Category Archives: national news

Rethinking how to refer to POTUS

I am giving thought to changing the manner in which I should refer to the president of the United States.

For many years prior to entering politics, Donald John Trump was known simply as The Donald. He cultivated that moniker. He thought it was cool, I reckon.

I cannot for the ever-lovin’ life of me attach the word “President” in front of his last name. Yes, he was elected under the rules of the U.S. Constitution. I do not dispute the Electoral College victory he scored over Hillary Rodham Clinton, despite his losing the actual vote by nearly 3 million ballots.

It’s been his conduct as president that makes me shudder. It has been the hideous extemporaneous riffs into which he launches when he stands before his adoring fans. I happened to attend a Donald Trump rally in downtown Dallas this past summer. It was at the same time both fascinating and disgusting. I met some truly nice people wearing MAGA hats and t-shirts bearing “Trump 2020” lettering.

I sat through the rally for as long as I could inside the American Airlines Center. Then I left. I drove home. I can now say I attended a Donald Trump rally

However, he hasn’t earned the title of “President” before his name … at least on this blog.

I might revert to referring to him as The Donald. Hey, it worked for him when he was making all that money and living with that glitzy glam, while he was walking into beauty pageant contestants’ dressing rooms and while he was boasting how he could grab women by their pu*** because his celebrity status enabled him to act like a total boor.

Has this guy elevated his public profile while serving as president of the United States? Has he risen to the standards his high office demands? Hardly. He’s just The Donald.

Early voting seems less relevant than ever this election year

I am delighted to be true to my belief in voting on Election Day, that I won’t cast my vote early out of fear that my candidates will do something foolish or drop out of the running.

The Texas Democratic Party primary is coming up next Tuesday. Texas is one of 15 states casting ballots. Collectively they will select about one-third of all delegates to the Democratic National Convention this summer in Milwaukee.

My guy is still in the hunt. Except that he’s got to win bigly in South Carolina, which votes on Saturday. If you want to the truth, I wish we voted on Saturday, too, but that’s another topic for another time.

I am longing to cast my ballot for a centrist Democrat, someone who knows how to govern, someone with a public service record that demonstrates an ability and a willingness to work with politicians on the other side. Yeah, that would be Joseph R. Biden Jr.

Now, if he flames out Saturday in South Carolina, he is likely to bail sometime after the Super Tuesday balloting. His name will remain on our ballot. However tempted I might be to reconsider my own vote, I likely will continue to stand behind Joe Biden regardless of the South Carolina result.

Still, waiting until Election Day gives me a touch of flexibility in the event someone else emerges from the shrinking field of Democratic presidential contenders.

I know this with absolute certainty: I will never vote for Donald John Trump. I don’t believe we need a radical change in political direction from this clown. I do believe we need someone in the Oval Office who knows what he’s doing, someone who understands the limits of his office and someone who can restore the dignity that the office once commanded.

Spare me the lightning strike for speaking well of a looney bird

Oh, I am fearing a bolt of lightning killing me dead for saying something semi-supportive of U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, the East Texas loon who is prone to say the most outrageous things and cast the most outrageous congressional votes.

Gohmert was one of just four House members to vote against a bill that makes lynching a federal crime. It’s named after Emmitt Till, a young African American, who was lynched in the 1950s because he whistled at a white woman.

Gohmert’s objection to the Emmitt Till Antilynching Act is sound. He said the maximum 10-year penalty for a conviction in a lynching is far too light. Gosh, do ya think?

The House passed the bill 401-4. It was hailed universally as a get-tough federal law that makes lynching a federal crime.

I believe, though, that anyone convicted of such a crime in, say, Texas would be put to death. 

I am now left to wonder why this particular legislation — if it’s meant to make a harsh statement against hate crimes — carries such a mealy-mouthed, milquetoast punishment.

Here’s some good news about the Emmitt Till Antilynching Act: It now must go to the Senate, which now must approve the House version of the legislation.

How about this idea? The Senate ought to reject this measure, and then send it back to the House to apply a penalty for a heinous hate crime that matches what many states apply for the commission of such a crime.

Do these endorsements really matter?

Joseph R. Biden Jr. is a happy man today.

He received a ringing endorsement from a powerful South Carolina politician who said Biden is the best among the Democratic contenders running for president of the United States.

Rep. James Clyburn, a fellow Democrat, is all in with the former vice president. But I have to ask: Will it really matter?

