:  that virtually all of the testimony presented against Mr. Trump has been provided by Republicans, and the notion that any counsel for Mr. Trump would be able to effectively shake the testimony of former Attorney General William Barr (she could have listed any number of other Committee witnesses in addition to Mr. Barr) is simply not credible.

(Not significant but the most fun moment of the evening was watching the clips of U.S. MO Sen. Josh Hawley — who both instituted the Congressional initiative to obstruct the Electoral College vote count that in turn led to the insurrection and was pictured stirring up the crowd on the morning of the uprising — running for his life through the halls of Congress once the rioters actually broke in.  Since the Committee presented some evidence last night that contained what it called “harsh language,” I feel that it is within my purview to coarsen this post to this extent:  Mr. Hawley is not only a traitor but a gutless pissant.)

The Committee’s work has reached the point that I no longer consider Mr. Trump really its main subject; it is we who are.  While only the Almighty can judge morality, the nation-state is a human construct [which one might argue actually creates boundaries and loyalties antithetical to His (please excuse the male pronoun for a Being without gender) teachings], and thus I feel free to pass judgement to this extent:  anyone who maintains fealty to Mr. Trump despite the evidence presented by the Committee, or – in my view, every bit as bad – is remaining loyal to Mr. Trump after willfully refusing or negligently failing to take note of the evidence presented by the Committee, is guilty, notwithstanding all of the pledge of allegiance reciting, flag waving, and national anthem singing, of being … Un-American.

On Realpolitik

Yesterday on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Washington Post Associate Editor and Columnist David Ignatius observed about President Biden’s trip to Saudi Arabia [the nation which Mr. Biden described during his presidential campaign as a “pariah” due, among other reasons, to Saudi Arabian de facto leader Prince Mohammed bin Salman (“Prince MBS”) Al Saud’s seemingly-well established complicity in the assassination of Washington Post Journalist (and Prince MBS Critic) Jamal Khashoggi]: 

“Biden is going in a classic exercise of what diplomats call, ‘Realpolitik.’ … [The definition of ‘Realpolitik’] is policy that is premised on power.  Raw power and the needs of power, as opposed to values and principles.  And that’s what the President is doing.  He thinks American power requires a relationship with Saudi Arabia, especially during the Ukrainian war, especially when gas prices are so high, and so he’s going to do what’s necessary to establish a passable relationship with Saudi Arabia.”

Prince MBS … is a bad man.  I described him in a post a while back as “arrogant, willful, and malign.”  Although it is up to the Almighty to judge, a case can arguably be made that he is a moral peer of Russian President Vladimir Putin, Chinese President Xi Jinping, Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and perhaps dozens of tinhorn dictators who maintain their power across the globe through terror, violence, and repression.  As the parent of a Washington Post journalist, I could not be more sensitive to Prince MBS’ culpability for Mr. Khashoggi’s murder.  Even so, and although progressives and progressive media outlets may well condemn any indication of amity between the President and Prince MBS as a betrayal of American values, I completely agree with Mr. Biden’s apparent purpose.  When our power, vast as it is, is insufficient in and of itself, sometimes we need to make deals with bad men (and I suspect occasionally with bad women) to secure our interests.  U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt and British Prime Minister Winston Churchill didn’t love Russian Chairman Joseph Stalin, but they were happy to have Russia’s help in defeating Nazi Germany.  Although Mr. Biden’s challenges are obviously of a markedly-lesser nature than those faced by Messrs. Roosevelt and Churchill, the principles of Realpolitik still hold.  We need Saudi Arabia’s help on energy today – which will lower the democracies’ costs and perhaps augment sanctions to weaken Russia’s economic condition — but more importantly, in the long term, given our reduced presence in the Middle East, we need to foster a bulwark, in which Israel and Saudi Arabia are necessary pillars, to hold off the advances of Iran.  

It is what it is.

