Archive for October, 2019

Who’s in charge

Author: admin

I’ve come to think our nation is running on auto-pilot; that there’s no responsible adult at the controls which makes us very, very vulnerable.

With last week’s childish display of Republican arrogance and ignorance by those gate-crashers in the U.S. House, I hope we’ve seen the last of such rule-breaking in an attack on proper protocols. But, I doubt it.

The evidence is beginning to mount that our misbegotten “president” is dangerously close to being out-of-control. Watching and listening to him is frightening, even to those of us lacking the medical credentials to make an official diagnosis. We’re seeing his lack of focus and mental disassociation with reality. Daily.

In what seemed a laughable quote, he noted the “success” of a new portion of his beloved wall being built between Mexico and Colorado. Laughable, yes, until you see it a couple of times and remember there are about 800 horizontal miles between those two points.

His foreknowledge of the schoolboy “attack” on that House hearing – and apparent approval – is yet another indicator this is someone who will stop at nothing to save himself from the certain impeachment that’s coming down the political track.

Time and again, he’s created international calamities and given way to aggressive dictators. Look at the military and humanitarian mess in Syria where the only “winners” are our sworn enemies. Last week, he said our troops are “coming home.” They’re not. They’re being moved to Northern Iran. Then he added, “We’re protecting the Syrian oil fields.” Say WHAT?

Sending American military to Saudi Arabia. For what? He’s treating our troops like mercenaries. If the Saudi’s need protection from God knows what, they can buy an army from someone who doesn’t want to build a hotel in Riyadh.

There are more examples of an addled mind. Many, many more. But, back to impeachment. The process will be introduced and voted on. He will be impeached. The Senate will hold a trial. What sort of trial and under what circumstances remain to be seen. Trump supporter Mitch says he “can’t see any reason why it would last more than six days.” Interesting number.

If there’s ever been a time in our nation’s history where it’s been impossible to look ahead six months or so with any certainty, we’re living it. What comes out of Congress will be a crap shoot. How many Republicans will finally read the “writing-on-the-wall” is an unknown.

But, one thing is absolutely certain. Democrats do have control of the House and of the proceedings. Nancy Pelosi is firmly in charge. And you can bet the farm, everything will be done “by the book.” Every “T” crossed. Every “I” dotted. Every one! There’ll be no rush to bring the bill of impeachment to the floor until everything is just right.
There’ll be no “do-overs” on this one. The stakes are too damned high.
Meantime, who’s in charge? Who’s running “the store?”

I don’t mean to sound like the 1960’s movie “Seven Days In May,” in which a small group of generals plot a coup against the president, but you have to wonder what’s going on with Pentagon brass as they watch this president fall apart. One thing successful military leaders never, ever forget is the troops. Generals not only rely on adherence to orders in the ranks but also to respect for the leaders issuing those orders.

What Trump has allowed to happen in Syria, Saudi Arabia and Yemen has to be weighing on the military. He’s shown his disrespect by using that military in egregious ways. Starting with that damned parade he ordered up to which the brass said “NO.” That refusal to “fall-in-line”wasn’t ignored by the troops. Trump’s lies about where the soldiers leaving Syria are going hasn’t been ignored, either. Nor have the orders to go to Saudi Arabia to “protect the oil fields.”

My years in the military were spent in communications. While seeing thousands of Americans wearing the same uniforms can lead onlookers to believe all are “of one mind,” I assure you, that’s not the case. There are many military news outlets civilians never see. There are stories aimed at a military audience that are, most often, well-written and incite full. The folks in uniform are not just one large crowd dressed alike. And you can bet they’re looking up the chain-of-command for clues to what’s ahead.

And in Congress. How many Republicans have one foot on the gangplank, ready to leave a sinking ship? How many are checking their “hole card” to determine how long to back a certain political loser? Who and what will make the difference when the winds change? And they will.

In the White House, who’s in charge? If it’s Mulvaney, then no one. Guliani? Hardly. Conway to be the next Chief-of-Staff? Ha!

