Category Archives: Uncategorized

Rule of law faces test

My fellow Americans, we are going to witness whether the “rule of law” means anything to members of Congress who have been summoned to appear before the House select committee examining the 1/6 insurrection.

The committee has subpoenaed five Republican congressman who were key allies to Donald J. Trump. The committee had asked them to appear voluntarily; they declined.

So, here come the lawful orders. House GOP leader Kevin McCarthy, along with GOP Reps. Scott Perry, Jim Jordan, Mo Brooks and Andy Biggs all have been ordered to appear before the committee.

So, which is it? Are these dedicated Trumpkins going to comply with the rule of law, which they have at one time or another during their congressional careers said they honor? Or are they going to take one for their cult leader, The Donald?

The rule of law is as straightforward as it gets. A legally constituted congressional committee has issued a lawful order for five House members to talk to its members. Failure to comply with a lawful order should result in criminal punishment. Indeed, such a consequence anyone in the military who refuses to obey a lawful order. Your commanding officer tells you to do something, and you refuse? It’s off to the stockade where you would await adjudication of your offense.

I don’t know whether any or all of them will refuse to comply with the subpoena. Whoever says “no” to the House committee should face the potential consequence. The rule of law should stand in this instance as it should stand in all cases.

Let us never forget that each of these individuals swore an oath to keep faith with the U.S. Constitution. The Constitution is on the side of the committee that has acted lawfully.

We well might learn whether these congressmen were sincere when they said they would uphold the Constitution and whether their stated fealty to almighty God was real or false.

Mom was dealt a horrible hand

This beautiful young woman you see on this blog post is my Mom.

I don’t know precisely when this picture was taken, but I’ll guess she was in her early 20s. So, I reckon it was shot about the time she and Dad got married in August 1946.

We’re all going to celebrate Mother’s Day. I will celebrate Mom’s time on this good Earth for giving life to me and my two sisters, but to be honest, it’s a bittersweet remembrance.

You see, Mom was dealt about as bad a hand as anyone could receive. She died in September 1984 of Alzheimer’s disease complications. Mom was 61 years of age.

Sixty-one! Now, to those who have undergone this kind of familial misery, you understand that Alzheimer’s usually takes years to claim its victims. That means Mom exhibited symptoms long before she passed away.

We weren’t wise enough at the time to understand what was afflicting Mom. We all noticed changes in her behavior. We were slow on the uptake, I suppose, to get her diagnosed by a neurologist. We did that in early 1980. Then we got the news: There is no cure for the disease and the only way to determine whether anyone has it is through an autopsy. The doc simply ruled out every possible condition that could cause her behavior change.

Mom was denied the chance to grow old. I cannot prove this, but I will rely on my hunch and my knowledge of the kind of young woman became in determining that she would have aged gracefully and that she would have enjoyed seeing her five grandkids grow into adulthood; she would have relished welcoming her great-grandchildren into this world as well.

They say that life isn’t fair. It damn sure isn’t! One cannot understand why the Good Lord takes some people in such a cruel fashion. He did in this instance and we were left only to wonder why.

Mom deserved better than what she was delivered.

My memories of her will last for as long as I draw breath and with that I want to extend a happy Mother’s Day as far as I can reach to the young woman in the picture.

Election wasn’t ‘stolen’

David Perdue began a debate in Georgia by declaring that the 2020 presidential race was “rigged” and “stolen” from the idiot who lost the contest.

Oh, then he said his own race for re-election to the U.S. Senate was stolen, too.

Sigh …

Perdue once served in the Senate until Jon Ossoff defeated him. He now says “the evidence is compelling” that he and Donald Trump were victims of “theft” from “widespread voter fraud” in Georgia.

No. He wasn’t. Neither was Trump.

The “compelling” evidence? We still have seen nothing.

The Big Lie needs to be squashed.

Founders’ ideal is trashed

Our nation’s founders had this glorious idea when they created an independent state in the New World that there ought to be three co-equal branches of government, with one of those branches — the judiciary — set aside to be free of political pressure.

The other two — the executive and legislative branches — would be wholly political, they reckoned.

It is a sad thing to acknowledge that the federal judiciary has become a political tool of the forces that seek to determine who sits in judgment on matters brought before the courts.

We are witnessing play out yet again with President Biden’s decision to nominate Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson to a spot on the nation’s Supreme Court. She is eminently qualified to serve on the court. Her stellar legal background and her educational chops ought to be sufficient to guarantee that the Senate would confirm her.

That isn’t the case. She was pilloried and pounded during her 19 hours of testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee. Senators — those of the Republican ilk — chose to demonize her over her duties as a federal public defender. They criticized her sentencing practices, of course taking most of it out of context.

