Trump once believed in ‘due process’

It’s hard to believe, but Donald J. Trump once stood tall for the cause of “due process.”

A one-time White House staff secretary, Rob Porter, faced accusations that he beat up two former wives. He was forced to quit amid storms of protest.

The president then asked out loud about whatever happened to “due process.” Why, Porter deserved the same level of due process that the country grants to everyone else, Trump said.

That was then.

These days, due process has been kicked to the curb. The president now believes that every immigrant who comes into the country illegally should be rounded up and kicked out immediately. Due process be damned! They don’t need any adjudication, he said.

What gives? Does the president favor due process or not?

Sure, I get that he’s trying to make a political point. However, some principles should withstand political pressure.

U.S. law allows illegal immigrants to have their cases heard by the judicial system. Judges have an obligation, according to the law, to hear the immigrants’ stories and decide — based on the law — how their case should be resolved.

The president, though, says that’s no longer necessary.

Get ’em out of here, he says. All of ’em! Refugees? Those fleeing persecution? Violence? Forget about it!

Kick them all out, he says. Now!

Shameful.

It’s official: Hell has frozen over

I know I have said this before, so forgive me for repeating myself.

Except this time I am sure of what I am about to say: It’s official. Hell has frozen over. Completely.

How do I know that? Because one of the deans of conservative commentary, George Will — a man who for years was associated with the Republican Party — is urging voters to cast their ballots for (gulp!) Democrats.

Will leads his latest column this way: Amid the carnage of Republican misrule in Washington, there is this glimmer of good news: The family-shredding policy along the southern border, the most telegenic recent example of misrule, clarified something. Occurring less than 140 days before elections that can reshape Congress, the policy has given independents and temperate Republicans — these are probably expanding and contracting cohorts, respectively — fresh if redundant evidence for the principle by which they should vote.

Not long ago, Will decided to leave the Republican Party. He is now an “independent” voter. He was a Fox News contributor. Since leaving the GOP, he has gravitated toward other broadcast and cable news networks, where he also contributes to their commentary.

Will dislikes Donald J. Trump. His description of “Republican misrule in Washington” is a direct condemnation of the leadership provided by the president.

Read Will’s column here.

Will wants voters to cast their ballots for Democrats in the 2018 midterm election. He wants congressional power to swing back to Democrats, hoping that they can act as a bulwark against the “carnage” that Trump has created in Washington.

Will writes: In today’s GOP, which is the president’s plaything, he is the mainstream. So, to vote against his party’s cowering congressional caucuses is to affirm the nation’s honor while quarantining him.

Granted, the idea of a Democratically controlled Capitol Hill doesn’t thrill the columnist. He refers to that possibility this way: A Democratic-controlled Congress would be a basket of deplorables, but there would be enough Republicans to gum up the Senate’s machinery, keeping the institution as peripheral as it has been under their control and asphyxiating mischief from a Democratic House.

Still, the very idea that George Will, of all people, would advocate such a rebellion means only one thing: Hell has frozen over.

Chaos continues to call the cadence at White House

I am struck by the pace of the chaos that continues to roil the White House.

More to the point, I am struck by how the president of the United States manages to awaken each morning seemingly believing that the day is going to produce more chaos, confusion and controversy.

How in the world does he live like that? How does he work that way? How does he govern in such a manner?

Donald Trump certainly gave us fair warning after he was elected in 2016. He told us he would be “unconventional.” He promised that he wouldn’t do things the way any of his presidential predecessors had done them.

Oh, man. He was right! He has delivered on that pledge — bigly!

The question remains: How in the name of good governance does the president continue to function in that manner?

I do not get it. At all!

‘Easier to judge quickly than to take time to understand’

Philip Rucker is a first-class reporter for The Washington Post. He posted a Twitter item that stated:

First Lady Melania Trump in speech tonight: “Kindness, compassion, and positivity are very important traits in life. It is far easier to say nothing than it is to speak words of kindness. It is easier to judge quickly than to take time to understand.”

I am blown away by part of what the first lady said.

“It is easier to judge quickly than to take time to understand.”

That’s what she said, according to Rucker. She is correct. Spot on. However, as with most matters involving the first lady, one must feel a bit of pain for her, given that she is married to someone who is too damn eager to “judge quickly” and is so very reluctant to “take time to understand.”

Illegal immigrants, anyone?

Consider what the president of the United States keeps saying about those who enter this country without the proper immigration documents. He is labeling them all with the same epithet. They’re criminals intent on doing serious harm to Americans, he keeps telling us.

The president refuses to “take time to understand” why they’re coming here. Refugees? Escaping crime? Fleeing persecution? In search of a better life for them and their families?

