Trump should ‘apologize,’ not his critics

Donald John Trump is at it again.

The president let a political rally crowd shout “Send her back!” when he invoked the name of a progressive congresswoman who he attacked via Twitter.

Then he said he disagreed with the chant of his avid/rabid followers.

Oh, and then he said he agreed with them.

Now he is calling on the congresswoman and her three ultra-liberal colleagues to “apologize” to the nation for the “horrible things” they have said about the country and, oh yes, about his policies.

Apologize? Really, Mr. President?

I need to remind him of something he should already know. The nation was founded by a gang of dissenters who resisted Great Britain’s tax policies and its repression. The United States of America was created and the founding document guaranteed its citizens the right to criticize the government.

He keeps doubling, tripling and quadrupling down on this ridiculous feud with U.S. Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Alyanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar. He said they should return to “where they came from.” Hah! Three of them were born in the United States; the fourth is a Somali refugee who earned her citizenship.

They all know about the Constitution. They all are practicing their rights that the document guarantees them.

Now the head of state said they should apologize?

Get real. The president should apologize to the nation over his absolute and astonishing ignorance of what the Constitution allows and what it guarantees.

Mueller set to stand on the world’s center stage

Robert S. Mueller III only thought he was heading back into private life after completing his 22-month-long investigation into whether Donald Trump’s presidential campaign colluded with Russian election hackers.

He turned his report in to the Department of Justice, then headed for the tall grass. Mueller came out of proverbial “hiding” to deliver a nine-minute statement on what he concluded.

Now he’s heading back to the world’s center stage. The former special counsel is going to speak to two U.S. House of Representatives committees — Judiciary and Intelligence. He will tell committee members what his 448-page report says.

Now, though, we’re hearing from House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler, who says Mueller is going to produce “substantial evidence” that Trump committed crimes while running for president and while serving in the office. Nadler said on “Fox News Sunday” that Mueller’s report already has unveiled such evidence.

Mueller will get a chance on Wednesday to tell the world what he’s put in writing.

OK, so no we must wonder: Is this the game changer? Is this moment when the bulb will light up in the skulls of recalcitrant Republicans who have given the president a pass on what Democrats have been yammering all along: that Donald Trump is a criminal and should be removed from office?

I don’t know about you, but I am not going to hold my breath that such an event will occur. It goes back to that weird vise grip that Trump has clamped on the Republican Party, on GOP members of Congress and on that base of supporters who continue to cheer for their political hero.

The show will commence early Wednesday. All the broadcast TV networks are going live with it, along with a number of cable TV outlets. I presume they’ll let Mueller’s words speak for themselves, leaving it to the president himself to label the coverage as “fake news.” I wonder, too, if Trump is going to tell millions of Americans that they didn’t really see and hear what they saw and heard.

Is this going to be Robert Mueller’s last act before actually retiring and returning to the weeds? Hah! Not a chance.

Still, the TV viewing promises to be riveting.

Yes, it’s all about race … and gender

As I listen to the pathetic responses from Donald J. Trump’s defenders regarding those racist tweets and related statements about those four congresswoman, the more I am inclined to shake my head in total disgust.

The president told the four congresswomen, all Democrats of color, they could return to the countries “where they came from” if they “hated” America so much. They have been protesting Trump’s immigration policies and the treatment of migrant families — including children — who are seeking asylum as they flee countries in Latin America. Of course, it needs to be said again that three of the women were born in the United States; the fourth is a naturalized U.S. citizen.

Trump’s congressional defenders, all Republicans, say the president’s remarks aren’t racist. He “never mentioned race” in the tweets, they say, adding that his verbal remarks also are silent on the race or ethnicity of the women. Therefore, they says, he hasn’t initiated a racist narrative.

To borrow a phrase: That is pure bullsh**!

Trump’s statements are commonly uttered to put down racial and ethnic minorities. Does anyone really believe he would have said a such a thing had the Democratic lawmakers been, say, blonde-haired, blue-eyed males who trace their ethnic heritage to western Europe?

That’s the point here. Trump didn’t need to invoke the women’s ethnicity to deliver a racist and sexist diatribe. He did not need to state categorically that he was angry with them because of their ethnic background or that they are females.

The tweets and his assorted public statements have been soaked in racist intent. He plays to his base, the folks who in that North Carolina political rally yelled “Send her back!” while their hero, Trump, stood there for 13 seconds letting them rant and chant their hatred toward one of the congresswomen.

When was the last time any of us have watched and listened to a president of the United States conduct himself in this manner? That’s right. Never! Until now!

Disgraceful.

Affiliated baseball has its highs and a few lows

This comes as no great flash for baseball fans, but communities that play host to minor-league baseball franchises face the reality of losing their biggest stars when they perform well on the field of play.

My friends in Amarillo, Texas, are learning that fact of baseball life as they follow the fortunes of the Sod Poodles, the AA team affiliated with the National League San Diego Padres.

The Padres recently called up two players to the Big Leagues. Why? Because the players earned their spots on the Padres roster.

The Sod Poodles currently are leading the South Division of the Texas League; they captured the first-half title. So the team is having a pretty stellar maiden season in the Texas League. They used to be known as the San Antonio Missions, but the Alamo City was rewarded with a AAA franchise that relocated from Colorado Springs, Colo.

The Sod Poodles will keep playing hardball at Hodgetown and at venues around the league. They will be without Adrian Morejon and Michel Baez, who got the call to suit up with the parent club.

This is what happens. The players who play a major part in a team’s success are so good at what they do that the team at the top of the heap wants to reap the reward, too.

The better Major League Baseball franchise management teams, though, know to replenish the “farm team” roster with players who can help the minor-league outfit keep winning, and winning does produce bigger crowds, which produce more revenue, which enables the team to afford to pay the better players, who keep the winning tradition alive.

Do you get my drift?

It wasn’t that way when Amarillo was home to “independent” baseball teams that played in that rathole/dump at the Tri-State Fairgrounds. It’s a new era for minor-league baseball in Amarillo. The fans are reaping a nice reward with a winning baseball team.

However, when the “parent club” calls the names of the players responsible for the winning, well … you know how it goes.

Get used to it, Sod Poodles fans.

New congressman disappoints on racist tweet resolution

I had the pleasure of meeting recently with my new congressman, Van Taylor, a Plano Republican.

I found him to be an earnest young man, a serious legislator, someone keenly interested in building bipartisan relationships with his Democratic colleagues.

That makes it all the more disappointing to know that the freshman lawmaker choked on a resolution condemning Donald Trump for his racist-sounding tweets involving four Democratic congresswomen, all people of color, all U.S. citizens … and all of whom Trump said should go back to their country of origin. Oh, wait! Three of them were born in the United States!

Taylor didn’t join the four Republican House members who decided to put country ahead of the president and his party. I just wish Rep. Taylor had acted more decisively on the danger being posed by a president who says the things he does about House members who disagree with him politically.

Trump’s Twitter tirade against Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ayanna Pressley, Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar were clearly in my view dripping with racist intent. The House was correct to condemn the president for issuing them.

I just wanted there to be more of a bipartisan voice in that chorus of condemnation. I especially expected better of my congressman.

Sen. Cruz: 2020 election a ‘toss-up’

So now it’s U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz weighing in on Donald J. Trump’s re-election chances. Has the Cruz Missile discovered something the rest of us don’t know? No. But he’s blathering anyway.

Cruz appeared on PBS’s “Firing Line” and told the host, Margaret Hoover, that the president “absolutely” could lose his re-election bid. Well, duh! Do ya think?

Cruz also said he doesn’t believe Democrats will nominate a centrist, such as, say, former Vice President Joe Biden. They will nominate a lefty in the mold of Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Kamala Harris or Sen. Bernie Sanders. He said the far left of the party is calling the shots and will turn away from a candidate deemed to be too, oh, “moderate.”

He also believes the left is so enraged at Trump’s presidency that they’ll turn out in staggering numbers.

None of this is really a big-time flash. Cruz well might be correct that Trump’s chances are a big dicey at the moment. However, we’re talking about the here and now. The future could reveal something quite different.

It pains me terribly to acknowledge this, but Donald Trump was considered a joke when he announced his candidacy prior to the 2016 Republican primary season. Then he knocked off all those challengers one by one; Sen. Cruz was one of them.

Then he got nominated and ran against Hillary Rodham Clinton, a candidate perceived to be infinitely more qualified. Then all hell broke loose. Hillary lost to The Donald.

Ted Cruz’s prognostication today, therefore, means next to nothing.

Still, it is a bit scintillating to ponder that a former Trump antagonist who’s turned into one of the president’s most ardent allies would consider the POTUS to be in some jeopardy.

If only …

POTUS is a politician … no kiddin’, he really is!

I truly admire the mendacity of Donald Trump’s supporters who contend that his “success” comes from his being a non-politician.

A number of my many social media contacts keep telling me that falsehood. One of them wrote recently: He’s not a politician. That’s why he’s getting things done in D.C.

OK, let’s go to the trusty, handy-dandy source upon which I rely to answer key questions, such as: How do you define a politician?

I cracked open my American Heritage Dictionary, where I found this: “One actively involved in politics.”

Now, maybe a I am quibbling just a bit, but to my way of thinking that makes Donald Trump every bit the politician.

Trump joined the politicians’ ranks when he rode down that gilded elevator in Trump Tower in 2015 to announce he would run for president of the United States.

I am going to acknowledge the obvious. Trump’s entire adult life prior to that moment had been dedicated to self-enrichment. Public service was nowhere to be found on his resume. His background was replete with business dealings, most of which produced — at best — mixed results.

He got that big stake from his father to get him started in the real estate development business. Then the dookey hit the fan with all those failed ventures: the steaks, the hooch, assorted resorts, the university … whatever.

So he brought that spotty record, along with his reality TV and beauty pageant experience with him into the only political campaign he’s ever launched.

I get that he wasn’t a pol prior to running for political office, but the moment he entered politics, Donald Trump became a practitioner of the profession.

