Tag Archives: Barack Obama

Trump’s belittling of brass simply stinks beyond belief

The history of Donald Trump’s pre-business history is well-known.

He sought to avoid service in the military during the height of the Vietnam War. He received dubious medical deferments citing bone spurs or some such ailment that kept him out of being eligible for military service.

He went into business. Made a lot of money. Lost a lot of money. Had mixed success as a business mogul. Then he went into politics. He ran for president of the United States. He won!

So for this current president to dress down men who have served their country honorably, in combat, thrust themselves into harm’s way is insulting, degrading and astonishingly unpatriotic.

Two reporters for the Washington Post, Philip Rucker and Carol Leonnig, have written a book that tells just how disgraceful Trump’s conduct has gotten with regard to the military high command. An excerpt from that book tells of a meeting in a Pentagon room called The Tank. The brass sought to explain the nuts and bolts of military matters to the commander in chief. He was having none of it.

He called the generals “babies and dopes.” He has told them they are “losers” and said he wouldn’t “go into battle” with them.

I am trying imagine, were I one of those decorated combat veterans, hearing such denigration coming from the commander in chief. The entire world knows this man’s history. We all know that, when he had the opportunity to serve his country, he chose another path.

Don’t misunderstand me on this score. I do not begrudge a president who’s never worn the nation’s military uniform. Two recent presidents did not serve: Barack Obama or Bill Clinton. Neither did Franklin Roosevelt or Woodrow Wilson, both of whom led this country through two world wars.

What is so objectionable is the snarky attitude this president demonstrates to individuals who have done what he sought to avoid doing. That he would speak to these patriots in such a manner is disgraceful on its face.

McConnell exhibits stunning lack of self-awareness

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Of all the statements, assertions, pronouncements and declarations I keep hearing while we watch this impeachment drama unfold, I keep circling back to what keeps coming out of the mouth of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

The Kentucky Republican keeps hurling “partisan political” accusations at his Democratic colleagues in the Senate and in the House of Representatives. When I hear him accuse House Speaker Nancy Pelosi of acting as a purely partisan politician, I find myself thinking: Dude, do you not remember your own political history? 

Of course he does!

I harken back to the Mother of All Partisan Acts when in early 2016 he declared that President Obama would not be able to select someone to sit on the U.S. Supreme Court. Justice Antonin Scalia died suddenly that year; Obama sought to nominate Merrick Garland to succeed him; McConnell put the brakes on it, declaring that the president’s nominee would not get a Senate hearing in an election year.

Democrats were rightfully outraged. It was an act of supreme partisanship, just as he has continued to exhibit his partisan bona fides during the run-up to the Senate impeachment trial that has commenced.

Speaking of that … for the Senate majority leader to accuse anyone else of partisan game-playing is akin to getting a lecture on marital fidelity from, oh, you know who.

What? Trump now accepts climate change as a serious threat?

This story has gone largely unnoticed by damn near all of us.

Donald Trump, the fellow who has called climate change a “hoax” concocted by China, which wants to undermine the U.S. manufacturing sector and our fossil fuel industry, has changed his tune … allegedly.

This past Thursday, Trump announced an initiative to make it easier to build natural gas pipelines. A reporter asked him if he still thinks climate change is a hoax. His answer is potentially jaw-dropping.

The Week.com reported: Trump said, “No, no. Not at all. Nothing’s a hoax … It’s a very serious subject. The environment is important to me. I’m a big believer in that word, the environment … I want clean air. I want clean water. I also want jobs, though.”

Oh, I want to believe him on this. I would except for a couple of factors. One is that is speaks in those sophomoric platitudes. He’s a “believer in that word, the environment”? He says he wants clean air and water. B … F … D, Mr. President. How do you intend to achieve it?

His newfound acceptance of climate change’s existential threat to Earth sounds to me as sincere as the time he said that President Barack Obama is a U.S. citizen. That sounded in the moment like a throwaway line. His acceptance of Obama’s U.S. citizenship was offered with far less vigor or outward sincerity than the “birther” lie he kept fomenting. Now the president says the “environment is important to me.”

The second reason that makes me skeptical is the president’s penchant for prevarication. He lies all the time. About all things. He and the truth have never met face to face.

I guess perhaps that explains why this story has been so grossly underreported. Whatever, my hope is that someone, somehow will be able to hold the president accountable for this alleged reversal.

Such wisdom from a past president

Social media is chock full of instant reference material … such as YouTube videos that ricochet around in cyberspace.

