Friday, September 7, 2018

Commentary: Crisis in Donald Trump's presidency extends across the nation and beyond

Donald Trump
Crisis in Donald Trump's presidency extends across the nation and beyond

Diana Washington Valdez/The Digie Zone 


The New York Times Sept. 5 anonymous opinion essay by a "senior official" within President Donald Trump's administration is extraordinary and unprecedented. 

NYT Anonymous essay

It's like an SOS call trying to explain the Trump presidency.
 I agree with those who believe that if the president is unfit for office, then he should be removed from the presidency.The unaccountable group that purports to protect the American people was not elected to represent the nation.

 I repeat, if things are that bad, then the president needs to go. 

Where is the Congress? Where is the Senate? Surely the GOP leaders in Washington have more than a clue as to what's going on in the West Wing. 

Mike Pence, Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, where are you? Where are our Texas senators Ted Cruz and John Cornyn on this governance by a secret self-appointed committee? 

The Russians, Koch brothers and other external players are not the main culprits. The real villains here are our failed representatives.

As expected, the president lashed out at the op-ed article, while members of his inner circle took turns to publicly deny their involvement. Trump also demanded for the New York Times to turn over the name of the essay's author.

There is doubt that the influential newspaper strongly vetted the source of the opinion piece before agreeing to publish it, and the management probably also weighed the source's motives.

During the same week, various news outlets churned out excerpts from Bob Woodward's newest book which unleashed a series of embarrassing disclosures about the Trump presidency. The book "Fear: Trump in the White House" (Simon & Schuster; 2018)  is scheduled for public release on Sept. 11, a remarkably coincidental date.
Bob Woodward*

According to the Huffington Post, the president also pushed back hard on the allegations presented in Woodward's book. Woodward is the Washington Post reporter who along with Carl Bernstein exposed the Watergate scandal that led to ex-President Richard Nixon's resignation. Huffington Post

The book that he and Bernstein wrote "All the President's Men" is considered required reading for aspiring journalists. Woodward, regarded by some as a dean of journalism, is 75 and has come out swinging and landing punches in this latest book. USA Today

Among other things, both the book and New York Times anonymous essay, strongly suggest that Trump is mentally unstable. U.S. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) is openly calling on the president's cabinet to use the 25th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution to remove Trump from his post. In such a case, the vice president (Mike Pence) would assume the presidency. Warren in Yahoo News

After this week's shocking revelation, none of Trump's current cabinet members are taking a step to replace the president, or attempt to do so. House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate leader Mitch McConnell, both Republicans, at least publicly, did not appear to take the allegations seriously. The Republican National Committee has not stepped in either with stated concerns. 

Perhaps the Republicans are waiting for Brett Kavanaugh to be confirmed as the next justice to the U.S. Supreme Court, not considering that the man who nominated him, the president, is believed to be the unnamed co-conspirator in the federal indictment against Trump's former attorney Michael Cohen. 

Despite the rocky confirmation proceedings in the Senate, the GOP has enough votes to get Kavanaugh seated on the court. If that happens, then the Republicans would end up wielding power or control in the executive, legislative and judicial branches of U.S. government.

Special Counsel Robert Mueller, according to the letter appointing him in 2017, he is authorized to investigate "any links and/or coordination between the Russian government and individuals associated with the campaign of President Donald Trump; and any matters that arose or may arise directly from the investigation; and any other matters within the scope" of the investigation. Letter appointing special counsel

The Republicans' other concerns are focused on the Nov. 6 mid-term elections, which could cost them the majority in the House of Representatives if Democrats turn out in big numbers to vote for their candidates. 
Barack Obama

Ex-President Barack Obama reentered U.S. politics this week to campaign for Democrats in key races. Obama's return, Politico The former commander-in-chief is still a force to reckon with, and he will prove it in the coming weeks.

It wouldn't be so bad if the major scandal that's sweeping the U.S. government was restricted to political infighting. However, it represents a continually evolving crisis that could jeopardize foreign relations at a time when the geopolitical situations in Europe, Asia and South America are in precarious stages.

The damage to the nation has already occurred. Now what's left is for true leaders to muster the courage, assume their rightful role in our history, and do the right thing.

*Credit LBJ Library


Diana Washington Valdez
Diana Washington Valdez, Digie Zone Network publisher, is an award-winning journalist and author based in Texas.
Also on and @digiezone


Saturday, August 25, 2018

Racist roots of the contemporary U.S. immigration policy crisis

Racist roots of the contemporary U.S. immigration policy crisis

Compiled by Diana Washington Valdez/The Digie Zone 
 The reading list will grow as we identify more relevant articles

"BlacKkKlansman" poster image.
Several news articles related to contemporary immigration issues reveal a very disturbing trend of racist and white supremacy ideologies that appear to be influencing the U.S. government's policies and practices.

The presidential insults of certain countries and peoples, including Hispanics/Latinos from Mexico, did not occur in a vacuum. They had their "intellectual" roots.

