This is how you honor fallen heroes? Nope

Donald John Trump posted this item today to commemorate Memorial Day.

It came via Twitter … of course:

Happy Memorial Day! Those who died for our great country would be very happy and proud at how well our country is doing today. Best economy in decades, lowest unemployment numbers for Blacks and Hispanics EVER (& women in 18years), rebuilding our Military and so much more. Nice!

Does anyone else see the hilarious aspect of this tweet? He turns a statement that should honor Americans who died in battle into a self-aggrandizing, self-congratulatory homage.

That it would come from this carnival barker with zero understanding of public service — and who, um, avoided military service during the Vietnam War — makes it all the more hilarious … except that I’m not laughing.


Trying to understand non-helmet law in Texas

INTERSTATE 35 NORTH OF AUSTIN, Texas — Normally, the sight of four women on motorcycles speeding past us in heavy traffic wouldn’t be worth a comment on this blog.

But I noticed something about these individuals when they zoomed on past: All of them were wearing helmets.

That elicited a comment to my wife and we drove along in our Prius. “You know, it seems that women motorcyclists appear to be far more likely to wear those helmets than men,” I said. It didn’t draw much of a response from my wife.

Hey, maybe it isn’t worth much of any comment.

However, it does bring to mind a couple of thoughts I want to share.

One is that women motorcyclists — and this is just an anecdotal observation on my part — are much smarter than men when it comes to motor vehicle safety. I’ll have to check some traffic studies to validate that observation. Or, perhaps I’ll just let it stand on its own.

The second thought is that I don’t know why the Texas Legislature decided in 1995 to repeal the motorcycle helmet requirement in the first place.

Legislators did that also while increasing the speed limit on Texas highways from 55 to 70 mph, a move made possible when Congress that year removed the federal mandate, giving states the option of setting their own speed limits. Texas legislators and the governor at the time, George W. Bush, jumped all over it.

I’ve seen the studies about how helmets save lives. They help prevent traumatic head wounds. Yet the state said motorcyclists 21 years of age and older need not wear them. The state would require a $10,000 insurance policy, instead. Do you know how quickly a serious injury would gobble up that amount of money? Just … like … that!

The state requires everyone in automobiles to wear seat restraints. It tells us to fasten our young children into approved safety-seat. Just this past year, the Legislature banned the use of hand held telephones and texting devices while operating a motor vehicle.

Good for them. On all counts.

Motorcyclists, though, are given the freedom to expose themselves to grievous injury or death.

I don’t get it. Nor will I ever understand that bit of so-called “logic.”

Another Trump allegation proving false?

I am not a betting man, but if I were I might be willing to wager some real American money that Donald John Trump’s allegation of spying within his 2016 presidential campaign is going to go the way of earlier allegations that flew out of his guy’s mouth.

You know … that Barack Obama wiretapped his office; that millions of undocumented immigrants voted for Hillary Clinton; that thousands of Muslims cheered the collapse of the Twin Towers on 9/11; that Sen. Ted Cruz’s father might have been complicit in President Kennedy’s murder; that Obama was born in Africa and not in Hawaii and, thus, was ineligible to run for president in 2008.

It’s all crap. Now the latest.

He accuses the FBI of planting a “spy” in his campaign. He says the deed was done for “political purposes.” He has produced as much actual evidence of this latest assertion as he did for all the others.

None. Zilch.

Even some congressional Republicans are backing the FBI in the face of these allegations from Trump.

The president is reaching deep into his bag of tricks to discredit the investigation of special counsel Robert Mueller, who the Justice Department appointed in 2017 to look into the “Russia thing,” meaning whether Trump might have worked with Russians who meddled in our election.

The FBI has become one of Trump’s preferred bogeymen. He fired the former FBI director, James Comey, because of the Russia investigation. He is calling Comey a liar; he is disparaging the reputation of former CIA boss John Brennan, former director of national intelligence James Clapper and, yes, also Robert Mueller.

Where, though, is the evidence to back up the allegation of “spying” within his campaign? No one has seen it.

If I were inclined to place a bet on this one, my hunch is that there is no evidence to be found. Why? Because it didn’t happen.

Which brings me to the question: How in the name of political sanity does this guy, the president, get away with lying at this level?

Why not run the rail line a little farther north?