Clyburn is the senior African American member of Congress. He is a fine fellow, from what I have been able to hear. He packs plenty of clout. It remains unclear to me whether his endorsement of Joe Biden is going to persuade South Carolina Democrats, who appear to be drifting toward Sen. Bernie Sanders in the late stages of the state’s primary campaign, to change their minds.

Which brings me to a significant point. Do endorsements of any nature really bring along votes?

There once was a time when voters waited to read what their local newspaper editorial boards thought about a campaign. They waited to see who the newspaper would endorse. They were motivated for two reasons. They either followed the newspaper’s advice, or — and this is for real — they cast their vote against the candidate the newspaper favored.

These days, with a plethora of information flooding us constantly, 24/7, nonstop, unrelentingly, many voters no longer look to those learned editors’ world views. They make up their minds, seemingly based on the views thrown at them by TV and radio blowhards.

It is becoming an exercise in futility for many politicians and others who get paid to offer their opinions on issues of the day and the candidates who are their champions.

The Dallas Morning News this year has announced it won’t endorse anyone for president. The paper’s editorial board didn’t say it, but my sense is that there is a possible back story borne of frustration that the newspaper would have little impact on its readers’ political leanings. So, why bother? The DMN instead is going to concentrate on the issues it deems critical to the voters and to the candidates who are seeking voters’ support.

I trust that Joe Biden will take James Clyburn’s endorsement seriously. He will ascribe high motivation behind it. Perhaps it’s merited. I will wait along with many other Americans to see if it translates into actual votes in a key primary state that propel the former VP back to front runner status.

No, Mr. POTUS, justices need not recuse themselves

Donald John Trump hasn’t yet read the U.S. Constitution, let alone the part that declares that the federal judiciary is supposed to operate free of any political pressure or interference from another “co-equal” branch of government.

You see, the current president has declared that Supreme Court Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Ruth Bader Ginsburg need to recuse themselves from any cases involving the president. Why? He says they’re biased against him.

Please pardon me for saying this, but we all have our bias. Judges take oaths to administer the law fairly and without prejudice. Their oath does not scrub the bias from their minds or their hearts, any more than it does for any other high-ranking office at any level of government.

As long as we’re talking about bias, should those justices who agree with the president philosophically recuse themselves from any case brought by those parties that might oppose him? Of course not! The framers intended for the federal judiciary, including the highest court in the land, to be free of political pressure, coercion or intimidation.

Therefore, Donald Trump’s call for Justices Sotomayor and Ginsburg to recuse themselves from any future case involving the president’s administration is laughable on its face. Except that I ain’t laughing. Nor should anyone who values the distinct separation of powers among the three branches of government slap their knees while they guffaw hysterically.

That separation is spelled out categorically in the U.S. Constitution.

The president of the United States needs to read it.

Actually, Mr. VPOTUS, you need to win … by a lot!

Joe Biden thinks he has the crucial South Carolina Democratic presidential primary in the bag.

Um, truth be told, he doesn’t. Even if he wins, it’s not tucked away. He’s got to win by a lot. You see, the one-time Democratic Party presidential frontrunner had the Palmetto State primary locked up. He was lapping the field. Then Vermont’s independent Sen. Bernie Sanders started winning the early primaries.

Now it’s neck-and-neck between the two of ’em for South Carolina’s primary vote.

Biden said that a single percentage point victory over the field is enough, although he said he expects to win by a comfortable margin. OK, but expectations and reality don’t always mesh.

The former vice president of the United States needs to win by at least double digits. It would be better for him to smoke the field, to trample the rest of the remaining contenders — and that includes Sanders — into the ground.

Anything short of a decisive win spells doom.

It saddens me to say this, as I have staked my own preference on Joe Biden. I want his candidacy to succeed. I fear it’s teetering on the brink of failure.

‘Energy’ doesn’t always equal ‘votes’

The nation’s political punditry is telling us about all that “energy” that emanates from Sen. Bernie Sanders’ rallies.

The independent senator’s supporters are all in with Bernie. You can feel it, man! They’re going to carry the 78-year-old democratic socialist to victory against Donald John Trump in the fall, presuming of course that he gets the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

But … will he? Does that energy translate to votes?

I was part of an earlier “revolution” back in 1972. We thought we had “energy,” too, as we backed the candidacy of the late Sen. George McGovern.

