We still have our guns … imagine that


Plenty of doomsday scenarios were put forward by Barack Obama’s enemies when he became president in 2009. Most of them made no sense. One of them was particularly absurd.

I refer to politically active groups, such as the National Rifle Association, which fomented fear among the ranks of gun owners that the president was going to order federal agents to disarm us all. He would flout the Second Amendment and push legislation through Congress that would deprive of us of our constitutional right to “keep and bear arms” … they said.

Do you remember all that crap? I do.

It was all meant to scare the daylights out of us, to suggest that this president — who really isn’t one of “us,” if you’ll recall that other “birther” baloney as well — was hell bent on coming after our guns.

One of the social media themes that made the rounds not long ago was that the president had endorsed the Australia law that essentially took away everyone’s gun. The result of that law was a precipitous decline in gun violence Down Under; Obama thought that was a good result.

That never happened. It won’t happen, either, as long as we have a Constitution that includes the Second Amendment.

What the gun-owner-rights fearmongers ignored, too, was that the president lacks absolute power to impose his will over the nation. I hope the new president understands that, too. The president has that other co-equal government arm with which he must deal: Congress, which is populated by members who get lots of campaign dough from the gun lobby.

I mention this — as we draw closer to the end of President Obama’s time in office — to remind us all of the fearmongering that at times can overcome reasonable discussion of serious public policy issues.

Texas elector follows conscience out the door


Art Sisneros apparently is a man of deep faith and conviction.

He takes an oath and plans to stick by it. So, when he took an oath as a Texas Republican elector to vote for the individual who won the state’s electoral votes in the presidential election, he felt he had to abide by that oath.

Except for one thing: The person who won the state’s 38 electoral votes is Donald J. Trump, a man who — according to Sisneros — doesn’t deserve his vote.

What to do?

Sisneros did the only thing he felt he could do: He resigned as a Texas elector. He walked away from his task of casting a vote for president because he couldn’t (a) vote for Trump or (b) become something called a “faithless elector,” meaning he would break his pledge to support the GOP candidate for president.


Sisneros calls the Electoral College “corrupted from its original intent.”  I won’t weigh in on whether we should toss the Electoral College out. My sense is that it still performs a public service to the national electorate by giving smaller states more of a voice in the electoral process … which I consider to be a good thing.

But I do like the notion that one elector has weighed carefully the consequences of his actions and decided his best option is to walk out, to follow his conscience out the door and to allow the state to appoint someone to his spot who isn’t as conflicted as he is.

As U.S. News and World Report noted: “(Sisneros’) decision followed a previous post in which he posed the question of whether it was ‘acceptable for a Christian to vote for a man like Trump for president,’ and concluded that he could not ‘in good conscience’ do so.

This is precisely the kind of contradiction that many of us saw, with committed evangelical voters sticking with Trump, even in light of the candidate’s admission that he groped women and behaved like a complete and utter boor.

I cannot help but wonder if there will be more of this kind of soul-searching among electors as the date approaches for them to cast their important votes for president.

President-elect shows how to win ugly


Even in victory, the president-elect of the United States is continuing to defame, degrade and denigrate elections officials.

Donald J. Trump now contends — without a shred of substance — that millions of voters in California and New Hampshire cast their ballots illegally. He presumes, of course, that the illegal ballots were cast in favor of Hillary Rodham Clinton, who Trump defeated to win the presidential election.

With victory in hand, Trump now has decided to ratchet up the absurd, baseless and idiotic assertion that the election was “rigged” to favor his opponent.


Does this clown have any proof of what he’s alleging? No. He doesn’t.

He is continuing this ridiculous habit of making allegations with no basis upon which to back them up.

Trump’s list of people and groups that he’s insulted and defamed certainly must include the state and local elections officials he now has asserted are corrupt.

Can you even imagine what this guy would be saying if he had lost the election? He won it fairly and openly. Trump is going to be the next president.

Why in the world he makes these ridiculous assertions is totally beyond many of us.

You’ve heard of sore losers, right? We’re now witnessing the antics of a seriously sore winner.

Just maybe Trump should consider demanding a recount


I’ve been rolling this around for a while.

Donald J. Trump has said two things about this effort to recount ballots in Wisconsin. They seem to be in direct contradiction with each other.

