Category Archives: political news

Well now … that was some KAG rally in Big D

To my friends and assorted loved ones who expressed concern that I was plunging into the belly of the beast by attending a Donald Trump re-election rally, I have good news.

I survived. Intact. No one laid a hand on me. No one got angry. I stayed for as long as I wanted to stay and left on my terms.

There. Now that we’ve cleared that up, I want to offer a word or two about what I saw at the American Airlines Center in downtown Dallas this afternoon and evening.

I saw a huge crowd Trump fanatics — the vast majority of whom (close to 90 percent, I am guessing) — wearing Donald Trump gear. MAGA hats. Shirts with assorted sayings and slogans; some of them were profane and expressed a good bit of anger.

I met a very nice couple from Rockwall, who drove all the way into Dallas to see their man, the president. I confided in them while we waited outside that “I am not a Trump supporter. I am here as an observer.” OK, I didn’t tell them the whole truth, that I was there as a fervent anti-Trump voter and that I intend to keep skewering Trump whenever possible. They promised to read my blog on the subject and I hope they don’t hate me too much.

There were t-shirts with the message: Trump Supporter, I Won’t Apologize For It.” When have you seen a political supporter offer up that qualifier? Anyone? Oh, and there was this gem: “Fu** Your Feelings.” I didn’t have the courage to ask if those wearing that article of clothing were among Trump’s evangelical base of supporters.

The crowd outside was remarkable in its ethnic/racial makeup. It was not as lily white as I expected. I saw several African-American men wearing “Blacks for Trump” attire.

Then there was the shirt that said “Jesus Is My Savior, Trump Is My President.” Actually, that one made me want to hurl, given that the shirt contained the name of Jesus Christ and arguably the most anti-Christian man ever elected to the presidency. Enough of that.

I stood in a line that stretched more than a mile and a half. We snaked our way around several barriers outside the AAC, then walked up the steps and into the building. The U.S. Secret Service did a remarkably thorough but quick inspection of everyone entering the arena.

I found a seat way up high.

Then out came the president of the United States, applauding along with the cheering crowd. I never can tell why he claps so much when he enters a room. Is he cheering those who are clapping for him … or is he just so damn proud of himself that he cannot resist giving himself an ovation?

Whatever.

He launched into the same tired tirade I’ve been hearing since he took office. Democrats are the enemy. So are the media. Everyone opposed to Trump and the Republican Party want “open borders,” they want to “take away your rights,” they favor “socialism” over capitalism, they hate the United States, and on and on.

Admission time: I didn’t stay for Trump’s entire tirade. I heard all I could stand and left.

My final takeaway from this Trump “Keep America Great” rally is this: The enthusiasm of the 16,000 or so in the arena and in line waiting to get into the AAC is as fervent as anything I have ever seen at events such as this. I will give Trump credit for that much; his base of support is seemingly unshakable.

Which makes me wonder yet again: Are these Trump loyalists so blinded by their fealty to this man that they can overlook the crimes he has committed? Or are they — and there’s no pleasant way to say this — just plain ignorant?

This impeachment thing appears to be growing more tentacles

As I seek to follow the ongoing impeachment crisis threatening the presidency of Donald Trump, I am getting a sense that the story is getting bigger than many Americans would prefer.

Just three weeks ago we learned about a phone call that Trump had with Ukrainian President Volodormyr Zellenskiy in which he sought a favor from Ukraine in exchange for releasing money to help Ukrainians fight Russian aggressors.

The phone call prompted House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to launch an impeachment inquiry. The thought as I understood at the time was that the House would move rapidly toward an impeachment vote by Thanksgiving. It would be a narrowly focused matter: whether the president violated his oath by seeking foreign government help in his re-election and seeking foreign help in digging up dirt on Joe Biden, a potential foe in the 2020 presidential election.

Now it seems as if this story is getting many more tentacles.

Trump appeared to suggest that the vice president, Mike Pence, had conversations with Ukrainians as well; Secretary of State Mike Pompeo at first denied knowledge of the Trump-Zellenskiy phone conversation, then acknowledged he was “on the call”; questions have now arisen about Turkey and whether the president’s decision to abandon our allies in Kurdistan in the fight against ISIS is somehow related to a Trump Towers deal in Istanbul.

My head is spinning, man.

Does all of this come together quickly? Can there be an impeachment vote by Thanksgiving? Can the Senate commence a trial and make a decision by, say, spring 2020? Is all of this getting so muddy that we won’t have a resolution until after the 2020 presidential election?

