Harris Joins Biden on Democratic Ticket: A First!

 

Three other women were chosen by Democratic Presidential contenders to be their running mates. Kamala Harris, daughter of a Black father and mother of Indian descent is the first woman of color.  Both parents are immigrants who came to the United States before she was born in Oakland , California 55 years ago.

Joe Biden announced his selection in a text message and in an email to his supporters. “Joe Biden here. Big news.   I’ve chosen Kamala Harris as my running mate.  Together, with you, we’re going to beat Trump.”   This happened on  Tuesday , August 11. Biden had said he would pick a woman and interviews of qualified women had taken place.   Susan Rice,  Karen Bass,  Elizabeth Warren, Val Demings and Gretchen Witmer  had been finalists.

Harris has a formidable background  that led to her entry into the 2020 Presidential race in Oakland when 20,000  excited people gathered to cheer her first official speech.  It is ironic  that  Donald Trump ,who is fixated on numbers in crowds commented at the time about her crowd size being amazing.

As a child,  Kamala rode a school bus during  Civil Rights Movement activities.   She grew up learning history first hand and attended Howard University, a leading Black college for her bachelor’s degree.  She earned a law degree and became a prosecutor , developing formidable  questioning skills in courtrooms.  Next, she decided to seek a political career and ran against  the District Attorney  in San Francisco who was her boss.  Kamala won that race  and built a reputation  as knowledgeable , fair and tough on criminals.  Kamala finally  sought the top legal position in California,  Attorney General and won.  During her years as Attorney General of California she became friends with the Attorney General of Delaware,  Beau Biden,  son of Joe Biden.

Kamala Harris finally ran for the United States Senate and won.  Senator Cory Booker of New Jersey who has known her for over two decades, said,  “ There was no path laid out  for her.  She had to be savvy to find her way through the set of obstacles  that most people in the positions she’s held have not had to deal with.  Cory Booker, who served as the Black mayor of Newark, New Jersey, the largest city in the state, knows exactly what those obstacles are:  racism and prejudice.

As a senator, Harris serves on The Intelligence Committee as well as The Judiciary Committee.  Different important hearings were held when her questioning skills became known to the American public during televised hearings.   William Barr the Attorney General of  the United States was questioned by her  about his introduction of Robert Mueller’s  400 page Report about Russian Interference in the 2016 Presidential Election.  He had submitted a four page cursory overview and she asked him if he had read all of it including footnotes.  He hemmed and hawed and finally said he had not read everything.  She had cut him down to size before millions of viewers.  Some of us never forgot that.

Kamala also was a fierce questioner of Brett Kavanaugh when he was Donald Trump’s second nominee to the Supreme Court.   When Joe Biden introduced her, he said “She is the best person to take the fight to Donald Trump.”

Now, we see that Donald Trump  has created a second Birther Lie…..   He is saying that she was not born in the United States.   Her mother was born in India, NOT KAMALA…. GOT THAT DONALD….. Your grandfather was born in Germany… not Sweden as you lied for years.   Stop creating BIG LIES ABOUT OTHER PEOPLE.

>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>     Joyce S. Anderson.

The President is Not Above The Law

 

On  Thursday,  July 9,  Chief Justice John Roberts wrote in a 7-2 decision, “No citizen, not even the president,  is categorically above the common duty to produce evidence when called upon in a criminal proceeding.” The court’s four liberals voted with him as well as Donald Trump’s two conservative appointees Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh.  Justices  Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito dissented.

Trump immediately attacked the decision on Twitter, “ This is all a political prosecution. I won the Mueller Witch Hunt and others and now I have to  keep fighting in a politically corrupt New York . Not fair to this Presidency or Administration.”

Justice Kavanaugh had said it a different way, “In our system of government, as this court  has often stated,  no one is above the law. That principle applies, of course to a president.”

Trump had claimed “absolute immunity” from investigators seeking his tax returns.   For years, he had said that he was under audit, therefore he could not give his tax returns.  That tired excuse no longer was valid.

He also had boasted at the failed Tulsa rally that he had appointed two “great justices to the Supreme Court”.    Their votes with the majority made clear that they were independent in their new positions.  In recent weeks, the court defied the president in  cases on gay rights, DACA  immigration, and abortion.  Two years ago,  Roberts rebuked Trump by saying there were “ No Obama judges and Trump judges” .