He became a politician.

If the Trump acolytes who continue to insist that his “success” is due to his non-political background, go easy on that one, folks. The record isn’t so gleaming.

What can Trump do to win me over? Try this

A critic of High Plains Blogger blistered a recent post with a comment in which he challenged me on Donald Trump’s performance as president of the United States.

I do not know this gentleman, but I am glad to hear from him, even as he skewers me from time to time. His comment ended this way:

I also get that your hatred for President Trump so clouds your views that there can be nothing the President does that will be a positive for this country. Nothing except resign. Am I wrong?

I replied to him directly on the blog, but I want to share some additional views here.

I wrote in a subsequent post that my opposition to Donald Trump is visceral and deeply personal. He is unfit for the office he holds.

However, there are plenty of things the president could do to win me over. Given his performance to date and the campaign that resulted in his bizarre 2016 election victory, he isn’t likely to do a single thing to make a fan out of me.

What would he have to do? He would need to fundamentally change his view of government. Trump would have to exhibit in full view what I call an “authentic” sense of compassion, empathy and understanding of the plight of those who weren’t given the privileges he received upon being born into a family of considerable means. He would have to exhibit a sense of humility and actually admit when he makes a mistake.

Is the president beyond all that? Well, you can be the judge of that. I am quite certain a 72-year-old man whose sole mission in life prior to becoming a politician was aimed at self-enrichment, who never has demonstrated a commitment to public service will never change.

Are my views “clouded” by bias against Donald Trump, as my critic has suggested?

You bet they are! Here’s the thing, though … he has earned my scorn.

***

You can read the post that elicited the comment and you can see the gentleman’s full response here:

So, just who is the politician who ‘hates’ America?

Puppy Tales, Part 74: Nearly mastering the doggie door

Look at that face. It is the face of a puppy that has dug in his claws and played his parents like a fiddle. But I’m announcing today that Toby the Puppy is this close to mastering the doggie door we purchased just for him.

How close is this close?

We purchased the back door to our patio with a portal fit for a 12-pound Chihuahua mix pooch. That would be Toby. We bought it figuring that since he is so smart that it would be a snap for him to learn how to use it.

Just put his nose against the clear plastic swinging door, give him a nudge and he’ll be in and out on his own in no time.

Silly us.

Toby decided to tease us. He resisted initially any effort to persuade him to walk through the door on his own. Over time, his resistance lessened. Each day and week produced more progress. But we still had to push him through the door when he had to go outside to, um, take care of business.

Then he began to turn the corner. I reckon he has grown tired of playing us. Maybe he’s bored with the game. Perhaps he is concocting another stunt he can pull on us.

He is now walking through the door unassisted.

Am I prepared at this moment to declare total and unconditional victory? Not … just … yet.

You see, Toby the Puppy still requires us to stand next to him while he exits and then enters the house. Hey, it’s better than it was in the beginning. I stand by my declaration of Toby’s smarts.

We’re taking it a step at a time.

Yep, it’s personal through and through

I want to acknowledge what I am sure is patently obvious to readers of this blog.

It is that my intense opposition to the presidency of Donald John Trump is visceral. It is rooted deep within my gut. It roils constantly as I watch the president go through each sickening day of his time in office.

I wish I could identify a specific policy or set of policies that have angered me so intensely. I cannot. The man doesn’t govern on a metric defined by policy standards, principles, a core set of values.

I am not entirely sure why I am sharing these thoughts today. Perhaps I just feel the need to get a few things off my chest.

Donald Trump’s inability to acknowledge mistakes is one thing that troubles me deeply. He told us once he never has sought forgiveness, which according to the way many of us were brought up is a fundamental tenet of Christianity; yet the evangelical movement follows this guy through the wall, over the cliff, out the window … you name it.

Trump vowed to act “presidential” once he took office. He does not do anything of the sort.

He doesn’t exhibit a scintilla of compassion, empathy, human kindness, authentic sorrow even in the face of horrific tragedy. Wildfires destroy a California town and he blames it all on Democratic politicians and their “failed” forest management policies. Mass shootings destroy the lives of innocent victims and the president doesn’t say a word about how to curb the scourge of gun violence. The Earth rumbled under the feet just recently of residents of southern California and I have yet to hear a word from the president about helping them recover from the physical damage and the emotional trauma they are suffering.

Donald Trump cannot tell the truth. His lying is incessant, relentless and pathological. He lies when he need not do so.

He uses language to define his domestic political opponents one doesn’t normally hear from presidents of the United States. He recently referred to the San Juan, Puerto Rico as a “despicable” human being. OK, so he calls a fellow American citizen despicable but still kowtows to the come-on offered by a truly despicable tyrant, Kim Jong Un. I do not get that.

Donald Trump’s presidency has been a disaster at almost every level I can conjure up. I want it to end no later than Jan. 20, 2021. I want him out of “my” house. I want him to disappear from the public stage, although I am acutely aware that is far from likely to occur no matter when he walks out of the Oval Office for the final time.

Yes, it is personal.