Judge Roy Moore & The People of Alabama

In an earlier post “Roy Moore vs James Madison,” I examined Moore’s stated belief that his God’s commandments (as he sees them) are to be followed by all of us. He says the United States should be a “Christian” nation and in my earlier blog I compared Moore’s View to that of James Madison, principle author of the First Amendment to the U S Constitution

Madison wrote (and the other “Founders” ratified) a different view. Although they were Christians, their (ours) First Amendment is clear: “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…” which means Government can not  tell you how to worship or stop you from worshiping (or not at all) as you see fit. Which means Roy Moore cannot enact his personal belief into law which he fervently hopes to do.

Twice Moore as Alabama’s Chief Justice refused to obey the order of the Untied States Supreme Court because he said his God’s commandments disagreed. Twice he was removed as Chief Justice.

And now he is the favorite to win the special election for the U S Senate to fill the seat vacated by Jeff Sessions.

But this blog is not really about Roy Moore. Or the new accusation that he engaged in sexual mis-conduct with a fourteen your old many years ago.

I want to talk today about the people of Alabama, only a tiny few of whom I know individually but by their actions and stated views at the ballot box and elsewhere, I believe I know collectively.

According to the latest U S Census Bureau figures, 68% of the population is white, 26% is black, 3% are Hispanics, the rest of other or mixed races.

According to the Pew Foundation, of the White population, 63% say they are protestants, 7%, roman catholic. And of the White population , 68% say they are Republicans or leaning toward Republicans.

These are the people of Alabama who support Roy Moore: White, Protestant, Republicans. Well, you say, “duh!” Yes, I know, you knew that. But in what follows I want to make it absolutely clear which people of Alabama I’m talking about, certainly not all.

I’m talking about people who are basically racists (still fighting for the right to enslave or at least dominate black people), I’m talking about people who do not respect U S law if they disagree with it and believe they can ignore or override it (as Roy Moore believes). I’m talking about people who profess to be Christians but who do not follow Christ’s teachings as set forth in the Bible  (read the Sermon on the Mount for starters).

In the late 1950s, following the Supreme Court decision de-segregating the public schools, driving the highways of Alabama and other deep South States the most common roadside sign was not “Eat at Joe’s” but “Impeach Earl Warren,” the Chief Justice of the U S Supreme Court who had put together the unanimous decision that separate education was not equal and therefore unconstitutional and must be changed. I’m talking about the Alabama white people who fought this decision “tooth and nail.”

When the Civil Rights protests began in the early 1960s, and Birmingham Police commissioner “Bull” Conner turned his dogs, water canon and clubs on civil rights marchers, the white people of Alabama I’m talking about were on his side.

When Governor George Corley Wallace decreed “Segregation Today, Segregation Tomorrow, Segregation Forever” in his Inaugural address, then stood in the doorway of the University in a symbolic effort to prevent the registration of black students, the white people of Alabama  I’m talking about cheered.

When a Montgomery church bombing killed four little black girls, when Alabama state troopers beat and clubbed marchers on the Edmund Pettis bridge, when civil rights worker Viola Liuzzo was shot dead returning from the Montgomery airport, the White people of Alabama I’m talking  about didn’t rise in protest but stood aside.

When Congress passed the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which overturned racial segregation in public accommodations and other important areas of public life, the Alabama white people I’m talking about refused to obey it unless forced to by the forces of national authority.

Also, to show their displeasure at Lyndon Johnson and other national Democrats who had sponsored that act, the White people of Alabama I’m talking about changed their party affiliation to Republican and in the 1964 election joined four other Southern States and Arizona in voting for the Republican presidential nominee Senator Barry Goldwater (who had voted against the 1964 Civil Rights Act).

These are the people of Alabama I’m talking about, the people who now will vote for Roy Moore in  the special election for the Senate Seat vacated by Jeff Sessions.

Is  there no hope for these people?

I fear not.

They learned their racism from their parents at an early age (who had learned theirs from their parents) accepted their parents marriage of the Christian religion  to  racism (never mind Christ’s view that “thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself”) and remain entrenched in their defiance of the Constitution, the law and the plain language of Christ’s teachings in the Christian bible.

But is there hope for Alabama and its people in the future?

Yes, Indeed.

The flow of history and  the movement of the times are against the racists, against the false religionist prophets and for an enlightenment and nobility of the human spirit. And that is happening even in Alabama.

The black men who began it were led by Ministers Fred Shuttlesworth and Martin Luther King, Jr. And the white men who are carrying it forward were led by a courageous Alabama native, Federal District Judge Frank Johnson.