As if it needed to get more complicated. The juxtaposition of a re-election fight and an impeachment muddies matters beyond anything the nation has experienced. President Clinton was a lame-duck second-term president when the House impeached him in 1998; President Nixon was in the same boat when the House Judiciary Committee approved articles of impeachment in 1974. Neither man faced re-election.

This whole scenario is vastly different. Moreover, it keeps growing in its complexity as more Cabinet officials get sucked into the debate over what they knew and when they knew it.

I need something to settle my nerves.

I also want this saga to end — either through impeachment and Senate conviction, or at the ballot box — with Donald Trump vacating the Oval Office for a final time.

Just think … they impeached Bill Clinton for lying about sex!

If there is a hint of reflection among congressional Republicans who are resisting calls to impeach Donald J. Trump on allegations that he is endangering national security, they need to ponder what their political forebears did 20 years ago.

President Bill Clinton in 1998 became the subject of a special prosecutor’s probe into a real estate deal in Arkansas, where Clinton served as governor before he was elected president in 1992. The investigation broadened way beyond its initial mandate.

Prosecutor Kenneth Starr then started sniffing out reports of a relationship Clinton had with a White House intern. He summoned the president to testify before a federal grand jury about that relationship. Clinton took an oath to “tell nothing but the truth.” He didn’t uphold that oath. He committed an act of perjury because, apparently, he was too embarrassed to reveal what went on with him and the intern.

Congressional Republicans decided to launch an “impeachment inquiry” into that matter. They then impeached the president ostensibly for committing a felony: that would be perjury.

However, the complete impeachment context has to include sex. The House impeached Clinton because he had a sexual relationship with a young woman working in the White House.

The Senate acquitted Clinton in the trial it held.

Here we are, two decades later.

Donald Trump is facing an impeachment inquiry of his own. The allegations are no longer really allegations. Trump has said it out loud, that he has sought help from Ukraine to dig up dirt on Joe Biden. He doubled down after that by saying China should do the same thing.

What’s more, Trump withheld arms shipments to Ukraine until it agreed to aid in his re-election effort. Those shipments include weapons Ukraine wants to deploy against Russian troops who have invaded Ukraine.

Ukraine is an ally. Russia is an adversary. Hmm. Can you say, “national security threat”?

Republicans in the House and Senate so far have been far too reluctant to climb aboard the impeachment hay wagon. These folks, I need to remind everyone, belong to the same political party of those who were so very quick to impeach an earlier president for lying to a grand jury.

What in the name of constitutional defense is more critical: a president’s personal misbehavior or a president who violates his oath to adhere to the nation’s governing framework?

Get ready for the filthiest campaign in history

I am trying like the dickens to wrap my noggin around an impossible prospect.

That is, I am seeking to comprehend the level of filth that will sully the next campaign for the presidency of the United States. We are getting a whiff of the stench that already is filling the air around the 2020 campaign.

Donald J. Trump’s re-election campaign is getting set to run TV ads on the Fox News Channel that seek to tie Joe Biden, a potential 2020 opponent, to phony allegations of corruption involving the former VP and his son, Hunter, in business dealings in Ukraine.

Think about that for a moment. When have we seen an incumbent president seek to influence a primary outcome in the other political party? I am trying to remember. The closest parallel I can find is 1972, when Republicans sought to surreptitiously undermine Democratic frontrunner Edmund Muskie of Maine while greasing the skids for Democrats to nominate George McGovern of South Dakota. The difference between then and now is that President Nixon’s re-election team did it all under the table … not out front and in plain view of the entire world! The strategy worked: Nixon won re-election in a historic landslide, then got into serious trouble with that thing called “Watergate.”

Meanwhile, the current president is facing the real prospect of being impeached by the U.S. House of Representatives over his admission that he is asking for foreign government help in his re-election effort, not to mention help in digging up dirt on Joe and Hunter Biden.

My fellow Americans, welcome to the new age of American politics, where the president of the United States openly violates his oath of office and then seeks to smear a potential campaign opponent with the hope that the opposing party will nominate someone else.

I hope we all have the stomach for what we are about to witness.

MAGA rally on tap in Dallas … dare I see what it’s all about?

I have just committed — more or less — to doing something I hope I am able to withstand physically, let alone emotionally.

