Monday, October 8, 2018

Rolling in Daisies

I've been mulling over this Kavanaugh situation.

I was upset by his confirmation. But I've been hesitant to condemn it outright because I respect Susan Collins, the Maine senator who critically voted in his favor. I initially thought, she knows more than I do about this guy and his intentions, and she's a pro-choice woman, and she's shown herself in the past to be willing to break with her fellow Republicans. She's not hyper-partisan. She has every reason to vote her conscience. Maine, in 2016, was a pale blue state -- she has less incentive (than Joe Manchin of West Virginia, which is very red, for example) to simply appease Trump-loving constituents. So maybe Kavanaugh isn't so terrible?

It was a bit like the period when George W. Bush was pushing to wage war on Iraq in 2002. I was 100 percent opposed, and then Tony Blair spoke up in favor and I thought, "Hmmmm. Tony Blair is a reasonable guy. Maybe there's something to this." I remained opposed, but he gave me pause.

But having watched Collins defend her position since, I gotta say: just as Blair was dead wrong, I think she is too. I understand, given a he-said, she-said situation, wanting to adhere to a presumption of innocence. But a confirmation hearing is not a criminal trial. It's a job interview. And Kavanaugh, in his statements to senators, showed himself fundamentally unfit for the job in both demeanor and (lack of) intellectual neutrality. I'm not a lawyer, but I don't think a confirmation hearing requires the same standards of proof as a criminal proceeding. A credible allegation seems reason enough to turn Kavanaugh away, as Collins' fellow Republican Lisa Murkowski courageously did.

Maybe deep down, Collins thinks Kavanaugh is better than the other judges on Trump's list of potential appointments -- a scary thought. She seems convinced he is not a threat to Roe vs. Wade, which is hard for me to fathom.

In any case, his confirmation sure seems like a victory for the old white guys. It's interesting and bizarre that a pro-choice woman cast one of the linchpin votes.

Olga and I went to Hampstead Heath yesterday, where she ran off an incredible amount of energy. She's clearly been building it up over the past few weeks, while lying on the couch in post-surgical recovery. Among other things, she rolled in this field of purple asters, also known as Michaelmas daisies -- one of our most reliable and ubiquitous fall flowers.

Walking the dog, on a sunny, cold autumn day, helped me feel better, anyway. I don't mean to brush aside the continual assaults on my belief system coming from governments on both sides of the Atlantic, because they hurt. But at the end of the day, I've got to find beauty and peace in what's going on around me -- in my garden, in my marriage, in my dog, in my job (not always easy). And in my blog.

So let's all roll in the daisies, shall we?

(Top photo: A leaf on Hampstead Heath, yesterday.)


  1. I think Collins doesn't give a shit. I honestly don't. I don't think there's a single Republican at this point who does.

  2. I agree with Elizabeth. You give Collins and Kavanaugh too much credit.

  3. What a joyful photo of Olga having a roll. Lovely spots on her tum!

  4. Elizabeth: I think it's too easy to say Collins simply doesn't care. I think she honestly believes Kavanaugh wasn't Ford's assailant, as she has said. It's bewildering, especially because you'd think a woman would be more conscientious about these issues, but there it is. (And Murkowski DID vote against him, so I guess at least one Republican cares, right?!)

    E: Well I don't mean to give him much credit at all. I think he's a dirtbag. But I AM perplexed about her role, and I guess I'm trying to understand her reasoning.

    Frances: Yes, she's a spotty girl! LOL

  5. No matter what Collins believes about whether or not Kavanaugh was Ford's assailant, to hell with her for voting the way she did after his disgraceful performance at the hearing. He lacks the temperament to sit on the Supreme Court. That was painfully obvious. And it's easy for HER to say she thinks he won't chip away at Roe. She won't be needing an abortion, will she? I'm disgusted with her and she should be ashamed to be a woman.

    Re: Olga and the daisies....that's just too stinkin' cute. We could all learn some life lessons from our dogs!

  6. I feel betrayed by Susan Collins (and all Republicans). Trump Lies all the time so why shouldn't Kavanaugh and now he's gotten away with it too.

    I sincerely hope there is a "blue wave" in the November elections but would never take it for granted. I despair for both the U.S. and the U.K. for the political situations in both countries.

    But, like you I can only go on day to day taking care of my husband and cats, enjoying my home and garden.

  7. Collins is a two-faced, mealy-mouthed apologist Republican party hack. She has voted with der Dumpster 79 percent of the time -- RAND PAUL of all people beats her with his voting record of aligning himself with the Racists in Chief 74 with percent of his votes. Collins is an "independent" like I'm the Queen of Romania. Her "independence" is just another marketing tag spewed by a Republican shyster to lull the voters of Maine into thinking that they are the cool kids with the maverick Senator.