The landmark 7-2 decision was Trump  v.  Vance that New York prosecutors  could seek Mr. Trump’s financial records.

……………………………….Joyce S. Anderson

Hillary Clinton Won The Popular Vote in 2016

I am becoming angry with TV commentators who refer to Hillary Clinton’s poor campaign”. Were they seeing the same Democratic women that I saw wearing “I’m With Her” Shirts? Did they see Hillary sit through thirteen hours of grilling by a hostile Republican oversight committee and never lose her cool. Or watch the four debates with Donald Trump where she was judged as the WINNER of all by the judges? Even of the one where he loomed behind her in a threatening manner and she continued talking to the audience? Do these TV political “experts” remember the New York Times endorsement which described her as the most qualified nominee in the modern era. As Secretary of State for Barack Obama, she had traveled the world and laid the foundation for the crucial Nuclear Treaty with Iran that Donald Trump refused to honor when he took office.

Early in the campaign, Trump gave her the nickname “Crooked Hillary” which had no logical foundation since she was a lawyer. Then Michael Flynn, Trump’s buddy started the “Lock her Up” chants that caught fire at his rallies.

Hillary Clinton campaigned on a platform that reached out to all people to build togetherness and strength in our society. Her use of her personal server became an issue Trump magnified. Remember when her debate opponent Bernie Sanders said, “I’m sick of your damn emails” and broke up the audience. However, she never did anything illegal.

James Comey, Director of The F.B. I., decided to hold a press conference without consulting his boss, the U.S. Attorney General to report on their investigation of her emails. He was breaking the rules by doing this. He reported that she and her staff were “careless” in their work. He did not mention that the F.B.I. was also investigating Donald Trump and his staff at the same time. This label harmed her reputation. James Comey was to hold other press conferences about Hillary Comey at crucial times in the campaign that affected the outcome. After the Access Hollywood tapes occurred that revealed Donald Trump as a molester of women, Comey held a press conference to share that he was investigating Hillary Clinton’s emails again. Then in November on the Sunday before the Tuesday election, he again spoke about her campaign.

While she was in Philadelphia with Barack and Michelle Obama with all the political experts predicting a huge victory, Russian cyber experts were working to affect the vote counts in key states of Florida, Michigan, Wisconsin and Pennsylvania. They did their work well. Hillary won the popular vote by over two million votes.

But Donald Trump won the Electoral College with the necessary 272 votes for President of The United States. He did not expect to win and neither did the experts.

Now, as we prepare for the election in November, we know what that result has meant to the country and all of us. We know that Trump is a very different president from his predecessors. He does not read or listen to the PDB each morning. The President’s Daily Brief that is compiled by our Intelligence experts. We also know he favors Twitter for his communications and has told over sixteen thousand false statements and lies, documented by a reporter at The Washington Post. He is a very different president from the Hillary Clinton we knew before and during the campaign.

I think of how she would have handled the Pandemic and the Russia crisis of paying the Taliban to kill our soldiers. I know she would have had the right advice from her military and state department officials. She would have been a very different president from Donald J. Trump.

Let’s hope that Joe Biden wins the election in a landslide in November.

…………………………………………………. Joyce S . Anderson

Chief Justice John Roberts Becomes The Swing Vote !

From June 15 to June 29, 2020,  The Supreme Court released three  decisions that revealed a major shift in the balance of the Highest Court in the United States.  New York Times banner headlines the next  days  heralded the story.

LANDMARK DECISION PROTECTS L.G.B.T. WORKERS June 16

JUSTICES IN BLOW TO TRUMP, REJECT PLAN TO END DACA,  June 19

ROBERTS SWINGS COURT IN TOPPLING AN ABORTION CURB,  June 30.

June is always the time when major decisions often  are reached and revealed to the public. This year produced three very significant decisions on subjects that were of great import to the nation.

