How Can I Miss You If You Won't Leave?

I was approached by a Texas politician. Suffice to say he is Republican, and he confessed, without prompting from me, that the party in Texas has been taken over by the crazies and they have their work cut out for them to get it back. One direct quote, "Goldwater would be a RINO today."

How Can I Miss You If You Won't Leave?

I'll be completely honest with you guys. I had really hoped for a week off from Donald Trump. But our elephantine Ex-Potus simply makes it impossible.

"Did you hide the codes in Melania's closet?"

Now, it's not the chilling speech he made, or rather, riffed like Miles Davis on meth, to some group with the made up name of the America First Policy Institute, which sounds like a think tank run from a garage in Fresno. In that speech, he outlined, once you got past the self-aggrandizement that has reached Defcon 1, his myopic vision for a second term. David Frum, former Republican speech writer, put it this way in the Atlantic Magazine...

"Trump sketched out a vision that a new Republican Congress could enact sweeping new emergency powers for the next Republican president. The president would be empowered to disregard state jurisdiction over criminal law. The president would be allowed to push aside a “weak, foolish, and stupid governor,” and to fire “radical and racist prosecutors”—racist here meaning “anti-white.” The president could federalize state National Guards for law-enforcement duties, stop and frisk suspects for illegal weapons, and impose death sentences on drug dealers after expedited trials."

Even with a supine Supreme Court, there is still some semblance of a Constitution left to hurdle on his way to these goals. But given that the Conservative Political Action Conference, or CPAC, invited Hungarian authoritarian leader Victor Orban to speak of his desire for an ethnically pure Hungary, that indicates the party faithful will be no hurdle in that regard.

When you look at the maneuverings to gerrymander the living bejabbers out of some states and install dependable bootlickers in charge of elections, one is reminded of the so-called Business Plot wherein some high profile big business types who admired conservative authoritarians like Hitler and Mussolini in 1933, allegedly plotted to overthrow this radical Roosevelt guy in what was basically a coup. Its members included J.P. Morgan Jr., Irénée du Pont and the CEOs of General Motors, Birds Eye and General Foods, among others. Fun fact: General Foods was owned and operated by Marjorie Merriweather Post, who built Mar-a-Lago as her home in 1927. That's the irony alarm you hear.

They approached a two-time Medal of Honor recipient, Marine General Smedley Butler to head up the operation. He instead blew the whistle on the deal.

Sound familiar? Blackshirts/Proud Boys? But even so, everything was going swimmingly for our Mar-a-Lardo, when the FBI came a'knockin.'  As I write this, the search warrant and receipt have been released and among the potential charges is violating the Espionage Act. This revelation, by the way, illustrates the folly of booking yourself on Fox or any of a number of lesser, though crazier, alternatives, to denounce the FBI as the modern incarnation of the Gestapo before you have all the information. Oops.

Of course, blame placing was front and center anyway. Hillary Clinton and her emails were the first defense. Firstly, there were not 33,000 classified emails. As Politifact noted, “Of the tens of thousands of emails investigators reviewed, 113 contained classified information, and three of those had classification markers.” But she turned over tens of thousands of emails, including these, though she admitted that some she deemed personal were deleted. That point is justifiably vague and a bit suspicious, but the FBI found no indication of ill-intent. She also pointed out that Former Secretary of State Colin Powell had sent her an email when she took office outlining how to do it...

" What I did do was have a personal computer that was hooked up to a private phone line (sounds ancient.) So I could communicate with a wide range of friends directly without it going through the State Department servers. I even used it to do business with some foreign leaders and some of the senior folks in the Department on their personal email accounts. I did the same thing on the road in hotels."

