Newt offers a stunning demonstration of duplicity

Newt Gingrich’s lack of self-awareness is utterly and totally astonishing.

The former Republican U.S. House speaker told Fox News this week that he is amazed and stunned that congressional Democrats would have the nerve to impeach Donald Trump this close to Christmas.

Why, that is just appalling, he said. How can Democrats possibly sully this holy event with such a display of blatant partisanship?

Well, let’s flash back 21 years, shall we?

The GOP-led House of Representatives, led by Speaker Newt Gingrich, received articles of impeachment from the Judiciary Committee in its effort to impeach President Bill Clinton. When did the full House vote on those articles and formally impeach the president?

They did it on the week of Christmas, 1998! The date was Dec. 19.

So, my demand of the former speaker today is clear and concise.

Shut … up!

What else is there, but … ‘Go Ducks!’?

At this moment, your friendly blogger is not at all concerned about the state of politics and the still-brewing cauldron in Washington, D.C.

I am instead going to jump for joy over the score of a college football game. Oregon 37, Utah 15.

What does it mean? It means the Ducks are going to the Rose Bowl, which I consider to be a wonderful consolation prize for a team that two weeks ago was considered a potential contender for a spot in the four-team College Football Playoff.

Then the Ducks went to sleep against Arizona State. The Sun Devils beat Oregon and dashed their playoff hopes.

OK. So the Rose Bowl won’t be for the national championship. Utah was favored to win the Pac-12 title game tonight. The Ducks played with a bit of a chip on their shoulder. The Utes hoped a win tonight would vault them into the playoff quartet. Umm, am I sorry about that? Nope.

The Ducks delivered the goods.

Go Ducks!

266,000, 3.5 percent: Numbers are great, Mr. POTUS, however …

You bet that those numbers released this morning from the U.S. Labor Department are pretty darn stellar.

We added 266,000 jobs to our private payrolls in November; unemployment ticked down to 3.5 percent, retaining a full-employment ratio in the work force.

Those are impressive figures, as Donald Trump will tell us. “It’s the economy, stupid,” he tweeted this morning, using a phrase made famous by Bill Clinton campaign guru James Carville in 1992.

Let’s wait, though, for yet another suggestion from the president that will declare, “You cannot impeach me. Look at the job I’m doing to boost the economy! The economy is going too well for you to impeach me!” 

Mr. President, the pending impeachment by the House of Representatives has nothing — zero, zilch — to do with the economy. Indeed, presidents don’t get impeached based on how they are handling the nation’s economic health, unless they commit some sort of “high crime and misdemeanor.” Near as I can tell, Donald Trump’s trouble has nothing to do with the economy.

It has everything to do with other matters relating to how he has abused the power of his office to solicit a foreign government to help him win re-election. The articles of impeachment that will come from the House will speak to that abuse of power, perhaps to obstruction of justice or to obstruction of Congress.

The economy? It won’t be mentioned anywhere in those articles.

So, Mr. President, you may stop referencing the economy in the context of impeachment. It’s a non-starter.

Trump remains ignorant of the U.S. Constitution

Debbie Mucarsel-Powell is a first-year member of the U.S. House of Representatives, who happens to serve on the House Judiciary Committee.

She is a Democrat from Florida who is likely to vote “yes” on articles of impeachment against Donald John Trump. She is a native of Ecuador.

The congresswoman offered an obvious observation today, which is that “I don’t think the president has ever read the Constitution.”

Gee, do ya think?

I happen to virtually certain he’s never looked at it. If he has, then he looked past Article II, the segment dealing with executive authority, or the power of the presidency. He infamously referenced Article II not that long ago when he declared that it enables the president to do whatever he wants.

No. It does not! Not even close. Indeed, Article II spells out the limits of executive authority. Indeed, Article I — which deals with the legislative branch of government — implies heavily that the executive branch’s powers are kept on a tight leash.

Rep. Mucarsel-Powell’s instincts are correct. Trump took office without dedicating a single moment of his entire pre-political life to public service. He didn’t understand government when he ran for the presidency and doesn’t understand it now that he is president.

Donald Trump sounds and acts like someone who fancies himself as The Boss. He isn’t. You’re the boss. As am I … the boss. We call the shots. Not him.

Had he ever thought for a moment about the U.S. Constitution, the document he took an oath to “defend and protect,” he might understand the limitations it places on the presidency.

