Soggy Sunday

We are getting much needed rain from a storm called Nestor. I don’t think Nestor ever made it to formal hurricane status, but it did spawn some tornadoes in the Florida panhandle.

Speaking of rain, the British parliament rained on Boris Johnson’s Brexit parade. What does the future hold? The one thing that must not happen is a no-deal Brexit. Brexit will be challeging enough, but a no-deal Brexit would be a Trump worthy disaster.

Speaking of Trump worthy disasters, there are three that are in the news, although he backtracked on one under Republican pressure. In the middle of being investigated for abuse of power, he abused his power saying the next G7 conference would be at a Trump resort. “Unforced error” is the kindest definition of this announcement, which was uttered by Neil Cavuto of Fox Business. Trump changed his mind, but of course blamed others for this unwise decision.

The abandonment of our Kurdish allies ranks up there as a betrayal of our trust. As conservative pundit David Brooks said on Friday, how does it make South Korea feel, being surrounded by China and North Korea, to have to rely on the US led by such an untrustworthy person? Noted columnist Christine Flowers announced this week she is leaving the Republican Party because of this move and the rationalization by Trump supporters. Let me keep it simple – Trump screwed people that fought on our behalf.

Finally, after the testimony under oath by Marie Yovanovitch, Fiona Hill and others, a picture has been painted by these reputable public servants that the US president has been running shadow diplomacy through his personal attorney Rudy Guliani. Setting aside these efforts are designed to dig up dirt on the president’s opponents, we have more than a few people representing our government in positions of import who have not been vetted by the Senate, including but not limited to. Guiliani, Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump. With Trump’s chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, confirming what these state people testified under oath, we are left with a simple fact. The US president broke the law and abused his power. Do not let his sycophants try to whitewash this – it is wrong.

Keeping with this “Soggy Sunday” theme as rain pelts the president’s actions, as Creedence Clearwater Revival sang, “who will stop the rain?”

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Our Republic is under attack by its president says a retired admiral

An increasing number of people with gravitas are going on record to heighten concerns over the abuse of powers and attempts to obstruct such from view by the US president. Thomas Friedman has penned an excellent editorial along these lines (below is a link to a blog which includes Friedman’s piece). He contrasts the political courage and heroic words under oath of Former Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch to the words at various rallies by the US president calling those who criticize him as enemies of the state.

Also, below is a link to a summary of an editorial by retired Admiral William McRaven, who led the raid on Osama Bin Laden among other career accomplishments. He has penned a piece that is simply called “Our republic is under attack from the president.” As he notes, this is not just McRaven’s opinion as an unnamed General took him aside and said the president is a threat and has to go. The summary starts out with the following statement:

“Former Adm. William McRaven (Ret.) argued in an op-ed Thursday that President Trump is ‘destroying’ the United States, warning that the future of the country is ‘in peril if Trump is not removed from office.'”

As more reasoned voices who mitigated Trump’s worst instincts and impulses have left the building, the nation should be concerned. We have an unshackled president who prides himself on not doing any homework. As conservative pundit David Brooks said yesterday – the score after the Kurds were abandoned is Erdogan 56, Trump 0. GOP Senate Leader Mitch McConnell said the following in a editorial in The Washington Post about the grave mistake to withdraw support from the Kurds:

“Withdrawing U.S. forces from Syria is a grave strategic mistake. It will leave the American people and homeland less safe, embolden our enemies, and weaken important alliances. Sadly, the recently announced pullout risks repeating the Obama administration’s reckless withdrawal from Iraq, which facilitated the rise of the Islamic State in the first place.”

I have long believed the US president is a clear and present danger to our democracy, to our planet and to the Republican party. The latter group is beginning to realize that fact. I hope it is not too late. They need to call upon a dose of that political courage of Ms. Yovanovitch and others who are telling the truth knowing a vindictive president will react.

