Tag Archives: NY Times

Hillary remains mum on Trump’s latest trouble


Hillary Rodham Clinton likely has a lot to say about Donald J. Trump’s sexual behavior.

Her problem? She cannot say it out loud. The Democratic nominee for president of the United States must rely on surrogates to express their outrage on her behalf.

She happens to have a couple of powerful surrogates: President Barack H. Obama and his wife, Michelle, who have done a masterful job of peeling the bark off the Republican presidential nominee.

Hillary Clinton’s own history — as well as the history of her husband — compel her to remain mum on the subject of those ghastly Trump comments we all heard the other day aboard that “Access Hollywood” bus in 2005.

As the New York Times has reported: “Though Hillary Clinton has stood at the center of feminist debates for more than two decades, she has also been an imperfect messenger for the feminist cause. That has never been more true than now, as her old missteps and her husband’s history have effectively paralyzed her during a moment of widespread outrage.”


And the outrage hasn’t let up since the video and audio recordings were released to the public.

As for whether any of this damages Hillary Clinton’s political standing, I happen to believe it will not.

Her tactic so far has been to change the subject when the talk turns to Trump’s statements about attempting to seduce a married woman, or how his “star” status allows him to grab women in their private areas, or allows him to kiss them aggressively without their consent.

The two of them have one more joint appearance to endure before voters have their final say. It will occur, interestingly, in Las Vegas, Nev., where Trump has some significant business dealing and where — one might presume — he has engaged in some of his untoward behavior with women.

Will any of this come up when the event opens? Uhhh, let me think for a second … yes, it will.

Do not look for Clinton to go there. She’ll likely just let Trump rant like a madman over the former president’s misbehavior.

From where I will be sitting while this event occurs, that will look like a good call.

Then she’ll likely sic Barack and Michelle Obama on him.

This image burns deeply


Of all the images we’ve seen during this wild, wacky and weird presidential election, perhaps none resonates with more people than the one of Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump mocking a reporter.

You see the picture here. Trump is gesturing in a way that mimics Serge Kovaleski’s disability. Kovaleski is a reporter with the New York Times; he suffers from arthrogryposis, which inhibits movement of his joints.

Trump and Kovaleski got into a beef over an article the reporter wrote in the wake of the 9/11 attacks. Trump used the article to contend falsely that “thousands of Muslims” cheered the collapse of the World Trade Center.

But here’s the thing: While criticizing Kovaleski’s response to Trump’s false assertion of what he reported initially, the candidate decided to flail his arms around to mimic the reporter’s disability.

It was an unconscionable and profoundly stupid demonstration of insensitivity.

Concern over this act by the candidate was tossed aside by his supporters during the GOP primary campaign as being overblown and overhyped.

Well, here’s a video showing Trump doing what his primary supporters said was, well, no big deal:


You can be the judge of what you see here.

I’ve made mine already. What I see is someone who purports to want to become the leader of the greatest nation on Earth.

To my eyes and ears, this individual — Trump — isn’t qualified to clean the White House toilets.

It’s come to this: sexual conduct will decide this election?


It’s down to the wire between Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump.

With all the issues that separate the parties’ presidential nominees — trade, climate change, jobs, war and peace, terrorism — we’re left now to decide this election on … sexual misconduct.

The allegations are pouring in now.

The New York Times has published more stories about women alleging that Trump groped them. Trump is vowing to sue the newspaper. The Washington Post released that hideous video recording of Trump talking to “Access Hollywood” about his attempts to seduce a married woman and what he can get away with because of his “star” status.

Trump is now threatening to stay away next week from the final debate with Clinton because, he says, the debate format is “rigged.”

The GOP nominee’s poll numbers are plummeting. Meanwhile, Clinton’s team is airing feel-good TV ads extolling her work with children and women’s issues.

Trump’s own words — heard on the video recording — have caused many of his congressional supporters to revoke their endorsements, resulting in a virtual declaration of war against the Republican Party by its own presidential nominee!

Who in this world ever would have thought that could happen? Even in this utterly nonsensical election year?

I don’t know about you, but I am looking forward to watching this circus act come to an end on the Eighth of November.

Trump wrecks his businesses, loses big dough; that’s ‘smart’


I’m still trying to understand this one, so bear with me for just a moment.

The New York Times has uncovered information that reveals a big business loss for Republican presidential nominee Donald J. Trump. He declared a loss of about $916 million in 1995, caused by the wreckage of some business ventures.

The loss allowed Trump, according to the Times, to avoid paying federal income taxes for the next 18 years. The Trump campaign hasn’t confirmed or denied the veracity of the report.

So … is this a case of Trump gaming the federal tax system? Or is it smart business practice, as his supporters are now insisting?


Rudy Guiliani, one of Trump’s key advisers, defends the GOP nominee’s tax-paying record.

It’s a complicated story, full of economic nuance and wheeling/dealing with which I am patently unfamiliar. As the Times reported: “Although Mr. Trump’s taxable income in subsequent years is as yet unknown, a $916 million loss in 1995 would have been large enough to wipe out more than $50 million a year in taxable income over 18 years.”

