Category Archives: national security

Had it with all these Kavanaugh speeches

I hereby declare that I have had it up to here with all these speeches about Judge Brett Kavanaugh and his confirmation to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Where is “here”? Name it: my eyeballs, my armpits, the top of my noggin. Or, you can say “here” is my chinny-chin-chin.

We know what U.S. Senate Republicans think of Kavanaugh. They think he’s the best thing to happen to jurisprudence since pockets on shirts. Democrats believe the accusation that he sexually assaulted at least one woman in the 1980s and don’t want him anywhere near the highest court in the land.

Yet many of the 100 men and women who comprise the Senate are orating their pleasure/displeasure about the confirmation vote.

Spare me, ladies and gentlemen. Indeed, spare the rest of the country. We’ve heard it already. Multiple times! You’ve repeated yourselves.

Actually, all I’m hearing now is the equivalent of white noise.

Blah, blah, blah … and some more blah, blah. 

Kavanaugh isn’t my idea of a good choice for the Supreme Court. Then again, I have no direct say in who Donald J. Trump appoints to these posts. The president won’t listen to me. For that matter, he doesn’t listen to damn near anyone, believing that since he is the president of the United States, he is entitled to make whatever decision he feels like making.

True enough.

In the meantime, the Senate’s 100 members need to stop talking now about things we’ve heard already.

The walls are closing in on the president

I am pretty sure we can toss aside the comment from the White House that Paul Manafort’s guilty plea will have no impact on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the 2016 presidential election.

We have come to expect such false bravado from Donald J. Trump’s team. It delivered the goods yet again when Manafort pleaded guilty to two felony charges and gave Mueller a promise to “cooperate” with his probe into whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russians who attacked our electoral system.

Manafort is the biggest fish that Mueller has reeled in. Manafort is the former campaign chairman for Trump. He left the campaign in mid-stride, handing over campaign management duties to Kellyanne Conway.

I, of course, have no way of knowing with any certainty about the mood within the White House. However, when I do the math, I find that two plus two still equals four.

Manafort’s guilty plea and pending cooperation cannot bode well for the president. That brings me to the question of the day: Will the president pardon Manafort and expose himself to accusations of obstruction of justice?

The threat is growing

Trump shouldn’t go there. Then again, he has shown a tendency to do things just because he can. The president has unquestioned power to pardon anyone he chooses. Is this president enough of a fool to do the most foolish thing imaginable at this point in the investigation? I am not putting a single thing past this guy.

Yes, the walls are closing in. However, I won’t predict the president’s downfall. I mean, he wasn’t supposed to win the 2016 election in the first place.

We all know what happened.

Waiting for GOP heroes to emerge

I am acutely aware that we’re likely still some distance away from determining potential guilt or innocence in the “Russia thing” investigation involving Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

However, I want to ask something out loud: When might there be some Republican “heroes” emerging to tell the president that they’ve had enough of his lying; they have had their fill of the controversy that threatens to swallow the presidency whole?

The Watergate comparisons keep coming forward. President Nixon got ensnared in a coverup of the break-in at the Watergate complex in June 1972. Democrats, quite naturally, were raising a ruckus almost from the beginning. Republicans then remained more or less silent even as evidence of the coverup began to reveal itself.

Then the dam broke. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the president had to release tape recordings of White House conversations. The U.S. House Judiciary Committee approved articles of impeachment.

It was then that a delegation of Republican members of Congress trooped to the White House and confronted the president.

It fell to Sen. Barry Goldwater, the Arizona Republican, to tell Nixon that he had no support in the Senate once the House impeached him. He wouldn’t withstand a trial. The president’s list of supporters didn’t include Goldwater, the senator told him.

Nixon resigned shortly thereafter.

Are we heading to that point with Donald Trump? I have no clue.

However, the evidence of a cover-up keeps mounting in this case as well. Moreover, former aides and key advisers are talking openly about a president coming unhinged over the barrage of negative publicity.

And the president is lashing out at what he calls “fake news,” and uses Twitter to hurl bizarre insults at former allies who’ve become foes.

Where are the GOP heroes who are going to say, “Enough is enough”?

We need not get all the way to an impeachment deliberation for those heroes to emerge.

If POTUS campaigns for Cruz, here’s a thought

The more I think about it the less likely it appears that Donald John Trump will accept U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s invitation to campaign for Cruz’s re-election bid.

I have this feeling in my gut that the men detest each other.

Trump called Cruz “Lyin’ Ted” during the 2016 GOP presidential campaign. Cruz called Trump an “amoral narcissist” and a “pathological liar.” Trump linked Cruz’s father with the JFK murder in Dallas in 1963. Cruz called Trump out for denigrating his family, including his wife, Heidi.