Wikipedia writes:

“In 1956, Judge Johnson ruled in favor of Rosa Parks, striking down the “blacks in the back of the bus” law of the city of Montgomery, Alabama, as unconstitutional….In March 1965, Judge Johnson ruled that activists had the right to undertake the Selma to Montgomery March as a means to petition the government, overturning Governor George Wallace‘s prohibition of the march as contrary to public safety.”

But  the influential white Alabama man who later took up the fight for change, believe it or not , was none other than Governor George Corley Wallace. (1)

Wikipedia writes it this way:

“In the late 1970s, Wallace announced that he was a born-again Christian and apologized to black civil rights leaders for his past actions as a segregationist. He said that while he had once sought power and glory, he realized he needed to seek love and forgiveness.  In 1979, Wallace said of his stand in the schoolhouse door: “I was wrong. Those days are over, and they ought to be over.”  He publicly asked for forgiveness from African Americans.”

In 1982, Wallace ran for re-election for the last time. He narrowly won re-nomination and narrowly won re-election. He prevailed with the help of a large number of African American votes.

And Wikipedia then writes: “During Wallace’s final term as governor (1983–1987) he made a record number of black appointments to state positions,  including, for the first time, two black people as members in the same cabinet.”

Did Wallace have a true conversion or shrewdly read the voting registration numbers and realized he might win only by appealing for African American votes? We would like to think it was the former but we’ll take the result any way we can get it. In any event, Alabama is changing because of the voting demographics.

Alabama is also changing because of education. Not too many years ago, it ranked 49th in the nation when it came to educating its young people. Today, it has risen to 30th. Education is a key to reducing racism. Unfortunately,  the rate of increase in college graduates has not kept pace but both State and private programs are now in place with the prospect for improvement.

But education includes not only formal studies but personal exposure to the world around us, to other peoples, other religions, other cultures, other ideas and that is occurring. I don’t have exact figures but it is clear than young Alabamians are traveling the Nation and the World in increasing numbers. As elsewhere in the South, the next generation is seeing more of the outside. And thinking about what they see.

So, what will happen on election day this December 12th in Alabama? The forces of change vs the forces of white racism? We would like to think that the Democrat Doug Jones will prevail over Roy Moore but its a long-odds bet.

The white people of Alabama I’ve been talking about will change but it may take more time, more hurt and the inexorable working of the life expectancy  actuarial tables.

And above all, the emergence of young educated men and women.

(1) In 1968, my camera man Charlie Jones and I covered a rally for presidential candidate George Wallace in rural  Utah Country, Alabama. After Wallace spoke, people lined up to shake his hand. Jones filmed a few doing that, then turned off his camera. Suddenly, he said to me “look who’s coming in the line to shake Wallace’s hand?”

It was Robert Shelton, the Imperial Wizard of one of the leading groups of the Ku Klux Klan. Jones turned on his camera and when Shelton stuck out his hand, Wallace took it then froze – he was trying to soften his segregation image nationally and here ABC News was filming him shaking hands with the Klan’s Grand Wizard!

Wallace turned from the line and spoke to his Alabama State troopers. One of them quickly came over and demanded we give up the film.  For about a nano-second I told him we wouldn’t turn it over, arguing the 1st amendment’s freedom of the press before the trooper stripped the camera from Jones’ shoulder, opened the magazine cover and shredded the film.

Wallace’s fans weren’t sure what was happening but they were clearly sure which side of any disagreement with ABC News they were on. Jones and I picked up our gear and left the scene hurriedly.

In 1996, backstage at a rally in Alabama for Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole which I was covering, I encountered Wallace. He brought up the subject and said he was sorry he had ordered my film destroyed. He asked me to forgive him.

He sounded sincere. I told him I appreciated his apology and bore him no lasting grudge.

It was somewhat emotional for me thinking of the man  once so cock sure of his segregationist views, willing to hurt black people, so powerful back then who had ordered the seizing of our film, now looking at him in the wheelchair a would-be assassin’s bullet  had doomed him to sit in since 1972.

A frail, sick man who begged forgiveness from the likes of me.

Two years later, he died.

 

 

 

Guns Don’t Kill People, A Post Revisited

Another day, another massacre (at Sugarland, Texas) and anther round of debate over gun control.

As I reported after the last massacre (who remembers where –  oh yes, Las Vegas), Wayne la Pierre of the NRA tells us that “guns don’t kill people, people using guns kill people.”

Got it.

It was Paul Tibbets who blew away 78 thousand people one morning over Hiroshima, not that weapon named “Little Boy” he dropped on them. 

