Christie: Sex assault allegations make it tough to have Kavanaugh confirmation vote

Judge Brett Kavanaugh, President Donald Trump’s nominee for the U.S. Supreme Court. Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Kavanaugh of sexual assault is willing to testify about her allegations before Congress, her attorney said Monday. (T.J. Kirkpatrick/The New York Times)

As the old saw goes: “What a difference a day makes.”

On Saturday, the sexual assault allegations contained in a leaked confidential letter from U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein against U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh was being treated like an act of political desperation on the part of Democrats.

In fact, it was being characterized as a joke by many political insiders and even veteran journalists, as this Friday image from editorial cartoonist Signe Wilkinson shows:

CARTOON VIEW SIGNE WILKINSON

By Sunday morning, however, the allegations were no longer joke-worthy. Christine Blasey Ford, a Stanford University research psychologist, told The Washington Post that she is the woman alleging that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her more than three decades ago, when they were high school students in suburban Maryland.

As one might expect, no one’s been laughing since. In this age of #MeToo, when powerful men are being taken down all over the place for sexual misconduct going back years, the seriousness of Ford’s allegations cannot be understated.

To that end, Wilkinson caught on quick and sent out another cartoon Monday morning:

CARTOON VIEW SIGNE WILKINSON

For the record, Kavanaugh has strenuously denied that the sexual assault recounted by Ford ever happened. A Republican-leaning group is preparing to launch a $1.5 million advertising and marketing campaign in his defense; focusing I’m sure on how desperate Dems timed the release of these allegations to shut down an upcoming vote in the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Well, mission accomplished.

There’s really no way, either politically or ethically, that the Republican-controlled Senate can move forward without a complete airing of these accusations. Truth be told, the Kavanaugh confirmation process has been a politically motivated cluster from the beginning. After being rushed by the Republican leadership, tens of thousands of pages of documents were dumped on Democratic committee members hours before the confirmation hearings began. Democrats, knowing they couldn’t stop the confirmation, fostered an almost circus-like atmosphere during the hearings.

It’s been almost laughable. Which is probably why when Feinstein released Ford’s letter, in which Ford had asked to remain anonymous, most saw it as just a last-ditch attempt to stymie the inevitable.

But then Ford, seeing this decided that she wanted to be the one to tell her story. To say that she isn’t a joke. That she alone has had to bear this trauma for 35 years; and that despite a successful career, marriage and family, the scars from being held down with a hand over your mouth while your clothes are being pulled at never really go away.

This is what Republican leaders must now navigate. They must somehow re-assure the thousands of American women like Ford. Though highly educated and successful, they carry around the memory of heinous incidents from their youth that they are loathe to discuss, even with those closest to them.

And by the way, here we are again, nearly 30 years after the infamous confirmation hearings for Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas, with a group of old, white men — at least on the GOP side of the judiciary committee — presiding over a woman’s virtue.

But this is not the same culture that greeted Anita Hill.

Not taking the claims of woman willing to go public, and on the record with serious allegations of sexual assault allegations would likely carry a steep political price for the party in power.

Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Ranking Member Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) of the Senate Judiciary Committee during an executive business meeting to consider the nomination of Judge Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court. (Erin Schaff/The New York Times)

Thus, Senate Judiciary Chairman Charles Grassley has already offered for both Ford and Kavanaugh (again, who denies the allegations) to testify before the committee. But not in public.

As of Monday, Grassley and the rest of the GOP leadership still seem determined to rush this confirmation through.

That could be a mistake, especially since Ford has offered to testify publicly. Also, at least two GOP senators — Susan Collins of Maine and Jeff Flake of Arizona (a member of the judiciary committee) are no longer solid “yes” votes for Kavanaugh. And that can hardly be afforded with a narrow 51-49 vote margin in the Senate.

To be sure, the margin for error for handling Ford’s allegations against Kavanaugh is razor thin. But the GOP also faces a political deadline in that their control of the Senate could be gone on Nov. 6.

The Senate could delay a confirmation vote on Kavanaugh’s Supreme Court nomination to allow for a complete vetting of the sexual assault allegations against him.

But should it?

Take our poll and let us know what you think.

Christie: Voters questioning Florida’s closed primary elections — again

Even municipal elections, which are non-party races, can be affected by closed primaries on the same ballot. (Lannis Waters/The Palm Beach Post)

It never fails.

