Three simple questions

With the building impeachment story of abuse of power based on the testimony of honorable and decent public servants, there are three questions to ask Republican lawmakers.

– why is the president operating shadow diplomacy led by an unvetted (by the Senate) person?

– is the person in the White House someone you want to spend your dear reputation on?

– what will you have to defend or rationalizs next week, next month and next year and do you even know whether he has already committed the act needing your defense?

Respected commenters Mark Shields and David Brooks noted in their weekly recap on PBS Newshour last night, the corruption we should be worried about is not in Ukraine – it is in the White House. Using Mike Pompeo as an example of spending a dear reputation, they vilifed Pompeo for his disgracing his Marine training of letting the troops eat first, by not defending his people.

I agree. A real leader defends his or her people, not throw them under the bus. Sadly, Pompeo is following his boss’ example. Trump will throw anyone under the bus for any reason, perceived or real.

Sober and bigger questions for White House actions

To me, judging sober testimony from an entertainment vantage point shows poorly. I found Messers. Kent and Taylor credible, honorable, duty-bound and courageous. The context they offered was helpful. I am proud we have public servants like these gentlemen. I also think when Taylor answered a question saying what the president did was “wrong,” that actually resonated with a few Republicans. We should not forget these people have testified under oath, one that it appears they take seriously.

Yet, a point made near the end should be highlighted. The aid was not released until after the whistleblower issue was made public and there waa bipartisan frustration with the president. Mr. Nunes and friends need to be reminded of this point and Taylor’s point that what the president did was wrong.

A huge question should be asked and asked again. Why is president Trump asking Rudy Guiliani to run a shadow diplomacy? Even if Guiliani was Gandhi, he has not been vetted by the Senate. There is an even bigger issue of which this is a part. Other countries do not know who speaks for America. Those are not my words. These words come from other countries’ diplomats. This creates chaos and mistrust.

It matters not the party of the president. What he is doing is “wrong.” He needs to be held accountable even if it does not lead to his removal from office. It is that important.

Wednesday walkabout on a cold November day

Stay warm everyone in the northern hemisphere! A cold spell has blown in from Siberia here on the North American continent. Brr.

So, bundle up for today’s walkabout with a few topics wandering around in mind.

A 17 year-old vaper had a double lung transplant. Read that statement again. Ironically, I watched a tongue-in-cheek movie about a smoking lobbyist called “Thank you for smoking.” The punchline is if you don’t like the debate, change the argument. Eventually the argument was lost when a whistleblower noted the tobacco industry knew nicotine was addictive dating back to 1964. Now, we are at a deja vu moment with vaping.

Today the House impeachment hearings begin with several credible witnesses who have already raised concerns under oath. I want people to remember the “under oath” part as the accused tweets away. The president testified under oath once when deposed and the attorney got him to admit to over 30 lies. There is a reason White House attorneys did not want Robert Mueller to depose Trump.

The timing of the impeachment hearing is unfortunate as it takes the spotlight away from the Roger Stone trial. Stone is a self-proclaimed dirty-trickster, which speaks volumes in and of itself.

The hearings also overshadow the news out of New York where Donald J. Trump admitted to using his charity as his personal piggy bank. He agreed to repay the charity $2 million and his kids on the Board have to go to Board training. It should be noted Trump’s CFO was on the Board and did not know it. This is a microcosm of how the boss operates.

Finally, I predict three things. The House will impeach the president, but not enough GOP senators will convict him. Rudy Guiliani and Mick Mulvaney will serve as scapegoats for the Teflon Don. Each tribe will claim victory, but American democracy will lose as our guardrails of governance with this ungovernable incumbent will collapse.

I guess I am just dumb as well

Per The National Review, “Senator John Kennedy (R., La.) slammed House Majority Leader Nancy Pelosi at a rally for Republican gubernatorial candidate Eddie Rispone in Louisiana on Wednesday. ‘In three short years, President Trump has doubled the growth in the greatest economy in all of human history. And do you know what our Democratic friends have done for him?’ Kennedy asked an arena full of supporters in the city of Monroe, Louisiana. ‘Speaker Nancy Pelosi is trying to impeach him.’ ‘I don’t mean any disrespect, but it must suck to be that dumb,’ Kennedy said.”