“Little Boy” and later his brother “Fat Man” dropped over Nagasaki were themselves harmless until used by people.

I’m with you, Wayne.

We must fight this tyrannical “non-prolifieration” effort by so many nations led by the United States to deprive people of their “Little Boy” and “Fat Man” weapons since the weapons themselves don’t kill people.

Paul Tibbets Right to Bear Arms shall not be abridged!!!

Save the Republican Party; An Open Letter to Jennifer Rubin

Recently, some people have begun to give up on the Republican Party saying that it no longer exists thanks to Donald J Trump and his various legions of followers.

I believe that is wrong. The framework that can allow the rejuvenation of the GOP still exists and any thought that starting a new party from scratch to oppose the Democrats is an uphill challenge with the odds heavily against success. Yes, the Whigs gave up and the Republican party was born in the middle of the 19th Century but there is no valid comparison to those times and these.

And why am I writing to Jennifer Rubin about this?

Rubin was hired by the Washington Post to write an op-ed column from the Conservative (read Republican) viewpoint. This was an effort to provide some balance to the host of other, liberal/progressive columnists in the Post.

Then, along came Donald J Trump and Ms. Rubin, foreseeing the danger he posed to the Country and to her party, lit into him immediately with fervor and wicked determination that rivaled anything the other liberal columnists were dishing out.

However, in her Column of November 6, 2017, after “dressing down” the timid, fearful Republican office holders who are not standing up to and speaking out against the Trump menace, she appeared to be exasperated to the point of giving up on the Grand Old Party.

She wrote: “Between Trump’s mendacity and GOP lawmakers’ passivity, the GOP of Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Ronald Reagan and both Bushes is no longer recognizable. It likely isn’t even rescuable. And if not, well, good riddance (Bold added).” 

So, I decided to write to Jennifer, as follows.

“Dear Ms. Rubin,

You have been stalwart in fighting to save the Country from Donald J Trump but please don’t give up the fight to save the Grand Old Party. It is rescuable and your voice in this effort is important. Why save it (?), well, as Harry Truman was fond of saying, “let’s look at the record.”

In today’s column, you name a few of its’ prominent presidents, including Teddy Roosevelt, Dwight Eisenhower, Gerald Ford, Ronald Reagan, and George H W Bush who have served the Country well.

But they are not alone.

The GOP is also the party of Senators such as Arthur Vandenburg, Robert Taft, Leverett Saltonstall, John Sherman Cooper, Clifford Case, Margaret Chase Smith, Everett Dirkson, Tom Kuchel, Bob Dole, Connie Mack, Nancy Kassebaum, Bill Cohen, John Chaffee, John Warner, Howard Baker, Richard Lugar, Pete Domenici and Jacob Javitts.

It is the party of House members such as Joseph Martin, Charles Halleck, Bob Michel, Gerald Ford (later President), Hamilton Fish, Tom Railsback, Gilbert Gude, Charles “Mac”Mathias (later Senator), Rogers C B Morton, Robert McClory, John Rhodes and Jack Kemp.

It is the party of Governors such as Earl Warren (later Supreme Court Chief Justice), Walter Hickle, Nelson Rockefeller, Jim Thompson, Frank Lausche, Christian Herter (later Secretary of State), William Scranton, Tommy Thompson, Frank Keating, Tom Kean, Christine Todd Whitman and Bob Martinez.

It is the party of such distinguished Republicans as Wendell Wilkie, William Rogers, Elliot Richardson, William Ruckelshaus, James A Baker III, John J Sirica, Sandra Day O’Conner, Brent Scowcroft, Fiorello La Guardia, William J Brennan, George Shultz, Malcolm Baldridge, William Webster, John Paul Stevens, Colin Powell and William Coleman.

Above all, this is the party of Abraham Lincoln.

And if you say that party no longer exists, it now belongs to the Koch Brothers, the neo-nazis, the racial and gender bigots, and the other hard core Trump voters (never to Donald J Trump), why that’s to give up a fight that millions of non-Trump, non neo –nazi, non bigots and non Koch Brothers Republicans desperately need smart people like you to make.    Save the Country first but save the Republican Party also.    We’re counting on you, Jennifer!”

Having written that to Jennifer, I say it is up to every thinking Republican to work tirelessly on behalf of restoring the GOP to carrying on its proud heritage before the “dry rot” of modern times led to the emergence in the name of the party of Lincoln(?) of Donald J Trump.