He calls former Green Party presidential candidate Jill Stein’s request for a recount a “scam.” He dismisses the effort as futile, pointless and that it won’t change a thing. Trump will still win.

Then he said, via Twitter, that he would be leading the popular vote nationally if you deduct the millions of votes he said were cast “illegally.” He currently trails by 2.2 million votes nationally.

Do you follow that? Neither do I.

If Trump believes millions of ballots were cast illegally — and if he assumes most of them were cast in favor of Hillary Rodham Clinton — shouldn’t he demand a recount as well?

Why this fierce battle over a Cabinet pick?


I’ll admit that I haven’t always watched closely the process a president-elect goes through to fill Cabinet picks.

Still, the growing tempest over Donald J. Trump’s vetting of secretary of state candidates has me wondering: Is this normal? Have previous presidents-elect faced this kind of outward and public tumult?

The Republican Party’s 2012 presidential nominee, Mitt Romney, is in the running to lead the State Department. A lot of Trumpkins don’t want him anywhere near the new president. Why? Mitt said some harsh things about their guy during the campaign. They want Mitt to apologize before Trump picks him. They also don’t believe Mitt will be loyal to the president.

I happen to believe Mitt was right when he called Trump a “fraud” and a “phony.” At one level, Mitt seems like the absolutely wrong choice to be the vicar of Trump’s foreign policy — whatever it is. Then again, selecting Mitt would verify what many of us have believed all along, which is that Trump has no policy and he’s looking for someone to help him build one from scratch; Mitt could do that for Trump.

Who’s other “favorite” for State? Rudy Giuliani, that’s who. The one-time “America’s mayor” would be a terrible choice. He has no foreign policy experience, other than the money he earned representing foreign governments — which presents a serious conflict of interest.

I keep hearing that former U.N. ambassador John Bolton is in the hunt, too, for the State Department post. He has called for the bombing of Iran, which surely works against any effort to develop “diplomatic initiatives” from the Trump administration. Don’t go there, either, Mr. President-elect.


Former Trump campaign manager Kellyanne Conway said she isn’t even sure Mitt voted for Trump in the election. My response? That’s no one’s business how someone votes; that’s why the ballots are cast in secret.

This melodrama is going to play out eventually, I reckon.

If only the president-elect had a deeper pool of applicants to consider for this post. He’s going to need plenty of help developing a foreign policy doctrine. Mitt could deliver it … if only he can get the Trumpkins on his side.

Hold on for a rough ride.

‘Millions voted illegally’ … seriously?


Donald J. Trump has cemented his title as a provocative prevaricator.

The president-elect has launched a fascinating counterattack against those who want to recount the ballots cast in Wisconsin, and possibly in two other states.

Trump said he won the Electoral College in a landslide and would have won the popular vote as well if you take out the “millions” of votes that were cast “illegally.”


Really, Mr. President-elect?

Here is what he wrote in one of his flurry of tweets: “In addition to winning the electoral college in a landslide, I won the popular vote if you deduct the millions of people who voted illegally.”

Well now. A 306-232 electoral vote victory isn’t really a “landslide,” but I digress.

I guess Trump is presuming that most if not all the “illegal votes” were cast for Hillary Rodham Clinton.

He how does he know that? He doesn’t. Trump doesn’t know anything about the electoral process that’s been called into question.

However, he knows that “millions voted illegally.” I believe the president-elect is applying the same base of knowledge he used to declare — falsely — that “thousands of Muslims cheered” the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11.

Trump damages due process


Donald J. Trump proved beyond anyone’s doubt that political candidates can — and do — say anything without regard to the consequences to certain cherished American principles … such as, oh, due process.

While running for president, Trump condemned a U.S. Army sergeant as a “rotten traitor.” The man in question is Bowe Bergdahl, who is set to be court-martialed in the spring on charges that he walked off his post in Afghanistan before he was captured by Taliban terrorists.

He was held captive for five years. Then he was released in a prisoner swap with U.S. officials.

I am not going to make an assertion about Bergdahl’s guilt or innocence. I wasn’t there. Neither was Trump. Or anyone other than the Taliban terrorists and Bergdahl. That didn’t prevent Trump from issuing a blanket campaign-stump conviction of the young man.

Moreover, as the New York Times wondered in an editorial published today, the rants of the future commander in chief likely have put Bergdahl’s right to a fair trail in extreme jeopardy.


