Friday, September 28, 2018

When the conscience of a conservative prevailed

A version of this was published in the Sky Hi News, October 2, 3, 2018

Post script to the 9/28 posting:
What is the fallout?  By his actions that resulted in the FBI investigation, Sen. Flake advanced the rights of millions of women:  A woman victim of sexual violence was more than simply to be heard with respect, she was to be treated fairly and her accusations taken seriously without prejudice by authorities to which she reported.  If due to White House manipulations, the FBI report fails to investigate some critical questions, such as Kavanaugh's tendency to drink so heavily he blacks out or becomes sexually aggressive, to women, that would seriously damage  the credibility of their findings.

In case there were any doubts before the hearings, the GOP was dramatically unmasked as the male privileged political party they have become because of their stubborn willingness to ignore the credible testimony of Dr. Ford as if she never had uttered a word, Sen Flake's compromise not withstanding. . Their voting records on Kavanaugh’s confirmation will become campaign fodder the next time they are on the ballot. For many, that may be November 6, 2018. 
At about 11:30 AM Mountain time  on Friday September 28th listening to the satellite radio as I drove to a dentist appointment, there was a remarkable, jaw dropping  breaking news report. When I left my  house, the final question mark in the all male GOP members of the Senate Judiciary  Committee had fallen into place with Sen. Jeff Flake announcing he would vote in favor of confirming Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. That action cleared the way for vote of the full Senate and the outcome given the GOP majority was certain he would be confirmed.  All that was left was the committee's  formal vote.  In my mind, I was already writing my first sentence in next week's column, "the credible testimony of Dr. Blasey Ford about her attempted rape by Brett Kavanaugh in high school was just blown off by the all male GOP panel that was not about to let an event 36 years ago to derail the confirmation of Kavanaugh." At stake were not only campaign promises, but it was also  the timeline they had set to beat the November 6 midterm deadline, though unlikely, that  could also result in   an even more angered voter turnout which would turn the Senate blue.  All that was left was for the Senators to explain their votes and in a fiery rant, Sen Lindsey Graham attacked the Democrats for their manipulation of Dr Ford's timing of the testimony and made it clear this was a partisan matter. In contrast, soft spoken Sen.  Chris Coons (D-DE  ) quietly gave his opinion that the Democrat's position was reasonable: that requesting an FBI investigation would help provide the missing facts left by the "he said; she said of "Thursday testimonies and that it could be done to meet the GOP timeline.  There just needed to be a week's pause in the full Senate vote to allow that to happen.  Sen. Flake sat listening, his face tortured in knowing only he who was not running for reelection so he had the freedom from political party revenge to swing his vote. Torn between his devotion to the ideological approval of Kavanaugh and his belief in the fair treatment of Dr. Ford, the conscience of a conservative prevailed and Sen. Coons and he quietly left the room to finalize  the compromise. Flake would stand by his pledge to vote for Kavanaugh, but attached a condition: he would reserve his final floor vote if all would agree to one week' s delay to allow the FBI to reopen their vetting process and to interview critical witnesses with the threat of jail time if they lied. Only three or four votes were needed to end Kavanaugh's quest.  What changed Sen. Flake's position has been owed to an open elevator door and two determined victims of sexual assault emotionally confronting him on the way to the hearing and to Sen. Coons, a personal friend of Sen Flake's, who made  short comments to explain his vote that contained the outline of a compromise.  By the time my dentist appointment was finished, other GOP moderates and red state Democrats, including Joe Manchin of West Virginia, had jumped on the Flake bandwagon. It was obvious to Pres. Trump, Judiciary Chair Grassley, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell that if they ever had a chance to get Kavanaugh confirmed by holding the slim majority of the GOP senators together for the final vote, they had to go along with the compromise.