How can they share a stage together? My view? They can’t.

But if Trump proves me wrong — and that’s always entirely possible, if not likely — he ought to come to Collin County. This is strong Republican county just north of Dallas County. It’s tailor-made for someone of the Cruz Missile’s ilk. I haven’t lived here long enough to get a full reading of the lay of the land, but my hunch is that Trump has a reservoir of popularity here.

What’s more, we have a nice venue just around the corner from where my wife and I live. It’s the Allen Event Center. It seats a lot of folks. It’s a modern facility. It’s within walking distance of our residence.

I so want to attend a Trump political rally. You know, of course, it’s not because I want to cheer his every idiotic utterance. It’s not because I want Ted Cruz to win re-election. No, I plan to support Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke.

My intent is to attend this rally with notebook and pen in hand. I crave additional grist for High Plains Blogger.

Sadly, I fear that it won’t happen.

Maybe I can persuade the president to come this way.

A ‘no’ vote on lifting restrictions on John Hinckley

John Hinckley wants a judge to grant him unconditional release, to lift the restrictions under which he must navigate his way back into society.

You remember Hinckley. He was acquitted on grounds of insanity after he shot Ronald Reagan in March 1981, coming dangerously close to killing the 40th president of the United States.

President Reagan recovered from his wound. White House press secretary James Brady, tragically, did not. He, too, was grievously wounded; he suffered a gunshot wound to his head. He fought valiantly to restore his speech, his ability to walk. He died of complications from his wounds in 2014.

Hinckley had been hospitalized since he tried to kill President Reagan. He was released from the hospital in 2016. According to MSN.com: Hinckley’s release in 2016 required that he work or volunteer at least three days a week, limit his travel, allow law enforcement to track his movements and continue meeting with a psychiatrist, among other conditions.

Hinckley does not deserve to be released from the restrictions. His doctors say his depression and psychosis are “in remission.”

I’m not a doctor, but to me “remission” does not mean “eradication.” Remissions suggests his ailments can return, just as cancer returns after being in remission.

I happened to agree with the late president’s family, who opposed Hinckley’s release from the hospital. Now I’ll weigh in and ask the judge to deny the killer’s request to lift the restrictions he must obey.

‘Lyin Ted’ wants ‘Amoral’ Donald to stump for him? Wow!

Oh, man, I want the president of the United States to accept U.S. Sen. Ted Cruz’s request to campaign for him in Texas.

You see, this is a potential “opposition research” gold mine for Democrats seeking to shoot down the Cruz Missile’s attempt at re-election to a second term in the Senate. Democratic challenger Beto O’Rourke — who’s in a neck-and-neck race with Cruz — ought to welcome it, too.

You’ve got Donald Trump’s infamous nickname for Cruz, who he labeled as “Lyin’ Ted” while competing against him for the 2016 Republican Party presidential primary campaign.

Then he posted that hideous picture of Heidi Cruz, the senator’s wife, on Twitter and sought to compare her unflatteringly with Melania Trump, the future president’s model-wife.

Let us not forget how the GOP nominee then sought to suggest that Ted Cruz’s father, Rafael, might have been somehow complicit in President Kennedy’s assassination because he supposedly was seen sharing a meal with Lee Harvey Oswald.

All of this enraged Sen. Cruz. As it should have.

He launched into a scathing attack on Trump, calling him out for the way he treated his family; he called Trump “amoral” and a “pathological liar.” He said Trump has no moral grounding.

Has any of that changed in Sen. Cruz’s mind? He says it has. The public domain, however, is still loaded with those angry words of two years ago, which in reality he cannot take back.

And does Trump think differently now of the man he once called “Lyin’ Ted”? Hmm. I am betting … no!

By all means, Mr. President, come to Texas. Campaign for Cruz. If you come anywhere near where I live in the D/FW Metroplex, I’ll be there with bells on to listen to your off-the-rails campaign-rally speech.

I’ll be sure to have my notebook and pen in hand.

Pence’s values might come back to, um, haunt him

Vice President Mike Pence is considered generally to be a goodie-two-shoes. He’s a straight arrow, a man of impeccable moral rectitude.

He once wrote in the 1990s that presidents of the United States who are unfaithful to their spouses and lie to Americans should be removed from office post haste.

Interesting, eh? You bet it is!

Because now the vice president works in an administration led by serial philanderer and a pathological liar.

CNN reports: Pence made the argument in two columns in the late 1990s, where he wrote that then-President Bill Clinton’s admission of an affair with a White House intern and prior lies to the public about the matter, possibly under oath, meant Clinton should be removed from office.

