Memo to Mick: POTUS is no longer in the ‘hospitality’ business

Mick Mulvaney shoved both feet into his pie hole while appearing on “Fox News Sunday.”

The show’s host, Chris Wallace, was questioning the acting White House chief of staff about Donald Trump’s lame-brain notion of bringing the G7 summit of industrialized nations to his Trump Doral National Country Club.

Mulvaney then sought to persuade Wallace that Trump “still sees himself as being in the hospitality business.” Wallace replied that Trump is “the president of the United States.”

Mulvaney answered that is Trump’s “background.”

Holy cow, man! In what world is Trump’s chief shill, the chief of staff, living?

Donald Trump sought for a brief period of time to violate openly the U.S. Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, the Article I provision that prevents presidents from profiting during their time in office. Trump would have profited handsomely by hosting the G7 summit. He got a huge amount of resistance from Congress; then he backed away from his idiotic notion.

Trump’s idiocy has nothing to do with his believing he is still in the “hospitality” business. It has everything to do with his ignorance of the office to which he was elected.

Mick Mulvaney mirrors his boss’s ignorance. He doesn’t know what he’s talking about .

Doesn’t matter which disaster strikes … they’re all terrible

I did not snap this picture. Someone else did. It reveals a tornado that ripped through Dallas in the dark of night Sunday.

No one died in this event. The twister did do a considerable amount of damage as it tore through the northern and eastern parts of the city. My wife and I were hunkered down in our house in Princeton, about 30 or so miles north of where this horror unfolded; our son and his family were a bit closer to the storm in Allen, where the sirens blared during the peak of the storm.

When these events occur fairly close, I am inclined to think occasionally: Which natural disaster is worse?

Earthquake? Hurricane? Volcanic eruption? Tidal wave? Flood? Fire? What about tornado?

Hey, they’re all terrible! They all kill you just as dead!

The tornado certainly did frighten me as it swept across major thoroughfares in Dallas. It damaged vehicles along U.S. 75, a major north-south highway that cuts through the center of Dallas; it hit also along Interstate 635, aka the LBJ Freeway, which runs east-west just north of Dallas.

I am going to assume that it is something of a miracle that no one died in this event. The storm certainly has been reported to have been strong enough, and large enough, to have inflicted that kind of pain. To our great relief, it didn’t.

As you can see here, though, the damage brought by this twister did create plenty of misery and heartbreak. My heart goes out to those who have to pick up the pieces and cobble their lives together.

I am sure I can speak for our neighbors and our family in declaring that these kinds of storms can stay away for a very long time … or for as long as Mother Nature will allow.

This story ended in astonishing fashion

Keanon Lowe should become the embodiment of compassion and courage all rolled up in one extraordinary human being.

The video I have included with this blog post was recorded at Parkrose High School, in Portland, Ore. I graduated from Parkrose High School in 1967, which gives this story a significant bit of special poignance for me.

Keanon Lowe is a football coach at the high school and he is the gentleman who took a loaded shotgun out of the hands of a student. What he did next has captured the nation’s collective heart. He grabbed the student and embraced him. He hugged him tightly until the police arrived to take the student into custody.

I have never seen anything quite like this. I am guessing none of us ever has seen an educator demonstrate the presence of mind that Lowe did in that moment, preventing a potentially devastating tragedy.

Lowe once played football for the University of Oregon. The Parkrose School District hired him after he graduated from the U of O. So help me, I cannot fathom how this man summoned the instinct to do what he did.

As for the student, he is serving a three-year probation sentence. I pray the young man gets the help he needs so desperately.

The educator, Keanon Lowe? He is a hero in every sense of the word.

No, Mick, we won’t ‘get over it’

Mick Mulvaney needs to understand something about his role as the ostensible “acting” White House chief of staff.

When he makes public statements out loud in the light of day in front of the world. he cannot take them back.

A reporter asked him this past week about whether Donald Trump sought a “quid pro quo” in withholding funds for Ukraine in exchange for dirt on Joe Biden. He said everyone does it and that we all should “get over it.” Mulvaney said there always has been “politics” associated with foreign policy.

Oh, my.

No, Mick. Not true. Not quite like what we all know has occurred.

Donald Trump had that phone call with Ukraine President Volodyrmyr Zellenskiy. They talked about U.S. aid to Ukrainians fighting Russian-back rebels. Zellenskiy thanked the president for the missiles, but then Trump said he needed a “favor, though.”

