I can’t Not Like Senator John McCain

I am a dyed-in-the-wool Democrat and I try but I can’t not like Senator John McCain.  I once told my wife that I thought that he would make a good president; I can’t recall if she said anything but she looked at me as if she thought I was crazy.  I didn’t say much to her along those lines about Senator McCain after that.  Most of the thoughts that I have had about him and his politics since then I have kept to myself.  But no matter how hard that I try to not like him I can’t do it.

Senator McCain might be disappointed if he read this article (fat chance) and found out that I still have a lot of respect for him.  I read in some article recently where he had gripped about Democrats trying to recruit him because of how he is standing up to Mr. Trump.  The article said that as he gripped he said “[Democrats’] agenda is certainly not my agenda!”  It probably would not mean much to him or affect him one way or another if he knew that I still believe that he could be a good president (don’t tell my wife that I said that).  There is no doubt that he would be a far better president than Mr. Trump is.  That might be a low bar upon which anyone should base praise but right now, Mr. Trump is president.

In light of the way that I have strongly rebuked Republicans for their political cowardice in many other articles that I have written because they refuse to stand up to Mr. Trump, one might ask why I feel differently about Senator McCain.  After all, Senator McCain has certainly exhibited political cowardice at times and he has also waffled back and forth on a number of issues.  I will tell you why I view him differently from the way that I view a lot of his Republican colleagues.  Yes, Senator McCain is a politician and he like all politicians weigh the political implications of their potential decisions and then act based on their conclusions.  But Senator McCain has a patriotic line in the sand that he has drawn and when it comes to choosing among political ambition, party and country, he inevitably puts country first.  In these times, it is apparent that many politicians do not do this.

I disagree with a lot of the policies that Senator McCain espouses and, to some degree, the way that he envisions moving America forward.  But I have no doubt that he is a patriot and is sincere in his visions as to how to move our country forward and preserve our democracy; even though I, and likely most other Democrats, disagree with him.  I also believe that he would work hard to be the president to all of the people and listen to and be fair to all Americans.

Finally, I suggest that the rest of the Republicans should look to Senator McCain as a strong example of how they should conduct themselves in these perilous times when America truly needs them.  So rather than abandon him and leave him alone out on a limb, they should find the courage to line up behind him.

Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s and Living Between The Line

Mitch McConnell And The Republicans’ Donald Trump Mentality

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Republican colleagues are in a laid-back Donald Trump state of mind.  Majority Leader McConnell proved that when he whipped out a senate rule that hasn’t been used for 40 years or more to silence Senator Elizabeth Warren.  At the same time, he reinforced and flaunted the ‘boys club’ atmosphere that the senate has long been labeled with when he allowed a number of male senators to do the same thing that Senator Warren was banned from speaking for without challenging them.  It was kind of like they said – ‘okay, just because we have decided to allow gentle ladies, that’s what the boys club calls them at times, into the club does not mean that they are not required to know their place:  The senator from Massachusetts will take her seat.’

Whoa!  What just happened?!  Majority Leader McConnell and his colleagues are like – oh, don’t worry about it; we’re in a Donald Trump state of mind.  What are you getting all bent out of shape about it for?  You can’t do anything about it anyway.  And that is how the senate is operating now, at least in all matters Trump, under Senator Mitch McConnell’s leadership.  Senator McConnell is a savvy politician and tactician who knows what he is doing so he likely weighed in advance the odds associated with the potential positive vs. negative impact of what he did to Senator Warren would have.  Apparently, he determined that publicly putting the kibosh on her senate floor speech was worth the risk: he is playing the long game.

I can just imagine that it was after seeing the Senate Majority Leader put, in the words of former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn, ‘a woman’ (emphasis on woman) in her place that, after having been out of the glare of the bright lights of the press for some time because he was trounced by Mr. Trump in the primaries, Ted Cruz’s mental wheels began to turn and he began thinking (like a scorned fifth grader who had recently been expelled from the clique and had a desperate desire to be reinstated) – yeah, and the Democrats are the party of the Ku Klux Klan!  He took those thoughts to the press and the bright lights were back on…at least for a brief moment.

