Does Mr. Trump Taint All Who Come Near To Him?

It seems that Mr. Trump besmirches the reputation of anyone who dares to become in anyway closely associated with him.  It does not matter whether they work for him, are close business associates, are surrogates or anything else.  In all cases it seems that he, at the very least, sullies them and in many cases he besmirches their reputations beyond repair.  I cannot recall whether it was a journalist or a political Pundit who recently said that Mr. Trump sullies those associated with him beyond washing but I know that I have never heard that kind of a statement made about a POTUS before.  It might be a stretch to say that it or the comment by George Will that Mr. Trump is ‘barely on speaking terms with the English language’ would cause a chuckle (even if an uncomfortable one) if used by a comedian but normally I would make that stretch.  However, America’s situation is so serious at this point that I doubt that they would even garner an uncomfortable chuckle.

The latest casualty of Mr. Trump is General John F. Kelly, the White House chief of staff.  Many of those who spoke of General Kelly before he became chief of staff lauded him for his stellar reputation and could find only good things to say about him.  Now, only a short time after becoming the White House chief of staff he is shrouded in controversy and that stellar reputation has been soiled.  Whether it has been soiled beyond repair (washing) remains to be seen.  All of the brouhaha has arisen because he made an effort to provide cover to his boss, Mr. Trump, regarding a call that Mr. Trump made to Mrs. Myeshia Johnson – the grieving widow, after her husband Sgt. La David T. Johnson was killed during an ambush in Niger.

The cover that General Kelly provided for Mr. Trump consisted of a statement he made in defense of Mr. Trump’s telephone call to this widow and then an attack on congresswoman Frederica S. Wilson who heard the call and publicized how disappointed she was with the way that Mr. Trump spoke to Mrs. Johnson.  Although a video of congresswoman Wilson’s statement in 2015 has proven that the accusations General Kelly made about her were false, up to this point, he has neither recanted nor apologized.  In addition, the White House is defending General Kelly and has said that he stands by his comments.  General Kelly continues to remain silent.  During his statement, General Kelly used the term “empty barrel” when referring to congresswoman Wilson.  This term is a pejorative.  And although it is not limited to any particular race, since congresswoman Wilson is African American and during the course of her response to General Kelly’s criticism of her she said that the White House “is full of white supremacists”, her comment when juxtaposed to General Kelly’s “empty barrel” comment regarding her stoked racial overtones.

According to an article in The New York Times by Yamiche Alcindor and Michael D. Shear dated 10/20/2017, “General Kelly said that he was ‘stunned’ that Representative Wilson made comments at a building dedication honoring slain F.B.I. agents about her own actions in Congress, including lobbying former President Obama on legislation,” Ms. Sanders said in a statement.  “As General Kelly pointed out, if you’re able to make a sacred act like honoring American heroes about yourself, you’re an empty barrel.”  Ms. Sanders made her own unsolicited comment about General Kelly’s reference to congresswoman Wilson as an ’empty barrel’ when she said that in the south we would say “all hat and no cattle.”  Well, let me think here.  Oh yeah; Mr. Trump went to the CIA building and stood in front of the stars that represented each fallen agent and talked about how the press had downplayed the size of the crowd he had.  And if I recall correctly, he said something along the line of I looked out over the crowd and there looked to be more than a million people and the press said I had this tiny (he gestured with his forefinger and thumb) crowd.  My question to General Kelly and Sarah Sanders is, does this make Mr. Trump an “empty barrel” or “all hat and no cattle”?

Despite the answer that these two individuals might give to my question, my point is that General Kelly has now had his reputation sullied.  And if he continues to follow the lead of the White House, where his reputation is concerned, things are only likely to get worse before he too – like his predecessor, is thrown under the bus and then fired.  General Kelly is likely a good person with good intentions but that will not prevent his reputation and legacy from being stained and or completely ruined.  Unfortunately, it may already be too late to prevent them from being, at the least, stained.

But in the midst of all of this controversy we must continue to remember that all of this came about because Mr. Trump deflected a question that a reporter asked him about the four soldiers that were killed in Niger by suggesting that President Obama and other presidents did not call the families of fallen soldiers.  Despite the affect that all of this is having on the media, the public must stay focused, not be distracted by political smoke and mirrors, and continue to keep pressure on Mr. Trump to explain exactly what happened in Niger and why it happened.  In addition, during all of this controversy about Sgt. LaDavid T. Johnson, congresswoman Wilson, Mr. Trump and General Kelly and the inferred Imminent sullying of General Kelly’s reputation, we must not forget that there were three other soldiers who died during this ambush and that there were two others who were wounded.

