Category Politics/Culture

An Impeachment Week Lamentation

WOW. I’m tempted to end it there, maybe with a dozen more of them, followed by a few paragraphs of exclamation points as our country, at least those of us watching and absorbing the awful spectacle unfolding in front of our eyes and ears, takes its collective breath and returns, yet again, to the awful question facing us: Can the sordidness and corruption coursing through every vein of Donald Trump’s misbegotten presidency possibly get any worse, and possibly offer any more clear and compelling evidence for why he is so manifestly, perfectly unfit to be the kind of leader we need and deserve?

As clearly devoted and decent as Deputy Secretary George Kent and Ambassador William Taylor showed themselves to be on Wednesday in exposing the multiple ways President Trump has undermined American interests in pursuing Ukrainian assistance in bringing down Joe Biden, it remained for Taylor’s predecessor, the deposed...

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Fire, Rage and Hope 

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same…
                                                —Rudyard Kipling 

We live in a time when meaningful commentary about the affairs of the day faces the challenge of being overrun by ever more head-shaking events—and by the 24-hour news cycle that barely has time to chronicle those events before a new one crashes in commanding our attention.

It’s like one of those diabolical amusement park rides that no sooner dumps you out from a screeching, white knuckle series of turns than it drops you and your stomach down a precipitous descent far speedier than gravity would seem to allow.

And then the speed and lurch build up much too quickly again and you find yourself praying for the end of the r...

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The Essential Impeachment Question

Is it permissible for a sitting president of the United States to bring pressure to bear on a foreign leader to investigate a political rival of the president for the sole purpose of casting that rival in a negative light?

That is the essential question members of the House of Representatives and Senate must answer for themselves as they confront the impeachment investigation now fully underway in the House. Those who have weighed in thus far on this point include a number of Republican legislators, including South Carolina’s Lindsey Graham (“If you bring articles of impeachment based on this phone call, I think you’re nuts”) and Iowa’s Joni Ernst (“I’ve looked at the transcript; I don’t see anything there”).

Note: Trump and his defenders never claimed that enlisting a foreign power to intervene in our elections was permissible—only that his campaign had nothing to do with it...

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The Coming Climate Catastrophe in Words and Song

Only the introductory portion of this post will be mine, and I hope the rest of it will ring loud alarm bells in your mind while also causing you to consider for a moment just how ardently you love this earth, and what you might do to defend it.  Two  different sources here: One is a review in the current “London Review of Books” of “The Uninhabitable Earth: A Story of the Future,” by David Wallace-Wells.

I have not read the book but the review itself has put a chill in my bones on this otherwise warming and pleasant summer Sunday morning that will not soon subside. Nor should it, as I trust you will realize soon enough.

The second is from Jackson Browne’s absolutely prescient and heart-rending 1974 song, “Before the Deluge,” written when he was 25 years old, and which I had often sung and hummed along with over the years without ever really picking up on the words’ prophetic power—until today...

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Why Aged People Should Not Be President

Watching Robert Mueller’s halting, tentative, sometimes fumbling responses to being grilled for hours by highly charged (and much younger) congressmembers today, I was struck anew with my increasing conviction that past, say, age 70, people should no longer try to become leaders of their country.

Call me ageist if you will, but my reasoning is not that I don’t think elderly people have much to offer the world (so long as they keep their wits about them). It’s just that ideally, they move into a senior advisory role, a steadying hand, a source of wisdom and historical perspective in the ear of younger, more energetic leaders who benefit greatly from their senior confidantes.

Mueller, just short of 75, looked and sounded somewhat lost a good deal of the time yesterday over a grueling 6-hour stretch as he faced two different committees, half of their members hostile and yelling at him from the get-go, ...

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