Category Archives: national news

There you go, Mr. POTUS, thinking of yourself

When an iconic figure in journalism passes on, it usually is expected that men and women in high places say something gracious and laudatory about the legacy of that iconic individual.

Legendary broadcast journalist Cokie Roberts died Tuesday of complications from breast cancer. She fought the disease hard and with maximum courage for many years. Her 75-year-old body gave out.

Barack Obama and George W. Bush offered high praise for her work. Obama referred to her blazing trails for fellow female journalists; Bush called her reporting “tough” but “fair.”

Donald Trump’s response? “She never treated me nicely,” he said, adding that she was a “professional” and he said he wanted to “wish her family well.”

So, there you go. The president thought of himself before offering a tepid platitude.

That’s always how it goes with this guy.

Nadler: POTUS ‘ought to be impeached,’ but first …

U.S. House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler has declared his belief that Donald Trump “ought to be impeached.”

I happen to agree with him — to a point.

Nadler believes the president has committed impeachable offenses. So do I. He seems to think the House of Representatives has the votes to impeach the president. As do I.

But … there’s this matter about whether the public is fully on board. Nadler is hedging enough to forestall any rush to impeach the president. I am not sure the public is sufficiently behind an impeachment effort to make it stick, or to persuade enough U.S. senators to convict Trump and toss him out of office after a trial for the charges the House would bring against him.

The conviction bar is far higher than the impeachment bar. The House — with its 235-200 Democratic cushion — needs a simple majority to lodge a formal complaint against the president. The Senate requires two-thirds of its members to convict Trump; Republicans control 53 seats. I do not believe there are enough GOP senators who have the courage to convict to boot the carnival barker out of the office to which he was elected.

There is Chairman Nadler’s conundrum.

The Judiciary Committee has effectively launched impeachment proceedings against Trump. Will it produce enough actual, concrete, tangible evidence that Trump has committed a “high crime and misdemeanor” to warrant impeachment?

Sure, but the process has to play out. It’s a political event, to be sure. Some Democrats keep talking about doing their “constitutional duty.” Fine, but to what end?

If the goal of impeachment is to persuade enough Americans and their elected representatives in the House and Senate to kick Trump out of office, then I believe the pro-impeachment brigade has more miles to march.

It’s strictly personal, Mr. President

There is no nice way to say this, Mr. President, so I’ll just blurt it out.

My loathing of your presidency is a product of my feelings toward you. It’s personal, Mr. President.

You’ve enacted several policy positions with which I disagree. Your rolling back of clean air and water requirements, for example. Your decision to ban transgender Americans from serving in the military — which you avoided doing during the Vietnam War — is another. Your insistence on repealing the Affordable Care Act when some tinkering would suffice is yet another. I could go on. I won’t.

No, Mr. President, it’s almost exclusively personal with me. It’s visceral. I feel it in my gut.

I felt that way when you and Melania rode down that escalator at Trump Tower, when you announced your presidential candidacy, and then trashed Mexicans as rapists, murderers and assorted other felons was too much for me right out of the chute.

Your entire adult life has been geared toward self-enrichment. You didn’t have a single moment of public service on your resume. Your behavior is well-chronicled: the cheating — alleged and acknowledged — on all three of your wives; the hideous videos of you at professional wrestling matches; the “Access Hollywood” interview.

Hey, I’m only touching on the matters that come to my mind in the moment.

Your conduct as president has been nearly as hideous. Your trashing of our allies. Your denigration of our intelligence analysts who say the Russians interfered in our election. Your standing behind dictators such as Vladimir Putin, Kim Jong Un and an assortment of other tin horn tyrants around the world.

Of course, there’s also the serial lying. You cannot tell the truth. You are pathological. Your lying knows no bounds. You lie when you need not lie.

And I cannot let pass your repeated denigration of a legitimate war hero, the late John McCain, who fought, suffered and nearly died during the Vietnam War. He resisted his captors valiantly and you had the unmitigated gall to say he was a “hero only because he was captured.” You sickened me with that statement, Mr. President.

