Climate change, Mr. President?

Let’s take a breather from “negative press covfefe” for a moment or two and zero in on something of considerably more significance.

That would be climate change and the future of Planet Earth — and whether the world’s most powerful nation will take part in a worldwide effort to protect the planet.

Reports have surfaced that Donald J. Trump is leaning toward pulling the United States out of the Paris Accord, which was signed by virtually every nation on Earth to battle climate change.

It’s a measure, according to the media, for the president to “put America first.” Good grief!

Two nations didn’t sign the accord: Syria and Nicaragua. The rest of the world signed on. It is meant to signal a global commitment to mitigate the consequences of what the vast majority of pertinent scientific minds have concluded: that humankind’s activity has contributed to the changing climate. Carbon emissions and deforestation are products of industrial development and all of it has taken a devastating toll on the world’s ecosystem.

If the president goes through with this effort to yank the United States out of the agreement, most of us can predict worldwide outrage. A Trump decision to pull out of the Paris Accord would be nothing more than a sop to the Republican Party base that got him elected in 2016.

It also¬†would be¬†a bow to the nationalist wing of his inner circle, led by Stephen Bannon, the former Breitbart editor and spokesman for the far right wing of the Republican Party. Trump pledged to “make American great again.” How in the world does a “great” nation refuse to lead the world in fighting a global crisis?

It’s fascinating in the extreme, though, that other senior Trump administration officials want the United States to adhere to the Paris Accord. They include, and get a load of this list of heavy hitters: Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, the former CEO of ExxonMobil, for crying out loud; Energy Secretary Rick Perry; son-in-law/senior policy adviser¬†Jared Kushner; economic adviser Gary Cohn; and national security adviser H.R. McMaster.

Can there be anything more that the president can do to infuriate our nation’s allies? He seems to be working overtime to find methods of angering our closest allies. Canada, Mexico, Germany, the UK, Australia and France all have felt the sting of Trump barbs; meanwhile, the president remains stunningly silent about Russia and that nation’s effort to meddle in our 2016 presidential election.

Trump says he’ll announce his Paris Accord decision “in a few days.” This ongoing story has tossed yet another crisis element into the stew that’s brewing inside the White House.

Here’s one more plea to the president from Flyover Country: Don’t pull us out of these accords.

Why not explain ‘covfefe’?

Donald J. Trump’s “covfefe” tweet has detonated the Twitterverse.

Social media of all stripes also have exploded with commentary, questions, bewilderment and confusion.

It seems to center on this fundamental question: What in the world was the president of the United States meaning when he wrote: “Despite the constant negative press covfefe”?

This is an example of one of the many failings of the Trump White House communications team. It cannot — or will not — offer a simple explanation of what happened.

Did the president hit the “send” button prematurely?

Did he get distracted?

Was it just a damn mistake?

The White House flacks won’t say.

Oh, wait! Maybe their reticence might have something to do with related questions that an answer might generate.

Doesn’t anyone vet the president?

Doesn’t anyone counsel him against using Twitter?

Does the president even listen, or care, what his advisers are telling him?

Oh, the chaos continues.

Griffin gets canned; ‘Madman’ gets a pass

David Axelrod, one of Barack Obama’s political gurus, poses an interesting thought on social media.

It concerns “comedian” Kathy Griffin’s disgraceful video showing her holding a “decapitated head” purporting to be that of Donald J. Trump.

CNN fired Griffin for her utterly crass stunt, which she initially thought of as an “artsy fartsy statement.” So long, kid. Don’t let the door hit in your backside.

But then, Axelrod wonders, how does Ted “Motor City Madman” Nugent get a pass for the endless string of grotesque statements he has made about, oh, Barack H. Obama. You know, things like calling him a “subhuman mongrel” and a litany of other vile epithets.

The president even invited Nugent to the White House for an intimate dinner, along with Sarah Palin and Kid Rock.

Well, Mr. President? Is there just a touch of a double standard here?
I’ll weigh in. I believe there is.

Donald Trump: linguist?

Donald J. Trump is a Renaissance man.

Real estate mogul, reality TV celebrity, dealmaker, serial groper (allegedly), president of the United States.

We can add linguist to his long and growing list of real and imagined skills.

The president came up with a new word. Perhaps you’ve heard it already. I am sure you have, as it went viral the instant he tweeted it around midnight.

He wrote: “Despite the negative press covfefe.”

There you go. That’s it. Covfefe. One’s mind can race through all kinds of explanations: Someone yanked the device from his hands in mid-sentence; he got distracted by something he heard on one of the cable TV “news shows”; Melania called from New York to tell him she wasn’t moving to the White House after all. Who knows?

