“It’s Been Good”

May 26, 2019

The Object


“So long, it’s been good to know ya
So long, it’s been good to know ya
So long, it’s been good to know ya
What a long time since I’ve been home
And I’ve gotta be driftin’ along.”

Woody Guthrie (1935)

This is the last time I’ll be asking “For Your Consideration”.

Eileen and I drove into Oakhurst at 8:15 PM on Tuesday, November 7th, 2006 with a truckload of stuff, two cats, and a cockatiel named Clancy.

That’s the same night Tom Wheeler was first elected 5th District Madera County Supervisor.

We had visited Oakhurst a number of times before, passing through on our way to Yosemite Village, where daughter, Susan, and son-in-law, Rich Seiling, were living in Ansel Adams’ old house behind the Gallery – where Susan was Assistant Manager.

Susan and Rich later moved to Oakhurst and started “West Coast Imaging”, specializing in cutting edge photographic processing. This enterprise eventually grew to include several dozen full-time employees – adding “Aspen Creek Photo” to their services as the business prospered.

Since the Seilings moved to Nashville in June of 2017, our entire immediate family has been living east of the Mississippi. Three daughters, four granddaughters, eight grandsons, and two “greats” (boy and girl) all miss their “Bitsy” (Eileen’s family name) and want her near, even if it means dragging HIM along. It’s time.

Accordingly, the California Cavanaughs will shortly again become Ohio Cavanaughs, soon moving 2,301 miles to Cincinnati, formerly known as “Porkopolis” in less dignified days.

After the Revolutionary War, many Americans journeyed with their cattle and hogs across the Appalachian Mountains and along the Ohio River. Beef and pork were shipped to the Mississippi on this route. By 1850, Cincinnati was the biggest city in the “West”.

As Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer of the Reams Broadcast Group, I ran WBVE “The Beaver” in Cincinnati from ’88 to ’90 and WZRK “Z-Rock” from ’90 to ’92.

Daughter Colleen lives in Cincinnati. Daughter Candace lives 300 miles north in Detroit, while daughters Laurie and Susan live 350 miles south in the Nashville area. All are on I-75, less than a day away. Eileen and I will be getting a little apartment, perhaps on one of Cincinnati’s famous “Seven Hills” that some residents reference when romantically comparing their town to Ancient Rome. It’s a stretch.

Ten years ago, Lynn Jacobson of the Oakhurst Democratic Club approached Brian Wilkinson, Editor of the Sierra Star, with the idea of including a regular column offering somewhat more progressive perspectives than those regularly articulated by Dr. Bill Atwood.

In an earlier “Letter to the Editor” before becoming a regular contributor, I had suggested that Bill’s weekly commentaries reflected “the intellectual depth of a frozen bird bath”. I should quickly add Bill and I have since become friends and often have lunch together.

Editor Wilkinson and Publisher Betty Linn thought presenting dissimilar views was a fine idea. So it was that Alan Cheah and I took turns writing “For Your Consideration” for quite a while. Alan was forced to abandon regular participation some time ago due to other obligations, but jumps back in every so often when things get him fired up.

Oakhurst has been a joyous experience in every way.

It has brought us many wonderful friends and countless golden memories.

I now take leave with these closing words from “Local DJ” – a memoir recounting my sordid days in early Rock & Roll Radio.

These are troubled times.

Love your family.

Support local radio friends.

Play your music loud and hard.

Trust yourself any time you choose.












May 23, 2019


Happy Wedding Anniversary to my lovely child bride, Eileen.

Eileen and I were married 55 years ago today, May 23rd, at St. Joseph’s Church in Syracuse, New York.

Eileen and I met when I was President of the Catholic Youth Organization at St. Joseph’s (I can’t imagine anyone ever calling it “St. Joe’s” back then) – and Eileen was Secretary.

Eileen initially thought I was a conceited, obnoxious, overrated jerk – no surprise to many of our Sierra Star readers. She can never say she didn’t know what mercilessly waited ahead these last five and a half decades.

