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Just Ask The Question!

DX38C9QVMAEDRIp.jpg largeDuring the course of my career I’ve often been asked to speak to young reporters and students regarding the art of questioning.
It boils down to “Ask the darn question.”
There is an art to crafting a question and there is a gentle way to proceed with questions depending on the subject, the topic and a variety of other variables including but not limited to the airspeed velocity of an unladen swallow.
At the end of the day, you must simply pull the trigger and ask the question.

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Mueller questions

download 2As the suspense mounts regarding whether the leader of the free world will submit to questioning by Special Counsel Robert Mueller on the so-called “Russia investigation” and the existence of any “COLLUSION,” I thought it might be helpful to provide our president with some suggested answers to just a few of the 49 questions compiled by Trump's attorney, Jay Sekulow. As reported in the New York Times a few weeks back, these 49 questions were crafted by Sekulow from discussions with the Mueller team.
The questions can be broken down into a few categories. These categories include questions related to the actions of and interaction with former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn, questions regarding conversations with former F.B.I. Director James Comey, questions pertaining to interaction with and decisions made by Attorney General Jefferson Sessions, and last, but certainly not least, questions dealing with any coordination by Trump or any members of his campaign (notice I did not use the word “COLLUSION”) with Rusha – I mean Russia).
So, here goes:

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The press isn’t going to go anywhere, Mr. President

20180509 155426 2 1As a political columnist for the Montgomery County Sentinel, I am fortunate to have a ringside seat to a period in our nation's history like no other.
Still, as interesting and fascinating as I find covering this White House and Congress, it is also frustrating beyond words as the members of the press are subjected to a continuous barrage by both the current president and the members of his press office of misinformation, spin, avoidance, side-stepping, condescension, insults, threats, and downright lies.
I can't say it hasn't crossed my mind to wonder what it would be like if everyone in the White House press room decided enough is enough and simply got up and walked out together, in unison, as one body, in protest. Now, quite honestly, that will never happen, nor should it for some very important reasons.

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The New Normal is neither

Nimah Nayel 2Today’s “New Normal,” isn’t new and it isn’t normal.
Sixteen-year-old baccalaureate student Nimah Nayel is a victim of the old racism and hate, long existent and awful in its scope.
This vile hatred, the antithesis of the American Spirit stayed dormant and seemingly was swept away into the dustbin of history where it belongs until the minions of Donald Trump took his racist and hate-filled rhetoric primetime and brought back the hatred with a vengeance.

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A threat to the federal government is a threat to all

NARFE sealI recently had the opportunity to listen to Steve Lenkart address a room full of federal service retirees and his message to them should be of the greatest concern for us all.
Steve has spent the last thirty years in and around the federal government with a specific focus on workforce policy. Among his many roles (not rolls, Mr. President), Steve served as the Executive Director of the Merit Systems Protection Board, to name just one. Steve is also running for president of NARFE.
NARFE stands for National Active and Retired Federal Employees and is an organization that has been at the forefront in the fight to protect the earned benefits of federal employees both active and retired since its inception way back in 1921.
Steve’s presentation was extremely informative and disturbing as well, as it shed light on the threat faced by federal employees from the current administration and Congress.
What should also be noted is that any threat to federal government employees impacts the effectiveness and efficiency of the running of our government and that impacts every American.

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Nobody’s fault but mine or ours

donaldtrumpThe only thing worse than a Republican is a Democrat. One is venal and vile. The other is clueless.
I was discussing the problems of politics with a candidate’s surrogate the other day and it dawned on me there are people who still do not understand why Donald Trump got elected to the highest office in the United States.
Many want to merely dismiss his supporters as being stupid. Some want to dismiss their neighbors as being racists or misogynists for supporting him while still others who love Trump are labeled as traitors.
The Trump supporters on the other hand have labeled those who oppose Trump traitors, racists, misogynists and stupid – but in fairness so has the president. While both sides of the aisle retreat to their side of the sandbox and act like toddlers with loaded diapers, some of us are still scratching our heads and wonder how this all came to pass.

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All the news that is unfit to print

20180411 160115News. Fake news. Spin. Propaganda. Left-leaning. Right-leaning. The legitimate press. The dishonest media.
So much to consider when simply trying to find out what is happening in the world. So, let me begin to help distinguish one from the other as we wade through the many possibilities.
Let's start with propaganda or, as it is more commonly referred to, FOX News. Why does FOX News fall into the category of propaganda you ask? Because the very definition of propaganda is “information, especially of a biased or misleading nature, used to promote or publicize a particular political cause or point of view.”
That is exactly what FOX News does and is. It doesn't use facts to support its mission, which is to support the Trump presidency. It makes up its own facts or, as Kellyanne Conway put it, “alternative facts.” Labeling Special Counsel Robert Mueller as “corrupt” without providing any specifics of what he has done that has not been by the book and completely within the limits of the law is just one example.

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Money is the devil in politics

MC DC The Best Money Can BuyProgramming my own music on YouTube is one the last pleasures a diehard rock n’roll fan has left to look forward to in this topsy-turvy world.
Miguel is fine, but I like my guitar solos, back beats and a signature rock lyric.
Yes, I know I’m dating myself, but Led Zeppelin, The Stones, The Who, The Beatles, David Bowie, Lou Reed and a few others really still get my blood flowing.
And let’s face it, us old farts need to keep our blood flowing.
Everyone grows older if they’re lucky, but there are some things from childhood I absolutely refuse to part with until they pull the shroud over my eyes that one last time.
Imagine my consternation then when the Jim Carroll Band’s “Those are people who died” is interrupted by a David Blair ad.

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Continuing Trump hypocrisy

Trump Mocking Disabled ReporterA short time ago, President Donald J. Trump was calling for the resignation of Montana’s Democratic Senator Jon Tester. The issue was the treatment of Trump’s nominee to head the Veterans’ Administration, Admiral Ronny Jackson. Senator Tester serves as the ranking member of the Senate Veteran’s Affairs Committee. That Senate committee is tasked with reviewing the qualifications of the nominee for that cabinet position left vacant with the firing by Trump of Dr. David Shulkin.
Admiral Jackson has since withdrawn his nomination in the midst of the controversy created when certain individuals raised allegations of misconduct on the part of Jackson who, quite famously, also served as the White House physician and has been in that position for the past three presidents.
Rather than try to capture the eloquence of the president’s tweet regarding his call for Senator Tester to resign, I will simply provide it for you here:

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