If I were more of a political activist, I might be inclined to raise a little ruckus in my new community of residence.

Fairview, Texas, is a nice town in Collin County, just north of Dallas County, which is where Big D is located.

The issue at hand? Why not run the light rail service that shoots north from Dallas to Fairview?

Dallas Area Rapid Transit is a successful mass transit system that serves the Dallas-Fort Worth metro area. We’ve ridden DART from Plano south to the Dallas County Fairgrounds. It’s a nice ride, believe me.

I now live just a few blocks east of where the rail line ought to run, along U.S. Highway 75. Except that it doesn’t come this far north.

Were they to run the line just a little farther north from Plano, past Allen, through Fairview and into McKinney, I would use the train. I would be its most vocal champion. I would take up the cudgel for mass transit rail ridership.

My hometown of Portland, Ore., is arguably the unofficial “mass transit capital of the United States.” Its bus system is second to none; it runs a light-rail system that carries passengers into the city from miles beyond the city limits.

I don’t yet know whether they plan to extend DART service eventually farther into Collin County. I’ll have to study up on it, sniff around, ask some questions.

Fairview Town Hall is just around the corner from where we live these days.

What the heck … I believe I am going to stick my head in the door and ask to speak to the city manager/administrator.

Hey, why not try to rustle up some interest in a proven method of moving people from place to place?

Wish me luck.

How about waiting on special counsel’s finished report?

I have an idea I’d like to share with those who are clamoring for Donald J. Trump’s impeachment.

How about waiting for special counsel Robert Mueller to finish his work, write his report, issue that report for public review before deciding whether the president should be impeached?

U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters, D-Calif., one of Trump’s most vociferous critics, thinks the time has arrived to impeach the president. She’s getting way ahead of the curve, way ahead of Mueller and way ahead of what might transpire when Mueller’s work is done.

Contrary to what the president keeps insisting, Mueller’s investigation is no “witch hunt,” nor is it a “hoax.” Mueller is a serious man, a former FBI director and a career prosecutor known for meticulous preparation, whose selection as special counsel was hailed widely by both Republicans and Democrats.

Mueller also is a registered Republican who has served both Republican and Democratic presidential administrations.

Since Mueller’s appointment, many Republicans — led by Trump — have sought to poison the probe that Mueller is conducting. They keep yapping about conspiracies, leaks and now, based on zero evidence, so-called “spying” on the Trump presidential campaign.

To my eyes and ears, Trump is protesting far too much if he has done nothing wrong.

So, let the Mueller probe reach its conclusion. He’ll finish his work in due course and likely will issue a detailed report on what, if anything, he has found that might be cause for punishment.

Only then should we talk about impeachment. Until then, let’s allow Robert Mueller to do his job.

Happy Trails, Part 106: Getting in shape for Emma

I used to say frequently that the world’s greatest athletes are our children.

If you want to get in shape, just try keeping up with your post-toddler child or grandchild; do everything they do … or so the saying goes.

I need to get into better physical condition. Emma ran me ragged at the park today.

She wanted to play and wanted to keep playing until she was done.

Up some steps, some ladders and down a slide we flew. Repeatedly. Then it was back up the steps and ladders. Down the slide. Back up. Down we went.

She wore me out!

Do I mind? Not one bit. Not in the least! Emma is why we made the move from the Texas Panhandle to this Dallas-area community.

I now have ample reason to get in shape and to stay in shape. I have to keep up with Emma.

Get ready, young lady! Eventually, I’ll match her step for step.

America falls back in love with its veterans … thank you

Grave sites are going to be decorated with flowers. Americans will flock to cemeteries to pay their respects to their loved ones.

These are special loved ones, though. They are Americans who died in battle. They died protecting the rest of us. They gave their “last full measure of devotion” to the nation they loved.

We set aside this time each year to pay tribute to these Americans. It’s Memorial Day, everyone!

It’s no secret that not that long ago, Americans didn’t always respond with love and affection for its veterans, let alone those who fell in battle. Just a couple of generations back, American servicemen and women returned home from Vietnam. At the very least they were greeted with what I have defined as raging indifference; the worst of those times came in the form of outright rage at young Americans who did their duty by fighting halfway around the world.

You’ve heard the stories about spitting on returning servicemen. Perhaps you were a party — in one form or another — to that kind of shameful conduct.