It’s not yet clear, of course, whether Trump actually did avoid paying income taxes over the course of nearly two decades. My achy old bones tell me he probably took full advantage of tax law  to dodge the tax burden.

After all, he did tell Hillary Rodham Clinton during their first presidential debate this past week that it would be “smart” of him to avoid paying taxes.

OK, then. Let’s see those tax returns so we can determine for ourselves who’s telling the truth.

Mean streak is showing itself

don trump

Nicholas Kristof and I have one thing in common.

We both hail from Oregon. He’s a self-proclaimed farm boy who was reared in the rainy western region of the state; I grew up in the big city of Portland.

He writes opinion pieces for the New York Times. I write for myself.

OK, we have one more thing in common: Neither of us wants Donald J. Trump to be elected president of the United States.

Kristof wrote a column today in which he states that Trump is appealing to the nation’s collective mean streak. It’s there, buried deep beneath the decency of the vast, overwhelming majority of Americans.

Here’s Kristof’s column. Take a few minutes to read it:


Kristof’s column includes this passage, which I want to bring to your attention.

“I wrote a column recently exploring whether Trump is a racist, and a result was anti-Semitic vitriol from Trump followers, one of whom suggested I should be sent to the ovens for writing ‘a typical Jewish hit piece.’ In fact, I’m Armenian and Christian, not Jewish, but the responses underscored that the Trump campaign is enveloped by a cloud of racial, ethnic and religious animosity — much of it poorly informed.”

It is frightening, indeed, to believe that some folks who are backing a major-party presidential nominee would say such a thing to a member of the media — or to any human being, for that matter.

This, though, is part of the political environment with which we must deal as Election Day draws near.

This has become a sad, sorry campaign for the most powerful public office on Planet Earth.

More evidence of Texas Democrats’ demolition


Mimi Swartz’s essay in the New York Times lends support to something I wrote just the other day.https://highplainsblogger.com/2016/05/texas-democrats-already-are-demolished/

It involves the pitiful state of the Texas Democratic Party.

My friend Tom Mechler was just re-elected chairman of the state Republican Party and then called for the demolition of the state’s Democrats. My response was that the Democratic Party already has been “demolished” in Texas.


Now comes Swartz, writing for the NY Times saying that Texas is so reliably Republican that we won’t be “relevant” in the upcoming presidential election.


She mentioned how it used to be in Washington, with Texans of both parties commanding actual respect among their congressional colleagues. Lyndon Johnson and Sam Rayburn? How about Dick Armey? Swartz said, correctly, that they “got things done.”

I’m glad she didn’t mentioned the looniest of the looney birds now representing Texas in Congress — Louie Gohmert, R-Tyler, the conveyer of lies about President Obama’s birth and assorted other nutty pronouncements.

My favorite paragraph in her essay talks about what has become of the state’s former pull in D.C.:

“That kind of gravitas has quit the scene. Texas boasts legions of engineers, architects, doctors, lawyers, artists and energy executives who enjoy global reputations, but back home pridefully ignorant pygmies run the political show. One example: When our senior senator, John Cornyn, was running for re-election in 2014, the Houston Chronicle’s editorial board asked him for his view of a huge coastal storm-surge-protection project in the Houston-Galveston area known as the Ike Dike. His answer: ‘I don’t even know what that is.’”

That’s pretty bad, yes?

What’s worse is that the Texas Democratic Party remains clueless on how to reshape the state’s political landscape.


Liberal offers an instructive scolding to liberals


When a conservative scolds liberals about being intolerant, one can chalk it up to sour grapes or to the bias of the person doing the scolding.

The same can be said when the roles are reversed.

However, when a liberal scolds liberals — or when a conservative scolds his or her brethren — that gets people’s attention.

New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof has offered an interesting lecture about liberal intolerance.

Here it is: http://www.nytimes.com/2016/05/08/opinion/sunday/a-confession-of-liberal-intolerance.html?_r=0

He says liberal thinkers are none too tolerant of conservative thinkers on our nation’s higher education campuses. The intolerance undercuts liberals’ time-honored call for greater “diversity” of thought.

Hmmm. He’s suggesting that liberals want diversity as long as it agrees with their world view.

College and university campuses have erupted over many years when administrators invite conservatives to speak at, say, convocations or commencement exercises. Kristof’s essay talks about the reluctance of higher ed institutions to hire conservatives as faculty members.

Even in politically conservative regions, such as the Texas Panhandle, we’ve seen similar reactions to the presence of conservatives on college campuses.

Do you remember the mini-uproar that boiled up years ago when West Texas A&M University invited Karl Rove — the architect of President George W. Bush’s winning campaigns — to speak at an event honoring WT graduates? Some faculty officials disliked having Rove speak to the students.

Universities ought to welcome, embrace, even solicit differing — and diverse — points of view.

According to Kristof, though, they’ve become havens for liberal/progressive thinkers who dislike mingling with those on the other side of the fence.

Message received, Mr. Kristof.


Texas getting special attention these days


Manny Fernandez has written a fascinating essay for the New York Times about Texas.