Where the GOP has missed the boat was understanding that at issue was no longer Kavanaugh's position on Roe v Wade that was the wave swamping was the broader issue of a cultural revolt of a large number of women to the GOP's male domination of policies that not only  controlled women's health and reproduction choices, but also  suppressed their  voice to fight back against sexual assault. The  female voter gender gap had polled 20 to 26%  deficit for Republicans, putting the GOP's performance in the November 6 midterms at a disadvantage and the #MeToo movement was every bit the driver of the gender gap as is  the issue of choice and Roe v Wade.
What is the political fallout?    Sen Jeff Flake's bi-partisan compromise may take the edge off of the anger of the women a bit, but the damage had already  been done to the GOP as they were further unmasked as the male privileged political party they have become in their stubborn willingness to simply ignore the credible testimony of Dr. Ford as if she never had uttered a word. They proceeded to confirm Kavanaugh in spite of strong evidence of  his bad behavior in high school and college or his deceptive positioning himself as a beer loving, but virgin choir boy. The hat that Democrats are hanging on is that the FBI investigation will reveal that Kavanaugh is an ideological  agenda driven partisan who lied in his testimony and therefore will be disqualified as unable to meet the qualifications of a Supreme Court justice.  Only  unless the Senate flips blue in November could women see the a future  pro choice justice sit on the Supreme Court bench.  Unless the Court is expanded to add more pro choice justices, the Supreme Court will be controlled by anti choice justices.   Elections have  consequences.  The die is already cast against Roe v Wade.That expansion depends on a blue Senate and House and either control of the White House or a veto proof majority.

Earlier September 28, 2018.  About those who say they believed Dr. Ford but still vote for Kavanaugh...because since then Kavanaugh grew up to be a fine person are those who are as despicable as those who take Kavanaugh's word over Dr. Ford's, The issue is about whether Kavanaugh lies when it benefits him. It is a question of charcter and such character flaws , even if obvious, are just fine with the GOP majority on the Senate committee for someone to serve on the Supreme Court . . Those who believe Dr. Ford but still support Kavanaugh are no better than the same who without evidence claim there was a mistaken identification (except for those who were named by conspiracists who denied they were the ones). They refuse to have the FBI investigate. They refuse to subpoena witnesses. They even do not give Dr. Ford the same courtesies that were extended to Anita Hill, an FBI investigation and calling on her witnesses to testify. They overlook Kavanaugh's  unbelievable declaration about the references to his year book, his calendars, that while he drank more beers than he should, he never passed out..Therefore his memory is not faulty, right? He. and the GOP majority's committee took every possible way to avoid the FBI investigation of Kavanaugh's and Dr. Ford's witnesses. It is not the question of whether in his more mature years he mended his ways; it is whether he lies about his early years in order for forward his ambitions.

In that testimony Kavanaugh dropped his veneer of judicial temperament and revealed the politically operative side of him is his embrace of right wing theories that this opposition to him was the result of a left wing conspiracy motivated by revenge for his participation and leadership in impeaching Bill Clinton and that Dr. Ford's testimony was only released as a Democratic strategy at the last moment. If he had bothered to listen to Dr. Ford's testimony, which he didn't, he would have not made that last charge, since Dr. Ford only agreed to go public after her name was outed and reporters were at her doorstep. Kavanaugh may be a great legal mind, but instead of being an objective juror, it was more likely we could count on his using his skills to advance his political agenda more effectively...including his support of the imperial presidency that would upset the balance of power, and his extremely anti choice agenda that considers birth control an abortion agent. One pretense was destroyed,he mind of an impartial judge. He showed his true self: a partisan, paranoid politician. He may be a brilliant jurists, but we his using those skills to advance his agenda .

"Burden of proof on Ford so the burden has not been met": Chairman Sen. Grassley gave for reason for voting approving confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh to the full Senate. Two minutes before that, the GOP majority voted down a motion by Sen. Blumenthal to have the one and only witness to the assault be appear before the committee. The ability to meet the burden of proof, if on Dr. Ford's shoulder, was   presenting either her witnesses to appear or for her calling for an FBI investigation. That was denied her. The 11 men on the committee in effect put their hands over her mouth by refusing to investigate or subpoena her witnesses. Sen.Jeff Flake upended Grassley's strategy.

Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Kavanaugh...a virgin choir boy?

