Tag Archives: MAGA

Impeachment drama set to end quietly, quickly

Is it just me or does the Donald John Trump impeachment saga, the one that seemed headed for a dramatic crescendo, now appears headed for a relatively quiet — but rapid-fire — finish?

John Bolton, the current president’s former national security adviser, emerged as a key potential witness, who would offer first-hand testimony to what he reportedly has written in his soon-to-be-published book that Trump offered a quid pro quo to Ukraine: a political favor in return for a military aid package.

Then just like that, the air left the room. U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, the lame-duck Tennessee Republican, announced he would vote against allowing Bolton to testify. The Senate trial appears headed for a conclusion later today and a vote on whether to convict or acquit Trump will seal the deal. Alexander’s statement seemed a bit quizzical. He said the House managers have “proved their case,” but that the charges leveled against Trump don’t “rise to the level of impeachment.”

So, POTUS stays put, doing even more damage to the country.

Damn! But … I won’t cry in my brew over it. The deal was done from the get-go, or so it appears. GOP senators — along with their House colleagues — seem to owe more loyalty to Donald Trump than to the Constitution.

Whatever. We have an election tap.

I am prepared to do whatever I can from my measly little perch out here in Trump Country to seek the ballot-box ouster of the most unfit, unqualified man ever to hold the presidency.

Tariffs harm U.S. economy, experts say

It turns out that Donald Trump’s alleged expertise on international trade policy is, shall we say, a bit overstated.

Put another way, the president’s decision to impose tariffs on imported goods has harmed U.S. taxpayers and cost American jobs he vowed would return in droves.

Whose analysis is this? The Federal Reserve has released a study laying out what it says has been the impact of the tariffs across the land. It hasn’t been good, according to the Fed analysis.

This likely will bring some recrimination from Trump, who will say the numbers are wrong, they’re cooked up in some star chamber kitchen and that they’re intended to throw the upcoming election into his opponents’ corner.

As The Hill reports: “We find that tariff increases enacted in 2018 are associated with relative reductions in manufacturing employment and relative increases in producer prices,” the report by Fed economists Aaron Flaaen and Justin Pierce reads.

This is pretty in line with what many economists have said all along about tariffs, which is that they don’t harm the producers of the goods being imported into this country, but that they inflate the prices we pay here.

Trump is having none of it. He keeps insisting that tariffs are part of a successful strategy to “put America first.” He wants to punish countries that don’t play fair in the game of international trade. I certainly understand the president’s stated reason for wanting a fairer playing field.

Why, though, must he invoke tariffs that do two things immediately? They boost prices on imported goods, which is a de facto tax and they rattle the daylights out of financial markets, affecting the retirement portfolios of millions of Americans … such as, well — my wife and me!

This so-called trade policy damn sure isn’t making America great again.

How does POTUS find time to tweet like that … when he’s ‘working’?

Donald Trump visited on Christmas Day via laptop computer with troops overseas. He wished them a Merry Christmas and told ’em he was at Mar-a-Lago, the resort he owns in Florida.

He said he spends his time there “working.” Hmm. It got me thinking just a bit.

How does the president of the United States find time to fire off dozens of Twitter messages each day when he’s busy making America great again? Or solving the myriad problems he found on his desk when he took office? Or dealing with trouble spots around the world? Or looking for ways to put America first?

How in the world … ?

I guess perhaps the president mighta been, um, lying to the service personnel with whom he spoke when he said he was busy “working” at the glitzy resort where he spends a lot of his time.

You’ll recall, I’m sure, how he said he wouldn’t have time for golf once he became president. That turned out to be a false statement, too. His golf outings at various Trump-owned properties have totaled something on the order of $118 million; the cost covers security, transportation to and from the locations and assorted ancillary expenses.

Trump’s time working hasn’t interfered with his golf fetish. Understand something: I don’t begrudge the president playing golf as he is always “on the clock.” What is maddening is how he insisted repeatedly that he wouldn’t do such a thing. It’s the lying about it that I find so troubling.

So now he’s telling the troops in harm’s way he’s busy working at Mar-a-Lago, all the while firing Twitter rants about “evil Nancy” Pelosi, Democrats, the House that impeached him and the “hoax” investigations that have put many key aides in prison.

Weird.

Overturn an election result? Well … yeah!