Every Florida primary election, thousands of voters from Milton to Marathon vent frustration about heading to the polls (or filling out a mail-in ballot) and once again not being able to vote for the major party candidate.

I understand their frustration. As a registered independent or No Party Affiliation (NPA) voter myself, it’s a little rough feeling like a player who keeps getting left out of the game. But that’s the system we all signed up for here in the Sunshine State.

Florida is one of just 11 states that have strictly “closed primaries” — that is, primaries in which only registered Republicans can vote in the Republican primary, and only registered Democrats in the Democratic primary.

A growing number of Floridians believe state lawmakers should think seriously about joining the 11 states that allow open primaries, in which any voter can cast a ballot in either party’s primary. Or the 24 states that have a mix of rules, with some allowing voters to cross party lines to vote, others that allow unaffiliated voters to participate.

RELATED: Primary election day should be independents’ day as well

Thought Florida Agricultural Commissioner Adam Putnam would be the best gubernatorial candidate for the Republican Party? Tough.

Thought former Congresswoman Gwen Graham would be the best standard-bearer for the Democrats in the same gubernatorial contest? Too bad.

Or how about voting for your choice of which Democrat or Republican would best represent you in the state House or Senate? Sorry, you’ll have to wait until November.

Not surprising then that an increasing number of Florida voters are losing patience with this current “closed” system that shuts out some 27 percent of registered voters — read that, taxpayers.

That’s more than a quarter of Florida voters who are now choosing to identify as NPA. Why? Because they are tired of major party politics that produce lawmakers doing a poor job of lawmaking. And that’s a trend that many political observers say needs to be addressed.

A small crowd of voters streams into the Palm Beach County Supervisor of Elections Office on S. Military Trail in West Palm Beach as the doors open for early voting. (Lannis Waters / The Palm Beach Post)

A couple other factors: the number of registered voters, both Democrat and Republican, who regularly cross party lines during general elections; and the remaining “Dixiecrats” in the state who haven’t voted for a Democrat since Harry S. Truman but don’t bother to change their party affiliation.

Post readers have weighed in this over the past couple of weeks.

From Allen Smith of Port St. Lucie:

Open primaries can lead to shenanigans

In a situation where one party has an incumbent running while the other party has four or five folks contending for the right to represent their party, it is possible and very likely that people registered with the established candidate’s party will cross over and vote for the least likely candidate of the opposing party.

In Michigan, where there are open primaries, this cross-party voting has taken place on numerous occasions; when there are a number of candidates running for a position, just a few votes can make the difference in who wins the opportunity to represent the party.

By swaying the election in the primary, the opposing party can assure victory in the general election. This is called political shenanigans and has prevented many good candidates from being the choice of their own party…

From Ann Malachowski of Tequesta:

Primaries should be open to all

I felt the pain of the letter writer who attempted to vote in the recently held primaries. I also attempted to vote 20 years ago, as a newly transplanted Florida resident, as an independent. Such an archaic, nonsensical law.

There is good news, however. The organization Florida Fair and Open Primaries is trying to add a constitutional amendment to the election ballot to change Florida primary elections from a closed political party system to a voter-nominated top-two open primary system.

I suggest that you look them up sign their petition then get everyone you know to do the same.

From Wayne Whitson of Lake Clarke Shores:

Nonpartisans should not get say in primary

I highly disagree with the letter “NPA voters shut out of primaries” (Tuesday).

Primary elections are “partisan business matters” conducted by the members of Republican and Democratic parties. This is how the main political parties select their slate of candidates for a general election.

If you choose not to be a member of either the Republican Party or the Democratic Party, why do you feel entitled to vote in Republican or Democratic primary elections?

Using religion as an example, why should a rabbi or ordained minister (of any faith) be allowed to have a say as to who will become the next pope of the Roman Catholic Church? The obvious answer is: They can’t; they’re not members of the Roman Catholic Church…

And from Leslie Shenkel of Greenacres:

Independent, non-affiliated should not vote in primaries

Many independents and many non-affiliated voters feel they should have the right to vote in the Democratic and Republican primaries. Let me tell them why they don’t and shouldn’t have.