Donald J. Trump is coming to Dallas in a couple of weeks. He is going to stage a “MAGA Rally” at the American Airlines Center  in downtown Dallas. I presume the place will be full.

I just obtained a ticket from the Trump campaign’s official website. Ticket is sitting on my desk at home. I am looking at it as I type this brief message.

A part of me wants to go. In fact, most of me wants to see this spectacle for myself, to get a ringside seat for this stream-of-consciousness litany of insult and innuendo that is sure to pour fourth from the president’s pie hole.

A much smaller part of me wonders: Are you out of your fu***** mind?

Actually, no. I am of sound mind. My belief is that in order to understand a little better this individual’s appeal to a substantial — but shrinking — part of the American electorate I need to see one of these events up close.

I once took a friendly wager from the late mayor of Beaumont, Texas, Maury Meyers, to watch Rush Limbaugh on TV and listen to his radio broadcast over a span of time before making any snap judgement on his message. I accepted Meyers’ challenge.

Then I determined after about two weeks watching Limbaugh that the blowhard was worse than I thought. I wrote a column about my experience watching the right-wing gas bag and determined that Limbaugh was the Willard Scott of political commentary.

Except that Willard Scott, formerly the “Today” show weatherman, “makes me laugh” while Limbaugh “makes me sick.”

I fear I am going to get physically ill standing among the thousands of Trump supporters, cheering his mindlessness, whoopin’ and hollerin’ when he tosses out lie after lie.

At this moment, though, I am committed to attending this MAGA rally. Perhaps if I see, hear and feel the emotion boiling up inside the arena, I’ll be better prepared to say what I know already.

Donald Trump is unfit for the presidency of the United States.

‘Good government’ is about to take some time off

I consider myself to be a “good government progressive.”

Government should do the most good possible but it takes individuals on both sides of the political aisle to make it work as I believe our nation’s founders intended.

So … having laid that out, I fear we are about to enter an era of “no government” action aimed at helping Americans.

Impeachment now is clouding it all in Washington, D.C. Donald Trump is enraged at Democrats who want to impeach him for violating his oath of office. He says a phone conversation he had with the Ukrainian president was “perfect,” even though he asked his counterpart for foreign government assistance in getting re-elected and in digging up dirt on a potential 2020 opponent, Joe Biden.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has launched an “impeachment inquiry.” Trump is spending his days now firing off Twitter tirades and tantrums at his foes.

What does all this do for the cause of good government? It throws it into the crapper.

Democrats are enraged at Trump, too. The president, who doesn’t work well with Democrats under the best of circumstances, isn’t likely to work with them on anything now that House Democrats appear intent on seeking his ouster from office.

So, we’re going to pay our lawmakers a six-figure salary ostensibly to enact legislation, cast votes and send bills to the Oval Office for the president’s signature.

Except that none of that is likely to happen as House Democrats and Donald Trump play political chicken with each other.

Therefore, good government will vanish for the foreseeable future.

On the hunt for Trump supporter

GOLDEN, British Columbia — I received a grim prediction from a resident of Vancouver, B.C.: My hunt for a Canadian who supports Donald J. Trump is likely to prove futile.

No worries. I intend to keep looking for that individual.

My acquaintance, a retired biochemist who is on his way to Regina, Saskatchewan to see family members, told me that Trump supporters in this country are a scarce commodity.

What is this gentleman’s view of the president of the United States?

“He is too unpredictable,” he said. “He just doesn’t act presidential,” he continued. “We expect more, I guess, from the president of the United States.”

Does that sound familiar? Sure it does. We might have this lengthy divide between our two countries, but we do share the same massive — and magnificent — continent. Most Americans and Canadians appear to be of like minds regarding the president, according to the gentleman.

What’s more, this fellow we met told us a quick story about his father. “My dad happens to be an American,” he said. My new friend explained that when Trump was running for president in 2016, his father — who he described as a “right wing thinking” sort of fellow — was all for Trump. “He just thought Trump was going to ‘make America great again,’ and all that kind of thing,” he friend said.

His father’s view now?

“Dad has changed his mind,” he said.

My acquaintance didn’t say it directly, but his slight chuckle while discussing Donald Trump seems to reveal a view my cousin revealed to me about a Canadian friend of his. Canadians are laughing at us Americans. OK, I get it. Except that none of this man’s tenure in office is funny.

So, the hunt goes on.

