Tuesday, September 18, 2018

I Don't Usually Agree With Trump, But....

On September 5th, 2018, an op-ed piece appeared in the New York Times entitled, "I Am Part of the Resistance Inside the Trump Administration".  According to the piece, the author is part of a "resistance" dedicated to covertly undermining the president, from within the White House.

 Mr Donald Trump New Hampshire Town Hall
Subject: Mr Donald Trump New Hampshire Town Hall | Date: 08/19/2015 | Photographer: Michael Vadon |This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.
When I first read about this the Star Wars fanboy in me  was thrilled.  I had visions of a noble rebellion working to undermine the evil emperor.  However, as I thought about it the romantic illusion quickly wore off.

Like it, or not, Donald Trump was elected to the office of President.  While his policies are, in my opinion, harmful to the point of being evil, he was legally elected.  Whoever wrote the article was not elected to undermine him.

According to the article,  this person has stolen documents off the president's desk before they could be signed into law.   We don't know what else this person has done to covertly circumvent the president's authority.

Whether you like Trump, or not, the idea of a covert operative taking it upon themselves to work against the office of the President is down right scary.  No matter who holds the office there will be people who don't agree with him.  Even if we don't respect the man, we have to respect the office, or the whole the system falls apart.

Flip it around, there were alot of people that did not agree with Obama either.  If someone had worked against him from within the office, that too would have been wrong.  We live in a country of laws.  If society is to function we can not pick and choose which laws we will obey and which laws we will disregard.  Nor, can we tolerate being governed by those who would work from the shadows, taking it upon themselves to substitute their own wisdom in place of the intentions of our elected officials.

I for one believe Donald Trump is a dangerous President who is doing our country real harm.  However, if we want him out of office we have to work within the system.  This November, we have the opportunity to elect a democratically controlled congress.  If we succeed, there's every reason to believe that  Donald Trump will be impeached legally.  We don't need, or desire, a resistance movement working outside the law. Those doing so should be held accountable.

Monday, September 3, 2018

We've Lost More Than We Realize

According to his official biography, John Sidney McCain III was born August 29, 1936. He served his country as a military officer in Vietnam, then as a career lawmaker. McCain served as a United States Senator from Arizona from 1987 until his death on August 25, 2018. He previously served two terms in the United States House of Representatives and was the Republican nominee for President of the United States in the 2008 election, which he lost to Barack Obama.

Subject: Senator John McCain | 
Date: 01/23/2009 | Source: United States Congress |This United States Congress image is in the public domain.

To be honest, he was not on my radar until the election in 2008.  Because I'm a democrat I simplistically saw him as "the enemy."  That was until he corrected a woman, during a town hall, who accused Obama of being an arab terrorist.  Even though McCain was running against Obama, he wouldn't allow Obama's name to be smeared.  I respected McCain for doing what was right.

My respect for him grew the night he lost election.  As he gave his concession speech the crowd began to boo Obama.  McCain stopped the speech and told the crowd to respect the new president, his president.

I could go on and talk about all the ways he honorably served his country in the both Washington and Vietnam.  Yet, you can get all that from anyone of a number of news reports on TV and online.  What I want to talk about is what we've lost.

Now more than ever, our country is divided into us versus them.  Our political parties are about little more than stopping the agenda of the other party.  Compromise has become a dirty word in Washington.

Don't get me wrong, we've always had two differing parties in Washington.  Our founding fathers wanted lawmaking to be an adversarial process.  They wanted our representatives to argue and debate all sides of an issue then find a way to meet in the middle and do what was good for America.

Perhaps the best example was the relationship between President Ronald Reagan and speaker of the house Tip O'Neill.  Reagan was a hardcore republican, O'Neil was a staunch democrat.  While they both had their beliefs, they had a respect for each other and were able to work together to conduct our country's business.

John McCain was a throwback to that era.  He had very conservative beliefs, but he was willing to work with democrats when he thought it was the right thing to do.  Not only did the senator work with democratic Senator Joe Lieberman to craft legislation to address the threat of global warming, he courageously cast the deciding vote that prevented President Trump from repealing Obamacare.