These two organizations are semi-private clubs. Anyone can join the club, but you have to join. I live in Palm Beach County. I can not vote in Miami-Dade County. If I wanted to vote in Miami-Dade, I just have to move to Miami-Dade. No one could stop me, but I would have to move.

Move to where you want to vote. New York, California, Florida, Palm Beach, Miami-Dade or Democratic Party or Republican Party.

Sign up for The Palm Beach Post weekly Opinion newsletter: Text Opinion to 444999

Clearly, this debate isn’t going away.

The two major parties are not going to do anything that dilutes their power and influence. But why should they? As mentioned above, opening their primary makes the process susceptible to bad actors.

Still, as the rolls of NPA voters continues to grow, so do their own power and influence — especially as taxpayers.

And it gets harder for state lawmakers to ignore the cries of, “I want in!”

Tell us what you think by taking our poll, and leaving a comment here.

Christie: Post readers react to Sinclair, WPEC ‘fake news’ editorial

If you’d never heard of Sinclair Broadcast Group — the nation’s largest owner of local television stations — before this week, don’t fret about it.

And don’t worry if you didn’t know that they owned Palm Beach County’s WPEC-Channel 12.

You were in good company. But that’s all changed now.

Sign up for The Palm Beach Post weekly Opinion newsletter: Pbpo.st/opinionsignup

Sinclair Broadcast, which is pretty tight with President Donald Trump’s White House and pushes a conservative political agenda through its stations, gained infamy earlier this week when word got out that it forced news anchors at its 170-plus stations to read a “must-run” statement/editorial about “fake news” which also cast aspersions on its media brethren.

And yes, that on-air diatribe included respected WPEC news anchors Liz Quirantes and John Discepolo.

Needless to say, a number of WPEC viewers didn’t take the news very well, hammering the station on social media — Facebook and Twitter — as well as its own website. (It apparently had to shut down comments on the latter, at least temporarily.)

RELATED: Ex-reporter from Sinclair-owned WPEC calls out the company

Sinclair Broadcast Group stations, including WPEC-CBS12 in West Palm Beach, have come under fire for reading a “must-run” editorial about fake news that also cast aspersions on other media. (NBC News)

The Post has been getting some angry letters to the editor about the Sinclair controversy — which its chairman is unapologetic for, by the way.

For example, there was this letter from James Taffuri, of Jupiter:

Dump Channel 12 for unbiased TV news

Thank you to Frank Cerabino for finally exposing the cloak and dagger airing of editorial content by Boris Epshteyn, mandated by a biased corporate parent but fraudulently disguised as a local cut-in. (“Setting the record straight on Channel 12’s fake-news editorial,” Monday)

The clearly ethical conduct needed would be to either clearly label the content for what it is, via disclaimer, or allow for a rebuttal afterward, i.e. a point/counterpoint.

I, for one, discovered these shenanigans a while back and quickly dumped Channel 12 as my local news provider after many years as a viewer. I have found Channel 5 or Channel 25 do the job quite nicely.

We all know the “ones to turn to ” (MSNBC or Fox) to receive our national or international news coverage with whatever slant we choose. Can’t we please leave our local stations as a sacred source for unbiased news and investigative reporting affecting our community?

Truly sad and sickening. [READ MORE]

And this one from Judith Abramson of Delray Beach:

Vigilance needed to spot fake news

Sinclair Broadcast Group is probably the most powerful company you’ve never heard of. The conservative giant owns around 170 TV stations across the country, including our local West Palm Beach CBS affiliate,WPEC. Sinclair has been pushing its right-wing agenda since the Bush administration and, like Fox, has close ties to Trump.

It’s been reported that they order their local anchors to read corporate-written editorials to push their views and criticize other new sources.

This is just another example — as with the plethora of information coming out about Cambridge Analytical, the targeting citizens on Facebook, Russian bots flooding social media every single day and their proven meddling in our elections — at mind control.

I implore my fellow citizens to be more vigilant and realize that they must scrutinize what they hear and read and try to sort out what is opinion and what is real news and not be manipulated. [READ MORE]

WPEC-CBS12 news anchor Liz Quirantes and fellow evening anchor John Discepolo (not pictured) read the “fake news” editorial on-air. (Courtesy of WPEC-CBS12)

So here’s what makes all the Sinclair must-run editorial so concerning to many readers and viewers.

The company is trying to get even bigger. By owning and operating a total of 193 stations nationwide, Sinclair already covers far more than any other station owner.

