The Flag & Patriotism

Members of the political Right Wing have tried to adopt the American Flag as their proprietary symbol of patriotism – they fly it as if a defiant battle flag against those “liberal” leftists who are attempting to tear down the Countries’ traditional values and mores which harken back to a past they see slipping away, a symbol carrying the message  that  they, the Right,  are the true Americans.

The Left Wing increasingly does not fly the flag for fear of now being identified wrongly with the Right Wing’s position. Further, the Left Wing says that true patriotism is expressed by one’s attitudes and deeds aimed at a better America for all and that the Right’s attempt to co-opt the Flag for their own interests is the false patriotism that Samuel Johnson labeled “…the last refuge of a scoundrel.”

I thought about our flag. My mother did not fly it at our farm house in Southern New Mexico except on Flag Day, Independence Day, Memorial Day and Armistice Day. In the several houses I have owned and lived in since I have never flown the flag. I wasn’t expressing a view one way or the other. I never thought about it. My houses have all been in a suburban area and nobody else flew the flag so I wasn’t confronted with the question of whether I should, also.

However, when in 1989-90, I bought ranch land in Lincoln County, New Mexico, I had a pole erected at the entrance gate on which we fly the American Flag and underneath it the New Mexico state flag. Again, I just did it without thinking why or why this location was to me in this way different from my suburban houses. There is no one in my Albuquerque subdivision who flies a flag and among my nearby Lincoln County rural neighbors, a few do but most don’t.

And all this got me to thinking about a national symbol that does move me, that does stir in me deep feelings of patriotism toward my country.

I first noticed it in the early 1980s. Here is the story.

When I was ABC’s White House correspondent, I accompanied presidents on their foreign trips. Occasionally, I would fly on Air Force one when it was ABC’s turn in the rotating press pool that flew with him on his plane but usually I would fly on the press plane that landed early to set up cameras in anticipation of the president’s arrival.

And so it was in the early eighties (who remembers exact dates anymore) that one morning at the airport in Bonn, then West Germany, I came to my personal symbol of love of country.

In the advancing light of day, through the early morning mist across the outer marker of the runway came a great Boeing 707, our most magnificent civilian airplane before the advent of the wide bodies.

And as it touched down and the engines began to reverse with a roar this plane swept past me with its iconic white and blue coloring and emblazed on its side in large letters the words THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!

And I thought, when the plane marked with those words carrying our president lands the world steps up smartly, attention is paid, friends rejoice and adversary’s tremble.

 At that moment, I felt a deep thrill and sense of pride that I was an American and that our Country commanded such a presence everywhere which, in those days, I think we had earned and today we are trying to renew.

Yes, the flag…but for me forever Air Force One proclaiming to everyone who sees it THE UNITED STATES OF AMERICA!

That’s the symbol that makes Sir Walter Scott’s famous poem fill my heart:

Breathes there the man with soul so dead, who never to himself hath said, ‘This is my own, my native land!’


I have not posted a blog here since September of 2019. I ran out of things to say about Donald J Trump. How often can you say a skunk smells or a viper’s bite may kill you or a mad dog carrying the rabies virus must be stopped (in the dog’s case, “put down”) before more people die?

And I had no new insight about him or his cruel destructive words and actions. People who did not recognize who and what he is are not going to pay any attention to my view and those who do don’t need me to remind them of what they already know.

But now -as I write on December 27, 2020 – we are in the end game for Donald J Trump. And I do have something to say about that.

As I watch things play out, I’ve wrestled with the question of whether Trump knows he’s lost and can in the end do nothing to change Biden’s assumption of the Presidency on January 20th but is simply running his “stolen election” demands in order to continue to raise money and energize his base for the future…OR…whether he really believes he can use his present levers of power and hold on his base to continue as President.

What we know of Trump’s life as an adult and what we see of the current available evidence has convinced me it is the latter – he really thinks he can pull off the coup and remain the president.

I believe he thinks, then, that a general chaos In Government/Nation by vetoing the Defense Appropriations Bill, threatening to veto the Pandemic Relief/General Appropriations bill and through the use of his Pardon Power makes it possible that on January 6th somehow the Congress will exercise its right to refuse to nail in Biden’s election and he will then somehow be able to declare martial law and somehow either re-run the election in the swing states or somehow simply remain in power.