Run for office at every level if you are able. Support other candidates for office who represent the traditional GOP, talk it up in your community, write letters to the editor, post on Social Media, and VOTE, vote for any reasonable candidate of any party other than candidates who come to you in the image of Donald J Trump or his fellow traveling thugs, such as Steven Bannon, the “DarthVadar”of forces dedicated to the destruction of our Country’s traditional values and way of life.

Let us return to the time of civil debate and disagreement between the two parties. Let the pendulum swing back and forth between public favor of one over the other. But let us proceed as one peoples in one country, united in brotherhood in that “pursuit of happiness” to which our Founders dedicated us.

 

 

 

 

Donald J Trump Meets “Maximum Bob” And The Noose Tightens

When the news broke that Special Counsel Robert Mueller had won criminal indictments against Paul Manafort, Donald J Trump’s former campaign Chairman, on charges including  money laundering, Trump immediately tweeted that the charges  came from Manafort’s  actions of years ago with which Trump had no connection.

True.

But now Mueller has the leverage to put the pressure on Manafort to enter into a plea bargain. Manafort saves himself from a potential heavy prison sentence by blowing the whistle on Trump.  This technique of forcing the truth can be highly effective

When Federal Judge John J Sirica, whose tough sentences had earned him the nickname of “Maximum  John,” threatened to throw the book at the five Watergate burglars if they didn’t come clean as to who put them up to the burglary, one of them did. James McCord, cracked and admitted that “higher ups” in the Nixon re-election campaign were behind it, and the noose around Richard Nixon’s neck began to tighten.

You say Manafort wouldn’t do that?

Knowing him as I do, I say “In a New York Minute!”

So, what does Paul Manafort know about Trump’s actions with the Russians? For starters, he attended the famous meeting in New York called by Donald J Trump, Jr.,  to meet people with Russian connections who said they could turn over damaging material about Hillary Clinton.

Manafort’s own connections in lobbying for the Russians over the years earned him millions of dollars and good access to the strategy and aims of Vladimir Putin on various subjects. There could be lots there.

But Mueller wants to know about matters beyond the Russians. He has the authority to look into Trump’s finances, income taxes, and any suspected illegal activities  no matter of what nature Trump may have engaged in?

What else does Manafort know?

Trump must tremble at the thought.

And what about George Papadopoulos, a former Trump campaign aide whose indictment was also revealed on Monday, October 30th? He has already pled guilty to a charge of lying under oath and is co-operating with Mueller.

Papadopoulos has acknowledged that he met with a man with Russian connections who said Moscow had thousands of Hillary Clinton emails (this two months before those emails were released).  How far does that thread go?

Oh, the smoke billows and the search for the fire takes on new intensity.

In reaction, and in desperation, Trump steps up his demand that Hillary Clinton and the Democrats must be investigated. His surrogates on Capital Hill, masquerading  as Republican elected members of Congress, are attempting to “gin up” such investigations. It’s about trying to throw up their own “smoke screen” of distraction. And about continuing to energize and enrage the “Base.”

Donald J Trump and his Republican enablers are feeling the heat, sensing that the rope around Trump’s neck is tightening.

Trump insists he had no collusion with the Russians. Maybe not, we’ll see. But what about all the other stuff? Trump’s life is now a book that can be opened by a man who may well earn the name of “Maximum Bob.”

But the “Base” his loyal “Base,”wouldn’t stand for anyone to touch him, anything to careen him from the presidency, right?

Wrong.

The “Base” is eroding, disappearing, slowly but surely.

In an NBC/WSJ poll released on Monday, 10/30, Trump’s approval rating has dropped to 38%, the lowest in his young presidency, lower than any other president at this point. And the really bad news for Trump is where the drop is now occurring.

The report says “the drop for Trump has come from independents (who shifted from 41 percent approval in September to 34 percent now), whites (who went from 51 percent to 47 percent) and whites without a college degree (from 58 percent to 51 percent)…Bolding added).”

And how far will Trump’s ratings eventually drop and how far must they drop before enough of his “Base” deserts him to make his further occupancy of the Oval Office impossible?

One can only guess but there is a historical number to consider. On the day Richard Nixon resigned from the presidency – his crime of obstruction of justice (a felony) proved from the tapes of his own conversation in plotting that crime- Nixon’s approval rating according to Gallup was at 24%.

Twenty four percent of the American public still approved of his performance as President.

That wasn’t near enough to save him but, to borrow a word from the 2016 campaign, that was “deplorable.”

Go get ’em, “Maximum Bob!”

 

 

 

Mario Cuomo for President

In the fifty two years I spent in Washington as a political reporter, I encountered several people in both major parties I thought might make a good president but who never ran for the office.

Two in particular.