The Supreme Court ruled in  the first decision that gay and transgender Americans workers are protected under a landmark Civil Rights law. Before this decision,  it had been legal in more than half of the states  for employers to fire gay, bisexual and trans gender workers.  Justice Neil Gorsuch wrote for the majority in the 6-3 ruling.   The liberal bloc: Ginsburg,  Kagan, Breyer and Sotomayor were joined by conservatives Gorsuch and Roberts.  The three dissenting  Justices were Thomas,  Alito, and Kavanaugh, all  conservatives.   Opinion and Dissent covered l68 pages.

Same sex marriage was approved by the Supreme Court in 2015.  However, an employee who married a same sex partner could be fired that afternoon. There were major flash points in culture wars about use of bathrooms,  sports teams and locker room usage that involved gay and transgender men and women.  This decision protects people under the long standing 1964 Civil Rights Act.

The role of Chief Justice Roberts joining the liberal bloc was the second time he took part in a major case that affects millions of Americans.  The first was when he saved The Affordable Care Act for the American people by voting against the Trump led offensive to destroy it   It should be noted that Donald Trump  continues to go to court to  try to overturn Obama Care as it is often called.  His lawyers have filed another lawsuit at this time aimed at taking it away from twenty million Americans during the escalating pandemic.

DACA was the subject of the second major Supreme Court decision in June.  There are 700,000  ‘Dreamers’,  men and women who were brought to the United States as children by  their parents who immigrated to The United States.   They have grown up and  many attended college, found jobs and paid taxes.

Under Obama,  a bi partisan group of House members and Senators developed a plan for them to become citizens.  That plan is called DACA.  It  has been put on hold under Trump who has moved from supporting them at one time to calling for an end to DACA .  He talks of” sending them back to where they came from. “

The Second Supreme Court Decision was a 5 to 4 ruling that kept protection for the ‘Dreamers’  against deportation.   Chief Justice Roberts wrote the majority decision himself that upheld  the executive action by President Barack Obama that established the program.  DACA stands for Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals.  He did write that the decision was based on procedural issues and could be raised again by the administration..

Trump responded with an angry attack upon The High Court on Twitter.  “These horrible and political decisions coming out of The Supreme Court are shotgun blasts into the face of people who are proud to call themselves Republicans or Conservatives.”

Young ‘Dreamers” said they were surprised and delighted to know the High Court Ruled in their favor at this time.

Donald Trump’s polling  numbers are sinking nationally  and in many of the swing states at this time.   The ‘Dreamers’  continue to keep their hopes alive, counting on Joe Biden who has been a strong supporter winning the November election and making their dreams come true.

The third Supreme Court ruling was 5-4 again with Roberts siding with the liberal bloc of Justices.  The case was about a Louisiana 2014 law that required doctors performing abortions to have admitting principles at nearby hospitals.  The Pro Life activists have succeeded in passing laws in different states that chip away at the Roe V. Wade Supreme Court decision that upheld the right of a woman to have an abortion.  Most of the states are in the South and Midwest.   There are five states that have only one abortion clinic left:  Missouri,  Mississippi,  West Virginia,  North Dakota and South Dakota.  States continue to add to the list, dozens of laws have been passed in recent years.

Poor women lack money to travel to nearby states.     They often felt forced to resort  to desperate measures  to stop the pregnancy if they already had children to raise and feed.  It should be noted that most women seeking abortions  are married , not single.

This Supreme Court decision is a victory  for Roe v. Wade. The Pro Life movement has a long list of cases they  are bringing to abolish the 1973 Supreme Court decision that gives women control over their bodies.

John Roberts as Chief Justice voted to extend federal protection to American women through Roe v. Wade.  Conservatives  reacted with  anger.  Ted Cruz, Republican senator from Texas said  on Twitter, “  Chief Justice  John Roberts is at it again.  This time he has sided with abortion extremists who care more about abortion on demand than protecting women’s  health.:”

Justice Stephen Breyer writing for the four liberals who joined Roberts in the majority said, “that the Louisiana law was almost word for  word identical with the one from Texas that the Supreme Court struck down in the 2016 decision. “

The legal right to an abortion remains a hot issue in senate races for 2020.   The Chief Justice voting as he did in the Louisiana case gives Republican senators including Mitch McConnell  a tough subject to  deal with during the months ahead as they campaign for reelection.