I do not think any of these “somehows” will work for Trump.
Of course, I may be (and hope than I am) wrong about his mindset. But if that is what he is about the next few days may be dangerous in every way. In which case Trump will still lose but at a cost to the rest of us that can only be un-imaginable.

We and the United States will survive, our stated goals of “Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness” still there for all to enjoy.

And this terrible episode will be a teaching moment for future generations.

Future generations must be on the alert when a “Mad Dog” tries to run amuck and the beast must be forcefully rejected when first seen before the viruses carried spread and kills the people and the idea of the United States of America.

Blood On Their Hands

The case against Donald J Trump, the evidence being assembled – first from the White House transcript of his July phone call with Ukrainian President Zelensky, then from the testimony of credible witnesses – is so persuasive that allies of the president are resorting to a desperate and dangerous tactic.

They are demanding that the House Intelligence Committee examine the “Whistle Blower” in public session. Chairman Adam Schiff is almost certain to reject that demand. However, already Donald Trump Jr., and a few Trump partisans have publicized the name of a person (a CIA agent) they believe is the “Whistle Blower.”

They say the “Whistle Blower” must be publicly identified and investigated because he/she may be a rabid anti-Trumpster, a creature of the “deep state  or other organ of those who would bring down Trump. 

Such a person’s motive, they say, would not be to report wrong doing but simply to harm a president the person hates. And in such case, they maintain, the president cannot be fairly Impeached or otherwise brought to account for allegations brought by such a biased person.

Who do these Trump allies think they’re kidding? What twisted logic as that do they think the public would accept? Who with any intelligence would think that the name of the accuser would negate the evidence of wrongdoing against the accused?

I give you the following hypothetical example.

Late one night a call comes into the 911 line in Albuquerque, New Mexico and the caller whose number is blocked and who refuses to give his identity says if the police will look behind the Dumpster at the corner of Montgomery and Wyoming Streets they will find a dead body.

The police respond and find a body and  a gun with fingerprints on it; indeed, according to the City pathologist the deceased has been shot to death by bullets from that gun

Moreover, the police locate several eyewitnesses who describe a man they saw running from the scene. And when the police, tracing the fingerprints on the gun, arrest a suspect the witnesses separately identify him from a police lineup.

The suspect is indicted on a charge of First Degree Murder but before the trial gets underway and the evidence is presented, the suspect’s defense team demands that the person who called in the tip to 911 be found and subjected to a public interrogation as to who he is and why he  made the call. Otherwise,  the suspect’s defense team argues, their client can not be fairly tried and therefore must not be tried for murder.

A laughable argument, yes – it is the evidence against the suspect that matters, not who first brought news there was a murder that is important in determining guilt or innocence.

However, in a desperate and fuitile attempt to muddy the case in the minds of the public Trump partisans are demanding the “whistle blower” be unmasked.

And that is a dangerous tactic.

The law protects the right of any “whistle blower” who reports wrong doing in the Federal Government to remain anonymous precisely in order to prevent retaliation by wrong doers and their partisans. But the law can not guarantee a “whistle blower’s” safety once unmasked.

Given the intensity of Trump’s allies to protect him from any and all efforts, Impeachment or otherwise, to curb his ability to continue to do grievous harm to this Country and the people in it, who doubts that  this “whistle blower” unmasked would be in physical danger from some of the president’s ardent supporters.

After all, Donald J Trump’s past encouragement of his supporters at campaign rallies to rough up protesters, his declaration they he would pay any legal fees they might incur when they do so, gives license to demented minds to use violence against those Trump brands as enemies. And he has certainly made it plain he considers this “Whistle Blower” a major enemy.

I say this.

If the “Whistle Blower” here is exposed against his/her will because of Trump’s Congressional supporters, Trump’s son or others, and any harm comes to the “Whistle Blower” or his family, they will have blood on their hands.

And there are millions of Americans who will never forgive them and never rest until they pay for their crime.

The Smoking Transcript – Dead Man Walking

Until now, there had been three major Impeachment Investigations of a President of the United States and as a political reporter for fifty two years based in Washington I covered two of them.