    I'm with Jennifer: it doesn't matter whether she believed that Kavanaugh assaulted Dr. Ford. It matters that his testimony revealed his hysterical loathing for all Democrats, liberals, and women. THAT's why he should not have been confirmed. Also, everybody knows that Roe v. Wade will not be overturned by the Supreme Court -- abortion is a states' issue -- but what the Supreme Court can do is make it legal and "constitutional" to withdraw all federal monetary support, and also make it "constitutional" for state houses to impose restrictions that make abortion effectively impossible to attain. So even if Kavanaugh sides with the conservative to enshrine severe limits to women' access to safe, affordable, insurance-covered abortions without actually voting to outright reverse Roe v. Wade, that POS Collins can, and will, use the narrowest and most literal reading of his record to be able to claim that her vote for Kavanaugh did not out-and-out overturn Roe v. Wade.

    Collins pulled the same stunt with her vote on Der Dumpster's tax bill in January of this year, the one with all the tax cuts for the 1% that he bragged to his friends about at his golf club at Mar-A0Lago "You all just got a lot richer." She provided the Republicans with the crucial 51st vote for the tax bill, but not without her ballyhooing her hard line on her Republican overlords. Collins announced that her vote came with three conditions: the additional passage of two separate bills to shore up insurance markets for individuals who weren’t covered through their work, and a codicil to the tax bill that would undo the cuts to Medicare automatically triggered by the deficit increase from the tax cut.

    But the additional bills to enact Collins' three conditions never got a vote, and a follow-up attempt to add her provisions to an omnibus spending bill a few month later was defeated, of course, by other Republicans. So all her posturing about her hard bargain against the Republican machine came to exactly nothing... and not only did Collins not raise a fuss over this betrayal of her "bargain", but she continued to fall in line with the very same bosses who betrayed her and her constituents. So, yeah: there's the great Collins, maverick of the Senate, hard at work for the moderates of Maine.

    In other words, her "independence" is a sham.

  8. Sorry about spewing and not proof reading. I just really, really hate Susan Collins right now.

  9. what Vivian said. Collins is a republican through and through. she lies, she accepts their lies. and I'm sure every single woman who has been sexually molested knows exactly who did it. if the democrats don't get control of at least one house of Congress in November, this country is done. in another few years it will be unrecognizable. it's already unrecognizable and it hasn't even been two full years.

    but you are right about maintaining beauty and peace for as long as we are able. I'm off social media for awhile. no more twitter and only briefly on FB and NOT even stopping on anything political. love that picture of Olga amid the asters.

  10. I just read an article of the Huffington Post about Collins. I don't usually give much credibility to HuffPo because they are very partisan (their stats say Collins has voted with Republicans 87 percent of the time), but this piece plausibly explains why Collins is a toady for Trump: She doesn't fear a Democratic challenger -- she is deathly afraid of losing the Republican primary in 2020 to a far-right Tea Party candidate.

    Maine has twice elected a right-wing-nut, LePage, with a minority of votes (way to go, third party voters) and with all the bile that Trump has raised, Collins is now reckoning with a real threat to her livelihood.

    So until she can fight back the wackos from her own party, her "independence" is a fraud.

  11. I also wondered if not Kavanaugh then who's next from the same bunch of bandits.

  12. Rolling in the daisies seems like a great idea. Like you, I've been back and forth with the whole Kavanaugh thing. I admire Susan Collins too and I listened to her entire speech and thought she made some compelling arguments. But saying that there is no doubt that Ford was attacked but just not by Kavanaugh is the one thing I can't agree with. There is no way Ford would mistake the person responsible for an incident that had that much impact on her life. If he was a total stranger, maybe but he was someone she knew. I have also thought about the fact that it happened so long ago in a different era and that he seems to have lived an exemplary life since then. But, to deny it so publicly when he could have easily said he doesn't remember the incident but that he admits he behaved badly in high school and is sorry for any pain he caused anyone. Either way, it's over and done with. I think the only way he could possibly redeem himself is to become the unexpected swing vote on the court. Silly thought, that will never happen.

  13. I am furious with Susan Collins. I think she'll know how incredibly wrong she was when those idiots vote to overturn Roe v Wade. But really, the worst things they will do now is challenge voting rights and gerrymandering rules. This is going to be a long fight. We just have a bunch of unbelievable idiots waging the war. As someone remarked the other day, the Democrats in Congress have been playing checkers while the Republicans are playing chess. We need to be stronger and wiser and kick their butts. Ah rolling the daisies, yes we should all do that every now and then.

  14. As always, an intelligent,interesting, thoughtful and thought provoking piece. Thanks, Steve.

  15. Well, Steve, you stirred some very hot coals. I appreciate your analysis.

  16. Yes! Let's all roll in the daisies and let's all make sure, with all our creativity and energy, that there will be daisies and all these other beautiful flowers and meadows and forests and and and for generations to come.

