Other Voices | Tom Callaghan: Time to Step Up

In sports, when a star player gets injured the coach invariably says “somebody has to step up”. In other words, some player who had a lesser role has an opportunity to show he can do more.

Right now, in the USA, we don’t have a star player. The most charitable thing we can say about the Office of President of the United States is that it’s basically vacant.

We have someone living in the residential quarters of the White House (the “Occupant”). He dresses up with a clean shirt and tie. He slithers about in reptilian fashion and people come to see him. He says things like “we’ll see what happens.” His family dresses beautifully and they scurry around with massive security details. They whisper in the Occupant’s ear and it has nothing to do with anything. Its all bullshit. Nobody knows anything. There’s no there there.

The Occupant doesn’t preside over anything. So, he’s hardly the President. He’s more or less the heckler in chief. He calls his friends and complains about the ineffectiveness of his staff…people who gave their all to him when he didn’t have a snowball’s chance. He sends out tweets in the middle of the night to remind us that he’s a little bit stupider than he was the day before. Continue Reading………..

Other Voices | Tom Callaghan: Trump – Where Are We At?

Posted on May 15, 2017

Here’s where I think we are In The Matter of Donald J. Trump.

One. Impeachment is not possible…now. Trump’s job approval rating, as of this writing, is 39%. That is historically LOW for a President at this stage of his presidency but it’s too HIGH for impeachment. When Richard Nixon resigned in August of 1974, his job approval rating was 23%.

Two. Remember Lincoln’s Law. “Public sentiment is everything. With it, anything is possible. Without it, nothing can be accomplished”. Let me volunteer Callaghan’s Corollary to Lincoln’s Law. “Public sentiment is in constant flux. It is moved, for better or worse, by interested parties advocating for their version of the public interest. The most skillful, intense, and persistent win. Their version of the public interest becomes the prevailing public sentiment. They get their way.”

Three. After Nixon’s Second Inaugural in January of 1973, his job approval rating was 69%. One year later, in January of 1974, his job approval number was 23%. If Nixon could lose 46 percentage points in a year, Trump can lose 15 percentage points by August. Precedent has shown August is a good month for Impeachment. At a 24% job approval rating, Trump would be ripe.

Four. Has Trump committed an impeachable offense? Absolutely. Trump’s epidemic lying about all matters, large and small, has done such violence to the fabric of trust that holds us together as a people, that it easily meets the “impeachable offense” standard. Former President Gerald Ford said “an impeachable offense is whatever the House of Representatives says it is.” If the Senate, by two-thirds vote, agrees — that’s that. There is no judicial review of the Senate’s Verdict of Removal. When the details emerge on Trump’s “Russia Problem” and the firing of Jim Comey, there may well be an Obstruction of Justice charge as part of an Impeachment package. Continue Reading…….

Other Voices | Wednesdays Wars: Bannon!

Posted on April 19, 2017

Steve Bannon has a problem. He’s in a tribal fight against the toughest, most effective political tribe in the country, the American Jewish Community, and Bannon’s tribe, Irish Catholics, disbanded 40 years ago. They don’t wear their brass knuckles anymore and they only meet on St. Patrick’s Day.

We’re not cohesive and we don’t support each other. I know. I’m a member.

The Bannon tribe’s last hurrah was the election of JFK back in 1960. The Irish Catholic Mayor of Chicago, Richard Daley, was key, as was the longtime Boss of the Bronx, Charlie Buckley. Since then, there have been flashes of tribal effectiveness with Ted Kennedy and Daniel Patrick Moynihan in the Senate and Tip O’Neill, Speaker of the House and Hugh Carey, Governor of New York. At least then we could get our native-born Irish in the country … now, it’s like we are from Yemen.

It’s not necessary to address at great length the effectiveness of the Jewish community in American politics. I’ve done that before. Suffice it to look at the Annual American Aid Gift Package to Israel, a prosperous country of about eight million people. It exceeds the amount we give to all the countries in sub-Saharan Africa combined … a desperately poor region with a population in the hundreds of millions.

