Peter Cavanaugh

The Ballad of John McCain

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 Nov. 19, 1915 in Salt Lake City. A craftily rigged jury 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 officially proclaimed that Donald Trump was not criminally involved in a 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, arbitrarily announcing in less than two days what Mueller had mulled unrelentingly for more than 22 months — deciding 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 (Aug. 16, 1967)