What puzzles me is that at the beginning of the Dr. Ford accusations, Kavanaugh did not
simply say, look, I do not deny that I did many things when I was in high school and college, but once I 
got my act together, I am proud of the life I have led since. 
 What I do note that at no time did Kavanaugh express empathy or sympathy of the victims of sexual
abuse and violence nor would his backers and he even  try to get to the truth with an independent FBI investigation.
What will happen next, as Kavanaugh did last night on Fox was to appear on TV as a virgin choir boy in a culture of that
time in the prep school/college era of alcohol and partying. That one will be increasingly countered by many who were
part of his peer group also appearing on TV attesting to Kavanaugh's bad behavior.
. Even if Grassley and McConnell manage to engineer Senate confirmation of Kavanaugh to the Court, the controversy
will be fed into the November elections and will become part of the discussion in 2020. Where the GOP is in danger is
appearing as the "male party" in a time when of #MeToo and a president they support who was the role model for bad
male behavior. The GOP forgets that the treatment of Anita Hill, even better treated than Dr Ford because the FBI background check was permitted, resulted in a large number of Democratic women winning the next election cycle and the passage of the violence against women act. That backlash will not only increase Democratic turnout in November, it will continue well into 2020.

Monday, September 24, 2018

Dr. Blasey Ford v Brett Kavanaugh: GOP in peril

A version of this was published in the Sky Hi News September 26, 2018

Thursday Dr. Christine Blasey Ford will have a chance to tell the public and the Senate Judiciary Committee what she remembers of an attempted rape by Brett Kavanaugh when she was 15 years old thirty-five years ago. The eleven male GOP   members of the committee are in the majority and many of them have already expressed their views that whatever she says will not influence their support of Kavanaugh, their candidate to fill a Supreme Court vacancy.

A USA Today/Ipsos poll last week found 40% of the public is withholding judgment of whether Dr. Ford or Brett Kavanaugh is telling the truth until after the testimony.  The hearings are not a trial and the final court making the judgment call is public opinion, expressed in polls and at the ballot box November 6.

 Enter a new element, Dr. Blasey Ford’s accusation, that will be exhibit number one to many women that the GOP is infested with men who do not believe attempted rape is that big a deal and boys will be boys.  Kavanaugh would tilt the court for decades favoring overturning the federal Roe v Wade law. Kavanaugh would be passing judgment about whether a victim of rape should be allowed to have a legal abortion.    

The timing could not be worse for the GOP since in six weeks voters will be deciding whether they want to make the effort to go to the polls and vote for Democrats in a midterm Congressional election. The GOP already was in the hole with women before the emergence of Dr. Ford’s accusation. The gender gap in July was 26% percent per a Quinnipiac poll. The gap.  was mostly fueled by the history and actions of Donald Trump’s well publicized experience with women that inspired the #MeToo movement and his campaign promise to overturn Roe v Wade.  The #MeToo movement has changed public perception that the sexual assault victim’s going public perception should be treated with respect and their charges taken seriously no matter how many years ago the alleged event took place

Dr. Ford is up against a stacked deck controlled by  the most powerful men in the United States, members of a party whose candidate for president won his  election with a public overlooking his  outrageous behavior toward women, an admitted grabber documented in the Access Hollywood tapes, and  a reputation widely known by  pre political era  media coverage that  included several marriages and his demanding death to  the Central Park Five, young men later exonerated of rape by DNA evidence. Last week President Trump commented that if attempted rape was such a bad experience for Dr. Ford, she as the 15-year-old, should have reported this to parents or the FBI at the time.    Even today, 63% of those sexually assaulted never report the attack to authorities per the National Sexual Violence Resource Center, more than 80% of campus sexual assaults go unreported per several reports, and certainly not to the FBI who investigate only federal crimes, which this is not. The reason is clear. Women and girls who report face a defense by those they accused that is based upon tearing down both their credibility and their background, painting them as loose women, drunk or drugged, and were the guilty ones. As more witnesses emerge of Kavanaugh’s out of control behavior in his younger days, even after Thursday’s hearing, expect the court of public opinion will be bombarded with evidence for and against him all the way to November 6.