I won’t join the h-u-u-u-g-e chorus of folks who are poking fun at the president. They all are much more clever than yours truly — which isn’t saying much about either them or me.

Trump didn’t take the tweet down for about six hours. By that time it had reverberated around the world many times. I only can await tonight’s comedic routines on TV.

I am left only to wonder yet again: How in the name of all that is holy did this guy get elected president of the United States of America?

Cell phone, Mr. President?

I get that Donald J. Trump wants to open up lines of communication between his office and those of other world leaders.

The president’s motives appear to be noble.

But hold on! He’s giving out his personal, private cellphone number to those other leaders? Is that what I’m hearing?

Whoa, Mr. President!

Cellphones aren’t secure. I keep hearing how they’re vulnerable to, um, hacking. People can listen in. Bad people can listen and do¬†terrible things in reaction to what they hear.

And so the president of the United States wants to talk openly, and I presume candidly, with world leaders about the myriad problems facing the world.

If the president wants to maintain open communications with other leaders, I have an idea. Let ’em call you on the secure line in the Oval Office, or in the Situation Room.

Handing out personal cellphone numbers is fraught, shall we say, with some serious national security concerns. Don’t you think?

And didn’t the president — when he was running for the office — bellow incessantly about all the alleged security breaches created by Hillary Clinton’s use of her personal e-mail server while she was secretary of state?

I am shaking my head.

How about those anonymous sources, Mr. POTUS?

This item almost doesn’t deserve comment. Aww, but what the heck.

Donald J. Trump fired of a tweet that cited anonymous sources after, um, blasting anonymous sources.

It’s become normal, I guess, for the president to do this kind of thing. Do as I say, not as I do.

* He blasts Michelle Obama for not covering her head while touring a Muslim country, only to have his wife do the same thing during his recent journey to Saudi Arabia.

* He rips into Barack Obama for all that golf he played as president, then hits the links with reckless abandon when he takes office.

* Trump leads rally crowd chants of “lock her up!” for her use of private e-mail account while serving as secretary of state, then he¬†blabs to¬†Russians about classified security information.

The president retweeted a Fox News report that cites an anonymous source relating to his son-in-law’s current difficulty with “the Russia thing.” He did so just days after tweeting a rant equating anonymous sources to “fake news.”

Here’s a suggestion for the president: Take a breath and be sure about what you’ve put into the public domain before firing off another of those nonsensical tweets.

Griffin says she’s sorry for hideous prank

I am no fan of Kathy Griffin, the bawdy, often-gauche comedian known for her raunchy shtick.

So, when he begs for forgiveness from her fans for a hideous prank she pulled, well, she’s not talking to me.

Griffin took part in a ghastly video that shows her lifting what looks like a decapitated head — which was depicted as belonging¬†to Donald J. Trump.

She says she intended it as an “artsy fartsy statement.”

It ain’t funny, toots.

She meant to poke fun at the commander in chief.

Griffin has apologized fully. At least she avoided one of those phony “If I offended anyone … ” non-apologies. I’ll give her props for that.

I’ll suggest, though, that she’s going to be remembered for a long time¬†as the alleged funnywoman who went way too far with a joke that reeks of sheer stupidity.

‘Men will be boys’

The headline on the Texas Tribune story says plenty about the way the Texas Legislature ended its regular session.

It¬†concluded with two legislators, both men — a Democrat and a Republican — threatening to harm each other. A disturbance broke out on the floor of the Texas House of Representatives.

The Tribune article, written by Ross Ramsey, posits an interesting notion. As I look the article over, Ramsey seems to suggest that we need more women in the Texas Legislature.

It’s been a man’s world¬†under the Capitol Dome for a long time.
Ramsey makes this point: “According to the Legislative Reference Library, 23.9 percent of all of the women ‚ÄĒ¬†all of them ‚ÄĒ who ever served in the Texas Legislature are in office right now. That‚Äôs 37 of the 155 who have served in the Texas Legislature‚Äôs history.

“About one in five Texas lawmakers is female. Over the state‚Äôs history, 2.8 percent of the 5,571 people who‚Äôve served in the Legislature have been women. The 155 women who’ve served wouldn’t be enough ‚ÄĒ if they were all alive and in office today ‚ÄĒ to fill all 181 seats in the House and the Senate.”

He goes on to note that none of the women currently serving in the House took part in the melee at the end of the session.¬†Ramsey adds: “If you know any of them, you know that‚Äôs not because they were afraid.”

