When Will This End?

When will our seeming infatuation with Special Prosecutors end?  Likely not until President Trump has either stepped down from office or has been convicted of something such as obstruction of justice.  Fred Barnes points out in The Weekly Standard that Special Prosecutors seldom end their quest without finding something upon which to hang their hats.  Their probes expand until something is found.  They have to justify their existence and the millions they, and their targets, have spent finding someone to prosecute and to defend themselves.

President Trump has been fighting the challenges thrown at him by Democrats and by his somewhat unorthodox approach to being our President.  His Tweets are interesting and often the source of more difficulties since the Dems, a handful of Republicans and the vaunted press lay in wait for the slightest opportunity to stick pins into the Trump balloon.  The President, unfortunately, does not always disappoint those who lay in wait, and instead seems further energized by those actions.  That is his nature as we’ve seen from his business successes.

The field of play is decidedly tilted against whomever a Special Prosecutor aims his or her investigation at given the array of tools available to those prosecutors.  That gives credence to Fred Barnes’ prognostication.  Couple that with the ‘blood in the water’ mentality of the opposition, and we see a very steep hill to climb.  The President continues to act as our President, but these side issues make that work more difficult than is usually the case.

If the opposition sees any unraveling of the threads of the Presidency, they will pick at those threads until the seam has been torn apart.  Either party is good at that kind of opposition, but, frankly, the Dems seem to have this art completely at their disposal…especially when the mainstream media is so quick to take part in the feeding frenzy.

The uphill nature of the Trump Presidency will not soon level out given all the various forces at play.  There is more than enough vitriol and outright hatred to take the fight out of almost anyone.  The success of the individual coupled with a degree of notoriety seems to breed the very worst in our opponents.  Then, of course, there is the fact that President Trump defeated Hillary Clinton who had been bequeathed the Oval Office simply because she was Hillary.  And worst yet, he was not a politician.  Just who did he think he was?  He was an interloper to be feared…and maybe destroyed politically if possible.

Will he serve out his full term or not?  I have no idea, but I do know that he’ll likely never find relief from the headwinds of his political opposition, headwinds contrived by his opposition which proves often there are virtually no dirty tricks it wouldn’t employ to win.  I frankly hope he continues to poke his finger in the eye of “the way it has always been done” crowd who see him as an interloper and miscreant who demeans the office of the President of the United States of America.  If they succeed, that will be a sad day in America.  That kind of action would’ve been impossible to even dream of a short time ago, and today it seems all too plausible given the opposition’s determination to use innuendo and half-truths as the tools to deprive us of the service of the person we elected.  They threaten to make my vote invalid and that is not right.  My vote is equal to their vote.

I am deeply saddened at the thought this could happen in this country.  But, it seems that there are too many culpable and willing participants that would be all too happy to see that day come.  They may see themselves as patriots but I have different words to describe who and what they are.  There has never been a perfect man serving in the Oval Office.  There have been some who were openly imperfect and they seem to have come from the political party that now wishes us to believe it is as pure as the driven snow.

This witch hunt has the potential to tear us apart if it continues and if it is permitted to be successful.  That we would have a new President by the name of Pence would salve the wound somewhat but the real damage to this country will have been done both here and abroad.

Petty politicians are the very worst breed of politicians.  The great politicians are those who see their duty to God and country and who overcome for all of us even at their own expense.  There seem fewer and fewer of those today.  This is the kind of politics that can breed the mentally deranged people such as the man who found the baseball practice diamond the other day.

Nothing good comes from this kind of politics.  Most Democrats and a few Republicans ought to be ashamed, but that is not likely to happen.

 

Drip, Drip, Drip…

Water torture has been with us almost since the beginning of what has passed for a semblance of civilization.  The steady drip, drip, drip of water on one’s forehead that has the result of driving people crazy seems to be alive and well although water is not being used to cause the result.

This steady drip, drip, drip is courtesy of the liberals and their compatriots in the press and in Congress.

The targets of this particular drip, drip, drip are…conservatives in general and the current President of the United States who now is under the microscope of Robert Mueller, former FBI Director and current Special Counsel who has been reported to have increased his efforts to find substance that would be useful in toppling President Donald Trump which, of course, is the desire of the liberal faction and even some seeming conservatives, if I am correct about a certain Republican Senator from Arizona, but that is for another day.

