Category Archives: national news

King gets GOP reprimand; why not the same for POTUS?

U.S. Rep. Steve King has gotten slapped down hard by his fellow congressional Republicans, who have voted to strip him of all his committee assignments, essentially rendering the Iowa lawmaker a useless member of Congress.

That’s a good thing, yes? Yes, of course it is! King said he couldn’t understand why the terms “white nationalist” and “white supremacist” have become offensive to Americans.

The House GOP caucus did the right thing.

But . . . wait a second! Another Republican politician has equated white supremacists and neo-Nazis with groups that demonstrated against them in Charlottesville, Va.; he said he didn’t anything about a widely known former Klan leader who had endorsed him for public office; he has continually refused to condemn in suitably stark language the actions and rhetoric that come from these groups.

The GOP congressional caucus has remained stone-cold silent about Donald John Trump!

It forces many Trump critics to question why the House Republican caucus that showed good sense in slapping down one of its members is so reluctant to do the same thing to the nation’s top Republican.

It could be argued that what the president said about the neo-Nazis in Charlottesville was worse than what King told The New York Times. Remember how Trump declared there was blame to go around for the violence “on both sides” and how there were “fine people on both sides” of the riot that left a counter-protester dead after one of the neo-Nazis ran over her with his motor vehicle?

Trump has derided the intelligence of some of his African-American critics. He referred to African nations as “sh**hole countries” and said we should encourage more immigration from places such as Norway.

The GOP congressional caucus has been silent. How come?

No way should Trump be allowed to ‘correct’ report

William Barr is saying the right things on his way confirmation as the next U.S. attorney general.

For instance, upon questioning from the Senate Judiciary Committee, Barr said there is no chance that Donald Trump’s legal team will get a first look at Robert Mueller’s report before it is released to the public and to Congress. Trump will not have the chance to “correct” it, Barr assured senators.

Let the report stand on its own

What is that report? Most of us hope it answers some key questions, such as whether the Trump presidential campaign colluded with Russians who attacked our electoral system in 2016. Barr said he believes the Russians interfered or sought to interfere. He also reaffirmed that he will allow special counsel Mueller to finish his job unimpeded by political pressure.

There you have it. Trump’s AG nominee is on record. I am going to trust him to be faithful to his word and that he won’t stand by if the president tries any Richard Nixon-like funny business in seeking to squash the findings that Mueller will produce in due course.

Surely the AG-designate knows the political consequences of any failure to keep faith with his pledge.

Bernie going for it again in 2020? Please, no!

Say this isn’t really happening.

Bernie Sanders, the Democrat in Name Only senator from Vermont, reportedly is hiring additional staff while he gears up for a possible/probable run for president in 2020. I will call him a DINO.

Good grief! Tell me it ain’t happening.

I am not feeling the Bern. I know he has his fans and a strong legion of supporters. I also know he came surprisingly close to capturing the Democratic nomination in 2016.

Here’s my problem with Bernie: He’s not a Democrat. He would be running as a Democrat, but he’s listed in the U.S. Senate roster as an independent who caucuses with the Democrats.

I have another problem with Bernie. His 2020 campaign is going sound like the one-note samba his 2016 campaign sounded. He will tell us that too few people have acquired too much of our wealth; he wants to redistribute the wealth; he wants to provide free college to every student in America (how he pays for it is a mystery to me); and he wants “Medicare for All” Americans.

We have seen during the Donald Trump administration that we also need a coherent, strong and reasonable foreign policy. I do not see Bernie Sanders offering such a thing were he to become elected president.

He’s been to the well already. He doesn’t need to return. I do not want him to run for president. I want a fresher face from which we will hear a fresher voice.

GOP caucus leaders render Rep. King useless . . . good!

A resignation might not be too far off for U.S. Rep. Steve King, the Iowa Republican with a big mouth but, more importantly, repugnant views about white supremacy and white nationalism.

The House of Representatives GOP leadership has just stripped King of all his committee assignments. He will not serve on a single committee during the 116th Congress, a move that renders him essentially useless. He’ll get to vote on issues that come to a full floor vote, but he will not have any substantial input in crafting legislation that committees prepare prior to that vote.

What prompted this unusual move? King managed to reveal once again that he is no friend of ethnic or racial minorities. He said during a New York Times interview that he couldn’t understand why the terms “white nationalist” and “white supremacist” became “offensive language.”

No kidding? He didn’t understand it? Those terms became “offensive” when groups that carried those labels lynched African-Americans and brutalized other non-white, non-Christian Americans.

This idiocy is not the first time King has been linked to these hideous groups and their beliefs. The GOP House leadership has had enough of their colleague.

Now he ought to take the next logical step, having been stripped of any committee assignments in the People’s House.

Steve King should resign and go home.