Who needs to “take time” to realize that not all illegal immigrants are motivated by evil intent? They aren’t all coming here for nefarious reasons.

The president is exhibiting a shameful prejudice toward all illegal immigrants and, by implication, almost all of those who come to this country.

If only the first lady’s wisdom could get through to her husband, who remains blind and deaf to the pleas of those who admonish him to cease the cruelty of his views toward immigrants.

It’s a lost cause. A president who makes public policy pronouncements via Twitter isn’t going to heed anyone’s advice. Not even his wife.

Alternative energy deserves props, too, Gov. Abbott

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott is proud of the role his state plays in achieving national energy independence.

He wrote via Twitter: Because of Texas, America is now energy independent. Because of TEXAS, we will NEVER AGAIN depend on Foreign Oil Cartels for energy.

Boy, howdy, governor.

Except that his tweet and the accompanying hashtags suggest to me that he is ignoring another key element of this nation’s quest to free itself from foreign energy sources.

Alternative energy.

Wind power. Hydro power. Solar power. Nuclear power. C’mon, Gov. Abbott. Offer a word as well to those energy sources that received some federal government assistance during the previous administration … yes, the one led by Barack H. Obama.

President Obama gave way to Donald J. Trump in January 2017 and the new president began dismantling some of the rules and regulations that gave energy producers incentive to search for alternative sources of energy.

Trump said he wanted to restore the fossil fuel industry. Oil, natural gas and coal have been pushed to the front, while he has all but ignored any public discussion about those alternative sources.

Clean air? Clean water? The president and his Environmental Protection Agency director, Scott Pruitt, have stripped away those regulations, too. Trump and Pruitt call them “job killers.”

The nation achieved its energy independence in the years immediately preceding Trump’s election as president.

Sure, we still need oil. West Texas oil fields are pulling a lot of it out of the ground. Let us remember, though: Those fuel sources won’t last forever.

The wind will be around for long after we pump the final barrel of oil. So will the sun. Both of those sources are, shall we say, a whole lot cleaner and a whole lot more sustainable.

Due process? Who needs it?

Donald J. Trump, the champion of due process and the rule of law, has decided, um, that he wants to toss it all out the window in his quest to rid the United States of every single person who comes here illegally.

The president launched another Twitter tirade today in which he suggested rounding up every illegal immigrant he can find and then sending them back immediately to their country of origin.

“No court cases,” he said. “No judges,” he added. Just round ’em up. Get rid of ’em.

This kind of red — and raw — meat plays well with his base. That’s his audience anyway. The rest of us? He doesn’t care.

According to The Washington Post: “We cannot allow all of these people to invade our Country,” Trump wrote. “When somebody comes in, we must immediately, with no Judges or Court Cases, bring them back from where they came. Our system is a mockery to good immigration policy and Law and Order. Most children come without parents.”

The president continued in a second tweet, “Our Immigration policy, laughed at all over the world, is very unfair to all of those people who have gone through the system legally and are waiting on line for years! Immigration must be based on merit — we need people who will help to Make America Great Again!”

There he goes yet again. He is painting every illegal immigrant with the same broad brush, presuming that every one of them is here to bring havoc to Americans, that they want to kill us, rape us, sell us illegal drugs, kidnap our children and then peddle them as sex slaves.

Due process? U.S. immigration law gives illegal immigrants certain rights, such as the right to have their cases heard by a judge. The president doesn’t give a damn about that.

Get rid of all of them, he said.

His posture is not going to “make America great again.” It is going to make us a pariah state.

Disgraceful.

What do evangelicals see in POTUS?

Of all the elements of Donald Trump’s base of support, the one that baffles me in the extreme is the evangelical Christian movement.

I keep hearing how religious leaders, such as the Rev. Franklin Graham, have parted company with the president over the “zero tolerance” policy that yanks children from their parents’ custody at the southern border of the nation.

What I’ll never understand is how Trump managed to garner their support in the first place. He is not a Godly man. He isn’t associated in any demonstrable fashion with any religious organization. Trump has never been attached to, say, Habitat for Humanity, American Friends or any other faith-based non-government organization.

Yet the evangelical Christian movement aligns itself with this guy.

He’s a serial philanderer. He has admitted to grabbing women by their, um, whatever.

Still, despite all this — and more! — he maintains this base of support.

How in the world does that happen?

Yes, on renaming Virginia highway!

Good job, Alexandria (Va.) City Council.

The council has yanked the name of an American traitor off a highway that runs from Arlington to Richmond.

It thoroughfare was formerly known as the Jefferson Davis Highway. Its new name will be the Richmond Highway.