Let us take time now to remember Staff Sgt. Bryan Black…, Staff Sgt. Jeremiah W. Johnson… and Staff Sgt. Dustin Wright…  And although, to my knowledge, the Pentagon has not yet released the names of the two soldiers that were wounded; let us remember them as well.  Then, let us keep them and their families and those heroes who have passed on and their families in our prayers.

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

Republican Voices Remain Silent

Back in November 2016 according to an article in the New York Times entitled Congressional Republicans Project Unity While Democrats Scramble, Speaker Paul Ryan said; “Welcome to the dawn of a new unified Republican government.  This will be a government focused on turning President-elect Trump’s victory into real progress for the American people.”  And during that same timeframe, in an article in Business Insider entitled PAUL RYAN: ‘Welcome to the dawn of a new unified Republican government’, he said he wanted to ensure Republicans “hit the ground running.”  At the time, Speaker Ryan could not hide his giddiness.  In the video that I watched of him as he made this announcement, he actually seemed to have a glow about him.

Well, welcome to the dawn of your new unified Republican government and its real progress, Speaker Ryan.  11 months have passed since you made those statements and as you are certainly aware by now, Republicans did hit the ground running.  The only problem is that they hit the ground running in the wrong direction.  They are running backward.  But you and the rest of the Republicans in the House and Senate seem to have decided that rather than work to correct the problem because it might be too hard to do with Mr. Trump in charge, you would dupe the public.  And in order to successfully dupe the American people, you think that all that Republicans have to do as they run backward is to continue to face forward toward real time America and spin any current conversation about her, her future and America’s purported leaders and their leadership.  It might be a bit tricky to run backward toward the past at full speed without turning around and facing that direction but no one can deny that you are giving it your best shot!

There is something terribly wrong in our country when those in government whom many Americans have long held in high esteem have completely forgotten what it means to be a statesman.  They have lost their way!  When politicians are afraid to speak out against Mr. Trump or any other politician because they are more afraid that if they do they will lose their job than they are that a foreign power is currently trying to destroy our democracy, it is chilling!  Speaking out is a vital part of what they were elected to do, especially when it is obvious that our very democracy is being threatened!  And they must be willing to speak out whether or not Mr. Trump is guilty of collusion in orchestrating that threat and even if he threatens to unleash his base and ‘beautiful twitter account’ against them if they do not support him.

When politicians are saying elect me so that I can step up and lead America forward and in the same breath saying that I cannot step up and lead America forward because, if I do, Mr. Trump will ensure that an opponent of his choice runs against me in the primaries and I will not be reelected is the ultimate oxymoron!  Politicians who comport themselves in this manner are indeed ‘wise fools’ because they are embracing that contradiction in terms!”  They do not deserve to be reelected because they are cowards and as such, do not deserve the honor of leading this great nation while pretending to represent us.

I hope that in the future we Americans will elect politicians who, unlike Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, when elected to positions of leadership by their peers will always place country ahead of party and their prospects of being reelected.  This is not meant to say or imply that other members of congress are without guilt.  They too, are complicit in the unabashed dismantling of America.  It is heartbreaking to watch our nation being divided, having its word rendered worthless, torn apart and having its voters and other constituents treated as political pawns by Mr. Trump while those others who were elected to protect, serve and lead us stand by and watch as if they are helpless and without power.

The fact is that all of this is being done by Mr. Trump for political reasons that are supported explicitly or tacitly by those who control congress.  Many of those in congress, and perhaps even Mr. Trump, may not believe that Russia is in any way involved with the current chaos in America.  They may believe that what is happening in our country has nothing to do with treasonous intent or any scandalous behavior concerning Mr. Trump that is known by Russia and is being held over his head with a threat to drop it if he does not cooperate with them.  Instead, they may truly believe that the current situation is simply a reaction to Mr. Trump’s effort at making tough change; change that he and they feel is badly needed.

Even if they somehow believe that change is the sole reason for all of America’s current chaos and pain it does not change the fact that the American people are becoming more divided with each passing day and there is no one who is in charge of pulling us back together.  This lack of leadership only reinforces the walls of the void that serve as the reservoir for all the fodder of the anger, hatred, half-truths and political spin that is used to constantly increase the fiery gap of divisiveness in America.  The longer that these walls are allowed to stand and be reinforced, the harder they will be to tear down.