It is currently trying get Federal Communications Commission (FCC) approval to buy Tribune Media’s 42 local stations, allowing Sinclair to reach 72 percent of U.S. households.

Previously, Sinclair was prohibited from serving more than 39 percent of households under a statute of the Telecommunications Act.

Last year, however, Trump’s Federal Communications Commission, under chairman Ajit Pai, brought back to life the technologically obsolete “UHF Discount” rule. The rule, from the pre-digital era when local stations were hard to tune in to, allowed local stations to be counted as a fraction of the 13 “normal” stations found on the “top dial.”

Of course, today most people get all of the old UHF channels as easily as “top dial” channels, making Trump’s resurrection of the old rule not only silly but clearly in violation of both the letter and spirit of the Telecommunications Act. Free Pass and other activist groups are currently suing to prevent the UHF “loophole” and the Sinclair-Tribune purchase from going further, but with corporate masseuse Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court, don’t hold your breath.

And while Trump is green-lighting Sinclair, he’s been blocking AT&T’s purchase of CNN’s parent company, Time Warner, saying “it’s too much concentration of power in the hands of too few.”

That would just happen to be the same CNN that Trump repeatedly labels as “fake news,” the same sentiments that Sinclair just happened to echo in its recent collective Trump incantation.

But does Sinclair — and by extension, WPEC — really deserve all of this grief?

Take our poll and tell us what you think:

Christie: Is America losing its standing in the world under Trump?

President Donald Trump’s “America First” strategy is seen as a sign of strength by some and making the U.S. weaker on the world stage by others. (AP Photo/Alex Brandon)

Depending on your “point of view” the United States has either re-asserted its dominance on the world stage or confirmed its conspicuous exit.

To be sure, conservatives would argue the former saying that President Donald J. Trump’s tough talk and “America First” strategy leaves no doubt that American interests are what matters most when it comes to foreign policy. But liberals argue that such a self-centered mindset in an increasingly inter-connected world leaves us not only vulnerable, but looking kind of foolish.

At least, the latter was the gist of the reader Point of View in today’s Palm Beach Post:

Do we realize or care that as the world becomes increasingly one global interdependent economy, America’s marginalization will not only threaten our safety but our partnerships? Americans will feel more isolated and more paranoid, but continue to create more detachment and segmentation amongst us that will harm and change these United States irreparably?” ask Burton and Barbara Halpert of West Palm Beach.

Well, that’s a pretty hard line. It’s also indicative of a philosophical split within the Republican Party, according to an October Pew Research poll. (BTW, the same polled also revealed a similar split within the Democratic Party.)

“On questions of the U.S. role in the world, the country-first group is obvious. Three-quarters consider immigrants to be a burden to society; only 4 in 10 think that involvement in the global economy is good. About two-thirds think that openness to the rest of the world puts America’s identity at risk and believe that we should focus more on America’s problems.”

President Trump obviously plays to this crowd as America will no longer allow other nations to dis us while they are taking our money… Take that United Nations! Take that Pakistan! Take that Palestinians!

But does this present an image to the world of a divided America that is closing itself off?

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley speaks in favor of a resolution at United Nations headquarters. The U.S. government last month negotiated a significant cut in the United Nations budget. Haley said that the “inefficiency and overspending” of the organization is well-known, and she would not let “the generosity of the American people be taken advantage of.” (AP Photo/Mark Lennihan, File)

POINT OF VIEW: U.S. is losing its standing in the world

In 2017, America saw the loss of nearly everything we have gained since the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt. That is, how we and the rest of the world view how America approaches democracy, inclusion, humanity, and a place where morality, principals and ethics are not only embraced but openly debated.

Our current “leadership” has encouraged divisiveness not seen in this country in many decades. There is so much friction and hatred that friends who do not see eye-to-eye politically may not be able to salvage relationships. Families are urged not to discuss politics at gatherings so as not to create irreparable upheavals.

In the old days, contentious ideas were encouraged to nourish and build upon the foundations of which our country was established — morality, respect for those who are different from us and celebration for how a united country could contain such disparities with grace, dignity. There was an insistence that our elected officials try to promulgate these ideals.