For that matter, you continue to sicken me every moment you serve as our head of state/commander in chief.

I just had to get this off my chest. I know it won’t do a damn bit of good. You likely won’t see these words. Some of your supporters will and they might give me grief for expressing myself in this manner.

Too bad. I want you out of office at the earliest possible moment.

There. Now I feel better.

Rep. Cain: You’re the reason for stricter laws

Where I come from, when someone threatens another person by saying they have a deadly weapon ready for them, the person to whom he or she is speaking can take that as a direct threat to their health and safety.

So, on Thursday night when former U.S. Rep. Beto O’Rourke said “hell yes, we’re going to take away your AR-15, ” he received a Twitter-borne threat from Texas state Rep. Briscoe Cain, who said “My AR is ready for you, Robert Francis.”

Is that a direct threat to the Democratic presidential candidate from a Republican Texas state lawmaker? Yep. I believe it is.

Is that also a clear demonstration of what O’Rourke is trying to say about enacting stricter gun laws to keep these kinds of weapons out of the hands of crazy people? Yes, sir! I believe that’s the case as well.

I am not going to say that state Rep. Cain is “crazy.” I am saying that he needs to be very careful about the threats he levels against a candidate for the presidency.

The FBI takes quite a dim view of people popping off carelessly while threatening physical harm to individuals running for public office.

Castro launches cheap shot at Biden

You may count me as one of those Americans who gasped just a tad tonight when Julian Castro seemed to launch an ageist attack against Joe Biden.

The two men were part of a 10-candidate Democratic presidential candidate joint appearance tonight in Houston.

The former vice president, Biden, sought to make a point about “Medicare for all.” He opposes a plan pitched by opponents Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. He said he supported a provision in the Affordable Care Act, which gave Americans a chance to “buy in” to insurance plans provided by the ACA.

Castro then launched a verbal barrage, accusing the former VP of “forgetting” what he just said. He said several times in just a few seconds that Biden “forgot” something he said only moments earlier. The audience at the Texas Southern University hall gasped audibly.

I have to say I thought the moment revealed an ugly side of the former Housing secretary and former San Antonio mayor.

Moreover, he misrepresented what Biden actually said … which makes his attack even worse.

Ageism has no place

I don’t know who won this encounter. They all seemed to score sufficient points arguing with each other at times. However, Julian Castro’s baseless barrage appears to have been the lowest point that any of the candidates suffered.

Too bad.

They’re ‘joint appearances’

Dan Rather had it right years ago when he was a CBS News anchor.

He refused to call these political encounters featuring two or more candidates for public office “debates.” He referred to them — and perhaps he still does — as “joint appearances.”

So it is tonight when 10 Democrats stand shoulder-to-shoulder on a stage in Houston. They’ll field questions from ABC News broadcast journalists.

They aren’t participating in what we learned in high school and college as debates.

All of these events, and those that occurred for election cycles dating back to the dawn of the Television Age, have been simply “joint appearances.”

I concede that I have lapsed into using the term “debate” to describe these events. It’s easier to type than “joint appearances.” That’s my bad. It’s an excuse, not a reason to misidentify what we’ve been watching since 1960.

This might seem trivial. I’m just going to refrain from this moment forward from referring to these televised events as debates … when they’re merely joint appearances.

Spare us the ‘I don’t care’ mantra, Mr. POTUS

Whatever you do, Mr. President, please spare the nation the empty blathering about how you “don’t care” about the Democratic joint appearance featuring the top 10 contenders seeking to beat your brains out in the November 2020 election.

We all know you’ll be camped in front of a TV set tonight while the Democrats stand on that stage in Houston. You’ll have your texting device at the ready. You’ll be firing off Twitter messages every few minutes. You’ll be fixated on what these folks have to say about each other, but mostly about you.

Hey, I no longer begrudge you for your (over)use of Twitter. I have become accustomed to it, now that you’ve been a politician for the past four years. Your introduction of Twitter as a policy pronouncement forum admittedly caught me by surprise. Now that you’ve been in office, though, it’s the “new normal” not only for you, but for all politicians/public figures of every possible stripe.

