Category Archives: national news

GOP turns wacky, man!

Just how crazy has the modern Republican Party become?

Get a load of this …

According to an essay in RealClearPolitics, Mitt Romney — the 2012 GOP nominee for president of the United States — is considered an “outlier” should he win election to the U.S. Senate later this year.

You might ask: Why is that?

The Republican Party has become the party of a man who not long ago wasn’t even considered a Republican. I refer to Donald J. Trump, the current president and a man who Mitt Romney has criticized with extreme prejudice.

Romney is considered the odds-on favorite to win the open U.S. Senate in Utah; Orrin Hatch, the longest-serving Republican in Senate history, is bowing out at the end of the year. Romney hasn’t yet announced his candidacy, but virtually everyone thinks he will.

He also was considered to be the epitome of establishment GOP principle. Romney was considered a fiscal and social conservative, a pro-business sort of fellow. He campaigned for president in 2012 calling himself a “severe conservative.”

That might have been enough for doctrinaire Republicans to embrace him.

However, he has taken Donald Trump to task with, um, severe vigor.

In 2016, he called Trump a “phony” and a “fraud.” He delivered his anti-Trump mantra in a 17-minute speech that raised plenty of hackles among the Republican “base” that had endorsed Trump’s presidential candidacy.

And just recently, Romney labeled the president’s description of African nations, Haiti and El Salvador as “sh**hole countries” as “antithetical to American values.” The RealClearPolitics essay found that fascinating because “most of Trump’s Republican denouncers are either comfortably outside of Congress or on their way out.”

Romney, meanwhile, is likely on his way in, heading for a sure-fire electoral victory in the U.S. Senate contest in Utah.

All of this to my mind paints a picture of a major political party in a state of serious disarray. It has attached itself to an individual, rather than a set of principles.

Thus, I welcome Mitt Romney’s return to public life. My hope is that he continues to remind us that the president really and truly is a “phony” and a “fraud.”

This is not how to govern, Congress

What a way to govern … not!

Congress is fighting over how to pay for immigration measures. It cannot settle a dispute over whether to pay for construction of a wall along our nation’s southern border or whether to extend protection for those U.S. residents who were brought here when they were children as their parents sneaked into the country illegally.

The consequence of this dispute?

The government might shut down — if only partially — in the next 24 hours.

Republicans who run both congressional chambers are scrambling to find yet another stop-gap solution that will delay the next shutdown threat for a couple of weeks.

Oh, and then we have the president of the United States. Donald J. Trump reportedly is a non-player in the negotiation over how to find a longer-term solution to this problem. Media reports say that Trump is making zero phone calls to congressional leaders, suggesting he’s leaving it exclusively up to lawmakers to find an answer.

Even congressional Republicans are complaining about the lack of a “reliable partner” in the White House.

Trump torpedoes GOP strategy

I’m trying to imagine Lyndon Johnson leaving a matter such as this to Capitol Hill. The late former president came to the presidency after a distinguished career in the U.S. Senate. President Kennedy plucked him from his Senate majority leader post to run with him as vice president in 1960. LBJ never lost his congressional connections.

Trump, though, has none of that kind of history. Zero, man!

Effective governance is supposed to comprise a partnership between the legislative and executive branches of government. It’s not happening these days.

Republicans are barely talking to Democrats in Congress, and vice versa. The president, meanwhile, is maintaining a position that I suppose he might say is “above the fray.”

As a result, Congress might stumble and bumble its way to another short-term Band-Aid repair, only to wait for the next deadline to approach before we face yet another government shutdown threat.

How about trying this: Work together for a change in the hunt for common ground. Fund the government, repair the problem — and stop threatening to shut down a government that is supposed to serve all Americans all the time.

Maddening.

DACA recipients being chewed up, spit out

I am angry on behalf of millions of U.S. residents who do not deserve the fate that might await them.

They are individuals who came to this country because their parents sneaked across our border illegally. Mom and Dad Illegal Immigrant brought their children with them because, being good parents, they didn’t want to leave them in the country they were fleeing.

They are being kicked around by congressional Republicans who want to send them back because they don’t want to extend protection offered them during the Obama administration. It’s called the Deferred Action on Childhood Arrivals order, or DACA.

Republicans want Congress to approve money to start building that “big, beautiful wall” across our southern border. Democrats don’t want the wall and instead are pushing for an extension of the DACA protection that Donald J. Trump wants to eliminate.

But what about those U.S. residents who know only life in the United States and do not want to return to a country they don’t know? Do they deserve to be kicked out of here because their parents sneaked them in? I do not believe they deserve that fate.

DACA recipients might fall victim in this game of political chicken that could result in a partial shutdown of the federal government. If the money runs out Friday, the feds close the door on government agencies.

DACA recipients are being held hostage.

President Obama extended the DACA protection as a form of temporary amnesty for those facing deportation. Its intent is to give these folks a way to obtain citizenship or legal immigrant status. Trump sees it differently. He doesn’t want to extend the protection because — as I understand it — his Republican base wants to toss all illegal immigrants out of the country.