Donald Trump is angry with the Chief Justice for his support for all three Supreme Court Decisions.   He has clashed with him before and would be wise to avoid any clashes with him at present.   The president has had a bad month in the polls.  Taking on Chief Justice Roberts would be a very foolish mistake on his part.   Women’s votes, crucial to his election are falling fast in all national and state polls.

…………………………………………Joyce S. Anderson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

William Barr’s Pervasion of Justice

May 9, 2020: the lead editorial in The New York Times was  “ William Barr’s Perversion of Justice”.   Against a black background,  Barr’s face  appeared behind a large red Scales of Justice tipped unevenly. It was a shocking picture introducing a shocking tale of a United States Attorney General who has been tipping the scales to benefit President Donald Trump rather than protecting the Justice system and the American people.

Prologue:  

After the Watergate Scandal, President Richard Nixon resigned to avoid Impeachment.  United States Attorney General John Mitchell and over ten other members of the Nixon administration went to prison.  Watergate led to reforms to ensure an independent Justice Department faithful to the law rather than the president. Among the reforms were greater transparency and ethics rules like the creation of independent inspectors general to rid the  executive branch of waste, fraud and abuse.  There were also new limits on presidential power in the Congressional Budget and Impoundment Control Act.

Donald J. Trump Administration   Donald Trump has already fired four Inspectors General in different areas of his administration.   He also broke the Congressional Act when he withheld hundreds of million dollars of aid to Ukraine.

After Donald Trump had been elected, he went through some months of interviewing men and women for cabinet positions .  William Barr sent him a very  long letter of introduction where he discussed his years of service to Republican presidents. He believed presidents should have maximum authority with little oversight.  Donald Trump chose William Barr to be United States Attorney  General .

Barr was confirmed by the Senate and only a month later he introduced the Mueller Report on Russian Interference in The 2016 Presidential Election.  Robert Mueller and his team of F.B.I investigators had worked for almost two years on the 448 page documented report.  The event was covered by all cable and major stations .  National interest was high since no leaks had occurred of the major findings.

William Barr was sworn in and seated to make his presentation.  He had only four pages to consult as he read  that “No collusion had been found between the president’s administration and Russia and There had been no obstruction of Justice.”  At the White House, there was jubilation as Trump and everyone watching were celebrating “ complete exoneration. “

The next day, The New York Times had a front page list of Volume 2 of the Mueller Report Obstruction of Justice ten examples.   Critics of the president were suspicious of Barr’s interpretation. The complete report was not available for weeks to Congress or the American public. Robert Mueller made public a  letter to William Barr raising questions and objections to the presentation. Barr never answered him.

When the report was finally available to the media, there were immediate responses on cable and major news channels by critics  who had read the entire report.   Barr’s interpretation was widely held to be biased.  However Barr stuck to his original analysis and conclusions.  He referred to the investigation as “spying” and ordered a criminal inquiry into its origin. On Fox News, he called the Russia Investigation “One of the greatest travesties in American History.”

During the following months and years,  William Barr appeared on the side of the president when they  were involved in legal troubles and trials.  He helped Roger Stone a long time friend of Donald Trump receive a lighter sentence.  Most recently,  he was instrumental in former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn being completely freed of charges of lying to The F.B.I.

This latest reversal of serious charges against the leader of Trump’s entire security team brought the May 9 editorial described at the beginning of this blog.  Flynn had been very close to Trump when he ran for office.  He created the famous “Lock her up” chant during rallies as he stood next to him.

The reversal of charges then moved to  U.S. District Court Judge Emmet Sullivan who could validate or question the move.  He has a reputation as a “tough  experienced judge” and showed that with an order reported on May 12 .  The order required both legal sides in the lifting of charges to present evidence and revisit the original case.  William Barr’s decision will now be moved to a higher authority.

A final note : Over two thousand former federal prosecutors responded to Barr’s decision to drop the charges against Flynn by calling for William Barr’s resignation as Attorney General of The United States.

…………………………………………………..Joyce S. Anderson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Mitch McConnell: Donald Trump’s Henchman!

 

Senator Mitch McConnell, the Majority Leader of the United State Senate, has done harm to our Justice  System.  McConnell knows the complex Senate rules by heart and has used them to further Conservative Republican objectives whenever possible.  He has faithfully supported Trump through his years in office.

