Saturday, October 21, 2017

John Kelly, you have disappointed the nation.

John Kelly, you were one of the last people in the White House that I respected. Now you're just like all the rest of them: a big fat liar.

That was the short version. Here's the medium-length version.

I listened to MSNBC's "All In" on the radio yesterday. Chris Hayes is the host.

Chris Hayes played John Kelly's entire talk to the press, where the White House chief of staff told, in detail, the story of Florida Congresswoman Frederica Wilson's speech at the 2015 dedication of a new FBI building in Miramar, Florida. He told a convincing story about how she had spent her time at the podium taking credit for the building, and how she had personally gotten a $20 million commitment from then-President Barack Obama to build the building. According to Kelly, her whole speech was about herself and how great she was, especially for bringing the pork home. In his words, "... we were stunned." The gall of the woman's ego and self-promotion was beyond — well, beyond almost anybody in modern history, except perhaps Donald Trump.

Well, the Florida Sun Sentinel had dug up a videotape of that dedication ceremony, and All In had obtained a copy of it. So Chris Hayes played Congresswoman Wilson's speech, in its entirety. She told a story about how, four weeks before the dedication, the FBI had approached her and asked to have the building named after two FBI agents who had been killed in the line of duty. That literally takes an act of Congress, and so Wilson talked about how she had contacted the leadership of both the House and the Senate, and gotten that act of Congress through in record time. There was nothing "stunning" about it. She spent the rest of her speech praising the FBI, law enforcement and first responders in general, everyone involved in raising the building, and her colleagues in Congress for helping to get the building named.

She didn't say anything that John Kelly had accused her of. She bragged a bit about rushing that bill through Congress, but it was a fun story, and she gave credit to all of the other players.

As for the $20 million from President Obama, Wilson pointed out to reporters this week that the $20 million was appropriated by an act of Congress in 2009, and she didn't get elected to Congress until 2011.

Everything John Kelly said about her was a lie. Everything.

The long version? If I'm able to find a transcript of Kelly's words and one of Wilson's speech, I'll add them to this post so that you can read them for yourself.

Friday, October 20, 2017

An inside joke for an audience of one

I talk to a lot of people on my morning commute. I talk to the DJs on the radio. I talk  to the texting app on my phone (guilty as charged, yer honor). I talk to my car. I talk to the traffic lights, especially the red ones. I talk — politely, of course — to the other drivers on the road. And I talk to myself.

I have fun conversations with myself. Sometimes I even make myself giggle.

For example, this morning I was coming up behind and to the left of a VW Beetle that was stuck behind a slowpoke in the right lane. I said, "Come on over, bud, there's room for you." Then I said to myself, "Actually, that's Bug, not bud."

It was an inside joke for an audience of one. The audience liked it. I thought that you might like it too.

A QUESTION FOR YOU: What do you talk about, when you're alone in the car?

Monday, October 9, 2017

Looking ahead to 2020

Every day with President Donald Trump is a new disaster. We try to distract ourselves with hurricanes, earthquakes, mass shootings, and a trust-fund baby juggling nuclear missiles, but Trump is like the guy at the party who manages to insert himself into every conversation in the room — and ruin it.

If the USA were a publicly traded company and he were the CEO, the shareholders would have kicked him out by now. Too bad it's not that easy to get rid of the Chief Executive of the United States.

It's clear now that electing him was a disaster. Don't worry, if Clinton had gotten elected, we would be saying the same things about her. The 2016 election was a lose-lose proposition.

What can we do to make sure the 2020 presidential campaign doesn't go the same way?

Well, this article on NBC News got me thinking about 2020. The second-to-last paragraph says:

Late last month, [retiring Tennessee Senator Bob] Corker announced that he would not see[k] re-election, fueling speculation that he might challenge the president in a GOP primary. 
Unencumbered by the need to watch his mouth and make sure he gets re-elected to the Senate, Corker has been speaking his mind. Speaking truth to power. Calling out, repeatedly, that the emperor has no clothes. Using his bully pulpit to stand up to Trump and Co.

I don't know, he's starting to sound downright presidential. He would be a better president than Trump.

DETOUR:

After Vice President Pence's little rehearsed stunt at the Colts-49ers game yesterday, I'm starting to believe Corker would be a better president than Pence, too.

If you want to read about Pence's stunt, Google "Pence walks out". Every link I found was biased one way or the other. Read multiple sources to get a balanced view. But it was rehearsed. It was a stunt — a rather expensive stunt.. And if his airfare and hotel were paid for by the U.S. taxpayers, then shame on him. I used to respect Mike Pence.

About Pence's stunt, the great Tom Peters tweeted:

Wonder if POTUS gave VPOTUS a "good puppy" dog buscuit after yesterday's scripted showboating episode?