He withheld the arms until Zellenskiy produced the goods on Biden, a potential 2020 presidential opponent. He sought foreign government help for his re-election.

That, right there, sits at Ground Zero of the effort to seek impeachment of the president. It is not a matter that we need to “get over.” It is a profoundly serious political act that once it is done — and impeachment by the House now appears to be a near certainty — it will stain this presidency forever.

I am not nearly convinced the Senate will evict Trump from the presidency when it receives the articles of impeachment and then conducts a trial. Too many GOP senators remain loyal to Trump, disregarding the obvious “high crimes and misdemeanors” that this president has committed.

One of them involves Ukraine and that matter about withholding military assistance in exchange for a political favor.

C’mon, Mick. Knock off the shilling for the president. You’ve been “acting” chief of staff for damn near a year. Do your job. Provide the liar in chief with the kind of stern advice that White House chiefs of staff are supposed to give the guy who hires them. If he won’t listen and if he insists on careening toward impeachment, there’s one more thing you do can do.

You can resign.

Where are the ‘strict constructionists’?

I am bewildered.

Donald Trump took time today to belittle the Emoluments Clause in the Constitution, contained in the very first article of our nation’s governing document. He called it “phony.”

By bewilderment rests with the shocking non-response, the stone-cold silence among the president’s staunchest defenders  who in other arguments have argued on behalf of what they say should be a strict interpretation of the U.S. Constitution. They are the “strict constructionists” who accept the founders’ work as the law of the land. There can be little if any deviation from what they wrote, these Trump defenders would contend.

Why, though, are they silent on the president’s denigrating of the founders’ words? The Emoluments Clause was written to prevent presidents from profiting during their time in office. They should accept no gifts or favors from “kings, princes or foreign governments.”

Yet there was the president, granting his own business — Trump Doral National Country Club — an expensive government contract to play host to the 2020 G7 summit of industrialized nations. Would he have profited from this event? Well … yeah. Bigly!

OK, he pulled it back after Republicans and Democrats alike condemned the decision to bring the G7 to Doral.

But then the president today blamed the media and Democrats for the pushback that erupted. That’s when he called the Emoluments Clause “phony.”

I have been waiting all day to hear from leading conservative politicians in Congress condemn the president in stark terms for his denigration of the constitutional provision. It is no phony document. It is real. It is vital. It is intended to prevent presidential corruption — although that last item clearly has taken deep and serious root in our executive branch of government.

The only “phony” aspect of this entire discussion, in my view, is linked to the idiocy that continues to pour out of the mouth of the president.

This individual is a disgrace.

Mr. POTUS, there’s nothing ‘phony’ about the Emoluments Clause

Pay attention to me, please, Mr. President.

Your White House rant today about the “phony Emoluments Clause” compels to defend what the nation’s founders had in mind when they wrote that item into the U.S. Constitution.

They intended to prohibit the president from profiting during his time in office. Your initial decision to host the G7 summit of industrialized nations at your glitzy Trump Doral National Country Club was in direct violation of the Emoluments Clause.

You see, you cannot award yourself a government contract, which is what you sought to do. You cannot direct government business onto your privately owned, for-profit property, where foreign governments are going to pour millions of dollars into your pocket.

Good grief, Mr. President! There can be no clearer violation of the Emoluments Clause than that.

And yet your blaming of the media and Democrats and your insistence that President Obama somehow profited from a book deal while he was in office steers the discussion away from your own responsibility to do right by the office you occupy. While I’m at it, I need to wonder out loud whether you’ll ever get over your “hate affair” with your immediate predecessor.

And just to be clear, Barack Obama signed his book deal after he left office. It’s a non-starter, Mr. President.

We have a big country out there, Mr. President. It is endowed richly with many fine resorts to play host to the G7 summit. None of them has a single thing to do with your business interests.

Why in the name of presidential due diligence can’t you get your “fine-tuned” White House staff to find a spot that would serve as a fitting venue for this event next year? Moreover, why can’t you just do the right thing without making a mess out of it?

The Emoluments Clause isn’t “phony,” Mr. President. It is real and it is a legitimate hedge against presidential corruption … which I am certain is why you’re in such trouble at this moment.

That was quite the storm!

I took a job 35 years ago in what I suppose you could call Tornado Country.

We moved our young sons from Oregon to the Golden Triangle of Texas, a region prone to hurricanes and the twisters that spin off the storms as they crash ashore from the Gulf of Mexico.

