Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Yes, Jared, birtherism is ‘racist’ to the core

Jonathan Swan of Axios asked Jared Kushner as straightforward a question as possible: Is “birtherism” racist?

How did Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior policy adviser answer the direct question? “I wasn’t there,” Kushner said. Swan persisted. “I know you weren’t,” he said. “Is it racist?”

Kushner didn’t answer it again. One or two more times he avoided answering the question with the same lame non-answer, that he “wasn’t there.”

Well, I will answer it for him. Yes. Not just “yes,” but hell yes it’s racist!

It is the lie that the president kept alive for years, even after he ascended to the nation’s highest office. He sought to discredit the election of the nation’s first African-American president by fomenting the lie that he was ineligible to run for the office because he was born in a foreign country.

Oh, never mind that Barack Obama told us repeatedly he was born in August 1961 in Hawaii. Or that — reportedly at Trump’s insistence — he produced a birth certificate that validates what he had said all along.

Why did Donald Trump keep insisting that this racist mantra was true? Did he really believe it? Did he keep pitching it merely because of the racial makeup of the president of the United States?

The term never even was widely known prior to Barack Obama’s presidential candidacy. Therefore, to my ears, the “birtherism” was born of a mindset that adheres to a sick, racist policy.

Hmm. Imagine that.

Trump changes rules of political engagement

Some of the news shows and their pundits I’ve been watching lately are pondering the question: What if Barack Obama had done this?

  • What if the former president had said he trusts North Korean dictator/tyrant/madman Kim Jong Un to do the right thing?
  • What if he had failed to show up at Arlington National Cemetery to honor our war dead on Memorial Day?
  • What if Obama had failed to attend a ceremony at a cemetery in France to honor our fallen heroes in World War II, citing a heavy rainfall as the reason?
  • What if Obama took up for the Russian president and accepted his phony denial that his government interfered in our electoral process?

Republicans in both congressional chambers would be filing impeachment proceedings in a heartbeat. Oh, sure, Democrats would resist.

I ask the question because of Republican resistance to at least launching an “inquiry” into whether a GOP president has obstructed justice. Donald Trump likely committed some sort of crime by seeking to block a Justice Department probe into alleged collusion with Russians who attacked our election in 2016.

Democrats are split. Speaker Nancy Pelosi wants to wait; some of her more fervent partisans want to launch impeachment hearings now. Republicans, meanwhile, are seeking to undermine the findings of the former special counsel.

What if President Obama had done any of this?  I shudder to think what might be the consequence.

Sen. McConnell: partisan hack supreme

There could be little, if any doubt, about Mitch McConnell’s partisan credentials.

The U.S. Senate majority leader, though, has just removed any possible benefit of the doubt. The man plays pure, raw, partisan politics better (or worse) than anyone else in Washington, D.C.

Consider his answer to this question recently: If a seat on the Supreme Court came open in 2020, the final full year of Donald Trump’s term as president, would he seek to confirm the nominee?

McConnell’s answer: “Oh, I’d fill it.”

Just four years ago, he had the chance to “fill” a seat on the high court upon the sudden and unexpected death of Justice Antonin Scalia. His response in 2016, the final full year of President Obama’s tenure in the White House, was markedly different from what he said to the crowd in Paducah, Ky.

McConnell said immediately upon Scalia’s death that Obama would not fill the vacancy. McConnell would block any attempt for a Democratic president to replace a conservative justice appointed by a Republican president; in this case, it was President Reagan who nominated Scalia.

Obama nominated Merrick Garland to the SCOTUS. The Senate didn’t give him a hearing. Key Republican senators never even met the fellow. His nomination withered and died. We elected a new president in November 2016 — and it happened to be Donald Trump!

Oh, but now we have a GOP president in office. If a vacancy were to develop on the court, McConnell — also a Republican — would move to fill the vacancy.

Just think that this partisan hack has the gall, the stones, the chutzpah to suggest Democrats are “playing politics.”

This guy, McConnell, plays the political game with the best of ’em.

Sen. McConnell’s thinly disguised contempt for fairness — to my way of thinking — is what gives politics and politicians a bad name.

Trump stands as proof that ‘anyone’ can become POTUS

A young U.S. senator from Illinois stood before the 2004 Democratic National Convention and said, “Only in this country is my story even possible.”

His name was Barack Obama, a self-proclaimed “skinny kid with a funny name.” He was an African-American man born in Hawaii to a white woman from Kansas and a black man from Kenya. There he was, delivering the keynote speech to Democrats who would nominate Sen. John Kerry to run against President Bush.

Four years later, that senator would run for president himself. Millions of Americans voted proudly for him. I was one of those Americans. Sen. Obama became President Obama and demonstrated that, indeed, “anyone could be elected president.”