I hope the retired biochemist is mistaken. I am going to keep searching for a pro-Trump Canadian.

Y’all will be among the first to know if I find that person.

Just who can slug it out with Donald Trump?

It is now a given. Donald J. Trump will conduct a mean, unorthodox and vile campaign for re-election as president of the United States.

The question facing Democrats as they look over their still quite large field of presidential candidates is: Who among them is willing and able to stand up to the onslaught that Trump will hurl at them?

I have my doubts about all of ’em.

I believe it is becoming clearer by the week, if not daily, that this campaign is going to rest between Trump and one of four, maybe five, Democratic contenders.

Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren, Bernie (gulp!) Sanders, Pete Buttigieg and (maybe) Beto O’Rourke stand at the top of candidates who I think will stay the course beyond the first caucuses and primaries. If only Kamala Harris could shake the race up just a bit more.

It might be that someone will emerge as the gut fighter the Democrats will need if they have a chance of defeating the carnival barker in chief. Remember when former first lady Michelle Obama implored Democrats to “go high” when Republicans “go low”? We can kiss that mantra good bye, or so it appears to me at this moment.

Trump is a street fighter. The hideousness he displayed while beating Hillary Clinton in 2016 might resemble a hen party by the time he gets ramped up against whomever the Democratic Party nominates next summer to run against him.

I will lay this out right now, as if it’s a big surprise … which it isn’t. Any of the Democrats now in the field — with the possible exception of Bernie Sanders — would have my vote against Trump in November 2020. Why not possibly Bernie? Because his mantra about wealth inequality is becoming like a one-note samba.

Donald Trump never should have gotten elected in 2016. The Democrats’ major error was in nominating someone who had at least as many negatives going for her as Trump. I know what you might be thinking: Sure, you can say that now, even though you were predicting a big win for Hillary the last time. Well, I wasn’t alone.

I guess the task now for the field of Democratic challengers is for someone among them to emerge as the toughest of the bunch to handle the nastiness that is sure to come from the president.

I just wish someone could stake that claim.

GOP ‘canceling’ elections in effort to ‘rig’ POTUS’s re-election?

I am sure you remember when Republican Party presidential nominee Donald J. Trump accused Democrats of trying to “rig” the 2016 party nomination process to favor of Hillary Clinton.

He never really offered any scenario on how that would be done, but he kept yammering and yapping about it.

Well, the GOP now has a strategy to “rig” its nominating process to favor Trump’s effort to be nominated by his party in 2020. They’re planning to cancel primary elections in various states in an effort to protect a weakened incumbent.

Trump faces possibly three party challengers, former U.S. Reps. Mark Sanford and Joe Walsh and former Gov. William Weld. States party organizations are seeking ways to cancel the primary elections because they fear a possible Trump loss in any upcoming GOP primary.

Is it “rigged”?

I know this isn’t exactly unprecedented. Democrats have done the same thing in recent election cycles, such as what happened in South Carolina in 2012 when President Obama sought re-election; the South Carolina Democratic Party canceled that state’s primary eight years ago. One thing, though: No Democrats rose to challenge the president.

This one seems a bit different, given the expressed interest among three Republican politicians in challenging an incumbent GOP president.

Yep. It looks like they’re “rigging” the outcome.

Was the 2016 election ‘rigged,’ Mr. POTUS?

Mr. President, I lost count of the number of times you said that the 2016 election would be “rigged” if Hillary Rodham Clinton were to win the presidency.

I remember how it became a sort of campaign stump speech mantra. You kept hammering away at what you said would be a “rigged” result stemming from what you said were “Crooked Hillary’s” instincts. I recall how you said the Democratic Party rigged its nomination outcome to ensure Clinton would carry the party banner against you over Bernie Sanders.

Well, your victory surprised a lot of us, Mr. President.

But then came the reports of Russian hackers interfering in our electoral system. I accept that Robert Mueller’s investigation said you and your campaign didn’t conspire to collude with the Russians.

However, his insistence that the Russian interfered on your behalf brings to mind the question: Was the 2016 election “rigged” to benefit you, Mr. President, over your opponent?

You have kept so very quiet about that aspect of the election. I know you have stood by your pal Vladimir Putin’s denial that he interfered in our electoral process. I also know how you’ve undercut the nation’s intelligence network that says categorically that the Russians interfered in our election.

I once thought out loud that the Russian attack didn’t have a discernible impact on the election result. I have changed my mind.