Now that he's gone, we've lost one of the last bridges between the two parties.  Honestly, I don't see who will step up to fill the gap.  Flake is a chip off the same moderate block, but he's getting the hell out of Dodge when his term is over.  Without the influence of leaders who are willing to negotiate in good faith, I fear our country will divide even more.  I hope I'm wrong.

Monday, August 20, 2018

The Omarosa Factor

To begin with you should know I am not a big fan of reality TV.   OK, I should amend that statement by saying, I don't watch non-food reality TV.  I watch shows such as Top Chef and Hell's Kitchen.  As a rule though, I don't care to watch people screw each other over and act behind people's back. If that's your reality, your not living a good life.

Subject: Omarosa | Date: 02/24/2017 | Photographer: Gage Skidmore |This file is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license.
That being the case, even though I never watched The Apprentice, I knew who Omarosa was.  Thanks to commercials and general pop culture buzz, it was obvious she was the loudmouth villain of the show.  However, she was also a favorite with fans, so NBC kept looking for reasons to put her back on the show.

Her popularity made her inclusion in Donald Trump's presidential campaign a no brainer. She gave Trump's entourage a badly needed splash of color. After the campaign she was given a loosely defined White House job for the same reason. Nobody knew exactly what she was supposed to do, but she helped make the White House look at little less white.

Perhaps because of her background in reality TV, she knew enough to watch her back.  To that end, she covertly recorded many of her conversations on the job.  Last week she published a tell all book about her days in the White House.  To promote her book she has been releasing recordings to the news one by one.

Perhaps the most damaging of these recordings so far, chronicles Trump's daughter-in-law offering her a 15K per month  "no show" job in exchange for her silence upon leaving the White House.  The conversation sounded like it had been lifted from an episode of the Sopranos.

We don't know what other gems Omarosa plans to release, or when.  One can only speculate whether she has anything that Mueller can use in his investigation.  However, even though she's doing what she is doing to promote herself, she may prove to be the hero who finally nalis Donald Trump. Only time will tell.  

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

While We've Been Distracted Trump Hasn’t Fixed His Border Mess

Six weeks ago, America watched as immigrant children were ripped away from their families. We were up in arms over the injustice of it all. Millions of people protested. ICE headquarters were occupied. It was all you heard about on the news. Flash forward to August, the protesters have gone home, and we're lucky if the issue is one of the last stories on the news. Judging by the collective silence, one might believe the issue has been resolved.

Subject: Photo provided by Custom and Border Protection to reporter on tour of detention facility in McAllen, Texas. Reporters were not allowed to take their own photos | Date: 06/17/2018 | Photographer: U.S. Customs and Border Control | This work is in the public domain in the United States because it is a work prepared by an officer or employee of the United States.
According to Bloomberg News, seven hundred children have yet to be reunited with their families. The government tried to claim that all "eligible" children have been reunited. This flew for about a day until the court asked what the word "eligible" meant.

On Friday, the federal government suggested that the ACLU adopt the job of reuniting families. Again, the court stepped in and pointed out that the ACLU does not have the resources to do the job, nor is it their responsibility.

One major problem is that many of the parents in question may have already been deported with no way to track them. This problem is a direct result of not having a plan laid out before the program began. For some reason, our government thought they could make it up as they went along. It's a juvenile attitude.

In high school, one of the first lessons kids are taught is to have a plan. They're taught to outline a project step by step before they execute step one. Yet, we have a government who seems to have forgotten that lesson. Not that it was a worthwhile project to begin with, but if they were going to do it, they should have organized a lot better. As a result, we've destroyed hundreds of families in the name of making a political point.

The worst part is, a very few of us are still paying attention. We've all moved on to other hot button topics,  such as Paul Manafort's million dollar wardrobe. We don't know what's going on with hundreds of children, but we know that Paul bought a jacket made out of ostrich leather. At least we've got our priorities straight.