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/ex-special-ops-commander-our-republic-is-under-attack-from-the-president/ar-AAIWxE8?ocid=spartandhp

The Words Of A Wise Man

Fish(y) on Friday

My elementary school would serve fish on Friday, even though we were not a Catholic school. Of course, elementary school cooking would not be confused with haute cuisine.

Adding the letter “y” to fish would lead us to what the US House committees are investigating. Although Republican legislators continue to rationalize the indefensible, the White House is building its own case against the president. It is so fishy, there may be grounds for impeachment by the House and conviction by the Senate.

In other words, if Trump sycophants have the nerve, the evidence for removal of the US president is becoming readily apparent bolstered by testimony and the White House’s own statements.

The latest came from Mick Mulvaney, the Chief of Staff, who announced yesterday there was a quid pro quo with respect to getting help with a debunked conspiracy theory. Then later he said it was the media’s fault for mishearing what he said. Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.

Another conservative lawyer group called “Checks and Balances” has joined “Republicans for the Rule of Law” to assert the legitimacy of the impeachment inquiry. We should heed the testimony of the courageous diplomats and staff who have testified under oath knowing the president is a vindictive person. People like Maria Yovanovitch and Fiona Hill are what heroes look like.

As an independent and former Republican, I support the impeachment inquiry. We must get to the bottom of this to confirm if the president abused his powers. There seems to have be an effort to hide this phone call and obstruct the story behind it. Why? Having read the Mueller report, this latest series of events give me concern. We all should be concerned.

The only woman in the room – a novel about the amazing true story of Hedy Lamarr

Hedwig Eva Marie Kiesler was born in Austria and would later become a famous and beautiful actress known as Hedy Lamarr. But, her story is far more compelling and complicated than that. Marie Benedict penned a novel based on Lamarr’s incredible true life story called “The only woman in the room.” Not only was she an iconic actress, she was a scientist and was in the room when her domineering husband, a munitions manufacturer in Austria, hosted Austrian, Nazi and Italian leaders.

I will stop short of giving the story away, but this fast-paced novel told in first person, provides a narrative of a woman frightened by her first husband and the plans she overheard. Staying only with the teaser written on the back cover, she would eventually flee to London where she met a movie mogul who was recruiting actors and actresses leaving Europe as Hitler expanded his evil reach.

Yet, she would lament what was transpiring in her homeland, as a Jew and as an transplanted Austrian. So, based on what she heard in these many meetings back in Austria, she would work with a talented avante garde pianist and composer to devise an electronic communication system for the war effort that laid a foundation that is used today. I will stop there at this strange point, so as not to say too much. I will leave you thinking the obvious – an actress and a pianist did this?

The book found its way to The New York Times best seller list. It is a quick and compelling read. I highly recommend this book as it is far more than an unknown history lesson.

Wednesday walkabout – October 16, 2019

I went for a hike a day early, so I will write with tired legs. I shouldn’t be too tired as I ran into an old friend hiking this weekend on a local trail. He said he was walking after minor surgery, so he could start training for a 50 mile race. Yikes! It put my three mile walk to shame.

I used to run road races, but would never be confused with a fast runner. Once, as I neared the finish line of an 8K race, a girl nudged her father at one of the turns and said “Dad, look at him!” Unfortunately, she was pointing at me. The longest road race I ever ran was a 15K. To my surprise, they put out a list of how we finished. I came in second….from last. I did notice one person who cheated cutting off part of the course, so I actually finished third from last.

I was one of the boys who grew up fast. I was 6’0″ tall in the 8th grade. But, my foot speed was slower than when I was a quick football player in the 6th grade. I did eventually get faster, but would not ever be considered fast.

To my chagrin, my high school basketball coach also coached the cross country team. So, we had to run cross country to train. The coach liked to make us run gassers at the end of a long run. Gassers are finishing off with two 880s, four 440s, and eight 220s. At night, I would sometimes wake up to leg cramps, which was not fun.

This will sound strange, but I would rather run an 880 over a 440 anyday. On the latter, you feel like it is a sprint, so you run out of gas at the end.