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Brett Kavanaugh v Dr. Ford

Brett Kavanaugh v Dr. Blasey Ford. The underlining issue is the attitude of the Republican Senators toward a woman who is reliving a trauma of sexual assault. It is consistent with those senators’ past actions, but times are changing and the senators’ attitudes are fossilized. That President Trump has had a hand in this should not be excused either, since he has refused to order the FBI to investigate the veracity of both parties. The drama is unfolding as this is written, but the damage to the GOP has already been done. The burden falls mostly on the shoulders of the GOP Senators and they are the ones who deserve the wrath of women expressed in the voting booth November 6.
There must be plenty of mid 50 year olds, male and female, who are resurrecting memories of their high school years they experienced in the 1980’s, but  high school out of control preppies  behaving like that in those days were not unique happenings.   The danger is their old attitudes could color their judgment calls and so far Brett Kavanaugh has denied the event ever happened, much less has he expressed any remorse.  By that measure, Donald Trump’s behavior is appalling, having himself admitted to sexual assault well into his latter years, as accusers have charged  and we have  his own attitudes toward grabbing on tape. The critical  problem on the table at this moment, though,  is  how the Republicans in Congress are treating Dr. Ford or will attack her as a person in an attempt to paint her as the guilty party. That has been standard operating procedure by defenders of male misbehavior in the past. The old attitudes prevail in they way GOP Senators  are treating her .  Women of  certain ages are having flashbacks as how their traumas have been treated and how shame and fear they too would not have been  respected or believed if they publicly recounted their own experiences.   That is the reason the #metoo movement has gained so much political traction and the pink pussy  ears have become their symbol.  Add to that, the attempt to overturn Roe v Wade is part of the same general political revolt of women who are no longer willing to tolerate  male patriarchal attitudes or male  control over their bodies  any more.  In short, this is a revolt of women and both issues, how Dr. Ford is respected during this ordeal and how the Supreme Court will act in a woman’s right to choose have landed in the lap of the Kavanaugh nomination.  This is not any nomination, either. If Kavanaugh’s nomination is successful, he will insure his attitudes toward women and their respective rights and power will be reflected as the swing vote in the Court for years to come.
Here is why anger at the GOP Senate should and has  rightly become  the focus:   Once again, a woman’s recounting of a traumatic sexual encounter, an attempted rape, is the same old, same old reaction, pattern of  a group of powerful older males  who close minds as they close ranks. Their attitudes and prejudices were made public. Some already opined  Dr. Ford was just “mixed up “, in advance of any examination of evidence. Some of the same very Senators  had also played a role in the disservice to Anita Hill in the Clarence Thomas Supreme Court hearings, including Senate chair of the same Judicial  committee, Chuck Grassley , and Orin Hatch.  Demanding that the committee vote proceed without requiring  testimony under oath of  anyone other than Kavanaugh and Dr Ford, from the male witness, Mark Judge,  to Dr. Ford’s twenty potential witnesses with knowledge of the event, is an outrage.
Dr. Ford is a reluctant witness. She foresaw the ordeal of becoming public. The death threats, email hacking have been an attempt to intimidate her. It also will make it difficult for others to come forward on her behalf , fearing the same treatment..Unless the FBI treats such threats and intimidation as a crime and take action at once, that would also be an outrage.
Donald Trump has begun to change his tune, attacking Dr. Ford himself publicly, and demanding a report of the attempted rape filed contemporaneously if it was so bad. From Yahoo News fact check:  "She was 15 at the time and the incident was not a federal crime". From 77% of sexual assaults go unreported.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

Why Dr. Ford is justified in demanding an FBI investigation before her testimony

September 22, "“Dr. Ford accepts the Committee's request to provide her first-hand knowledge of Brett Kavanaugh's sexual misconduct next week,” wrote Debra Katz and Lisa Banks, Ford’s attorneys. “We are hopeful that we can reach agreement on details.”  My comment: If the terms are not fair...then in her testimony, she should raise cain. So far what the GOP members have offered are not fair and pre-decided by
the old men in the majority against her. Women will be watching and they
will not be taken for fools.September 21:  It is time to give victims of sexual assault the respect that is due and the Trump administration and Kavanaugh supporters have not a clue what that respect entails. The supporters of Brett Kavanaugh have a line: why did the accuser not want to have her name in the public? Because she had some idea that she would be bullied and attacked...but no doubt she could not envision that the abuse and intimidation would result in her having to hire guards, move from her house, have her email hacked and getting death threats. That is why. Those who knew of the letter weeks before honored her request not to attach a name. That is what respect of victims of such assaults looks like. Outing them without their permission is not respect.  Then the GOP ,taunts began:.. she had to go public if she wanted to be believed,. When her name was leaked, she felt she had no choice but to go public.. That's why, GOP. Instead of attacking the timing, how about attacking the attacks against her and truly find the truth, too, and respect the wishes of survivors of sexual assault. of all people hope to heaven not all of those you have assaulted come forward, either..It takes guts to testify, so consider those potential witnesses on her behalf know they too will be subjected to intimidation, especially when high profile, critical political individuals are the accused. It took #MeToo movement to provide that support to get the nerve to come forth. Donald Trump trying to make the point that the attempted rape does not count because she did not report it to authorities at the time shows his total lack of understanding what it is like to be sexually attacked. The event was not rape, but attempted rape. No physical evidence even back in those days would have been evidence. Any woman who has been sexually assaulted in the past rarely reported it to law enforcement, especially in the time frame of Dr. Ford's assault,. They did not report this because in those days the defense by those accused was to try to destroy the character of the accuser in a he says she says situations. This Kavanaugh situation is not the usual case because there was a named witness and the GOP controlled Senate committee has refused to subpoena him to testify under oath or to have the FBI investigate.