Special Counsel Mueller is reported to be seriously looking at the Russian election influence claim and tying that into looking at President Trump to determine if there is some evidence of collusion.  Special Counsels appear to be second only to God in terms of their power.

One might wonder how the Clintons have been able to avoid the scrutiny of any number of Special Counsels.  Maybe being a liberal is helpful in avoiding such examination.  Maybe those named as Special Counsels have already passed the smell test of liberalism.  Or maybe the answer is that there is no answer to that question other than that they are avowed liberals and part of the liberal history of our great nation and, therefore, a protected species.

We know by now that President Donald Trump is not likely to be seen by Democrats and liberals as anything but a demon and a failure as President.  That has been preordained in their minds and is not easily altered since it has already been writ.  We should accept that fact and recognize then that President Trump will be under whatever political microscope happens to be in operation in the District of Columbia.

Actually, maybe the equivalent of ‘water torture’ is what the Democrats are experiencing as the result of his election as our President.  They may be going nuttier by the day due to that drip-drip-drip that just never seems to end.  Apparently, the direction of Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s efforts has been affected by James Comey’s firing as FBI Director, or at least that is the supposition of some.

Time marches on and the District of Columbia, so de-politicized with the recent shooting for a day or two, is back to normal as that is defined in that small piece of our country.  I wonder if there ought to be some kind of rotation for residents of the District.  Should they, for their own good as well as ours, be required to live in a real state with no contrived political essence other than for regular elections, for two years every decade simply to remind them and us of how damaging the D.C. tour can be to a person?

Originally, if I recall my history, there was no thought but what the people would send representatives to the capital and that those people would come back in between sessions to be with real folks and get part of their sanity and ‘feet-on-the-ground’ elixir before going back into that never-never land.  There has to be a very real danger in breathing that rarified air to begin to be affected by that experience, to get further and further from the person he or she was and to become more and more a creature of the hallowed halls of government.  Maybe that accounts for the liberal persuasion at least in part.  If you can conjure up a picture in your mind of Harry Reid and Nancy Pelosi you can begin to see what prolonged residency in that former swampland can do to a human being.

Frankly, the immediate past President has already established permanent residence in a smaller version of the palace he occupied until this vulgar Trump person moved in.  He is apparently deChicagoized sufficiently that he’ll never live there again.  It is that rarified air I suspect.  That, and the fact that Chicago might be gone at the rate it is spiraling downward these days under the tutelage of a former D.C. temporary resident who is now the Mayor.

It seems that us conservatives have come under a more or less permanent cloud while the liberals bask in the sunlight of righteous governance.  We elected the man we wanted as our President.  Leave him alone to run the country.  And, get yourselves back into the real world more often and for longer periods of time as reminders to you all of who and what we are.

If there is evidence, solid evidence, of wrong-doing by our President, present it to us.  If we want him recalled we’ll tell you that.  Yeah, we know he doesn’t fit your preconceived notion of what a President ought to be; but, then again, Barack Obama didn’t fit my preconceived idea of what a President ought to be either and he was not subjected to this nonsense.

Where From Here?

I saw some of the FaceBook pages clips from yesterday’s shooter’s FaceBook page before those were taken down and they were frightening.  The rants and the rage that this man displayed were of the type that anyone who knew him or followed his FaceBook postings should’ve suspected he was a ticking bomb.  It is one thing to see that degradation in his view of reality and entirely another to know what steps to take.  But, the clues were there.

A radio host, Bryan Crabtree, from the Atlanta area used the phrase Our ‘Canary in the Coal Mine’ to point up the issues this man was showing he had for some time.  That is probably among the most dead-on statements to describe this man that could have been uttered.  He had apparently become more and more vocal and vile in his postings.  Some were of the type to almost literally make you sick to your stomach.  He was a hater, pure and simple, and he tipped over the edge from barely rational to out-of-control-angry on the mission that he felt compelled to take on.

We know he was a Bernie Sanders supporter.  That doesn’t make him a killer, but it does give us a good idea of his politics.  His victims were to be Republicans since we know he asked who was on the field before he began the firing.  We know that there were a couple of Capitol Hill police officers present and that fact tells us this could’ve been far more tragic had they not been there and engaged the shooter immediately.