2024:  Each Party’s Two-Word Problem

[Note:  this post is based on the perhaps questionable assumption that Trumplicans who have assumed discretionary control of the electoral mechanisms in some swing states don’t deny the 2024 Democratic presidential nominee fairly-won Electoral College votes.]

I would submit that each party has a two-word obstacle that it must finesse in order to win the White House in 2024.

The Republicans’ two-word problem is pretty obvious:  Donald Trump.  Given all of the opportunity we’ve had since 2015 to contemplate the former president’s psyche, I think it takes little insight to suggest that he is viscerally unable to relinquish the stage; he desperately fears being left behind, forgotten.  I may at some point have to concede that I was wrong, but I currently can’t believe that Mr. Trump won’t seek the Republican 2024 Presidential nomination.  If he wins the nomination, all of the animosities he stirs in those who oppose him, taken together with the political wounds he has seemingly suffered as a result of the hearings of the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol (the “Committee”), plus all of the unease and weariness that would exist in conservative Independent and moderate Republican quarters at the prospect of having to again deal with him, make it seem to me that it will be difficult for him to defeat the right Democratic presidential candidate (more on that below) in enough swing states to reclaim the presidency.  On the other hand, if he loses the nomination, I would venture that Republicans are fantasizing if they think that Mr. Trump – who in defeat will almost certainly retain the diehard allegiance of at least one-third of the Republican base — will docilely accept his defeat and line up behind the nominee.  The former president will instead claim that every primary he lost was “rigged” or “stolen.”  He will loudly and continuously denounce the GOP nominee.  He will threaten to start his own party – and may follow through.  In short, he will stir up enough discontent and uncertainty that in swing areas, enough disgruntled Trumplicans may stay home to enable the right Democrat to win in the Electoral College – which is the only tally that matters.

[I deliberately pass over the debate as to whether Mr. Trump should be prosecuted for sedition.  While I personally consider Mr. Trump guilty of sedition based upon the evidence uncovered by the Committee (while recognizing, of course, that if obliged to sit on a jury judging Mr. Trump, I would have to steel my mind and soul to consider only the sufficiency of the evidence admitted in his criminal trial), I am against such prosecution not because of any worry that such will set a precedent for future political persecutions but because I consider it extremely doubtful that with at least a third of our citizens in Mr. Trump’s cult, any prosecutorial team will be able to persuade twelve jurors to find Mr. Trump guilty of sedition beyond a reasonable doubt.  The Biden Justice Department can’t, for the good of the country, afford to bring a case against Mr. Trump, and lose.]

The Democrats’ two-word problem is almost as obvious:  Kamala Harris.  While I consider President Joe Biden to have thus far done a good job overall – a discussion for a separate post – he is showing every bit of his approximately 80 years (even those that support him concede that he looks old).  Elections are about matchups; up against Mr. Trump, he might well win despite his advanced years — by simply running on a slogan, “Do you really want to go back to him?” – but against any other, inevitably more vital-appearing, Republican nominee, it’s difficult to conceive of him overcoming understandable reservations among Independents about his ability to serve out his term.  Accordingly, if he runs and retains Vice President Harris as his running mate, this will necessarily cause any open-minded voter to seriously consider whether she is qualified to be president.  My conclusion – not new to anyone who read a number of entries in these pages during the 2020 Democratic Presidential Nomination process, and regrettably unchanged by anything I’ve seen in Ms. Harris’ performance as Vice President – is, she’s not.  My impression of Ms. Harris seems, crucially, to be shared by a number of our progressive Madison, WI friends.  If they have misgivings about her ability to conduct the presidency, concerns about her among Independents and moderate Republicans – the electoral segments which will determine the outcome of the 2024 presidential election – make her a political liability that could sink Mr. Biden even against Mr. Trump, and an albatross that he cannot afford against any other Republican presidential nominee.

If the President is serious about running again, I hope that his closest aide will be sitting down with Ms. Harris immediately after the midterms, advising her that she will soon be announcing that for personal reasons and with great regret, she had advised Mr. Biden to nominate someone else to run with him in 2024. 