Obama set the standard for political improbability. Eight years after that, though, another man smashed that standard to smithereens.

Donald John Trump Sr. had never sought public office. He had never devoted a minute of his adult life in service to the public. His entire life had been built with one goal: to enrich himself.

He was a huckster supreme. He sold us a bill of goods. He talked about his brilliant business acumen. Trump told us he would do for the country what he did for himself. He would make America great again. All by himself, too!

Well, this charlatan managed to capture enough Electoral College votes to defeat a profoundly more qualified candidate, former U.S. senator/secretary of state/first lady Hillary Rodham Clinton.

Now he wants a second term as POTUS. I must ask this question: Is this clown going to fool us yet again?

Trump has managed to denigrate damn near every institution he has touched. He has hurled insults. Trump has tossed out innuendo after innuendo.

Trump has failed time and time again to demonstrate a shred of humanity. He lacks the basic elements of empathy. He cannot tell the truth at any level.

Donald Trump has proven without a doubt that in this country, “Anyone can be elected president.”

If this individual manages to win re-election in 2020, then we all must live with the truism we hear from time to time:

Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me.

Too busy on MAGA for golf, Mr. POTUS?

Donald Trump used to mock Barack Obama for his golf habits.

The Republican Party presidential candidate told us he would be “too busy” making America great again for golf. He wouldn’t play it; certainly not on the level that President Obama enjoyed some time on the links.

Hah! A new report says that the president has cost the U.S. Treasury more than $100 million to pay for his many golf excursions at Trump properties.

Promises made, promises kept? Or more like broken?

Well, I don’t begrudge the president playing golf. As I’ve noted already, a president is never off the clock.

If only this president hadn’t popped off so recklessly about his predecessor’s relaxation habits and then lied to us about how devoted he would be to serving the country.

What a fraud!

Merrick Garland to preside over Trump appeal? Oh, the irony

The irony here is just too obvious and too rich to ignore.

Donald Trump’s legal team is going to appeal a federal judge’s ruling that the president must obey congressional demands to turn over his financial records.

And just who is going to preside over the federal appeals court that will consider this case? None other than Judge Merrick Garland, the man who by all rights should be sitting on the U.S. Supreme Court instead of serving as chief of the D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals.

This is quite fascinating.

President Barack Obama nominated Garland to the high court after the sudden and shocking death of Justice Antonin Scalia in early 2016. Justice Scalia had been dead mere hours when U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell declared that President Obama would not get to fill the SCOTUS seat. Obama was in the final full year of his presidency and McConnell insisted that the next president be allowed to perform that constitutional duty.

In truth, Merrick Garland was a superb choice. He should have been given a hearing. He should have been confirmed by the Senate. He wasn’t because of McConnell’s partisan grandstanding.

Now the judge gets to preside over an appellate case filed by Donald Trump.

My hunch is this: Judge Garland is going to demonstrate for the entire world his impartiality, his legal judgment, his expertise and knowledge of the U.S. Constitution . . . and will show us precisely why he should be sitting on the United States Supreme Court.

Trump fibs, ‘er, lies once again about Michael Flynn

Donald Trump just cannot stop blaming Barack Obama for mistakes he makes.

He said today that the former president never informed him about the risk he was taking by hiring Michael Flynn as his national security adviser.

D’oh! Except that the former president did warn the current president: Don’t hire this guy; he’s trouble.

Oh, but then Trump said “no one” warned him about Flynn, the retired Army three-star general who had gotten tangled up with Russians involved in that effort to undermine the U.S. election in 2016.

Trump wrote on Twitter: It now seems the General Flynn was under investigation long before was common knowledge. It would have been impossible for me to know this but, if that was the case, and with me being one of two people who would become president, why was I not told so that I could make a change?

Doggone it, anyhow! Deputy U.S. Attorney General Sally Yates also warned the president-elect about Flynn being possibly “compromised” by the Russians. Trump’s reaction was to get rid of Yates.

Flynn joined the administration as national security adviser and lasted 24 days before Trump fired him! Why? For lying to the FBI and to Vice President Pence about his relationships with those pesky Russians.

However, Trump just cannot — or will not — get his facts straight.

Barack Obama warned him about Flynn. So did Sally Yates.

The new president wasn’t paying attention!

Why punish DACA recipients for their parents’ ‘sins’?

The Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is in the news again. Indeed, it never seems to go away largely because some in Congress want to eliminate an executive order that President Obama signed in 2012.

For the life of my I keep asking: Why must we punish law-abiding U.S. residents for something their parents did when their children were too young to resist?