Someone should ask Mike Pence (you know the guy with the permanently sappy Prayer Breakfast look on his face) if shortchanging the desperately poor to give more to the prosperously rich gives him the Warm Christian Fuzzy Wuzzies? I don’t know exactly what he’d say, but I know it would start something like this … “Gee, I’m just so awfully glad you asked me that question, and I’m here to say I’m just proud as punch … blah blah blah.”

Thank God Steve Bannon ain’t no Mike Pence. Continue Reading…………….

Other Voices | Wednesdays Wars: Impeachment

Posted on March 27, 2017

As of today, Donald Trump has been our President for 68 days. If he makes it through an entire four year term, we’ve got him for 1,393 more days.

How does that make you feel? Does that put a smile on your face and a bounce in your step? Does that give you the feeling that the affairs of State and the World are in wise, dependable, and responsible hands, and that whatever our President says is thoughtful and true?

Are we being led by a man so honorable and deserving of respect that his visage will someday be carved into the hills of South Dakota at Mt. Rushmore, taking his rightful place with Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, and T. Roosevelt?

If the contemplation of those questions and the comparison of Trump with some of our best Presidents makes you physically ill or, as they say in the poker world, puts you “on tilt”, don’t worry. You’re not alone. Close to 60% of the country has pretty much had a bellyfull of Mr. Donald J. Trump.

So, what’s the path forward? Do we have to wait until November 2020 for an election, or is impeachment in order?

There are two conditions precedent to successfully impeach a President and remove him from office. First, one must be able to show that the President is guilty of “high crimes and misdemeanors”. Second, there must be the political will to initiate proceedings in the House of Representatives and Convict and Remove him by trial in the Senate. Continue Reading………

Other Voices | Wednesdays Wars: Trump – Still Getting Away with It

Posted on March 8, 2017

Getting away with what? The over-the-top lie to divert attention from a prior over-the-top lie and screw up that is exposing him for what he is … a real and present danger to the USA and the World.

Compare Trump with his predecessor, Barack Obama.

OBAMA has said in various interviews that he viewed his role as President as similar to that of a long-distance runner in a relay race. His job was to take the baton from his predecessor and hand it off to his successor eight years later with the country in better shape as a result of his efforts.

It wasn’t about “glory” or “legacy” with Obama. It was about duty and responsibility. It wasn’t about winning news cycles. It was about long game … running the race as best he could for the eight years he was given. It involved study, effort, and time … making thoughtful decisions (and not doing “stupid stuff”) day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year.

Based on the facts that he is the only President since Eisenhower to win over 51% of the popular vote twice, and that on his last full day in office he had a job approval rating of 59%, the American people think he succeeded.

TRUMP … where do you start with this guy? Can anyone say with a straight face that he is a deep thinker who has studied history and world events? Can anyone say that he is a thoughtful individual … that if he says something happened, it actually did happen? The answer is a resounding no.

Can anyone say that he is an honorable person? Is he the kind of person who, if he makes an allegation that reflects poorly on someone’s character, he stands behind the charge and presents evidence to support the charge? Continue Reading…….

Other Voices | Wednesdays Wars: Memo to Trump: Call Jim Baker NOW!

Posted on February 15, 2017

You have no “Administration”. You have a cluster of belligerent, incompetent liars (Conway, Spicer, Stephen Miller) going on TV contradicting each other and embarrassing the country.

You are presiding over the worst roll out of a new administration in American history. It’s a farce. More importantly, it’s dangerous.

At the rate you’re going, you’ll be gone by Fourth of July and we’ll be stuck with Mike “Prayer Breakfast” Pence. Do you think Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell are going to save you?

Please. You’ve got one foot out the door and the other on a banana peel.

Jim Baker can help. Yeah, that Jim Baker. Reagan’s Chief of Staff and Treasury Secretary and Poppy Bush’s Secretary of State.