The fact of the matter is that Republicans, led by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, are ignoring the grave danger that Mr. Trump poses to America and the world for as long as they possibly can as long as he is advancing the Republican agenda.  They are content to ignore the implications of Mr. Trump and his administration’s highly questionable relationship with Russia and Russia’s president Vladimir Putin.  They are content to ignore the fact that America’s enemies are probing her for weaknesses and that Mr. Trump and his administration seem to be unorganized and confused as to how to respond.

This might not be a problem for 74-year-old Senate Majority Leader McConnell because he was recently reelected to another 6-year term in office and will be almost 80 years old when and if he decides to run again.  But it is a problem for many American people who are concerned about Mr. Trump’s antics and the fact that he does not seem to have any real plan in place as to how he intends to bring Americans together and move America forward.  And It is a real problem for many Americans who are concerned as to whether or not he has been compromised by Russian president Vladimir Putin.  And whether they themselves realize it or not, it is a problem for Republicans who are not in the comfort zone that Senate Majority Leader McConnell is in and who must run for office again  in the not so distant future.

The thing that is really sad about this whole situation is that these elected officials who have a sworn duty to protect America against enemies foreign and domestic and who were elected to represent American citizens regularly put their careers and party before America.  This is as discouraging as it is scary.  For Republicans to be willing to risk stretching things out until they can extract as much as is humanly possible from Mr. Trump no matter the cost before they impeach him in order to further their agenda is ludicrous.

And as unlikely as it might seem that a Republican controlled congress will impeach Mr. Trump, I believe that that is a part of their plan and that they will eventually do it.  If they do not impeach him, they will figure out something that will be equivalent to impeachment that will have the same affect.  Whatever that is, they will remove him from office because it is a part of their plan.  Then, they will move forward and hope that the American people will not hold them accountable because we have a short memory and will have forgotten how irresponsible they were by the next election cycle.  Even if we have not forgotten, they will shower us with expensive ads and sleek sound bites knowing that many of us vote based on ads and sleek sound bites rather than on a meaningful knowledge of them and the issues.

As regards the recent election you might ask, what happened to that great tide of Hispanic people that were supposed to come out to vote that would turn the electorate up-side-down and sweep Secretary Hillary Clinton into office?  Why did 29% of them who did turn out vote for Donald Trump?  Why would any Hispanics vote for Mr. Trump when during his campaign he referred to them as rapists, drug dealers, people who steal jobs from Americans and other degrading names?  Why would any Hispanics vote for Mr. Trump when he said that a federal judge, who simply because of his Mexican heritage, could not be fair to him so should not be allowed to act as a judge in matters adjudicated involving him?

Perhaps it would be convenient and easy to blame Hispanics for Mr. Trump’s victory.  But we have a Mr. Trump and a Trump’s America because far too many Americans failed to exercise our right to vote.  Where were the African American voters?  Where were the other people of color?  Where were the white Clinton voters?  Where were the young people?  Where were the women?  This would have been an historical moment for all of us but especially them; where were they?  All of those who failed to show up and vote are responsible for Mr. Trump’s victory.  So for those of us who are pointing fingers and blaming Hispanics, let’s stop it right now.

What makes things so bad though, is that although all of those who failed to vote contributed to Mr. Trump’s win, Hispanics are taking the brunt of his executive order signing spree.  They are the fastest growing minority in America and they were looked upon as the firewall that would assure that Mr. Trump would not be elected.  Ironically, as a result of that assumption by the rest of us not materializing, Hispanics are the group that is suffering the greatest negative impact because of his victory.