Why did Dr. Ford decide to go public? "Ford decided to go public with her account after it was leaked and inaccurate reports emerged."These are all the ills that I was trying to avoid," Ford said to The Washington Post. "Now I feel like my civic responsibility is outweighing my anguish and terror about retaliation."
September 21: The FBI does not have to wait for the White House to deal with death threats and harrassment of Dr. Ford. This is within their domain. Imagine if some classmate of Dr. Ford may know something to back up her one does in Mexico ..having the guts to come forward when death threats and harrassment is what they will face. This is witness tampering and the demand must be made to the FBI to stop this.
September 20:The Kavanaugh hearings and the request by the accuser for an FBI investigation is justified. It is appropriate and the FBI has the ability and power to do it under their powers to screen federal appointees and nominations at the request of the executive branch. There are far too many avenues to check out and unanswered. There is a witness , Mark Judge, to interview under oath. There are lie detector results to review. There are Dr. Ford's classmates to interview, as well, who may remember something and have the fortitude to face the white male GOP committee members. My question: should we accept Kavanaugh and his friends saying they do not remember anything like this because they were a bunch of out of control drunks and remember nothing and leave it at that? Even then, that would certainly damage their (Brett Kavanaugh and his friend'scredibility) and leave Dr. Ford's testimony more credible.
There was an FBI investigation conducted for Anita Hill in the Clarence Thomas approval process and they did a disservice by not requiring her to speak to embarrassing details of the porno pictures Clarence made her see, but times were different then. but little has changed the GOP now in the time of the #metoo days when she said against he said is now taken more seriously and is a political hot button issue with women. . Hill was railroaded then. . Dr. Ford is being railroaded now, too, by the GOP committee members, by stonewalling her request for an FBI investigation first...and making it clear they themselves would not investigate or subpoena witnesses under oath.. . In this case, unlike Hill, there is a witnesss to the actual act identified , Mark Judge, who claims in a letter to the Senate committee he remembers nothing and with a history and a book he wrote that he was in a drunken stupor in those days.. In Hill's case there were witnesses, not of the Thomas' acts itself, but of what co-workers may have heard from Hill and they were not allowed to testify. Here are the questions that the FBI could answer if they did conduct an investigation:
Mark Judge, that third party named by Dr. Ford as awitness to the event, refused to appear before the committee and he should be questioned under oath.
Are there any of Dr. Ford's fellow classmates who could testify the party at the private home took place on or about that date? Kavanaugh claims there was no such party, he attended much less he has never done such a thing.

September 17:From my facebook postingI just heard Mitch McConnell rail against the Democrats for bringing up the accusation of alleged attempted rate of a teenager by the GOP nominee for the Supreme Court.Brett Kavanaugh at the last moment. What a crock.. I choked when he demanded regular order..No waiting for the FBI to check out the accusation; no delay. Regular order from McConnell? It was h e, who refused to even interview Merrick Garland, the Democrat's nominee, for over 400 days in order to leave the space open for a GOP president in the White House. Now he is trying to jam this approval through before the public gets wise or hears more negative stuff in the thousands of pages of documents they have buried under the guise of executive privilege. When the GOP Senate could not get enough votes to approve Neil Gorsuch, their candidate, McConnell changed Senate rules. Instead of 60 votes (which would have had to include some Democrats), now the rules were changed by the GOP to require only a simple majority...This makes a mockery of the Supreme Court...forever to be a partisan body depending who has the simple majority...and without any need to reach out across the aisle. Talk about regular order and who is fair. Ye gads.: The best regular order is to vote GOP Senators out in November..

