Category Archives: national news

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.

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

I cannot get past Donald Trump’s assertion that four members of Congress who criticize him and his policies “hate” the country they take an oath to protect and defend against foreign enemies.

Yes, the president takes the oath, too.

Who among them, though, has demonstrated faithfulness to their respective oaths?

Trump has gone to rhetorical war against Reps. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Rashida Tlaib and Ayanna Pressley. They “hate” the country, Trump said, because of the terrible things they say about the country, its leaders.

But wait a second!

Have any of them sided with a foreign hostile leader in the argument over whether his government attacked our electoral system? Trump has done precisely that, denigrating our professional intelligence agents and analysts who say Russia attacked our system in 2016.

Who among those four lawmakers has said called a murderous tyrant a “smart cookie” and a man with whom he has fallen “in love”? None! Yet the president has said those things about North Korean despot Kim Jong Un, in whom he has placed his trust in a phony pledge to stop developing nuclear weapons.

Donald Trump has exhibited more signs of “hatred” toward the nation by his dismissing of experts’ and by his snuggling up to dictators than anything these lawmakers have said.

The president’s incessant lying insults Americans’ sensibilities at every turn. He accuses one of the lawmakers, Rep. Omar, of “anti-Semitism” and yet he says via Twitter that she is free to return to the country of her birth — which she fled when she was 12 to become a U.S. citizen. The president’s tweets are soaked in racist intent — and yet he has the audacity to level charges of bigotry against other public officeholders?

Donald Trump’s calculated effort to divide the electorate and to appeal only to those who endorse his rhetorical clap-trap is fundamentally more hateful than the criticism he is receiving.

‘Must-see TV’ on tap soon

A major broadcast television network used to hype its programming as “must-see TV.”

I believe Americans interested in the fate and future of our republic will be getting set for their own version of must-see TV. That will be when former special counsel Robert Mueller III swears next Wednesday to tell the truth before two U.S. House of Representatives committees.

He will make an opening statement and then he’ll be asked questions from members of the House Judiciary Committee and then the House Intelligence Committee.

The nation has waited for a long time to hear from the special counsel — who also used to run the FBI — about what he learned during his 22-month investigation into whether Donald Trump colluded with Russians who attacked our 2016 election. It also wants to know about whether the president of the United States obstructed justice, sought to block efforts to get to the truth of what happened.

This ought to be pretty compelling TV for those of us interested in such things. I happen to be one of them.

I want direct questions from the committee members. I do not want to hear speeches. They need to cede the floor to Mueller to the extent they can. They need to let this man tell us what he concluded and how he made those conclusions. Nor do I want Republican committee members to turn the proceeding into a sideshow, which they well could be inclined to do as they seek to discredit a man known to be a longtime public servant of impeccable personal and professional integrity.

I happen to be interested in a couple of areas of inquiry.

  • Did the special counsel’s statement that had there been no evidence of wrong doing he would have said so imply that there was wrong doing? To what extent was there wrong doing on anyone’s part, and that includes the president?
  •  If Donald Trump were not the president of the United States, would the special counsel have indicted him on charges that he obstructed justice?

Mueller has said his 448-page report should stand as his testimony. It could be an exercise in futility if he doesn’t offer much beyond what he has written.

I remain hopeful that we’re going to get a whole lot more light shed on this sordid and seedy endeavor.

Take it away, Mr. Special Counsel.

Waiting for that first ‘go back’ insult to surface

If you still do not believe that Donald Trump’s “go back to where you came from” insult to four non-Anglo members of Congress wasn’t racist in nature, I want to share something with you.

Trump told four progressive congresswomen — Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Ilhan Omar, Ayanna Pressley and Rashida Tlaib — to go back to their country of origin. Three of them were born in the United States; the fourth, Omar, was born in Somalia and is now a naturalized U.S. citizen.

I have been writing this blog for about a decade and for the past two-plus years I have been savaging Donald Trump fairly relentlessly. I detest this man’s presence in the White House — which is our house. I have said so repeatedly. He is unfit for the office. He disgraces the presidency. He is ignorant of the government. He flouts the law. Trump’s pre-politics behavior is scandalous on its face.

No one who has taken issue with my view of Donald Trump ever has told me to “go back to where you come from.” Why do you suppose that’s the case? Here’s my hunch: I am of European descent.

I am only two generations removed from southern Europe. My father’s parents came from southern Greece; my mother’s parents hailed from the tiny of portion of Turkey that sits in Europe. They didn’t come here from “sh**hole countries.”

Yes, I have taken my share of criticism. I accept that it goes with the territory. No one, though, has had the gall to suggest I should go back to where I came from, which in my case would be to Portland, Ore., a fine, cosmopolitan city in the Pacific Northwest of the United States of America. 

Do you get my point? It is that the president’s tweets about the four congresswomen were inherently racist.