I attended Cathedral Academy, a Catholic school where girls might tell the nuns if you hit on them. Eileen went to Syracuse Central High, a public school. The rest is history.

We have four daughters, each one more beautiful than the other three; twelve grandchildren, each smarter than the other eleven, and two great-grandchildren, a boy and a girl, both equal in every way except the obvious.

“Meanwhile” (quoting Stephen Colbert) — President Chump clings to office like a slimy leech on our metaphoric leg, sucking away national integrity with every sloppy slurp.

The Mueller Report turns out to reveal in great detail exactly the opposite of what was first presented as a White House win by United States Attorney General, Bill “Silly Willie” Barr.

Barr was famously referenced as “Cover-up-General” in 1992 by celebrated New York Times author and writer William Safire, earning such distinction because of his role in burying evidence of then-President George H.W. Bush’s involvement in the “Iran-Contra” scandal.

Alas, this seems to have been forgotten during Barr’s most recent confirmation hearing and, as promised by sages through the ages, we are thus condemned to watch history repeat itself as ugly as it gets.

Those clamoring to put all in the past — forgive, forget and simply move along — hopelessly ignore an elephant in our collective phone booth.

Trump is a ticking time bomb.

Tick Tock. North Korea’s Kim il Jong has humiliated us before the world as self-envisioned delusions of a Nobel Peace Prize for Trump disappear in the vapors of new experimental missiles aimed and fired in the general direction of Japan. And Oakhurst.

Tick Tock. The amazing 2009 Obama Economic Recovery, for which The Trump still demands full credit, is showing signs of faltering under the weight of ill-advised tariffs and economic policies formulated on the spot by impulse alone.

Tick Tock. Most of our former friends feel forgotten, while authoritarian dictators such as Vladimir Putin, Recep Erdogan, and Prince Mohammed bin Salman bask in the love of an admiring apprentice. He’d rather be them. Forget “Lock her up!” Let’s “Slice her! Dice her! And feed her head to wild ferrets!”

Tick Tock. As America becomes ever more isolated from the world with some citizens even touting the value of a physical barrier to keep us symbolically pure, our security and unity are immeasurably weakened by poisonous thoughts and groundless fears.

Tick Tock. “Threads” was a 1984 apocalyptic war drama presented by the BBC. It depicted a nuclear winter and the catastrophic impact an atomic holocaust would have on human culture and life itself. It is powerfully unsettling. Ted Turner introduced “Threads” to the United States on January 13, 1985 on his TBS cable network. It had been deemed too uncomfortable for broadcast TV. Critics called it “a masterpiece”, “an unforgettable lesson in true horror” and “arguably the most devastating piece of television ever produced.”

President Donald J. Trump has control of our launch codes.

These need to be taken away.

Him, too.






“He’s Got a Long One”

May 12, 2019

Tom McC

“Liar, Liar. Pants on fire.

Your nose is longer than a telephone wire.”

This was a late 19th Century childhood chant introduced by an unknown someone sometime after the first human words were ever spoken on a phone — “Mister Watson, come here! – Alexander Graham Bell (1876) — and the writing of “Pinocchio” by Carlo Collodi in 1883.

Check out that nose on our Fourth District Congressman Tom McClintock – encompassing the Sierra from Truckee to the Sequoia National Forest, including all or part of ten separate counties.

Last week, as a member of the House Judiciary Committee voting against a resolution holding Attorney General William Barr in Contempt of Congress, Tom presented prepared remarks containing dozens of lies, faithfully parroting the party line like Pretty Polly on Prednisone.

McClintock intoned, “The American People can plainly see what’s going on here. For two and a half years they have been force fed a brazen and monstrous lie: that the President of the United States is a traitor who is loyal to a hostile power.” I believe that the President of the United States is a brazen and monstrous liar – a trashy trader loyal to a hostile power.

The Congressman’s further comments savaged Robert Mueller in no uncertain terms, concluding, “They were forced to admit that there is not a shred of evidence” suggesting the president did anything wrong. That’s just hysterically untrue. There are enough “shreds” to weave a two hundred mile long canopy over Tom’s nose.

