Category Archives: national news

What did Hunter Biden do?

The MAGA wing of what passes for today’s Republican Party keeps insisting that Hunter Biden — the son of the president — is guilty of something, so it intends to probe whatever he has done.

I now will weigh in on what I believe to this day to be a nothing burger unworthy of the term “scandal.”

Hunter Biden accepted a role with a Ukrainian oil company. He has no experience as a petroleum engineer, or as a financial wizard. He happens to be the son of an important American politician. So, the oil company thought it could use Biden’s high-profile name to gin up its profits. As Hunter Biden’s dad once said: Big fu***** deal!

Is that a crime? Is it any different, say, than what Jared Kushner has done by being the son-in-law of another prominent American? Let’s also examine the income that Don Trump Jr. has earned by being the son of that American. Or … how about the other son, Eric Trump?

Look, I am not going to play he “what about?” game here. I just am baffled by the so-called interest in Hunter Biden’s business activities. I am willing to concede that it looks kinda shady that an individual with no practical or demonstrable experience would take a huge salary while possessing not a lick of experience in that field.

However, other politicians have lent their famous names to projects. I recall a politician who once represented me in Congress, Jack Brooks, a Beaumont Democrat, served on various bank boards during his 40 years in Congress. Was he a financial expert? Did he have actual banking experience? Uhh … no! But he earned a handsome income and left Congress in 1995 far wealthier than when he entered that body.

Did he do anything illegal? Did he compromise his service to the nation? No.

It is my strong sense that the MAGA cabal is going to come up as empty in its Hunter Biden probe as it did when they looked high and low for dirt on Hillary Clinton. They found nothing then. They will find nothing now.

It’s all just so much crap!

How does he carry on?

I have been avoiding the use of the name of the immediate past president of the United States simply because I am sick of seeing it in print or hearing it stated on the air.

For the purpose of this post, I will forgo my boycott of his name and ask: How in the world does Donald J. Trump carry on as a former president?

He is more than likely going to be indicted for alleged criminal activity, although I am writing the word “alleged” only to be fair; I believe he is as guilty as they come.

It could come from the Manhattan, N.Y. district attorney, who has empaneled a grand jury to look into the $130,000 hush money payment to Stormy Daniels, the porn star with whom he had a one-night fling. The indictment could come from Fulton County, Ga., DA Fani Willis, who has seated a grand jury to determine whether Trump committed a crime when he demanded that the Georgia secretary of state “find” enough votes to help him win the state’s electoral votes in 2020.

Or … the indictment could come from special counsel Jack Smith, who is probing Trump’s incitement of the insurrection on 1/6 as well as the squirreling away of classified documents he took illegally from the White House upon leaving office.

Presidents usually spend their post-presidential time planning for their libraries. They take up good causes, you know … pursuing world peace, helping women find their way, being role models for our youth, working with our wounded veterans.

Trump is doing none of that. Zero. He is spending his waking hours fending off these prosecutors while seeking to run for POTUS a third time.

There won’t be an unveiling at the White House of an official portrait of Trump and his wife. There will be no official White House ceremony marking his tenure as POTUS.

Indeed, the first line of his obituary will mention either his two impeachments or his indictments … or both incidents!

The man’s legacy is shot to hell! Period!

Waiting for hell to freeze

Hell will have to fall into the deepest freeze imaginable for me to accept the poll findings that suggest that Donald Trump could actually defeat President Joe Biden in a head-to-head matchup in 2024 for the White House.

For the ever-lovin’ life of me I cannot fathom where or how or who is supporting the twice-impeached former POTUS as he pretends to seek the presidency for the third time.

He slithered into the White House in 2017 after narrowly defeating Hillary Clinton while losing the popular vote by 3 million ballots. Then he got thumped by Joe Biden in 2020, garnering 7 million fewer votes than the eventual president.

Between those two elections he got impeached twice by the House for violating his oath of office. He managed to piss off damn near every ally this nation has in the world. He vilified Americans who opposed his election. He went through four White House chiefs of staff, an untold number of Cabinet officials and behaved for all the world like a moron who didn’t know what the hell he was doing with all that executive power at his disposal.

Now he is on the verge of being indicted possibly by three prosecutors, two at the state level and then the U.S. attorney general.

Oh, did I mention the insurrection he incited on 1/6? There. I just did.

And yet he remains — reportedly — the favorite for the GOP presidential nomination next year. God help us all!

Trump said he’s going the distance regardless of any indictments that end up in his lap. Fine. I am just waiting for the hammer to drop on his severely coiffed noggin.

Someone among the officials examining the crimes I believe he committed is going to make history by indicting a former POTUS for the first time in our nation’s history. Look also for the others to follow suit when the first indictment falls out of the sky.

Meanwhile, someone will have to explain to me how this clown can pretend to be a serious contender for an office he damn near destroyed during the single term he occupied it.

