Sunday, December 1, 2019

Gleam in Rick Perry's eyes: King Trump

           Soon-to-be-outta-here Energy Secretary Rick Perry has certainly changed his take.

            A couple of years ago he labeled Donald Trump a "cancer on conservatism" and called on fellow conservatives to "excise" it. Now that cancer is divine.

            All praise. He says he's told Trump: "Absorb that you are here at this chosen time because God ordained it."

            Perry talks in terms of royalty, comparing Trump to ancient kings – "Old Testament kings," no less.

            Perry is free to be frothy. However, Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson's job is to stay sober. Trump's efforts to dodge all accountability, the federal judge wrote: "Presidents are not kings."

            But you see, today's Republican Party frantically begs to differ. Trump is king. Like Johnny Carson -- king of late night. Like Tarzan -- king of jungle.  Like Pablo Escobar -- king of cocaine.

            Today's Republican Party has chosen the Pablo Escobar model. There can be no other explanation. Trump simply is above the law.

            Once upon a time, by remarkable numbers Republicans, rejected this.

            Republicans in Congress came to acknowledge that Richard Nixon abused his power and committed removable offenses. It was they who convinced him to step aside.

            Today's Republicans are of another mind. No amount of evidence will sway them. Their man is immune from inquiry, immune from sanction, immune from the law.

            The "partisan witch hunt" they decry started with a dogged, snail's-pace investigation by a stodgy Republican careerist, Robert Mueller, whose report identified 10 indictable offenses – and that was just about obstruction of justice, not colluding with Russians and Wikileaks, which the Trump campaign clearly did.

            Now the focus is a political shakedown of Ukraine, extorting a political favor with our tax dollars. We don't need Bob Mueller to tell us this is indictable -- that is, any of us who can read a telephone transcript.

            Witness after witness in the House hearings has affirmed he or she heard what our eyes told us.

            None of that matters to those who see things the Rick Perry way, the Lindsey Graham way.

            Graham said if he believed an actual quid pro quo was demanded of the Ukraine with those tax dollars, he might support impeachment. That he is leading point for the Trump defense in the Senate can only means Graham was wearing sound-limiting headphones when European Union Ambassador Gordon Sondland said for all of the rest of us to hear, "Was there a quid pro quo? The answer is yes."

            Ask Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and know that nothing Escobar – er, Trump – has done with Ukraine would merit his conviction in the Senate, no matter how much evidence mounts against Pablo -- er, our king.

            As for Republicans in the House, they know as well as the rest of us that Trump abused his power in extorting Ukraine. They are simply gutless.

            On this inquiry, says Rep. Dan Kildee, D-Mich., "Many of my Republican colleagues have tremendous courage in the elevator on the way to the second floor where the House is and somehow leave that courage behind when they walk onto the floor of the House."

            The most amazing claim is that Trump is not getting a fair hearing.  He and his team have every opportunity to set the record straight, even produce witnesses, but are seeking to run out the clock by refusing to participate and diverting attention to Hunter Biden.

            This is where Judge Jackson inserted herself to rule that Trump's people cannot ignore subpoenas in a constitutionally authorized procedure: impeachment.

            So, whom or what will win the day? King Trump or the Constitution?

            God ordained Trump to be our burden? OK, then God also ordained Nancy Pelosi to impeach him.

            Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: jyoungcolumn@gmail.com.

 

Thursday, November 28, 2019

Got to get me one of those sweet-potato detectors

            I'll take my shoes off to that.

            Whatever the Transportation Security Administration wishes to do. Done.

            Strip search. Check. Mouth scraping. Check. Hair sample. While it lasts.

            I'll surrender all fluids. Body scan? I'll stretch out on the conveyor and slide along with the tennis rackets.

            Some say today's airport procedures are excessive and invasive. Not me.

            Some say it's silly to shed footwear 18 years after one person tried to blow up a plane with explosives in his shoes.

            I say, "Where do I shed? What else do I remove?"

            Continually, we hear about dangerous things that would get onto a plane were it not for TSA's diligence.

            Like Kevin Bacon's sweet potato.

            It didn't pass security. Agents at the Los Angeles airport caught it before it became airborne.

            And a nation breathed a triumphant sigh.

            Bacon told Jimmy Fallon on "The Tonight Show" the sweet potato was in his bag for eating at his next stop.

            Bacon is not to be trusted. What was his true intent? Sweet potatoes are not for eating.

            I have done extensive research into this -- this eating thing.

            I ate sweet potatoes once. Once.

            That tongue sounded the lights, the alarm -- half a century ago -- a sinewy orange mass having infiltrated my once-inviolable defenses.

            I had fended off turnips, and all sorts of greens. I had turned away cauliflower and varied cruciferous agents.

            But I was duped that Thanksgiving -- by the goodwill at the table, the smiles, the joyous sharing, the construction-paper pilgrim hats.

            On that day of communal celebration, my sense of homeland security had left me vulnerable.