He seems to like living here. Indeed, he is not alone in being attracted to Texas, as the state’s population is growing rapidly. We aren’t likely to catch California any time soon, but the number of Texans is now approaching 30 million.

Here’s the article:


As I read it Sunday, though, I was struck by something left out.

Fernandez talks extensively about how some Texans take their Texanhood so very seriously, even to the point of putting Texas soil under the bassinet of a newborn baby to ensure the baby’s Texas roots.

He didn’t mention how an anti-littering slogan coined in the 1980s has been morphed into a kind of macho mantra.

“Don’t Mess With Texas” came into being after the Texas General Land Office decided to make the state more conscious of litter and how it soils the landscape. (Note: The picture on the link does have a “Don’t Mess With Texas” sign in it.)

We can thank then-Land Commissioner Garry Mauro, on whose watch the slogan came to life.

Since then the slogan has come to mean something quite different in many people’s eyes. It’s come to mean that you don’t “mess with” the state at any level. Don’t disrespect us. Don’t insult us. Don’t make fun of us.

Don’t do this or that … or else we Texans will make you pay for it.

I have no particular problem with the Don’t Mess With Texas slogan as long as it is being used for its intended purpose, which is to admonish litterers to avoid tossing their empty beer cans or their used-up containers of Skoal onto our highways.

I wonder, though, if the Land Office ever envisioned it being perverted in the manner that it has over the years.

It’s also become, in addition to a kind of battle cry for Texans, grist for those who seek to belittle the state.

Sure, Texas is a special place. We’ve lived here for 32 years. We call it home — even if the right-wing politics here at times makes me a squirm just a little.

I encourage you to read the New York Times link. It spoke clearly to me as a Texas transplant who has learned about the state’s peculiar obsession with itself.


Judiciary is non-political, right? Uh, no


It can be declared categorically — perhaps it should have been long ago — that the judicial branch of government is as political as the executive and the legislative branches.

The U.S. Senate is playing politics with President Obama’s selection of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court.

Now there’s this, in Kansas.

The state legislature is considering a bill that would call for the impeachment of state supreme court justices if they seek to “usurp” the power of the legislature or the governor.

In other words, if the state’s highest court rules differently from what the legislature or the governor believes, the justices are subject to being kicked off the bench.

What an extraordinary — and ham-handed — approach to governing.

Kansas judges are appointed and then are subject to retention elections during their tenure on the bench. Conservative activists and politicians want voters to reshape the court by kicking four justices out who they believe have ruled the wrong way on key issues. Therefore, voters have the power already to decide which justices should stay and which ones should go.

The Republican-controlled Kansas legislature is hoping voters this fall will tilt the court more toward the majority of lawmakers’ liking. So, why seek to enact this measure that liberalizes impeachment proceedings against the state’s judicial branch?

As the New York Times reported: “Gov. Sam Brownback and other conservative Republicans have expressed outrage over State Supreme Court decisions that overturned death penalty verdicts, blocked anti-abortion laws and hampered Mr. Brownback’s efforts to slash taxes and spending, and they are seeking to reshape a body they call unaccountable to the right-tilting public.”

It’s no longer left to the state’s highest judicial authority to interpret the state’s constitution as it sees fit. It now has an extra layer of oversight coming from the legislative and executive branches to ensure that the court rules “correctly.”

This is political conservatism? It sounds and looks much more like activism in the extreme.


Wondering if Trump will bolt the party


Peter Wehner doesn’t strike me as a wacked-out Republican loon.

He writes pretty well, if the essay in today’s New York Times is an indication.

The man is frightened at the prospect of Donald J. Trump becoming his party’s next presidential nominee. And he expresses that fear — right along with a lot of other Republican wise men and women — with profound eloquence.

Check out his essay here.

He says the Founders were afraid of people such as Trump. They feared strongmen rising to the top of the political heap. As he says in his NYT essay:

“The founders, knowing history and human nature, took great care to devise a system that would prevent demagogues and those with authoritarian tendencies from rising up in America. That system has been extraordinarily successful. We have never before faced the prospect of a political strongman becoming president.

“Until now.”

I’ve been reading and listening to a lot of commentary in recent weeks about the Republican strategies being devised to deny Trump the party nomination. And as I take it all in I remind myself of things Trump said earlier in this campaign about how he would respond if he’s treated badly at the GOP convention this summer.

He’s suggested, then recanted, and then suggested again that he might launch an independent bid for president if Republicans aren’t nice to him. He wants to be treated “fairly,” he has said.

If I were advising Trump, I’d be examining all these efforts to wrest the nomination from my guy and I would conclude: Hey, these guys flat-out don’t like Trump; they aren’t being nice, fair, even-handed … none of it.

If Trump is true to his word, that he wants fair treatment and would resort to other means to win the White House if he’s mistreated by his party moguls, then my strong hunch is that he might be cooking some plans to strike back at those Republican honchos.

After all, he’s already exhibited a serious mean streak all along the campaign trail so far.

Does anyone really think this fellow is incapable of creating maximum chaos?

And if you do believe he never in a million years would do anything to stick it in the GOP’s eye, check this out.

Then … get back to me.