Our Representative also referenced a “fake dossier fabricated by the Clinton Campaign used by high-ranking officials at the Department of Justice, the FBI, our Intelligence Agencies and perhaps even at The White House, to undermine the duly elected President and to tear this country apart.” The dossier’s not fake. it was originated by a Republican operative. It was not the reason the investigation was started.

In defense of Big Bill Barr, Tom McClintock has thrown his full support behind a man seeking to overturn the entire Affordable Care Act, leaving millions completely uninsured and many more pathetically unprotected against the worst instincts of predatory policy writers.

McClintock continued his craziness last Saturday on FOX News (naturally) arguing that House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal (D-Mass) had weaponized the Internal Revenue Service by insisting the Treasury Department turn over The Trump’s tax returns.

Tom’s expansive nose sniffed, “It began under Lois Lerner when they turned the entire force of that powerful agency against common citizens who were simply trying to participate in our political process.” This is a Tea Party “Oldie But Goodie” implying left wing bias – proven to be absolute nonsense.

In late September of 2017, an exhaustive report by the Treasury Department Inspector General declared that the IRS had scrutinized through the years — in equal measure — both liberal and conservative entities that were suspected of claiming non-profit status in an effort to avoid paying taxes.

The Trump/McClintock administration continues to be the source of degrading disappointment, profound moral shame and critical Constitutional concern.

And Tom McClintock still wants his horse burgers.

A constituent just sent me this from Tom’s office in response to a question concerning the killing of 75,000 wild horses in the American Southwest for food and fun.

“I believe we have a responsibility to treat animals humanely and with respect and I believe any processing needs to comport with these principles. For this reason, I do not support the SAFE Act which would reinstate the congressional ban on horse slaughter.”

So — Tom seeks to show horses love by having them for lunch.

I say – NEIGH!


















“Toot Toot”

April 28, 2019


It’s like that last episode of “The Sopranos”.

You have to think a little to get it.

The Sopranos are having dinner at a diner. Journey is singing “Don’t Stop Believin’” in the background. At the words, “He took the midnight train going anywhere” – Tony looks up to see his daughter enter the restaurant. Everything stops. No sight. No sound. Just darkness. Nothing. It lasted for minutes. Twelve million HBO viewers went nuts. WHAT HAPPENED?

Tony got whacked.

But you had to remember the words of Bobby Bacala from a few episodes back to help figure it out. Bobby and Tony were discussing sudden death from a bullet. Bobby comments, “You probably don’t even hear it when it happens, right?”

Wait. Those two strangers who walked into the place moments before? One went in the men’s room. Like Michael Corleone in “The Godfather.” To get a hidden gun?

Then you have to realize that you’re watching the end from Tony’s perspective. Sudden oblivion. Nothing.

Donald J. Trump just got whacked by the Mueller Report.

You have to think a little to get it.

“No collusion! No obstruction!” – Donald J. Trump (2019) — Every 10 seconds.

The Mueller Report actually says, “Collusion is not a specific offense or theory of liability found in the United States Code, nor is it a term of art in federal crime law. For those reasons, the Office’s focus in analyzing questions of joint criminal liability was on conspiracy as defined by federal law.”

So that’s why — when the Report concludes that it “did not establish that members of the Trump campaign conspired or coordinated with the Russian government in its election interference activities” – it simply means there is insufficient evidence to prove beyond reasonable doubt that the Trump administration was directly involved in stealing Hillary Clinton’s emails. Those were the “crimes” Mueller officially charged in the Report.

There are dozens of instances citing numerous contacts between Trump staffers and individual Russians, particularly Trump’s Campaign Manager, Paul Manafort, passing along secret election data to Konstantin Kilimnic, a political consultant with rumored connections to the GRU, Russia’s CIA.

Then there was Trump son-in-law, Jared Kushner, attempting to establish a secret communication channel to the Kremlin from the White House through Russian technical facilities. No wonder Kushner went on record last week absurdly stating that the Mueller probe was more harmful to the U.S. than any Russian election interference.

Even of greater importance, Mueller’s extensive overview on the “obstruction” issue is stunning and, at the end, clearly defined.