Obama signed the DACA order to protect those who came here as children when their parents entered the United States illegally. Many of those DACA recipients came here as infants or toddlers. Mom and Dad entered the United States in search of a better life. They just didn’t get into the country legally. They snuck in under the proverbial radar.

Over the years, many of those children grew into responsible adults in the only country they knew as young adults and older. They were educated in our schools, they attended college, they graduated with honors. They went to work. They have paid their taxes. They have lived as de facto U.S. citizens, except that they’re here illegally.

Barack Obama intended to protect them from immediate deportation, enabling them a path toward obtaining citizenship or at minimum permanent resident status.

Then Obama left office. In comes Donald Trump, vowing to eliminate the DACA order. He did so. He ordered the immediate deportation of these individuals. Why? Because in the strictest definition of the word, they are “lawbreakers.”

I admit — albeit grudgingly — that Trump is right. Technically, that is. The more humane approach would be to extend DACA benefits for those who came only because of something their parents did.

A federal court panel has just ruled that Trump’s order rescinding the DACA order was “arbitrary and capricious.” The president is sure to fight it.

I just am baffled that the administration continues to insist on punishing U.S. residents only because they happened to be born to individuals who sought to skirt U.S. immigration law in search of a better life for their families.

I’ll divulge a little secret about Donald Trump’s Cabinet. It happens to include a gentleman — Energy Secretary (and former Texas Gov.) Rick Perry — who once touted the notion of allowing DACA recipients to pay in-state college tuition prices, the same as any resident of Texas. So, you see, Trump hasn’t surrounded himself totally with heartless ideologues.

If only he would listen to others in his administration who share Rick Perry’s view that DACA does more good than harm for the United States of America.

Sen. Romney stands on principle in voting ‘no’ on judge

I know that a single U.S. Senate vote does not signal a trend, but I have to be heartened by a principled “no” vote cast by Utah’s freshman Republican senator, Mitt Romney.

The former GOP presidential nominee was the lone Republican to vote against the nomination of Beaumont lawyer Michael Truncale to be a U.S. district judge. Truncale won confirmation by a narrow 49-46 vote to take a seat on the bench representing East Texas.

Why the “no” vote from Romney? Because Truncale describe President Obama in 2011 as an “un-American imposter,” which quite naturally was seen by many as a play into the “birther” lie that plagued Obama during much of his presidency; you know, what he was born in Kenya and, thus, was ineligible to run for, let alone serve as, president of the United States.

“He said some things disparaging of President (Barack) Obama and having been the Republican nominee in 2012, I couldn’t sign onto that for a district judge,” Romney told CNN.

Romney has demonstrated that he won’t be Donald Trump’s “yes man” on all matters that come before the Senate.

Truncale received a grilling from Senate Judiciary Committee Democrats about the remark and he answered that “it is possible” he was expressing frustration over what he called Obama’s lack of “overt patriotism.”

Yeah, sure thing, bub. Suppose he was merely popping off at that false assumption. Doesn’t that, therefore, speak to the man’s judicial temperament, or the lack thereof?

Romney famously said during the 2012 Al Smith Memorial Dinner in New York that he and President Obama — who were locked in a fierce battle for the White House at the time — did not harbor personal “ill will” toward each other despite their widely divergent world views.

Sen. Romney’s “no” vote against Michael Truncale keeps faith with that declaration.

Gates, hardly a flaming lib, weighs in on ‘case closed’ claim

Robert Gates is no one’s flaming liberal. He’s a lifelong Republican who served as defense secretary for — get set! — Republican President George W. Bush and Democratic President Barack H. Obama.

Gates’ bipartisan credentials are, thus, set. So, when he says that Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s declaration that it’s “case closed” regarding the Russian attack on our electoral system is flat wrong, well, I’m inclined to listen to him.

Gates has suggested that the Trump administration’s response to the Russian attack has been tepid and weak-kneed.

He said this on “Face the Nation” today: “And frankly, I think elected officials who depend on honest elections to get elected ought to place as a very high priority measures to protect the American electoral system against interference by foreigners.”

Gates doesn’t believe the Trump team has made those measures a “very high priority.” Gee! Do ya think?

I remained baffled and astonished that Donald Trump would stand next to Russian strongman Vladimir Putin and actually disparage U.S. intelligence analyses that Russians interfered in our election in 2016, and then went on to say he didn’t see “why they would.”

The president was wrong. Stubbornly wrong at that.

Robert Gates has served at the pinnacle of power in administrations governed by presidents of both major parties. He is not the partisan hack that clearly fits the description of the Senate majority leader.

This case is not “closed.” Nor is the matter involving the obstruction of justice charge that special counsel Robert Mueller left wide open in his 448-page report.

Case closed? Not . . . even . . . close!