So, I found such a video of President Obama’s press conference as president. He took a question from a reporter he knew from his days as a state senior in Illinois. The question dealt with the lessons the Obamas’ daughters, Malia and Sasha, learned during their eight years living in the White House and the lessons they learned from the 2016 presidential election.

The president’s response was quite stunning. He talked about how he believes his daughters will seek to do good work, to make a difference; he said he doesn’t anticipate they will enter politics.

He then said he believes the world is full of many more good people than bad people. The good-over-bad ratio, said the president, gives him hope for the future that his daughter’s will inherit.

It’s a lesson worth heeding. Barack Obama turned over the presidency to a man, Donald Trump, who has sought to appeal to many Americans’ baser instincts. The national mood, in my mind, clearly has deteriorated during Trump’s tenure in office.

Still, his immediate predecessor — the fellow Trump cannot stop criticizing — expressed hope that Americans’ basic goodness will help shepherd us all through this difficult time.

Here is the video of the president’s final news conference. It’s lengthy. The operative question comes at around the 52-minute mark. Take a look.

This man, Barack Obama, speaks with tremendous wisdom and, yes, I miss hearing this kind of rhetoric coming from the president of the United States.

 

Now it’s the ‘Obama-Biden administration’

Did anyone other than me notice something a bit different coming from the Donald Trump administration’s criticism of policies put forward by the Obama administration?

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made the Sunday morning news/talk show circuit to explain Trump’s decision to kill Iranian terrorist leader Qassem Solemaini with an air strike in Baghdad, Iraq.

He kept referring — get ready for it! — the mistakes made by the “Obama-Biden administration.” Do you get it? Pompeo is now trying to link former Vice President Joe Biden to former President Barack Obama. Why is that? Well, it appears to me that the Trump team believes the former VP is going to be the Democratic Party presidential nominee later this year.

It’s a subtle tactic to demonize a political foe. Do I think the demonization is valid? No. I do not. I do not believe Iran’s standing as a terrorist state is the result of mistakes made during the Obama administration.

That won’t preclude Donald Trump’s key administration and campaign aides from employing this little game of rhetorical mumbo-jumbo. It has begun already.

Oh, my … Trump’s words still echo

This is too good to let it sit quietly.

Donald Trump made a dire prediction about how his immediate presidential predecessor might handle ongoing tensions with Iran. He said Barack Obama would have domestic political consequences in mind.

This is absolutely priceless.

So … if someone were to suggest such a thing in light of what happened Thursday, with the killing of the Revolutionary Guard monster, what will the current president say?

Wow! We’d all better hope for a miracle that Donald Trump knows what he’s doing.

Do not nominate this carpetbagger for a congressional seat

I am about to stick my nose into a political race that, for all intents, is no longer my business, given that I do not live in that congressional district, but here goes anyway.

Thirteenth Congressional District Republicans need to avoid nominating a carpetbagger for the seat being vacated by longtime U.S. Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Clarendon.

The carpetbagger to whom I refer is Dr. Ronny Jackson, the former physician to Presidents Barack Obama and Donald Trump.

He claims a West Texas heritage. He was born in Levelland, just west of Lubbock. Levelland also happens to sit within the 11th Congressional District. Jackson, a retired Navy admiral, has never lived within the 13th Congressional District, which stretches from the Texas Panhandle to the outskirts of the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex. He doesn’t know the district, he doesn’t grasp the district’s unique issues.

He rose to notoriety when Trump nominated him to become veterans affairs secretary. The problem, though, was that Dr. Jackson faced accusations of falsifying prescriptions, of abusing his staff and of drinking too much on the job. He was unqualified for the VA post. He withdrew his name from consideration. The president went with someone else and the Department of Veterans Affairs is running just fine.

So what in the world of soft landings is Admiral/Dr. Jackson seeking to do now? He wants to serve in Congress. Why, though, pick this particular seat? I guess it’s because the 13th District is as reliably Republican as any of the 435 House seats.

But Jackson isn’t the guy to succeed Thornberry. Indeed, the GOP field is full of candidates who actually live in the Texas Panhandle and who actually understand the issues of constituents’ concern.

Ronny Jackson? Don’t let him get away with the charade he is playing.

Dr. Carpetbagger set to seek 13th Congressional District seat

What do you know about this?

A fellow who hasn’t lived anywhere near the 13th Congressional District for many years has decided to run for the House of Representatives seat being vacated by an incumbent who’s been there since 1995.

This Republican candidate, though, does have some name recognition. He is Ronny Jackson, a now-retired U.S. Navy physician who once served as personal doctor to two presidents, Barack Obama and Donald Trump. Jackson wants to succeed Mac Thornberry of Clarendon.

