Category Archives: national news

Sen. and Mrs. Cruz get mistreated … enough already!

U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz and his wife, Heidi, have been treated badly by those who are angry over his support of U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh.

There’s a certain irony in the way the Cruzes were forced to leave a trendy Washington, D.C., restaurant. A crowd of protesters accosted them verbally at the restaurant, criticizing the senator for his support of Donald Trump’s selection to the highest court in America.

Kavanaugh, in case you’ve been in outer space for the past few weeks, has been accused of sexual assault on a woman when he was a teenager.

To be totally candid, as much as I dislike Sen. Cruz and want him to lose his re-election bid in November, I also dislike the manner in which these protests have been targeted against some political leaders and their family members. White House spokeswoman Sarah Huckabee Sanders and her family got the same kind of treatment; so did former Environmental Protection Agency administrator Scott Pruitt. Let me be clear: I disapprove of those who would badger and hassle public officials who seek some private time.

And so, now it’s Ted and Heidi Cruz’s turn. Oh, the irony?

The man against whom Cruz is running, Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke, has gained a lot of political momentum by calling for a return to the better angels of our political society. O’Rourke has been lambasting the politics of division, of rancor, of hatred.

By my way of looking at it, this is the kind of behavior that O’Rourke should condemn in the strongest terms possible.

Name-calling gets one nowhere

A family member — and a vocal critic of High Plains Blogger — recently paid me a compliment I want to share with you here.

He thanked me for refusing to resort to name-calling to identify those who disagree with the point of view expressed in this blog. He said it showed maturity, or something like that.

I appreciate the compliment.

It’s worth mentioning because I’ve been getting a bit of personal push back from other critics of this blog. Some of those on the right and the far right who read my musings have resorted to some epithets: “Democreep,” that’s a good one; “libtard” is another that also has a nice ring to it.

I can’t think of some of the others at this moment.

Seriously, I do try to avoid this kind of pejorative association when referencing those on the other side of the great political divide.

I concede that I do refer on occasion to Donald John Trump’s supporters as, um, “Trumpkins,” and “Trumpsters.” I suppose you can bust me for using those less-than-flattering terms.

However, I don’t insert parts of derogatory words — such as “creep” and “tard” — into descriptions of those who oppose whatever thought I pitch in High Plains Blogger.

Just so you know, I am not going to block those who engage in that level of name-calling when they choose to challenge a thought that comes from this blog.

Heck, I won’t even ask them to quit the name-calling. I figure it keeps those individuals out there in plain sight. Better to keep them in front of you so you can watch ’em than to let ’em run wild in the dark, behind closed doors.

Don’t fire deputy AG, Mr. President

Rod Rosenstein’s backside might be in a sling as I write this brief blog post.

The deputy U.S. attorney general who hired Robert Mueller as special counsel to look into Donald Trump’s possible Russia dealings is heading to the White House on Thursday to meet with the president.

Rosenstein reportedly said something about wearing a listening device while in the White House and also reportedly asked around about invoking the 25tha Amendment to the Constitution, the one that allows Cabinet officials and Congress to remove the president from office.

Rosenstein denied the reports … sort of. He called them “inaccurate,” which isn’t exactly a denial that he made those statements. Other reports indicate Rosenstein said those things “in jest,” which is how the White House has tried to explain some of the president’s own bizarre statements.

Rosenstein might face the music

If the president fires Rosenstein, then Mueller’s future is in serious question. Does the next deputy AG then fire Mueller, ending the painstaking probe that Mueller has conducted in the search for the truth behind allegations of “collusion” between the Trump presidential campaign and Russian goons who attacked our electoral system in 2016?

Rosenstein’s selection of Mueller was hailed in the moment as a brilliant move, a stroke of genius. The former FBI director, Mueller, was hailed as a man of impeccable integrity and character. Then he started indicting people close to Trump. Now — suddenly, like magic! — he is called everything but the son of Satan by many within the Trump inner circle. The president has labeled the Mueller investigation “illegal” and a “rigged witch hunt.”

I do not want Trump to fire Rosenstein. He perhaps can chew him out royally, which is within his purview. Then again, so is firing him.

Robert Mueller’s investigation needs to proceed and conclude under its own power. Rod Rosenstein needs to stay on the job until Mueller’s task is complete.

And the president of the United States needs to shut his trap and let this investigation reach its end. If there’s nothing there, as Trump insists, Robert Mueller will tell us. Correct?

‘No doubt’ Ford would have filed charges? Seriously?

Donald John “Stable Genius” Trump purports to know how women should react when they are attacked sexually.

They should go straight to the cops, file charges and then wait for justice to be done, he said in so many words in a Twitter message.

Sure thing, Mr. President. Except that’s not how too few of these cases play out.

