Double, Double, Trump in Trouble?

“Double, double, toil and trouble;

Fire burn and caldron bubble.”

— The witches in Macbeth, William Shakespeare.

The Democrats, the purported “party of science,” have a new strategy to beat back President Donald Trump and the other Republicans who’ve overrun the Senate, the House, the Supreme Court, two-thirds of the state legislatures and most of the governorships.

Their new strategy is witchcraft.

It had to happen. The recount ruse didn’t add up. The Electoral College refused to go rogue. The Russian conspiracy theory backfired.

But the Dems are nothing if not creative in demonizing those with whom they disagree.

For example, Dems are typically non-scientists, but they equate scientists who question the Dems’ global warming religion to neo-Nazi holocaust deniers. Their expertise in plants is based only on having smoked them, but they declare that the farms that grow food for billions of people are evil because they also grow profits. They proclaim that a fetus is merely a blob of cells until the woman in whom it resides wants it to be a baby and then, by alchemy, it transforms into one, unless the woman changes her mind, at which time it transforms back into a blob of cells.

According to a recent National Science Foundation survey, Democrats are far more likely to believe in astrology than Republicans (and I mean that statement in both ways).

Think back to college. The rare Republican students were disproportionately represented in engineering, physics and pre-med in preparation for careers serving science and humanity, while the flocks of Democrat sheep usually happily herded themselves into sociology, political “science” and other undemanding hobby majors that made them feel good.

One group grew into the true party of science while the other wallowed in the science of party.

So it’s no surprise to see a news report that among the Dem opponents to the new president are witches.

Which witch, you ask? No, it’s not Hillary Clinton. They are other Democrat witches.

These witches recently cast a spell on the president and other deviltry that goes by the name of “Republicans.”

And you can too! In the interest of diversity, the witchy incantations are not limited to witches. They’ve also offered this brew to all the other Democrats: “wiccans, shamans, heremeticists, cunning folk, sorcerers and sorceresses, hoodooists, occultists, magicians, ceremonialists and ritualists.”

Have wand, will travel.

All you need are a few household items like a candle, salt, water, a tarot card and a photograph of Trump. Then, under a crescent moon, without even disrobing, you chant the usual anti-Trump gibberish. At the end you burn the photo of him. Fire is a big part of the witching shtick.

Don’t worry about the global-warming effect. As with your oversized SUV with the “coexist” bumper sticker, you can have it every which way — and every witch way — so long as it makes you feel good.

The witches didn’t say to whom they’re chanting, and it doesn’t matter. In Democrat protests — from Hollywood to college campuses — the purpose is not to accomplish anything. It’s just preening.

There’s a reason, after all, that we know about this little look-at-me spectacle. It’s because the witches themselves publicized it.

OK, here’s my assessment.

I’m reluctant to cast aspersions on those who cast spells because it’s like casting the first stone and because too often in life I’ve hooked myself in the ear on the back cast.

And I certainly don’t want to engage in a witch hunt since Democrat witches are notoriously elusive prey who are protected by troops of flying monkeys otherwise known as the media.

But at a minimum, this melodrama seems over the top. With one sweep of the broom, it jumps the shark and shoots the moon. When the president called on us to “embrace this renewal of the American spirit,” the Dems apparently heard only the first and last words.

Here’s a different strategy that the Dems might consider. Stop the shouting, rioting, sobbing, spell-casting and wand-waving, and instead meet with the man whom America elected president. Stop boycotting the hearings on his cabinet appointees and instead show up — in ordinary business attire — and ask questions respectfully. Stop filibustering and start talking. Stop conjuring and start conversing.

Just act normal, not paranormal. Be natural, not supernatural.

No, Trump’s not in trouble, but the Dems are. Stop pandering to your party base and instead start basing your party on something other than pandering. And stop that howling.

(Published Apr. 30,2017 in the Aspen Times at http://www.aspentimes.com/opinion/beaton-double-double-trump-in-trouble/ and elsewhere )

Beauty Deserves Better than the Beast

In the new movie, I like Beauty. I always do.

I even like the Beast. Yes, he suffers a bit of testosterone poisoning. He manages his anger poorly. He’s rude and talks coarsely. People are afraid of him. He’s ugly.

What’s not to like?

But even though I mostly like the leading characters, I don’t like the movie.