The one – and only one – in charge is Trump. A man cornered and running out of time. A man who can see light at the end of the tunnel and it ain’t daylight. A man who’s never been forced to “stand pat” with a losing hand when the deal goes bad. This is one he can’t walk away from. And he knows it.

So, who’s in charge? All we can do is hang on. And, as Bette Davis said, “It’s going to be a bumpy ride.”

Family values criminals

Author: admin

Over the last couple of years, we’ve seen many Republican politicians arrested, charged, found guilty and hauled off to jail. So many, in fact, it makes one wonder why.

Oh, there’s an occasional Democrat here and there. But, the majority of the felonious miscreants come from the GOP. So, again, why?

Here in our Arizona desert desolation, we have a doozy. The guy’s name is Paul Petersen. He’s our Maricopa County Assessor – at least that’s his day job. Maricopa County is some 4-million souls. But, Petersen has not been around much lately. A check of the pass for his private spot in the Maricopa County parking lot shows its been used only 59 days this year.

Republican Peterson is now hidden in a federal slammer somewhere looking at 60 felony charges in three states – Arizona, Utah and Arkansas.

The litany of charges reads like this: smuggling 70 women from the Marshall Islands to the above states for private financial gain; aiding and abetting the same; wire fraud; committing federal visa fraud and money laundering. And, he charged each of the women $40,000 for his services!

As I said, county assessor seems to be only his day job.

By education, Peterson is an attorney. So, too, was his father, David. We’ll get to David shortly.

In sum, the 62 counts arise from Paul’s apparent scheme of finding pregnant women in the Marshalls, convincing them to come to the states ( charging $40,000 each), having babies and putting them up for adoption. Then, he charged the parents-to-be a separate fee which, according to indictments, brought his take to several million dollars.

He had a couple of women accomplices; one in the Marshalls to do the scouting and lining up the mothers-to-be and another, stateside, to make medical admissions in the three states and find applicants for the baby sales. We’re told the pregnant women were kept in private houses under very crowded and unsanitary conditions. Near as the feds can tell, this has been going on for about nine years!

Then, there’s David Peterson, the pater. David, another Republican, got himself into the Arizona State Senate, representing Mesa in the ‘90’s and rose to the rank of majority whip for a term or two. But, his day job was running a non-profit called Family Services Committee which sponsored – wait for it – adoptions. David even got several bills passed into law that speeded up the Arizona adoption process and got taxpayer dollars to recruit adoptive families.

Then, David was elected State Treasurer. He sent his son, Paul, to college to get his law degree and Paul decided his specialty would be – wait for it again – adoption law.

Father David was also running Arizona Communities of Character Council and Arizona Character Council Foundation where he managed to secure more taxpayer dollars, according to the state’s largest newspaper, The Arizona Republic.

David fielded calls and faxes from his State Treasurer’s office and clocked many hundreds of miles for what he called “community updates” representing his non-profits mixed with some legitimate state treasurer’s business. He kept his personal involvement in the “non-profit” business a closely guarded secret. The Republic described him as a “ pitchman who didn’t understand boundaries between state and personal business.”

After several years, David Petersen’s double life leaked out and he was forced to resign from public office.

Meantime, son Paul became a fixture in state GOP politics, holding several positions before running for – and winning – the Maricopa County Assessor’s office. And he, too, had this “little non-profit business” on the side. Also, “unknown to nearly everyone,” we’re told.

Martha McSally, one of our current U.S. Senators also had run-ins with legal authorities when, in the Arizona Legislature, she messed around with campaign funds for something other than campaigns. She lost her race for the Senate but our GOP Governor appointed her to fill in the remainder of the late John McCain’s term, regardless of the previous voter rejection.

Current U.S. GOP Congressman Duncan Hunter of California, was re-elected in 2018 despite several federal indictments for using campaign dollars for lavish living. Chris Collins, a House member from New York, also was re-elected in 2018 regardless of his guilty plea to insider stock trading. He resigned just before going to jail.