I joke that when Andrew Johnson was Impeached and Tried by the Senate within the one year of 1868, I was on assignment covering U S Grant’s presidential campaign. Johnson was acquitted and Grant was elected that year.

But I’ve/we’ve never seen anything move as fast as this!

When Richard Nixon and his Chief of Staff Bob Haldeman cooked up the cover-up of the Watergate burglary by agents of the White House “Plumber’s Unit,” to the time when the White House tape on which we hear the two working out how this Obstruction of Justice would be orchestrated, over two years had elapsed.

That piece of “Smoking Gun” tape, incontrovertible damming evidence cooked Nixon’s goose. He resigned his office in disgrace one step ahead of the Sherriff.

Here, in the case of Donald J Trump vrs. Justice, less than ten days after a “Whistleblower” complaint became public, the “Smoking Gun” transcript of Trump’s crime has been released by the White House.

Donald J Trump is a political “dead man” walking.

Almost none of the Readers of this Blog need be taken step by step through what the transcript clearly shows (partial though it may be) of a telephone call between The President of the United States and the President of Ukraine. They get it without any help from me.

If there are a few readers here who have clung to Trump until now and do have questions, I urge you to read the partial transcript for yourselves. You can figure out how when the 400 million of Congressionally mandated defense aid to Ukraine was being withheld by Trump, his phone call urging that Countries’ president to do “a favor” and investigate Joseph Biden and his son (Biden Pere his possible opponent in the 2020 presidential election) for Corruption with the help of his personal lawyer Rudy Giuliani and the Attorney General of the United States William Barr, people who believe in our Constitution’s mandate that our Elections be free from foreign influence would take grave and urgent exception to Trump’s effort at strong arming Ukraine to dig up dirt on his domestic political opponent.

So, what now?

With “Road Runner” speed, “Wily E Coyote” Trump will be impeached by the U S House of Representatives. The Senate with its majority republicans will have no choice but to conduct a Trial expeditiously even if it spills into next year.

Remember, Andrew Johnson was Tried in an election year. Though Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell had the power to withhold even a hearing for Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merrick Garland for almost a year, he does not have the power to slow-walk a Senate Impeachment Trial.

And will Trump be convicted and removed from office in that Trial? One can only speculate at this point.

Obviously, if the Senate Republicans, who, with but few exceptions (and even though one of them, bless your heart John McCain, is dead), stand by him, why Trump will not be removed – it takes two thirds of the Senate present and voting to do that and the Democrats can not do it alone.

But I believe that enough Republicans will desert him and vote to convict because I believe that the vast majority of Americans will look at the facts and the evidence and think about the standards of Constitutional and Secular Law and the morality for which this Country has stood until now.

Then, enough Republican Senators will survey sentiment in their states and count the votes for and against their re-election and will convict. I would like to think Senators would base their votes on Trump on the evidence and not their own political futures but I’ll take their epiphany on the “Road to Damascus” any way it comes.

Donald J Trump is a political “dead man” walking.

Of course, I could be wrong; I was certainly wrong in 2016 when, until about three weeks before the election, I was confident that Donald J Trump could not/would not be elected.

If I turn out to be wrong this time, it is not just that I didn’t make the right call again but because I do not understand what so many of our citizens believe in and don’t believe in, do not yet understand how we have changed from the time when a piece of “smoking gun” evidence did in a felonious president and a time when it doesn’t matter.

No, I do not believe I’m wrong.

 I believe that a large majority of citizens will see to it that Trump’s passing will be remembered only as one of those trials like our Civil War that tested, to borrow Lincoln’s words, “whether that nation , or any nation so conceived and dedicated, can long endure.”

We endured through the Civil War.

We will endure through Donald J Trump!

Trade Wars Are Easy To Win!

Donald  J Trump says “Trade wars are easy to win.” Of course, history shows us that’s not true but that he says it does not surprise us. History to him is a story of how many people he (pardon my language) “screwed” along the way to conning them.

Trade wars hurt everyone, every side involved. Yes, one side somtimes comes out somewhat better than the other, but to the people hurt (this is not an abstraction, real people suffer in trade wars) it is of little satisfaction to say “Yes, it cost us but less than it cost our opponent(s).”