He’s the toughest, smartest, most competent political operator in the Republican Party in the last 50 years. He’s a former Marine who knows how to kick ass and take names.

Ask Al Gore. Baker oversaw the legal, political, and PR aspects of the Florida recount for GWB in the 2000 Election.

Ask Benjamin Netanyahu. As Poppy Bush’s Secretary of State, Baker barred Netanyahu from the State Department building. Netanyahu, at the time an official in the Israeli Embassy in Washington, had said that the US policy in the Mideast “was based on lies and deception”. Suffice it to say, Jim Baker ain’t no wimp.

Call Baker. Ask him to come to Washington for 60 days and organize your Administration. Give him guidance on people you will not accept in your Administration (you did the right thing keeping Elliott Abrams out … he would have been more Sheldon Adelson’s guy than yours), but give him a relatively free hand in getting the State Department and Defense Department staffed. Continue Reading……..

Other Voices | Wednesdays Wars: What’s Past is Prologue

Published on Jan 11, 2017

If you’re trying to get a fix on where you are, take a look at where you’ve been. As the sign says at the National Archives in Washington DC, “What’s Past is Prologue.”

So, to get some perspective, I took a look at our Presidents in the post World War II Era and tried to come up with a one-word description. Here’s what I came up with:

TRUMAN (gutsy); EISENHOWER (steady); KENNEDY (elegant); JOHNSON (powerful); NIXON (paranoid); FORD (okay); CARTER (godly); REAGAN (affable); BUSH I (earnest); CLINTON (clever); BUSH II (oblivious); OBAMA (decent). Special thanks to my friend Sam Miller for giving me the word oblivious for GWB.

I’m sure everybody has their own one-word description for their favorite and not so favorite past Presidents. For Reagan, some might think the word “affable” is a bit dismissive. Not so. His affability enabled him to be as effective as he was.

For Kennedy, “elegant” doesn’t just mean he looked good, but that once he got the first six months out of the way, it describes his way of governing (especially the Cuban Missile Crisis), and his relationship with the country.

For Clinton, “clever” is not a compliment … his best-known quote … “It depends upon what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is.”

Last, Johnson. Maybe if I had three words, I’d say, “powerful and tragic.” The Vietnam War broke him, because he didn’t have the intellectual confidence to question the Ivy League advisors he inherited.

Looking at that twelve President list, is there a clue that tells us that Trump is the obvious next person in the progression? Maybe. Although, it would probably take a trained astrologer to tell us.

Is it possible to make a prediction as to what is likely to be the one word that will describe Trump? To do so now would be to assume that the job does not have the potential to change the person who holds it. Continue Reading…….

Other Voices | Wednesdays Wars: Hang in there Steve Bannon

Published on Dec 6, 2016

I’m starting to really like Steve Bannon, Trump’s pick to be Chief Strategist on the White House Staff. Sort of like what Karl Rove was for GWB.

It’s not like it’s a man crush or anything. I’m still loyal to John Stockton, former point guard for the Utah Jazz, Patriots Coach Bill Belichik, and my main man, Barack Hussein Obama. Did I tell you he’s the only guy since Eisenhower to get over 51% of the popular vote twice?

Up until a couple of months ago, I wouldn’t have known Bannon from a cord of wood. That’s an old Tip O’Neill line … another guy I really liked.

The Tut Tut Caucus is coming for Bannon. Because he’s slotted for the President’s Staff, he doesn’t have to go through Senate confirmation. Confirmation Hearings are where Senators demonstrate that you cannot serve six years in the Senate and not become a complete jerk … (Obama got out just in the nick of time).

So, what’s their problem with Bannon? The usual package … insensitivity amounting to prejudice on race, religion, and gender that disqualifies him from polite company, never mind service on the President’s Staff.

Who’s leading the charge against him? The Queen of Correct Rachel Maddow, of course, backed up by 650 female graduates of Harvard Business School and Wall Street Journal Columnist Bret Stephens, to name three.