One was Colin Powell. To the end of my life I shall continue to believe he would have brought to the presidency mature and informed  judgement, personal characteristics of morality, ethics and temperament and the leadership skills that would have served our Country well.

The other was Mario Cuomo, not as well known as Powell, perhaps not as admired as Powell, but a man of like personal characteristics  whose views  of what leadership in our country ought to be about lifted him above the field.

Here is the link to a profile we did of Cuomo in 1990, when many Democrats were pushing him to run for the presidential nomination of his party.

Watch it and see if you could have voted for Mario Cuomo for President.

https://vimeo.com/116914127

“”It might have been” for Cuomo in 1992, and Powell in 1996, and  why didn’t they make the try?

I think both had for their generation  achieved more than any African- American or son of Italian Immigrants before them and were happy with what they had achieved and not comfortable with aiming higher.

But by the time Barack Obama came along he had no qualms about shooting for the moon.

I trust that the present desperate swing led by Donald J Trump and his band of merry thugs to exclude people by characteristics other than “…by the content of their character (MLK)” will pass  so that someday a person of Italian heritage will sit in the Oval office.

She might make a great president.

 

 

 

 

 

The Damn is Breaking – Run for the Hills

Movements start slow.

Water behind a dam finds a tiny crevice in the concrete. The trickle begins.

A little Dutch boy sticks his finger in the leak to hold back the sea but soon another and another leak appears. And finally nothing can contain the Ziedeer Zee and the dam gives way.

So it is in the final days of Trumpism.

The dam holding back the  outrage  and good sense of  the Republican party is crumbling and the flood that will sweep away Donald J Trump and his merry band of thugs will soon be upon us.

Senators Corker, Flake, McCain, Collns, Murkowsk ( Republican all)  have stood up to Trump and do you doubt that soon others, emboldened by the action of their colleagues and the rising opposition in the Country, will soon add to the flood?

Victor Hugo coined the thought that “nothing is as powerful as an idea whose time has come.”

The time has come for Donald J Trump to go.

May the Lord have mercy on his soul.

 

Wille & Joe are Laughing

When White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders admonished us that “If you want to get into a debate with a four-star Marine general, I think that that’s something highly inappropriate” I immediately thought of Willie and Joe.

Willie and Joe were two fictional American soldiers in the European Theater of World War II, the creation of my friend and fellow New Mexican, the late Bill Mauldin.

Bill was in the army and a cartoonist who worked for the old Stars and Stripes newspaper which was distributed to the troops. He drew Willie and Joe as two scruffy looking “grunts” who were always pointing out the differences between the way the “grunts” and the officers were treated.

Here’s an example.

 

Donald J Trump’s Chief of Staff, John Kelly, a retired four star general, has been under heavy fire for the contemptuous way he “dissed” the congresswoman who described his boss as having been “disrespectful” in a telephone call to the bereaved widow of Sgt. La David Johnson, killed in Niger.

So, when Ms. Sanders sought to turn aside the criticism by sniffing that it  would be highly inappropriate to argue with a Four Star General I wondered what Willie and Joe might say.

Perhaps this:

“Hey Willie, did you hear about the woman who said it would be ina, uh, ina, oh, heck, wrong to talk back to a four star general?”

“Joe, if we can’t do that who does get to do that, just the Germans?”

The G. I. s (common enlisted soldiers in the American forces of World War II) and their folks at home loved it but not all the officers did, particularly a general named George Patton.

Patton called Mauldin in and chewed him out good for disrespect to his superiors! But that’s one fight Patton lost.  Willie and Joe kept right on grousing about the officers and there was nothing more old “blood and guts” chose to do to try to stop them.

In late 1991, my producer and I on the ABC magazine program Prime Time Live took Mauldin to Saudi Arabia for the U S  buildup to expel Iraqi forces from Kuwait.

Bill drew Willie and Joe in the desert.

When our troops there discovered who this guy with a sketch pad was they mobbed him for autographs. Our young men and women may not have known a lot about Bill Mauldin but they knew that to their dads who had fought in World War II he was a hero!

The point of this story ought not to be lost on Sarah Huckabee Sanders. To tell Americans it would be “inappropriate” to call out someone because he is a Four Star General is not to understand what this country has always been about, is not to understand why although they debated the proposition our forefathers decided not to have a King here, only another common man who would be called “president” and who served only at the pleasure of the other common people who elected him. And, of course Generals serve at the pleasure of their civilian bosses.