Dr. Jackson is a native of Levelland. However, he has been serving his country for more than two decades in the Navy. He also got tapped by Donald Trump to become veterans secretary. His nomination derailed, though, amid controversy arising from the absence of any administrative experience, not to mention allegations that he abused his staff, overprescribed drugs and drank too much while on the job as the president’s doctor. Jackson pulled out.

So now he wants to serve in Congress.

Jackson joins a crowded GOP field, with 13 other candidates running in the Republican Party. I am left to wonder whether this guy is going to parlay his name ID into a congressional job, representing a congressional district about which he likely knows next to nothing.

What fascinates me is that while he does have West Texas roots, Levelland is in the 11th Congressional District. Has the good doctor ever lived anywhere near the district he now wants to represent? Has he ever attended a grange hall meeting in Claude, or Fritch, or Dumas, or Memphis? What does this fellow know about farm policy, or water conservation, or any of the issues unique to communities such as Amarillo, or Wichita Falls?

The 13th District is spread out a long way, from the Panhandle toward the Metroplex. It is as reliably Republican as any congressional district in this nation. With apologies to my good friend Greg Sagan, who’s running as a Democrat again this year for the seat, it isn’t likely to flip to the other party in 2020.

However, the district’s constituents need to representation from someone who at least knows the issues that are unique to the sprawling region.

Dr. Jackson looks like a carpetbagger to me.

What if Barack Obama had done this?

I know you’ve heard political pundits ask this question: What would the Republican response be if Barack Obama had been accused of doing what Donald Trump has been accused of doing?

Well, we all know the answer to that one. Congressional Republicans would go ballistic. They would be apoplectic. They would file articles of impeachment while the echoes of the allegations were still ringing in their ears.

However, the question by itself ignores what I believe is a necessary corollary question, which I haven’t heard anyone pose: How would congressional Democrats respond if President Obama were accused of the transgressions that have been alleged against Trump?

I realize the second question results in a more problematic and unclear answer than the first one. Indeed, the whole rhetorical exercise speaks directly to a supreme hypothetical question. Politicians say they don’t like answering hypothetical questions, and I do not blame them for that reticence.

This is my take only on it, so here goes.

I believe GOP acquiescence to Trump’s misbehavior is a symptom of slavish fealty to one man, the president. It also reveals a lack of seriousness among GOP politicians to the oath they took to defend the Constitution against such abuses. This relative silence underscores the chokehold that Trump has placed on the Republican Party.

It also might reveal that Democrats did not hold Trump’s immediate Democratic presidential predecessor in the same almost-holy regard as their Republican colleagues feel toward Donald Trump.

Thus, I harbor a good bit of hope that had Barack Obama had pressured a foreign government to dig up dirt on, say, Mitt Romney or even Donald Trump that more than a token number of congressional Democrats would be as appalled as they are today at the actions of a Republican president.

The stone-cold devotion of today’s Republican congressional caucus to the president stands as a violation of the oath they all took to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution.

Hey, wasn’t the ‘national debt’ considered a deal breaker?

Check it out! Twenty-three trillion! As in dollars, man!

What does it represent? The national debt.

It crossed yet another milestone. The national debt keeps growing, despite bold — and arguably reckless — predictions that the president of the United States all by himself was going to eliminate the annual budget deficit by the end of his second term.

It, too, keeps growing, adding to the debt that those in Donald Trump’s Republican Party used to warn would bankrupt the country.

Has it bankrupted the United States of America? I don’t think it has, although the debt does pose a serious potential threat.

I guess my concern is that Donald Trump’s penchant for braggadocio persuade enough Americans to vote for him in 2016. He made that bold promise. He called himself “the king of debt,” whatever that was supposed to mean. Trump also pledged to balance the budget.

The current fiscal year deficit is growing at a breakneck pace, owing to the tax cuts enacted for the richest Americans along with still-uncontrolled federal spending.

I recall vividly the mantra repeated throughout the 2012 presidential campaign that the national debt, which totaled about $16 trillion, was the deal-breaker among Republicans. GOP nominee Mitt Romney said President Obama must not be re-elected because the national debt was just unsustainable. The message didn’t sell, as Obama was re-elected with a handsome margin — although it was diminished from the margin that Obama rolled up in 2008.

The debt has piled on another $7 trillion since 2012. It is still growing. What is Donald Trump going to promise to do about it to ensure his re-election in 2020?

I’m all ears.