Rooting out corruption

Testimony of George P. Kent, United States Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, before the U.S. House Permanent Select Committee on Intelligence on November 13, 2019:

You can’t promote principled anti-corruption action without pissing off corrupt people.

Now let’s mull that over with a cup of hot tea with sugar.

A new dawn for America?

Thursday, December 19, 2019 | Phoenix, Arizona

Now that President Donald J. Trump has been impeached (yesterday), can the people of the United States begin to repair the damage wrought by him as I prayed last week?

I’m trying to be an optimist. I see a balancing act between this president and the American people. Donald Trump has fallen from grace. The American people are rising in a nascent recovery.

Of course, President Trump can wreak havoc over the next thirteen months. He ran for office on the premise of becoming the Disrupter-in-Chief, and he has kept his campaign promise.

Nevertheless, he can’t cease to be impeached. The U.S. Senate can render a verdict of not guilty in his trial, but he can never be exonerated in the sense of being declared innocent. (More of this to follow.)

I’ve had a stubborn cold and been drinking hot tea with lemon juice. It’s not quite tea with sugar, but I feel less tense since the House of Representatives adopted the articles of impeachment.


Prickly Pears: to eat or not to eat?

The wild prickly pear cactus has sharp spines, so you wear garden gloves. But, it’s no fault of this plant that the spines break off on touch. My gloves didn’t even help. The spines pierced the thick gloves and embedded themselves in my skin.

So much for wanting to eat the fruit fresh from the front yard. It’s free for the taking.

Peccaries (javelinas) thrive on the fruit. It has nutrition but especially water. Water is hard to find in the desert homes of peccaries.

As for myself, I have plenty of drinking water and vitamin C. I can pick fresh oranges for the same value. Orange trees do have thorns to deter predators like me, but they don’t break off.

So, am I likely to pick some more prickly pears? Yes, but not tomorrow.

Once shy, twice stupid.

Pres. Trump gets Ds in my book

U.S. President Donald Trump’s performance in office is a failure, unless you wanted a man who would disrupt the federal government (without replacing the shambles with a better structure). Trump is the Disruptor-in-Chief.

So why all Ds and not Fs?

Trump’s tenure has been characterized by a strategy of Ds –

  • Deny
  • Distract
  • deflect
  • Disrupt
  • Disregard
  • detract
  • Discredit
  • Demean.

These are the President’s reactions to criticism.

He doesn’t just deny accusations. He denies facts. When threatened or accused, he distracts with a kerfuffle of some sort. Sometimes, this kerfuffle disrupts the processes of government. He also disregards advice about how to handle the storm brought on by his outrages. President Trump regularly demeans and discredits his detractors. Ask yourself, can his opponents be all bad?

Mr. Trump targets his Ds to the mood of his electoral base, and he has a keen sense of what plays well with them.

Just watch the snippets of the President himself as broadcast by the cable news networks. Make up your own mind without paying attention to the pundits.

Follow his Twitter feed for a couple of weeks.

You don’t have time or inclination? Take it from me.

You don’t trust me? So be it.

But let’s sit back and enjoy a cup of hot tea with sugar.

The story of our lives

We see ourselves as cast in an epic quest. We feel as if we’re the hero of the steadily unfolding plot of our lives; one that’s complete with allies, villains, sudden reversals of fortune, and difficult quests for happiness and prizes. Our brains cast halos around our friends and plant horns on the heads of our enemies.

Adapted from journalist Will Storr, author of Selfie: How We Became So Self-Obsessed and What It Is Doing to Us (New York: The Overlook Press, 2018).