BACK ON THE MAIN ROAD:

If Bob Corker is serious about running for president in 2020, then he needs to start now building a few things:
  • A team - an organization.
  • A "base". Trump and Clinton have made this a dirty word, but it's still necessary.
  • A platform - a statement of what he believes in, what he's running for.
  • Knowledge.
  • More name recognition.
  • Credibility.
  • Likeability.
  • Even more visibility.
  • Popularity. It shouldn't matter, but every election in the past 100 years (longer?) has proven that it matters bigly.
HERE'S ANOTHER IDEA:

This year, the Mormons have proven to be faster and more effective than the federal government when it comes to disaster relief. Witness the responses to hurricane Harvey in Texas, Irma in Florida, and Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico (and the U.S. Virgin Islands), and the earthquakes in Central America. LDS Welfare Services started shipping supplies, in their own trucks, even before the hurricanes hit. Local and global LDS leadership was on the ground even before the rain stopped falling. Thousands of LDS volunteers were organized and working hard, in force, before the feds ever showed up. Maybe it's time we put a Mormon in the White House?

I don't know if Mitt Romney wants to give it another try, but I think it's pretty clear that he would have been a much better president than the current occupant. If not Mitt Romney, then how about Jon Huntsman Jr., the statesman, businessman, and diplomat?

But don't vote for Huntsman — or against him — just because he's a Mormon. Vote for him because he's a good man.

ON THE OTHER HAND:

I wouldn't mind if the 2020 election turned into a race between two great women — for example, Condoleeza Rice and Madeline Albright. Come on, people, this is the 21st Century. There must be some viable options besides white, allegedly Christian, males.

And there are definitely viable options besides Democrats and Republicans. If enough people opened their eyes and had the courage to vote third party, we would break the duopoly these parties have on the presidency, a duopoly which has proven to be unconstructive, easily corruptible, self-serving, and unfortunately, self-perpetuating.

I don't care if the next ideal candidate is Democratic, Republican, or Pirate Party, as long as it's a person of maturity, integrity, wisdom and vision. All of the above. In no particular order.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Time to refocus

My very wise friend, Jenny Willhouse Peterson, wrote this:

Time to refocus.

Things that are of critical importance to the health and wellbeing of millions of Americans today: conditions in and aid to Puerto Rico, healthcare vote. And Russia. Keep that one pinned to the top too.

Things that are thrown out there like chum to keep you divided and distracted: NFL shenanigans. It wasn't this much of a row before someone twisted the message to work everyone into a lather.

You're smarter than this. Focus. Love. Support. Unify.

I hope Trump will be remembered for this

When the history of this decade is written, I hope people will remember that while Puerto Rico was struggling in the aftermath of a Category 4 hurricane, President Donald Trump spent four days obsessing over professional football players who wouldn't stand during the playing of the National Anthem. Not until nine days after the storm hit, did he start taking any action to help Puerto Rico, and even then he spent way too much time patting himself and his buddies on the back and not really doing anything.

I know he's planning to visit Puerto Rico more than two weeks after the storm hit the U.S. territory, but:

1. I think he's being forced into it. His advisers are making him do it.
2. He really doesn't care about Puerto Rico. It's not on his radar.
3. The whole time he's there, he will be thinking, "Why am I doing this? This is a waste of time. And this place is a dump. Let's get out of here."


What this country needs

What this country needs are more radical moderates. Alt-independents. Conservative liberals. Liberal conservatives. People who think with their whole brains, and love with their whole hearts.

And you can quote me on that.

Friday, September 15, 2017

Short Thoughts on a Woman as President of the U.S.

Following up on something I said in my previous article:

To put it more bluntly: American voters aren't against electing a woman president. But they are against electing Hillary Clinton.

Let me elaborate. As I said in the article, "come on, people, it's 2017." Except for a few on the radical right (the remaining 8% of Americans who still support Donald Trump?), we don't live in the Stone Age anymore, and the idea of a woman as president is not only okay, but it's plausible - maybe even inevitable.


I would consider voting for someone like Condoleeza Rice or Madeline Albright, but not Hillary Clinton. To the best of my knowledge, Rice and Albright are not as blatantly greedy or power-hungry as Clinton. They are not rude, whiny, condescending or snobby, while Clinton is all of those things. They do not have the serious credibility or trust problems that Clinton has. They're not as full of themselves as Clinton is of herself. And they enjoy more respect (and credibility!) in both domestic and international circles of power than Clinton does.

Now, to those of you who will accuse me of holding a woman to a different standard than I would hold a man: first, notice that in the previous paragraph, I compared women to women. Second, perform a quick test by replacing "Clinton" in the previous paragraph with "Trump". See? Not a different standard at all.