I would suggest that the 2024 political hazard Ms. Harris presents to Democrats is potentially exponentially magnified if Mr. Biden chooses not to seek a second term.  Unless the Vice President affirmatively and promptly declares that she will not seek the presidency, Mr. Biden’s withdrawal will immediately cause some in the media – in both liberal and conservative quarters, for different reasons — to anoint Ms. Harris as the frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination.  If she seeks the 2024 Democratic Presidential nomination, I have severe doubts that progressive Democrats – who have an outsized voice in party affairs — will be able to unemotionally and pragmatically assess her qualifications and electoral prospects.  If she wins the nomination, I — as a resident of Wisconsin, which has become the ultimate swing state — don’t think she will be able to carry this state against Mr. Trump, let alone any other likely Republican presidential nominee with less baggage.  I’m finding that even those of our progressive Madison, WI, friends who are unwilling to express outright doubts about her competence have little faith in her Wisconsin electoral prospects.  If she can’t win here, it’s difficult to see how she can win the presidency.  If she seeks the nomination but loses the nomination to another candidate, I fear that it will be after a bitter campaign in which Democrats supporting any other candidate who is not also a woman of color will be denounced by the Woke segments of the party as either misogynist (if the competing candidate is male) or racist (if the competing candidate is white) or both (if the competing candidate is a white male) – despite the fact that there are regular indications that rank-and-file Democrats who are women and/or of color pragmatically prioritize competence and electability over diversity.  In a dilemma corresponding to the internecine discord facing Republicans related to Mr. Trump’s candidacy, I have severe doubts that if Ms. Harris runs, Democrats will be able to escape their own diversity-focused Wokeness sufficiently to cohere to defeat determined and organized Republican organizations in swing states (subject to the caveat that they might be able to do so if the opponent is Mr. Trump).

Make no mistake:  running against the wrong Democrat, Mr. Trump – or another like-minded Republican intent on instituting an American Apartheid – could fairly (i.e., without manipulation or fraud) win an Electoral College majority (if not the popular vote) in 2024, and thus, the presidency; if such a Republican does win the White House, the Republicans will not give it back.  And so:  who at this extremely early stage do I consider to be the right candidate for the Democrats’ 2024 Presidential nomination?  U.S. MN Sen. Amy Klobuchar is the first that comes to mind.  From a politically pragmatic standpoint, I am hoping that Mr. Biden and Ms. Harris will step back to clear the way for Ms. Klobuchar or some other competent and electable moderate Democrat to give us an opportunity to preserve our democracy in 2025 and beyond.

On Fertilizing and Mowing

Every Middle America neighborhood has one retired old coot who seems to have nothing better to do but cut his lawn every other day.  I realized the other day:  I’ve become that guy.

For over 40 years, the debate has continued between TLOML and me:  How frequently should we fertilize our lawn — if at all?

One school of thought on this hotly-discussed subject holds that in order to have a suitable – indeed, a lush, vibrant – lawn, one should fertilize four times a year, at the spring and summer Holidays:  Easter, Memorial Day, July 4, and Labor Day.  (We’ll ignore those fanatics who hold that another fertilization in late autumn is just what the little blades need to flourish.)  The other school of thought — while conceding that one does not want one’s lawn to be an embarrassment; one does not want the neighbors muttering that you’re endangering their property values — holds that except in rare instances, fertilization is The Devil; that all that happens when one fertilizes is that the grass will grow, simply increasing the number of times that one must mow.  This approach posits that relatively fewer summer fertilizations, while perhaps not yielding the lushest green carpet, will nonetheless be sufficient to avoid embarrassment.

Yet another debate:  Is it safe to mow when if it’s too hot?  This is not an expression of concern for the safety of the mower, but rather:  Won’t mowing when it’s too hot shock the grass?  There is, of course, the contrary philosophy:  This is mowing day.  Grass has survived for millennia.  It’ll survive mowing by a septuagenarian wielding a lawnmower that is, in dog years, even older than he is.

