Tag Archives: Hillary Clinton

Trumpcare in trouble … put on hold

Trumpcare is in trouble. There’s no way to spin this any differently.

Nine Senate Republicans are now on the record that they oppose their party leadership’s version of the alternative to the Affordable Care Act. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who is as adept at tea-leaf reading as anyone in Washington, delayed the vote on the GOP plan until after the Fourth of July recess.

I live out here in Flyover Country, in the heart of Trump Land, where the president polled something like 80 percent over Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election.

But my gut tells me that rank-and-file Trumpkins are none too happy about what the GOP Senate leadership has come up with.

We’ve got a lot of folks out here who depend on Medicaid to cover the cost of medical care. The GOP plan guts Medicaid. A lot of those same folks voted for Donald J. Trump on his promise that he wouldn’t touch Medicaid, or Medicare, and would ensure a better, cheaper, more efficient health insurance plan than the one provided by the ACA. He isn’t delivering the goods, based on what the House of Representatives has approved and what’s on the table in the Senate.

Republicans can afford to lose just two votes in order to approve a Senate version of Trumpcare. They hold a 52-48 majority in the Senate; two “no” votes means Vice President Pence casts the tie-breaking vote to approve Trumpcare.

McConnell said today that Democrats have no intention of working with Republicans to craft an ACA replacement. Really!

How about this, Mr. Majority Leader? How about agreeing to preserve the good aspects of the ACA and work to improve those elements that need work? I’ve heard Democrats say they would be willing to with Republicans to mend the ACA. One of them happened to be the former president, Barack H. Obama, who has said repeatedly that if Republicans can improve the ACA he’d be willing to work with them.

Obama is out of office now. Republicans are in complete charge. They control Congress and the White House. They had eight years to come up with a reasonable alternative to the ACA. They dickered, dawdled and dissed the Democrats for that entire time and then came up with a plan that cannot please enough Republicans to make it law.

Cue music. The dance goes on.

Trump blames Obama for the ‘Russia thing’ … imagine that

Leave it to Kellyanne “Alternative Facts” Conway to set the record (sort of) straight on the Russian interference controversy.

It’s the fault of the Obama administration, said the president’s senior counselor/policy adviser, echoing the sentiments of her boss. Donald John Trump.

President Obama could have stopped any effort by Russian government goons to interfere with the 2016 election, but he choked, she said.

Imagine that, will ya? Blame the predecessor. Who’da thunk that would happen, ever?

That all said, I just slogged through the epic Washington Post story detailing how the terrible options the Obama administration faced when it learned — through credible intelligence — about the efforts by Russian government officials to meddle in our election. The Post called it an “assault on our democracy,” which it was.

Here’s the Post story.

Indeed, the former president and his senior staff look back now and regret not taking more forceful action than it did. Obama eventually kicked out some Russian diplomats and closed two Russian compounds as punishment for the Russians’ meddlesome ways.

He also unloaded verbally on Russian strongman/president Vladimir Putin and the country he governs, calling Russia a “weaker” country than ours and a place with nothing to sell around the world than “oil and gas and arms.” The president said Russia was unable to intimidate the United States because of the two nations’ relative strength.

Conway went on TV this morning to say: “It’s the Obama administration that was responsible for doing absolutely nothing from August to January with the knowledge that Russia was hacking into our election. They did absolutely nothing. They’re responsible for this.”

Absolutely nothing? Is that right, young lady? Not really. The Obama administration sought to weigh its options carefully, given the enormous political consequences at stake. The nation was involved in a heated, and increasingly vitriolic presidential campaign. Trump was ratcheting up the pressure on Hillary Rodham Clinton over e-mails, Benghazi and a host of other issues.

The Obama team believed — as did virtually every political analyst on Planet Earth — that Clinton was going to win the election.

Then she lost.

How should the administration have reacted to circumstances it didn’t see coming? Were they alone in their ignorance? Hardly.

I keep coming back to this point: The president and his administration have yet to issue a full-throated condemnation of what every intelligence expert has said, which is that Russia meddled in our electoral process.

The blame game won’t get to solving the problem … and oh, brother, we have a problem!

Mueller hires pro-Democrats? What’s the big deal?

Donald J. Trump is busy trying to impugn the integrity of special counsel Robert Mueller.

The president told “Fox and Friends” that Mueller has hired lawyers who are friendly to Democrats, who have given money to Democratic candidates. Why, they’ve even supported Hillary Rodham Clinton, he said. He calls Mueller “an honorable man,” and then wonders if he can conduct a truly independent investigation into the Russian government’s involvement in the 2016 presidential election.

