Tag Archives: Twitter

We aren’t born to hate

“No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion…”

— Former President Barack Obama

The 44th president of the United States fired this brief message out via Twitter over the weekend.

And what a weekend it was.

A riot broke out in Charlottesville, Va. Three people died as a result of the violence that erupted when white nationalists protested the taking down of a Confederate statue.

Obama’s presidential successor, Donald John Trump, had a chance to lead in the moment. He whiffed. He blew it. He choked.

Then came this tweet from Trump’s immediate predecessor. It has become the second-most “liked” tweet in Twitter history. I’ve been hooked up to Twitter for about five years, so I don’t have deep knowledge of the history of this social medium.

But the former president is so very correct. We aren’t born to hate. It is — if you’ll pardon this expression — a “learned” behavior.

Children who instinctively play with anyone are “taught” by their elders — be they parents, extended family or other so-called “adults” — to mistrust others. It’s a disgraceful, disgusting and so very dishonorable thing to teach our children.

As I look at the above quote from the former president, I am torn by conflicting emotions.

* One is to wish he could return to the post he had to surrender under the rules set for by the U.S. Constitution. I am longing for some semblance of dignity and decorum from our head of state. We aren’t getting anything of the sort from the man who now occupies the presidency.

* The other is to be glad for the president and his family to be away from the spotlight. They stood under the glare of the nation’s highest office for eight years. I am quite certain that historians will judge Barack Obama eventually as one of our nation’s most consequential and successful presidents — despite the partisan battles he fought virtually every step of the way.

Yes, these emotions are fighting with each other. I am afraid the first one — wishing for presidential dignity — is winning the fight.

Trump dashes hopes that Kelly would rein him in

I had such high hopes.

Oh, but they’re being dashed almost daily by the president of the United States.

My hopes rested with the appointment of a decorated combat veteran, Marine Gen. John Kelly, as White House chief of staff. I had high hopes that Kelly would be able to tell Donald J. Trump to cool it with the tweets, bring some discipline to the White House operation.

As the president has demonstrated, Kelly so far has been unable to deliver on that first promise.

Trump continues to fire off tweets in the early-morning hours. He is continuing to act like the cyber bully his wife, Melania, has pledged to combat in her role as first lady.

The president then blabbed away about the “fire and fury” he intends to bring to North Korea if the communist government continues to “threaten the United States.”

Do you suppose the White House chief of staff signed off on that careless, reckless and dangerous remark? Me neither.

Gen. Kelly showed some very early promise when he showed former communications director “Mooch” Scaramucci within hours of reporting to work at the White House.

Much of the early handicapping, though, has looked dimly at Kelly’s chance of surviving long as chief of staff. The pundits have wondered whether the president’s undisciplined habits will be more than the buttoned-down Marine general can handle.

I fear they might be correct. But, hey, the White House is full of surprises. There might even be a pleasant one in store for us — if Kelly can persuade the president to start acting like the president.

End of cyber bullying? Yes, it starts at ‘home’

Mr. President: Your bullying hasn’t worked before and it won’t work now. No one is above the law.

— U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, responding via Twitter to social media attacks from the president of the United States

There you have it. The president is using Twitter to “bully” a member of the U.S. Senate.

Donald Trump tweeted some intensely personal criticism of Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat, over the senator’s remarks this past weekend regarding the special counsel’s investigation of Russia’s efforts to influence our 2016 election.

Trump responded by calling Blumenthal a Vietnam War con man, referring to when Blumenthal was caught in 2010 fabricating stories about how he served “in Vietnam” during the war. He didn’t and apologized for the misleading statements he made saying that he had served “in country.”

Cyber bullying anyone? There it is.

Which brings me back to another point I’ve made already. First lady Melania Trump wants to make cyber bullying her signature effort as long as she and her husband occupy their respective titles. It’s a noble cause and I’ve applauded the first lady for bringing attention to the issue of cyber bullying, particularly among children.

However, Melania, you do need to start the campaign right at home, in the “dump” where you live part time with your husband, the White House.