I have felt for decades that if I could spray paint our entire lot with a long-lasting grass-green paint (with pebbles, of course, for texture), such would be mighty tempting.  Given the little likelihood that I will be able to implement such a strategy, and since I’ve largely lost the fertilization debate, I am holding out for new scientific pronouncements.  In light of the way that many in our area embraced No Mow May, I am now hoping that some melittologist will declare that mature weeds, like long grass, fosters bee survival.  Perhaps then TLOML will embrace a new, “Leave the Weeds to the Bees” movement 😉 .

Have a great weekend.  Given the challenges we face domestically and internationally, there is no better time to celebrate and cherish our Independence Day.

On Cassidy Hutchinson’s Testimony

The June 28th testimony of Ms. Cassidy Hutchinson, a former aide to White House Chief of Staff Mark Meadows, before the U.S. House Select Committee to Investigate the January 6th Attack on the United States Capitol (the “Committee”), stands for itself.  Anyone who hasn’t either seen or heard about it, and the manner in which it implicates former President Donald Trump and Mr. Meadows in a coup to overthrow the United States government, has been living in a cave deep underground.  She made an excellent witness.  As I watched it, the same thought occurred to me as has been noted by various commentators:  it was, along with former White House Counsel John Dean’s testimony during the Watergate hearings, arguably the most compelling testimony ever rendered before Congress.  Perhaps the most dramatic if not the most significant part of the testimony was Ms. Hutchinson’s account of a White House aide, Tony Ornato, describing to her, in the presence of the head of Mr. Trump’s Secret Service detail, Bobby Engel, how Mr. Engel had told Mr. Ornato that after Mr. Engel informed the former president following his speech at the Ellipse that the Secret Service was not taking him to the Capitol,  Mr. Trump lunged for the wheel of his Presidential limousine in a rage and then struck at Mr. Engel when Mr. Engel attempted to restrain him.

And yet:  I am troubled by the report that Mr. Engel and the (as yet unidentified) member of the Secret Service agent driving the limousine are willing to testify that the events in the limousine did not occur.

Although I spent very little time in the courtroom in my career, it is among the most basic premises of trial work that when you are confronted with very damaging testimony, if you can discredit any part of the testimony, it casts doubt upon the witness’ entire account.    

It is a lawyer’s point to note that it is not inconsistent for Ms. Hutchinson to have testified truthfully about what Mr. Ornato told her in Mr. Engel’s presence while at the same time, the incident in the limousine did not in fact occur.  Even so, such a fine distinction will be lost in the controversy that will arise if Mr. Engel or the limousine driver testifies before the Committee (and at this point, the Committee will have no choice but to let these gentlemen testify live on television if the report regarding their prospective denials is accurate) that Mr. Trump neither reached for the wheel nor accosted Mr. Engel.  Mr. Trump’s defenders will use any such testimony by Mr. Engel and/or the limousine driver to discredit Ms. Hutchinson’s entire account.

The Committee has been so thorough and its presentations have been so compelling that it is frankly hard for me to believe that the Committee – which didn’t need the portion of Ms. Hutchinson’s testimony regarding the limousine incident to establish the most incriminating evidence against Mr. Trump and Mr. Meadows it has yet presented – would include it without corroboration of the incident by Mr. Engel or the limousine driver, or, at the very least, corroboration from Mr. Ornato or Mr. Engel of the exchange Mr. Hutchinson testified to.

I guess we’ll see.

On Roe’s Reversal

I predicted in January in these pages that the Supreme Court would overturn Roe v. Wade, and that if such a decision was handed down, within sixty days thereafter most or all states under Republican control would outlaw abortion within their jurisdictions.  I ventured that on a purely political handicapping basis, if such occurred, it would provoke such outrage among liberals and conservatives and sufficient unease among Independents and Republican moderates that Democrats would retain their majorities in Congress.