You can spare me the “what about-ism” involving Republican-appointed judicial nominees getting roughed up during their Senate confirmation hearings. I am well aware of what happened in the past. I am not going to give anyone a pass based on recent political history for the treatment that was leveled at Judge Jackson.

My concern is that the founders’ notion of lifting the federal judiciary out of the political sewer has been flushed away. They intended the federal bench to be free of politics by establishing lifetime appointments to the federal bench. Gosh, it seems to me at this moment that the lifetime appointment provision only has worsened the politicization.

I am left merely to lament the grievous wound that has been inflicted on the founders’ ideal when they established this great nation. I’ll just hope for all it’s worth that the wound isn’t mortal.

Biden deserves praise for bring allies on board

President Biden deserves a lot more credit than he is getting as he weighs his options on how to respond to Russia’s naked and unprovoked aggression against Ukraine.

Part of the package of responses involves the president’s masterful diplomacy in bringing the European Union and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization collection of nations on board in a collective response to Russia’s ham-handed and brutal invasion.

The EU and NATO have signed on to the vast array of economic sanctions initiated by the United States. Who has persuaded them? The Biden administration diplomatic team led by our head of state. The remarkable show of unity lies in stark contrast to what the United States witnessed during the previous administration, when the POTUS would criticize NATO openly for other member nations not paying enough for the defense of Europe; the ex-POTUS also angered EU members repeatedly by imposing tariffs on goods brought to this country. He also led the international cheering squad that encouraged the United Kingdom to withdraw from the EU, a move that surely didn’t set well in EU capitals across Europe. It was all part of a half-baked and poorly conceived America First policy enacted by the president.

Well, the world has shrunk some more. We see Russian troops bombing civilian targets in Ukraine. The Ukrainians are fighting for their country’s very survival. They need the help of the EU and NATO. They are getting that support.

President Joe Biden deserves high praise for ensuring our allies are lined up in unison.

A remarkable man passes on

I hate getting news like this, but at my age I fear they are becoming more frequent.

A friend of mine in Amarillo called this morning with news that a mutual friend of ours has died. Most of you don’t know Gene Gifford, but I’ll take a brief moment to acquaint you with a truly remarkable man.

He grew up in Amarillo. Gene, to borrow a phrase, was an “acquired taste,” but once you acquired it you learned to love this man. My wife and I loved him dearly.

He played football at Tascosa High School. He went on to attend the University of Texas-Austin, where he continued to play football. He warmed the bench for most of his time at UT while the Longhorns played football for the legendary coach Darrell Royal. Gene talked openly about his time at UT and laughed at himself because he lined up at practice against his teammates, rarely getting to play against opposing teams.

Gene then went into the Air Force, graduated from officers’ candidate school, went to flight school and earned his wings after learning how to fly high-performance jet fighters. Then he got his orders to Vietnam to fight in the war. When he arrived in-country, Gene got a serious surprise. He wouldn’t fly the high-performance jet on which he qualified. The USAF would put him in a slow-speed reconnaissance plane, a propellor-driven O-1 Bird Dog, and he would serve as a forward spotter for artillery units. Gene would become a sitting duck for enemy gunners. He got through it, came home and became a financial adviser.

Gene Gifford was known as “Dirty Giff” to his friends and his grandchildren. He was a man’s man, as hard-bitten a conservative as anyone I ever met. He wore his politics on both sleeves and was unafraid to express his opinion on anything at any time and to anyone who was within earshot.

We met Gene Gifford not long after we moved to Amarillo in 1995. We became friends, but only after I told one time after he needled me about some political issue: “Gene, I am convinced that you don’t believe half the crap that flies out of your mouth.” I recall that he was caught flat-footed by that rebuke.

Our friendship blossomed after that moment.

Gene suffered personal tragedy; his son died in an auto accident years ago. He was an avid horseman but suffered a serious injury when a horse fell on him. He fought through his heartache and his physical injury.

Gene was ill for several years. The call that informed me that Gene had died came from one of his former colleagues who loved him as much as we did. In a strange way, it was a call I half-expected to get. When it came, though, it still hurt deeply.

Then again, we are reaching that stage in life when we should expect them more often.

Still, I will miss my friend.

Arizona Dems censure Sinema … now what?

Will Rogers, the late Oklahoma humorist, once famously declared that he didn’t belong “to an organized political party; I’m a Democrat.”

Ahh, yes. The Democratic Party is returning to form. It has censured U.S. Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona because she refuses to be faithful to other congressional Democrats’ desire to change the rules regarding the filibuster and she won’t endorse President Biden’s domestic spending agenda.

I get that Arizona Democrats are angry at Sinema. A censure, though, doesn’t mean all much. I suppose it means that the Democratic Party will do nothing to help her win re-election. It might even look for someone to run against her in the primary.