General Kelly has served honorably and well but was way off base in his attack on Congresswoman Frederica Wilson. First, he had his facts wrong and Second, his defense of the indefensible actions of his boss reflect the kind of servile obeisance which is “inappropriate”and certainly unbecoming of a Four Star General.

Willie, Joe, what do you have to say about General Kelly?

“Ah, Joe, he’s not really a bad guy just kinda lost it for a moment…could’a happened to anyone.”

“Right, Willie, but maybe he needs a rest from the office. Come on down in the mud with us for a few days. Do him a lot of good.”

”Har de har har”

That’s right, the last time I saw Willie and Joe talking about all this they were laughing.

PS – On November 23, 1963, with the nation in shock and grief at the assassination of John F Kennedy, Bill Mauldin drew Abraham Lincoln sitting in his Marble Chair in the Lincoln Memorial in Washington holding his head in his hands. In my estimation, that “cartoon” has never been topped.

Trump vs. Trump: A Puzzling Contradition

What is going on in the mind of Donald J Trump? I’m not talking about the question of true mental illness – I’ll leave that to medical professionals. But no matter what the cause, why does he say things that contradict himself?

Lying is one thing. And switching positions for political advantage is another thing. Both, perhaps, to one degree or another reprehensible but understandable.

But simply contradicting oneself is strange. Trump fights many demons  but battling himself is difficult to understand

An example.

At the weekend event which saw five former presidents band together to raise funds for hurricane relief, Trump in a video tape called them   “some of America’s finest public servants.”

What? Trump says Barack Obama is one of Americans finest public servants?

Are you laughing or crying?

Why, Trump has attacked each one of them. He  has taken major swipes at Bill Clinton and George W Bush but particularly at Barack Obama – Obama in extreme language that continues to this day.

Well, you say, this hurricane relief event was no place to surface criticism but to praise his predecessors efforts on behalf of hurricane victims.  True enough.

But before I show you the way it  can be done without looking like a fool or cause someone to ask what is going on in your mind, let’s examine the most egregious example of Trump contradicting Trump.

It occurred on election night, 2016.

The 2016, Presidential  campaign was the dirtiest, slimiest campaign in modern times thanks to the tactics and language delivered by Donald J trump and his merry band of thugs and enablers. He said his opponent was not only unqualified to be president, but was a criminal who should be locked up. In fact, he told Hillary Clinton in their second televised debate that if he were in charge of the law, “You’d be in jail.”

Yet, on election night Trump said this:

“I just received a call from Secretary Clinton.
She congratulated us — it’s about us — on our victory, and I congratulated her and her family on a very, very hard-fought campaign. I mean, she — she fought very hard.”

So far, so good, a gracious response to his opponent’s concession call.

But there was more. I’m sure you recall what he said next.

Hillary has worked very long and very hard over a long period of time, and we owe her a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country.

I mean that very sincerely.”

I jumped up from my chair and yelled in my most sarcastic tone of voice “What, you mean you don’t want to lock her up? You fraud, you despicable man, ( I went on for another few words but as I promised, I am not going to call people vulgar names in my blogs so I dare not repeat what I said further).”

In Trump’s mind, which is she – a criminal who should be locked up or someone owed a major debt of gratitude for her service to our country?

The mind reels: To the stockade for you, George Washington! But go there with our profound thanks for beating the British and making it possible for us to have our own country.

Guard, twenty lashes for “crooked George.”

Now, is all this Trump vs. Trump something we can just put down to being “gracious?”

I’ll show you how that can be done but without a contradiction.

The presidential campaign of 1980, was hard fought between Jimmy Carter and Ronald Reagan, each saying in many ways that the other was unqualified to lead the nation (although never with the gutter tactics and language of 2016).

And we reporters who covered that campaign can tell you they truly did not “like” each other (I traveled with Carter as the White House correspondent for ABC News).

But when Jimmy Carter’s presidential library was dedicated, Reagan in the tradition of president’s attending their predecessor’s library dedication came and spoke.

He praised Carter for his humanitarian efforts, concluding his speech by telling Carter: “For myself, I can pay you no higher honor than to say simply this: You gave of yourself to your country, gracing the White House with your passionate intellect and commitment.”

Reagan took back none of his former criticism but found ways to sincerely honor Carter.

But Carter “stole the show” when in thanking Reagan, he said “As I listened to you talk, I understood more clearly than I ever did in my life why you won in 1980 and I lost.”

Two gentlemen, gracious as the occasion  demanded, but true to themselves.

Of course, Trump is no gentleman and is true to himself only in that he thinks only of himself. But that brings me around to the question I asked in the beginning – What is going on in  the mind of Donald J Trump?

When he lies, he lies and certainly knows it (barring mental illness).