Congressional Republicans argue against the impeachment of Donald Trump on the basis of a belief that Democrats are seeking to “overturn the results of the 2016 presidential election.”

Hmm. You know, at one level I actually agree with that view.

However, here’s the deal: Three of the four presidential impeachments in this nation’s history have been intended to do that very thing. President Andrew Johnson’s impeachment in 1868 didn’t seek to overturn the preceding election; the nation re-elected President Lincoln in 1864 as the Civil War was still raging, but then the president was shot to death in April 1865, allowing Vice President Johnson to ascend to the presidency.

President Nixon was going to be impeached in 1974 before he quit the presidency. President Clinton was impeached in 1998. Did Democrats seek to overturn Nixon’s landslide re-election in 1972? Did Republicans want to do the same thing when they impeached Clinton in 1998 after he had won re-election in 1996? Well, yeah! They did!

So what is the rationale for this argument? Local officials are subject to recall petitions when they mess up. They, too, are elected to their office. Recall movements, therefore, are intended to “overturn” those results.

All this being said, I am not the least bit moved by the argument that an impeachment of a president is an effort to overturn an election. We can argue about the motives, I suppose, of why one side wants to impeach a president.

There can be no argument, though, on the consequence of such an act. Of course it reverses the result of the previous election. That’s what impeachment, I am willing to argue, is all about.

Enemies cannot discuss difference with each other

My adventure into the belly of the political beast earlier this year revealed so much to me that I want to revisit a major part of what I learned.

I attended a Donald J. Trump “Keep America Great” political rally at the American Airlines Center in downtown Dallas. I stood in line for seemingly forever to get inside. I met some nice Trumpsters along the way, visited with them, exchanged small talk about our families.

As I walked in I heard one of Trump’s warmup acts bellow something from the podium that I believe sums up the dysfunction that has gripped today’s political climate.

It came from Dan Patrick, the fire-breathing Texas lieutenant governor and presiding officer of the Texas Senate.

Patrick called the Republicans’ adversaries “enemies.” Then he doubled down with the next sentence that flew out of his mouth. He acknowledged that, yes, he meant to say “enemies.” They aren’t mere opponents, but they are the “enemies” of freedom, liberty, upstanding moral values.

It occurred to me in the moment: That is precisely what has infected the nation’s political climate. Political foes cannot talk to each other if they view the other side as the “enemy.”

Were we able to talk to Hitler or Tojo or Mussolini during World War II? Or to Ho Chi Minh during the Vietnam War? Or to Osama bin Laden?

Dan Patrick’s “enemy” statement exemplifies the kind of politics that Donald Trump himself has promoted since the moment he declared his candidacy for the only public office he ever has sought. He labeled the press the “enemy of the people.” He has talked about Muslims as being enemies of Americans. He has referred to the refugees fleeing repression in Latin America as conducting an “invasion” of this country.

Trump, of course, isn’t the first politician to refer to political foes as the “enemy.” GOP firebrand Newt Gingrich said it was imperative during the 1994 congressional election for Republicans to persuade voters that Democrats were the “enemy of normal Americans.”

How do you debate your differences with someone who considers you to be the enemy?

Has the POTUS added another impeachable offense?

Good grief! All the president of the United States had to do with sit back along with many millions of the rest of us and listen to what this former ambassador had to say in response to questions from the House Intelligence Committee.

Did he do that? Oh, no! Donald J. Trump instead decided to unlimber his Twitter fingers and insult and denigrate Marie Yovanovitch while she was in the middle of her congressional testimony.

The tweet that Trump fired off prompted Committee Chairman Adam Schiff to stop the testimony and read the president’s message out loud and into the record.

“Everywhere Marie Yovanovitch went turned bad. She started off in Somalia, how did that go? Then fast forward to Ukraine, where the new Ukrainian President spoke unfavorably about her in my second phone call with him,” Trump tweeted. “It is a U.S. President’s absolute right to appoint ambassadors.”

As we used to say in high school, “No sh**, Sherlock!” Of course it is a president’s right to appoint ambassadors. It’s also within his right to fire them. The question at hand, though, as it regards this former envoy is: Why did you choose to insult her publicly and demean her before dropping the hammer?

Now we hear that the president, in the minds of some on Capitol Hill, might have added witness intimidation to the list of offenses for which he is likely to be impeached by the House of Representatives.

