House managers might as well talk to the furniture

I cannot shake the belief that House of Representatives managers seeking to persuade U.S. senators to allow additional witnesses in the trial of Donald John Trump must be feeling an unbearable sense of frustration.

Surely they know that the Republican-led Senate has dug in to oppose any witness testimony and to likely acquit the president of high crimes and misdemeanors.

Yet the managers, led by House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff, are slogging forward with their arguments to allow “fact witnesses” to tell senators what they know about Trump’s soliciting a foreign government for political help.

They are better men and women than I would be were I put into that position.

These individuals might as well be talking to the furniture arrayed before them in the Senate chamber. Most of the individuals who are sitting in their chairs are conducting a shameful sham that they are presenting to us as a trial.

Loving the Chiefs’ back story

I am happy to proclaim that for the first time since I cannot remember I actually have an interest in professional football’s final game of the 2019-20 season.

Super Bowl LIV is coming up. I am pulling hard for the Kansas City Chiefs to win against the San Francisco 49ers.

I have not a single thing against the Niners. They’re a fine team, coming from a fine program. They have wonderful fans; a beloved member of my family is one of them. They have a storied history of winning the Super Bowl.

Which brings me to one of the key reasons why I am pulling for the Chiefs.

You know perhaps already that I am a staunch American Football Conference fan, owing to my previous allegiance to the American Football League, of which the Chiefs are a charter member, although they did enter the AFL as the Dallas Texans; the Texans moved to KC in 1963.

The Chiefs have played in two Super Bowls, the first one and the fourth one. They lost the initial AFL-NFL World Championship Game — which wasn’t even yet called the “Super Bowl” — in 1967; the Green Bay Packers beat the Chiefs 35-10. Ahh, but the Chiefs came back in 1970 to defeat the heavily favored Minnesota Vikings; the score was 23-7.

So, it’s been 50 years since the Chiefs lined up in the Super Bowl. Fifty years! The 49ers have been to six of them. What’s more, the 49ers have won five of their Super Bowl games. Do you get where I’m going with this?

The Chiefs are long overdue to play, let alone win, this media extravaganza that now masquerades as a football game.

Do I care about the halftime show? Or the commercials? Maybe the halftime show; I mean, who can look away from Shakira and JLo, eh? The commercials … not so much.

I am intently interested in the behemoths who’ll be beating the daylights out of each other during the game.

So, there you have it.

Pass the popcorn.

Impeachment drama set to end quietly, quickly

Is it just me or does the Donald John Trump impeachment saga, the one that seemed headed for a dramatic crescendo, now appears headed for a relatively quiet — but rapid-fire — finish?

John Bolton, the current president’s former national security adviser, emerged as a key potential witness, who would offer first-hand testimony to what he reportedly has written in his soon-to-be-published book that Trump offered a quid pro quo to Ukraine: a political favor in return for a military aid package.

Then just like that, the air left the room. U.S. Sen. Lamar Alexander, the lame-duck Tennessee Republican, announced he would vote against allowing Bolton to testify. The Senate trial appears headed for a conclusion later today and a vote on whether to convict or acquit Trump will seal the deal. Alexander’s statement seemed a bit quizzical. He said the House managers have “proved their case,” but that the charges leveled against Trump don’t “rise to the level of impeachment.”

So, POTUS stays put, doing even more damage to the country.

Damn! But … I won’t cry in my brew over it. The deal was done from the get-go, or so it appears. GOP senators — along with their House colleagues — seem to owe more loyalty to Donald Trump than to the Constitution.

Whatever. We have an election tap.

I am prepared to do whatever I can from my measly little perch out here in Trump Country to seek the ballot-box ouster of the most unfit, unqualified man ever to hold the presidency.

About to throw in the towel on impeachment

As an interested American observer of this impeachment trial, I am afraid my impeachment fatigue has reached critical mass.

I am officially ready for it to end. It’s not that I want it to end. It’s just that the finish line is appearing out there and we all know the outcome that the end of this grueling event will produce.

Donald John Trump is going to survive this trial. The U.S. House of Representatives sought to make the case that Trump abused the power of his office and obstructed Congress. The House trial managers’ message has fallen on deaf ears. The Senate Republican majority is hearing none of it.

