Tag Archives: social media

Trump’s hysteria continues to mount

My astonishment at the presidential hysteria mounting over the Russia probe and related matters is continuing to build.

It presents itself in stark contrast to the stone-cold silence coming from the office of the special counsel that Donald Trump is attacking multiple times daily.

Robert Mueller continues to insist on a veil of silence. He has instructed his team to keep its collective trap shut. No leaks are coming from the special counsel who is examining that “Russia thing” that prompted Trump to fire FBI director James Comey in May 2017.

Yet the president continues his frontal assault on Mueller’s reputation, on the reputation of his former friend Michael Cohen, on Comey, on the Department of Justice, on the FBI. His assault is inflicting some collateral damage, too, such as on the rule of law and on the notion that the U.S. Constitution stands as a bulwark against any abuses of power that might arise from any of the three branches of government.

It is my fervent hope that Mueller concludes his investigation sooner rather than later. I am growing weary of the Twitter tirades coming from the White House. I am tiring of the insistence from the president that Mueller has “no evidence of collusion”; in fact, we don’t know what Mueller has or doesn’t have, which is why I want the probe to reach its finish line.

As for the president, every time he yaps about “no collusion” or “no laws being broken,” he sounds all the more to me as if he’s trying to hide something from public purview. I refer to those tax returns that he has refused to release; or the mountain of documented evidence that Mueller has compiled that is bound to answer a lot of questions.

Donald Trump’s hysteria plays well with the base that is hanging with him to the end. Fine. It isn’t playing well with the rest of the country, the 60-some percent of us who disapprove of the manner that Trump seeks to lead the country.

Please, Mr. Special Counsel, wrap this thing up as soon as possible to spare us the frothing madness that pours out of the White House.

Oh, wait! It just occurs to me that the end of the Russia probe — no matter how it concludes — is going to produce another endless barrage from the president of the United States.

Dang it, man! We can’t win!

Can all these observers be so totally wrong?

Social media are exploding at this moment. They are swarming with comments, predictions, speculation, conjecture and assorted opinions that seem to run along the same line.

Donald John Trump is in seriously deep doo-doo. Three of his former close aides and friends — Michael Flynn, Michael Cohen and Paul Manafort — are convicted felons. Cohen today received a three-year prison sentence. The president’s former “fixer” and friend is now getting ready to wear a prison jump suit.

I’m not sure what the future holds for Flynn, the former Army general and national security adviser and Manafort, Trump’s former campaign chairman.

The social media chatter, though, is alive and abuzz with belief that Donald Trump might be among the next tall tree to fall.

Can they all be wrong? Can they all be mistaken?

The odds are against that notion. It looks to me as though the odds are lengthening about whether Donald Trump is going to finish his term as president of the United States.

This drama needs to play itself out.

Trump to be most insufferable ex-POTUS in history?

I have sworn off making political predictions — for the most part.

This one, though, I think will hold up. I believe that when Donald J. Trump becomes a former president of the United States that he will become the most insufferable ex-president in U.S. history.

Whether it’s on Jan. 20 2021, or Jan. 20, 2025 or — one can hope — sooner than the former date, Trump will not go out gracefully, quietly, serenely into the night. He won’t retire at Bedminster, or Mar-a-Lago and settle down to do whatever it is former presidents usually do. He won’t build houses for poor folks; he won’t likely raise money for disaster victims; he likely won’t spend a lot of time planning his presidential library (the very thought of which makes me chuckle).

I am trying to imagine a world infused with constant Twitter messages. And by “constant” I mean, well, constant. It’ll be 24/7. We’ll be inundated, buried, overwhelmed by tweets from the former president. He’ll be in the news every hour . . . daily.

Isn’t that something to which we can all look forward? Aren’t you excited? I didn’t think so. I know I’m not.

It’s a bit of a conundrum for Trump critics, such as yours truly. I don’t want him in office, but neither do I welcome the notion of being bombarded by an incessant, relentless, thoughtless barrage of idiocy from a former president’s Twitter account.

Ain’t it a bitch?

Wanting to share some wisdom from a friend

I feel an overwhelming need to share something that a friend and former colleague posted on social media.

Her name is Beth Butler. We worked together for a few years at the Amarillo (Texas) Globe-News. She left quite a few years ago. I stayed on until Aug. 31, 2012.

Beth posted this item on Facebook:

I have never met a single person who believes we should throw the borders wide open, much less give cars to immigrants (legal or not). I have never talked to anyone in real life who thinks no more newcomers should be allowed into the U.S. I have never met a Democrat who thinks it’s great that Steve Scalise got shot. I’ve never met a Republican who thinks mailing pipe bombs is a good way to solve political disagreements. These people are extremists. They are not rational. They do not represent America. Why are we letting them set the tone?