Today, as I write, Xi Jinping and his Chinese colleagues have announced the imposition of seventy five billion dollars of tariff’s on U S goods coming into China in retaliation for the tarrifs Donald J Trump has imposed and threatened to impose on Chinese goods coming to the U S. And surely Donald J Trump will respond with more from the U S side.

What is going on here is not a coordinated effort by the industrial wealthy world to push back on China, to reign in it’s effort to make trade a one-sided win for them, to reduce if not eliminate their theft of intellectual property and more. These imbalances  in world trade and honest dealing must be dealt with.

But what we have here is a contest between two bullies in the school yard begun by Donald J Trump to see who has the biggest, uh, biggest, uh, stick.

Our man Trump was taught by his father Fred and then by his mentor Roy Cohn that the great coach Vince Lombadi was right when he said “winning isn’t everything; it’s the only thing.” But Lombadi did not add as Fred and Roy did that you win no matter what the cost, no matter who and how many people you hurt and no matter what tactics you use whether they are unethical or  illegal. 

Just WIN!

So, here we have a trade war that is hurting millions of real human beings and the longer and fiercest it goes, the more people and the more hurt it imposes because Donald J Trump must personally “win” to massage his massive but frightened ego.

Of course, Xi Jinping could fold, could cry “uncle,” as the saying goes, and knuckle under to U S demands. But he won’t because he doesn’t have to.

Yes, I know, between our two countries the U S is the stronger economically by far, we have the greater economic advantage in a trade war. But XI has the one big advantage that counts. He can make the one point three billion Chinese suffer the damage doing to them in this war whether they like it or not because he and his communist fellow rulers can decree it and back it up with lethal force if necessary. Donald J Trump for all his bluster, for all his attempt to appropriate unconstitutional powers, for all his command of cowering Republican office holders and his hold on thirty percent of the American public cannot. When Americans are unjustly hurting, we push back in overwhelming numbers and take it out on the big target sitting in the Oval office.

Simply put, Xi Jinping can  outlast him,

And our boy Trump knows it. Today, he lashed out at Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome Powell for not bowing to his demand for big interest rate cuts in order to ease the strain on the economy and the pain on American voters who may turn against him next year.

Powell said the Fed will do what it can to keep the economy on a good path by adjusting monetary policy but, he said, some present economic dislocations (and he pointedly said trade is one of them) can not be made to disappear by the Fed).

Donald J Trump, obviously frightened by the path he has chosen but unable because of his “winning” ego to adjust it, lashed out at Powell saying, quote, he “doesn’t know who the biggest enemy is, XI or Powell.”

Thus Powell joins “All Democrats, the vast majority of the American News Media, countless individual politicians, business people, artists, perhaps now the Queen and Prime Minister of Denmark, as “enemies.’ Fortunately for the majority of Jewish Americans (who voted for Democrats) they are presently only “disloyal.” But give him time, give him time.

As to the question of whether XI Jinping or Jerome Powell is the greater “enemy,” I can answer that.

Jerome Powell is not building nuclear missile submarines that, lying off our coasts, can destroy our major cities and populations within seven minutes of launch.

Oh well, take heart. As Voltaire taught us – We live is the best of all possible worlds and all is for the best. A world in which “trade wars are easy to win.”

Still, I have some advice. Set your sound activated alarm clock when it hears a deep underwater “whoosh” to six minutes and when it goes off, run like hell!

The Ballad of El Paso

Marty Robbins sang it true – The white cowboy, wanted for murder, risked returning for love of the Mexican maiden Fellina and died in her arms from the posse’s rifle shots…”one kiss and goodbye.”

That was the city I grew up in, that was the town where Anglos and Hispanics worked together, played together, married each other (my first wife was half Mexican) and generally got along just fine.

But today, the latest scene for mass murder in America.

Why would a stranger to El Paso. a young white man from Allen, Texas travel in a rage to El Paso intent on murdering innocent Hispanic people?

He posted an essay on line an hour before he began pulling the trigger of an AK-47 assault rifle complaining of “The Hispanic Invasion of Texas.” Okay, Texas belonged to Mexico before the Anglo Invasion in the early eighteen hundreds but what’s the deal in believing (and hating) there is a return Hispanic “Invasion” now?