Then my wife and I moved to Amarillo, which also has experienced its share of tornado-induced misery since the beginning of recorded history. My wife and I once watched a funnel cloud form about a mile west of our house while baseball-sized hail pummeled our dwelling and destroyed our roof.

Then a year ago, my wife and moved to Collin County in the Metroplex.

Tonight we had our first tornado “experience” since moving to Collin County. All is well and good. The storm passed south of us as well as south of our son, daughter-in-law, our granddaughter and her older brother. Our son’s extended family is safe, too.

However, this is the kind of thing — even after living in Tornado Country for 35 years — that still gives me the heebie-jeebies.

The local weather forecaster broke into a program we were watching to alert us of thunder storms. Then came the “tornado warning,” which means they had spotted a funnel cloud on the ground.

The storm chasers provided some gripping video to go along with the near-frantic commentary coming from the meteorologist. One of them caught a picture of a heavily damaged pickup stalled on Interstate 635; the driver of the truck then gave a thumbs-up to the TV crew that was taking pictures of the damage done by the storm that had roared through the area.

Our son informed us they had storm sirens blaring in Allen. Ours in Princeton stayed silent. We did, however, receive a lot of rain.

The storm has passed on. My hope is that our neighbors to the east stay safe.

How will I sleep tonight? Probably not well. Tomorrow, though, is another day. We’ll see what it brings.

POTUS opens himself up to ridicule

Oh, brother. This showed up on my social media feed a little while ago. It speaks directly to the kind of idiocy we see so very often from the “leader” of the world’s mightiest nation.

I have next to nothing to add to these Twitter messages.

I am wondering, though, about this possible outcome.

Is it possible if the House of Representatives impeaches Donald Trump, can House members come up with something related to the incoherence and incompetence communicated from the White House in these Twitter messages?

Might there be a “high crime and misdemeanor” contained in this incessant and relentless denigration of the nation’s highest office?

About to set a blogging record

I am going to boast for a moment or two about this blog. Forgive me if I sound a bit self-serving.

Probably in the next 24 hours or so High Plains Blogger is going to set a record for page views and unique visitors for a single calendar year. What makes this bit of news boast worthy is that we still have two months left in this calendar year.

2019 will turn into 2020 soon. By the time it does, this blog will have shattered to smithereens the record it posted in 2018, which beat the mark it set in 2017, which was greater than the readership it had in 2016.

That’s the good news.

The not-so-good news (I refuse to call it “bad) is that I will have set the bar extremely high for the next record to be broken by the time 2021 rolls around.

My hope is that 2020 proves to be a banner year, too, for High Plains Blogger. I enjoy writing it. I thoroughly enjoy being able to spend the time that full-time retirement allows me to spend.

I am likely to have just a tiny bit less time over the next year. I have taken on a freelance writing gig for a local newspaper group. I will continue to write for KETR-FM, the public radio station based at Texas A&M University-Commerce.

My interest in maintaining my personal blog remains high.

I had two stupendous months earlier this year, in January and again in March, that enabled me to set this record. I cannot predict what events will transpire during the remainder of this year or next year that might send blog traffic through the roof.

I’m just proud of the record I am about set. I am hoping to maintain interest in this blog.

What’s left now is merely to offer a word of thanks to those who read these words and those who find them worth sharing with their own social media network of friends and acquaintances.

As for what’s ahead, well … let me at ’em.

Oops, those troops aren’t exactly ‘coming home’

Donald Trump declared his intention to bring our troops “home” from Syria. He made a surprise announcement this past week that he would pull about 1,000 U.S. military personnel off the bloodstained battlefield.

He didn’t want our men and women to fight in “endless wars.”

OK, so the president followed through … with part of his plan.

The troops have left Syria, except that fewer than half of them are going “home.” Defense Secretary Mark Esper said that about 700 troops are headed for Iraq.

I’ve commented already about the idiotic decision to abandon our Kurdish allies in the fight against the Islamic State. What is troubling now is that the president’s decision to leave one battlefield is apparently going to put our troops onto another field of battle, where soldiers are still dying.

I concur with Trump’s view that we shouldn’t be fighting in “endless wars” with no conclusion anywhere to be seen. There should be careful consideration, though, on how you do it. Such a plan needs to be crafted with intense consultation with national security, intelligence, military and diplomatic advisers. It doesn’t appear that the president did any of his seemingly mandatory due diligence prior to making this decision.

What’s more, he is sending troops to Iraq?

What the … ?

Commentary on politics, current events and life experience

%d bloggers like this: