Category Archives: national news

It wasn’t mere ‘meddling,’ it was an attack

I have just made a command decision as the publisher of High Plains Blogger.

No longer will I refer to the Russian attack on our electoral system, on our democratic process merely as an act of “meddling.”

It was a full-frontal assault on our electoral process. It was an attack on our way of life.

I got the idea from a letter to the editor I saw this morning on Twitter. I think the letter was from the New York Times. The writer compared “meddling” to the butting in by nosy relatives on the business of family members.

I thought, “Wow! I get that.” Not the nosy relatives thing, but the notion that “meddling” is far too mild a term to describe what the Russians did during our 2016 presidential election.

Thus, I made the decision to henceforth refer to that act using terminology that more aptly describes its impact.

Am I going to assert that the Russian attack actually produced a Donald Trump victory over Hillary Rodham Clinton? I won’t go there. At least not just yet. I will await the results from Robert Mueller’s exhaustive probe into potential “collusion” between the Trump campaign and Russian goons ordered by Vladimir Putin to launch their attack on our system.

In the future, though, do not look for the word “meddling” from this blog to describe what I consider to be damn near an act of war on our democratic process by a hostile nation.

Spicer: Mueller probe is no ‘witch hunt’

Well, there you have it.

One of Donald John Trump’s staunchest defenders has gone on the record: Robert Mueller’s probe into possible “collusion” with Russians is “no witch hunt.”

So says former White House press secretary Sean Spicer, who became famous — or infamous, depending on your point of view — during his initial press briefing in January 2017 by arguing with the media over their reporting of the size of Trump’s inaugural crowd.

That was then. Spicer said on “Today” that the special counsel investigation is serious. However, Spicer did hedge a bit.

“As of now, I see no evidence that it is,” he said on “Today.” Do you get it? As of now? He sees no evidence? He also said he sees “no evidence” of collusion with the Russians. “I think it’s very important to be clear that Russia meddled in our election and there’s no evidence of collusion,” Spicer said.

Whoa! We don’t know what Mueller has hidden from view. There well might be something to reveal eventually.

Yet, Spicer’s rather tepid defense of Mueller does strike me as a bit refreshing coming as it does from someone who made a name for himself during his time as press secretary as someone who’d run through a brick wall for the president of the United States.

I’ll take Spicer at his word that he doesn’t believe we are witnessing a witch hunt. If only he would stop pulling his punches.

Check out the interview here.

‘Attack on our system’? Sure thing, Mr. POTUS

An FBI raid on the office of a former Donald Trump lawyer and confidant is back in the news.

It turns out the FBI obtained record from Michael Cohen that he recorded a conversation with the then-president elect, Donald Trump, about a payment to a Playboy model with whom Trump allegedly had a relationship about a decade ago.

I mention the FBI raid because I just watched Trump’s reaction to the raid earlier this year. Perhaps you remember what he said. He called it an “attack on our system.” He vilified the FBI for conducting what he called an illegal raid on a “good man,” Cohen.

Given what we know these days about the Russian attack on our democratic system, I find the president’s assertion that the FBI rises to that level utterly absurd on its face.

The attack on our system occurred in Moscow when Vladimir Putin ordered the hacking of Democratic operatives’ files in an effort to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election.

And the raid itself? It was done properly. The FBI obtained a federal court order, as required by law. Indeed, Cohen himself said the agents were courteous and respectful while they scooped up the evidence they sought and delivered to special counsel Robert Mueller.

All this baloney about “witch hunt,” and “attacks on our system” need to be put in their proper perspective. To hear the president of the United States use this kind of language only intensifies what we know to be the facts about this man’s election.

The attack came not from within, but from the Kremlin.

Putin’s ‘worst enemy’? Let’s see about that one

Donald John Trump now vows to be Vladimir Putin’s “worst enemy” if the men’s attempts at friendship fails.

Sure. I’ll buy that. Actually, I won’t.

You see, the president has been handed every opportunity already to become the Russian president’s “worst enemy.” He has taken a pass.

You saw that astonishing press conference in Helsinki. Trump had a chance to confront Putin on the world stage. He didn’t. Instead, he said Putin’s denial of attacking the U.S. political system in 2016 was “very strong” and “powerful.”

Trump has hit back at the critics. He said something on CNBC about those who have said he should have been tougher on Putin. Trump offered some goofy straw man, asking whether his critics wanted him to walk over to Putin, get directly in his face and yell at him.

Of course not, Mr. President.

All many of us want is for you to look Putin in the eye and say, “Mr. President, we will not stand for your interfering in our electoral system. Americans consider that a hostile — and I am one of them — and we will respond accordingly.”

He didn’t do that … apparently. He stood there and then rolled over.

Now he contends that he’ll be Putin’s “worst nightmare”? Give me a break.

Yet again, he takes another shot at former President Obama, who he has called a “patsy” in his relationship with Putin. Oh, brother. The president needs to give that one up, too.

The president so far has demonstrated a profound reluctance to talk straight to this nation’s adversary. Tough talk to American media won’t do the job, Mr. President.

Try to imagine any other first lady in this pose

High Plains Blogger has sought to refrain from posting pictures such as this one, but in this instance, I cannot resist.

The woman on the right is Melania Knauss, who would become known to the world as Melania Trump. It was published by the New York Post, a paper owned by Rupert Murdoch, one of Ms. Knauss’s future husband’s better friends and political allies. See the Post article here.

I am trying to fathom the reaction if we were to see pictures of, say, Michelle Obama, Laura Bush, Hillary Clinton, the late Barbara Bush or the late Nancy Reagan in this kind of context.

We live in a new era, dear reader.

That’s all. I’m out.

Hey, did POTUS break a law?

History may be about to repeat itself. I put the emphasis on “may be,” as in “maybe.”

The FBI seized papers and other material from former Donald Trump lawyer/friend Michael Cohen and then discovered a recorded evidence that he and Trump discussed payments to a former Playboy model who has contended she and Trump had an yearlong affair before Trump became president.

How is history repeating itself?

Follow the bouncing ball  …

The U.S. House of Representatives impeached President Bill Clinton in 1998 for committing perjury to a federal grand jury, which asked him about an affair the president was having with a White House intern; Clinton lied when he denied the relationship.

The House then learned about that infamous blue dress. The Republican majority then had its cause for impeachment: The president took an oath to follow the law; he didn’t when he lied to the grand jury. Thus, the impeachment.

Special counsel Robert Mueller now has all the evidence seized in that FBI raid of Cohen’s office. He recorded conversations with the president over the payment to the Playboy model, Karen McDougal.

Did the president, then, possibly violate campaign finance laws when he paid off the model, perhaps to keep her quiet, just as he paid the hush money to porn star Stormy Daniels? Did he break the law by failing to disclose the payment as required by law of those who are running for president?

Is there another law broken here? Are there, um, grounds for impeachment? It might sound specious to those who think the Mueller investigation is a “witch hunt.” Then again, there were those on the other side who said the same thing about the Kenneth Starr examination into President Clinton’s behavior.

To be sure, the GOP majority in the House isn’t likely to go along with an impeachment resolution. Democrats most certainly would, which then makes the upcoming congressional election all the more critical. Do you get my drift? Of course you do!

Conviction, quite clearly, is another matter — as the GOP found out in 1998 and as Democrats could learn in, say, 2019.

How about returning to the moon? How about going farther?

President Kennedy already had initiated the race to the moon. The United States was a distant second to the Soviet Union when he declared his intention to ensure that we “send a man to the moon and return him safely to the Earth” by the end of the 1960s.

Then the president implored us on. “We don’t do these things because they are easy,” he said. “We do them because they are hard.”

Well, Americans got to the moon first. It was 49 years ago today that the late Neil Armstrong stepped off the ladder onto the moon’s dusty surface and pronounced, “That’s one small step for (a) man, one giant leap for mankind.”

He thrilled the folks back home. Not just in our country, but everywhere. Perhaps even in the Soviet Union.

Mission accomplished.

We sent several more missions to the moon. Astronauts planted flags, dug up lunar dirt and brought it back, they drove around on “lunar dune buggies,” and one of them — the first American in space, the late Alan Shepard — even hit a chip shot that went for “miles and miles.”

Then we stopped going to the moon. It became too expensive. The public lost interest. We won the race. The act of launching three people into space aboard a flaming rocket carrying many thousands of pounds of flammable fuel no longer fascinated the American public.

I am one American who lived through that exciting time. I want them to return.

Subsequent presidents have given somewhat tepid support for the initiative of returning to deep space. The end of the Cold War in 1991 removed the Soviet Union from the world landscape. The Soviet descendants, though, have continued to send explorers into space. They now carry passengers with them. Some of them are Americans.

I am acutely aware of the expense of such exploration. However, it was what we were put on this Earth to do, to reach beyond our planetary comfort and to learn more about the world beyond.

Donald J. Trump has continued the presidential push — such as it’s been — to return one day to space. I want NASA to redevelop its own manned program. It’s what we do — and we do it well.

My sense is that enough time has passed since the last moon mission that we’ll get quite excited when the next rocket blasts off into the heavens with crews that will take the next “giant leap for mankind.”