How about the ‘I’ word?

The MAGA cabal within the Republican Party wants to impeach President Biden for … what, precisely, is beyond me.

We keep hearing the yammering from the likes of Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, who proclaims that the president is a failure. She doesn’t specify a “high crime or misdemeanor” on which she would base an impeachment. She just talks about it.

Actually, Greene is as stupid a member of the MAGA cabal as there is.

It’s good to remember the last three presidential impeachments that occurred within the past 25 years. Two of them were legit; the third was, well, questionable.

House of Representatives Republicans were looking for a reason to impeach President Clinton throughout the 1990s. When the late Kenneth Starr, the special counsel appointed to examine a real estate deal called Whitewater, began snooping around beyond his original charge, the president handed the GOP a reason to impeach him.

He lied to a federal grand jury about an affair he was having with a White House intern. Yes, Clinton committed a crime by perjuring himself. That was all Republicans needed. They impeached him on three counts. He was acquitted. I question the political motivation behind that impeachment and wonder to this day why impeach a president for lying about a dalliance.

Then came the twin impeachments of Donald Trump, who in my mind committed far worse offenses. The first impeachment was triggered by his seeking a “favor” from the Ukrainian president; Trump wanted a foreign leader to dig up dirt on Joe Biden. Wrong! He can’t do that, says the Constitution.

Then came his incitement of the assault on the Capitol on 1/6, which was a clear violation of his oath of office.

The House impeached him for each offense. The Senate trials ended up with Trump staying in office. The second trial resulted in a 57-43 vote to convict, but it wasn’t enough, as the Constitution requires a two-thirds majority to boot a POTUS from office.

One can argue that all three were “legitimate” issues for which a president could be impeached. The Clinton case was technically legit; both Trump cases were the real thing.

Now we have the MAGAites calling for Joe Biden’s impeachment.

I am left to ask: for … what?

Impeachment madness must end in the House. Joe Biden has done not a damn thing that falls remotely into the category of “impeachable offense.” All he has done is seek to right a ship of state that was damaged when he took office.

To my reckoning, he has largely succeeded. That won’t shut down the MAGA cultists. They are a shameful pack of demagogues.

This is ‘diversity’?

Republicans are entitled to spin the conflict within their political party any way they wish.

However, the conflict is real and I do not believe it has anything to do with what the GOP honchos might refer to as “diversity of thought and policy” within a once-great political party.

It has more to do — indeed, seemingly everything to do — with whether the party will be hamstrung by the hammerlock placed on it by the MAGA/America First/election denier wing of the GOP led by the former president of the United States who claims to want his old job back.

The alternative to that wing continues to be the “establishment” Republicans who, to my way of thinking, have a long to go to resemble the Dwight Eisenhower/Teddy Roosevelt/Nelson Rockefeller/George H.W. Bush wing that once dominated thought within the GOP.

Instead, it has been hijacked by nut jobs who insist that the United States is a “Christian nation,” all the while vilifying any non-Christians. Think about that for just a moment. Is that the way Jesus Christ taught his disciples when he walked the Earth? Didn’t he counsel us to love your enemy? You get that point, I am sure.

The nut jobs rely on conspiracy theories that make no sense, have no basis in fact and which only prey on the fear of the gullible among us who seem to want to believe the rubbish that flows from the pie holes of those in power.

Black Americans aren’t welcome in the Republican Party that once was thought to be the only party that sought to free Blacks from their enslavement. Oh, how times have turned everything on its ear!

The conflict within the party that is playing out by all the notable no-shows at the Conservative Action Political Conference gathering tells me that the party isn’t seeking to highlight its “diversity.” It suggests a battle between the crackpot cabal and those who are running away from the insurgents who pose a threat to our democratic process.

I am pulling for the non-crackpots … because I want our democracy to survive!

Recalling a more civil time

I spend a good bit of time these days — when politics enters my noggin — thinking about how it used to be on the national stage.

I recently watched a YouTube video of a young U.S. senator-elect talking to David Letterman about his campaign for the Senate and how he didn’t run “negative ads.”

He lamented how the tone in 2004 had degenerated into what it became and he vowed to change it once he took office.

Barack Obama on His Multiracial Identity | Letterman – YouTube

Barack Obama didn’t succeed in changing the political tone. Indeed, he would have higher aspirations eventually and when he ascended to the presidency in 2009, he ran smack into a Republican obstruction machine operated by the GOP Senate leader, Mitch McConnell, who declared his intention would be to make Obama “a one-term president.”

It didn’t work out the way McConnell wanted … but that’s all right with me.

What also didn’t work out the way President Obama wanted was the tone of debate. It only worsened during his two terms in office and then it spiraled out of control when his successor got elected in 2016.

Who’s to shoulder the bulk of the blame? The current fire-breathers happen to be the MAGA cabal among congressional Republicans. I’ll go with that.