Firmly establishing that current Justice Department Policy prohibits indicting a sitting President such as Trump or even formally accusing him of a crime, Mueller categorically states, “If we had confidence after a thorough investigation of the facts that the president clearly did not commit obstruction of justice, we would so state. Based on the facts and applicable legal standards we are unable to reach that judgment.”

Decoded for our Fox viewers – “If Trump wasn’t guilty, we’d say so.”

But let’s see what even Fox News has to say about The Mueller Report.

“When the president asked Corey Lewandowski to get Mueller fired, that’s obstruction of justice. When the president asked his then White House Counsel to get Mueller fired and then lie about it, it’s obstruction of justice. Trump’s actions as outlined in the Mueller Report are immoral, criminal, defenseless and condemnable.” – Fox Senior Legal Analyst — Judge Andrew Napolitano.

Toot. Toot.

Here comes the midnight train, Mr. President.


“Hoppy Easter”

April 14, 2019


Here comes Peter Cavanaugh

Hoppin’ down the bunny trail.

Hippity-hoppin’, Easter’s on its way!

It sure seems like Easter’s arriving as late as possible his year, but I just looked it up.

The earliest date for Easter would be March 22nd. The last time this occurred was 1818 and it won’t happen again until 2285. Many of us won’t be around to see that. On the other rabbit’s foot, the latest possible date would be April 25th. That happened when I was one and a half years old in 1943. When I would be ninety-six and a half in 2038, Easter is scheduled again. I suspect that I, myself, am not.

As an Irish-Catholic altar boy (stop that snickering) back in the ‘50’s, Holy Week held special challenges, primarily a major test of faithful endurance. Certain liturgical services were often extended as long as a nail clipper haircut. It was in these moments that one should avoid fainting, especially when the first of us starts turning pale, weaving to and fro – then hitting the floor. The main thing was to immediately think about something as forbidden as possible to get your mind off being the next to keel over. What worked for me was – girls.

Although Easter is most commonly associated with Christianity in our culture and its perceived place as successor to a foundation in Judaism, all people in every land throughout time have greeted the arrival of spring with joyous jubilance.

Even the name Easter comes from “Eostre”, the Anglo-Saxon goddess of sunrise and spring. It was from celebrations in her honor that we have inherited “Easter Eggs” and “The Easter Bunny”. Festive fertility was in the air everywhere.

Spring is welcomed In Switzerland with “Boogg” as a snowman is stuffed with explosives and burned at a stake. Don’t get too close.

For hundreds of years in Zenica, Bosnians have hosted “The Festival of Scrambled Eggs.” All you can eat is free. Watch that cholesterol.

In Japan, cherry blossoms burst into bloom with Hanami, a long-standing tradition welcoming the end of winter and expressing deep appreciation for the temporal beauty of nature. A cherry makes me cheery.

Holi is an ancient Hindu Festival in Northern India. Everyone is covered in colored powder to properly observe the destruction of the demoness, Holika, through the help of Lord Vishnu. No Kool-Aid.

The Songkran Spring Festival in Thailand marks the beginning of the Buddhist New Year. It features one of the biggest water fights of the year with millions of Thais playfully drenching each other to wash away bad luck from the previous year. It’s a lovely thought and good, clean fun. Don’t forget behind the ears.

Floriade is Australia’s biggest celebration of spring. It doesn’t take place this year until September 14th through October 13, 2019 – when it’s spring down under. They have to wait. Or maybe they’re first.

Guess who wrote “Peter Cottontail?”

Gene Autry.

No. Not the mayor of Fresno.

That’s Alan.

Orvon Grover “Gene” Autry was a singing cowboy movie star who was also a big hit on radio and TV for more than three decades. In fact, Gene ended up owning a whole bunch of radio and television stations under the name “Golden West Broadcasting.” He became one of the richest men in the world. His horse was known as “Champion the Wonder Horse.”

Champion eventually suffered a better fate than did Roy Rogers’ famous horse, “Silver”. When Silver headed for that big pasture in the sky, Roy had him stuffed and locked in a museum.