Well, he was told Mexico was sending rapists to the United States. Nonsense.

He was told illegal Hispanic immigrants from Latin America were taking jobs from American citizens who wanted them. The data shows that is not true.

He was told that Hispanic gangs like MS-13 (which originated in Los Angeles not South of the border) were killing a great number of Americans. No, Federal authorities say the gang’s murders (mostly against fellow Hispanics) markedly declined last year and are so few as to be a rounding error in the national crime statistics.

He was told that caravans of Hispanics are “invading” our Country, caravans he says which include Muslim Al-Qaeda terrorists. There is no evidence of such terrorists in these caravans, only people seeking asylum from terrorism in their own countries and from poverty and hardship there, looking to that “shining city on the hill” that America has always been.

He was told four young women of color who are duly elected members of the U S House of Representatives hate America and should go back to the Countries they came from (three of them were born in the United States, the Country they came from, the fourth a naturalized U S citizen).

He was told all of this by the “highest authority” in the land, a man who along with assaults on Muslims and Blacks and “shithole Countries in Africa and other non-whites has relentlessly spread hatred and division on every side.

So, determined to act against “The Hispanic Invasion of Texas” why did this young man drive six hundred miles from his home in Allen, Texas to El Paso to carry out a massacre of Mexicans?

He had been told that El Paso was a “den of violent crime” committed by these illegal aliens who were storming across our border, told that by the same “highest authority” in the land who had come to El Paso to personally argue for his proposal to build a huge wall across the length of our Southern border.

Actually, with an average of 3.79 violent crimes for everyone thousand residents, El Paso was ranked last year as the sixth safest city in the Country but our “highest authority” has never paid attention to facts and those who believe what he says don’t know any better.

El Paso, then, was the perfect bullseye target in which to fight back against “The Hispanic Invasion of Texas.” And our white hot hate filled young man was ready.

Tonight, El Paso, Texas and the rest of the Country are grieving for the victims and the community in which they lived and died. And in the wider sense are grieving for the America with its values and sense of solidarity (E Pluribus Unum) which seems to be slipping away.

The debate over removing from civilian hands these deadly military assault rifles will be given new energy – someday a national consensus will triumph over the cruel and ignorant demands of the National Rifle Association.

And the usual calls for a rejection of hate and division when these violent acts occur are being heard. Let us hope that someday they will be answered.

One of them, eloquent in its words addressing this latest example of violent gun enabled national terrorism read “We must find a way to come together as a country to end this epidemic”

The author of this plea for unity is, believe it, none other than the “highest authority” in the land! This man who has done so much to encourage hatred, bigotry and has fanned the flames of white nationalism has the gall to admonish us to find a way to come together.

I know the way to begin coming together.

The present “highest authority” in the land must be removed from office by an election. He, all that he has stood for and those who have enabled him must be soundly defeated by an overwhelming majority of Americans.

I lay today’s massacre in El Paso at the feet of Donald J Trump. He has sowed the wind and we have reaped the whirlwind.

May God forgive him.

I cannot.

Racism Is A Threat – To Whom?

Charles W Blow, the NYT op-ed columnist, dissects Donald J Trump’s latest “tweets” telling four young women of color in the House of Representatives to go back to the Country where they came from (three of them came from the USA where they were born but never mind facts, he never does, why should we) and concludes, Blow does, that Trump is an inveterate and dedicated “Raging Racist”.

Right Charles, and I know you said that long before this latest proof.

Of course, in Trump’s case that is who he is at the moment. Remember, he has no fixed view on anything except what he perceives works for him at the moment. But he is stuck with this view because there in no other avenue toward re-election open to him but to energize his solid 30-33% of American rascist Troglodytes.

Yes, racism is a moral sin. That is a given. But when it comes to white racism, that is a mortal threat and the deadly truth is that the threat is overwhelmingly to whites.

Consider that of the almost eight billion people estimated to be on earth at this time only 11.1 percent are white. Does one with only a slight ability to reason believe that America can exist for long as a white enclave surrounded by almost ninety percent of the world’s population?

And as the third and fourth world gain power (see Asia and who comes behind) this overwhelming majority of non-whites will demand more and more of the World’s wealth and resources from their former masters.