They need to be removed from the political stage. Which is what elections are designed to do. They are designed to cleanse the political system, to remove the toxicity from the fabric of our government. Will they do so in 2024? I damn sure hope so.

Then, perhaps, we can return to some semblance of civility where we can, as the young senator said prior to taking office in 2005, restore a climate where we can disagree over policy without condemning the other side.

Pence to skip CPAC?

How interesting, eh? Former Vice President Mike Pence, who well might run for president in 2024, is going to skip the annual Conservative Action Political Conference that is set to begin this week.

Why? Oh, wait! It’s because many of the CPAC ranks of right-wing political radicals actually wanted to hang him when the 1/6 insurrection erupted on Capitol Hill.

They carried signs and shouted out their desire to kill the VP because he wouldn’t do what they demanded, which was to overturn the results of the 2020 presidential election and hand the result to Donald Trump … who encouraged them to do what they did on that terrible day.

Instead, Pence decided to follow the U.S. Constitution and simply preside over the counting of the Electoral College results that determined that Joe Biden won the election — and that Donald Trump lost it!

CPAC is thought to be a sounding board for conservative GOP presidential candidates. Not all of ’em, not this year!

Pence is staying away.

Shut the hell up, MTG!

Under normal circumstances, I would be inclined to ignore the rants of a back-bench member of Congress who represents the fringe of a once-great political party.

Except these times ain’t normal … you know? That once-great party, the Republicans, are dominated these days by the idiots on the far-right wing. One of them, Marjorie Taylor Greene, has proposed that the United States split between liberals and conservatives. She criticized President Biden for visiting Ukraine in a show of support for the nation fighting against the illegal invasion from Russia.

Why do I care about this moron? Because she and her ilk are positioned to take control of the House of Representatives agenda, thanks to House Speaker Kevin McCarthy’s tolerance of their wackiness and outright un-American policies.

The country tried to split in two, remember? It didn’t work out. President Lincoln — the greatest Republican in U.S. history and for my money the greatest president — kept the Union together.

Now we hear one of his political descendants spewing trash such as what comes from Marjorie Taylor Greene.

Shut the hell up!

Jimmy Carter: a wonderful life

Tributes have been pouring in to President Jimmy Carter’s home in Plains, Ga., after the announcement that he is entering hospice care.

I am fully aware of what that likely means, but I want to offer this brief tribute to a man who’s led perhaps the most extraordinary life imaginable. Furthermore, I will not presume he is headed for the Great Beyond … at least not just yet.

He has beaten cancer already. You’ll recall when he seemed to offer a heartfelt goodbye to this world when he announced he had the killer disease. Then he beat it into remission. That was in 2015.

Jimmy Carter did not, contrary to what many have said about him since his landslide loss in 1980, serve a “failed presidency.” It was nothing of the sort. He forged a peace treaty between Israel and Egypt; he negotiated the transfer of the Panama Canal to the country it splits in two; and, yes, he got our hostages out of Iran safely, albeit on the day Ronald Reagan took the presidential oath of office in 1981.

Carter didn’t sulk after losing to Reagan.

Instead, this man of deep and abiding Christian faith formed the Carter Center in 1982, dedicating its work to the pursuit of world peace; that work earned him the Nobel Peace Prize.

And then, of course, he became involved with Habitat for Humanity, building homes for needy people around the world.

He graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, served as a submariner, entered politics in Georgia and then, in 1976, announced, “My name is Jimmy Carter and I’m running for president.” He defeated President Gerald Ford that year and even after a bitter battle, the two men became the best of friends.

Jimmy Carter is a great man who has lived an astonishingly full life. More importantly, so many around him — and far beyond — have been enriched by the fullness of this man’s time on Earth.

Yes, we can speculate on what the future might hold for the nation’s 39th president. I won’t dwell at this moment on what may lie ahead. I just want to honor this good man’s character and thank him for serving his country — and the world — with honor and dignity.

Presidents Day? Why honor some of ’em?

Presidents Day is a federal holiday that for decades has gotten past me, in that I don’t understand it.

The day is meant to “honor” the men who have served as our head of state, head of government and our commander in chief. But … why?

Some of these individuals were truly despicable men, let alone presidents.

I remember when we used to honor only the birthdays of two of our presidents: the “father of our country,” George Washington and the “man who saved the Union,” Abraham Lincoln.

For my money, these gentlemen stand above the crowd of others who served as president. Indeed, they tower like the Colossus of Rhodes over a number of them.

I need not mention the names of the more despicable among the individuals who served as president. In my lifetime, I can think of just one man who not only never should have been elected in the first place, but who stands alone as the most vilified, despised and indisputably venal man ever to take the presidential oath.

I cannot honor him. Or many of the others who preceded him.

Yes, I have my favorite presidents. I already have mentioned two of them — Washington and Lincoln. They stand together at the top of the presidential heap.

I’ll just leave it at that.