He believes as he has said that he could shoot someone and never lose a single vote. His voters don’t know or don’t care that he lies.

They love it when he sticks his finger in the eyes of the “elites,” when he talks tough, threatens  to destroy another Country and its twenty five million inhabitants and particularly when he denounces the main stream media as dispensing ‘fake news”.

After all, the hard core who stomped and yelled when he cried “lock her up” and pulled the lever on election day do not yet know or cannot yet admit they were chumps, taken by a reality-star con man. They’ll learn but not yet

My answer to the question posed is that when he contradicts himself he doesn’t realize it. He doesn’t think things through (surprise, surprise) but says whatever comes to his mind at the moment, often driven by an outburst of emotion. That he contradicts himself causes him no embarrassment because he doesn’t realize he’s done it.

Trump may not care that if he shoots someone else he won’t lose a single vote.

But when you shoot yourself, Donald, do you care about what you lose then?

It Wont Be Pretty? No Kidding!

Once again, Donald J Trump has attacked John McCain. A sure way to push my buttons.

Here are the lead paragraphs of the Washington Post story this morning on the attack.

“President Trump promised retribution against Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for his opposition to several GOP health-care plans and his comments implicitly criticizing Trump’s views and leadership on Monday night.
“People have to be careful because at some point, I fight back,” Trump said in an interview Tuesday with WMAL, a D.C. radio station.
“I’m being very nice. I’m being very, very nice. But at some point, I fight back, and it won’t be pretty,” Trump said.”

You, Donald J Trump, a man who never faced Soviet Surface to Air Missiles, who never spent a day in an enemy prison, who never served a day in the military , you dare threaten John McCain with a fight???

No, it wouldn’t be pretty. It won’t be close.

In History’s eyes, this fight of  Trump vrs McCain, the coward whose every action portrays a person interested only in himself as against the hero whose public career shows a deep concern for others will be judged a “no contest! Why Trump would pick a fight he  can not possibly win is just another example of his stupidity.

Let me tell you why I am so strongly in McCain’s corner. It is not just because of his wartime heroism, or his public service (I disagree with some of his views and his congressional votes) but as a reporter who talked to him over the years I came to respect the way he treated people, including me. Mind you, we are not social friends, have never been to each other’s house for dinner, but in my work I have had the chance to take his measure and liked what I found.

In 1989, five Senators banded together to talk to Federal regulators on behalf of Charles Keating, whose Lincoln Savings and Loan Company, an Arizona based Company, was under investigation. McCain was one of the five.

After an initial meeting, two of the Senators, McCain and another American hero John Glenn backed away from any effort to intervene on behalf of Keating (whose Company ended up causing the biggest  individual loss to taxpayers in the Savings and Loan scandal).

McCain consented to an on-camera interview with me during which he made no excuses, offered no “fishy” explanations for his initial participation in the so-dubbed “Keating Five,” simply said he showed up at the request for help from an Arizona constituent but when it became apparent the meeting was not called for the purpose of getting information but for putting pressure on the regulators he withdrew. He said he realized his mistake for attending and could blame no one but himself for making it.

Four years later I was back looking at McClain. A Whistle Blower had put us onto  the fact that the U S Navy’s long time base on Bermuda (so important during World War II and even during the early  days of the cold war with the Soviet Union) no longer had any functions except to service the civilian airport for the British and maintain VIP cottages located on the U S Naval Base. It was costing U S taxpayers about thirty three million dollars a year to keep  the base open for those two purposes. We, of our ABC magazine program Prime Time Live, were delighted to investigate.

Part of the story was the fact that U S VIPS could visit the Island and stay in the luxurious Naval Guest Houses for “pennies” what it would cost them in regular civilian spas. One such VIP who had done this was Senator John McCain. On his trip, he had taken eleven family members including the children’s nanny. Wow, did I want to get McCain on camera and roast him over this!

So, one afternoon at Washington’s National airport (now Reagan National) I was lurking in the parking lot with a camera crew when McCain headed for his car after a trip back from Phoenix, pulling his roller bag.  When I jumped him, he stopped pulling his roller bag and dodged as best he could my questions and my roasting. No complaints to me. Big boys and girls in Harry Truman’s political kitchen “take the heat.”

When I got back to the office I got a call from McCain’s press  secretary wanting me to explain my “ambush” interview. I told him I thought McCain wouldn’t agree to an interview and that was the only way I would get to talk to him about this subject that was clearly embarrassing to him.