Ultimately she paid a price for the "scandal" in the form of losing the presidency to a carnival barker who cheated with a porn star and bragged about grabbing women's nether regions. Before we are all too jaded, can we just remember and reflect on that for a moment? I know, Bill Clinton, JFK. There's always an answer and besides, "yeah but what about..." is the operative political philosophy in America today. But is there any real doubt that this guy wouldn't have stood a chance against any opponent who wasn't Hillary Clinton? The email flap was only one hill she faced. The other was the general animus from far too many people. But, the fact remains, she did have classified documents on a personal server, and that is illegal. Jail time? Debatable, but those who called for it are obligated to call for it now.

Then, as the Trump FBI warrant was about to be released, and he knew what it contained, he tried this one: Former President Obama, you know, the guy from Kenya (i.e. the black guy), took millions of documents when he left the White House. Turns out, funnily enough, he didn't. Unclassified documents from the Obama years, were transferred to Chicago for his Presidential Library, under control of the National Archives, and stored by them until the facility is ready for them. Damn! Thought that one would work!

Don't drag me into this. 

No, in this case, it's apparently highly classified documents about the US nuclear arsenal. What, precisely? Don't know yet, but three questions arise. Why take this stuff? Why didn't you return it when subpoenaed? And finally, what did you plan to do with them? Now, I know the Trump PR team is beavering away coming up with answers which they can then dutifully send to various GOP congressional types to regurgitate to the press. I know they want to make this sound like a no-knock raid by the Selma, Alabama PD, but it appears the feds felt the cause was urgent and cooperation was limited.

This is a church and I have a book here.

Now, when it comes to our military, the Mango Mussolini has always had a rocky relationship. I'm not just talking about the scurrilous McCain and Gold Star family comments, but the ones who worked for him. From Kelly to Mattis to McMaster to Milley, all eventually hit the end of their tethers. Naturally conservative military generals by nature, in the end that wasn't enough for them. After the Lafayette Park debacle where Eric’s Dad decided to clear a peaceful protest with tear gas so he could hoist a Bible in front of a church he never attended, General Mark Milley, decorated army veteran and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff wrote out a resignation letter. It is included in a book I highly recommend called "Trump and His Generals." Former Defense Secretary Robert Gates convinced him not to send it.

Trump called this guy a wimp. Seriously.
"I regret to inform you that I intend to resign as your Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Thank you for the honor of appointing me as senior ranking officer. The events of the last couple weeks have caused me to do deep soul-searching, and I can no longer faithfully support and execute your orders as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It is my belief that you were doing great and irreparable harm to my country. I believe that you have made a concerted effort over time to politicize the United States military. I thought that I could change that. I’ve come to the realization that I cannot, and I need to step aside and let someone else try to do that.
Second, you are using the military to create fear in the minds of the people—and we are trying to protect the American people. I cannot stand idly by and participate in that attack, verbally or otherwise, on the American people. The American people trust their military and they trust us to protect them against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and our military will do just that. We will not turn our back on the American people.
Third, I swore an oath to the Constitution of the United States and embodied within that Constitution is the idea that says that all men and women are created equal. All men and women are created equal, no matter who you are, whether you are white or Black, Asian, Indian, no matter the color of your skin, no matter if you’re gay, straight or something in between. It doesn’t matter if you’re Catholic, Protestant, Muslim, Jew, or choose not to believe. None of that matters. It doesn’t matter what country you came from, what your last name is—what matters is we’re Americans. We’re all Americans. That under these colors of red, white, and blue—the colors that my parents fought for in World War II—means something around the world. It’s obvious to me that you don’t think of those colors the same way I do. It’s obvious to me that you don’t hold those values dear and the cause that I serve. And lastly it is my deeply held belief that you’re ruining the international order, and causing significant damage to our country overseas, that was fought for so hard by the Greatest Generation that they instituted in 1945. Between 1914 and 1945, 150 million people were slaughtered in the conduct of war. They were slaughtered because of tyrannies and dictatorships. That generation, like every generation, has fought against that, has fought against fascism, has fought against Nazism, has fought against extremism. It’s now obvious to me that you don’t understand that world order. You don’t understand what the war was all about. In fact, you subscribe to many of the principles that we fought against. And I cannot be a party to that. It is with deep regret that I hereby submit my letter of resignation."