We need a true leader in the White House and we need that person right now!  And even if we get that person, we still need true leaders in congress to provide the necessary checks and balances to keep the executive branch of government on its toes and above board.  Where are the voices of those congressmen who so eagerly regularly assured America that should Secretary Hillary Clinton become president they were ready, willing and able to continue to investigate her and keep her in line?  Where are the voices of those people like Jason Chaffetz, Darrell Isa and Trey Gowdy who were among those who were more than willing to investigate Secretary Clinton, champion the clarion call of justice and keep even the slightest hint of a scandal that might involve her front and center?  Where are those people?

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

Stay Focused Democratic, Republican, And Independent Voters

I was listening to a pastor preach last week and for the first time since I had begun attending the services (due to the non-stop urging of my sister) I was finally able to hear what he was actually saying.  I could finally see and hear how he was pouring his heart into this particular sermon and I realized that this was exactly what he had been doing for the past few weeks that I had attended church services.  But I could not hear him before because I was far too busy judging him.

You see, from the beginning, this young pastor that was preaching had some mannerisms about him that I had immediately locked in on and this is what I was observing and evaluating very carefully instead of listening to what he had to say…until he preached the sermon that I was listening to that day.  I had locked in on his gesticulation, facial expressions and how he walked when he moved around the pulpit including even his slightest body language.  And get this, I thought, he even plays the bongo drums at every service during the ‘worship by music’ portion of the service!  I was really into judging mode!  And instantly, I completely had this guy figured out, right?

Chief among the many reasons as to why I was doing this was because although my parents had raised me in the church, somewhere along the way after I had become an adult I had strayed away from it and become more involved in secular activities.  Though I was not completely immersed in these activities I had delved deep enough into them to where, in my mind, I knew the game and knew how players play.  And up until I heard the previously referred to sermon entitled “Stay Focused”, again – in my mind, this preacher could certainly have a ‘P’ associated with his name but the ‘P’ should not stand for preacher, it should stand for player.  But as I listened to his sermon I suddenly realized that I could apply it directly to me.  I was so busy focusing in on the ancillary stuff that needed to be peeled away before one could receive the actual message that I had failed to receive that message…until the sermon that he preached that day.

So here we are again where readers might say, this guy is all over the place.  His blog is purported to be about politics.  He has talked about sports and country music before and now here he is talking about some preacher that he happened to hear preach!  Where can he possibly be going with this article?!  Well, if you have hung in there long enough to get to this point, if you will hang on a bit longer I will tell you where I am going with it.  Have you noticed how much more lately that ‘church and state’ and sports have been dragged onto the national political stage?  I won’t go into the details of the sermon that I heard (I reckon you are elated about that) because in most cases, for obvious reasons, church leadership – no matter the denomination –  does not want to become entangled in politics.

Notwithstanding that I demur when faced with the decision as to whether to get into the details of the sermon that I heard, I will tell you that this pastor said “I tell people that I am not a Democrat.  And when I do that they automatically assume that I am a Republican (which is what I assumed) and I tell them that I am not a Republican; I tell them I am a Christian!”  Again, I had made an assumption.  I assumed that he would say that he is an Independent. He went on to explain why he is not a Democrat or Republican but I will spare you the details of that since, as previously mentioned,  many of you likely asked already why am I writing about a preacher and preaching when this is supposed to be a political blog.

My point is that, right now, on the political stage ‘church and state’ is simmering just beneath the surface of conversations at the federal level of government. And sports has recently been dragged out into the open and onto that stage – in the case of some of those involved, kicking and screaming.  Neither wants anything to do with this political hot potato regarding the need to force athletes to honor the flag and national anthem that Mr. Trump is championing.  Many Americans are also aware that Evangelicals voted heavily in favor of Mr. Trump during the 2016 election.  They are also aware that during the primaries and the general elections Mr. Trump employed a divide and conquer approach in his effort to win and that he is continuing to employ that method now that he is in office.  Although up until this point he has not openly worked to use religion the same way that he has used race, the rich versus the poor and now sports to divide America, nothing indicates that he has precluded the open use of it as a part of his effort to hold on to his power.