Saturday, September 15, 2018

Democrats' strongest messages for the midterms

A version of this was published  in the Sky Hi News September 18-19, 2018

The Democrats’  messages for the November midterms are taking form. What may become  stronger is “  Put a check on President Trump’s behavior and  policies; vote for Democrats in November”.   Why stronger? It has  broader appeal than to just the Democratic party’s faithful since it  has already been championed by some well known Never Trump and traditional conservatives like  Joe Scarborough, David Frum,  George Will, and columnist/radio host  John Ziegler,   who see a defeat of Trump supporters in the mid-terms as a way to clean the GOP house of Trumpism for the future.
The Democrats’ message is strong on its own merits: “ The President personally is not fit for the job and a GOP Congress is complicit in keeping him in office.  Our system of checks and balances is not working when the same party controls all of the levers of power in Washington.  At least one part of the legislative branch needs to hold Trump accountable by holding hearings given their  power to subpoena witnesses testifying under oath.”  The anonymous op-ed in the New York Times, the release of Bob Woodward’s book “Fear”, and  insider insights into the White House chaos authored  by Omarosa  Manigault Newman could  kick  this political science approach into even higher gear.
The issue most on the minds of  voters under 65 per Kaiser Family Foundation polls is the rising  cost of health care and especially whether affordable coverage for pre-existing conditions will continue to be affordable. Trump rule changes would allow higher premiums for  all coverage of pre-existing conditions even for those with employer provided insurance.  A mid August Reuters/Ipsos poll revealed that the concept of Medicare for All is supported by 70% of voters, 85% of Democrats and 52% of Republicans.  In October, just before the midterms, the new premium prices will be announced and , based on the Congressional Budget Office estimates, Fox Business News reports that the  increase will be 15% due to Trump’s removing the individual mandate, resulting in fewer healthy participating in Obamacare. So far projections of the cost of Medicare for All  or shrill shouts that this is socialism has not dimmed the support. So long as the GOP dominated Congress controls the agenda, the issue will not be debated nor will credible light be shone on the funding challenges.
“Vote Democratic so you can impeach him” is a message that  is not gaining traction.   A mid-September poll by Quinnipiac indicated  56% Americans do not want impeachment proceedings to begin versus 36% who do. There are good  reasons impeachment and  using the 25th Amendment are not feasible. To remove Trump  using both measures requires a 2/3 vote in the Senate.  That  needs bi-partisan support no matter if the Senate turns more blue in November.
There are two wild cards that may make impeachment  more popular. The  impact of the Woodward, Omarosa, op ed tell-alls  is not yet known. The other is whether findings  from the Mueller investigation  would finger the President himself for obstructing  justice or conspiracy with the Russians to throw the 2016 election his way. The report will probably not be made  before the November 6 elections. As an issue, Mueller’s probe of Russian interference in the 2016 elections  is still a matter of speculation though public opinion is turning against Donald Trump. Real Clear Politics polls saw a large dip in blue collar support after Trump’s fawning over Putin at Helsinki. Most recent polls .A Washington Post/ABC poll August 31: Nearly two-thirds of American adults support Mueller's ongoing investigation.  64 %  believe Trump should not fire Attorney General Sessions though Donald Trump says he will fire him after midterms, probably installing am interim  DOJ chief that could squash or cripple Mueller’s probe and report.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Mutiny in the Oval Office