So, I think I will leave the running to my friend. Hiking is much more sustainable.

 

Is it Agnes or Maggies?

My wife says “Goodness gracious Maggies!” I was brought up hearing “Goodness gracious Agnes!” She was raised in South Carolina while I grew up in Florida. We don’t know where Agnes and Maggie were raised.

Geography seems to play a role in variations in similar sayings. In the South, I often heard “Bless his (or her) heart” to reference someone prone to inanity. Our friends from Pennsylvania say “God love him (or her)” meaning the same thing.

The more religiously influenced have a variety of sayings. I think the Catholic influence might lead a surprised person to say “Holy Mary mother of God!” which is quite the mouhful. Often, it is shortened to “Holy Mary!” leaving the longer version for more awe-inspiring events.

“Jesus Christ! or the shortened “Jesus!” is uttered when a religious mother is out of earshot. Otherwise, the child might get a look or rebuke. Often, it is shortened to “Jeez,” “Jeepers,” or “Gee whiz,” depending on the generation or religious zeal of the mother.

We can thank Walt Disney for popularizing another replacement with his character “Jiminy Cricket.” Making his name plural makes another saying of surprise. A variation is “Jiminy Christmas” for more exasperating events.

“Dammit,” has long been a shortened version of GD which would have gotten a strong rebuke in my house. The rebuke for Dammit wpuld be less severe. Either phrase reveals disappointment in some failure. I am reminded of Strother Martin’s character in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” The tobacco chewing character would say “Dammit” when his tobacco spittle got on his chin, yelling “bingo” when it did not.

It saddens me to think of the humor of Bill Cosby given his off-stage criminal acts of sexual assault. But, one of his funnier routines was of his father trying to edit his language around his kids. When mad, Cosby said his father could not complete a sentence due to self-censure.

I have shared before the saying of my wonderful ciolleague whose father was a minister. When very frustrated, she would say, “Bad word, bad word.!” Her saying would lighten the moment if others heard her saying it given her temperament.

What are some of your family, friends and region’s sayings? Are they unique to your area or more widespread?

Another conservative lawyer group says ‘impeachment is legitimate’

A group of sixteen prominent conservative and libertarian lawyers who formed a group called “Check and Balances” are adding their voice for the rule of law.  In an article by William Cumming in USA Today called “Conservative lawyers: Impeachment is ‘legitimate,’ a group led by George Conway, released a statement which included the following:

“‘We believe the acts revealed publicly over the past several weeks are fundamentally incompatible with the president’s oath of office, his duties as commander in chief, and his constitutional obligation to take care that the laws be faithfully executed.’ They added Trump’s acts formed ‘a legitimate basis for an expeditious impeachment investigation.'”

This announcement is on top of the one reported in the Huffington Post by “Republicans for the Rule of Law.” Per the Huffington Post, “‘Republicans in Congress must condemn this behavior without reservation,’ Chris Truax, a legal adviser for Republicans for the Rule of Law, said in a statement to HuffPost. He continued:
‘It is no longer about whether Republicans believe President Trump or whether they support his policies. It’s about whether they support his admitted abuse of power and his efforts to secure a foreign government’s help in an American election.’”

It is not just Democrats and an increasing number of Independents. A recent survey by The Washington Post and ABC News noted 28% of Republicans support the impeachment proceedings with 18% of Republicans supporting removal of Donald Trump as president.

As other ambassadors testify building on the courage of ousted Ukraine Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch’s testimony under oath, Republican legislators will have a tough decision. It should not be understated that Yovanovitch testified under oath knowing the president is a vindictive person. So, when Trump and his toadies continue to discredit this well-thought-of diplomat who served six presidents, remember it is a crime to lie under oath to Congress.

If that were not enough, two arrests of Rudy Guiliani’s associates were made last week. In addition to campaign finance violations, they also tried to help build a false narrative to oust Yovanovitch. Interesting.