I had returned home from the Army in 1970 after serving for a time in Vietnam. I was all in on McGovern’s stated intention to end the war. I enrolled in college. I became a political activist. I registered voters at the campus where I attended classes. We signed up a lot of new Democrats.

We went to rallies. We cheered loudly. We filled a downtown Portland, Ore., square when Sen. McGovern came to exhort the thousands of followers.

Hey, we had “energy.” We wanted to kick butt … by golly.

Then came the election. The networks called it almost immediately after the first polling stations closed on the East Coast.

It was over.

We were crushed under the weight of a 49-state landslide.

Don’t misunderstand me here. I want there to be enough energy to carry over that defeats Donald Trump this fall. I don’t know if Bernie Sanders is the guy to ignite the flame.

I just remain dubious of the pundit class’ penchant for hailing all the energy it feels from these Bernie Sanders rallies.

Now it’s ‘Doctor Dittohead’?

Rush Limbaugh isn’t a doctor but he seems to be portraying one on the radio air.

The gasbag/radio talker/political bloviator now compares the coronavirus to “the common cold” and says the virus is being “weaponized” to make Donald John Trump look bad.

Listen up, Daddy Dittohead: The common cold ain’t killing anyone. The coronavirus death toll is climbing steadily. The Tokyo Olympics might have to move to another continent, given the virus has taken root in China.

Limbaugh, someone I usually don’t take seriously enough to offer a response, needs to stick to his usual stash of topics on which to offer his ignorant and imbecilic rants.

 

Hey, Bernie, Fidel was a bad dude!

I got into a snit the other day with some supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders, who at this moment is the front runner for the Democratic Party presidential nomination.

They chewed me out for dismissing his candidacy. Well, here comes Round Two.

Bernie Sanders is wrong to give the late Cuban dictator Fidel Castro any props for the “good” he did while leading the island nation for a seeming eternity.

Sanders told Anderson Cooper on “60 Minutes” Sunday night that Castro enacted a literacy program when he took over the Cuban government in 1959. “That’s a bad thing”? Sanders asked, rhetorically.

Well, no. It’s not. However, none of that negates the firing squads that Castro deployed to rid Cuba of political dissenters. Nor does it counter the myriad human rights abuses that Castro imposed during his tyrannical reign. Nor does it overrule the fact that in 1962 he welcomed Soviet missiles onto his island, allowing the Soviet Union military geniuses to program the missiles to strike targets in the United States.

Sen. Sanders is trying to make it clear that he despises autocrats, strongmen, dictators and tyrants. He is drawing a line between himself and Donald Trump, who professes to be “in love” with North Korean tyrant Kim Jong Un.

OK, that’s fine. However, Sen. Sanders needs to navigate his way around any effort to speak well of another tyrant, Fidel Castro.

If Sen. Sanders has any hope of winning the 2020 presidential election in the event that Democrats nominate him this summer, he’ll have to assuage the anger he is igniting among a key voting bloc of Cuban expatriates in South Florida that has long memories of Fidel Castro’s monstrous rule.

Has Trump been ‘chastened’ by impeachment? Not even!

Some of the congressional Republicans — House members and senators alike — who voted to acquit Donald John Trump on charges of abuse of power and obstruction of Congress talked about him learning the lessons of the impeachment and trial.

Hmm. Has the president learned anything? Is he feeling chastened by the acquittal in the Senate?

Umm. No. He isn’t. He has learned a single constructive thing.

Instead, he is feeling emboldened. Trump is proceeding as if the acquittal actually means something other than Republicans (more or less) standing behind him. Except for GOP U.S. Sen. Mitt Romney of Utah voting his conscience on the abuse of power impeachment allegation, the rest of the Republican caucus refused to budge.

Trump, though, sees it this way: an acquittal is an acquittal. It doesn’t matter how it came to pass.

He issued those 11 pardons and commutations. He fired Director of National Intelligence Joseph Maguire because the DNI briefed members of Congress on reports that Russia is attacking our election system this year just as it did in 2016. The president is purging his administration of those who would seek to provide critical analyses, replacing them with yes men and women, with blind loyalists.

What’s more, the president is dismissing reports about Russia’s renewed attack on our election. He is disparaging, just as he has done so many times already, the hard work of our expert and patriotic intelligence analysts who speak with a single voice on one critical point: Russia is attacking us! 

Donald Trump is unleashed. He should frighten all of us.