Please, please, please let’s stop reacting emotionally. We will not agree on everything. None of us can have everything our way, but we can work together to find workable solutions. If we keep letting the lunatic fringe define our positions, we will destroy this country and one another.

Republicans running for public office are “defining” the views of Democrats, but they are lying their backsides off in the process.

The nation’s top Republican, Donald Trump, is leading the amen chorus of lies.

My friend’s brief message is calling them out. I want to thank her for doing so.

Critics keep us all humble

You know already that I love my calling as a blogger. What you might not know — at least not yet — is that I also love the critics who read this blog.

I’ll admit that my love for them is more of a “biblical” nature. But I love them nevertheless.

Back when I was working for a living, I found that critics performed a service for me. They kept me humble. They occasionally would chastise for something I wrote and then might offer a perspective I hadn’t considered. On the rarest of occasions, I might change my mind on an issue.

I also provided a service to them. I figure it was of a more health-related nature. They would read my columns or editorials that I authored for a newspaper and they would hyperventilate. Then they would call me up, chew my rear end out, have their say, hang up and perhaps feel better having gotten whatever bothered them off their chest.

I only can presume that I had oxygenated their blood sufficiently during their rants to cleanse their cardiovascular system.

Just don’t call me “Doctor,” OK? Fine.

My blog critics do the same thing for me and I do the same perhaps for them.

I don’t cherish these individuals, mind you. I accept that every commentator — whether he or she works for a publication or is “self-employed,” so to speak, as I am, cannot possibly please everyone who reads their words.

And yes, High Plains Blogger critics continue to keep me humble. I long have subscribed to the tenet of taking my work far more seriously than I take myself. That tenet holds true to this day.

Keep the criticism coming. Yes, I like the praise more than the criticism. The critics, though, keep me on my toes.

Gen. Lee and Gen. Washington equal? Nope

I received a scolding today from someone I respect very much. We’re connected on social media; he read a blog item I published and then reminded me of something I feel the need to challenge — respectfully, of course.

My blog item mentioned that Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee was a traitor to the United States when he led soldiers into battle against forces fighting to preserve the Union.

My friend then responded by telling me that Gen. George Washington also committed an act of treason by rebelling against England in the 18th century. Gen. Washington led his army against the soldiers fighting for The Crown. Had the colonists lost the American Revolution, he said, they would have been hanged.

This argument comes forward every now and then by those who seek to defend Gen. Lee against those — such as me — who contend that he committed treason by siding with the Confederates in their effort to split the country apart.

I am not going to put words into my friend’s mouth, but surely he doesn’t equate the two acts of rebellion.

Had the revolution failed, we well might be speaking with British accents and paying exorbitant taxes without having any say in how much we should pay.

And if the Confederates had won the Civil War, they would have created a nation that allowed for the continued enslavement of human beings.

There really isn’t a scintilla of moral equivalence, in my eyes at least, between the struggles. The revolution produced a nation built on the concept of freedom and liberty for all; the Declaration of Independence delivers out a long list of grievances that the founders sought to be eliminated. The Civil War erupted because some states wanted the authority to determine whether they could keep human beings in bondage.

I’m not sure what my friend is suggesting. Surely he doesn’t intend to equate one with the other.

I need to stipulate, too, that had the founders failed to create a nation after the revolution, there might have been scant reason for immigrants to travel across the ocean to the Land of Opportunity. My grandparents would have stayed in Greece and Turkey. My parents wouldn’t have met. I wouldn’t have been born.

Many millions of Americans had skin in that revolutionary game.

Therefore, I’m glad the founding fathers rebelled against the king.

Melania: most ‘bullied person in the world’? Hardly

Nice going, Mme. First Lady. You have a perfectly noble and legitimate cause upon which to base your first ladyhood and then  you trample all over it with a weird assertion about how you are among the “most bullied” people on Earth.

I could not believe my eyes and ears when I heard about this from Melania Trump.

She told ABC News the following, according to CNN: “I could say I’m the most bullied person on the world,” Trump told ABC News in an interview during her first solo trip to Africa last week … . You’re really the most bullied person in the world?” asked ABC News’ Tom Llamas during the exchange. “One of them, if you really see what people saying about me,” Trump said.

She isn’t among the most bullied people on Earth.

I feel confident in making that counter claim. Mrs. Trump  married a man who would become president no doubt knowing full well what she was getting in the bargain. Indeed, Donald J. Trump has dished out all sorts of bullying insults on his way to the presidency and, of course, since he became the Bully-er in Chief.