            Never more would it happen. Not when a co-worker attempted to make me think that a sweet potato pie he'd delivered to me was pumpkin. Not with any number sweet-potato entreaties portrayed as tasty and nutritious.

            Never more. I would commit myself to speaking truth across the land, especially with all the duping done on Thanksgiving.

            The years have gone by, and I have not ceased the lonely crusade I started in print sometime back when the '80s were new.

            My children have heard me preach the message. My wife has been devoted to my dining dictum. For years my home was secure from this terror.

            Then a few years ago a young lady who had earned a son's invite to Thanksgiving dinner showed up with – I struggle to wrap my mind around it:

            Sweet potatoes.

            Suddenly, right there at my dinner table, a full-blown revolt took place. "Um. Good. Pass that over, please." "Delicious."

            Orange with fury, I couldn't say a thing. My wife shot steely glances to preempt any insult to our guest. Under duress, I feigned placidity.

            Back to Kevin Bacon and his sweet potato. TSA's gallant act of stopping it before it went up in the air harks back to one of the (decades of) commentaries in which I explained that sweet potatoes may have good uses, just not to eat.

            George Washington Carver, I wrote, showed that without serving the role of food, sweet potatoes could serve mankind -- toward the manufacture of ink, or plastic, or makeup. All hail him.

            I wrote also that sweet potatoes could serve as effective weapons when dropped from above or flung at an enemy.

            So, then, what exactly was Kevin Bacon planning to do up there at 35,000 feet?

            All I can say is if airport security wants me to empty my luggage and take off my size 12s, indeed remove all of my garments, to prove I am not bearing tubers that could harm so many, I will.

            As for those TSA sweet-potato detectors, I'll check online to see if one can be purchased for home security.

            Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: jyoungcolumn@gmail.com.

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Truth is not in this man's repertoire

            The front-page teaser read:

            "Did Trump lie to Robert Mueller?"

            The mind reacted:

            What? Does Mueller have a television? Internet access?

            Does Mueller have ears? Can he compute linguistic signals?

            If any of the above, Trump lied to him just as he has lied to you.

            Mueller is a citizen of the United States – the employer of the at-will employee in the White House. If you are a citizen as well, whether sensory-deprived, illiterate, brain-damaged or cut off from all reality by design, you have been lied to by Trump. Daily.

            To know this, all one has to do is listen.

            The legal question "Did Trump lie?" in this case is whether he did so in written responses to Mueller about impeachable acts regarding Russia's attack on our elections.

            Of course he did.

            How do we know those actions are impeachable and his defense is built on lies?

            Simply because Trump has refused to participate in any evidence-gathering by which truthful words would clear him. Instead, he has sought to obstruct at every turn. If he were clean, in the vernacular of villains, he would come clean.

            Democrats are seeking the grand jury transcripts about what Trump told Mueller about his dealings with long-time partner-in-slime Roger Stone.

            Trump says he had no contact with Stone when the latter was in communication with Wikileaks regarding stolen emails from the Democratic National Committee.

            Ah, but Trump's Svengali of intrigue, Steve Bannon, has testified that Stone apprised the campaign of "potential releases of damaging material" courtesy of Wikileaks.

            If you believe Trump knew nothing about this, you believe Kool-Aid is milked from unicorns.

            The same pastel of fantasy accompanies Trump's claim that he knew nothing about a certain pre-election meeting in Trump Tower involving his son, son-in-law, campaign manager and a Russian delegation.

            We are to believe, according to unicorn talk, that while this meeting was going on, candidate Trump hung out a few floors above it all, fashioning skyscrapers with paper clips.

            Not a chance. With Trump's relationship with the truth, know he was there from "Welcome" to "Dasvidaniya."

            On to the most recent torrent of lies, portrayed in the large black letters in grade-school script that supposedly tell us what Trump wanted from Ukraine in exchange for military funds appropriated from Congress.

            Congressman Adam Schiff said it: This wasn't, as Vice President Pence said, about investigating corruption in Ukraine: "That is not anti-corruption. That is corruption."

            We are left with a coterie of large-eyed, short-legged political chameleons hustling back and forth with color-changing arguments to make us all not believe our own eyes and ears.

            Watergate reporting legend Carl Bernstein, who knows a thing or two about lies in high places, calls Trump "untruthful in ways and to an extent that had never been dreamed."

            Bernstein didn't intend those words to reflect solely on the liar-in-chief.

            Said Bernstein, "There is very little interest in the truth by the president's Republican defenders," a matter, he said, that will haunt the party "for many, many years."

            It's soggily ripe to hear the Republicans say that Trump is getting a raw deal – "not a fair hearing," "kangaroo-court," etc. – when Trump has blocked from testifying many who might illuminate us if any of them could speak truth.

            He also could step to the microphone (and take an oath) any moment he desires.

            The problem, of course, is that he simply cannot do that – truth, that is. He is congenitally without moral footing.

            Speaking of footing: Those feet got him out of the draft. They're not getting him out of an impeachment trial.

            Longtime newspaperman John Young lives in Colorado. Email: jyoungcolumn@gmail.com.