The press secretary said if I had asked McCain would have seen me in circumstances that didn’t make it look to viewers he was trying to avoid talking (when you “ambush” someone that is often the impression left) and would I come up right now for a more formal interview. I agreed that was the fair thing to do and did it, McCain answered all  my questions saying when informed the Guest House was available to him as it was to any other member of Congress he hadn’t thought about the ramifications of privilege that other American vacationers  would see.

And guess what? later as a ranking member of the Senate Armed Services Committee McCain helped shut down that U S Naval Base and its Guest Houses as a wasteful spending of taxpayer’s money.

Again, in 1999, as he prepared  an unsuccessful campaign to secure the GOP presidential nomination, he admitted in an interview with me that in the Vietnamese prison under torture he had signed a paper denouncing U S involvement in the war. Easy enough not to bring it up since I didn’t know about it.

He said when he and the other prisoners were freed he was worried that his father, the Admiral who was in charge of all U S forces in the Pacific ,would want nothing to do with him because of that. Instead, his father embraced him when he got off the plane and called him the hero he is.

Tip O’Neal, the great Speaker of the House, used to say that “all politics is local and personal” and perhaps that is also true of relationships. I got to know John McCain in my professional dealings with him as an honest,  “straight shooter,” a man flawed as are we all but a man to be admired.

Consequently, when it comes to a fight with Donald J Trump, I’ll he in McCain’s corner.

And I’ll cover all bets!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

By God, That’s Enough!

There is this great scene in the movie “Patton,” when the allied generals in North Africa are discussing the battle and two German planes come over and begin strafing and bombing.  The generals duck for cover under tables as the planes keep sweeping back and forth over the town to bomb and strafe some more

Suddenly Patton (George C Scott) exclaims “By God, that’s enough!” as he jumps down into the street, pulls out his two pistols, and begins firing at the planes on their next pass.

Well, when one tries to absorb the daily bombing and staffing emanating from Donald J Trump and his merry band of thugs, the lies, the cruelty, the ignorance, the government-by-twitter, don’t you just feel like saying “By God, that’s enough!”

In the past couple of days, Donald J Trump has laid down conditions for making a deal with the Democrats on giving the DACA children a life in this Country where they have grown up and where they contribute that makes it clear there can be no deal on his preposterous terms – build the wall indeed!

Then, to say that Senator Bob Corker, Chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, didn’t have the guts to run for re-election after Corker let it be known publicly that he doesn’t believe Donald J Trump has the capacity to be president, well Corker is right to reply  that the White House has become “an adult day care center.”

The continued “gutting” of the EPA in pursuit of profits over planet is a horrible thing to watch.

The teaching the Puerto Ricans they should be grateful for any attention, no matter how small and how late is a monstrosity.

And how about telling us that his meeting with the brass was “the calm before the storm,” telling his Secretary of State he’s wasting his time trying to talk to the North Koreans, and saying that won’t work, only one thing will work!

All that is pretty scary until you remember that Secretary of Defense  Mattas has instructed the military that any “strike” twitter order from the White House will have to go through the chain of command (and that means him)  before it can be executed and believe me, Mattas is not going to approve “destroying” twenty five million people in one thermonuclear attack!

There’s a lot more but the head reels, the mind falters, the energy flags in trying to absorb it all. In the end, it  boils down to this: We are in the hands of a child, a foolish child at that, a child with no capacity to think straight or act decently but a child who is dangerous!

As I’ve said before, we are in the hands of an EVI (Egomaniacal Vulgarian Ignoramus).

And its time to say:

By God, that’s enough!

We must keep the pressure on Congress to remove this child. Make our voices heard. Take to street corners and public squares. Write letters to the editor. Never become complacent or accepting of this truly horrible situation. Give of our time and money to the cause. Those of you who are able, run for public office. And at every opportunity on the local and higher levels, vote!

Oh, one last thing. We expect our president to be a person of manners, someone the kids can look up to and learn from when it comes to deportment and civil behavior.

HA! Not the EVI as the New York Times Editorial Board has put it so well in listing just some of the coarse and crass behavior exhibited by him.

Here’s the link:   https://nyti.ms/2ySgZKi

And now, a smile. When driving to downtown Albuquerque this morning I found a balloon from the Albuquerque Balloon Festival threatening to land on top of my vehicle. A stiff ground breeze had sprung up and Balloons were going every which way. This one was coming for me having just managed to clear the light and US 25 freeway. I threw the cell phone camera to the floor  and gunned it to escape. The Balloon landed safely on the dirt patch to the right in the picture.

Do you think the EVI was guiding the Balloon to get me? That’s absurd but I probably should check with Alex Jones just to make certain.