The message that Mrs. Trump wants to send forth is designed to call attention to how social media have become a bullying instrument used against children. That is a noble cause and I applaud that effort.

However, for her then to internalize and personalize it in this manner by suggesting that she is among the world’s top victims of this (mis)behavior detracts from the seriousness of a totally serious cause.

I am amazed she would say such a thing.

FLOTUS has a point, however …

First lady Melania Trump makes a lot of sense when she says critics ought to “focus on what I do, not what I wear.”

Mrs. Trump has just concluded a brief solo jaunt to Africa, where she visited four countries while highlighting her concern for children and women’s rights and well-being.

But then she got photographed wearing a pith helmet, the kind of headgear popular during the era of colonization of Africa. Twitter trolls were all over it, criticizing the first lady for her poor choice of hats.

Her response sought to remind her critics that she is trying to do noble work on behalf of children and women. That should be their focus, not the style of hats she wears, which critics said are too much of a reminder of the oppression brought to Africa during the years of European empire-building.

That brings me to an element that fills me with mixed feelings.

The first lady’s staff ought to be dialed in, focused like lasers on the image she portrays whenever she is seen in public. I am wondering why Mrs. Trump’s staff couldn’t foresee this kind of blow back. She wore that jacket that caught people’s attention. It said, “I really don’t care, do u?” while she was touring immigration camps along the U.S.-Mexico border.

Then, of course, we have the first lady’s signature issue: bullying of children, including that which occurs via the Internet. That is a noble cause to promote, but the first lady seems blind and deaf to the bullying that occurs via Twitter — from her husband, the president of the United States of America.

So, the pith helmet outcry seems on the surface to be overblown. Critics ought to concentrate on the first lady’s deeds, not her attire.

Then again, let’s take greater care, Mme. First Lady, to avoid these kinds of pitfalls.

Why write about red-light cameras? Here’s why

A social media acquaintance of mine — and I do not know this fellow personally — posed a question about why High Plains Blogger keeps writing about red-light cameras.

He implies that I am fixated on the issue, suggesting I reckon that I am devoting too much attention to it.

Hmm. Here’s my answer to my acquaintance — who’s a frequent critic of this blog.

I write frequently about the issue because I consider it a public safety matter. I also believe that cities that deploy these devices are correct to rely on a technological advance that assists police departments in their enforcement of traffic-safety laws and municipal ordinances.

It’s merely a matter of opinion and I am aware that others do not share it. I believe in the technology. I believe the Texas law that allows cities to use it is not being abused by local authorities.

The Texas Legislature stipulated some strict provisions on the law. It requires cities to use revenue generated by fines paid by motorists who run the red lights strictly for traffic improvements. I urged the Legislature to act while I was working for the Amarillo Globe-News; I wrote personal columns and editorials on behalf of the editorial board imploring the Legislature to act. I have continued beating that drum in my retirement years. I also have applauded Amarillo’s resistance to taking down the cameras despite the overheated protests from a vocal minority of residents.

The cameras take a picture of offending motor vehicles; cities then mail the citation to the registered owner of the vehicle, who then is required to pay the fine. He or she can appeal the fine to the municipal judge.

I answered the social media acquaintance with a semi-snarky response, telling him that I intend to keep writing about it. I’ll reiterate my answer here.

Public safety is important enough for this blog to keep raising the issue.

Gov. Greg Abbott vows to urge the next Legislature to rescind the enabling law, provided he’s re-elected on Nov. 6. If he does and the Legislature follows his lead, you can bet I’ll have a whole lot more to say on this issue.

That, dear reader, is my story and I’m sticking to it.

The scourge of doctored ‘photographs’

Oh, how I fear “photos” such as the one pictured here.

It’s fake. Phony. Doctored. It purports to show Donald Trump lending a hand to someone trapped by Hurricane Harvey’s floodwater. It’s not. The original is of some Austin Fire Department personnel in that boat helping the individual who was caught by Mother Nature’s wrath.

The picture is just one of those scourges that media folks — and that includes bloggers such as yours truly — must deal with on occasion.

This image is quite obviously doctored. The president is depicted in a suit and tie with no life jacket. That’s a serious non-starter.

But the Internet has produced its share of curses in this new media age. The ability to transmit doctored images intended to put individuals in a negative light or in a falsely positive light is just one of those curses.

We full-time bloggers need to be careful about these images. I work for myself. I have no one but myself to keep me on the straight and narrow.

Doctored images present immediate challenges that can bite us hard where we don’t like being bitten.

Don’t misunderstand me. I am happy to acquaint myself with much of this 21st-century technology. However, not all of it gives me pleasure. It does keep me more alert to the potential danger that these images can present.