Donald Trump was elected because he was seen as a political outlier and, indeed, he has proven to be so. His attraction for many who voted for him is that he will shake up Washington, and that he is like the common man. Well, he has shaken up Washington and the common man (and woman) will be paying for it for many years to come in terms of loss of health care options, short-term financial gains which after 2025 drastically cost the middle class, and making the wealthiest companies and individual much more so. Is Trump really like the common man who voted for him?

Our country has lost the respect of the world as we lose credibility with allies and foes alike. We are becoming increasingly destabilized in a global world because our leadership has no education of history, and therefore cannot utilize critical strategies to make our country safer without insulting other cultures. The bravado our president spouts about our country being stronger than ever before is “fake news.” Foreign news reporters say their jobs put them more in peril now then ever before because other countries are so hostile towards the United States. Is this what we sought when we elected Trump? Do we realize or care that as the world becomes increasingly one global interdependent economy, America’s marginalization will not only threaten our safety but our partnerships? Americans will feel more isolated and more paranoid, but continue to create more detachment and segmentation amongst us that will harm and change these United States irreparably?

Our leadership uses masterful manipulation to claim that we are victims. Trump models how not to be a victim by shouting, insulting, bullying and keeping a stable of lawyers employed to fight the multitudes of lawsuits that have been waged against him. And all the while doing so with billions of dollars in the bank. Is this really a role model that we can all identify with?

America needs to wake up and realize that gross mistakes have been made; and that it is OK to admit to mistakes because only then can we try and rectify them. Our country is the laughingstock of the world. And if you feel this is what is making America great again, then we can sink only further into the abyss.

May God bless and save the United States of America.

BURTON AND BARBARA HALPERT, WEST PALM BEACH

Christie: Trump a role model for kids whether he (or we) likes it or not

Friday’s Post Editorial CARTOON VIEW by award-winning cartoonist Lee Judge criticizing President Donald Trump for not being a good role model.

I love our readers. A phone call from one this morning critical of our choice of today’s editorial cartoon (above) touched an ongoing public debate about President Donald J. Trump.

“What is this supposed to be about?” the caller asked.

You see, among all the criticisms from the left (and right) about President Trump, an underlying theme appears to be either his fitness for the office or being a “role model” for our kids.

By the way, which side do you fall on this?…

 

The deluge of commentary from liberals is, of course, no surprise. But a steady stream of criticism from (establishment) conservatives can also be counted on.

Even the large stable of syndicated editorial cartoonists (about two dozen) that The Palm Beach Post subscribes to are not immune from this debate. Their takes often make for biting, some might say harsh, criticism of how President Trump’s actions and words raise questions about whether we should be shielding our children’s eyes and ears from his latest Twitter rant.

The cartoons, as is their wont, can evoke some pretty emotional and negative criticisms of their own from some readers as to their fairness, or bias for or against the president.

Then again, the cartoons are the opinions of the cartoonists, so by that very definition they are biased. The real question is whether or not they’re unfair. Let’s leave that one for another day.

Anyway, today’s cartoon by award-winning cartoonist Lee Judge, of the King Features Syndicate, sparked a bit of emotion (via phone calls) from a couple of readers.

The cartoon (above) depicts a little boy pulling a little girl’s hair in a sandbox, as one of the parents says: “Look at that… He’s acting presidential.”

The cartoon is obviously a shot at President Trump. It was sent in the wake of his Twitter war with MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” co-hosts Joe Scarborough and Mika Brzezinski. Recall that what stood out most from that highly publicized back-and-forth was the president’s comments about Brzezinski.

Well, there you go.

You know, the president could just go the route of NBA legend Charles Barkley and just declare that he’s not a role model.

 

 

Or maybe we should just take Barkley’s advice.

Christie: GOP silencing of Elizabeth Warren was outrageous, divisive

The U.S. Senate’s rebuke of Elizabeth Warren last night for reading a letter from Coretta Scott King that criticizes Sen. Jeff Sessions is an outrageous abuse of freedom of speech and a dismaying display of the extreme partisanship that has helped poison our politics.

Republican senators formally silenced Sen. Warren, the Democratic firebrand from Massachusetts, during debate on Sessions’ nomination for attorney general as she read from a letter that King wrote in 1986, when Sessions was being considered for a federal judgeship.

In that 31-year-old letter, the widow of the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. urged senators to reject the then-U.S. Attorney in Alabama because he had “used the awesome powers of his office in a shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly black voters.”

Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, interrupted Warren as she read the letter, objecting that she had demeaned a peer, invoking a rule against insulting fellow senators. The Senate then voted, 49-43, along strict party lines, to force Warren into silence, at least on the Senate floor, until the battle over Session’s attorney general confirmation is finished.

In one blow, the Republicans moved to muzzle both Warren, who has been a piercing critic of the new Trump administration, and Mrs. King, an icon of the Civil Rights Movement.

They looked clumsy in doing so. Warren later went on Facebook Live outside the Senate chambers to read the letter in full. Twitter and social media erupted with support for her.

And hours later, Sen. Jeff Merkley, a Democrat from Oregon, picked up the Coretta King letter and read it in full. He received no censure.

That fact alone suggests powerfully that, as much as Republican senators wanted to protect the reputation of Sessions, one of their own, they were equally keen to squelch Warren. She must be getting under their skin.

They sure didn’t worry about the optics of sexism. Especially when McConnell justified his move by saying this:

“She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted.”

The hashtag #ShePersisted became a top trender on Twitter.

And quite frankly, the notion of being forbidden to criticize a fellow senator when that senator is up for confirmation for a Cabinet post — especially top law-enforcement official — is ludicrous.

Animosities are clearly rising to boiling point in the Senate, where the Democrats are doing all they can to slow, if not defeat, the confirmation of Trump cabinet nominees. Republicans, some of whom had once promised to be a check on Trump, are complaining that the Democrats are being obstructionist. But the Democrats are fighting an almost comically inappropriate host of nominees: an education secretary who doesn’t believe in public education; an Environmental Protection Agency administrator who opposes the Environmental Protection Agency; and an attorney general who disdains the Voting Rights Act.

But these heavy-handed tactics by McConnell are likely to backfire. Yes, the Republicans look like heroes to their base, but Warren is also looking more heroic to progressives.

As Barack Obama’s former political adviser, David Axelrod, put it:

 

 

Christie: Post readers take us to task over op-ed criticizing Women’s March

People take part in the Women's March on Palm Beach at the Meyer Amphitheatre Saturday afternoon. Those who participated said the came out to show a united front in the fight for the rights of women and other marginalized groups. Organizers estimated that 7,000-plus people showed up for the rally. (Damon Higgins / Daily News)
People take part in the Women’s March on Palm Beach at the Meyer Amphitheatre Saturday afternoon. Those who participated said the came out to show a united front in the fight for the rights of women and other marginalized groups. Organizers estimated that 7,000-plus people showed up for the rally. (Damon Higgins / Daily News)

Our readers took us to task this week over our publishing of a Point of View letter from Donna M. Carbone of Palm Beach Gardens.

Ms. Carbone, a frequent letter writer, took issue with the reasons and necessity for the Women’s March events on Saturday — including the event held here in West Palm Beach attended by 7,000-plus people.

“The civil rights movement was about real injustice — active wrongs that people were trying to make right. The Women’s March was about perceived injustice — the potential for wrongs that would need to be made right if they actually happened.”

And many of our readers took issue with us for running Carbone’s  Point of View.

Among the more than 225 comments on the commentary was this from Josie Crespo:  “You guys published an article about a Palm Beach Gardens resident’s point of view and we should care. Why?”

This from Donna Courtney: “Who cares what a comfortable white woman has to say? Get back to your Mah-Jong game and let the rest of us save the country.”

And this from Angie Dimos Gonzalez: “I love an article written by someone who wasn’t there. Nice going Palm Beach Post, doesn’t get much dumber than that.”

That’s fine. We can take it.

We appreciate the level of engagement on this controversial topic, but we want to remind folks that we value the diversity of opinions in our community; and Ms. Carbone is certainly welcome to hers.

We don’t have to agree or disagree with a reader’s opinion to publish it. We ask only that it is civil, topical and doesn’t play fast-and-loose with known facts.

What’s more, it is a fact that not every woman agreed with the “Women’s March.” We felt that if Ms. Carbone was willing to share her feelings with the Post, the community would benefit from engaging in a healthy debate.