Wait! Hold on!

So has Donald Trump! The president himself has acknowledged giving money to Democrats. He used to be friends with Bill and Hillary Clinton. Aren’t there pictures out there showing Trump and the Clintons chumming around at parties? I believe I’ve seen ’em.

So, what is the point about Mueller’s legal team? The president has forgotten — willfully or otherwise — about his own past.

Who in the world can trust POTUS?

Donald J. Trump’s obsession with Twitter is diminishing his standing around the world, or so it would appear.

I keep circling back to a question: How do world leaders trust anything the president of the United States tells them when he continues to tweet ridiculous messages?

Take these instances involving Trump and his tweets:

* He said former President Barack Obama ordered the wiretapping of his campaign office. That was false.

* The president said Hillary Rodham Clinton’s popular vote margin “victory” in the 2016 election was because of “millions” of illegal immigrants voting for her. Another falsehood.

* He says Germany is making “too many cars” and selling them to Americans.

* Trump ripped into London’s mayor after the Manchester shooting by misquoting what the mayor said about the threat of international terrorists.

I am missing many more examples just since Trump became president, but you get the idea.

The man cannot control his impulses. He fires off these tweets and then changes the subject. He meets in private with world leaders and then blabs his brains out about them.

The president’s Republican allies in Congress, though, give him a pass. House Speaker Paul Ryan blithely states that Trump is “new at this,” meaning he’s “new” at governing, new at understanding the limits of presidential power.

The world is a volatile place, which I am sure the president understands. What I do not get is why he cannot control himself. I’m pretty sure we’ve got leaders all around the planet who are wondering the same thing.

Still cannot connect two words directly to each other

I am in the midst of a deepening dilemma.

Donald J. Trump has been president of the United States for 150-plus days and I still cannot connect the words “President” and “Trump” consecutively when I refer to this individual.

It troubles me a little bit. A part of me wants to do it. A bigger part of me refuses to allow it.

I’ve written already that I accept that Trump won the 2016 presidential election. He pulled in the requisite number of Electoral College votes to defeat Hillary Rodham Clinton, who won just a shade less than 3 million more popular votes than the guy who beat her.

The electoral disparity isn’t what keeps me from total recognition of Trump as president. Heck, if that had been the driver, then I wouldn’t have referred to George W. Bush as “President Bush” during his two terms in the White House. The difference is that President Bush stepped into the role to which he was elected. The 9/11 attacks barely nine months into his presidency defined him and he rose to the challenge.

Trump is different. Trump continues to demonstrate — through all sorts of actions and utterances — that he remains unfit for the office. His Twitter tirades provide more than ample evidence of his unfitness.

I’ve been scolded by critics of this blog for declining to attach the president’s title directly to his name. They’re entitled to their view. I am entitled to mine.

With that, I’ll continue to resist giving the president his full measure of respect until he can demonstrate — to my satisfaction — that he has earned it.

Where is the outrage?

Back in 1996, when he was running for president of the United States, Republican nominee Bob Dole shouted at campaign rallies “Where’s the outrage!” over alleged indiscretions about President Clinton.

He would go on to lose the election bigly, but the question persists to this day.

Where is the outrage — from the current president of the United States — over allegations that Russian government officials sought to interfere in the 2016 presidential election?

Donald John Trump has said nary a disparaging word about Russia’s efforts to cast Hillary Rodham Clinton in a negative light and whether those efforts played a role in the election outcome.

Oh, no. The president has instead lashed out at special counsel Robert Mueller, calling his investigation the “biggest political witch hunt” in American political history. He has ripped into what he calls “fake news” media outlets. He has dismissed openly the analysis of several U.S. intelligence agencies’ view that, yes, the Russians did hack into our electoral system.

Rather than expressing anger, fear and outrage that the Russians meddled in our electoral system, the president instead has questioned the need to determine the truth and the motives of those who are seeking to find it.

He’s hired a team of lawyers to represent him, which is a tacit acknowledgment that he is under investigation by Mueller over his campaign’s possible role in that election-meddling. Then one of them goes on television over the weekend and says — in the same interview — that Trump is being investigated by Mueller and that he is not being investigated.

All the while, the president remains stone-cold silent about Russian hanky-panky.

Where is the outrage, Mr. President?

Presidency no place to ‘learn how to do the job’

I damn near spit my coffee at the TV screen this morning when I heard U.S. House Speaker Paul Ryan give Donald J. Trump a pass on the utter chaos that follows the president around.