It is important that I explicitly  state that the fact that I used the previously mentioned young pastor’s sermon to emphasize how American voters must remain focused and not get lost in the smoke and mirrors of the politics of either party as America moves forward is in no way meant to state or imply that this pastor supports or advocates for any party.  Instead, it is meant to help all voters to realize how we can and why we must remain focused on America and its citizens and what is in our collective best interest; why we must remain focused on the real needs of America and the true best way for her to move forward based on her citizens’ collective needs.

Finally, in case that some of you might be interested, I apologized to that pastor even though I had never previously verbalized my judgmental thoughts to him.  Not only did he graciously accept my apology, but he thanked me and said that I had made his day.  As some folks might say, who would have thunk it?!  Maybe this same kind of thing can happen in the current political atmosphere that exists in America if we can somehow find a way to have reasonable discourse so that we can at least begin to peel away those ancillary things that are hiding the real problems that our country needs to deal with.

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

Trump And His Minions Continue Their Battle To Move America Backward Toward Trump’s America

Helter-skelter activity is rampant and Mr. Trump appears to feel right at home in the midst of it.  He is likely very, very aware that this very, very big, beautiful ball of confusion is due in no small part to his pell-mell leadership style and that he is the only one who can fix the problem.  He is also likely convinced that this very, very bad situation is the very, very worst that America and the entire world has ever experienced and that he could fix it immediately if the news media would stop spouting its fake news about it and give him and his minions the A+ that they deserve for the way that they have handled America’s very, very big problems up to this point.

There are still many people in America who agree with the statement in the first paragraph and feel that Mr. Trump should be given a chance (as if he has not been given plenty of chances already) to unite us and fix America.  They still believe that he can, in his own words, ‘make America great again’ and move our country forward.  But to me, among the problems that he faces is the fact that he wants to take African Americans back to the days of slavery and Jim Crow and use them, other people of color and women to achieve his goal.  That makes it all but impossible for those who are among those in the groups just listed to get on board with Mr. Trump’s vision of making America great again.  As a matter of fact, if America has ever stopped being great, it happened when he was elected and is only continuing to get worse.

At the time that I finished this sentence, according to the web site that appears to have been created just to track his time in office, Mr. Trump had been in office for 257 days, 2 hours, 10 minutes and 55 seconds.  In the event that you are interested in checking it out, the name of the web site is “”.  Anyway, during this time he has had numerous opportunities to conduct himself like a president, represent all Americans, unite America and move us forward as one nation but he has not chosen to do this.  Instead, he has chosen to play politics, divide us and reinforce the prospects of his own position in life whether or not he is reelected.  He has chosen to be distracted and focus on issues involving the NFL, NBA and NASCAR and argue with anyone who disagrees with him on how some of those connected to these sports are disrespecting the American flag and National Anthem and that they should be forced to respect both.  How is it that Mr. Trump can even begin to perceive that he should be the one to argue the point of respecting America’s flag and anthem and what they represent considering the scandals that he and his administration are faced with?!

Although he might be innocent of those things that he is suspected of doing in connection with the Russia fiasco, and some Americans believe that he is innocent of them, Mr. Trump would much better serve himself, his administration, America and the world by first putting himself, his administration – and thereby, America in order!  At least then, whether one agreed with him or not, they could possibly respect him and have some sort of impetus- no matter how small, to try to work with him.  Right now, although the great majority of – if not all, Americans respect the office of president, they do not respect the man who currently holds it.  If Mr. Trump personally feels the same way as do the white supremacist in America; that is, that the color of one’s skin determines their IQ and that it should also determine how they are treated as a human being, that is his right and would normally be okay.  But it is not okay in this case because Mr. Trump occupies the Oval Office.  He is expected to serve all Americans and not just a few; not just those who voted for him!

Those rich and powerful people in America who are blinded by their greed and those in the House and Senate in Washington who, in order to achieve their political agenda, are willing to wink at what is happening in this administration and either make light of or ignore the fact that a foreign power interfered in our democracy and is trying to destroy it should be ashamed of themselves and should be replaced.  All Americans know that elections have consequences but this current situation regarding Russia, or any other situation like it, should not be a part of those consequences.  When it comes to situations such as these, as Americans, we should always circle the wagons and present a united front to the world!  We have done it in the past and we should do it now!  Americans realize that we have long had our problems, have them now, and will probably continue to have them in the future.  That is democracy and democracy can be messy.  Let’s fix this!  God willing, there will still be those courageous statesmen who will step up and say enough is enough.

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