Seriously, Mme. First Lady. Take your husband aside, reprimand him sternly and get him to stop using social media as a weapon with which he insults and bullies his political opponents.

Now it’s Sen. Blumenthal in the crosshairs

Donald J. Trump Sr. has pressed his foot hard on the presidential petulance pedal.

He fired off a series of tweets today attacking Democratic U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal after Blumenthal appeared on TV over the weekend to criticize the Justice Department’s emphasis on rooting out leakers.

Did the president call into question the specifics of Blumenthal’s criticism? Oh, no. He attacked Blumenthal for a lie he told about serving “in Vietnam” when in fact the senator — a Marine Corps reservist — didn’t set foot in the country during the Vietnam War.

Let’s see. That story came out during the 2010 campaign for the Connecticut U.S. Senate seat that Blumenthal was contesting. He apologized for his mischaracterization. As one who actually did set foot in Vietnam during the war, I was appalled at the time that Blumenthal would say such a thing. I chastised him heavily for it.

But that was then. It’s over.

Here is what I wrote about it at the time:

Scandal crosses partisan divide

However, since Trump did bring it up, I guess it’s OK to remind readers of this blog that young Donnie Trump didn’t exactly distinguish himself either during that period in our nation’s history.

He got a boatload of student and medical deferments to keep him away from the war. Trump did suggest during the 2016 campaign that his attendance at a military high school in New York was essentially the same thing as serving in the military. Umm. No. It’s not. Honest.

Check out Trump’s tweets here.

I read somewhere in the past few days that new White House chief of staff John Kelly might be able to bind up the president’s Twitter finger. I guess that hasn’t happened, at least not yet.

In the meantime, Donald Trump continues to demonstrate with startling effectiveness that he possesses the temperament of a child. To think this individual also has control of nuclear launch codes that could destroy the world.

That’s it: Blame Congress now

Here, dear reader, is a tweet that came from the president of the United States. It is just another in an endless litany of shocking pronouncements from Donald John Trump Sr.

Our relationship with Russia is at an all-time & very dangerous low. You can thank Congress, the same people that can’t even give us HCare!

There you have it. The president has blamed Congress for enacting a tough sanctions bill against Russia. He didn’t say a word in that tweet about his signing the bill into law. Lawmakers approved the bill with overwhelming majorities and they undoubtedly would have overridden any presidential veto.

Indulge me for a moment.

The U.S.-Russia relationship has tanked because the Russians have been caught — and please pardon the somewhat dated description here — red-handed in their effort to attack the U.S. electoral process. The Russians sought to meddle in our 2016 presidential election. Intelligence analysts have concluded the Russians did it. Members of the Trump administration have drawn the same conclusion.

The only high-ranking U.S. official to equivocate is the highest-ranking of them all: the president.

Congress acted as it should have acted by imposing new sanctions on the Russians — and by assuring that Congress has the final say on any effort to lessen or eliminate them.

Yet the president continues to hold tightly to this notion that he can “negotiate” better deals with Russians than Congress.

I should add that Trump signed the sanctions bill without the usual fanfare associated with high-profile bill signings. No TV cameras were present; the president didn’t hand out pens to officials as he etched his signature to the document. The signing was carried in the proverbial dead of night. Why is that?

Now he’s going after Congress yet again for doing what it is entitled to do.

Just suppose for a moment that Donald Trump finds himself in grave political trouble down the road. Suppose special counsel Robert Mueller concludes that the Trump campaign colluded with the Russian effort to sway the election; let’s also suggest that Mueller might find evidence of obstruction of justice stemming from Trump’s firing of FBI Director James Comey.

All of this well might bring the president to the brink of impeachment by the House of Representatives. It is at that point that the president is going to need every friend he can find on Capitol Hill to save his backside.

Is this how he nourishes those relationships, by blaming Congress for the deterioration in U.S.-Russia relations?

To tweet or not to tweet …

William Shakespeare likely wouldn’t ponder that notion if he were around today.

But we’re going to give it a shot here briefly.

Twitter is emerging as the social medium of choice for some high-powered individuals. Members of Congress use it. Journalists, too. Same for assorted entertainment celebrities.