As a result of the comments on her commentary, Ms. Carbone responded with her own today. She writes:

“As is so often the case these days, many people read my editorial through an ideological lens rather than taking the words at face value. I have no doubt that 90 percent of the women who attended the march did so with pure hearts. I believe they actually thought they were marching for a cause. Unfortunately, all the media allowed to be heard was more hateful rhetoric spewed by celebrities who turned the march away from an event about SOMETHING and made it a revolt against SOMEONE. The minute it became a hate fest, any hope of being heard in Washington was lost…”

You can read the entirety of her post here.

And thanks again for engaging with us, and we appreciate your taking time to comment.

Goodman: In inaugural address, Trump comes out like a boxer, squaring off for a fight

President Donald Trump takes the oath of office from Chief Justice John Roberts, as his wife Melania holds the Bible, and with his children Barron, Ivanka, Eric and Tiffany, Friday on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Jim Bourg/Pool Photo via AP)
President Donald Trump takes the oath of office from Chief Justice John Roberts, as his wife Melania holds the Bible, and with his children Barron, Ivanka, Eric and Tiffany, Friday on Capitol Hill in Washington. (Jim Bourg/Pool Photo via AP)

A billionaire who has spent his lifetime enriching himself and feeding an insatiable ego began the 45th presidency of the United States by telling the American people that “this moment is your moment, this moment belongs to you.”

In his inaugural address, the newly installed President Donald J. Trump revisited the dark caricature of the United States that he depicted in campaign rally after rally: a nightmare of shuttered factories and gang-infested inner cities, of out-of-touch elites that ignore the forgotten man and woman, of a government that placates foreign countries but leaves its own southern border unprotected.

“The American carnage,” as he called it, “stops right here.” He sounded more like a guy squaring off for a fight than a statesman celebrating the peaceful passing of power and the continuance of America’s traditions of freedom.

Read Donald Trump’s inaugural speech: the full transcript

The new president did not mention that the Dow is approaching 20,000, the unemployment rate is down to 4.7 percent, average hourly wages are almost 3 percent higher than a year ago, or that we’ve had 75 straight months of job growth, a record for the modern era. These facts did not fit his narrative of a country in dire straits, desperate for a dramatic rescue.

“From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land,” Trump declared. “It’s going to be only America first, America first.”

Surely Trump knows that the phrase “America First” was the name of Charles Lindbergh’s pro-German isolationist movement that preceded World War II. Just as surely, he doesn’t care.

Consistent with his campaign, Trump insisted that every decision on economics, foreign affairs and immigration will be made “to benefit American workers and their families.” That’s a worthy goal, but how will that be accomplished with a Cabinet led by billionaires who oppose environmental regulation, public schools and universal access to affordable healthcare?

“Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength,” the new president said — an assertion that must surprise the many economists who warn that protectionism is more likely to lead to countermeasures, trade wars and possible recession.

Trump invoked no history in his address. He gave no indication that he stood on the shoulders of giants. Instead, he spoke of his inauguration as the beginning of a new glorious epoch, a separation from a disappointing past. “We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth. And we will bring back our dreams,” he said.

Although he talked about how this day, this moment, belongs to “the people,” Trump had nothing to say about how these decisions would be arrived at. There was mention of the people’s collective wisdom. No talk about the give-and-take of democratic discussion. Instead, he told Americans, “You will never be ignored again.” And, “I will fight for you with every breath in my body and I will never ever let you down.”

Trump wants us to enter a new mythos. He, the superhero who takes down the selfish elites. He, the fighter for the little guy who would be helpless without him.

“The time for empty talk is over. Now arrives the hour of action.”

He finished by pumping his arms in the air, the gesture of a winning prizefighter.

Trump protesters gather in West Palm, just west of Mar-a-Lago

Christie: Post readers share their hopes, fears for Trump presidency

On Friday, Donald J. Trump will be sworn in as the 45th president of the United States.

We wanted to know how Palm Beach Post readers felt about it, and what they wanted from Trump presidency.

So we asked: Are you excited? Cautiously optimistic? Worried?

President-elect Donald J. Trump will take the oath of office to become the 45th president of the United States on Friday.
President-elect Donald J. Trump will take the oath of office to become the 45th president of the United States on Friday.

In 200 words or less, we asked them to write him a letter and tell the incoming President their hopes for his presidency. How would they want him to govern?

We will publish some of the nearly 100 readers’ letters online later today, and in the Post on Inauguration Day.

Many were critical, some were congratulatory, most were hopeful.