There’s more from CNN: Dismissing the idea that the president is “just the like the rest of us,” Pence wrote, “If you and I fall into bad moral habits, we can harm our families, our employers and our friends. The President of the United States can incinerate the planet. Seriously, the very idea that we ought to have at or less than the same moral demands placed on the Chief Executive that we place on our next door neighbor is ludicrous and dangerous.

“Throughout our history, we have seen the presidency as the repository of all of our highest hopes and ideals and values. To demand less is to do an injustice to the blood that bought our freedoms.”
To my way of thinking, Donald Trump has devalued the presidency to levels I have not seen in all my years watching the office and the men who have occupied it.
What say you, Mr. Vice President, about the man in charge?

Trump’s tweets diminish his powerful office

As the president of the United States seeks to “make America great … again,” he is diminishing the power, stature and profile of the very office he occupies.

How? His use of Twitter has relegated what once were considered inviolable policy statements into mere “personal opinions.” That’s according to Donald John Trump’s senior staff and legal advisers.

What in the world is going on here?

There once was a time when anything that came from the president was deemed to be hard-and-fast policy pronouncements. If the president said it, the statement was solid. Good as gold. Take it to the bank. That’s what the nation stands for.

These days statements of policy now are passed off as something, um, considerably less important.

Trump tweeted, for instance, that U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions “should” end the special counsel’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election. Where I come from, when the boss said I “should” do something, that means I do it. Not so with Trump, according to Rudy Giuliani, the president’s current personal lawyer.

I have given up complaining about Trump’s tweets. I know that he is addicted to the social medium as a method of communicating.

What, though, do the messages mean? Are they directives or are they mere blathering from the commander in chief?

Donald J. Trump’s desire to “make America great again” must include an elevation of the office to which he was elected. The presidency should reflect the greatness of the nation. Isn’t that a reasonable assumption to make?

To date, not even two years into his presidency, Trump is diminishing his office through his incessant use of Twitter to declare every damn thing on what passes for his mind.

As the office of the presidency shrinks, so does the president’s objective of achieving greatness for the nation he governs.

‘What wars have we started?’

Allow me to throw a bouquet at Chris Wallace, the host of “Fox News Sunday,” who this morning asked national security adviser John Bolton a most pertinent question.

“What wars have we (the media) started,” Wallace asked Bolton, who — quite expectedly — dodged the question, avoided giving a direct answer.

The question came from a tweet fired off this morning by Donald J. Trump, who said the following:

The Fake News hates me saying that they are the Enemy of the People only because they know it’s TRUE. I am providing a great service by explaining this to the American People. They purposely cause great division & distrust. They can also cause War! They are very dangerous & sick!

The danger and sickness, allow me to respond, are coming from the president of the United States, whose Twitter messages are sounding increasingly hysterical and detached from reality.

According to The Hill: “That’s the president’s view, based on the attacks the media has made,” Bolton responded, citing past administrations that have clashed with the media.

“I think this kind of adversarial relationship is typical,” he added.

What is not typical is for the president of the United States to accuse the media of potentially causing “war” by offering critical analysis and commentary of public policy.

Scary, man!

Two events: contrasting styles, confusing messages

The juxtaposition of two events the other day — just hours apart — speaks volumes about the incoherence of the Donald Trump administration and its outlook on national security threats.

Five members of the president’s national security and intelligence team stood before the nation and delivered a stern, but unified message. The Russians attacked our electoral system in 2016 and are doing so as we speak. These men and one woman were serious in their tone. They were measured. They all spoke with concern in their voices and delivered an urgent message: Our national security is at risk as is our electoral democratic process.

Then came the hysterical rants of the commander in chief. Six hours after the White House press briefing, Donald Trump stood before a campaign rally and bellowed “hoax!” in describing the Russia attack. He launched into an idiotic tirade against Democrats, against the “fake, fake, disgusting media,” and damn near every other perceived foe out there on the horizon.

The contrast in style and in message couldn’t be more profound.

Or more frightening.

Trump is the man in charge. The individuals who are charged with protecting our national security answer report to a goofball! It’s as clear as that.

Trump continues to deny the obvious attack on our electoral process. He continues to equivocate and make excuses. He doesn’t understand what his national security adviser, the homeland security secretary, the director of national intelligence, the FBI director and the National Security Agency director all know with absolute clarity.

The Russians have attacked us. They are continuing to do so.

The president is giving the Russians “aid and comfort” by undermining the concerns expressed by our national security team.

Disgraceful.