The president is defending his U.S. Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh against charges brought by Christine Blasey Ford that Kavanaugh attacked her 30-plus years when they were teenagers. Ford has accused Kavanaugh of trying to tear her clothes off of her. Kavanaugh denies the incident occurred. They’re both going to testify before the Senate Judiciary Committee in a few days.

But back to Trump’s statement.

As the Los Angeles Times has reported:

Trying to discredit her story, President Donald Trump tweeted Friday that he had “no doubt that, if the attack on Dr. Ford was as bad as she says, charges would have been immediately filed with local Law Enforcement Authorities by either her or her loving parents.”

But according to decades of social science, surveys of sexual assault victims and crime reporting data from federal government agencies, there is a lot of room for doubt.

Women have been fearful of recrimination, which is one reason many of them decline to report sexual assaults to the police.

More from the LA Times:

According to the Department of Justice’s National Crime Victimization Survey, 310 out of 1,000 sexual assaults are reported to authorities. Two out of 3 go unreported. The numbers were culled from data collected from 2010 to 2014 and include assaults against men.

Data from the Department of Justice also show that 20 percent of survivors do not report their assaults out of fear of retaliation, while 13 percent do not report because they think police will not be helpful, 13 percent believe their experiences are personal matters and 7 percent do not want to get perpetrators in trouble. Those numbers were collected from 2005 to 2010.

I am one American who is waiting to hear from both of these individuals before I make up my mind. I wish partisans on either side would do the same. To be candid, I am inclined to want to give Professor Ford the benefit of the doubt. However, I am reserving any judgment until I get to watch her and Judge Kavanaugh make their respective cases.

As for there being “no doubt” a teenage girl would have called the cops and filed charges when an attack allegedly occurred, the president needs to do yet another reality check before he pops off.

Will the president heed the advice, or act … impulsively?

Deputy U.S. Attorney General Rod Rosenstein might have just wiggled his way into the proverbial doghouse occupied by his boss, Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

Many of us out here are wondering whether the president of the United States, Donald Trump, is going to fire Rosenstein because he allegedly threatened to wear a “wire” to record conversations with Trump — and then recommend that the Cabinet invoke the 25th Amendment to the Constitution to remove Trump from his office.

Rosenstein has sort of denied The New York Times report that the deputy AG had said all that. However, his denial seems to fall short of a categorical, unequivocal denial.

Still, reports now are surfacing that Trump’s inner circle is telling him: Don’t fire Rosenstein!

Trump facing new dilemma

Indeed, such an impulsive act could turn out to be the Republicans’ worst nightmare, just as would a presidential dismissal of AG Jeff Sessions, who has gotten himself into trouble with Trump because of his decision to recuse himself from the investigation into the Russian attack on our electoral system.

I keep circling back to a question that I cannot yet answer: Has there ever been such an out-front discussion about whether a president was “fit” to serve in the office to which he was elected?

Weird, man. Simply weird.

Trump keeps savaging DOJ, law enforcement

I don’t know why this continues to nag me, annoy me, bother me to no end. It just does and I have to vent a bit.

Donald J. Trump went off on another Twitter tirade against one of his favorite targets: the federal law enforcement network headed by the Department of Justice.

He said in Nevada that he has gotten rid of some of the people he believes needed to go: FBI Director James Comey, deputy FBI boss Andrew McCabe, FBI agent Peter Strzok.

Then the president refers to a “stench” in the Justice Department that needs to go. By association, he disparages and denigrates — yet again! — the many fine career prosecutors, agents and mid-level staffers who do the job they took an oath to do. Which is protect Americans against those who would do us harm.

The president just can’t bring himself to say out loud that he is proud of those individuals, that they are doing great work on behalf of the nation they serve.

Oh, no. Instead, he concentrates his remarks exclusively on those at the top of the chain of command who he thinks are doing the country a disservice. How are they doing that? By continuing to look carefully, meticulously and with tremendous detail the many questions that continue to swirl around the Trump administration.

The president keeps tossing the word “disgrace” around. The real disgrace, as I see it, occurs with the conduct of the president.

He is trying to bully the head of the Justice Department, Attorney General Jeff Sessions, the head of the FBI, Christopher Wray, and all the intelligence pros who do their jobs with diligence and dedication.

Right there is the disgraceful behavior of a president who doesn’t know what the hell he is doing.

FBI probe would answer many questions, right?

Christine Blasey Ford has leveled an accusation against Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh; she wants the FBI to examine it thoroughly before she testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee that is considering whether to recommend Kavanaugh’s confirmation to the high court.

As a friend and former colleague of mine has asked on social media: One wants an FBI investigation. One doesn’t want an FBI investigation. Which one would you believe?