Hindsight most always shows us what led to the happening in these tragedies.  But what can we do pre-tragedy, if anything, to defuse/eliminate the threat?  We have individual freedoms.  I can write what I choose, I can make FaceBook postings, my blogs post to my FaceBook page so I am sort of an open book.  If I were to go ‘over the edge’  or give indications I was about to go ‘over the edge’ what could you do about that?  I don’t know that even the ‘canary in the coal mine’ warnings are something that could be used to stop me or anyone from doing something dastardly.  It might be that my family could do something, but if I were really ‘wigged out’ would they feel safe in doing so?

I would like to think that would happen out of their love for me, but we cannot get into the minds of those who were in his world to know how they might’ve felt about his sliding into the role he seemed to occupy simply based on those postings.  Those were vile and threatening from my point-of-view…but what would I have done if that were my father?  I’d like to think that I would tackle the problem from the perspective of doing it for his own good and out of my love for him, but maybe I’d be hesitant and he would’ve gone over the edge before I could find the courage to do something to help him.

This is again one of those times for us to search our souls.  It is a time for us to wonder what we’ve become as a people.  I wondered about the fact that he was in an ‘open carry’ jurisdiction and the implications of someone having been there who was carrying at that time.  Then, I thought about all the thousands of rounds I’ve expended over time, none of which were aimed at a living person.  How would I react?  I’d like to think I’d react to deal with the problem, but until I have been in that spot I won’t really know the answer to that question.

We are living in a time when we need to be aware of everything around us all the time.  I preach this so often that people around me cringe when that theme starts again, but it is true.  If you were confronted with an issue that is threatening right now, what would you do?  I try to be aware all the time as I’ve preached to readers before.  I know where possible exit routes are every time I walk into a store or office building.  My head is on a swivel whenever I am outside.  I am constantly aware of the people around me.  We all need to be aware.  Would that have changed the outcome yesterday?  Probably not, but that is not an excuse to avoid being wary.

Today: Gunfire, Bloodshed & Death…

This morning, a shooter, a white man, took shots at members of Congress and their staffs who were practicing on a softball field in Suburban Washington, D.C. (Virginia actually), and 51-year-old Congressman Steve Scalise (R-LA) and five staffers were wounded.  The shooter was subsequently shot and killed by police.

Our political world has gotten to be quite heated and there are people who, unfortunately, are apparently unable to control their tempers.  I presume this is the situation that occurred this morning.  A man, who reportedly asked if those were Republicans practicing softball, then opened fire and finally was shot and killed by officers.  We have already learned that he was a worker for Sen. Bernie Sanders (D) so that provides a glimpse into his political belief system.

Some will be quick to try to lay this at the feet of President Trump, but I submit there is more than enough blame to be shared by all the politicians no matter their party.  Our government is seen by some as somewhat malfunctioning (actually it is functioning as designed but that is often deemed a malfunction by us folks in fly-over country) at this time, and there is no way of knowing what the driving motive was for this man who is now dead.

There have frankly been times when I have been angry at one or more of our country’s politicians.  I have the luxury of writing about my beliefs and have no need nor any desire to harm one of those politicians with whom I might be politically-crossways at the moment.  I am aware, though, that we have some people in this country who are apparently unable to separate their anger from their actions.  More will undoubtedly be learned about the shooter and we’ll hear, watch and read about this for many days to come.

There will be renewed calls for a physical ban on the ownership of all firearms.  That is simply a reality for today.  BUT, there must be simultaneous reminders about the Constitutional and legal rights of Americans which, in my world, small ‘t’ trump the outcry against our freedom to own firearms.  There are, and unfortunately will likely always be, people who simply are not in possession of all 52 cards in their deck, who are capable of this kind of shooting.  I presume this man was angered by something that had been done or left undone by D.C.-based politicians, and this is how he chose to demonstrate that he was upset.

If there had to be a death, I am of the mind that the shooter was the appropriate person to lose his life.  I know that every effort will be made to determine what he was angry about and why he resorted to this “solution”, as he saw that, in his twisted mind.  I am very happy that law enforcement officers were available and took the appropriate action quickly.

Guns exist.  Good people and not-so-good people exist.  People of sound mind exist as well as those who might be troubled for one or another reason.  Guns in the wrong hands can lead to things like this.  Open carry of handguns is legal in Virginia; concealed carry of any firearm is illegal in Virginia.  A person openly carrying a long gun in a populated area of Virginia, essentially next door to the District of Columbia would evoke instant fear even though that technically would not violate Virginia law as I understand that law.