DNI emerges as new favorite among Trump team

Dan Coats today emerged as a new favorite of mine among those who serve on Donald J. Trump’s national security team.

The director of national intelligence sat down for a lengthy interview with NBC News’s Andrea Mitchell; he is attending that policy forum discussion in Aspen, Colo.

He spoke honestly with Mitchell about the president’s meeting this week in Helsinki with Vladimir Putin. He said he would “do things differently” in terms of setting up such a meeting. He is uncomfortable with the two leaders meeting privately with no senior staff aides present.

Mitchell then surprised the DNI with news that Trump had asked Putin to come to Washington in the fall for a second summit meeting.

The idea that the most indispensable intelligence official wouldn’t know about such a meeting is appalling on its face. Coats didn’t hold back on his surprise. “Say that again,” he said to Mitchell, who repeated the news. Coats raised his eyebrows, commenting finally on how interesting the meeting is going to be.

Coats served as a Republican member of Congress. He is a staunch and dedicated partisan. He also is a dedicated public servant who has given the public his candid appraisal of what the intelligence community has concluded: The Russians attacked our electoral system in 2016.

Defense Secretary James Mattis is my previous favorite among Trump’s senior aides. He remains highly regarded by yours truly.

So, too, does Dan Coats.

‘It’s time to impeach the president’

Jason Villalba has climbed way out on a limb. I mean, way, way out there.

He is a Texas state legislator from Dallas, and a Republican to boot. He also is saying — in no uncertain words — that Congress has to impeach Donald J. Trump, the nation’s 45th president.

Holy cow, man!

I ran across his essay in the Texas Tribune. Villalba has mounted a pretty damn stout argument for his case.

Read the essay here.

Here is just a bit of what Villalba has written:

I am a Republican today because of Ronald Reagan. He instilled in me the principles that have guided my life, personally and politically. I believe in fiscal conservatism, American exceptionalism, a moral rubric based on Judeo-Christian values, and on a basic fealty to the essential standards set by our forefathers: truth, liberty, self-sacrifice and basic goodness.

And yet, today, our own president of the United States mocks these basic tenets. Since Donald J. Trump has been president, he alone has increased the national debt by over $1 trillion. Yes. One trillion dollars. The fastest any president in U.S. history has accrued that level of debt.

Our president has mocked and belittled our immigration laws, our intelligence agencies, our foreign policy strategy and even the American people. We have been called “stupid,” “weak,” “a joke” and “pathetic,” all by our own president.

Our president has reveled in sexually engaging with those actively trafficking in the pornography industry and he has ridiculed those religious leaders who would deign to question him for doing so. He mocks and laughs at those Christians who would question him.

I don’t think impeachment time has arrived. I am waiting for the conclusion of the special counsel’s report. Robert Mueller has been conducting an exhaustive investigation into whether the Trump campaign “colluded” with Russians who attacked our electoral system. He also might determine an obstruction of justice through the firing of former FBI Director James Comey.

As for the practicality of impeaching Trump, the numbers don’t lie: Republicans still control both congressional chambers. Congress needs only a simple majority to impeach the president in the House; the Senate trial requires 67 votes to convict a president and remove him from office.

If there’s an impeachment and a trial to take place, I think we need to wait just a while longer.

Happy to make this guy laugh

It should surprise no one that High Plains Blogger isn’t universally loved, admired, worshiped, glorified … whatever.

It has its critics. I heard from one of them this week. He lives in Amarillo, Texas. He is a Trumpkin/Trumpster/Trump-o-file.

He doesn’t like my continual barrage that this blog keeps leveling at the president of the United States, Donald John Trump Sr.. I once told him he was free to read others’ blogs, that he wasn’t obligated to read High Plains Blogger.

He acknowledged that and said he reads High Plains Blogger for the “humor” it provides.

Great! I am happy to put smiles on readers’ faces. I don’t know if he’s grinning when he reads my spewage.

This is no surprise, either: I have no intention of relenting on my criticism of the president. It goes with the territory. It goes with this blog’s territory … and … it goes with the president’s territory, too.

Except that the 45th president of the United States doesn’t like reading criticism, not that he sees these blog posts. I doubt he does. I’m just a little ol’ blogger out here in Flyover Country, far beyond the Beltway. Then again, maybe someone on his staff clips this stuff for him.

I once pledged to write positive blog posts when the president deserves them. I have done so, although I admit the positive musings have been few compared to the negativity that comes from High Plains Blogger as it pertains to Donald Trump.

I suppose I should lay down the predicate here and now for all who read this blog. I cannot in good faith demand that you read this blog if you disagree with yours truly’s world view.

I am glad that you do. I am glad that the fellow with whom I am vaguely acquainted does, too, even if it only makes him laugh.