The central theme of the movie is fine. Beauty and ugly are only skin deep. But to support that, our friends at Disney get everything else wrong.

Here’s the story, for those who were sensible enough to pretend to fall asleep when fairy tales were inflicted on them as children:

The Beast imprisons Beauty’s kindly father in his castle in the French countryside for accidentally stealing a rose from the Beast’s garden. Beauty offers to take her father’s place, and the Beast accepts her offer.

But the Beast is not really a beast. He’s a handsome prince. He’s rich too. He’s just having a bad-hair decade because a local shaman cast a spell over him for being a jerk.

But it’s not his fault that he’s a jerk. It’s the fault of his father who was mean to him before dying and leaving him a beautiful castle and fabulous fortune that enables his life of trustafarian leisure.

His servants are under the same spell. They’ve been turned into a candelabra, a clock, a coat hanger and, well, you get the idea.

Beauty is initially put off by the Beast’s beastliness. He’s violent and threatening. He eats soup without utensils and wears dark pants after Bastille Day. Worst of all, his castle is stuck in that hideous Louis XIII decor that is so 1790s/1970s.

To make a long and predictable story into a short and predictable one, the Beast is actually a nice guy, deep down. Yes, back when he was a jerk, he really was a jerk. But now, he’s a great guy.

He just needs a little lovin’ and understanding and a haircut and bath and a decorator with a palette beyond dark gray. He needs someone to see the beauty inside him — preferably someone who is beautiful on the outside.

That’s where Beauty comes in. Well, technically, that’s where Beauty is imprisoned by him.

Talk about an awkward first date. But they get past it. She just had to see him again. Really. Because, after all, she’s his prisoner.

You see where this is going. She discovers the beauty inside her ugly captor. In a textbook case of Stockholm Syndrome, she falls in love with him.

That breaks the curse and he transforms back into a handsome prince. He’s exactly the way he was before the spell was cast, except now he’s not a jerk. Best of all, his bad father didn’t come back and the good money he left didn’t go away.

Time out. I have a question. If surface beauty doesn’t matter, why does the Beast regain his? Wouldn’t the message be more compelling if he stayed hideously ugly on his outside, but Beauty loved him nonetheless for what’s on his inside?

And what message does it send that he’s rich and with money he didn’t earn?

And why at the outset is Beauty lamenting her “provincial life” but doing exactly nothing to break out of it, except reading romance novels and dreaming about a Prince Charming? Get a career, girl!

Anyway, back to the story. When the Beast transforms back into a prince, the castle gets a remodeling and all the appliances that used to be the Beast’s servants transform back into servants. They’re happy too.

Whatever.

Along the way, Disney pretends open-mindedness. But actually they present stereotypical portrayals of stupid country folk, limp-wristed gays, sloppy beer drinkers, crazed gun owners, heteronormative heroines, talkative teapots, vicious wolves, fat French armoires, noisy small dogs and valiant horses of pallor.

OK, I’m the father of two single daughters. In case they someday date a beast and someday read my column, I say this to them: If he’s a jerk on the outside, he’s probably worse on the inside.

He doesn’t need reforming; he needs a reformatory. He doesn’t need a prisoner; he needs a prison. Don’t walk away; run.

Notably, we know how the movie ends, but we don’t know what happens after that. Conspicuously absent is the customary “They lived happily ever after.” Hmm.

(Published Apr. 16, 2017 in the Aspen Times at http://www.aspentimes.com/news/beaton-beauty-deserves-better-than-the-beast/ and elsewhere)

GOP to Filibustering Dems: Make My Day

An appellate judge on the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, Neil Gorsuch, has been nominated to fill a vacancy at the Supreme Court. As a lawyer who was privileged to practice before both courts, I’ve keenly watched the process of his confirmation.

This process is framed by some history. Before 1987, the Senate usually confirmed whomever the president nominated. But then, President Ronald Reagan nominated Robert Bork.

Bork had been an acclaimed antitrust scholar and professor at Yale Law School. He had been the solicitor general where he handled dozens of Supreme Court cases. He also had served as an acting attorney general.

Chief Justice William Burger dubbed Bork “the most effective counsel to appear before the court” during Burger’s 17-year tenure.

Bork had been unanimously approved by the Senate for a judgeship on an appellate court. He had served there for the five years prior to his Supreme Court nomination. He was a preeminent jurist.

Within hours after Bork’s nomination, Continue reading