During his campaign, Mr. Trump said what his audience – whoever it was at the time, wanted to hear and promised everybody everything.  People then cherry picked the things that they liked and clung to those things.  Each group ignored the promises that he had made to the other groups that were in direct conflict with those things that he had promised them because they wanted and needed to believe what he had said to ‘them’.  And they wanted and needed to believe that he would not forsake ‘them’.  Although they were aware that it was not possible for him to do all of the things that he said he would do, they believed that he would do the things that he said he would do for them.

One can reasonably surmise based on the people that Mr. Trump has surrounded himself with and the things that he is doing now that he has been elected that, despite what he said during his campaign, these are the things that are important to him and they reflect the kinds of policies that he intends to put into place.  No matter how disillusioned and hurt that those who voted for him might be who are now concerned about his total distain for the intelligence community, American governing norms and protocol, and the direction in which he is trying to take America – if they are not in support of him, then they too are now the enemy.  In his mind, they are no better than those who did not vote for him, and – according to him, the press who are the most dishonest people in the world and the enemy of the American people.

If the American people intend to have our questions surrounding this presidency answered, if we intend to have any fears and concerns that we might have addressed, if we intend to maintain the integrity of our great democracy, then we need the help of our elected officials.  We need them to put America ahead of their political ambitions and their party.  Right now, we do not have that because it is obvious that they have chosen to put political ambition and party first.  The crowds of protesters and the demands that they are making that our elected officials meet with and talk with us indicates that we intend to hold them to account.  We must continue to do that and not forget how they responded come the 2018 and 2020 elections.

Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line

My Favorite Country Music Singer Stars And How Much I Enjoy Their Music

I am going to reveal something here that I never shared so publicly before.  I really like country music!  I guess that I am old school because I seem to enjoy the old country western stuff more than I do the more recent country stuff.  Don’t get me wrong, I like the current stuff too but I like the old stuff better.  Tired of hearing the word ‘stuff’?  Permit me to move on.

I have not taken a guitar lesson in my life so I do not consider myself to be a guitar player.  Instead, I am what I refer to as a trail picker.  To me, a trail picker is someone like those cowboys who used to strum their guitars and sing songs, perhaps, while they were on a cattle drive.  I think that it might have helped them feel better when they began to feel too lonely on those long drives.

Anyway, I like country music so much that I even regularly pluck out a few of the songs of some of my favorite old school singers.  Singers like Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard, George Jones and a number of other old school singers.  But I would be remiss if I failed to mention that I also like some of the other guys like Dwight Yoakam, Alan Jackson and Garth Brooks; Garth Brooks was my daughter’s favorite.

My guitar is 47-plus years old so when I miss a few notes, if I have an audience, I can usually blame it on the guitar.  I have another one but I seldom play it; I like my old one.  Maybe I like it because I have a better chance of getting away with blaming the missed notes on it rather than owning up to the fact that I’m just an old trail picker and not a guitar player.  Be that as it may, I like the old one and I call it Debbie.  I call it Debbie because…  Well, you’re probably not interested in why I call it Debbie so I will move on.

I must mention too that I like some of the lady country singers; singers like Loretta Lynn and her sister Crystal Gayle, Wynonna and Naomi Judd, Juice Newton, Tammy Wynette, Rosanne Cash, Bonnie Raitt, The Forester Sisters and more.  I guess that I like country music because my dad used to love it.  I think that his favorite singer was Merle Haggard although he liked a number of other singers like Lefty Frizzell, Hank Williams, Johnny Cash and some others whose names I can’t recall right now.  I can recall though that many times he would walk around the house whistling or singing country songs.  I think that he grew to love country music because he was born and raised in…  You’re probably not interested in that so I will move on.

