Wife-and-children killer heads for the slammer

Christopher Watts decided to plead guilty to killing his pregnant wife and two children to avoid the death penalty in Colorado.

He got his “wish” today when the judge sentenced him to life in prison. He’ll never breathe freely again.

This case tests severely my opposition to capital punishment. Watts is a hideous monster who feigned grief when the police began a search for his “missing” family.

But here’s what I suspect might happen to this individual. He well might meet the same fate that befell one Jeffrey Dahmer, who received a life sentence in Wisconsin after he was convicted of killing and cannibalizing his victims.

Wisconsin doesn’t execute capital criminals. It sends them to prison for life. In Dahmer’s case, the state sent him into the general prison population.

Then he got attacked by a fellow inmate, who beat him to death.

From what I have understood about prison convict hierarchy, those who are incarcerated establish a sort of caste system within the population. Cop killers, for example, are held in greater “esteem.” Those who prey on defenseless victims, such as rapists and those who murder their wives and children are considered the scummiest of the scum.

Welcome to prison, Christopher Watts. I would not be surprised in the least to learn that some inmate has delivered the same form of justice to this individual that the guy delivered to Jeffrey Dahmer all those years ago.

If such a fate falls on this individual, I just hope it hurts him. Badly.

Beto seeking to channel Honest Abe?

I already have declared my belief that Robert Francis “Beto” O’Rourke shouldn’t run for president of the United States in 2020. My belief is that he doesn’t yet have the seasoning or the experience to take on such a monstrous responsibility.

But then . . .

A thought occurs to me.

Another American politician lost a bitter campaign to the U.S. Senate and two years later he, too, was elected president.

Abraham Lincoln, anyone?

Lincoln ran for the Senate from Illinois, but lost to Stephen A. Douglas in 1858. The failed Senate candidate already had served in the U.S. House, but decided to push for higher office.

Having lost that bid, Lincoln licked his wounds — and then decided to go for an even bigger prize in 1860. That year he was elected president, but after he was nominated by the Republican National Convention on the third ballot. It was a struggle to win the party nomination. Lincoln’s presidency would prove to be the ultimate trial by fire, with the nation ripped apart by the Civil War.

OK, let’s hit the fast-forward button for a moment.

Does this sound like a scenario that Beto O’Rourke might follow were he to declare his own presidential candidacy? Democratic party activists and big-money donors say they want him to consider it. They like the young man’s energy and the passion he infuses into his supporters. He damn near beat Republican Sen. Ted Cruz in heavily Republican Texas earlier this month and that has Democrats all agog over his future.

The Washington Post reports that O’Rourke’s near-success in Texas has turned the Democratic primary outlook into a chaotic mess.

O’Rourke, who’s finishing his term as a congressman from El Paso, will enter private life and just might consider whether to make the plunge yet again, only reaching for the very top rung on the ladder.

Or . . . he might decide to take on Texas’s senior U.S. senator, John Cornyn, in 2020.

I remain a bit dubious about O’Rourke’s presidential timbre.

However, I am somewhat heartened to realize that there’s precedent for what the young man might decide to do. If he hears the voice calling him to run for the Big Job, he might do well to look back on Honest Abe’s effort two-plus centuries ago. It might give him the strength to plunge ahead.

Once solidly GOP county portends a sea change?

This is a map of a southern California county that President Reagan once said was the place where “good Republicans go to die.”

The image on the left shows the county with all but one congressional district represented by Republicans; the image on the right shows the county after the 2018 midterm election. It’s all blue. Every single CD in Orange County now is represented by Democrats.

Is this a bellwether of what is happening to the national political landscape? I am not smart enough to answer that one directly. Although I would venture to suggest that President Reagan, wherever he is, would be mighty displeased at how this map demonstrates the chameleon-like nature of a once-faithful Republican stronghold.

I strongly doubt the Democrats who seized control of Orange County, Calif., are of the pinko/socialist variety of, say, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the young woman elected to represent a New York City district in the next Congress.

Still, the new congressmen and women coming from Orange County are going to align with the party that opposes Donald John Trump’s agenda — whatever it entails. You see, I have difficulty wrapping my arms around the president’s agenda, because it changes daily, if not hourly. Which is what happens when a party is led by a man without a semblance of a political philosophy or moral grounding. But … that’s another story for another day.

Pundits nationally are wondering if Orange County portends a sea change for the 2020 election cycle, the campaign for which began the moment the results came in on the 2018 midterm election.

The U.S. House has flipped from GOP to Democratic control. As more races are settled in districts around the country, the Democratic grip on the House keeps tightening just a little more. The U.S. Senate is nominally more Republican than before the election; Democrats, though, made a fight of it in places where they weren’t supposed to do well … such as in Texas!

I believe the map shown on this blog post just might signal a result that illustrates a rejection of Donald Trump’s leadership, no matter what the president might say to the contrary.

That, I also believe, is a good thing.

A+, Mr. President? I don’t think so

Mr. President, you are entitled to your opinion. As am I, sir.