I’m not sure what happened to Dale Evans.

Hoppy Easter!









“King Donald The Worst”

April 7, 2019

King George

We live in the midst of evil enchantment.

Must be a season of the witch.

What else could account for this curse?

The Trump is as mad as King George.

Fox News friends – George III succeeded to the throne of England in 1760 at the age of 22. That means he became King.

Three years later, with the British Empire mired in debt from the Seven Years War, King George thought his colonies across the Atlantic should step up and help pay the tab. It was ordered they do the stepping by stamping. The Stamp Act of 1764 and another in 1765 were met with American outrage, contempt and scattered violence. When The Declaratory Act of 1766 made the colonies completely subject to the will of Parliament, it lit a freedom fuse.

Our own Declaration of Independence in 1776 blew the lid off. On October 19, 1781, American forces under the command of General George Washington surrounded the British Army at Yorktown, effectively winning The Revolutionary War.

King George was abjectly humiliated and never recovered from his embarrassing loss. While The King was pretty crazy to begin with, this sent him over the edge. Some historians report he suffered from porphyria, a rare genetic disease affecting the central nervous system — at times caused by significant inbreeding. Others suspect an acute form of manic-depressive psychosis. Many believe George was just plain nuts.

At times he spoke until foaming at the mouth. He was prone to spontaneous convulsions and would have his servants sit on him to keep his majesty “safe on the floor.” He repeated himself so often, those within range of his wild ramblings could repeat them word for word.

“A traitor is everyone who does not agree with me” – King George III (1781)

“”There are a lot of people out there who have done some treasonous things.” – Donald J. Trump — (Last week)

While The Trump himself may not be a traitor, he certainly is a retreater.

Swearing that he was not making empty threats to close the border with Mexico, within days he pretended that the Mexican government had heeded his words (it didn’t) with dramatic action (no such thing) and was thus given another year to “stop the drugs” and wild threats of limited avocados.

This was all during April Fools’ Week – which also saw our Chump-in-Charge announcing that, blessed with his royal presence, the Republican Party was now “The Party of Health Care” – and would almost immediately be offering everyone –including their pets, their friends and all dead relatives going back to the beginning of time — tremendous health insurance coverage at unbelievably low prices with prior condition protection and a partridge in a pear tree,

This proclamation came a single day after Trump’s Justice Department announced its approval of a federal court ruling that would eliminate The Affordable Care Act of 2010 in its entirety –repeal without replacement.

Then Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell called and said, recalling Ringo Starr’s 1972 classic, “Back Off Boogaloo!”

Donald did, faster than a wasp at warp speed.

“Almost immediately” quickly became — “not until after the 2020 election” — explaining this will give voters the time to elect him to a second term and regain control of the entire Congress. That’s if they truly want to make America grate again. Hannity honchos? Webster defines “grate” as “to shred, pulverize, crush, crumble and smash.”

McConnell also told Trump to cool it on closing the border. That’s where retreat from “now” to “a year” originated. That was its orange.

Knock Knock.

Who’s there?


Orange who?

Orange you glad you read The Sierra Star?






“Stones Stopped?”

March 31, 2019


Mick is sick.

The amazingly ancient Rolling Stones have been forced to cancel the North American segment of their sold-out “No Filter” tour due to a “serious illness requiring surgery” afflicting 75 year-old lead singer, Sir Mick Jagger. Mick’s been knighted by the Queen.

Although it’s been suggested that Mick will fully recover down the road — time is no longer on his side.

An early highlight of my sordid days in Rock & Roll Radio arrived in 1965 when I was Program Director at KSO in Des Moines. A group of out-of-town investors brought a new English band to town. They were heralded as a bunch of “dirty Beatles”, sporting long hair, street clothing, an insolent attitude, coarse language and rude behavior. I found most of these allegations nothing more than flamboyant record company press drivel.

Their first American release, an explosive remake of Buddy Holly’s “Not Fade Away”, had brought them to the public eye. Standing before the microphone in a partially-filled auditorium with less than two thousand in attendance, it was clear the boys were very much on the ascent given the unusually enthusiastic welcome accorded by the crowd following my opening words.