Rachel Maddow. I don’t watch Rachel Maddow very often. I’ve observed from prior viewing that her specialty seems to be exposing conservative Christians in the act of un-Christian behavior. She has no qualms about identifying wrongdoers as Christians while pointing out their misdeeds. Good for her. Apparently the job pays well.

If misbehavior is present in the Jewish Community, it tends to escape Rachel’s notice. Whether that has anything to do with the ownership of her TV network (Comcast) and its controlling shareholder, Brian Roberts, I have no way of knowing. Continue Reading……….

Other Voices | Wednesdays Wars: Trump….Plus Long Knives Out for Bannon

Published on Nov 14, 2016

I guess I should say something about the election. Everyone else has. So, in no particular order:

  • Trump spoke FOR his people. Hillary spoke TO hers.
  • If you read a transcript of the three debates, Hillary won them all. Watching them, Trump survived. He lived to fight another day. He let his people know he was competitive. He was in it to win it.
  • Hillary’s finest moment in the debates was when she gave a little shimmy after taking some over the top incoming from Trump. It was her way of saying, “Isn’t that special!” It was endearing, even sexy. If she could have managed a little self-effacing humor now and then, it would have served her well. The best communicators have that talent … FDR, JFK, Reagan, GWB (“When Bill Buckley was at Yale, he wrote a book. When I went to Yale, I read a book.”), Obama (“Thanks, Obama …” “How does it feel to be the last black President?”).
  • Trump established an intimacy with his audiences, like the Men’s Wearhouse guy … “You’re going to like the way you look. I guarantee it.” His events were “happenings”. Hillary’s events were tutorials.
  • Hillary spoke the language of the Acela Corridor … Boston to Washington. She won the Corridor except the state Trump contested, Pennsylvania, which is often described as Philadelphia in the East, Pittsburgh in the West, and Alabama in the middle. Hillary won the Pittsburgh-Philly parts. Trump won the Alabama part bigly.

Continue Reading…..

Other Voices | Wednesdays Wars – The Clintons Again: Better Than Poking Yourself in the Eye With a Sharp Stick … But Not By Much

Published on Nov 1, 2016

The Clintons are coming again. Like a couple of huge Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade Balloons.

They’ve been around forever. They’re totally familiar, clever opportunists … ambitious, greedy, unprincipled, and lacking a quarter ounce of political courage.

They’re also inevitable.

They’ve accumulated $100 million without either one of them having other than a government job for 30 years. They don’t pay for anything and, if all goes well November 8, they’ll become Billionaires.

Maybe then, one of them will pick up a check for something, anything, somewhere, sometime.

Like Gertrude Stein said about Oakland CA … “There’s no there there.” At least Oakland has former Jesuit Seminarian and two-time Mayor (and four-time CA Governor) Jerry Brown, Champagne Tony Lema, and Hell’s Angels Shot Caller Sonny Barger. The Clintons have ambition and the certainty that no matter how big a mess they make, they’re smart enough to talk their way out of it, and the sheeple will be with them to the end.

So far, they’ve been right.

The Clintons are the Nixon of our times … except Nixon was interesting, courageous, and a visionary in addition to being paranoid and the other things that drove him from office. The Clintons are just ambitious, ordinary, and boring.

I’m not looking forward to Election Night at all. Bill and Hillary with their rhythmic clapping. Pointing at special friends in the crowd. ($1,000,000 contributors get pointed at, $5,000,000 contributors get pointed at plus a wave and both palms pressed against the chest. That means a couple of nights in the Lincoln Bedroom and an invitation to join the Board of the Clinton Global Initiative for another couple of million … and then there’s the Hillary Library, she’s got you down for five mil there and, by the way, Chelsea needs a lift to Singapore in March, I’m sure your 727 will work fine … it never ends.)

I’m sure there’s a price for lifetime entitlement to a point, a wave, and palms to the chest … transferable of course to heirs and assigns. Continue Reading……….