You give yourself an A+ grade for the first two years of your presidency. I wouldn’t grade your performance anywhere near that high.

I laughed when I heard about Chris Wallace’s question to you, mentioning Presidents Washington and Lincoln, Franklin Roosevelt and Reagan. I also laughed when he asked if you belonged in those men’s company.

Then you gave yourself that A+ grade.

You’re killin’ me, Mr. President.

You keep taking credit for the economy. I applaud the job figures that keep coming in each month while you’ve been in office. Yep, they’re great. But you ought to know — and I wish you did realize it — that presidents can’t take all the credit they think they deserve. I must remind you — yet again! — that you inherited an economy that was in good shape, unlike the economy that your predecessor inherited when he took office in January 2009.

There have been more than the normal number of hiccups along the way. Your key staff keeps turning over regularly. Not to mention the Cabinet posts that keep opening up. You fire folks. They quit under criticism. And yet you keep yammering about the hordes of individuals who are just chomping at the bit waiting to come to work in the White House.

Whatever you say, Mr. President. I just don’t believe it. Nor do others of my ilk, who outnumber those of your ilk by a good bit.

Keep deluding yourself, Mr. President, into thinking you deserve an A+ plus. Others of us believe differently. I won’t assign a grade. I’ll leave that others.

Just know that it ain’t nearly as good as the one you gave yourself.

 

The presidential lies keep piling up

This is what I would call a gratuitous, needless lie by the president of the United States.

Donald J. Trump toured the site of the California wildfires and said he discussed Finnish forest management practices with Finland’s president, Sauli Niinistö.

Except . . .

President Niinistö says the conversation never occurred. He did not, as Trump said, discuss a forest management policy that involves raking underbrush from forest floors to prevent wildfires.

What is it with this president of ours? Can’t he just keep his yap shut so as to avoid saying something that can be denied, disproved or discounted with a simple question to the other party he mentions?

The men met briefly in Paris, Niinistö said, adding that he did tell Trump that “we take care of our forests.”

That’s it, the Finnish president said. No discussion of raking underbrush.

The pile of lies is getting mighty tall. I realize this isn’t a big deal in and of itself. Still, it does reveal something terribly flawed about a president who cannot tell the truth if the future of Planet Earth depended on it.

Hey, come to think of it . . . maybe it does with this one.

The warrior responds to POTUS

Back and forth they go.

The president and the decorated Navy SEAL are at each other’s throats. I’m pulling for the SEAL.

Donald Trump — as is his tendency — fired off a totally inappropriate tweet challenging whether the head of the U.S. Special Operations Command could have taken out Osama bin Laden “sooner” than he did.

That commander is retired Admiral William McRaven, on whose watch U.S. commandos killed the 9/11 mastermind in a firefight in Pakistan.

McRaven had the temerity to declare that Trump’s attack on the media presents the “greatest threat” to the nation. Trump responded with that hideous Twitter taunt about the bin Laden raid.

McRaven has answered the president. He stands by his comment about Trump’s attack on the media. Trump also had accused McRaven of “backing” Hillary Clinton. McRaven said “no.” He isn’t a fan of the former Democratic presidential candidate. He also said he backs all presidents, because he respects the office. McRaven also notes in his response that he served under Presidents George W. Bush and Barack Obama while leading the Special Operations Command.

He told Trump, “When you undermine the people’s right to a free press and freedom of speech and expression, then you threaten the Constitution and all for which it stands.”

If only the president understood the damage he does with his reckless and feckless rhetoric.

Democrats might ignite firestorm if they oust Pelosi

Newly empowered U.S. House Democrats are playing with fire if they find a way to push their longtime congressional caucus leader out of the speakership.

Nancy Pelosi once served as the nation’s (so far) only female speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. She wants her old job back now that Democrats have retaken control of the People’s House.

But … not so fast, Mme. Presumptive Speaker.

Some of her colleagues want her kicked to the curb. They want “new leadership.”

Let’s ponder this for a moment. The 2018 midterm election resulted in more than 100 women will join the House in January 2019. That makes this the Year of the Woman. Or does it?

I happen to believe Pelosi deserves to become speaker when the new Congress convenes next year. Thus, I want to caution the Democratic insurgents that they are dousing their own message if they manage to boot the veteran lawmaker out of the office she presumes is hers for the taking.

I just learned that one of the Democratic insurgents is U.S. Rep. Filemon Vela of Brownsville, who is casting doubt on Pelosi’s intended speakership. He says he believes “new leadership” is in order.

Yes, that’s a man saying it.

Pelosi’s first tenure as speaker (2007-2011) proved to be successful in terms of her organizational skills and her ability to hold her party caucus together. Indeed, she enjoyed far more success at that aspect of her job than her two Republican successors as speaker — John Boehner of Ohio and Paul Ryan of Wisconsin — who had to battle with TEA Party and Freedom Caucus members of their own caucus.

It was on Pelosi’s watch that Democrats were able to enact the Affordable Care Act, legislation I consider to be a success.