“Ladies and Gentleman. The Rolling Stones!

I found the Stones to be quite polite, although exhausted. They were pleased to be playing in “The States” and looking forward to spending some recording time in Chicago at Chess Records, where Chuck Berry, Muddy Waters, Bo Diddley and other Black icons had done it all. Judging from the title of their first million-seller, Mick and company found playing within such sacred studio walls the source of inspired “Satisfaction”.

Fifty-four tears later, The Rolling Stones have more than earned their now standard stage introduction as “The Greatest Rock & Roll Band in the World.”

Here’s hoping Mick recovers and gets “One More Shot.” (Rolling Stones – (2012)


In news of less importance – The Trump announced he was going to “close the border” if Mexico didn’t stop letting through those poor people from El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras. He then cut off all US aid to El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras – certainly offering strong incentive for invisible caravans to scurry back home and more quickly starve to death with those they left behind.

Attorney General Big Bill “Beer Barrel” Barr remains retrograde in his relationship to reality. Fox folks – this means worse than reverse. If smug was a bug — he’d be gone by sundown.

Devin Nunes got all of his fellow Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee to demand the resignation of Chairman Adam Schiff (D-California) for not admitting Trump-A-Doodle did nothing wrong according to The Mueller Report, which none of them had read or even seen pictures of.

Schiff passionately responded with clarity, class and conviction. He made Nunes squirm like a worm. Adam Schiff is cooler than copper in a cryostat – chilled by researchers in 2014 to six-thousandths of a degree above absolute zero. Adam’s that cool.

Nunes is as uncool as a piece of aluminum zapped by the world’s most powerful x-ray laser in 2012 – 3.6 million degrees Fahrenheit. Devin’s that dehydrated.

Of more somber significance, it was 51 years ago today (April 4, 1968) that Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. was murdered at a hotel in Memphis, Tennessee. A confirmed racist and small time criminal, James Earl Ray, was convicted of the killing and sentenced to 99 years in prison. He died in 1998 after serving 29 years.

Although unproven, there remains substantial suspicion that Ray did not act alone.

Much history lies hidden in shameful shadows.



“The Ballad of John McCain”

March 25, 2019




I dreamed I saw McCain last night

Alive as you and me.

Says I, “But John, you’re quite dead now”

“I never died”, says he

“I never died“, says he

And standing there, as big as life

He says with chuckling glee —

“I’ll drive Trump mad and locked away.

Just you wait and see.

Just you wait and see.”

John McCain’s ghost is lodged in Donald Trump’s head like the conscience he’s never known.

Alfred Hayes wrote “The Ballad of Joe Hill” in 1925 as tribute to a Swedish-born American songwriter and union organizer who met death by firing squad on November 19, 1915 in Salt Lake City. A craftily rigged jury had convicted Joe after a highly controversial and heavily disputed murder trial.

He instantly became a martyr and folk hero of the American labor movement. Joe’s ghost is said to linger close by as the ever-living manifestation of a vigilant warrior and proven hero seeking final, lasting justice. Joan Baez sang the song before a half million at Woodstock.

I’ve changed some words in the above adaptation of “Joe Hill” with significant artistic license, but hopefully not inappropriate sentiment.

There is much unfinished business.

The long awaited Mueller Report has proclaimed that Donald Trump was not criminally involved in an official conspiracy with the government of Russia as defined by law. But it unequivocally established that the Russian Federation did, indeed, attempt to interfere with the 2016 presidential elections on behalf of the Trump Campaign. As far as critical charges of obstruction against the President might be concerned, Mueller left everything completely up in the air. He wrote, “While this report does not conclude that the President committed a crime, it also does not exonerate him.”

This decision not to decide followed an extended investigation encompassing 2,800 subpoenas, 400 search warrants, 500 sworn witnesses, 19 lawyers, 40 FBI agents and dozens of intelligence analysts and forensic accountants. More than 34 people were formally indicted for a variety of crimes, including top Trump officials and members of Russian intelligence.