And yet … the vast majority of Republican lawmakers chose to vote against a congressional resolution condemning Donald John Trump for the disgraceful manner in which he has treated these congressional critics.

Does this mean Donald Trump is a racist? Well, you be the judge.

Trump’s attack on ‘Squad’ should surprise no one

It is as clear as it can get, given Donald Trump’s history with political opponents.

We shouldn’t be the least bit surprised that the president of the United States would allow a political rally crowd to shout “Send her back, send her back!” when referring to four congresswomen who oppose his views on immigration and a host of other policies.

After all, this is the same individual who let earlier campaign crowds bellow “Lock her up!” when referencing Hillary Clinton’s email problems during the 2016 presidential campaign.

So we fast forward to the present day and crowds are now yelling “Send her back!” Trump’s response? He allows the crowd to shout its displeasure.

This is frightening. The four House members are women of color. The president has targeted them in what I believe are racist Twitter messages, saying they were free to leave the country he said they “hate … with a passion.”

Go back to where they came from? Three of them were born in the United States. The fourth is from Somalia. Yet she emigrated here when she was 12 years of age. Ilhan Omar became a U.S. citizen and then was elected to the House in 2018.

Donald Trump is acting far more like a cult leader than the leader of a nation full of religious, ethnic, racial diversity. For the president to stand silently at a North Carolina campaign rally while a crowd shouts “Send her back!” is despicable on its face.

However, it shouldn’t surprise anyone who has been paying attention to this guy’s modus operandi. 

Yes, this individual’s MO is to sow seeds of fear and division and then feed on the harvest he reaps. “Send her back!” has just replaced “Lock her up!” as the mantra of the moment. Due process? Who needs it?

For the president to say, as he did today, that he disagrees with the chant that his followers yelled is to lie to our faces once again.

POTUS ‘disagrees’ with ‘Send her back!’ chant? Oh, please

Who in the name of gullible voters do you think you are kidding, Mr. President?

You say now that you “disagree” with the chant in North Carolina of those faithful followers of yours to “Send her back!” You say you weren’t “happy with the message they gave” to U.S. Rep. Ilhan Omar, the congresswoman from Minnesota who came to this country as a pre-teen from Somalia and this past year got elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.

Well, Mr. President, allow me this rejoinder: Shut your foul mouth!

I didn’t see you make any effort at that campaign rally in North Carolina to quiet the chant. I didn’t see you seek to restore any semblance of order and decorum in that crowd. I did not see you address that chant directly once the mob of supporters quieted down.

So now you expect the rest of us believe that you were displeased with the chant? That you were unhappy that your followers were merely picking up on those racist-sounding Twitter chants suggesting Omar and her three “Squad” members — all progressive first-year Democratic congresswomen — could return to their country of origin if they are so unhappy in this country?

Nor did you, I hasten to add, remind the chanters in the mob that the three other House members are native-born Americans. All of them, even the naturalized citizen from Somalia, are as American as you and I are.

Or that they’re all U.S. citizens and are duly elected members of the legislative branch of the federal government.

Knock off the lying, Mr. President.

I do not believe for an instant that you “disagreed” with the chant.

You, sir, are a pathological liar.

Trump has cast a weird spell over the GOP

I will be mystified likely forever, as in for the rest of my life on Earth, at how Donald Trump has managed to hijack the Republican Party.

It manifests itself in the amazing 180-degree turnaround of at least two former prominent foes of the president.

I want to highlight briefly the amazing about-face performed by two U.S. senators, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Ted Cruz of Texas. To be fair, not all Republicans have swilled the Kool-Aid from Trump’s dispenser. Freshman U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah is one who remains (more or less) faithful to his 2016 declaration that Trump is a “phony” and a “fraud.”

Graham and Cruz? That’s another matter.

I have attached a link from CNN.com that illustrates what Sen. Cruz said in 2016 about his Republican Party primary opponent, Donald John Trump. Read it here.

Cruz called Trump a “pathological liar.” He blistered Trump then over that hideous allegation that Cruz’s father might have been complicit in President Kennedy’s murder and of course the ghastly tweet involving Heidi Cruz, the wife of the senator.

These days Cruz sings from an entirely different political hymnal. He’s one of the president’s closest allies in the Senate. He follows Trump step for step into whatever the next adventure brings.

It’s not nearly as dramatic a reversal as the one Sen. Graham has performed.

During the 2016 primary campaign, in which Graham was another Trump foe, he called the eventual GOP nominee everything short of being the Son of Satan. Unfit for office. A liar. Amoral. Architect of party ruination. You name it, Graham said Trump fit the bill. It was all bad, man.

Now that Trump is POTUS, Graham has become arguably the Senate’s most vocal Trump apologist. It’s as if, as Pulitzer Prize-winning columnist George F. Will has said, he became “an invertebrate.” He lost his spine, not to mention body parts common among males … if you get my drift and I’m sure you do.