As the Times stated: “Sergeant Bergdahl is charged with desertion and misbehavior in front of the enemy; a guilty verdict could result in a sentence anywhere from no jail time to life. But how can he get a fair trial in the military justice system when the next commander in chief has proclaimed his guilt and accused him of treason?

“The short answer is he can’t.”

The Army has charged Bergdahl with desertion and he could be sentenced to prison for the rest of his life if he’s convicted.

Trump’s proclamation of guilt of one of the men who soon will be under his command speaks to his utter disregard for the rule of law and of the due process that is accorded to all criminal defendants.

The Times suggests that President Obama might grant Bergdahl a pardon to allow him to “rebuild his life” and avoid what it calls a “questionable” prosecution. The Times states that Bergdahl had a pre-existing mental condition when he enlisted in the Army, which granted him an enlistment waiver.

Given the poison that the next commander in chief has inserted into this pre-trial discussion, the current commander in chief ought to take a hard look at a pardon.

Trump’s rhetorical recklessness only demonstrates his unfitness for the job he is about to assume.

Lack of election ‘acceptance’ bites Trump

A New York City election ballot shows the names of Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton and Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump on Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2016. (AP Photo/Patrick Sison)

Jill Stein won’t accept the outcome of the results that produced the election of Donald J. Trump as the next president of the United States.

No, the Green Party presidential candidate won’t go there — just as Trump himself said he wouldn’t do if he lost the election.

Stein has asked Wisconsin officials to recount the ballots in the state Trump won. The president-elect has called the recount effort a “scam.”

Here’s the fascinating turn, though: Trump’s campaign staffers are just all aghast — aghast, I tell you — that Democrats and others just won’t accept the result.

I’m one of those who didn’t want the outcome we got, but who has accepted the result. That is why I remain dubious about this recount effort. It won’t change the outcome. Trump will be able to take the oath of office on Jan. 20. Stein, though, wants to ensure the ballot-counting was done correctly, which is why — she says — she is getting the ballots recounted.

I believe, though, that Trump and his team ought to keep their heads down over this recount business. Back when the media and so-called “experts” predicted that Hillary Clinton would win, Trump said precisely the same thing that Stein and others are saying now.

Winning and losing a bitter political campaign do have this way of changing perspective.

Apology tour on tap for Trump? Hardly!


Donald J. Trump might consider going on an apology tour as he prepares to become president of the United States.

He won’t, of course. Trump doesn’t apologize. He has no regrets. He doesn’t seek forgiveness. He said all that, correct?

I mention this because some of Trump’s supporters think Mitt Romney needs to say he’s sorry for those mean things he said about Trump. Mitt’s apology needs to be a precursor to him becoming secretary of state, they say; Trump is considering Mitt for the job at State.

CNN contributor Dean Obeidallah has it exactly right: Trump needs to do the apologizing, not Mitt.


Trump cruised down the escalator at Trump Tower in the summer of 2015 to announce his presidential candidacy and launched into a tirade that insulted Mexicans, who he described as rapists, murderers, drug dealers.

Then it got worse. He insulted Muslims, a disabled New York Times reporter, a Gold Star family, Sen. (and former prisoner of war) John McCain, women … you name it he insulted ’em.

Trump trampled all over people’s sensibilities while winning the presidency. His performance on the campaign trail will remain — likely for decades, maybe forever — as one of the great mysteries of this campaign. Imagine for as long as you wish — take all the time you need — any other candidate saying what Trump said about any of those groups.

An apology tour would be a good thing for Trump to do. It would cleanse his soul.

Of course, the next president won’t do anything of the sort.

In Trump’s world, apologies are for losers.

Try to imagine this happening … soon!

Not too many years ago, President and Mrs. Obama welcomed back to the White House their immediate predecessors, President and Mrs. Bush, to unveil the official portraits done of George W. and Laura Bush.

The portraits are hanging on the walls of the White House, along those of all who lived there before them.

This video illustrates the remarkable charm and grace — not to mention the remarkable comedic timing — not only of Barack Obama, but of George and Laura Bush.

I’m now trying to imagine how the next portrait unveiling will go when the next president invites his immediate predecessor and his wife back for a similar ceremony.

At this moment, I don’t feel very good about how that will go with Donald Trump playing host.

Oh, how I want to be wrong about that.