Recently installed Attorney General William Barr then displayed astounding time efficiency, determining in less than 2 days what Mueller had mulled unrelentingly for more than 22 months — arbitrarily proclaiming in a hastily prepared summary that Trump had not “obstructed” a darn thing.

This came as no surprise to those recalling that Barr landed his appointment as AG with what amounted to an unsolicited 19-page employment application for the position. This masterful memorandum sent to White House attorneys specifically stated that Trump’s firing of former FBI Director James Comey could not possibly constitute obstruction of justice. Barr also questioned the very existence of the Special Counsel in his “hire me” hype. It got him the gig.

I’m calling “BS” on Bill “Big Barrel” Barr.

In the end, while presenting technical perfection and slick proficiency, the Mueller Report functionally fails — falling far short of final resolution and generating many more confounding questions than ultimate answers.

Responsibility now passes to Congress.

There remain more than a dozen other investigations and lawsuits facing the President, his businesses, his family, his friends and his associates. There’s Inauguration Funding, Insurance Fraud, The Trump Foundation, Phony Real Estate Deals, Loans from Suspect Lenders, Trump University and Emoluments Violations – each one representing a potentially lethal trip wire

Donald J. Trump remains President of the United States of America — unchanged, but not unchallenged.

He awaits his inevitable destiny.

Behold a new beginning.

“The arc of the moral universe is long – but it bends toward justice.” – Martin Luther King (August 16, 1967)







“And They’re Off!”

March 17, 2019

Horse Race


Fifty dead and counting.

A would be Vito casts a Veto.

Roger again dodger.

Manafort gets seven.

Winter’s going.

Mueller’s not.

That was last week’s world.

As investigative pincers pull tight around the Offal Office, persistent patience remains a prerequisite as most Americans wait for the inevitable fall of Trumpty-Dumpty off his Mexican Wall.

But that’s enough of The Trump for today.

We’re starting the 2020 races with as many announced Democratic presidential candidates as horses in a Kentucky Derby.

This seems the current viable lineup – enhanced by my own humble first thoughts on each – at least as they come out of the gate.

Let’s start with a leader on the inside track according to recent polling – Former Vice-President Joe Biden. After almost fifty years in politics, “Uncle Joe” is personally worth less than a million dollars. It means he’s never been on the take and this goes a very long way with me. Joe also served Barack Obama with unquestioned loyalty and admirable distinction. On the other hand, I’ve never found playing hard to get particularly enchanting. Come on, Joe. Risk or get off the lot.

Coming up fast on the left is Bernie Sanders, my birth brother (September 8, 1941) and Democratic Socialist. Mark Twain was a Socialist. So were Albert Einstein, Martin Luther King, Oscar Wilde, Helen Keller, Pablo Picasso, George Orwell, Nelson Mandela, Spartacus and Francis Bellamy — who wrote The Pledge of Allegiance and meant every word.

I like California’s own Kamala Harris, especially since Attorney General Jeff Sessions, trembling under a barrage of heavy Kamala questions in a congressional hearing, whimpered; “You’re making me nervous!” She kept at him. Senator Harris is smart, articulate and street savvy. She seems to be building national momentum, but we’re not even up to the first turn.

Similarly, Minnesota’s Amy Klobuchar demonstrates the poise and posture of a proven winner in the center of the field representing her Midwestern middle ground. And she made her debut in a blinding Minneapolis blizzard on national TV. Brrrrrriliant!

I find New York State’s Kirsten “Pixie Dust” Gillibrand cloying and annoying. She’s Goldie Hawn without the charm. In the first days of the “Me Too” movement”, she cost Al Franken his job. He was a fine Senator. She’s not.

Elizabeth Warren has always been a personal favorite and identified as such in April of 2015, opening a column with these exact words – “It’s time we put a lady in charge. She’s not named Hillary.” https://petercavanaugh.wordpress.com/2015/04/24/hail-elizabeth/.