Still miss the wisdom that RFK brought

I cannot help but feel wistful — and sad to this day — when I watch videos of the late Sen. Robert F. Kennedy.

Indeed, it is the coarseness of today’s debate that makes wish we had another RFK on the horizon, waiting to grab our attention, speak to our better angels, prod us to think beyond our own self-interest.

This video comes from a 1967 interview that Bobby Kennedy had with “Face the Nation” questioners. His answers were full, complete and yes, a bit wordy at times. He spoke about the Vietnam War, which was Topic No. 1 on all the TV news talk shows in that era.

RFK waffled during this interview about whether he would be a candidate for president in 1968. He straddled the fence until the moment in the New Hampshire Democratic primary when Sen. Eugene McCarthy came shockingly close to upsetting President Johnson.

In came Bobby Kennedy. His campaign launched and in March 1968, LBJ shocked the nation by declaring he would “not seek” nor would he “accept my party’s nomination for another term as your president.”

I want to hear RFK’s wisdom again. Today’s political debate has devolved into insults, innuendo and an utter lack of compassion, particularly when it comes from the White House. I always have thought we are better than that. We deserve better than what we’re hearing in this era.

Then I look back at 1968, a terrible year for this country. The Vietnam War was killing hundreds of Americans each week. RFK sought an end to a conflict in which he — as attorney general during his brother’s administration — was a key architect.

RFK spoke to us at a level we haven’t heard since his death in June 1968 at the hands of an assassin. He told us stark, brutal truth about the bitterness and division that tore at our nation.

RFK had the “it” factor that is difficult to define. It is missing throughout the ranks of those who might seek to become the next president. It most certainly is nowhere to be found anywhere near the individual who currently holds that office.

It’s been more than 50 years since Robert Kennedy left this good Earth. I miss him every day. I miss him especially when I have to swallow today’s toxic mess that comprises political debate.

WH chief of staff gets a dose of Trump

Donald Trump selected Mick Mulvaney to be the acting White House chief of staff to succeed John Kelly, who resigned far ahead of his announced timetable.

Mulvaney, who runs the Office of Management and Budget in his real day job, said upon his hiring that he planned to “let Trump be Trump.” He had no intention, or so he implied, of reeling in the president while trying to prevent him from some of his more impulsive behavior.

Well, it’s being reported that Mulvaney got a serious dose of the real Donald Trump during a White House meeting with Democratic congressional leaders. The group met ostensibly to find a way to reopen the government, which has been shut down partially for three weeks.

Trump reportedly dressed Mulvaney down in front of those congressional leaders, telling him to “Stop, stop, just stop. What are you doing? You’re f***ing it all up, MIck.”

There you go. That’s Trump being Trump, per the White House chief of staff’s stated desire. Is this what he really intended when he took the job on an “acting” basis? I think not.

Don’t misconstrue me here. I don’t feel sorry for Mulvaney. He’s a grownup who likely knew about the loony bin into which he was entering when he agreed to run the White House staff.

Still, what I find astounding is that the president of the United States would (allegedly) treat the chief of staff in that fashion in front of a roomful of politicians and other staffers. Then again, given the president’s lack of decorum or dignity at any level, perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised at all!

The White House chief of staff once was considered the plum of plum jobs in D.C. No longer. Not for as long as Donald Trump is president of the United States. He’s already burned through two chiefs of staff, Kelly and before him Reince Priebus. Kelly was brought in to bring a sense of order after Priebus was canned; indeed, Priebus couldn’t control the traffic in the Oval Office, just inflaming the chaos that dictates the flow within the White House.

Now we have Mulvaney perched in the White House hot seat. I’ve thought all along that an “acting” chief of staff cannot sustain himself over any length of time. I mean, Mulvaney already has a full-time gig at OMB, which is a huge job all by itself.

So now he gets pounded and pilloried by the president while the government remains shut down.

Great work if you can get it, right, Mick?

Cable news ‘addict’ hasn’t been ‘following’ this story?

Donald J. Trump’s affinity for uttering falsehoods knows no bounds.

Reporters asked him this morning for his thoughts on comments from U.S. Rep. Steve King, who told The New York Times he couldn’t understand why the terms “white supremacist” and “white nationalist” have become “offensive.”

The president’s response? “I haven’t been following” the story, he said.

Really. He said that. The individual who tweets his brains out in real time while watching Fox News, the guy who spends hours on end watching cable news shows before he saunters into the Oval Office often at mid-day, hasn’t been “following” the statement from Rep. King?

The lies never end

To be sure, King’s remarks are far from the first statements he has made regarding race-related matters. In fact, the only time this back-bench lawmaker ever makes news is when he blathers statements such as the one he made about white nationalists/supremacists.

So the president wants us to believe he hasn’t “been following” this latest tumult regarding King, a loudmouthed Iowa Republican.