This brings us full circle to the current political climate in our country.  President Donald Trump was elected by a majority of the voters who cast their ballots.  Some are angry and some are disappointed by that vote.  Those who are angry are making their feelings known regularly but this seems to be the first time that has ended in violence.  This is not President Trump’s fault.  This is not the fault of any of us who voted for Mr. Trump.

This man had some sort of problem.  Ideally, we’ll likely learn more about his physical and mental state as the investigation goes forward.  There will likely be some resolution to why this occurred before the investigating has been finished.  There will also likely be renewed shouting from those who oppose any kind of legalized carry.

For all, though, might we give a bit of thought to what could’ve been the case had someone with a firearm concealed legally and carrying at the time of this tragedy been able to bring the shooter down by inflicting injury BEFORE the shooter did his killing?  This is not just the stuff of Western movies or comics.

Our world has changed and not always for the better.

Blood in the Water…

Elected officials whom we thought we knew pretty well seem to change when there is metaphorical ‘blood in the water’.  If you have even had your television on for an hour each day, you have likely seen the testiness and the nastiness that goes for proper political speech and good manners at this juncture.

People whom you thought you had a pretty decent understanding of, how they talk, how they work and so on, are off the reservation.  What would’ve been thought too nasty to mention a month ago is now the order of the day.  Politicos who were decent last week are smarmy, nasty creatures this week.

Some very likely point to President Trump and blame it all on him, but, even though that is the easy route, he is simply not the cause, maybe a participant but not the cause.  The hearings have created their own weather systems in the District.  Political friends seem on edge and do not act at all like they acted just a couple of weeks earlier.  Maybe they have cause for concern.

The blood in the water has scared the bejeebers out of some of the old dogs.  I expect better from Sen. McCain for one.  The behind-the-scenes maneuvering is sucking all the air from the room.  I suspect that everyone, with very few exceptions, sees this as a time when a misstep might cost them the office they hold today be they Republican or Democrat.

Some very old political bridges are being threatened today and, if those are burned, there will be a cost to be paid for a long, long time.  When I hear some of the comments attributed to this person or that person, I am reminded of a person who is fearful he or she is next on the chopping block.

I’d like to see President Trump act the parent at this point and simply make a brief speech for the nation BUT obviously keyed to the behavior we’re witnessing in our nation’s capitol.  Our elected officials are, too often, letting us down simply through their frightened hurry-scurrying.  They seem to see that someone or several someones might well lose their jobs, and they apparently see themselves as being in the crosshairs.  Maybe there is just cause for their concern but the foolishness going on today is far beneath the dignity we expect, rightfully, from our elected officials.

Go back to your state or district, take a deep breath, meet with your constituents and then come back to the District and start anew to be part of the well-oiled machine we expect to see in the District of Columbia.

There is frankly more than enough reason to be painting with such a broad brush.  People whom I have respected for some time are either no longer respected or very near that point.  I know I am but a lonely voice in the woods, but I cannot believe I am the only person who has seen this degradation in the quality of our governance.

Do You Feel Safer Today?

If you feel safer today, that may have been, at least partially, the result of Dennis Rodman going back to see his buddy in North Korea.  Yup.  Rodman is back with his apparent best friend, Kim Jong Un the somewhat rotund Supreme Leader of North Korea.  It would be difficult to dream up a more unlikely duo, but this is at least Rodman’s fourth trip to visit North Korea’s leader who loves basketball.

Can you even begin to imagine the conversations that must occur?  Rodman was quoted by CNN at the Beijing airport as saying he was “pretty sure” President Trump was happy and that “I’m over here trying to accomplish something we both need.”  Another East Asian ‘expert’, Daniel Pinkston at Troy University in South Korea, in what may prove the understatement of the year, said: “Dennis is not a diplomat or scholar of international affairs or security or diplomacy, so people should not have that expectation of him.”  “But he’s very kindhearted and generous and means well.  He only wants what is best.”

Either Kim Jong Un does really enjoy Rodman’s visits or he sees this as a way to tweak our collective noses or a combination of these things.  The article I read mentioned Rodman’s appearance on a couple of the television shows Trump has been associated with so there is a possibility, whether or not realistic, that Trump was aware of this visit.