Ryan said Trump “is new at this,” meaning he’s new at governing. No kidding, Mr. Speaker? He’s so damn new he continues to blunder and bluster his way through mistake after mistake.

And what do you suppose is the cost? It’s the loss of credibility among our allies; it’s the fear this man generates among Americans who cannot depend on the president to do or say anything sane.

I am trying to imagine how the speaker would react if Hillary Rodham Clinton would make the kind of mistakes that Trump has made. He’d be drafting articles of impeachment immediately. To be fair, Democrats likely would give a President Hillary Clinton a pass, too.

But here’s the thing: She’s not the president. Donald “Smart Person” Trump occupies that office. It should go without saying that being elected president creates a steep learning curve even for those who have years of experience in government. Trump came to the presidency with zero experience in any form of public service.

Trump hasn’t appeared to learn a damn thing about the office he inherited on Election Day 2016.

Hey, that’s OK, according to Speaker Ryan. The president of the United States is “new at this.”

Good … grief!

Let’s get to the heart of this hacking matter

As a frequent critic of Donald J. Trump, I want to set the record straight on a key issue that’s threatening the man’s presidency.

I do not give a rat’s rear end about whether alleged attempts by Russian agents to influence the 2016 presidential election actually created a Trump victory. I accept the notion that Trump would have won the election anyway.

What is troubling me is the question of what role — if any — the Trump campaign had in assisting the Russians.

Former FBI Director James Comey told U.S. Senate committee members today that he is certain of Russian meddling in our election. I accept the FBI director’s opinion on that, too.

I keep circling back to the question of whether Trump’s team actively aided the Russian hackers. If they didn’t aid them, did they know about any attempts to influence the election? If they knew and did nothing, that to me is tantamount to collusion — even if it doesn’t fit the legal definition of the word.

We keep hearing reports of key Trump campaign advisers meeting with Russians during the campaign and then during the transition. It all gets back to the Watergate-era question posed by then-Sen. Howard Baker: What did the president know — and when did he know it?

As for the whether the hacking/meddling actually proved decisive, that they changed enough votes to swing the results in favor of Trump and away from Hillary Rodham Clinton, it doesn’t matter to me. What does matter is that they have done what all those intelligence agencies have said they did. The former director of the FBI has confirmed it to my satisfaction.

If the Trump campaign colluded, dear reader, we are looking at a charge of treason.

Cell phone, Mr. President?

I get that Donald J. Trump wants to open up lines of communication between his office and those of other world leaders.

The president’s motives appear to be noble.

But hold on! He’s giving out his personal, private cellphone number to those other leaders? Is that what I’m hearing?

Whoa, Mr. President!

Cellphones aren’t secure. I keep hearing how they’re vulnerable to, um, hacking. People can listen in. Bad people can listen and do terrible things in reaction to what they hear.

And so the president of the United States wants to talk openly, and I presume candidly, with world leaders about the myriad problems facing the world.

https://www.apnews.com/11a48fde81634789b1cc361696693b68

If the president wants to maintain open communications with other leaders, I have an idea. Let ’em call you on the secure line in the Oval Office, or in the Situation Room.

Handing out personal cellphone numbers is fraught, shall we say, with some serious national security concerns. Don’t you think?

And didn’t the president — when he was running for the office — bellow incessantly about all the alleged security breaches created by Hillary Clinton’s use of her personal e-mail server while she was secretary of state?

I am shaking my head.

Does the president still think invoking Fifth means guilt?

Donald J. Trump was simply outraged during the 2016 presidential campaign about Hillary Clinton’s aides invoking their constitutional protection against self-incrimination.

Doing so, he said at the time, meant they likely were “guilty as hell” of committing a crime.

http://www.cnn.com/2017/05/22/politics/trump-campaign-staff-fifth-amendment-flynn/index.html

The issue had to do with Clinton’s e-mail controversy and other matters. Trump was running against Hillary for the presidency, which meant that such activity just made his case for him.

He is now the president. One of his former trusted aides, ex-national security adviser Michael Flynn, is invoking his Fifth Amendment rights. He has refused to answer a Senate Intelligence Committee subpoena. He has a lot of questions to answer about his relationship with the Russian government and whether he allegedly worked with the Russians to influence the 2016 election.

Flynn was fired 24 days into his new job.

Does the president still think Flynn’s decision to invoke the Fifth mean he is “guilty as hell” of a crime? Well, do you, Mr. President?