  17. I hear so much commen sense about American politics on blogs ....but so many people still believe in Trump

  18. I appreciate your detailing your thought process on Collins. Before I knew much about BK, and certainly before Dr. Ford came forward, I thought he might just be a decent judge. But following his history, and certainly after his partisan paranoid rant at his fucking JOB INTERVIEW, I came to see, Dr. Ford or not, he is not fit for the job. The court's authority is now seriously undermined, and what's worse, is that this current administration is stacking the judicial deck in all the lower courts. We will be living with ultra conservative federal judges for decades to come. This is horrifying.

    I take my doggies out every day, and delight at watching them roll in the grasses and weeds. They are exquisitely happy and in turn, so am I. I watch the clouds play in the sky, the wind gusts that blow the trees almost sideways (we live in a valley that is a wind tunnel), and the wild turkeys that roam our pathways and neighborhoods. I walk to the bird sanctuary and sit on a bench listening to the birds call one another. This is my sanity. This and music, books, movies, friends and neighbors and of course my husband and my family.

    We all must find ways of carrying on despite the crazy goings on.

  19. I don't know of any other job where a prospect could refuse to answer interview questions, shout at the interviewers, and rant about "poor me" -- and still get the job. Still shaking my head over this.

    I adore the picture of Olga in the daisies. She is the picture of uninhibited joy.

  20. Collins can fuck right off. The bro lied and failed miserably, and I do believe The good Doctor! Not easy at all. RESPECT...over night Collin's opponent received over three million dollars from mostly social media connections, to oust that slow talking mistake of a Susan.
    So it goes...the RUMP era.
    Of course Olga is utter joy, just being dog.

  21. Jennifer: I could not agree more abut Kavanaugh's temperament. How he is seen as a suitable SupCo justice is a mystery to me.

    Cheryl: Trump has definitely fostered a culture of dishonesty and bad behavior.

    Vivian: I can never tell how you really feel. Ha! DId you happen to read Jennifer Finney Boylan's column in the NYT? She made many of the same points ( ). Actually, the explanation from the HuffPo article you referenced makes the most sense to me -- she's afraid of being primaried. I never thought of that.

    Ms Moon: I know. I'm sorry for even bringing it up. I'm just trying to understand!!

    Ellen: Well, that's the thing, isn't it? Any woman who's been sexually assaulted surely remembers the identity of her assailant. I remember the identity of a kid who hit me in the seventh grade, and in the scope of things that was a pretty minor infraction!

    Red: I think it's probably true that even if Kavanaugh had been rejected, Trump would have come up with someone else just as conservative. But Kavanaugh's rejection would have sent a message that sexual violence cannot be tolerated, and we've missed that opportunity. In fact, we've sent the OPPOSITE message.

    Sharon: Yeah, despite Collin's assurances about Roe vs. Wade, I somehow doubt he will vote in a way that will make me happy!

    Robin: The Republicans have been wily political players for years, while the Democrats seem cursed with honesty and fairness. I wish to God we had Obama back. (As do most of us here on this blog, I'm sure.)

    Rebecca: I'm glad you thought so! I tried!

    Catalyst: Since I'm not in the USA, I don't think I feel the "heat of the coals" the same way people in the states do. I knew this would be a provocative discussion but I don't think I knew people were so furious with Collins.

    Sabine: Indeed. The thought that there may not be is intolerable. And yet frighteningly likely.

    John: I believe the majority of Trump supporters can barely write a coherent sentence, much less blog.

    Tara: Even setting aside the Ford testimony and the issue of sexual assault -- which is a major thing to have to set aside -- he showed himself to be a TERRIBLE candidate, as you said. It's appalling that the senators could choose to overlook that for the sake of political expedience. Kudos, once again, to Murkowski.

    Jenny-O: Exactly! It's the triumph of politics over decency.

    Linda Sue: I believe her too. It would be AWESOME if Collins gets dumped over this, wouldn't it? I would love to see her voters so motivated and angry.

  22. I appreciate your honest assessment. At this point, Collins is no longer relevant. She had her chance to do the right thing. She failed. In two years she will be voted out.

  23. Kavanaugh was "Nathan Jessup'd" on the stand and he caved into his anger and arrogance for all to see, and was confirmed anyway. It was a short sighted decision to confirm him. As humorous as the Matt Damon impression was, the basic fact is, it was funny because it was accurate. That is what now sits on the bench. Another red-faced, angry white guy with an ax to grind and an all too familiar battle cry.

    This all begs the question: Is this really the best conservative supreme court candidate? I'm no longer surprised by what conservatives do today, and what they define as appropriate behavior. So what if, maybe, he is the best they've got?

    Politics has essentially sunk to the level of college football. Win this week. At all costs. Next week be damned.