There are other Republicans who’ve been charged with felonies or have otherwise been forced from federal or state offices. As previously noted, there’s been a Democrat or two but the GOP is way ahead in miscreant body count.

It’s also worth noting the national GOPer’s in or headed to the hoosegow. Manafort and Ryan are only the best known of the convicted. There are others. Some have served their sentences. Others await the judge’s decision. Looks like Rudy G. may possibly be headed to involuntary confinement, too. Along with a couple of his co-workers in this country and abroad.

And, who can forget our President. The top Republican himself may be headed the same way. Hard to tell these days with so many details breaking so quickly. The next few weeks and months will largely determine his fate.

Meantime, the federal lockup where Paul Petersen is being kept is a law enforcement secret, I’m told David still resides in the Mesa area. Might be worth one of your famous phone calls, DT. Professional courtesy.

Keeping faith

Author: admin

With the possible exception of the Civil War, our nation now seems more divided, more acrimonious, more splintered and filled with outright hate than at anytime in our history.

The causes are many. Solutions seem few. Each day, it seems another dose of division is sewn into our nature and those divisions appear wider than ever. None of us can escape them. Nor should we if we’re ever to come out of this dark period intact.

But, one societal separation bothers me more than any other. And that’s the often stark divide between citizenry and law enforcement.

It’s not enough to say there’s fault on both sides. Which, of course, there is. Our suspicion of some of them and their suspicion, and on occasion, treatment of some of us seems to make the news daily.

What set this train of thought going for me was an incident that happened just down the road from our house the other day. Six local officers coordinated their morning break time to meet at a coffee shop for a latte or two. As they sat chatting, the manager came to the table and asked them to leave. Just go! Seems a customer had complained the presence of the officers was making him/her “uncomfortable.”

There’s so much wrong with this picture. Obviously the action of the manager was ridiculous. So, too, was the unreasonable request from the customer. The presence of half-a-dozen local officers was “disturbing?” Why? My first reaction to the story was what was in the customer’s mind – or background – that made him/her so “uncomfortable?” And the next thought: was the customer Black? A totally outrageous situation made worse because of the extreme ignorance of both the customer and the manager.

This dustup may be isolated. But, there’s more at play here than just a citizen complaint. While conduct between most law enforcement and most citizens on a daily basis is routine, we’ve seen many instances when it’s not. The oft-photographed murder of unarmed Black men and teens springs to mind. The difference in treatment by law enforcement on the basis of race has been well-documented. And, whenever it happens – wherever it happens – it’s wrong.

And so is this: the dangerous decisions by lawmen in many parts of the country that they’ll enforce certain laws and ignore others. Our western sheriffs are often the most strident. In Washington, Idaho, Utah and Oregon, many have not only said they won’t enforce gun laws but will actually arrest federal officers who may try to do so. Sworn to uphold all laws, some have decided to be selective. Which is illegal and sends terribly mixed messages to citizens. When is a law right and when is a right law deemed wrong? That’s what courts are for. Not cops.

The relationship of law enforcers and law abiders is one of the most important basics in a civilization. The balance is best when there’s trust demonstrated by all participants. But, when officers become selective – when they become threats to unarmed citizens through words or actions – the results can be deadly.

Similarly, citizens can also alter that delicate balance by acting inappropriately or making unreasonable demands. Our local “uncomfortable” latte drinker is one such.

In younger days, I spent a lot of nighttime hours doing “ride-alongs” with cops. I became very familiar with some of the dangers they face each shift and some of the unreported good things they do just because they’re the right kinds of people. I have a healthy respect for what they do, how they do it and why. Often dangerous work. More often, thankless work.

We need them. They need us. It’s just that simple. We may live in difficult times. We may be surrounded by politically turbulent times. We may be victims – or perpetrators – of the hateful divisions faced daily or deluged by lies and disappointments in our national politics.

But, we must strive for – earnestly work for – a continuing respect for laws and the people who enforce them. If we lose that trust – that faith – that respect one for another – not much else matters.