I do have some hope that former national security adviser John Bolton will be able to testify, telling senators what he heard — that Trump sought a foreign government to interfere in our upcoming presidential election. It won’t matter. Bolton’s testimony won’t sway enough Republican senators to convict Trump; he might not sway any of ’em! They’re wedded to the president, ignoring what I believe is an obvious violation of his oath of office.

I am worn out. I am whipped, man! I am ready now to get on with the next phase in what I hope is a concerted effort to get rid of the man I deem to be unfit for the office of president.

The election is coming on.

Let’s get busy. Shall we?

The Wall buckles under the wind

We chuckled a bit in our house today when we heard this news: Stiff wind knocked over a portion of The Wall that Donald John Trump is seeking to build along our southern border.

We were able to laugh because there was no injury or loss of property. Just a portion of The Wall was blown over near El Centro, Calif.; a portion of the structure fell into Mexico.

It illustrates one of the many problems facing Trump’s effort to erect this structure, which he said Mexico would finance. Mexico has responded categorically: Oh, no we won’t!

The wind along out border poses just one obstacle for construction of this barrier. If you’ve been anywhere near El Paso or along the Trans-Pecos region of far West Texas, you kind of understand the wind-related problems associated with building a wall that is strong enough to withstand the battering it will take.

Then we have the issue of purchasing private land to build this structure. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution guarantees just compensation on matters such as this. It’s going to get mighty expensive for a federal government that is running an annual budget deficit that exceeds $1 trillion.

And so it goes. Trump keeps insisting Mexico will pay for a wall. Meanwhile, he is pushing to spend our money appropriated for other purposes to foot the bill that is supposed to go to Mexico.

Are you confused? So am I.

Meanwhile, the wind howls and parts of The Wall fall down.

Dershowitz does it! He turns the trial discussion onto himself!

I had this nagging rumble in the pit of my gut that Alan Dershowitz might end up hogging the limelight at the U.S. Senate trial of Donald John Trump.

I did not anticipate him doing so in the manner that he did.

Dershowitz took the floor this week in defense of Trump, who is standing trial after the House impeached him on abuse of power and obstruction of Congress.

The esteemed Harvard law professor, Dershowitz, long has been known as a grandstander, a fellow known to call attention to himself. Well, he did so during the Senate trial by positing what many observers believe is a preposterous notion.

It is that the president can do anything he needs to do to help his re-election if he deems it in the national interest. Anything at all! That includes seeking foreign government help in digging up dirt on a U.S. citizen who happens to be a potential opponent in the next presidential election.

Professor Dershowitz is now the talk of the town. Hey, he’s the talk of the nation!

I cannot pretend to know more about the U.S. Constitution than the distinguished legal professor. However, it seems to me that his idea borders on the idiotic.

The framers could not possibly have written anything into the Constitution that allows for a president to do what Trump has done. He called the Ukrainian president; he took some expressions of gratitude from his colleague for all the support the United States has given Ukraine; he asks for more military aid; Trump says, “sure,” but then says he would like to ask Ukraine for a “favor, though.”

Trump said he would hold up the aid until Ukraine announced an investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden.

Professor Dershowitz said in defense of Donald Trump that it’s OK for the president to do that?

I do not think that is right. Not … at all!

Obstruction robs Congress of its constitutional duty

The Senate trial of Donald John Trump has produced many disappointments for me, but one of them stands front and center as the Senate fast-tracks this trial toward a probable acquittal for the current president of the United States.

It is the way senators appear ready to surrender their constitutional duty of oversight of the executive branch.

The House of Representatives impeached Trump on two counts, abuse of power and obstruction of Congress. It’s the obstruction article that has baffled me.

Congress sought to subpoena key White House aides to testify during its impeachment inquiry. The Constitution gives the legislative — and “co-equal” — branch of government the authority to do so. Trump’s response? He said “no.” He barred aides from answering the summons. He told Congress, in effect, you cannot — and I will forbid it — perform your duty of oversight.

What is stunning to me is how the Senate majority appears set to roll over on that one. By voting to acquit Trump on the obstruction allegation, senators will concede that it’s all right for the government’s chief executive to stiff the legislative branch, to tell legislators to take a hike.