Those who didn’t make it home from the Vietnam War? Well, we didn’t honor their sacrifice — or the pain and grief their loved ones endured — with anything approaching the kind of love that pours forth today.

I am glad to see the nation’s attitude change. I am gratified at the maturing that occurred in this country. We weren’t used to armed conflicts ending the way the Vietnam War did, nor were we used to the domestic tumult and turmoil that preceded the end of hostilities.

Thousands more young Americans have given their lives since those dark days. These days we honor them, just as we give thanks to those who have come home, those who returned to their lives on the “outside.”

That’s how it should be. It is how it always should have been.

Memorial Day is the time we call extra attention to those grave sites and the names inscribed on them. They represent the best of a great country. We honor them.

We should thank them daily for the sacrifice they have made to keep the rest of us free.

Trump is violating his oath of office

Donald J. Trump took an oath to protect and defend the U.S. Constitution and to protect our system of government from those who would seek to pervert it.

The Russians sought to pervert that government and our electoral process. The FBI got wind of it in real time during the 2016 presidential election and sought to use a confidential informant to get to the bottom of it.

Donald Trump’s response? He now accuses the FBI of “spying” on his campaign. He has lashed out at the FBI for doing its job, for seeking to do the very thing Trump’s oath called on him to do — which is to protect us against foreign interference.

The president has tossed that oath aside. He doesn’t give a damn about it! He doesn’t care that the Russians interfered in 2016 and are likely doing so in 2018; they well might try again in 2020.

Trump’s assertions and allegations against the FBI are virtually unprecedented in presidential history. Imagine for just a moment any president making up conspiracies. How should we react to the notion that our head of state is so dismissive of the FBI that he would put a confidential informant in jeopardy by referring to him as a “spy” empowered by the FBI to do political damage to his campaign?

The president is violating his oath. He is putting this country in the path of potentially grave peril.

Trump is proving a point I have sought to make since he announced his presidential campaign: He is categorically unfit for the office to which he was elected.

Call a halt to media war, Mr. POTUS

It’s getting tiresome.

With actual foes and enemies of this country looking to do us harm, our head of state is concentrating his fire on the media. Russians have attacked our electoral system; North Koreans want to build nuclear bombs; Syrians are getting gassed by their government.

Donald Trump is fixated over reporting on his presidential administration.

He calls any negative press coverage “fake news.”

What’s more, it’s been revealed that he told CBS News’s Leslie Stahl that he continues the anti-media barrage to sow distrust among the public. If the media report negatively on the administration, Trump told Stahl, the public won’t believe them.

See? It’s part of the Trump strategy!

Those of us who toiled in the media are sickened by it. They are ashamed of the president who is assailing men and women who pledge to report the truth and do that very thing to the best of their ability.

Previous presidents of both parties have endured their share of media negativity. Do they declare war against the media? Do they accuse the media of being the “enemy of the American people”? Do they insist that “most” members of the media are “dishonest people”?

No. They recognize the media has a role to play, which is to hold public officials accountable.

Trump doesn’t get it. He doesn’t understand the media’s role in protecting this country.

He lies. He embellishes. He condemns the media. Constantly!


Hey, is the Trump-Kim summit back on … or what?

Someone will have to pass the Pepto.

Donald J. Trump and Kim Jong Un were supposed to meet June 12 in a historic summit between the leaders of the United States and North Korea.

Then the meeting was cancelled. Trump said Kim was saying a lot of nasty things about the United States. The president would have none of it.

The meeting is off, right?

Not precisely. The United States is sending a team to Singapore to discuss planning for, um, the meeting that might occur after all.

Man, I am baffled!

Then there’s this from The Hill: Defense Secretary Jim Mattis was also coy but suggested that summit planning is progressing. “We have got some, possibly some good news on the Korea summit, where it may, if our diplomats can pull it off, may have it back on even,” Mattis told reporters. “Our president just sent out a note about that a few moments ago … That is a usual give-and-take, you know, of trying to put together big summits and stuff.”

I want the meeting to occur. It holds tremendous promise and potential for peace in a region still technically “at war.”

But I’m curious as to Donald Trump’s strategy here. On again. Maybe it’s off. Or, maybe it’s on. Back and forth. Up and down. In and out.

I need to sit down.