Another thing that I am going to reveal is how thrilled that I would have been and how much I would have enjoyed the opportunity to shake hands with Willie Nelson, Waylon Jennings, Merle Haggard and George Jones.  It is already too late to do that with Waylon, Merle and George but at least Willie is still around.  I hope that I will not just keep daydreaming about shaking his hand but that I will actually someday do it before it is too late.  My dad might have been disappointed if he knew that I never got the chance to shake hands with these singers but he would have been more disappointed if he knew that my oldest brother didn’t get a chance to shake hands with them.  That’s because he loved my oldest brother’s country singing and was intrigued by the fact that he sang…  You’re probably not interested in that so I will move on.

The final thing that I will publicly reveal is perhaps why I have not even had the opportunity to possibly shake hands with any of these four artists.  It is because I have never attended one of their concerts.  The major reason why I have not attended a concert by any of these artists is because I have been reluctant to do so because I felt that I would be uncomfortable in that I would feel unaccepted among that crowd and, therefore, feel somewhat fearful.  Feeling fearful, even if those fears are unwarranted and a result of my own doing, is something that I am somewhat embarrassed to admit but that is the truth.

My blog site is, for the greatest part, dedicated to political issues.  So after reading this article you might ask, what does this post have to do with politics?  The fact of the matter is that during the course of the recent primary and general election campaigns the theme to divide this country and pit Americans against one another was constantly hammered home.  The candidate that pushed that theme and continues to push it is now our president.  His victory and the way that he has governed during this first two and a half plus weeks of his administration, it seems like s-o-o-o-o…much longer, has caused me to reflect on many things.

The thoughts that I expressed in this article, especially in the two preceding paragraphs, are among those things.  And writing it, like those cowboys that I envisioned and mentioned on those long cattle drives who sang to help them deal with their loneliness, helps me to deal with the frustration and fear associated with what I perceive to be the all but irreparable damage that Mr. Trump is doing to America and the rest of the erratic ride that we have yet to experience.  What Mr. Trump is doing right now is dangerous so that makes him a dangerous man.

Hopefully, as I suggested in a previous post, we all braced for the impact of his win.  Figuratively speaking, I strongly suggest now that we have crash landed that all of us remain in that position until this horrifying ride under his leadership comes to a complete halt.  Literally speaking, now that Mr. Trump is president, we need all boots on the ground to help assure that we remain the world leader in protecting democracy and a country that always welcomes immigrants who are seeking a better life and the opportunity to fulfill their American Dream.

Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line

Republicans On President Obama: He Was A Lawless President. Republicans On Trump…Silence

Based on the actions of the Republicans in the US congress, President Obama became a lawless president the first time that he signed an executive order.  And each time he signed another one after that, Republicans pushed their assertion that he was lawless and claimed that these signings simply supported their claim.  Now that Mr. Trump is signing executive orders whenever the mood strikes him Republicans remain quiet.  They remain quiet even though many of these executive orders are throwing America into chaos and confounding numerous world leaders who do not know what to expect or do.

The two top Republican leaders, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and House Speaker Paul Ryan, seem to be onboard with Mr. Trump and are supporting his agenda.  They are supporting his push to build a 12 – 15 billion dollar wall that will be funded by American taxpayers.  Do not worry though because Mr. Trump still insists that Mexico will pay for this wall although the President of Mexico, Enrique Pena Nieto, adamantly asserts that Mexico will not pay for it.

According to a CNN report in February 2016 by Tom LoBianco, Vicente Fox who was the President of Mexico from 2000 – 2006 verbalized his objection to Mr. Trump’s statement that Mexico would pay for the wall in no uncertain terms.  He was not diplomatic or delicate in the language that he used.  He said; “I’m not paying for that f***ing wall.  He should pay for it.”  So there you have it.  Mr. Trump says yes and the current and a former president of Mexico say no.  Based on Mr. Trump’s record and reputation, I doubt very seriously that Mexico will be paying for it.  If it starts with the American taxpayers paying for it, it will end with the American taxpayers paying for it.