At the same time, Milley had finally come to a decision. He would not quit. “Fuck that shit,” he told his staff. “I’ll just fight him.” The challenge, as he saw it, was to stop Trump from doing any more damage, while also acting in a way that was consistent with his obligation to carry out the orders of his Commander-in-Chief. Yet the Constitution offered no practical guide for a general faced with a rogue President. Never before since the position had been created, in 1949—or at least since Richard Nixon’s final days, in 1974—had a chairman of the Joint Chiefs encountered such a situation. “If they want to court-martial me, or put me in prison, have at it,” Milley told his staff. “But I will fight from the inside.”

And to my never-ending astonishment, his invertebrate defenders will continue their amoebalike defenses of the indefensible. I confess my continual surprise that all is apparently forgivable, even to the point of potential treason. Remember when Trump convened a meeting with congressional leaders to tell them he was withdrawing all troops from Syria, leaving the way clear for Bashir Assad and his Russian allies?  Why, Nancy Pelosi asked, did he withdraw U.S. troops from Syria — a geopolitical calculation that allowed a toehold in northern Syria for Russian President Vladimir Putin?

Why, she asked with lawmakers and aides watching and a White House photographer snapping away, do “all roads lead to Putin”?

Really? Putin? 

Which begs the questions I wish my colleagues in the fifth estate would posit. When the feds issued a subpoena for the documents you took to Florida, why did you only give some back and especially, not the classified nuclear stuff? What did you intend to do with it? Why did you take it? Why not an "oh, shit! I didn't mean for that to be included! Here, I'll give it back?" Given his fealty to Putin which approximates a golf ball washer on the seventh tee at Bedminster, was there any nefarious purpose in mind here? What other explanation can be offered? Why the delay? Why not comply immediately? Why take it in the first place? All the evasions and excuses cannot address these fundamental questions. So, to my colleagues I plead, ask, for heaven's sake.

This is not one of those phony "he said/she said" situations wherein some bogus equivalency is offered in the search for even-handedness. There is no other side when it comes to taking national nuclear secrets to your home and refusing to give them back.  

As my wife and I celebrated our 40th anniversary with a mediocre, overpriced dinner this past week, I was approached by a Texas politician. I'm not going to name him, nor tell you where we were dining lest his political career be shortened. Suffice to say he is Republican, duh, and I interviewed him when he first ran. We chatted a bit and he confessed, without prompting from me, that the party in Texas has been taken over by the crazies and they have their work cut out for them to get it back. One direct quote, "Goldwater would be a RINO today."

And, it's hard to argue, as we have already seen one guy die trying to attack the FBI over the Trump search warrant. Seriously, shot it out with police, for crying out loud. And no matter how nefarious the implications of the scandal involving our own National Troll...

...they will always defend him. Why? I honestly spend zero time wondering about that as it is apparent. Spineless acolytes have mystified all of us ever since Jonestown, immune to facts or logic. Once committed, they are loathe to step back from the ledge as that might imply their loyalty was foolishly given.  So the only speed is full ahead come hell or high water. Calling them out doesn't absolve Democrats from any sins of their own, but one thing is clear. We need two sensible, responsible parties with the country's interest top of mind. Will we have them in 2022 or more importantly, 2024? I am not hopeful.

Roger Gray has toiled at the journalism trade since 1970 and his first radio news job at KTRH in Houston. Over those woefully misspent years, he has worked in radio, TV and written for magazines. He was twice elected President of the Texas Automobile Writers Association and was elected to the Texas Radio Hall of Fame. He covered the first Persian Gulf War, the fall of the Berlin Wall, the reunification of Germany, Oslo Accords in Israel and peace talks in Ireland. He interviewed writers, actors, politicians and every President from Ford to George W, and none of them remember him.
Now, he is part of the Texas Outlaw Writers, and if this doesn't pan out, the outlaw part will still work as he will indeed resort to robbing banks.