I do not believe he has done that. I also believe his ignorance of the Constitution is precisely the reason the House of Representatives is going to impeach him.

First responders prove their heroism … again

A shooter opened fire today at a U.S. Naval Air Station in Pensacola, Fla.

He killed three people, injured about a dozen others. Then an Escambia County sheriff’s deputy shot the gunman to death.

I want to spend a brief moment saluting the first responders who saved a lot of lives today when the shooting erupted. This was the second such incident at a Navy base; the other one occurred at Pearl Harbor/Hickam Joint Base in Honolulu, where two individuals died before the shooter killed himself.

The latest lunatic was a Saudi Air Force student on station at NAS Pensacola. I do hope the FBI, the Navy and local authorities can obtain all the information they need from the Saudi Arabia government about this moron. Let’s remember that we’re dealing with a government that sanctioned the murder of a Washington Post columnist in Istanbul. This incident requires a full Saudi effort to get to the bottom of it.

As for the first responders, they hurried to the source of commotion. That the sheriff’s deputy was able to — in that euphemistic term — “neutralize” the shooter so quickly speaks to the professionalism that marks so many of our first responders.

The authorities have identified the shooter. You won’t see his name on this blog. I choose to remain silent on the identities of the fools who commit these heinous acts.

I want to speak instead of the heroes who answered the call when peril erupted once again. I also want to express once again how my heart is broken at the news of this violent spasm.

What has happened to those ‘mainstream Republicans’?

As I watch congressional Republicans and other GOP members around the country seek to defend Donald Trump against the impeachable offenses that have been alleged against him, I am struck by a curious notion.

What in the world has happened to supposed adherents to a political philosophy/ideology that seems so terribly at odds with what has become the centerpiece of the impeachment effort against the president?

Donald Trump asked Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy for a “favor, though.” He wanted Zelenskiy to announce an investigation into Joe Biden and his son, Hunter, before getting a White House meeting. He also held up military assistance appropriated by Congress for Ukraine to use against Russian-backed aggressors in Ukraine.

The Ukrainians are our allies. The Russians are not. And yet, Trump sought to pursue a posture that would benefit the Russians. What in the world … ? Moreover, by seeking dirt on a potential foe from a foreign government, the president of the United States is seeking another government to help him win another election.

Mainstream Republicans used to take great umbrage at any sort of softening of U.S. policy regarding the Russians and their ideological forebears, the communists who formed the Soviet Union after World War I. These days, we have an ostensibly Republican president currying favor with and kowtowing to Russian strongmen and oligarchs. Indeed, the Ukrainian initiative — the withholding of arms to fight Russian-backed rebels — looks for all the world to be yet another example of Trump licking the jackboots of the Russian thugs who run that once-great superpower.

All the while, Republicans in the House and Senate do or say virtually nothing that the president can interpret as stern criticism of this hideous policy. They remain complicit in the president’s violation of the oath he took to defend and protect the Constitution. They look and sound ready to stand by their man even as he continues the hijacking of their once-great political party, twisting and turning into something unrecognizable from the days when the GOP stood for national strength and resolve against an enemy of this nation.

I’ve said repeatedly that Donald Trump has disgraced the nation with his conduct. So, too, have his political allies who once stood strongly in favor of the very values that the president is flouting.

Trump vs. NATO colleagues: Oh, the irony of it all

Donald Trump continues to exhibit an astonishing lack of self-awareness. Indeed, the irony of his sudden bolting from an international meeting with military allies reveals that point.

There he was at the North Atlantic Treaty Organization meeting in London. He trashed French President Emmanuel Macron, called Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau “two-faced” and then became the subject of a hot-mic exchange among NATO leaders who were poking fun at the president.

He left the NATO conference and jetted back to the United States.

What is astonishing in the extreme is that Trump seemed to get mad at the leaders’ laughing at his expense. He has no awareness of the kind of treatment he has leveled on his political foes and, indeed, even at his allies.

He has tossed out insults and epithets at will. He hangs goofy nicknames on those with whom he disagrees. He dishes out innuendo as rapidly as a blackjack dealer.

So he gets chided by his colleagues at a NATO meeting and then flies out of there? What gives with this guy?

He vowed while campaigning for the presidency to get rid of the laughingstock label he said was being hung on the United States. Well, maybe he has done that … by giving other world leaders reason to laugh at him.

Did the AG actually suggest that the cops might not protect us?