Even those who came of age here, who have virtually — or absolutely — zero memory of the country from where they came. Many of these young people have gotten their education in the United States, they have worked hard and paid their taxes. They have become part of our national fabric — even without the necessary papers to prove they are here legally.

This drama is going to play out in due course.

If only the politicians in Washington would understand the consequences of their actions on all those who live in this country.

Do they really intend to round these folks up and send them to a strange land?

Sen. Flake launches well-aimed barrage against …

He didn’t mention his target by name or even by title, but everyone who heard U.S. Sen. Jeff Flake’s speech today know of whom he spoke.

Flake, the lame-duck Arizona Republican, was talking about Donald John Trump Sr., president of the United States.

Flake’s scathing remarks spoke to an assault on the truth by the “most powerful person in government.” Yes, he called the president a liar.

He also scorched Trump for his ongoing assault on the media and lambasted him for undermining a valuable institution charged with holding government accountable for its actions.

Here is Flake’s speech.

Flake’s speech came just a day after his Arizona colleague, Sen. John McCain, wrote in a Washington Post commentary that Trump needs to stop his criticism of the media and stop invoking the “fake news” criticism of those media reports with which he disagrees.

The White House response was quite predictable. It spoke of the lousy poll numbers staring Flake in the face, which many have said caused him to announce his retirement from the Senate at the end of the year; he won’t stand for re-election.

Of course, the poll numbers retort dodges the point that Flake sought to make. Which is that Donald Trump has torn the truth to shreds with his constant prevarication and his frontal assault on those whose job is to report to the public about what the public’s government is doing for — or to — the people to whom those in government must answer.

Here’s a final thought …

If congressional Republicans are going to criticize how the president has conducted himself while in office, shouldn’t they mention him by name?

I mean, they chewed former President Barack Obama out for failing to mention the words “radical Islamic terrorists” as he spoke about the nation’s ongoing war against terrorism.

We all know about whom Sen. Flake was referring. He should have mentioned his name just to remove any smidgen of doubt.

I’ll close with these words from Jeff Flake himself: We are a mature democracy – it is well past time that we stop excusing or ignoring – or worse, endorsing — these attacks on the truth. For if we compromise the truth for the sake of our politics, we are lost.

Well stated, senator.

Year No. 1 is coming to an end … now for the next chapter

I am not going to spend a lot of time looking back on the first year of Donald J. Trump’s time in the White House.

High Plains Blogger has devoted a seemingly infinite amount of space to this subject all year long — and then some!

Readers of this blog know how I feel about the president. I have no need to recap it here.

I will offer this bit of advice, though, if anyone is interested in looking back. Just click on the “Search” tab on the blog’s home page and type in “Trump.” You’ll see it all.

Take a look here

There has been a bit of positive commentary on this blog about the president. I pledged to offer it when such matters presented themselves. I think I’ve been faithful to that pledge. The problem has been that Trump hasn’t done enough to merit more positive comments from this corner.

***

Looking ahead briefly to Year No. 2, to be candid I don’t expect much to change with regard to this blog’s posture relating to the president.

We still have that “Russia thing” to resolve. The special counsel, Robert Mueller, remains hard at work trying to determine whether the Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russian hackers who sought to influence the 2016 election outcome.

Along the way, I expect the president will keep denigrating Mueller’s integrity, even though he was universally praised when the Justice Department appointed him. And … I’ll have plenty to say about that.

I’ll also comment on the lies he’ll continue to tell and the insults he’ll keep hurling at his political foes as well as the media.

I guess my hope for the second year of Trump’s term as president is that he is able to hone the White House into the “fine-tuned machine” he called it. He isn’t there yet.

My other hope would be for the president to keep tweeting.

He gives me — and other commentators — plenty of grist when he unleashes his Twitter thumbs.

Listen to this ‘hero,’ Mr. President

John McCain quite likely is spittin’ into the wind.

But he is as correct as he can be. Donald J. Trump must stop attacking the media. Sen. McCain believes the president of the United States is giving political cover to repressive regimes abroad who seek to do the very same thing that Trump is doing — which is discrediting the media.

McCain writes in The Washington Post: “This has provided cover for repressive regimes to follow suit. The phrase ‘fake news’ — granted legitimacy by an American president — is being used by autocrats to silence reporters, undermine political opponents, stave off media scrutiny and mislead citizens.”

Of course, Trump isn’t likely to heed words of wisdom from a man he once denigrated, calling him a Vietnam War “hero” only because “he was captured” and held as a prisoner by North Vietnam for more than five years.

Does the president get this? Does he give a damn about the damage he does when he declares the media to be the “enemy of the American people”? Does the president understand the traditional role that the media play in ensuring government accountability?

I’m pretty sure it be would “no!” on all three questions.

Which makes Sen. McCain’s plea all that more poignant.

Even if it is futile.

Frightening.

‘Girther’ movement, anyone?

I have followed a longstanding policy to avoid making fun of people’s names or their appearance.

Then along came Donald John Trump, who ran for president of the United States and, yes, along the way made an annoying habit of needling his political foes over their appearance.

Sen. Rand Paul of Kentucky? Some of the women who accused him of sexual impropriety? Carly Fiorina?

Trump said some hideous things about them.