Ford wants the FBI to examine her allegation that Kavanaugh sexually assaulted her when they were teenagers. Kavanaugh doesn’t want the FBI to look into the allegation.

Hmm. My friend does pose a fair question.

The FBI took all of three days to conclude an investigation in 1991 when a University of Oklahoma law professor, Anita Hill, accused Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas of sexual harassment. She testified before the Judiciary Committee, as did Thomas. The committee recommended Thomas’s confirmation and the full Senate then confirmed him in a 52-48 vote.

Thus, if the FBI can help determine the veracity of the allegation made against the current high court nominee, why would the person accused of wrongdoing oppose it?

How does POTUS even discuss sexual abuse?

We are living in the wackiest of worlds.

Donald Trump got elected president of the United States after admitting to groping women, grabbing them by their private parts, saying he could have his way with women because of his “celebrity” status.

The president than nominates a fellow to the U.S. Supreme Court. Brett Kavanaugh was coasting to confirmation. Then trouble presented itself in the form of an allegation by a woman who says that when she and Kavanaugh were teenagers, the future judge attacked her, committing an act of sexual assault at a high school party.

Kavanaugh denies the incident occurred. Christine Ford, who has become a college professor, insists it did.

Meanwhile, the president — the guy with his overloaded baggage wagon — weighs in with comments questioning the veracity of Ford’s allegation. He is backing Brett Kavanaugh to the hilt.

My question? How does the president of the United States dare comment on anything at all relating to this kind of allegation?

He doesn’t seem to understand that the record is replete with his own involvement with women. Doesn’t the president grasp the idea that his own acknowledgement of such bad behavior can haunt him continually?

Were the judge to speak to the Judiciary panel, he could do so privately. He could speak from his gut. He can persuade those on the Judiciary Committee that he’s all grown up no.

As for the president, I want to offer him some unsolicited advice: Don’t talk about sexual assault out loud, in public, in front of reporters. Donald Trump is in enough trouble as it is without being buried under reminders of his own sexual misbehavior.

GOP ‘heroes’ nowhere to be seen or heard

Carl Bernstein, the legendary journalist who helped uncover the Watergate scandal, recently said the real “heroes” who brought about the end of the Richard Nixon presidency were Republicans who told the president that his impeachment in the House of Representatives was a certainty.

And so was his conviction in a Senate trial.

Sen. Barry Goldwater led a GOP team of lawmakers to the White House to tell the president his Senate support had all but vanished and that Goldwater was not among those who would vote to acquit him.

Nixon resigned on Aug. 9. 1974.

I mention this because there appears to be no sign of any Republican “heroism” developing as the walls close in around Donald J. Trump, the current Republican who happens to be president of the United States. The GOP is holding firm in both the House and the Senate — with a few exception — in its support of Trump against the special counsel’s examination into what I like calling “The Russia Thing.”

Might there be some heroes emerge if the counsel, Robert Mueller, produces incontrovertible proof of, say, obstruction of justice, or of conspiracy to collude with Russians who attacked our electoral system, or of violations of the Emoluments Clause in the Constitution that bans presidents from accepting gifts from foreign kings and potentates?

I cannot predict the future any more than meteorologists can predict with absolute clarity what the weather will do the next day.

Why the absence of any GOP heroes? President Nixon never grabbed the party by the throat in the early 1970s. Sure, he won re-election in 1972 in a historic landslide. However, the party didn’t exactly belong to him. Fast-forward to the present day and we find that Donald Trump has managed — through an astonishing display of intimidation and innuendo — to capture the heart and soul of a party with which he had only a passing acquaintance prior to becoming a politician, which was when he announced his presidential candidacy.

Because I don’t predict these matters any longer, I am left just to wonder whether there might be a hero or three out there among the Republicans who serve in Congress. What might it take to shake them loose from the death grip that Donald Trump has on them?

Age-old dilemma plays out to this day

Politicians have been waging this struggle probably since the beginning of politics as we’ve come to know it.

Do we treat politicians on our side with the same critical look as we do those on other side of the political divide?

Probably not.

I wrote about this dilemma in July 2014. I want to share it again.

Do we ignore our guys’ missteps?

I’ll admit to my own bias on this regard. I figure it’s a natural reaction. It’s likely better, though, for us to react more vigorously when our guys mess up than when those on the other side do. Don’t we expect our guys to behave properly at all times? We ought to demand it of them and when they fail to deliver we should drop-kick them squarely in the backside.

Sadly, we don’t.

Look around us at this moment. The president keeps demonstrating his crassness. Those in his own party dismiss the criticism. Those in the other party become apoplectic. Shouldn’t the president’s fellow Republicans be as outraged as Democrats? Just wondering, man.