Jefferson Davis, of course, was the president of the Confederate States of America. The CSA decided in 1861 to declare war against the United States of America. Confederate artillery gunners then opened fire on the Union garrison at Fort Sumpter, S.C.

Thus, the Civil War began. It would end four years later with roughly 600,000 men dying on battlefields throughout the North and South.

Jefferson Davis’s complicity in launching that war is beyond dispute. He was a traitor to the nation. Do we honor such individuals? Should we honor them? Of course not! Indeed, a school in Richmond will be renamed in honor of Barack H. Obama, after carrying the name of Confederate Army Gen. (and another traitor) J.E.B. Stuart.

As The Hill reported: There has been a massive push to rename markers and landmarks named after members of the Confederacy following the Charleston shooting and the Charlottesville, Va., white supremacy rally last year.

Accordingly, the Arlington City Council has just struck down one more tribute to an infamous historical figure.

It’s about her sexual orientation, period!

An item I posted on this blog about Stacy Bailey’s suspension from her teaching job in Arlington, Texas, provoked a fascinating exchange along some of my social media contacts.

Bailey was kicked out of the classroom after she showed her elementary school students a picture of her and now-wife. Mansfield Independent School District officials acted as they were allowed to do under Texas law, which enables them to punish an employee based on their sexual orientation.

One of my social media contacts suggested that Bailey should have known better than to show the students a picture with her same-sex significant other. Another of my social media friends said that teachers shouldn’t ever engage in such a personal matter with students.

Back and forth it went.

Get set for another key court decision on being gay

I come down in this manner. The only reason Bailey was suspended by Mansfield ISD is because of her sexual orientation. Had she shown the students a picture of her with her husband, there wouldn’t even be a discussion about it. No student would have said a word to Mom and Dad about it. There would be no hubbub.

This story revolves exclusively around the sexuality of a teacher who, by all accounts, does a good job of educating the children in her classroom.

It has not a thing to do with the idea of showing a picture of her with a loved one, per se. It has everything to do with the fact that her loved one happens to be of the same gender as the teacher.

That is where I hope this gets case gets argued. Bailey has filed a complaint and my hunch is that it’s going to end up in the very highest of the Texas judicial system. It well could wind its way into the federal system as well, possibly as high as the U.S. Supreme Court.

Stacy Bailey had better prepare herself to be the next big test case for the cause of Equal Protection, which is stipulated in the U.S. Constitution. Either she is entitled to the same rights of such protection as every other American — which the Supreme Court endorsed when it legalized gay marriage — or she isn’t.

My hope is that the court would affirm her rights to such protection as a U.S. citizen.

This woman’s sexual identity — and nothing else — is at the center of this dispute.

Happy Trails, Part 112: Back to the beginning

Not quite 47 years ago, my wife and I recited our sacred marriage vow — in the quickest 22-minute ceremony of my life — spent a glorious honeymoon in the Cascade Range of Central Oregon and returned to start our life in a two-bedroom apartment in southeast Portland.

Our monthly rent in 1971 was — get a load of this — $135.

Many years later — after owning four homes in Oregon and in Texas — we have returned to our “roots,” more or less.

We have decided to return to apartment living.

I must stipulate the obvious. Our rent today is nowhere close to what we paid when we began our life together. You don’t need to know what we’re paying these days; just know that it is many times more than what we paid back in the day.

We are thrilled with this turn our life has taken.

After we sold our Amarillo house we decided quickly to forgo the search for a new house to buy, to take on another mortgage that we likely wouldn’t be able to outlive, to be saddled with house repairs as they occurred.

We decided to rent. Yes, our intent was to “downsize” significantly from the house we owned in Amarillo. We did unload many of our possessions, but not enough of them. We have managed to stuff our remaining belongings into this apartment in Fairview, although it doesn’t look as though it’s stuffed.

Fairview is a lovely community tucked between Allen and McKinney in Collin County. The sign at the city limit says the population is around 7,200 residents, although I am absolutely certain it’s much larger than that today.

Our grand scheme goes something like this:

We’ll use the apartment as a jumping-off place for the travel we intend to pursue in our retirement years. We own a 28-foot fifth wheel that we hitch to the back of our pickup. It served as our home for several months while we prepared to sell our house and then put our dwelling on the market. Our fifth wheel served us well in that capacity.

Now it’s being returned to its original mission, as a recreational travel vehicle. We will use it frequently, weather permitting, as we hit the road across North America.

We already have returned to the Cascade Range. We’ve taken our RV to all three coasts and to the Great Lakes region. There’s plenty more to see and enjoy.

We will return home to our apartment, just as we did when we began this marvelous journey together. It’s been a great ride so far.

However, we aren’t nearly finished.

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