I once took note of the time in 2015 when Amarillo voters booted two women off the City Council, electing an all-male governing body. I lamented at the time the absence of any female perspective on the council. This year, voters reversed themselves in a big way, electing three women to the five-member council, creating a female council majority for the first time in Amarillo history.

It’s not that City Hall has seen the kind of nonsense that erupted at the State Capitol. It’s merely that I consider female voices on the council to be a good thing.

I’m now thinking that we might need more women in the halls of the Texas Legislature to bring some measure of calm to state government.

Looking for the constructive, beginning right now

I am able to get reflective on occasion. This is one of those moments.

As I look back on the history of High Plains Blogger, I am struck by the thought that it is quite negative in its approach to discussion of politics and public policy.

Frankly, I remind myself of the people of whom I used to poke fun back when I was working for a living.

I toiled in daily journalism for nearly 37 years and I would hear the following from readers of the work I produced:

“Hey, I really like what you said the other,” they would say.

“Oh, what was that?” I would ask in response.

“Shoot! I can’t remember. I’ll have to think about it,” they’d say.

Now, if they disagreed with something I wrote, they likely could recite it back to me, virtually word for word and have a ready-made method for me to change my way of thinking.

That’s human nature, I suppose. I passed it off as such.

My blog is taking on much of that narrative.

Those of you read my musings know, for example, how strongly I feel about the man who won the 2016 presidential election. I’ve spoken frequently — and almost always angrily — about Donald John Trump.

I admit to being quick to point where I believe the president has failed, and is failing. I also admit that I while I’ve been long on complaints, I’ve been short on solutions.

I am going to seek to change — when it is possible — my approach to discussing this man’s time as president. Also, I intend to make good on my earlier pledge to speak positively of actions he takes, or words he says when the opportunities present themselves. I did so just the other day when commenting on a speech Trump made in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia; I thought he sounded reasonable and said so — which drew some sharp rebukes from a couple of readers of this blog.

I get that we are drawn more readily to respond to negativity with more negativity. I lived through all of that during many years writing editorials and columns for daily newspapers. Readers get their hackles up and speak out quickly and forcefully. They are much less inclined to do so with the same vigor when they read something with which they agree.

So it is with this blogger.

Don’t expect a huge change overnight. If public officials mess up, I’ll be all over ’em like ugly on an ape; that includes the president of the United States. However, I intend¬†to seek to add some constructive thoughts along the way. When they do something that pleases me, I’ll weigh in on that, too.

I never will forsake my humanity, though, by muffling my own righteous indignation.

Legislature ends contentious session — just as it gets ugly

I am glad at the moment to be living far from Austin, the capital of Texas and the place where state legislators ended their 2017 session with two of them threatening physical harm to each other.

Whatever happened to the late Robert F. Kennedy ‘s notion that politics could be a “noble profession”? It ain’t. Not in Texas. Not these days. I would have hated to have been hit by a stray bullet.

Just think: Gov. Greg Abbott just might call these clowns back into special session to wrap up some unfinished business, some of which might include enactment that idiotic Bathroom Bill that would require people to use public restrooms designated to the gender noted in their bleeping birth certificate.

As for the end of the 2017 regular legislative session, two House members got into each other’s face as a scuffle broke out on the House floor. Some illegal immigrants reportedly raised a ruckus. One lawmaker, Democrat Poncho Nevarez threatened “to get” Republican Matt Rinaldi after Rinaldi called immigrations agents to break up the disturbance that was caused by the illegal immigrants.

By “get,” Rinaldi presumed Nevarez intends serious physical harm, to which he (Rinaldi) responded by threatening to put a “bullet in the head” of his colleague — in self-defense, of course.

Good ever-lovin’ grief, fellas. Nevarez should have kept his trap shut and Rinaldi should have refrained from threatening to shoot Nevarez.

Hey, guys, here’s a flash for you: Texas is in relatively good financial shape. Yeah, we have our issues. We have differences of opinion, most certainly differences of philosophy and ideology.

For this kind of tough talk to erupt at the end of a legislative session — which lasted all of 140 days — is ridiculous, outrageous and disgraceful on its face. House rules prohibit demonstrates from the gallery; the demonstrators broke the rules, period! That’s where it started and¬†how it went from bad to stupid.

If Abbott is going bring you folks back to Austin, my hope is that he waits a while before setting a date. Reps. Nevarez and Rinaldi need to cool off, collect themselves, catch their breath — and count their blessings.