So now Democrats think they need “new leadership”? They don’t, even though Pelosi has become a favorite punching bag for Republicans to pummel whenever they can find the opportunity. Indeed, one could hear Pelosi’s name in TV ads criticizing Democratic candidates for Congress. Here’s the catch: One of those Democrats, Colin Allred, had been joined at the hip to Pelosi by North Texas U.S. Rep. Pete Sessions; however, Allred defeated the Republican Sessions in the midterm election.

So, is it really a negative to be led by a speaker who knows how to legislate, how to organize an unruly body of lawmakers? I don’t believe so.

My advice to House Democrats? Be very careful if you seek to topple Nancy Pelosi in this Year of the Woman.

It’s official: Trump is incorrigible

It’s been known for a while now, but I’ll just weigh in anyway.

Donald John “Insulter in Chief” Trump is utterly an incorrigible overgrown juvenile delinquent.

He’s been known to hang disparaging nicknames on political foes. He’s gone beyond the realm of decency with this one.

Trump has referred in a Twitter taunt to the incoming U.S. House Intelligence Committee chairman, Adam Schiff, as “Little Adam Schitt.”

Isn’t that a knee-slapper? No. It isn’t. It’s a vulgar epithet that Trump appears to have slung at the California Democratic lawmaker on purpose.

Politico reports that Schiff had a response: “Schiff fired back 35 minutes later, quoting the president’s post and writing on Twitter: ‘Wow, Mr. President, that’s a good one. Was that like your answers to Mr. Mueller’s questions, or did you write this one yourself?'”

Trump sought to make some reference to Schiff’s criticism of the appointment of Matthew Whitaker as acting attorney general, suggesting that special counsel Robert Mueller should have been confirmed by the Senate before he started his investigation into alleged collusion with Russian government goons who attacked our election system in 2016.

But … of course the topic of discussion has centered on the vulgar response Trump provided.

To think that the president’s political “base” continues to adore him.

Astonishing.

Mitt takes up cudgel for a ‘free press’

U.S. Sen.-elect Mitt Romney is filling me with hope that he might become a Republican who actually is willing to challenge the nation’s demonizer in chief.

The media, according to Mitt, aren’t the “enemy of the people.” Even a “biased” media, the new senator from Utah writes in an op-ed for USA Today, are essential to the nation.

I agree with him. So do all of Donald J. Trump’s predecessors. So should most of the congressional Republicans who will take office in January along with their Democratic colleagues.

Sen.-elect Romney says categorically that Trump is wrong to vilify the media. He writes: America is indebted as a democratic nation to the free press for truths it has uncovered, for truth it has disseminated, and for falsehoods it has repudiated. The press uncovered the government’s lies about the war in Vietnam; it exposed Watergate; it opened our eyes to the sexual abuse of children by priests; and, most recently, it shed a light on the sexual assault by numerous men in power. The free press dispelled the false conspiracies about the 9/11 attacks, President Obama’s birth, and Joe McCarthy’s lurking communists. The work of a free press is essential.

The president doesn’t see it that way. He says the media that report on issues he deems critical are disseminating “fake news,” which of course is the ultimate irony given his own lying about so many issues, so many individuals. He has defamed seemingly countless public figures with lies.

But I’ll leave it to Mitt Romney and perhaps a few other brave souls in public life to try to hold the president accountable for his continuing attacks on the media.

Donald Trump could not be more wrong. Mitt Romney couldn’t be more correct.

Trump hits back … at the warrior who got Osama bin Laden!

Donald Trump isn’t known for picking his targets with much care or thought. His “shoot-and-aim” approach to firing criticism scores points with his base; not so much with the rest of us.

Fox News’s Chris Wallace asked the president to respond to former Admiral William McRaven’s criticism that the greatest threat to America is Trump’s demonization of the media.

The president’s response? He wonders why McRaven, the former head of the U.S. Special Forces Command, didn’t bring justice to Osama bin Laden sooner than he did.

You see, McRaven — a retired Navy SEAL — was on duty in May 2011 when U.S. commandos flew into Pakistan and engaged in a firefight with the al-Qaeda leader’s garrison. The troops then killed bin Laden — the 9/11 mastermind — and transported his corpse to the USS Carl Vinson, where he was given a “burial at sea.”

Trump said to Wallace that McRaven could have gotten bin Laden sooner than he did. He seemed to imply incompetent military and intelligence leadership as the reason that bin Laden was able to hide in plain sight in Abbattobad, Pakistan. He called McRaven a “fan” of Hillary Clinton and “backer” of Barack Obama. I’ll add here that Clinton was the secretary of state at the time of the raid and, oh yes, Obama was the president who issued the order to launch the mission, which I should add was carried out with no loss of American lives.

Take a look at Trump’s answer to Wallace’s question about whether the president would give credit for the mission that took down bin Laden: “They took him down but — look, look, there’s news right there, he lived in Pakistan, we’re supporting Pakistan, we’re giving them $1.3 billion a year, which we don’t give them anymore, by the way, I ended it because they don’t do anything for us, they don’t do a damn thing for us.”

Huh?

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