During the last years of the Obama administration , Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia , the leader of the Conservative wing of the High Court, died.   President Barack Obama nominated Merrick Garland, Chief of the Washington D.C. Second Circuit Appeals Court to replace him.  This appointment was praised by Republicans as well as Democrats.  He is a middle of the road Justice , neither liberal nor conservative.

However,  Mitch McConnell said it was too close to the next Presidential Election to hold the customary interviews with the Senate and votes to confirm or deny the appointment.   Despite enormous criticism from the Obama administration and Democratic members of the Senate and Congress,  McConnell succeeded in keeping the seat vacant for over a year until the 2016 election took place.  This had never happened before!  Chief Justice John Roberts never commented upon McConnell blocking President Obama’s Constitutional  power  to  nominate a Justice to fill the vacancy.

During those months, The Supreme Court had to function with only eight members.  Although McConnell came under criticism from legal and government figures as well as presidential scholars,  he never budged from his position.   When Donald Trump was elected,  one of his first priorities was to nominate a conservative Republican, Neil Gorsuch, to the High Court.  McConnell guided him through confirmation to his seat on The Supreme Court.

On May ll,  in an interview with Lara Trump, the president’s daughter in law,  McConnell said, “Obama should have kept his mouth shut” referring to a leaked account of Obama’s private call to former members of his administration when he described Trump’s handling of the pandemic crisis as “an absolute chaotic disaster.”  McConnell added, “You had your shot—you were there for eight years. “  It is important to note that McConnell fought the Obama administration on immigration, health care, the environment and gun safety throughout the eight years.

McConnell has also tried to shift blame to Obama by saying his administration never left behind “any kind of game plan” for dealing with a pandemic.  In response, Ron Klain, who ran the Obama administration response to Ebola, said, “We literally left them a 69 page Pandemic Playbook that they ignored.  “

McConnell stood with Trump during the Impeachment trial in the Senate. He led the Republican senators who refused to allow witness testimony and voted to acquit him of all charges.  The Republicans have a slim majority , but it was enough to end the Trial with Trump’s Acquittal.

Mitch McConnell, up for re-election in November, is running against Amy, McGrath, a Marine fighter pilot and Mom.  The latest polls give him only a one point advantage and she appears to be gaining momentum.  If McConnell loses the election, Trump will have lost a very important ally.

…………………………………………Joyce S. Anderson

 

 

 

 

 

 

Joe Biden Interview in The New York Times and The Atlantic City Press

 

Saturday, May 2, 2020:  I had watched the interview yesterday with great interest.  It was the first he had given since Tara Reade has raised allegations of sexual assault when she worked on his senatorial staff twenty seven years ago.  Biden has responded that it never happened whenever a reporter has asked questions.

The interview was live on “Morning Joe” with the hosts Mica and Joe asking questions.  Mica began with Reade’s picture and her allegations as well as asking Joe if he would release his personnel files of his work as a senator.  He explained that he has opened up thousands of papers in the Archives to the public.  However, the files she asks for have talks with foreign leaders over eight years and these should not be available during the presidential race for political use by his opponent.

Mica then showed pictures of more than a dozen women who had accused Donald Trump of sexual harassment or sexual assault over the years.   Joe took over for  the second half and dealt with current issues of the pandemic virus and its effects upon the economy  and life of the people of the country.  Biden gave specific answers covering what he is doing right now in advance of results of the election next November.  He was calm and clear in describing what he had done during the Ebola pandemic as Vice President working with President Obama in the United States and abroad.

Today’s coverage of the interview in The New York Times and The Atlantic  City Press shocked me!   When I was teaching at Atlantic Community College, my students said The Times was my bible.  Donald Trump considers the Times and The Washington Post as his enemies, “fake news” mongers.  The latter has a reporter who counts the lies of the president, now in the thousands.

Thus, when I saw the front pages of the two papers, Joe Biden was on both papers :  Times: second lead story on left hand side .  Press: picture top right with “Never Happened” in bold print.  Story appeared later in section C .