Sure thing, Mr. President. You are so very believable!

Yes, Sen. Cruz, Americans do care about ‘Russia, Russia, Russia’

Listen up, Sen. Ted Cruz. I’ve got a flash for you.

Americans do care about what you said is the talk within the D.C. Beltway. You referred to it as “Russia, Russia, Russia.”

I heard you say on “Meet the Press” that Texans don’t care about it. They care about jobs, border security, health care . . . blah, blah, blah.

Listen to me, senator. I am one of your constituents. I didn’t vote for you in 2012 or in 2018. But you were elected and re-elected despite my best efforts to ensure your defeat, especially this past year.

I care about the Russia matter and the implications it carries for the presidency of Donald John Trump Sr. I know many other Texans who care, too. We talk about it on occasion. I hear from some of them who respond to my blog. Sure, some of them are critical of my views, they support the president and his agenda, they support you, senator.

Allow me to make a presumption, senator. You aren’t listening to everything that Texans are telling you. I can state with certainty that Texans care about Russia. Other Americans out here in Flyover Country care, too. The Russia matter isn’t just a “mainstream media” creation, as you suggested this morning on “Meet the Press.”

I suggest, senator, that you keep a wide-open mind. Robert Mueller is going to release his report. I hope it’s sooner rather than later. I want you — indeed, I demand it of you — to look carefully at what this meticulous lawyer and former FBI director has concluded. If it exonerates the president, then fine. I’ll accept his findings.

I hope you’ll do the same if Mueller reaches a vastly different conclusion.

Until then, stop the mind-reading game you’re playing with those of us out here who care a lot more about Russia than you are willing to acknowledge.

Our nation will survive — and flourish

Make no mistake about it: I am alarmed at the accelerating crisis in Washington, D.C.

Some Republican lawmakers, such as U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, might believe that “no one outside the D.C. Beltway cares” about Russia and Donald J. Trump’s alleged involvement with the nation’s pre-eminent adversary. I, though, do care about it. So do millions of other Americans, senator; you’re just not listening to us.

Does my alarm extend to my fear for the resilience of this system of government of ours? No. Not for an instant.

I remain an eternal optimist that we’ll get through all of this, no matter what the special counsel’s report reveals to us. Robert Mueller could exonerate the president of any wrongdoing. Or he could lay out a smorgasbord of questions that call into fact-based suspicion about the president’s fitness for the job.

Whatever happens, I feel compelled to remind us all that this country has survived equally serious — and more serious — crises throughout our history. We endured the Civil War; we engaged in two worldwide wars; we also endured a Great Depression; we have watched our political leaders gunned down by assassins; Americans have rioted in the streets to protest warfare; we witnessed a constitutional crisis bring down a president who resigned in disgrace; we have entered an interminable war against international terrorism.

Through it all we survived. The nation pulled itself together. It dusted itself off. It collected its breath. It analyzed what went wrong. The nation mobilized.

Our leaders have sought to unite us against common enemies. We responded.

Here we are. The special counsel is preparing — I hope — to conclude a lengthy investigation. There have been deeply troubling questions about the president’s conduct. One way or another I expect the special counsel, Robert Mueller, to answer those questions. They might not be to everyone’s satisfaction. Indeed, I can guarantee that the findings will split Americans between those who support the president and those (of us) who oppose him.

But we’re going to get through it. We might be bloodied and bruised. It might take some time to heal.

It’s going to happen.

The founders knew what they were doing when they crafted a government that they might have known — even then — would face the level of crisis it is facing today.

The world is watching and likely laughing

I happen to care what the rest of the world thinks of my nation.

Accordingly, I am thinking at this moment about what the world is thinking as the United States of America grapples in the fashion that it is over border security. What’s more, I am wondering how our allies in particular are feeling about this great and powerful nation functions with only part of the federal government running.

I find myself wishing to be a fly on the wall in places like Ottawa, Mexico City, London, Paris, Berlin, Rome, New Delhi, Nairobi, Jerusalem and Hanoi. What are leaders of these nations thinking today about the quality of leadership being seen in the White House and Capitol Hill.

Are they thrilled to see the United States writhing? Does it give any of them comfort as they watch the world’s “most indispensable nation” engaged in an internal struggle over how — or even if — it can reopen the all the halls of government?

Does it matter? Sure it does! Donald Trump might not give a rat’s rear end what the rest of the world thinks of these matters, but millions of his fellow Americans damn sure do care. I am one of them.

As for our adversaries, what are they thinking in Moscow, Tehran, Beijing, Caracas and Pyongyang?

Are they laughing? Are they using all the publicity brewing in the United States to their advantage? Will they seek to parlay all of this into some game they intend to play on the world stage?

Are our friends and foes just throwing up their hands?

Donald Trump vowed to “make America great again.” Is this how it looks to those around this shrinking world of ours?