Trump defended his tweet saying he has the right of “freedom of speech” afforded to all Americans. Well, yeah, sure he does. However, he happens to the president of the United States who is being investigated for allegations that are likely to lead to his impeachment.

Therefore, does the president of the United States have the freedom to say whatever the hell he wants? I guess he does … if he has some sort of political death wish!

This guy, Donald Trump, is out of control. He needs to go!

Why did he vote against this resolution?

I am going to do something I don’t normally do.

I intend to write my congressman a letter. I want to ask him: Why did you vote against a resolution that seeks to do the very thing you and your colleagues demanded?

My congressman is a freshman Republican from Plano, Texas. He is an earnest young man. A Marine Corps veteran who served in Afghanistan. Van Taylor is not a loudmouth. He is a quiet House member. I know him a little bit and hope to get to know him better.

The House approved a resolution that lays down the groundwork for the impeachment inquiry that seeks to learn all the facts about the allegations surounding Donald Trump. Did he break the law by soliciting a foreign government for a personal political favor? I think he did. Congress needs to establish it before filing articles of impeachment, which I believe it will do eventually.

House Republicans accused Democrats of conducting a star chamber inquiry. The resolution aims to take away that complaint.

But every GOP House member who voted this week on the measure voted “no.” How come?

The inquiry will be made public. Trump’s legal team will get to cross-examine witnesses. It could become a terrific made-for-TV spectacle, which is right up Trump’s alley.

I don’t know if Rep. Taylor will answer my letter. I hope he does. His staff might see this blog post, for all I know.

I intend fully to keep  you apprised of what he says.

Or if he remains silent.

Lt. Gov. Patrick to Trump faithful: We are fighting ‘the enemy’

Texas Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick was part of a warm-up act for Donald Trump’s “Keep America Great” rally at the American Airlines Center in downtown Dallas.

He didn’t disappoint those who came to cheer the president.

I was still working my way into the arena when Patrick took the stage, but I did see and hear him on the jumbo screen on the side of the AAC. He used the “e” word to describe foes of his conservative Republican policy machine.

He said “progressive socialist Democrats” aren’t just “our opponents; they are the enemy.” There you go. He went on to say they are the enemy of “liberty,” of “national security,” and I presume of the American way.

A future speaker of the U.S. House, Newt Gingrich, once declared during the 1994 Contract With America campaign that his aim was to make “Democrats the enemy of normal Americans.” Donald Trump declared the media to be “the enemy of the American people.”

Oh, there have been plenty of politicians who toss the “e” word around like that. Lt. Gov. Patrick is just the latest.

There is no need to wonder just how our political interaction has developed this level of coarseness.

I still prefer the approach sought by the late President George H.W. Bush that hoped to create a “kinder, gentler” nation. The “enemy” talk that I heard from Dan Patrick just makes me angry. We have enough anger out there already.

Doesn’t the Emoluments Clause mean anything?

What in the name of conflict of interest am I missing here?

The Emoluments Clause in the U.S. Constitution says the president cannot profit from his office. He cannot accept gifts from foreign governments.

And yet …

Here we have Donald J. Trump bringing the 2020 G7 conference of industrialized nations to — get set for it! — his very own Doral National Country Club in Florida.

Trump says he won’t profit from the G7 meeting. To which I scratch my head and wonder: What in the world is he talking about? Of course he’ll benefit financially! He owns the damn resort!

What is mind-blowing to the max is that Trump would do such a thing, given the probable impeachment he is facing over similar violations of his oath of office, that he sought foreign government assistance for political gain.

Here he is, however, proclaiming that Doral is the most fitting place in the United States to stage such an event. That is utter nonsense. You know it. I damn sure know it. The nation is full of perfectly capable resorts that could play host to this event.

Trump, though, decided to bring it to Doral, which on its face presents an entire host of problems. They deal with security, its proximity to residential dwellings, and its location near an international airport (in Miami).

Trump never divested himself of his myriad business interests when he became president. He merely turned over daily operations of them to his sons, Don Jr. and Eric. The president, though, remains a financial partner in all his operations — and that includes Doral, which reportedly has been struggling terribly in recent years.

To think that the president wouldn’t profit from taxpayer money being spent at his private resort, not to mention the money that would pour in from foreign governments is to suspend one’s disbelief to an unprecedented degree.

I smell yet another impeachable offense in the making.

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 of 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?