I just implore you to keep your trap shut. Stop saying things you don’t mean, such as that you don’t care about what the Democrats are saying, or that their criticism of you doesn’t matter.

Of course it does! It’s why you keep up these idiotic Twitter barrages!

Bolton is gone; the problem remains: it’s POTUS

John Bolton has left the building, the White House.

Fine. Good riddance. However, the former national security adviser isn’t the problem. The national security risk remains with the guy who appointed him to the office he has just departed in a huff: Donald J. Trump, the president of the United States.

Trump said Bolton made too many decision with which he disagreed. What’s most stunning, though, is that Bolton did not want the president to meet with Taliban terrorists on the eve of the nation’s 9/11 commemoration. Trump seemed to call that a “big mistake.”

Moreover, then we hear from Trump that Bolton drew the ire of North Korean tyrant/dictator/murderer Kim Jong Un. Trump said Kim “couldn’t tolerate” Bolton … as if it should matter whether a Marxist tyrant should have to tolerate a U.S. national security adviser.

Bolton is the third national security adviser to leave the Trump administration. The first was Michael Flynn, who left after 24 days for allegedly lying to the FBI about that “Russia thing.” Then H.R. McMaster, an Army lieutenant general and a brilliant military strategist, resigned over differences with the president.

Now it’s Bolton who’s been shown the door.

These presidential appointees come and go.

However, the problem remains with the individual who called on them in the first place.

Another of the ‘best people’ becomes ‘not bright’

I’m confused.

Donald Trump told us he would surround himself with “the best people” while he settled into the presidency of the United States. Then whenever they leave — often after disputing with the president — they become dummies.

So it has been with John Bolton, the former national security adviser, who quit suddenly this week — or perhaps he was fired.

Bolton is a well-known foreign-policy hawk with whom the president reportedly had disagreements.

Now he’s gone.

Does the president let the issue go? Does he move on? Does he look ahead exclusively to finding the next national security adviser, who would become No. 4 in that office since Trump took office?

Heavens no!

Trump told reporters that Bolton isn’t “bright.” He said Bolton made some “big mistakes.”

Good grief, dude. Trump selected the national security adviser, who isn’t subject to Senate confirmation. He picks all the White House aides. He vows upon picking them that they’re best at what they do. Then they run afoul of the president, at which time they become worthless.

Is this how Donald Trump defines the “best people”?

9/11 still seared into our memory

Many millions of Americans are recalling a terrible day that dawned 18 years ago today. It didn’t start out that way, but it got dark in a major hurry.

They’re remembering where they were when they heard the news. Me? I was at work at the Amarillo Globe-News.

My colleague walked into the office and stuck his head in the door: “Did you hear the news. Someone flew an airplane into the World Trade Center.”

I asked two questions: How big was the airplane? How was the weather? I don’t recall my colleague knowing it was a jetliner. He did say the weather in New York City was beautiful.

“What kind of moron would fly into a building?” I asked with all the appropriate derision.

I turned on a small TV I had in my office. I watched one of the towers burning. Then — in real and horrifying time — the world watched the second jet liner crash into the other tower.

In that moment, we knew what we had: an act of war!

The Pentagon was hit by a third jetliner. Then we heard about the Shanksville, Pa., crash involving a fourth hijacked airplane.

We would go to war in Afghanistan. We would toss the Taliban out of power in that remote land and then launch the hunt for al-Qaida terrorist leaders who masterminded the hideous attack.

I will admit to being frightened in the moment. Anger? Absolutely!

I wanted the nation to fill with resolve to defeat the bastards who committed this horrific deed. Sadly, I fear our nation has lost some of its collective resolve. We’ve been torn asunder by a war that President Bush launched against Iraq, telling us that Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein had “something” to do with the terrorist attack … when he didn’t.

To be honest, I remain puzzled on how we “declare victory” in this war. Or if we can ever actually make that victory declaration.

However, the fight goes on. It must go on.