Rope’s end

Author: admin

How much political and moral abuse is one nation expected to take before something breaks? How much pressure of criminality and wholesale corruption must we endure before the necessary Constitutional action is undertaken to end it?

These questions have been running back and forth in my mind for some time. As the continuing litany of lies and damned lies flows from this Republican administration, I keep wondering where we’ll see the end. What that end will be.

As a lifelong student of politics, I’ve watched the oft-proven criminality of our president and his minions with disdain but with a sense of history and a belief that we will see a just end.

While hope lingers that such will be the eventuality, Trump’s out-of-control dictatorial conduct has forced me to tie a bigger knot at the of my rope of patience.

The last hope there was any tiny shred of humanity left in him died abruptly for me with the revelation he wanted to shoot legal immigrants trying to enter this country. Shoot to kill. Shoot to maim. Pierce their bodies with electrical spikes atop his fictitious wall. Dig water trenches along our entire southern border and fill them with snakes and alligators.

The sickness of Trump’s mind could legitimately be compared to some 12th century tyrants in Asia or Europe who put the heads of their slain enemies on spikes. About the only terrible torture he skipped is the boiling in oil!

Trump, Pompeo, Giuliani, Mnuchin, Miller, Pence, Kirchner, Graham, Myers, Ross and more have trampled truth, ignored both facts and constitutional oaths, conducted themselves with shame, outrageous conduct and lie after lie after lie after lie in their misbegotten roles in national governance.

Like the Wicked Witch in “The Wizard of Oz,” Trump has now sent his “flying monkeys” around the world seeking foreign help to support his “deep state” conspiracy dementia. What the Hell do the leaders of France, Germany, Australia, New Zealand and South Korea think about this country? How must they think of future international relationships or even trust us to uphold old ties when Trump is acting so criminally?

The whole Ukrainian deal, with its lies by Trump, Pence, Giuliani and Pompeo, has become a true representation of how far this demented person in the Oval Office will go to retain power. How far he’ll go to distort, undermine and attempt to savage his perceived “enemies” and possible political opponents.

To the disdain, anger, hatred and oral effluent flowing from Trump you can add the morally reprehensible inactivity of nearly every Republican in Congress. Especially the Senate. Consciously and conspicuously ignoring their oaths to “preserve, protect and defend the Constitution,” Republican Senators have cowered in fearful self-service. They’ve put their personal retention in office above those oaths and their pledges/promises to constituents. Their individual love of power has overcome duty.

But, I will give them and other so-called Trump Republicans this: they’ve been the prime source of changing our traditional political two-party system from Republican versus Democrat to truth versus lies. With the paid flatulence of rightwing media mouths to assist, people are more divided. Facts are becoming more irrelevant.

Yes, the House will impeach. Yes, the Senate will hold a trial. But, it’s length, the search for truth and honest decision-making are all up for question. All Senators will take an oath to “judge fairly and with open minds.” But, many, like Idaho’s Risch, have already publically disavowed published facts and renewed their loyalty to Trump. Just how much “open mindedness” will you find in him?

If all this sounds like a rant, it is. But, it’s also an acknowledgment of a fellow citizen who’s disappointed in the present and fearful for the future. Someday, by some means, Trump will have to leave the presidency. Whether he’ll walk out of the White House or be carried out is still a very real open question.

So, too, is the issue of what he’ll leave behind. One victim will be a badly wounded nation, suffering from all he has inflicted upon it. Another will be a two-party political system that likely will never be the same as it was just a few years ago. There will also be several million fellow Americans who’ll be angry, defiant and some who may resort to violence against others. In some quarters, there will be political chaos and feelings of disaffection.

What will our political system – our nation – look like five or ten years down the road? Will we have cobbled together a functioning government, able to respond to the needs of it’s citizens? Will we have replaced hate/anger with renewed optimism? Will acceptance of our differences and cooperation return within our national political structure? Or, will we have to create new ways of getting past all we are now enduring to have a better future?

All open questions that, before Trump, we didn’t have to answer. All before we had to realize we have a president who advocates killing and maiming people from other nations who’re simply seeking survival and a better life.