While the outrage and unease I predicted in January is certainly occurring, at this point I sadly have little hope — but would love to be proven wrong — that such will be sufficient to enable Democrats to overcome gerrymandered Republican Congressional districts across the country and maintain their majority in the U.S. House of Representatives.  That said, I remain optimistic that the strong negative reaction to the Roe reversal among progressives, liberals, and moderates will provide Democrats an excellent opportunity, if handled adroitly and if elections are administered fairly, to maintain control of the U.S. Senate and to prevail in close swing state races such as the Wisconsin Gubernatorial race.

Impressions of larger import than the political ramifications attending the Roe reversal also linger.

The first – the sense of diminishment that I have heard several women express at the decision — is not for me to address.

The second I consider less important than the last, despite its almost incalculable effect on our Constitutional system: the Supreme Court’s legitimacy and credibility is shredded in the public mind on issues of culture (which is all the public cares about).  Speaking as a septuagenarian, I don’t think that the Court will shed the stigma of partisanship it now carries during my lifetime – a particularly sad realization for someone who spent his career in the law.  The Republicans too blatantly made it their primary goal over the last decades to put pro-life Justices on the Supreme Court, despite public opinion polls’ consistent indication that the majority of Americans favor some level of abortion rights for women.  The conservative Justices have now fulfilled the task that they had in effect been assigned – another step in what has become a quest to establish an American Apartheid.  I find it difficult to believe that Roe would have been overturned but for both then-Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s refusal to conduct hearings on then-President Barack Obama’s 2016 nomination of then-U.S. Appellate Court Judge Merrick Garland and U.S. Associate Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s truly untimely death four months before the end of President Donald Trump’s term.  [Protestations by U.S. Senators such as Susan Collins (ME) and Joe Manchin (WV) since the Roe reversal that they trusted the recent conservative appointees’ representations during their respective confirmation processes that they would honor the Roe precedent simply demonstrates that either these Senators are fools, or think you are.]  Hypothetically say that Democrats successfully either add additional Supreme Court seats and pack them, or impeach the current conservative Justices and replace them; the reformed Court’s ensuing progressive-friendly decisions wouldn’t expunge its stain of partisanship, but rather reinforce it. 

As significant as the degradation of the Supreme Court’s standing in the public mind is for our Constitutional system, I consider this last impression, which has dogged me since I heard of the Roe reversal, to be of even greater, perhaps existential, import.  I hope that it is wildly off the mark, and you may well reject it.  It is based on this premise:  that the right to abortion – as compared to immigration, crime, climate, taxation, even gun rights; you name it – is the most enduring and emotionally divisive issue of our time, and as such, will always incite the same inestimable level of ardor and righteousness on both sides of the issue.  There is no way to reconcile the adversaries’ differences.  Neither side will ever back down.  I would submit that the fervor it generates is of a kind and akin to the abolitionist/slavery debate over 150 years ago.  When one adds the coming convulsion attending the Roe reversal to the many other issues in which our polarized citizens are unable to agree upon the same truth and seem unwilling to seek or accept good faith compromise, we may have entered a period of prologue not unlike the 1850s.

Watch This

In a recent post, I indicated that I wasn’t going to refer to the hearings of the U.S. House Select Committee on the January 6 Attack unless I was driven to write by outrage at the revelation of a particularly-egregious traitorous act by former President Donald Trump or his cohort. 

Below there is a link to a recording of the Committee’s June 23 hearing.  To be candid, while watching it, I felt no outrage, because it was simply confirmation of what I was already confident – and was already confident before January 6 – that Mr. Trump was capable of; however, if you haven’t already done so, I most strongly encourage you to watch the hearing in its entirety.  I know you’re busy, but suspect that sometime this weekend, you have planned to spend a few hours watching a movie or a ballgame.  Your time is better spent watching this.  Snippets you have seen on newscasts offer the headlines but not the full essence.  Hopefully, you have a screen bigger available than your phone.  You may well find it shocking or unnerving, but you won’t be bored.