It’s probably an appropriate sanction for a party to enact against a politician from within its ranks. It is unlike the censure that Congress delivered to another Arizonan, GOP Rep. Paul Gosar, for posting a social media rant that purport him killing Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez; Gosar should have been tossed out of the House.

Still, Democrats historically have been known for this kind of intraparty squabbling. Look back at 1972, when it sought to haggle through a presidential nominating convention that eventually nominated Sen. George McGovern, who then delivered his acceptance speech at 3 a.m. Sheesh!

Sen. Sinema is getting what she deserves.

Don’t politicize pandemic!

Never would I have imagined that a worldwide medical crisis would produce the kind of political division in the world’s most prosperous nation that we have seen erupt in the United States of America.

Did you see the video of that woman in Virginia threaten her local school board if it requires children to wear masks in school? She said she would scarf up any firearm she could find and … do something with them, presumably to harm other human beings. Why? Because they might order students to wear masks to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

It’s happening everywhere, man! Blue states and red states have become battlegrounds among Americans who are fighting with each other — and threatening public officials — because of masks, vaccines, social distancing.

Good grief! What in the world has happened to us?

I am just one American patriot, so I can speak only for my little ol’ self. If the government tells me I have to do something, like wear a fu**ing mask to prevent the spread of potentially fatal virus spores, then I am going to follow the government’s lead.

I served in the Army for a time more than 50 years ago and was told then I had to follow “lawful orders.” Failure to follow such orders would result in me being punished for insubordination. I haven’t heard an unlawful order yet coming from the feds about how we should conduct ourselves if we are dedicated to getting rid of the killer virus.

Too many of my fellow Americans have determined that these mandates are unlawful and so they have decided to disobey them. They are courting disaster and tragedy, not just for themselves but for everyone around them.

They are politicizing a quintessentially non-political issue. Our public health is way beyond the realm of cheap politics.

This one is mind-blowing

Of all the revelations reported about the investigation into 1/6 and the circumstances that preceded the insurrection on that horrible day, none is more bizarre — to my way of thinking — than the report of fake electors being summoned to cast votes for the guy who lost the 2020 presidential election.

You know how it goes, right?

States that Joseph R. Biden won were being targeted by electors pledged to Donald J. Trump. They were being instructed to show up to cast their electoral votes for Trump. Yep, they would actually seek to reverse the results of a free and fair election and rig the result to suit the wishes of the guy who lost.

To think that Donald Trump is insisting that the results of the election were rigged against him. Good grief. He sought to actually rig the election in reverse!

So, the investigation into 1/6 proceeds.

The House select committee that is charged with finding the truth behind what happened is zeroing in on the principals involved in this elaborate plot to in effect stage a coup against the federal government.

They are issuing summons and making requests of people close to Trump to talk to committee members.

As I look at all these revelations, I sense a mountain of evidence building against former president of the United States. He clearly is an individual who would flout whatever law he could to keep a grip on power. Donald Trump’s lawlessness is unprecedented in an individual who took a sacred oath to uphold the law and defend the Constitution.

And still …

There are the cultists who insist the most recent presidential election is fraudulent; that their guy will be reinstated before the sun goes down; that they are the true “patriots”; that all the evidence we can see developing in real time is the result of “fake news.”

They conduct phony “audits” of statewide election returns and learn that Biden won by a handful more votes than originally reported.

They promote The Big Lie and their cultists believe it.

As for the phony electoral vote strategy that has been rooted out by the sleuths, I have to say it’s a doozy.

It also frightens the sh** out of me.

Defending the media

I cannot let go of the idiotic pronouncement that the “media are the enemy of the people.” I know I have commented on this already, but I want to lay one more thought on it for you … then I’ll move on — until the next time.

The idiocy came from Donald J. Trump. He keeps to this very day suggesting that the media peddle “fake news.” His cult followers have bought into it. I am actually acquainted with some of them in Texas, although my acquaintance is distant, through social media and so forth.

What I want to say once more with all the emphasis I can muster is that those who toil for media outlets do so out of their desire to tell the truth. And to make a difference. And to fulfill the unwritten — but clearly understood — tenets of good journalism: It is to be accurate and to treat all sides to an issue with fairness.

My days as a full-time print journalist are behind me now. I still am working on a freelance basis for two media outlets: a weekly newspaper in Collin County and a public radio station in Commerce, over yonder in Hunt County.

I can speak only for myself, but my story is identical to those still in the business of telling their communities’ stories. We do it out of love and respect for the communities we serve. I am one journalist who never during my whole time pursuing my craft deliberately told a falsehood in my reporting or in a commentary I wrote while I was writing for and editing opinion pages.

For those who suggest the media are peddling fake news, they insult all of us who love our craft to our core.