U.S. Attorney General William Barr sought to buck up the nation’s law enforcement network, but in doing so he seems to have suggested something dire and dangerous if the cops don’t get the respect they deserve from the communities they serve.

“They have to start showing more respect than they do,” Barr said of the public. “If communities don’t give [law enforcement] the support and respect they deserve, they may find themselves without the services they need.”

It makes me go, “huh?”

Is the attorney general actually suggesting — if not encouraging — that police might not respond to calls for help? Is he saying that police officers might give citizens the short shrift if they need protection?

Say it ain’t so, Mr. Attorney General.

In a ceremony honoring the top police officers from around the nation, Barr noted that military veterans suffered years of scorn in the years immediately after the Vietnam War; that has changed dramatically since the time of the Persian Gulf War. This veteran thanks my fellow Americans for the change of heart.

Are the nation’s police officers feeling the same level of disrespect? Hmm. I don’t know for certain, but it seems as if that the AG’s comparison is a bit overcooked.

If the attorney general is encouraging cops to go slow on emergency responses because the communities they serve don’t love them as much as they should, then he is committing a profound disservice to the nation … and its police forces.

Praising a system that allows bloggers to rant

I want to say a word of high praise to the greatest political system ever created. Yes, it’s a mess at times, but as Winston Churchill noted, it is far better than any other system ever conceived.

The United States is in the midst of an impeachment battle. The House of Representatives is going to impeach Donald John Trump Sr. It will be sloppy and messy, perhaps bloody in a political sense.

Through it all, this system of government of ours allows folks like me to continue to rant over the performance of the president, who I believe should be impeached. The House will do as I wish, albeit my journey to this point took me some time to get here.

I watched a clip of a young Illinois state senator speaking to the 2004 Democratic National Convention. Barack Obama saluted a system of government that allowed dissent “without a sudden knock on our door.” Amen to that. The young senator would be elected to the U.S. Senate and then, four years later, would become the nation’s 44th president of the United States.

Donald Trump calls the press the “enemy of the people.” He couldn’t possibly be any more wrong. The Constitution protects the press against government coercion and interference. Yet the president sees the press only through the eyes of someone who lusts for positive coverage of his words and deeds, no matter what! It does not work that way, Mr. President. If this man had any understanding of what the nation’s founders intended when they established the First Amendment to the Constitution, he might comprehend the press’s role in ensuring the freedoms we all enjoy.

Accordingly, that role extends to folks like me. I no longer work full time for a formal media organization. I’m out here in Flyover Country sharing my views with the world through this blog. High Plains Blogger is my therapy, my release and my vehicle to vent my frustration with government. I also offer praise now and then.

As I continue to write critically of Congress, the president and even the courts, I do so with the knowledge that I can speak my mind freely without concern for the knock on the door that will not come.

Trump wants to “make American great again”? Hah! Our system of government crafted by those wise men at the founding of this nation ensured our ongoing greatness. It will last for as long as there is a United States of America.

Now that we’re talking just a bit about Barron Trump …

Barron Trump, the teenage son of Donald and Melania Trump, has been thrust into the news, if only for a little while.

Spoiler alert: I am not going to say a single negative thing in this blog post about Barron. Are we clear?

I do want to commend the young man’s parents. They have done a remarkable job of keeping this youngster out of public view. We rarely see Barron in the company of his parents, or his siblings.

Think of all the photo opportunities that prior first families took to make sure we saw the president and first lady in the company of their children. The Obamas were quite adept at showing us their daughters; the same can be said of the Bushes; the Clintons, too, were photographed often with their daughter, Chelsea, who we got to watch grow up before our eyes; the elder Bushes’ kids were grown; so were the Reagans’ children; we also saw a good bit of the Carters’ youngest child, Amy, who lived with them in the White House; I remember when the Fords moved in and their youngest child, Susan, became a de facto first lady, standing in at official functions when her mom was hospitalized with breast cancer.

Barron Trump is the youngest child of the president. He resides far outside the public’s prying eyes. He attends school and does whatever he does when he goes home.

I think his parents should be commended for the shield they have thrown around him, protecting him from the paparazzi who likely would go to any length to snap pictures of the youngster.

All of this is my way of saying that the ruckus caused by the professor who tossed Barron’s name out there during the impeachment hearing was made all the more remarkable by the fact that we have seen or heard so little about the young man since his father took office nearly three years ago.

Commentary on politics, current events and life experience

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