Big inflated balloon shaped like a fat baby in a diaper with orange skin and large yellow hair flowing at the top with his mouth open held up high in the air by strings

The week of July 9th took me back to a world my young daughter left behind years ago. A leader is choosing like-minded friends for his team no matter how badly they play the game. A stubborn, immature lout is willing to accept a tough punishment rather do something healthy.  Then there’s a poorly-raised little shit who runs around shooting off his mouth offending everyone in sight.

To replace the outgoing Justice Kennedy, the president nominated Brett Kavanaugh. He is a circuit court judge in DC with a solidly conservative track record. He clerked for Kennedy before working for the Bush campaign in Florida and helping to steal the 2000 election. He is not smart enough to handle money; accruing tens of thousands of dollars in credit card debt for sports tickets and a private Catholic school for his kids. So before we dig deeper into him, the Supreme Court nominee is a devout Catholic with money problems and a lack of respect for democracy. So far, so good, right?!

Kavanaugh publicly praised celebrity neanderthal, William Rehnquist, for his dissent in the Roe v. Wade case. The audacity to praise such a reprehensible man and opinion show how little he respects women and their right to control their own bodies. But his hatred for women isn’t limited to a few remarks regarding a single case. A few years ago, a teenager entered the United States for a better life and managed to do so without documentation. She was a few weeks pregnant and wished to have an abortion. She couldn’t get the medical care she desired so resorted to legal action. The three-judge panel, which included Kavanaugh, that caught the case couldn’t come close to agreeing on an outcome. One judge wanted to let her have the abortion and another said as an “illegal immigrant” she had no rights and no standing in an American court. Kavanaugh, ever the sly politician, floated an idea that amounted to nothing more than foot dragging. The poor girl would have been in legal limbo while her pregnancy moved past Texas’s 20-week limit for abortions and subsequently been forced to carry her child to term. He did little to jeopardize the future of his career while still getting what he wanted: another powerless female and another child for his fellow Republicans to leave by the wayside.

He has said Roe v. Wade is precedent to be followed, but that only shows he really is a politician as well as a jurist. In America, politicians’ actions are ignored while their words on the campaign trail are worth 100 times their weight in gold (that’s how Democrats keep getting elected). Senate Democrats could use his comments on precedent to justify any vote for Kavanaugh’s confirmation, just as Republicans know they are only words that thinly veil his true beliefs. The only thing worse than a conservative on the court is a conservative politician on the court.

Kavanaugh voted to strike down a provision of the Clean Air Act. The ability of large corporations to lower their expenditures is more important to him than breathable air. He sided with deliberate, malicious polluters over the American people, short-term financial profit over the long-term health of our planet. We currently have an administration and two political parties who are actively supporting the rape of our land and the poisoning of our people. Their legislation and decisions will very likely face legal challenges and be sent to the Supreme Court. With Kavanaugh on the bench, we could say goodbye to environmental protections and hello to childhood cancers and increased political corruption.

He also ruled against DC’s assault weapons ban. As with many conservative rulings, the reasoning behind them aren’t really worth discussing. Far-right warriors will twist and misinterpret any legislation or constitutional provision to make it fit their biased worldview. The DC case involved a city’s right to enact gun control measures and the existing/common use of assault weapons. Kavanaugh simply wants people to walk around with instruments of death so constructed justification for a ruling permitting just that. Anyone who is pro-gun, especially pro-assault weapon, has no problem with children being gunned down, police departments becoming paramilitary forces, and crime rates remaining high. Second Amendment cases are a regular occurrence and if one reaches the Supreme Court in the next few years, we may as well give up any sense of safety and resign ourselves to modern America becoming a new Wild West.

Most personally for the president, Kavanaugh has a very broad view of executive power. After assisting Ken Starr in his investigation against Bill Clinton, he came to the conclusion that no sitting president should be subject to criminal investigation or civil litigation. His view is actually not a partisan one because it was formed during a Democratic presidency and the executive power covers all presidents and all their actions. However, it would most benefit Trump because he could challenge the many lawsuits, investigations, and scandals that involve him and have them all thrown out by a majority-conservative court. He could get away with sexual assault, election theft, money laundering, and who knows how many other crimes. Presidents do need some breathing room to do their jobs and some way to serve the American people in the face of an antagonistic Congress, but Kavanaugh goes too far. He could open up the door to a whole new level of crime and corruption.