A version of this was published in the Sky Hi News September 12, 2018

History can be the stuff of fiction and fiction can become the stuff  played out in history.  This past week the pre-release of a  book by  Bob Woodward,  an anonymous op-ed in the New York Times, and the Senate committee’s hearing/grilling of the President’s nominee for Supreme Court Justice ,Brett Kavanaugh, read like fiction, but all were  far too disquieting. This was not movies like “Mutiny on the Bounty” or  “The Caine Mutiny ”.  It was  real life in real time unfolding before our very eyes,  except  the final scene has not been written.  Like one of those computer games where you can choose among story line options,  the Congress, the media, and the American people still have a chance to rewrite the ending.
A Senate  hearing about whether to approve Kavanaugh to the highest court unveiled a candidate who once opined a view of the Constitution that could save the current  captain from walking the proverbial plank.  He refused to comment on past stated beliefs  that no president in office should be subject to a criminal investigation while in office, leaving us wondering how he would vote should  Mueller investigation issues were challenged  before the highest court.  Kavanaugh in the past has also advocated giving the executive branch greater power in executing laws and regulations, weakening the concept of checks and balances and separation of powers. His view appears to be  the three branches of government are equal except the executive branch is more equal than others.(Apologies to George Orwell in Animal Farm: "all animals are equal though some animals are more equal than others"). Granting more  power to an anti-democratic, imperial wannabe president like  Trump is a scary idea.
Both the pre release excerpts the Woodward  book and the New York Times anonymous op-ed painted a picture of an Oval Office in chaos by a "senior official" who observed President Trump “continues to act in a manner that is detrimental to the health of our republic” and saw it was a duty to protect the country from an “the president’s leadership style, which is impetuous, adversarial, petty and ineffective.” Senator  Bob Corker (R-Tenn) commenting on the Op-Ed: "This is what all of us have understood to be the situation from day one.”.. For the public not privy to such belt way cloak room  whispers, what was chilling was learning   how close we came to war or damaging our  ally by  removing a trade treaty with South Korea or  the issuance of   an assassination order on the Syrian president, which the staff  “resistance” said it thwarted.
 As predicted, the President called the Woodward book  “a total piece of fiction” and tweeted king-like about the op-ed as   “TREASON?” .. “If the GUTLESS anonymous person does indeed exist, the Times must, for National Security purposes, turn him/her over to government at once!” and demanded the Justice Department find the disloyal author. Nevermind the writer had not committed a crime and did not conspire with a foreign power.  Trump  launched a hunt for the writer with obsessed rage like  the deranged captains of the Bounty and the Caine who were  determined to find who stole their cheese or strawberries.  With an NBC/you gov poll showing 60% of Americans considering him usually dishonest, his credibility carries little weight compared to the track record of Bob Woodward’s meticulous documentation and reputation from Watergate until the current era.
  That the  GOP controlled Congress would take any action to be a check on this executive's abuse of powers  is wishful fantasy.  If anyone is gutless, it is the GOP Congress . It was their inaction that left the in -White House “resistance” as a last resort to check what they saw as an out of control President.
 The last remaining  voice in this all is the court of public opinion expressed in the ballot box  this November that could give a backbone for Congress to perform a check on executive power as our founders envisioned.  Voters in November will have the ability  to shape the final chapter and set our democracy sailing on a corrected course.

25th Amendment has been discussed from early in the Trump administration

A year ago, the 25th Ameindment was openly and widely  discussed as a way to remove President Trump from office, so much so, I wrote a column on the prospects,  which was as true then as it is today.
Update: 9/21/18 within the context of the discussion of the 25th Amendment...and
Update: 9/11/2018
Omarosa said the 25th was a topic of discussion then, as well.
Once again in the wake of the series of books and a New York Times anymous op-ed  about the White House chaos and the President's unfitness to occupy the Oval Office the 25th Amendment is a topic of public discourse.

Here is what was published  published in the Sky Hi News September 13, 2017. "The left’s dream is  that Donald Trump will be impeached.   Reasons I suspect are mostly politically stop  Trump’ agenda of dismantling the Obama legacy,  his racism,  or a contempt for his persona. Alone these are not  the “high crimes and misdemeanors” standard for impeachment in the Constitution. Whether he is fit to serve refers to the 25th Amendment and the process to determine fitness..  Former  Director of National Intelligence  James Clapper added gravitas to the  impeachment movement when he questioned Trump’s fitness, calling Trump’s Phoenix  post Charlottesville divisive   speech “downright scary and disturbing”. . Heavyweight Democratic leaders have differed from impeachment advocates.  In August  Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D) California   proposed “ patience” for Donald Trump to learn  and  said  he could  become a “good “ president..  David Axelrod,  former Obama adviser, opined  that with  30% plus  of voters still supporting Trump, an attempt to impeach him could be viewed as a  bloodless  coup  and a danger to the constitutional process. In June, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi told impeachment talkers to “calm down” and wait for “solid proof”.  That makes sense. . The   most credible proof of misdeeds  or exoneration is Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s  investigation of the Russian connection. Any sabotaging of  the investigation by Trump or the GOP should be fought tooth and nail."