There’s also this: Graham led the impeachment effort against President Clinton in 1998 while serving in the House, which then impeached Clinton on charges that are far less egregious than the allegations that have been leveled against Donald Trump.

Go … figure!

All this leads me to wonder out loud: How in the world did this carnival barker, con man, charlatan, fraudulent liar cast such a lasting spell over politicians who make up the guts of what used to be a great American political party?

I do not get it.

Sen. Paul approves big tax cut, but blocks 9/11 relief bill

Let me see how this works.

U.S. Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky was among the Republicans who voted for Donald Trump’s big tax cut in 2018, the one that helped a lot of rich folks and, oh yes, helped run up the national debt to its current level of $22 trillion.

Then the senator this week has blocked a bill to reinstate a relief bill aimed at helping 9/11 first responders battle ailments caused by the terrible terrorist attack on this country. Paul’s rationale is, shall we say, ironic to the point of hypocrisy.

He said the country’s debt is too steep. We need to find spending cuts to pay for the relief package, he said.

Hold on! But … Sen. Paul, your vote on the tax cut helped roll up that national debt! The debt has skyrocketed because you and your Senate colleagues along with the president wanted to slash taxes for wealthy Americans.

I should point out, too, that the 9/11 relief initiative got national attention because of the fiery and emotional testimony delivered by comic Jon Stewart (pictured with this post), sitting alongside first responders suffering from life-threatening illnesses.

This is disgusting in the extreme, Sen. Paul.

Impeachment moves closer to edge of the table

A Texas Democratic member of Congress, Al Green of Houston, filed a motion to impeach Donald J. Trump. The U.S. House of Representatives voted today on Rep. Green’s motion and, to no one’s surprise, turned it down.

What does it mean? To my way of thinking — and I am swaying in the growing gale-force winds on this matter — it looks to me that Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s calculation that impeachment is a loser for Democrats.

Ninety-five Democrats voted for motion to impeach. It is far from the 218 votes needed for the House to impeach this president. Democrats occupy 230 House seats, so the bar remains quite high.

House Republicans remain solidly behind the president … for reasons that baffle me, given the evidence that Donald Trump has broken the law while serving as president. But that’s another story.

Pelosi can count votes. She knows the House Democratic caucus isn’t totally lined up with the impeachment faction within its ranks. She also knows that the Republican-controlled Senate isn’t going to convict the president of any “high crimes and misdemeanors” that the House would bring forth in an impeachment.

Green’s impeachment motion was based solely on the racist tweets that Trump launched against the four congresswomen with whom he is engaged in that ridiculous feud. That is a non-starter.

Now, there might be more grist to chew on after former special counsel Robert Mueller III talks next week to the House Judiciary and Intelligence committees. However, I am not taking that to the bank, either, given the GOP caucus’s stubborn resistance to looking analytically at what Mueller dropped on our laps at the end of his 22-month probe into alleged collusion with Russians and obstruction of justice.

I am thinking at this moment that the best way — perhaps the only way — to rid the nation of Donald Trump is to remove him from office at the 2020 presidential election.

But … that could change.

Trump: It’s either support me or ‘hate’ for America

Donald Trump is quadrupling — maybe even quintupling — down on this hideous feud he has launched against four freshman members of the House of Representatives.

He told the four congresswomen that they could return to where they came from if they didn’t like the country they were elected to serve in Congress. Most Americans believe the Twitter tirade was racially/ethnically/religiously inspired. Three of the four congresswomen were born in the United States, making them every bit as American as Trump; the fourth came here as a pre-teenager from her native Somalia.

He is not letting up. Trump said Tuesday that the congresswomen “hate” the country. They “hate” American values and want to “destroy” the nation as we’ve known it.

Here is what I heard him suggest: Either you agree with me or you must hate the country.

This is utterly, profoundly, astonishingly ignorant. Donald Trump is suggesting that you either support him wholeheartedly or you want to turn the nation into some sort of socialist enclave.

Wow!

Donald Trump is accusing his critics of doing precisely what he did four years ago when he declared his candidacy for president.

Have the Trump legions been afflicted by acute amnesia? Do they not remember what this carnival barker said about President Obama? Do they not recall the intensely personal criticism he leveled not just at Obama, but also at President George W. Bush, President Clinton?

Indeed, this con artist ran a campaign based virtually exclusively on righting what he called the “stupidity” of previous presidents’ policies. Let’s not forget, too, that he did all this against the backdrop of his fomenting the lie that questioned President Obama’s birthright as a U.S. citizen.

So, for the president to say today that you’re either for him or against our nation is to imply that he, too, hated the country four years ago when he sought to be elected president.

I’ll say it once more: Donald Trump is unfit for the office he occupies.