Texas pulls out of refugee settlement program … more or less


Texas Gov. Greg Abbott has made a political statement, which of course is no surprise.

He has withdrawn the state from the federal refugee resettlement program.

Here’s the deal, though. The feds are going to keep sending refugees to Texas, where they might be resettled but only after they’ve been vetted thoroughly to ensure they aren’t part of some evil terrorist network.

All of this begs the question for Gov. Abbott: What is the point — precisely — of the “withdrawal” from the refugee resettlement initiative?


Abbott’s office cited security concerns. He doesn’t want terrorist infiltrating into Texas. Duh? Neither do I, nor anyone else, near as I can tell.

The feds, though, are running the Middle East refugees through a rigorous background check as it is … and no, we aren’t welcoming “hundreds of thousands” of refugees from the war-torn region, as GOP presidential nominee Donald J. Trump keeps insisting. President Obama announced a ceiling of 10,000 Syrian refugees, for example.

“Refugees will continue to be resettled in Texas only after extensive screenings are conducted by the State Department and Department of Homeland Security,” a spokesman for the Office of Refugee Resettlement said.

The fear campaign continues at full throttle, goosed by Trump and others who seek to terrorize Americans with the threat that we’re being invaded by throngs of crazed Islamic warriors bent on killing us all on sight.

Quite clearly, Gov. Abbott has accepted at least a version of that notion. It reminds me of when he ordered the National Guard to monitor the U.S. Army’s military exercise in Texas, apparently believing the garbage that the commander in chief might order a military takeover of Texas.

Trading with the enemy: Trump steps on his own toes


Reports that Donald J. Trump did business with the hated communists in Cuba seems aimed directly at one of the last curiosities of this presidential campaign.

The Republican nominee for president has been winning over those staunch GOP conservatives who just can’t cotton to the idea of letting the Cuban commies off the hook for their repression.

Yet now come these reports that Trump’s business enterprises traded with the Cubans long before the Obama administration decided to lift the decades-old economic embargo against the government run by Fidel Castro.

How does that play with the staunchly anti-communist Cuban-American community in, say, Florida … where Trump and Democratic nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton are fighting furiously for the state’s 29 electoral votes?

One would think it wouldn’t play well at all.

One would think …


According to the New York Times: “The question of whether Mr. Trump sought business opportunities in Fidel Castro’s Cuba is explosive not only because of how loathed the Castro government is among Cuban-Americans in the Miami area, but also because Mr. Trump has taken such a hard line against the Obama administration’s policy of normalizing relations with the island nation.

“As far back as 1999, in public at least, Mr. Trump called efforts to restore relations with Cuba ‘pure lunacy.’”

Pure lunacy? Reports suggest, though, that Trump spent $68,000 on a business trip to Cuba to explore business opportunities.

Trump, quite naturally, denies that the trip had anything to do with business development. Sure thing, dude. He’s also denied a lot of things despite being seen and heard — on the record — saying the very things he denies saying.“

Will this enrage Florida’s still-potent Cuban-American political community enough to turn them against Trump?

“This adds to the long list of actions and statements that raise doubts about his temperament and qualification to be president and commander in chief,” Clinton said Thursday.

If it’s lunacy to trade with the Cuban commies, then only a lunatic would do so. Is that a correct assumption, Donald Trump?

Nothing is ‘impossible’ with Trump


I thought it would have been impossible for the 2016 presidential campaign to get any lower, more miserable than it has been to this point.

Silly me. I forgot about Donald J. Trump, the Republican nominee for president. He has all but pledged to bring Bill Clinton’s sexual behavior forward as a campaign issue against the former president’s wife, Hillary Rodham Clinton.

The lesson apparently is that never put anything — anything at all! — past Trump.


He said Clinton can get “nasty,” but adds he can get “nastier.”

That appears to be his signal for what is to come.

I’ve wondered — in this forum and in conversation with others in the Texas Panhandle — what does Bill Clinton’s behavior have to do with Hillary Clinton’s ability to run the country?

Oh, I get it. Trump is going to assert, perhaps, that if she cannot control her husband, she cannot be expected to take command of the U.S. military, that she cannot become head of government, head of state, leader of the Free World. Is that it?

Well, it’s utter horse manure.

Trump knows it. I know it. You know it. Bill and Hillary know it.

That will not stop Trump from making an absolute ass of himself — in the eyes of those who haven’t already climbed into I fear we haven’t yet hit bottom.

Trump has introduced ‘The Issue’

clinton and trump

This thought just occurred to me.

Donald J. Trump’s “threat” to introduce former President Bill Clinton’s marital infidelity has done the job already. He has made the president’s dalliances — alleged and proven — an issue in this campaign.

Thus, he has lowered the bar of standards to new and disgusting levels.

Whether he brings it up when he and Democratic nominee Hillary Rodham Clinton meet in their second joint appearance really is moot at this point. He’s done it already.

The media are talking about it. Trump, the GOP nominee, has told reporters that he is considering whether to raise the issue.

Therefore, the issue is out there. It’s on the table.

Here, though, is my question: How is this even relevant to the kind of job that Hillary Clinton would do as president?

I cannot discern any reasonable rationale for making this an issue in the 2016 presidential contest.

Then again, Donald Trump has defied reason and rationality all along the way en route to this point in the campaign.

Judge removed — with cause — from state’s highest court


Roy Moore took an oath when he became chief justice of the Alabama Supreme Court.

The oath required him to follow the law, to adhere to the U.S. Constitution.

Then the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that gay people have the right — under the Constitution’s 14th Amendment equal protection clause — to marry others of the same gender.

Moore disagreed with that ruling. So he ruled that county clerks and other duly empowered local officials should adhere instead to a state law that denied marriage to gay people.

Well, Judge Moore’s days as head of the state’s highest court are over. The Alabama Court of the Judiciary has suspended Moore for the remainder of his term, declaring that he violated state and federal law by denying gay Alabamans the right to marry.

This isn’t the first time Moore has gotten into trouble over his refusal to abide by federal law. He was removed earlier for refusing to remove a Ten Commandments monument from the courthouse grounds in Montgomery, Ala. That act of defiance didn’t bother me nearly as much as this one does.

The nation’s highest court is empowered to interpret the Constitution. It ruled that the 14th Amendment provides equal protection to all Americans under the law and that the amendment doesn’t allow for discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Moore has no authority to flout that ruling, the state’s Court of the Judiciary has ruled.


When will it sink in to this fellow’s apparently thick skull that when he takes an oath to follow the law and obey the U.S. Constitution, that there’s no wiggle room.


Adhere to your oath or else step aside.