I won’t engage in the “both sides” argument, presuming what the response would be if a Democratic president would do the same thing. History tells us that Trump is the first president in history to issue blanket orders to obstruct Congress in this shameful manner. President Clinton didn’t do so when the House was inquiring whether to impeach him; nor did President Nixon.

Donald Trump’s dismissal of congressional oversight is frightening on its face. Even more terrifying is the GOP’s willingness to accept it, to say it’s OK for the president to kick Congress in the teeth.

Say this about Bolton: He tells the truth

(Photo by Tasos Katopodis/Getty Images)

The chances of U.S. Senate Democrats being able to call witnesses in the trial of Donald John Trump seem to be vanishing.

It’s a shame. One of the witnesses, ex-national security adviser John Bolton, has first-hand knowledge of what Trump said to the Ukrainian president on that fateful July 25, 2019 phone call.

He has expressed concern about the nature of the request Trump made to his Ukrainian colleague: the favor of political help, a request to Trump dig up dirt on Joe Biden, a potential 2020 campaign foe. I consider that an abuse of power. So did most of the House of Representatives when it voted to impeach Trump.

Well, if the Senate Republican leadership has its way and the Senate proceeds without hearing from Bolton and others who were in the room that day, then the impeachment “trial” will need a historical asterisk as we refer to it in the future.

I do not consider John Bolton to be a liar. He is a man of principle. He is too hawkish for my taste, but I tend to believe him over anything that comes forth from his former boss, the current president.

Accordingly, I wish we could hear from him.

But … it likely won’t occur. Too bad. The nation will likely suffer the consequence of the absence of this man’s Senate testimony.

Mr. POTUS, doesn’t Bibi’s indictment matter?

Hey, wait a second!

Donald John Trump allegedly is so worried about corruption in Ukraine that he decided to ask the Ukrainians to investigate whether a potential political foe here at home, Joe Biden, was stained by ill deeds.

It has gotten the nation’s current president into a heap of trouble. The House of Representatives impeached him for it and the Senate is conducting a trial this very moment.

However, why isn’t our president concerned about Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s indictment for — um, let’s see — oh yeah, corruption? The indictment alleges fraud, bribery and breach of trust. That’s a big deal, right?

He and Bibi stood in the White House to announce a draft Middle East peace plan. Netanyahu calls Trump the best friend Israel can possibly have.

The Israeli courts have indicted him, though, on corruption charges that one would think should rankle the world’s No. 1 corruption fighter, Donald Trump.

Wouldn’t they?

Hospital site dreams appear to be coming true … one must hope

I’ve written before on this blog about my hope for the future of a site that once housed an acute-care hospital known colloquially as “Saints.”

The former St. Anthony’s Hospital building has sat empty ever since the care facility merged with High Plains Baptist Hospital to become Baptist-St. Anthony’s Hospital on the far west side of Amarillo.

Well, according to what I see on KFDA NewsChannel 10’s website, the Saints complex is likely to get new life as a low-income housing center for elderly residents.

That, I submit, is a perfect repurposing of the 565,000-square-foot structure.

The building has been owned by a fellow who sought developers to purchase it from him. He doesn’t live in Amarillo, but has been paying the taxes on the structure since purchasing it after the two hospitals merged some years ago.

According to KFDA’s website: “If you live in Amarillo and if you’ve been around for a while you know that this community is in need. In need of a lot. More than that, it’s in need of hope, and this has been on the drawing board for so long that people have begun to give up hope. Well, it’s in motion now Amarillo, and we’re about to put it down,” said Jay Parker, director of media relations for the North Heights Advisory Association.

It’s not a done deal. There are some hoops through which the association must jump.

From KFDA: To make housing affordable, the St. Anthony’s board has to apply for a housing tax credit program that, if granted, would cut the cost of development which would offset the price of rent.

“The low income tax credit is vital to people being able to afford the program. The program is going to be called ‘The Commons at St. Anthony’s,’ so it’s going to be a low income, housing tax credit program for elderly’s for seniors,” said Parker.

The campus on Amarillo Boulevard and Polk Street has been an eyesore for too long already. I am pulling hard for the North Heights Association to make good on the promise of delivering low-income housing for elderly residents in need.