As a white American I oppose white racism because it is morally wrong but I also oppose it for my own safety’s sake.

Spare The Rod

Many of us now of a “certain age” grew up with a personal understanding of an old rule embodied in the ancient saying: “Spare the rod and spoil the child (See KJV Proverbs 13:24).”

My mother on select occasions as I grew through early childhood administered two or three sharp whacks with a switch cut from a family tree when I threw tantrums aimed at getting my way and certainly later at New Mexico Military Institute during my plebe year the old cadets took up the task of applying the same rule using paddles, rifle buts and coat hangers.

Children must be taught that throwing fits and tantrums while sassing their elders in an effort to get their way must be countered with strong measures to impress on them the need to grow up apace learning while they grow and not think they can rule the world two minutes after shedding their swaddling clothes.

Well, I’m not for returning to corporal punishment, to whipping or spanking children but…

What can be done about AOC and her band of youthful insurgents? 

They seem bent on running amok, whining of mistreatment because they aren’t getting their way and throwing down the “race card” against their party leadership in an ill conceived and unjust personal attack.

Many of us believe there is no more vital objective than to bring our Country back from the abyss and defeat Donald J Trump and his merry bank of cruel and greedy enablers in 2020. To do that the Democratic party must come into that election totally unified in the objective of defeating Trump.

Trump defeated, the fight can be resumed over how far and how fast necessary changes to make people’s lives better can be made but not now.

Keep your eyes on the prize!

But no, not for AOC and her friends.  Speaker Pelosi pointed out that when four young members of her caucus  opposed the Border Bill because they said it wasn’t strong enough in protecting migrants they only got four votes – theirs. And AOC’s response was that the Speaker was attacking them and singling out “women of color” for her criticism.

That’s unfair – her record on civil rights is above reproach – and hurling the “race card” at your opponent is no way to win an argument of this kind or gain widespread support from your fellow Democrats.

So, what do we do about them, about the divisiveness in Democratic ranks they are intentionally fostering?

No, we can’t spank them and children eventually do grow up. To want to move quickly to change American lives for the better is a commendable aim but in life, all things must be weighed against the consequences.

If fighting the overwhelming majority of her House caucus and their Leader and splintering the Democractic party is more important than defeating Donald J Trump, okay, go to it and be prepared to accept the consequences of your action.

I can’t believe AOC wants that.

Although, I note that her Chief of Staff, if quoted correctly, seems to think that continuing this fight will result in a huge majority of voters swinging behind their program, throwing the party “moderates” out of power (goodbye Nancy), and defeating Donald J Trump on a platform of far-left reforms right now.

Oy, vey, so many children!


The popular saying is “Spare the rod and spoil the child” although the origin of that thought is found in the Bible

KJV Proverbs 13:24“He that spareth his rod hateth his son: but he that loveth him chasteneth him betimes.”

Historic Meeting – And Hope Springs Eternal

When Richard Nixon traveled to Beijing to begin a relationship with communist China, that was historic. When Jimmy Carter traveled to the Mid-East to shepherd the peace treaty between Israel and Egypt, that was historic. When Ronald Reagan stood before the Berlin Wall and exhorted Mikhail Gorbachev to tear it down, that was historic.

All these trips made the world better.

But when Donald J Trump traveled a few feet into North Korea with that countries murderous dictator Kim Jong Un, stayed a few seconds before scurrying back into South Korea, that “historic” event was simply another Act in a tragic opera that is making the world more dangerous.

And how did this event come about?

To hear Donald J Trump tell it, while attending the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, long planned and scheduled, he was simply struck with a brilliant thought.

“Yesterday I was just thinking ‘I am here, let’s see whether or not we can say hello to Kim Jong Un,” Trump told us.

So, using his favorite form of communication, our President “tweeted” to Kim his idea of meeting.  And presto, vola, Trump shot over to South Korea, Kim rushed down to the Demilitarized Zone and it happened.

Many observers don’t believe that, including one as quoted thusly in the Washington Post.

“Andrei Lankov, a professor at Kookmin University in Seoul, said it was inconceivable that the leaders of two powerful nations had arranged a meeting at such short notice, calling it a “show” designed to send a political message, without raising expectations about them making actual progress.