So, the president is now fair game to those of us who, um, feel compelled to comment on some aspects of his physical appearance.

I’m howling at the idea of a new movement that’s springing up around the country. It’s called the “Girther Movement,” which is meant to call attention to the president’s ample waistline. Oh, yeah, it also reminds us all of the “birther movement” that Trump used to call attention to the lies about President Obama’s place of birth.

The White House physician, Ronny Jackson, says the president weighs in at 239 pounds; he stands 6 foot 3 inches tall and he is close to being declared “obese,” according to Dr. Jackson.

Some folks are questioning whether Trump really and truly weighs a mere 239 pounds, suggesting that he is, um, a good bit heftier.

Trump may be the smartest, richest, least racist person any of us have ever seen.

But … he is far from the fittest. He loves his cheeseburgers, Diet Cokes and doesn’t exercise a lick — or so we’re led to believe.

Girther movement? Sure. Sign me up.

How do you punish these religious perverts?

I have been using the term — or some variation of it — “religious perverts” to describe the Islamic State and other terrorists who commit dastardly acts in the name of a great world religion.

That term now applies to a California husband and wife who’ve been arrested and charged with crimes that simply overwhelm our sense of decency.

David and Louise Turpin are locked up in the Riverside County jail on multiple counts of child endangerment/abuse and related crimes.

Police raided their home and found 13 children chained to their beds. They had been starved to within inches of their lives. The youngest of the Turpins’ children is 2 years of age. The oldest of them has reached adulthood.

Bail has been set at $9 million for each of them. If I were King of the World, I’d make the bail a hundred times greater.

Why did they do this? Family members allege the couple follows some sort of religious tenet. What in the name of the Holy Father can motivate anyone to do such a thing?

If it is a form of religious fervor that drove the Turpins to do this, then all I am left to say is … please, God, shower your mercy on those poor children.

The so-called mother and father of these children need never to be free ever again.

One neighbor told the media he had “no idea this was going on.” It’s easy, I suppose, to condemn neighbors for failing to act. The house reportedly smelled to high heaven.

However, maybe we can ask ourselves: Does anyone with a semblance of decency ever envision adults shackling their children to their beds and damn near starving them to death?

Take a good look at the faces of the Turpins attached to this blog post. You are staring straight into the faces of evil.

POTUS is at it again with Twitter ‘bullying’

Welcome to the president’s world of Twitter targets, U.S. Sen. Dick Durbin.

The Illinois Democrat has now been tagged “Dicky” by Donald John Trump Sr.

You see, Durbin stands by his assertion that Trump used the term “sh**hole” to describe Haiti, El Salvador and nations of Africa; he coined the label during a White House meeting on immigration. Durbin was present in the meeting. He said he heard it. He said Trump made that remark “repeatedly.”

Why do we get all these immigrants from “sh**hole countries,” the president reportedly said, adding that he preferred more immigration from “countries like Norway.”

The remark has drawn international scorn. Trump denies he said it. Sure thing, Mr. President. I believe you, just like I believed your claim that Barack Obama was born in Africa and couldn’t serve as president of the United States.

So, the guy who pledged to be the “most presidential” occupant of the White House in history after he took office has dredged up yet another Twitter nickname.

I think one might call this a form of Internet “bullying.”

Oh, that brings up a couple of questions: How about the first lady’s stated desire to make Internet bullying a hallmark during her time in the White House?

Have you had The Talk with your husband, Melania Trump?

What would MLK Jr. think?

The hour is late on this day of national remembrance.

The nation has recognized the 89th birthday of one of the 20th century’s greatest men. Martin Luther King Jr. left a gigantic legacy that reverberates to this very day, this very moment.

I am left to ponder: What would the great Dr. King think of the national mood today?

Others have spoken to this question already. U.S. Rep. John Lewis, one of Dr. King’s key lieutenants back in the day, said he believes MLK would be appalled at the national mood. He wouldn’t approve in any sense of the rhetoric coming from the White House these days. Rep. Lewis believes Dr. King would follow the lead of other contemporary African-American leaders and wouldn’t speak openly to the president of the United States, Donald Trump.

I believe differently. Dr. King made a point of speaking of peace with his foes. His non-violent approach to disobedience became a universal mantra for protesting what many Americans believed were injustices being brought on vast segments of our society.

I just cannot believe that King would snub those with whom he had significant differences.

Of course, we cannot know how history would be different if great leaders such as Martin Luther King Jr. had lived. We play the hand we’re dealt. The hand we got in April 1968 — I cannot quite fathom that it was 50 years ago! — came from a rifle shot in Memphis, Tenn. that felled Dr. King.

He died, but his struggle lived on. It lives on to this very day.

I want to believe we have made great strides toward achieving the kind of world that Dr. King envisioned. Sadly, I hear rhetoric that comes from certain national leaders and I worry we have regressed.

My hope springs eternal. Dr. King’s soaring message still resonates. May it continue to remind us of the hope this American titan sought to imbue on us all.

John Lewis reminded us today that Dr. King knew that “we are one family.” To that end, family members shouldn’t turn their back on each other. That is what I hope — and at some level believe — Martin Luther King Jr. would say.