At noon today, we hosted a Facebook Live chat on The Palm Beach Post and The Palm Beach Post Opinion pages to share some of those letters.

Well, some were long, some were short. But probably our favorites was this:

Dear President-elect Trump:

It’s not about you. Remember that.

Benedict Ives, Jupiter, Fla.

That’s because it summed up a string that ran through pretty much every letter we received; whether it was hopeful or apprehensive.

Share your thoughts with us in the Comments section. What do you hope for from about a Trump presidency?

Christie: Asking ‘courtesy’ from Senate Dems may be too much with Sessions pick for AG

FILE - In this Nov. 29, 2016, file photo, Attorney General nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., is shown while meeting with Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Molly Riley, File)
FILE – In this Nov. 29, 2016, file photo, Attorney General nominee Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., is shown while meeting with Sen. Charles Grassley, R-Iowa, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, on Capitol Hill in Washington. (AP Photo/Molly Riley, File)

“Jefferson Beauregard Sessions III.”

That’s how Alabama NAACP leaders chose to write out the name of Republican Sen. Jeff Sessions, President-elect Donald J. Trump’s choice to become U.S. Attorney General, in a letter to the Senate leadership denouncing Sessions’ controversial nomination. As a reminder, they said. Of what, they didn’t say.

But it should come as little surprise that Sessions, four-term senator from Alabama, is not well-liked or well-respected in the civil rights community. Most notably by his nomination to federal judgeship by then-President Regan being famously shot down by a Republican Congress over alleged racist comments to co-workers and others. There is also his lack of support for expansion of the federal Voting Rights Act and other stances over the years.

Thus, many in the civil rights community cannot fathom Sessions differentiating between upholding federal that has protected so many for decades and his own well-publicized ideological bent.

Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), chairman of the Black Congressional Caucus, speaks out against the selection of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) as the nominee for Attorney General, while joined by fellow members of the caucus, on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday. (Al Drago/The New York Times)
Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La.), chairman of the Black Congressional Caucus, speaks out against the selection of Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) as the nominee for Attorney General, while joined by fellow members of the caucus, on Capitol Hill in Washington on Thursday. (Al Drago/The New York Times)

All that stuff’s all in the past say his supporters, who have increasingly come out of the woodwork in recent weeks to defend Sessions as a “decent” man “who doesn’t have a racist bone in his body.”

Post letter writer Thomas F. Carney sought to make that very argument in today’s Point of View column:

How disappointing that Democratic members of the Senate Judiciary Committee have refused courtesy visits from Alabama Sen. Jeff Sessions, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for attorney general. The reasons range from objections based on racist comments Sessions allegedly made more than 30 years ago — which he has denied — or that his background will make it impossible for him to enforce the civil rights laws.

To judge someone on what was allegedly said so many years ago but ignore what that person has actually done over the years defies common sense and fairness.

He championed the passage of the 2010 Fair Sentencing Act. Prior law had disproportionately negatively impacted minority communities.

As U.S. attorney, Sessions enforced civil rights laws including a case which essentially bankrupted the Ku Klux Klan in Alabama.

Sessions has a history of working in a bipartisan manner to protect the rights of some of the weakest amongst us, including his active support for the Victims Rights Amendment.

But a few Post readers took issue with Carney’s assertion that Senate Democrats are denying Sessions the traditional “courtesy visits” allowed all nominees. And go on to quesiton whether he even deserves the courtesy. According to one:

I tried Googling both in general and under News, and the letter from Carney is the only reference I can find to discourtesy, organized or individual, regarding Ol’ Jeff. Closest I’ve seen is that they want to prolong the hearings until they can confirm that he doesn’t hang his white sheet in his Senate office.

Or has Mr. Carney been reading Breitbart? And if so, how did I, Trump miss it?

Likely, Carney was extrapolating from this Dec. 26 Wall Street Journal piece:

Ms. Feinstein might have started to demystify this sphinx with a traditional nominee courtesy call, but the Californian and other Judiciary Democrats abruptly cancelled the scheduled meetings and then skipped town for Christmas recess. Democrats at Senate Finance are following the same strategy with other nominees, but the Sessions snub is a remarkable way to treat a longtime colleague.

Is Sessions getting a raw deal here, or his rightful comeuppance? Tell us what you think in the “Comments” section.