“They needed something that is strong on optics but weak on substance,” he said….Trump, under fire for inflaming tensions with Iran, wanted to portray himself as a diplomat who prevented war with North Korea….And Kim wanted to counter domestic criticism that his engagement with the United States had failed to yield results,” Lankov said.

But Trump insisted that this meeting further moved the two Countries toward reaching an overall settlement of differences because it further strengthened their personal relationship.

“We’ve developed a very good relationship and we understand each other very well. I do believe he understands me, and I think I maybe understand him, and sometimes that can lead to very good things.”

Let us pause here to explore these “understandings.”

Does Donald J Trump “understand” that Kim is a murderous dictator who had his Uncle and several of his Uncle’s aides publicly killed by putting them in front of anti-aircraft guns which then blew them to pieces. Does he “understand” that Kim had his half brother murdered with a nerve agent at the Kuala Lumpur airport? Does he “understand” that Kim  finally released  his American college student prisoner Otto Warmbier who arrived home in a vegetative state and died soon after? Does he understand that the Kim family which has ruled North Korea for so long has never moved toward ending the Korean war which has only been suspended since the 1953 armistice agreement?

And Does Kim Jung Un “understand” who Trump is? Have his experts studied this poor, pathetic damaged man who is our president?  Have they watched him withdraw us from World organizations, tear up a treaty with Iran that prevented that country from continuing work on nuclear weapons for a decade, belittle our traditional allies and cozy up to Kim’s fellow dictators, promulgate policies at home and abroad of cruelty and hardship for ordinary people and strut about in the style of the late Benito Mussolini? 

Well,  there have now been two formal “summits” and this brief border “skirmish” between the two leaders. So who understands what and what will their understandings lead to?

Trump says these meetings may well lead to a denuclearization of North Korea, thus ending the threat of nuclear war initiated by North Korea and resulting in peaceful relations. He then foresees a North Korea that can be helped economically to provide a better life for its people and though he does not say it such an outcome might well lead to a democratization of that country. 

Good luck.

The reality is, at each meeting Kim Jong Un has re-affirmed what his father and his grandfather also said – that they are willing and even eager to consider ways for a complete de-nuclearization of the Korean theatre – but of course nothing has come of it . Because that would require a withdrawal of the United States forces from and guarantees for our allies in the region. The Kim family keeps trying and perhaps now hopes they have found someone who can be persuaded to give them the free hand such a withdrawal would allow. 

Trump’s first meeting with Kim resulted in nothing but the familiar language on Kim’s part of willingness to consider total de-nuclearization of both sides.

Trump’s second meeting with Kim resulted in the same failure to do anything but hear the same North Korea rhetoric followed by nothing more.

Now, as a result of this third “border skirmish,” we are told both sides have agreed to appoint new emissaries to consider ways not for agreement but ways to find a way to consider ways for an agreement (these are my words to describe was said as  the result but read what the two sides said and tell me I’m off the mark.

So, for us, for the United States, these meetings have led to nothing of substance that makes the Theatre or us safer but, I would argue, actually makes it more dangerous because of what Kim has gained.

For Kim, before only a dangerous and murderous “nobody,” he has gained world stature.

He has stood on equal photo op platforms with the President of the United States. He has now traveled to Moscow (first time any North Korean leader has been so invited) to meet Vladimir Putin and talk over common interests. He and China’s Xi Jinpjng have exchanged visits to also talk over common interests.

Would we have been able to sit in on all those meeting as a “fly on the wall,” what would we have heard? Valdimir and Zi advising Kim to denuclearize as the United States wishes, telling Kim it is in their three countries’ interest to agree to the reasonable demands of the United States which will lead to peace, harmony and prosperity for all?

I think not.

I believe we would have heard discussions of how the American President could continue to be “played” and led through his own ignorant sense of grandeur (Nobel prize material, he says) toward doing things and making concessions that will further the interests of those three countries who wish us ill, not well, as demonstrated by their  actions to date.

Okay, enough pessimistic talk. Let us hope people like me are totally wrong about all this, wrong about Trump, wrong about Kim, wrong about what we believe we see happening.