Elizabeth Warren is not horsing around, but she might be terrifying the timid with her intelligence and intensity. This thoroughbred won’t fade quietly. Warren’s biggest foe is a debilitating degree of political correctness — unwelcome and unnecessary. Native Americans are offended she is being called “Pocahontas”? Warren’s not “Indian” enough? It’s my sense that any claiming of ancestry due to a family fable was done of pride, not pretense. As Chief Thunderthud used to say when I watched “Howdy Doody” in the early ‘50s – “Cowabunga!” The Howdy Doody Show was the first regularly scheduled program broadcast in living color on NBC.

Cory Booker is galloping for future name recognition and/or a possible V.P. shot behind who knows whom.

Ditto Julian Castro, Jay Inslee, John (don’t laugh) Hickenlooper, Tulsi Gabbard, Pete (laugh) Buttigieg and Tom Wheeler. Whoops. Wrong party.

Beto O’Rourke charged into Iowa Saint Paddy’s Day weekend like a wild leprechaun, dominating statewide media coverage with explosive energy, charismatic commitment and rap moves like Snoop Doggy Dogg. Snoop is worth $135 million and change. Beto might be on to something.

They’re off and running.



March 10, 2019


Last year in my “Saint Patrick’s Day Column” I proudly reported that I had fabulously passed my A-C-I-S-T (Ancestry.Com Irish Spit Test) with a score of 88%. With new technological advances, I recently received an amazing Ancestry update launching me upward to a full 100% reading. I am told such is quite rare.

Eileen and I have visited Ireland twice. We kissed the Blarney Stone. This is not casually achieved. They suspend you upside down and backwards. There you are – dangling 90 feet above ground — giving it a smooch. It is a single block of bluestone – the same material as found in the megaliths of Stonehenge. Don’t try this with a hangover. I still have nightmares.

It was in Ireland I discovered the history of my great-grandfather and namesake – Peter Cavanaugh.

Peter is listed as the son of James and Margaret Cavanaugh, born in the summer of 1816 in Ballyoughter. The town has disappeared. It was located just south of Dublin in the Wicklow Mountains near the Irish sea.

Peter was baptized on July 15th of that year, according to parish records now miraculously preserved on microfilm at the Library
of Ireland in Dublin. The fancy spelling of the family name “Kavanagh” with a “C” and a superfluous “u” can be attributed to the transcribing priest, who wrote in an elegant hand.

Before and after his stewardship of some thirty years, the whole bunch were illiterate “Kavanaghs” — forbidden to learn reading and writing, own property, vote, practice their religion, hold public office, engage in trade or commerce or possess firearms.

The priest had faithfully noted births, marriages and deaths in the small community. There are five pages per year before “The Famine,” and five years per page thereafter. Many in our family died of hunger.

So did a million fellow countrymen during the time of the “Great Starvation” with yet another million emigrating on “Coffin Ships” bound for North America, Australia and New Zealand. Of these, an estimated one out of five died from disease and malnutrition before reaching their destination.

Let the record be clear. At no point during the length of the “Famine” period did Ireland fail to grow plentiful crops — enough to feed the entire native population of the island twice over. But “Free Market” thinking carried the day. Such bountiful harvests were sent to England and Europe to enrich the treasuries of non-Irish Lords, Ladies and Landowners who lived far across the Irish Sea, owning and controlling over 95% of the Emerald Isle following 800 years of tyrannical, often brutal rule over Britain’s first and last colony.

The rich and powerful have been triumphant over the poor and weak century after century in our extended human experience. Governance in a democratic fashion is still new and fragile in the history of our species.

Could a time ever come when the wealthiest one percent of American households might represent 230 times the economic worth of an average person? Or witness that top one percent more than doubling their share of America’s income in a single generation while the bottom 90% fell? Or realize fifty percent of Americans now own only one-half of one percent of America’s stocks and bonds?

Such time has come today.

“The liberty of a democracy is not safe if the people tolerate the growth of private power to a point where it becomes stronger than their democratic State itself. That, in its essence, is fascism — ownership of government by an individual, by a group or by any other controlling private power.

Franklin D. Roosevelt — Message to Congress — April 29, 1938.