Next, I turned to the Editorial page of The  New York Times and found a dark partial picture of Biden’s face looking stressed under the title in bold type: Investigate Tara Reade’s Allegations.  Toward the end of the long editorial in dark print  was “ Americans need to know more about a sexual assault allegation against the likely Democratic nominee. “

Then I read the entire editorial.  It was almost completely about Reade’s allegation until a short paragraph of seven lines  next to the last paragraph ……… From that paragraph, ”It has been noted that Donald Trump has been accused of  sexual harassment and assault by more than a dozen women. Those claims should also be investigated … Mr. Trump simply denies them and attacks his accusers.”

The Atlantic City Press had a column on page one of Section C World and Nation.   Headline: Biden  declares sexual assault ‘never never happened.”   It was written by Alexandra Jaffe and Bill Barrow of Associated Press. Within the body of their article, they discuss Biden’s pledge to have the Archives open, since that would be the place for a complaint if she had done that at the time.   They  ended with his pledge to choose a woman as Vice President  and the fact that the presidential race will be the  first of the MeToo era.

Their coverage was completely different from The Times where the entire editorial board is represented by the lead editorial each day.

My concern of course, is that Donald Trump and his team will take their editorial and use it in as many ways and times as they can.

I wrote to The Times  before  writing this blog .  A  very long shot to have it printed, but I felt the need to speak out directly to them.  If it appears in Letters…. I’ll let you know on my blog…

……………………………………………  Joyce S. Anderson

Biden “Team of Rivals”

Joe Biden has emerged as the clear front runner in the 2020 Democratic Primary race, with only Bernie Sanders still standing as a rival. Biden announced during the last debate that he would choose a woman as Vice President.  He should also remember Abraham Lincoln choosing his cabinet from his rivals in the 1860 election.  That brilliant political move helped him govern through the challenging years ahead.

Biden should create his team of rivals NOW. They could campaign alone for him or with him on television at interviews, debates and virtual town meetings while the Coronavirus persists.  We are going to have the election in November, that is for sure.  It will not be postponed. We have had elections during wartime.  This election may be the first election  completely by mail.

Here’s a possible team: Kamala Harris as Vice President; Mike Bloomberg as Treasury Secretary; Amy Klobuchar as U.S. District Attorney at Justice Department;  Pete Buttigeg at Defense; Elizabeth Warren for Commerce; Cory Booker for HUD; Julian Castro for Secretary of The Environment and Mitt Romney , the only Republican senator who honored his oath of impartiality during Donald J. Trump’s impeachment trial, for Secretary of State.  Each of these women and men has had deep experience in the position they would be holding .

Joe Biden would bring a wealth of experience as a senator and Vice President , working with Barack Obama during two terms in office.  It is not surprising that Donald Trump saw him as his toughest opponent. Then  he asked the Ukraine president to announce he was investigating Biden for alleged corruption.  We all know that led to Trump’s impeachment, forever an asterix next to his name.

Joe Biden and his team of rivals could defeat Donald J. Trump in a landslide in November 2020.

…………………………………………  Joyce S. Anderson

Dems: Want To Defeat Trump? Form A Team of Rivals.

The title above is of an  article by Thomas Friedman, an opinion writer in today’s New York Times.   He is one of their veterans who has traveled the world and speaks with words of wisdom on many subjects.  The political world is his specialty.

After or before you pull up the column on your  computer,  Google  A team of rivals.  You will find Doris Kearns Goodwin, the historian who wrote about Abraham Lincoln’s Team of Rivals in her book on that very subject.

Friedman applies Lincoln’s successful strategy to the current presidential campaign .  He suggsts names of people who would fill the most important executive and cabinet positions.  Some are still running  for president while others have dropped out of the race. They all bring valuable experience and strength to the positions they would fill if the top of the ticket is elected.

The debate in  South Carolina this evening brings the current candidates back once more. Michael Bloomberg will make his second appearance after a Town Hall with a live audience and more realistic prepping  by his aides.  His debut appearance was described as a “ disaster” and he met a group the next day saying with humor, “And how was your night yesterday.”