And, of course, the president of the United States. That brings me to the subject of this blog post: Should the president keep using Twitter?

I’m torn by the notion of Donald John Trump Sr. continuing to use Twitter. On one hand, the manner in which he uses it is troubling in the extreme. He fires off these 140-character messages in the wee hours of the morning. I don’t object to him doing so per se. The troubling aspect comes in the consequences of those messages.

Don’t get me wrong. I use Twitter too. This blog is distributed on Twitter, along with Facebook, LinkedIn and Google. I use the medium to advance my own commentary on “politics, public policy and life experience.” It helps me expand my audience, which is every blogger’s mission. Twitter has helped me build my daily blog “hits”; while my audience has expanded manifold since I founded High Plains Blogger, it’s still not enough. Hey, it’s never enough!

I also send out tweets that comment by themselves on current policy matters and this and/or that other stuff. I’ve done so more than 16,000 times since signing up on Twitter while I was still working for the Amarillo Globe-News. I got into the game right away and have enjoyed using Twitter to convey pithy comments.

But I’m just a chump former print journalist who lives out here in the middle of Flyover Country. The consequences of my tweets pale in comparison to what occurs when the president of the United States fires them into cyberspace.

Trump on occasion has abused the medium, such as when he tweeted a policy change regarding transgender Americans serving in the military. That is far more than just a comment on news of the day. It signaled a fundamental policy shift: that the president had declared that transgender citizens no longer could serve in the armed forces. What’s more, he sent the tweet without consulting with the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the Defense Department or his senior White House staff.

That’s abuse of social media, dear reader.

Do I wish the president would cease and desist on Twitter? No. If it’s used properly, it can be a useful tool to communicate — even for the president. The trouble with Trump is that he lacks any impulse control and cannot discern prudent use of the medium from imprudent use of it.

I’ve heard many folks say they want Trump to continue using Twitter. I do, too. However, my wish for the president is that he use it with wisdom and discernment.

Is he capable of such a thing? Oh … probably not.

Hold on, Rep. Waters!

Donald John Trump Sr. isn’t the only American politician who needs to bind up his hands to keep him from abusing his Twitter account.

U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters? I’m talking about you!

The California Democrat is one of the president’s most vocal and consistent critics. She fired off a tweet that said Vice President Pence already is planning his inauguration in anticipation of Trump’s impeachment and conviction of assorted “high crimes and misdemeanors.” She said former White House press flack Sean Spicer and ex-chief of staff Reince Priebus will “lead the transition.”

Read my lips here: I take a back seat to no one in my disdain for this president and the way he has conducted himself. But impeachment is not even close to occurring.

Waters has been around Capitol Hill for a long time. I am going to presume she does an adequate job representing her California congressional district, given that she’s been re-elected numerous times since her first election to Congress in 1990.

She tends to make a national name for herself, though, by popping off during heated political debates. It’s getting pretty damn hot in Washington these days, as I believe we all can attest.

Waters isn’t the first anti-Trumpkin to talk openly about impeachment. Fellow Democratic U.S. Rep. Al Green of Texas has filed articles of impeachment, but it isn’t going anywhere — at least not yet.

But this business of using Twitter as a platform to make these kinds goofy political pronouncements is beginning to annoy many of us. You may count me as among the annoyed.

What about the ‘idiot in chief,’ Gen. Kelly?

The new White House chief of staff is being described as someone who won’t “suffer idiots.”

No surprise there. John Kelly is a retired Marine Corps general. He’s been tested in combat during his 45 years in uniform. He has suffered grievous tragedy with the loss of his son who was killed in action in Afghanistan. Until this week, he led the Department of Homeland Security. Then the president of the United States asked him to take over as White House chief of staff.

Those who know Gen. Kelly say he brooks no foolishness.

That brings us to the fundamental point. The most successful White House chiefs of staff control virtually every word that flows from 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. In this age of social media, that should include the Twitter network operated by Donald John Trump.

Is the new chief of staff going to demand from the president that he — as in Kelly — has complete control? Will the chief be able to screen the tweets the president decides to fire off? Will he have veto power over the idiocy that occasionally flies into cyber space?