Maybe this time when our president returns from some future trip to meet Chairman Kim he can wave a piece of paper on which is written a firm agreement that really means “Peace for our time” and not once again down the dangerous rabbit hole of unfulfilled and unjustified expectations.

Let us hope.





I Stand With Nancy!

There is a growing clamor among Democratic ranks to begin Impeachment proceedings against Donald J Trump. And now a lone Republican member of the House – Representative Justin Amash of Michigan – says he believes the president has, indeed, committed impeachable offenses and should be held to account through the Constitutional Impeachment process.

I think Speaker Nancy Pelosi is right that to do so is a bad idea.

Why, because I don’t agree that Trump deserves by his conduct to be removed from office? Far from it. He has so disgraced the presidency and himself that a  catalogue of his crimes and failings would require hours to recite. Moreover, Trump presents a mortal danger to our Country that until recently has been the leader and envy of the world.

No, Impeachment is a bad idea for practical reasons. If the goal is to remove Trump from the Oval Office, the Impeachment process would at this point in time actually hinder that goal.

   -First, with Republicans firmly in control of the Senate removal from office would not occur no matter what evidence the House reports. When Richard Nixon was clearly headed toward a Senate conviction both parties led by the Democrats clearly had assembled the votes for removal.

In those days the evidence on the “tapes” in which you heard Nixon commit the felony of obstruction of justice by devising a plan to cover up the Watergate burglary was so conclusive as to  pierce any partisan cover Congressional Republicans might have attempted to give him. And in those days, many Republicans who had been Nixon supporters looked at the evidence and left his camp voluntarily.

But today, and I  hate to say it, Congressional Republicans either through conviction or fear of their Trump constituents are almost solidly the president’s sycophants no matter what. They see the same evidence the rest of us see and simply deny it. Is it really realistic to believe any bill of particulars presented to the Senate by the House would cause Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to lead his troops to vote  for removal?

But why not make the case in the House anyway? It would show a  willingness to do the right thing using the Constitutional process set up by the Founders for just such a circumstance that now exists. It would highlight the fact that a great majority of Americans want Trump removed and thus a rebuke to the minority who support him. It would show that the Democrats are up to doing their duty. But those arguments bring me to a second reason why Impeachment now is a bad idea.

  -Second, the Impeachment process in the House would take time. Court battles over House demands for evidence – records, tax files, testimony from Trump officials past and present – would require not weeks but months. To try to rush through the process would play into the hands of Trump crying to his supporters that he is being “railroaded.”

But let us assume by next year Impeachment by the House would be voted and despite the lack of Republican support in the Senate, a Senate Trial would be scheduled (see the Clinton time table) in early 2020. And now, for sake of a discussion, let us assume I am dead wrong and by mid-summer the Senate has voted to remove Trump from office.

What do you think happens then? Like Nixon, he leaves chastened without a murmur, waving from the door of his helicopter before he lifts off from the White House for the last time? And what do you think that hard core of Americans who have supported Trump despite all his lies and dangerous and cruel ignorant actions will do? Accept that he was fairly judged, that they were wrong, taken in by a con-man and retire to bitter but silent acquiescences?

I need not give you my answers to those questions but merely ask you to think about them and reach your own conclusions.

But removal appears highly unlikely. So Trump stays, again what harm in making the try?

I believe the main goal now is to remove Trump from office and I further believe the best chance to do that is in a fiercely fought 2020 election. An election that not only defeats him soundly but a defeat so overwhelming that any attempt on his part to subvert it would fail and one that would leave his hard core supporters no choice but to accept it.

Anything that gets in the way of that election, that distracts from that effort draining energy and risking public apathy or worse disapproval and energizing Trump’s hard corps supporters to defend him even stronger, would deporadize the main goal. And that’s what I believe a failed Impeachment proceeding now would do.

I can just see Trump’s call to his base for resistance to what he will say is the “deep states” attempted coup.

And with people now discussing the possibility of violence if Trump is fairly defeated in the 2020 election,  what do you think the possibility is of violence if he is under siege by an Impeachment process as the election approaches?

No, Impeachment is not the way. Keep the spotlight on his many sins against truth, facts, justice and regular order. Work hard for his removal less than two years away through the election process.

To get the job done then let’s stand with Nancy now!