For now, let me mention and set aside the incorrect statement made by the Senator about doubling the growth of the greatest economy (which softened to 1.9% annualized growth last quarter) in all of human history and I won’t even address that we are over ten plus years of consecutive month economic growth when the president has only been president for just shy of three years or that China and India have higher growth rates. Let me focus on the last statement.

Name calling serves no purpose and shows the author has a poor argument. From where I sit, let me mention a few things I posted on the Senator’s website:

– the US president has been credibly accused of abuse of power, obstruction of justice, extortion of a country for personal gain, and violation of campaign finance laws
– these allegations come under oath by many well-respected diplomats and staff who have served multiple presidents of both parties
– these testimonies have come at great personal risk by these public servants given the vindictive president and his syvophants
– this is on top of the Mueller Report which did many things, but did not exonerate the president of obstruction of justice and confirmed he is untruthful.

I guess under the Senator’s scorecard, that means I am dumb as well. Call me stupid, but I think we owe these public servants the same duty that they adhere to. Call me dumb, but I think Senator Kennedy’s colleague Lindsey Graham is also forsaking his duty by saying he won’t read the transcripts.

Well, I guess this independent and former Republican voter is just plain stupid. For some reason, I thought Senators swore an oath like these public servants did to serve the US constitution.

Love or hate Nancy Pelosi, she is at least doing her job. Senator, why don’t you do yours. Stop worrying about keeping your job and do your job.

Greta Thunberg joins a ninth grader in Charlotte for climate change strike

Her words were clear. We must “unite behind the science.” Sixteen year-old climate change activist Greta Thunberg joined ninth-grader Mary Ellis Stevens in Charlotte along with 1,200 other people for a climate change strike. I was one of the 1,200. Several young people spoke, with only a few adult voices making it to the dais. The crowd was multi-generational, multi-ethnic and multi-racial. It was wonderful to witness.

Below is a brief article from The Charlotte Observer on the strike. I was struck by several things she and others said.

– Thunberg made a point of referencing many of the indigenous tribes from our area. To me, this is representative of the saying “we are not inheriting our land from our forebears, we are borrowing it from our children.”
– a young UNCC student activist who is African-American noted that people of color are more impacted by climate change than other groups, yet they get under-represented at these events. The reason is the events are held during the working day, and not everyone has the luxury of getting away from work or school.
– Thunberg handled a heckler with the aplomb of a seasoned politician. After listening for a few seconds, she said why don’t you come back stage afterwards and we can talk about your comments?

I was incredibly proud of the young folks in attendance. I think Thunberg is a hero for her courage and candor. My favorite sign was from a young adult woman standing near me that said “You cannot renew lost time.” I told her that her sign was excellent. In my view, we have lost eleven years due to the Bush/ Cheney White House and the Trump White House. Good things have happened in spite of their lack of leadership on this topic, but these efforts could have been leveraged even more by concerted federal action.

https://www.charlotteobserver.com/news/local/article237108539.html

Climate change shout out

Earlier this week, the US president began the official process to abandon the rest of the world by leaving the Paris Climate Change Accord. As a response, I posted the following on the websites of many Democrat presidential candidates. Please feel free to modify and use accordingly.

“Please shout from the roof tops that if you win the presidency you will have the US rejoin the Paris Climate Change Accord the day of your inauguration. Leaving this agreement is poor stewardship of our planet and detrimental to our global leadership.

In less than three short years, we have recurringly ceded our global leadership role forsaking our allies and trading partners. We have also become less trustworthy because our president cannot be trusted. Rejoining Paris would be a huge step back to being a good neighbor.”

A white nationalist changes his stripes

Derek Black was raised and groomed to be a white nationalist. His father had a provocative radio show and he has been pictured with David Duke. Why is he in the news? Because he renounced his white nationalist upbringing and has embarked down a better path.

The attached link will take you to an interview that appeared on PBS Newshour earlier this week. Rather than say too much, I encourage you to read the transcript or watch the interview. In short, he said the belief that whites are under fire is strong, especially with the changing demographics. But, he said it is “not real.” It is a mantra sold on fear.

When he got to college, he was ostracized by people he respected, once they learned he was a white nationalist. They told him his stance was hurtful to them. It bothered him more than he thought it would. He was also invited to attend a weekly Jewish meal of fellowship. It was light on questions and heavy on welcoming. It changed him.

Please spend a few minutes to watch or read the attached piece.

https://www.pbs.org/newshour/show/derek-black-grew-up-as-a-white-nationalist-heres-how-he-changed-his-mind