When you step back and take another look at this seemingly unlikely pairing, maybe it becomes a bit more understandable.  These two people, who are certainly unique in their own ways, may well feed the needs of each other even if in a bizarre way.  And, under President Trump, there might be a bit of the sense that even if the President didn’t condone, he might also see some reason not to condemn.

Maybe Dennis Rodman can serve a very useful purpose, diplomatically, given our complete separation otherwise from the North Korean dictator.  Maybe this could be one of those Trumpian things that make him the person he is.  Maybe this is an example of how Donald Trump came to be so successful in the world he has previously occupied.

This is, after all, at least the fourth trip Rodman has made to visit his apparent friend.  And he may just have the ear of the dictator sufficiently to have a worthwhile conversation with him over the drinks they both appear to enjoy…if the gossip is of any value.

We do live in a seemingly strange world these days.  It is strange because we humans make it that way of course.  If it weren’t for us, the world would simply be the world.  When the human element is added to this equation, we have to expect that there will be aberrations.  When we couple Dennis Rodman and Kim Jong Un and some adult beverages, as they are both reported to sometimes enjoy to extremes, we may have little idea what to expect.  If there are a series of missile launches while Rodman is in North Korea, that might just be Kim Jong Un showing off for his friend…or maybe they were playing with the controls while inebriated.

That gives one a warm and fuzzy feeling, eh?

 

Puerto Rico: 51st State?

Puerto Rico is a commonwealth of the United States and has been since 1952 when that status was approved by the Puerto Rican citizens, President Harry S. Truman, the United States Congress and the Puerto Rican governor at that time.  Puerto Rican residents have been U.S. citizens since 1917 when the Jones Act was passed, although they do not receive all the benefits and protections of other U.S. citizens.  For example, they can vote in U.S. Federal Primary Elections but are not permitted to vote in the General Elections.

In case you wanted to know, the Republican voters went for Rubio over Trump by 75% to 14% and the Democratic voters favored Hillary Clinton to the tune of 61% of the votes cast.  Puerto Rico has a Governor, a legislature and one non-voting delegate in Washington, D.C.  Puerto Ricans pay federal income taxes on any earnings from work done in the U.S. but no federal taxes for work done in Puerto Rico.  They pay into Social Security and have access to Medicare and Medicaid, and do not receive the same level of federal funding as does a state.

Puerto Rico has a significant economic problem and that has seen nearly a half-million residents flee the island to take up life in the U.S. proper.  Unemployment is at about 11.5% and almost half the population is below the poverty level.  Puerto Rico recently defaulted on debt of about $73 billion.

A vote was taken in Puerto Rico this past Sunday when a non-binding referendum was passed by some 500,000 votes for statehood to 7,600 votes for “free association” and 6,700 votes to maintain the current territorial status.  Voter turnout, however, was just 23% of eligible voters so some are declaring this result to be invalid.

Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor is a notable immigrant from Puerto Rico having immigrated with her family to the Bronx in the 1940s.  Rita Moreno is a Puerto Rican native.

Puerto Rico’s Governor is pushing hard for statehood.  Would you be in favor of making Puerto Rico our 51st state even though that would require quite a bit of additional federal funding, or would you favor ignoring Puerto Rico’s problems?  How would you want your elected people to vote on that issue if it comes up?

Is it time for the United States to become a union of 51 states instead of 50?  What would be gained if that were to be put before Congress?  I suspect that political leanings of the Puerto Rican populace might well play a role in that vote.  If the Dems felt they could pick up seats in both the Senate and the House, they would likely be strong supporters of such a move.  Similarly, Republicans would love extra votes if they felt they’d gain by admitting Puerto Rico to statehood.

As with virtually everything involved in government, voter gains will be an important part of the equation.

The economic considerations would also play a role in this process.  We would be taking on some responsibility for debt loads that we currently do not have.  We have effectively been protecting Puerto Rico from foreign powers given their proximity to our mainland so that wouldn’t be much of a change.  Cruise lines already pay calls there when in that area.  There might be workers who would love the opportunity to work for U.S. companies whether there or on the mainland.

I suspect that we would look favorably on the making of Puerto Rico our 51st state but that process will provide an interesting look into national politics and possible reaction from other countries.

Time will tell.