Overall, this nominee is a major threat to this country. Only criminals, corporations, and bigots stand to gain from this man’s confirmation. America will not progress; it will be on a new fast-track to environmental, social, financial, and political destruction. Trump is the unathletic kid who gets one shot at being a team captain. He could choose from a number of talented players who want to win the game and make everyone happy but instead selects his buddy who wants to kick everyone in the shins and just ruin it for everyone. Kavanaugh will kick you in the shins and he will ruin this country for everyone.

For once, I will move away from Washington and take a look at a state finally in the news for something other than lobsters and prolific horror stories: Maine. Governor Paul LePage (a Republican) has long been unwilling to provide healthcare to his constituents and is currently in the middle of a fierce battle against Medicaid expansion. Last year, Maine experienced true democracy by holding a statewide referendum on the expansion issue. The people decided to increase the number of people eligible for coverage but LePage refused to make it happen. He has blamed the holdup on a funding problem, but it is a lame excuse for preventing poor people from receiving medical care. A state judge ordered him to respect the wishes of the people and LePage’s response was that he would rather go to jail than expand Medicaid. He would choose prison over democracy. He would be happier to sit in a tiny cell than see a healthier, happier, more productive population. Like an insolent child, he is willing to go in the corner just so he can avoid eating his broccoli. I am a broken record on this issue, but a national, single-payer health system would avoid all political garbage like this. It would also help for voters and politicians to start valuing the Ninth Amendment more than the Tenth.

As much fun as it has been forgetting about the Washington swamp, we must get back to it. Trump signed off on an additional $200 billion in tariffs on Chinese goods. The more than $30 billion already in effect unsurprisingly failed to force China to end its currency manipulation and change the (American!) way it does business. The new tariffs won’t do that either, so the net effect will be to make products more expensive for American consumers. There will be no new jobs here and domestic companies will continue to be at a disadvantage. Ending the tariffs would only be a stopgap improvement.  This is a big problem because America’s economic future continues to be tied to the Chinese government. There are no proposals to strengthen unions or invest in new industries. Wages are not on the table, nor are higher education and vocational training. We will be stuck in a cycle of short-term losses and gains. Future generations deserve much more than that.

While I am writing about stupid financial decisions, Wilbur Ross found himself in the news again. The octogenarian sold stock this week that he failed to disclose before becoming Commerce Secretary. He was hiding his candy from the teacher when he should have been doing his classwork. The whole episode reminded us that he is disgustingly rich, wildly unethical, and spends more time on his personal matters than on matters of state. It is not the first time something like this has happened, and we know he had financial connections to Russia. He has no business serving in a president’s cabinet and should probably be sitting in a jail cell. A silver lining to this story is that it (hopefully) tells voters rich people should not serve in government and old people need to retire at an appropriate age. Maybe then we can have term limits for all politicians and judges and implement economic policies “as if people mattered.”

While all of these stories were breaking, the president was attending meetings at NATO and in England and Finland. Everything he did and said what ridiculous and embarrassing. He didn’t follow protocol, insulted more than one leader, and brushed off the issue of election theft. It all deserves mention (and makes my research and writing a little more entertaining) but should not distract from issues that matter. Nothing he said was of lasting consequence, yet the media and our government went nuts over it. They shouldn’t be tricked into covering dumb comments when children are still separated from their families and our environment is under constant threat.

I often try to end my piece on a high note. This week’s is that the Congress has been hard at work. Our representatives have been renaming a long list of post offices and courthouses. And, well, that’s it. That’s all they’ve been doing.

I have compared this week’s political news to the goings on of a kindergarten somewhat tongue-in-cheek. Nevertheless, the serious side is that we really do have a government behaving like spoiled, bratty, uneducated kids. Parents and teachers combat such children with logical arguments and common sense. They punish bad behavior and reward those who do what benefits those around them. American activists, voters, and politicians should do the same. They need to remember that intelligence is a virtue and should reward those who hold progressive policy positions. It is high time humanitarianism and intellectualism were reintroduced to American public life.

 

 

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