According to The Washington Post: “He knows how to do this: with common sense and good leadership,” said Kelly’s longtime friend, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to offer frank opinions. “He won’t suffer idiots and fools.”

Idiots and fools, eh?

The idiot in chief also is the fool in chief. They are the same man, who was elected president of the United States in a campaign that defied virtually every single bit of conventional wisdom known to politics.

He vowed to become “more presidential” once he took office. Trump has veered precisely into the opposite direction, as he has become less presidential.

It now falls on the new White House chief of staff to rein in The Boss. I’m unsure how Gen. Kelly is going to harness the most ignorant man ever to hold the highest office in the land.

It’s been said that former chief of staff Reince Priebus’s tenure is the shortest in U.S. history. If the new guy doesn’t get some guarantees from the president that he’ll actually get to take charge of the staff, Priebus’s record may be smashed in a matter of days.

Trump going to war with his ‘friends’

Donald J. Trump’s latest Twitter tirade takes aim at a most fascinating target: his fellow Republicans.

The president is now threatening reprisals against GOP members of Congress who fail to rise to his defense against growing questions about whether he broke the law while winning the presidency.

I guess I’m slow on the uptake. I am having difficulty imagining what in the world Trump hopes to accomplish by issuing these threats.

Some of his fellow Republicans are questioning the circumstances surrounding the president’s relationships with Russians who — according to U.S. intelligence experts — sought to meddle in our 2016 election.

“It’s very sad that Republicans, even some that were carried over the line on my back, do very little to protect their President,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

The president is going to need these folks. All of them, it seems. Yet he keeps pounding away at those upon he must depend.

Congressional Democrats are long gone. They aren’t going to stand up for a single Trump initiative, nor will they give him a break on the Russia investigation taking shape within the special counsel’s office and on congressional committees.

Trump also wrote: “As the phony Russian Witch Hunt continues, two groups are laughing at this excuse for a lost election taking hold, Democrats and Russians!”

This message has a ring of truth to it. Yes, Democrats are laughing as Trump and the Republicans keep tripping over themselves and each other while trying to fend off the criticism.

And what about the Russians? You’re damn right they’re laughing. They have accomplished their prime objectives, according to U.S. intelligence analysts: Their preferred candidate won the 2016 election and they also have managed to cast serious doubt on the integrity of the U.S. electoral system.

Trump tweets … but only in generalities

Donald J. Trump fired up his Twitter gun in Paris and declared he has “pen in hand” and will sign the U.S. Senate Republican health care bill when it reaches his desk.

OK. That’s it.

Others have commented on this, but I’ll weigh in, too. Have you noticed that the president never — not a single time — discusses the guts of the GOP plan to repeal the Affordable Care Act? He doesn’t ever discuss the Medicaid cuts, or the Congressional Budget Office assessment, or precisely how — in his view — the ACA is failing. He just says it is and then goes on to the next thing, whatever that may be.

The notion that the president operates in a detail-free zone on legislation is no surprise or any big scoop. I get that.

Read the bill, Mr. President

One might think, though, that the titular head of a major political party would at least have a working knowledge of his party’s legislative priorities. Repealing the ACA and replacing it with whatever the Republican majorities in Congress come up with seems to fall into the category of “major legislative priority.”

Donald Trump doesn’t bother to acquaint himself with the nuts and bolts. Nor does he exhibit a scintilla of interest in obtaining any particular knowledge of anything.

Have you noticed how often he inserts the words “I think … ” into his pronouncements? If he thinks it, then that’s all we need to know or hear from the president.

Senate Republican leaders are trying to amend the abomination they have presented to their members. They’re maintaining some taxes that the ACA contains to deal with opioid addiction. The replacement bill still reduces Medicaid allotments by about $800 billion over the next decade, leaving about 15 million American uninsured by 2026.

Does the president endorse those specific elements? If so, could he explain to Americans why he endorses it?

Probably not. That will require some study and analysis. Donald Trump is a big-picture kind of guy. He’s too busy “making America great again.”

Sigh …