The ‘Great Wall Of Trump’ and all of his poorly vetted executive orders is not all that is receiving a lot of attention and discussion during these first two plus weeks of the Trump administration.  Another issue that people are talking about is the Supreme Court nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch.  There are those, including some Democrats, who believe that Democrats should not try to block Judge Gorsuch’s confirmation.  There were three articles that I found interesting about whether or not Democrats should work to block the confirmation.  One, in Vox.com by Seth Masket, which suggested that (perhaps) Democrats should work to block it unless Republicans make President Obama’s nominee, Merrick Garland, the nominee to be confirmed was an article entitled ‘Why Democrats don’t have much to lose through obstructing Trump’s Supreme Court pick’.  Another, which said that Democrats should not work to block the nomination was an article in The Washington Post by Melissa Hart entitled ‘Yes, the GOP broke Supreme Court nominations.  But blocking Gorsuch won’t fix them.’  And the final one, in Vox.com by Ezra Kline, which suggested that Democrats should work to block the confirmation unless the nominee is aligned at the center-right, was an article entitled ‘The country deserves a compromise Supreme Court nominee.  Neil Gorsuch isn’t one.’

So above we have three different views articulated as to what Democrats should do as regards the confirmation of Mr. Trump’s  Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) nominee, Judge Neil Gorsuch.  I want to weigh in on Seth Masket’s side of this issue who argued from the perspective that the Democrats should filibuster Judge Gorsuch’s confirmation unless the nominee to be confirmed is Merrick Garland.  I hope that I can convince those who read this article to do the same.  This nomination is one that was blatantly stolen from President Obama and the Democrats by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and his Republican colleagues who willingly stood behind and supported their Leader even though they knew that he was wrong.  But just like the crowd that stands behind any schoolyard bully while they use brawn to pummel their lesser (for whatever reason) opponent, whether they loudly cheer them on or just stand by silently and watch – thereby tacitly cheering them on, they are just as guilty as that bully.

And just like the only thing that a schoolyard bully really understands is to be ‘hit in the mouth’, that is the only thing that these congressional Republican bullies will understand.  To the schoolyard bully, it does not matter if he still pummels his opponent into the dirt; if he is left with scars then he will be reluctant to select that same target again.  He will likely select an easier target.  And even if he does eventually select that same target again, that target must again summon the courage to fight back and make sure that they leave scars.  Who knows; ultimately, they just might defeat that bully.  Even if that doesn’t happen, they will have put that bully on notice that they will never just lay down and submit to being bullied.

Further, just like Mr. Trump has grown stronger and become emboldened because congressional Republicans have either openly supported him or tacitly supported him by standing by silently while he wreaks havoc on America because they are afraid of him and his bully tactics, the same thing will ultimately happen to Democrats if they do not stand up to Republicans and their bully tactics.  This SCOTUS confirmation fight is not about whether Merrick Garland or Neil Gorsuch is qualified to become an Associate Justice or who should nominate that person, it is about punching a bully in the mouth!  It is about punching them in the mouth so that they will not continue to bully you and become even bolder with each time that they are allowed to bully you while you passively accept it!

So to those who say that Democrats cannot win because Republicans have the ‘nuclear option’ and as a result Democrats should save their political capital for another time, I say ‘the hell you say’!  Judging by the mess that we are in at this point, our current leaders have not done such a great job so far.  Perhaps it is time for new tactics.  Punch um in the mouth; make them use the nuclear option.  At least then they will realize that Democrats have grown a spine and they will respect us.  If not right away, then eventually.  And until they do respect Democrats enough to stop bullying us?   Punch um in the mouth!  Republicans have always taken any efforts by Democrats to compromise and find common ground as a sign of weakness so they have exploited it.  It is long past time that Democrats realized that Democrats and Republicans need to play by the same rules and as such, if Republicans choose to continue to play smash mouth politics, the game must be played on a two-way street.

Eulus Dennis – author, Operation Rubik’s Cube and Living Between The Line