Since Donald Trump was acquitted on Charges of Impeachment, he has pursued weeks of “Rage and Retribution” against his perceived enemies.  This included the government employees who responded to Congressional subpoenas to testify under oath.  Colonel Alexander Vindman who served in the White  House,  former Ambassador to Ukraine, Yovonovitch,  former Ambassador to Ukraine, Taylor , Fiona Hill who worked with John Bolton  National Security Advisor.   Colonel Vindman and his twin brother also a Colonel were marched out of the White House in their uniforms. Marie Yovonovitch after being fired, took a position at Georgetown University in D.C.   John Bolton awaits the publication of his book that will reveal inner workings of the Trump White House. He never did  testify,.

Donald Trump has seized on Sanders as his new whipping candidate rather than Biden since Bernie has run up big scores in Iowa,  New Hampshire and Nevada.  There, voters joined caucuses which can be complex with people meeting in groups and casting votes that can be argued and changed in succeeding rounds of voting.

South Carolina holds a primary where people vote for their choice. One person; one vote.  It is simpler and the same as the general election.   Results usually are tabulated easily and announced  without delay.  The Iowa results were a disaster since they were using a complex system without having had a trial run.

I hope some of the candidates who will take part in the debate this evening have read Thomas Friedman’s column.  Or the moderators may have read it and will suggest it to the candidates for their reaction. It would be dynamite to watch them react since it assumes only one of them would win the nomination.

A Team of Rivals will be on stage.   I will think of them in the framework of  Thomas Friedman’s brilliant idea. I’m sure Donald Trump will also be watching.

……………………………………………Joyce S. Anderson

An Exaltation of Larks

After the trauma of the Impeachment vote in the Senate and Trump claiming complete exoneration, I felt we all needed to read something that lifts our spirits.  This column first published in 2010 is designed to do just that.  Enjoy.

 

A very special book beckons to me from the shelves, An Exaltation of Larks, the fascinating collection by James Lipton, first published in 1968.  Lipton, an American writer, poet, composer and actor, traced the tradition in the English language back to the 15th century when groups of animals, fish and birds associated with hunting were given names to epitomize salient characteristics. Young gentlemen were taught the precise designation of their quarry. We are familiar with some: a pride of lions, a plague of locusts and a litter of puppies. The magic of this book is in the hundreds of collective nouns that identify the essence of the group to the reader for the first time — and the witty engravings by Grandville, a 19th century French lithographer, that accompany most of the terms and the text.

Here are a few groups of birds to whet your appetite:

A parliament of owls.

An ostentation of peacocks.

A banquet of pheasants.

A murder of crows.

A siege of herons.

A brood of hens.

An exaltation of larks.

Skylarks climb high together into the heavens while uttering their song — thus the poetic comment of exaltation.  In the interesting introduction to the book, Lipton traces the history from the 15th century to the present. He writes, “Obviously, at one time or another, every one of these terms had to be invented — and it is equally obvious that much imagination, wit and semantic ingenuity has always gone into their invention. The terms are too full of charm and poetry to suppose that their inventors were unaware of the possibilities open to them , and unconscious of the fun and beauty they were creating. What we have in these terms is clearly the end result of a game that amateur semanticists have been playing for over five hundred years.”

Part III of the book may be the most fun for readers since Lipton drew upon the Book of St. Albans, compiled in 1486, which included seventy references to people and life in the 15th century in addition to the birds, animals and fish for the hunt. The social references, scattered through the St. Albans book, are filled with wit and commentary about the manners and morals of the day. The lively, intriguing engravings accompanying these human figures capture the meaning and nuances in each term.  Here are samples from the 15th century:

A Herd of Harlots

A Converting of Preachers

A Doctrine of Doctors

An Incredulity of Cuckolds

A Riffraff of Knaves

A Drift of Fishermen

An Eloquence of Lawyers

A Worship of Writers (Ah, I love that.)

 

Lipton closes his delightful book with a challenge to the reader to join the “game” and create clever terms that illuminate intrinsic qualities of a group. He says, about playing the game, “like Tom Sawyer whitewashing the fence. I found that spectators didn’t stay spectators for long. If you should feel the urge, there are more brushes in the pail.”

 

………………………………………………………………………………….Joyce S. Anderson

 

An Exaltation of Larks  is available online at Amazon.com