Brett Kavanaugh Isn’t Clarence Thomas, but It’s Still About Race

OPINION — Orrin G. Hatch, the Republican senator from Utah, is nothing if not consistent.

His words about distinguished lawyer and professor Anita Hill in 1991 — when she testified in the Clarence Thomas confirmation hearings before the Judiciary Committee on which he sat — were clear. He said there was “no question” in his mind that she was “coached” by special interest groups. “Her story’s too contrived. It’s so slick it doesn’t compute.” Hatch mused she may have cribbed some of her testimony from the novel “The Exorcist” — the horror!

And when considering current nominee Brett Kavanaugh — sitting, as Thomas was, on the verge of a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court — Hatch had this to say about professor Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault when she was 15 and he 17: “I think she’s mistaking something. But I don’t know, I mean, I don’t know her.”

Kavanaugh’s Accuser Wants FBI Investigation Before Testifying

CHARLOTTE, NC — The woman accusing Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault isn’t ready to testify just yet. Christine Blasey Ford’s legal team says their client won’t testify in a public hearing offered by Republicans unless the FBI first investigates her allegations. Ford says Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were at a high school party in the 80’s. Kavanaugh has repeatedly denied the accusations.

The allegations brought against Kavanaugh echo a similar incident in 1991, when Anita Hillaccused then SCOTUS nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment and was called to publicly testify.

Midterms Show We’re Not Any Closer to a Post-Racial America

OPINION — Remember the time when Trent Lott got in a heap of trouble for remembering the time?

It was 2002, and the Senate Republican leader representing Mississippi was waxing nostalgic for what he considered the good old days at a 100th birthday celebration for South Carolina Sen. Strom Thurmond. Carried away by the moment — and in remarks that recalled similar words from 1980 — Lott said: “When Strom Thurmond ran for president, we voted for him. We’re proud of it. And if the rest of the country had followed our lead, we wouldn’t have had all these problems over all these years, either.”

No surprise that those for whom Thurmond’s 1948 presidential run represented the bad old days objected. Segregation was the heart of the platform for Thurmond’s States’ Rights Democratic Party (a.k.a. the Dixiecrats).

Bob Woodward’s Bombshell Book on the Trump White House

CHARLOTTE, NC — Bob Woodward’s ‘Fear,’ the Long-Awaited Book on the Trump Presidency.  Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward has written books on every president since Richard Nixon. The latest, “Fear,” on Donald Trump’s administration has garnered the Watergate reporter headlines, again. In it, he quotes chief of staff John Kelly as saying, “We’re in Crazytown,” a statement Kelly has denied saying. The book joins others from Omarosa and Michael Wolff on the best-seller list. (Mary Curtis)

Is the Woodward book being taken more seriously, and why? WCCB Political Contributor Mary C. Curtis weighs in.

Trump to the Rescue (Maybe) in North Carolina

OPINION — When Donald Trump travels to North Carolina this week, it won’t be for one of the campaign-style rallies that are his oxygen — especially needed now when the air is filled with praise for his nemesis John McCain, who is being lauded in death in terms the president can only dream about.

This Friday in Charlotte, host of the 2020 GOP convention and with the Trump National Golf Club not that far away in Mooresville, the president is scheduled to make a lunchtime appearance at a country club for an audience of those willing and able to pay at least $1,000 ($25,000 will get you admission to a “roundtable” and a photograph with Trump). It is a party with a purpose: to raise enough cash to keep two possibly vulnerable House seats in Republicans hands.

Whether Church or State, Powerful Men Are Letting Us Down

OPINION — It is not a good time for those who want to believe — in their faith or in their government. No one expects any institution to be perfect, particularly those that are large and complicated. But why do so many have to be perfectly corrupt, spurring cynicism in those once so willing to give the benefit of the doubt?

Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort, and What’s Next?

CHARLOTTE. NC — On Tuesday, former Trump lawyer/fixer Michael Cohen pleaded guilty to eight charges in federal court in New York, including campaign finance violations for payoffs to influence the 2016 election on behalf of a candidate – not identified, though widely assumed to be Donald Trump. Meanwhile, in a Virginia courtroom, Trump’s former campaign manager Paul Manafort was found guilty on eight of 18 counts: five counts of filing false tax returns, one count of not filing a report on a foreign bank account and two bank fraud counts.

When Spike Lee’s Art Is More Real Than a White House Reality Show

OPINION — It was deliberate and fitting that “BlacKkKlansman” opened a year after the deadly march of white supremacists in Charlottesville, Virginia. It is not too much of a spoiler to say that director Spike Lee goes there in the telling of the improbable true story of an African-American police officer who, in the late 1970s, infiltrated the Ku Klux Klan in Colorado.

The film brings the lessons of the not-so-tall tale up to the present, to this 2018 moment. That includes an appearance from a youthful David Duke, who still appears whenever and wherever racial hate rises up.

In a parallel universe that purports to be real life but more closely resembles a twisted fantasy, Donald Trump managed one weak tea of a tweet marking the anniversary of the march, with a message that condemned “all types of racism,” pushing false equivalency and failing yet again to acknowledge the seriousness of neo-Nazi and Klan sentiment and action that caused the death of Heather Heyer.

Omarosa vs. Trump: Reality-Show Drama Meets Politics

CHARLOTTE, NC — In a move that seems like a plot twist in a reality show, Omarosa Manigault Newman, the former and fired top aide to Donald Trump is not going quietly. She has a new book, “Unhinged,” which asserts that the president is unfit. And she has tapes. The president has gone on the attack, with tweets and insults. And now there is a lawsuit over a non-disclosure agreement she signed when she worked for the campaign.

Trump’s Culture War Is Entering Its Scorched-Earth Phase

OPINION — President Donald Trump is crediting his raucous Ohio rally for propelling Troy Balderson over Democratic challenger Danny O’Connor in a U.S. congressional special election that is officially still too close to call. But what if his fiery rhetoric and the image of a sea of angry faces, attacks on the media and signs supporting the murky QAnon conspiracy actually derailed what should have been an easy Republican victory?