Here are links to some of the most egregious and recent reports by American journalists:

The White House pipeline/The Atlantic The pipeline

Connections/Vox.Com More connections

A right-hand troll/The Atlantic Trump and Miller

Who are these people? Read Alternet.Org Busted   

On a positive note, the "BlacKkKlansman" movie had its debut this month. One of the stars in the movie is John David Washington, Denzel Washington's son.

The film is based on true events. It's ironic that we seem to be reliving the era portrayed in the movie today. Link to the official trailer BlacKkKlansman

Monday, August 20, 2018

President Trump's war against news media is threat to democracy: Diana Washington Valdez

Diana Washington Valdez
President Donald Trump’s assault on the news media via his Twitter account and in public speeches is more than a war of words.

It is an attempt to discredit an institution that stands alone whenever the federal separation of powers appears to be imperiled.

His offensive missives also serve as an indirect invitation for those who are persuaded by his rhetoric to attack news media outlets without setting the limits for such attacks.

In a particularly disturbing Aug. 5 Twitter message, the president characterizes established news media as “fake news,” calls it “the enemy of the people,” accuses it of causing division and wars, and describes it as “dangerous” and “sick.”

The Boston Globe, a respected national daily, has decided to fight back by speaking out against the presidential abuse of power. The Boston Globe also called on other news outlets to publish their own editorials reflecting concerns about the constant unwarranted assaults on the U.S. news media.

Throughout our modern history, the news media has played an important and independent role in American politics.

Ed Murrow, a veteran CBS journalist, took on the greatly feared U.S. Sen. Joe McCarthy, who led the infamous Red Scare. At first, McCarthy accused political rivals of being Communists, and later he extended the smear campaign to others, destroying countless Americans who were blacklisted and branded traitors.

Murrow risked his career and reputation when he used his media platform, in 1954, to confront the senator head on.

The Washington Post, through its unrelenting reporting of the Watergate scandal, led to the resignation of President Richard Nixon in 1974. Back then, Nixon, too, waged a war against the news media.

Our region witnessed unprecedented collaboration by journalists following the 1976 car-bombing murder of Arizona Republic journalist Don Bolles. Nearly 40 journalists continued Bolles’ work after his death by exposing and publishing accounts of corruption in Arizona.

The El Paso Times, according to historians, helped disband the Ku Klux Klan chapter that existed in the city in the 1920s by exposing the KKK membership of prominent El Paso residents.

 The Fourth Estate, as the news media is known, provides a critical barrier between the public and the abuses of anti-democratic officials.

The Boston Globe is to be commended for asking for solidarity within a competitive industry. There is a time to compete and there is a time to come together to safeguard the public’s right to know what its officials are up to.

Unlike in Mexico and other countries, we might not have many violent attacks against the press here. Yet, the June 28 mass shooting that killed five people at the Capital Gazette in Annapolis, Md., should serve as a reminder of the potential for harm that exists, especially in a nation with easy access to firearms.

News media outlets are composed of people who live and work in our communities. They work hard, sometimes in battlefield conditions covering wars, and contribute daily to the well-being of the nation. Their profession is not without risk.

Readers rely on media professionals for accurate news and information, a feat that is much more difficult than what is required to produce unfounded conspiracy theories parading as news in cyberspace.

An attack on the U.S. news media is an attack on all of us. It is also a threat to our democracy. Let us stand together and stand behind the facts.

Diana Washington Valdez is a former El Paso Times reporter and a recipient of the UTEP Communication Department Hicks-Middagh Award for Excellence by an outstanding alumnus.

Saturday, August 18, 2018

Quick take: Your morning daily newspaper is still a good deal

Where the morning paper arrives.
Picking up the daily newspaper in the driveway has been a morning ritual for me for more than 30 years.

Before that, the newspaper carrier used to throw the paper in my parents' yard, and I read it then.

Although I am a heavy user of the social media on the Internet, I still savor this special moment with my print companion early in the day. 

I drink coffee, eat breakfast, watch news on TV and read the paper slowly.

Hopefully, print newspapers will be around for the rest of my life. 

My favorites are the New York Times, which packed with information, for quick reads I enjoy USA Today, for politics there's nothing like The Washington Post, and for local news it's El Paso Times, where I worked for 30 years.

When I pick up a newspaper, I like to be surprised by the content. Each new page I turn to is a chance for just that - another surprising story or development.

I start with the front section, continue to more local news, read the editorials, columns and letters to the editor, look up the business section and end with the features or lifestyle section. (I am not too sports-inclined, except for coverage of the FIFA World Cup games every four years.) 

A newspaper: there is nothing else like it.

 ~ Diana Washington Valdez

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Los medios noticierios no son el enemigo del pueblo, resumen del programa hoy

Los medios noticierios no son el enemigo del pueblo

Esto fue hoy en Radio Activa 1420 AM en el programa de Miguel Angel Garcia Molina/Iniciativa Privada, con la colaboración de la periodista-analista Diana Washington Valdez

Diana Washington Valdez/Resumen

El Boston Globe: “Proponemos publicar un editorial el 16 de agosto sobre los peligros del asalto de la Administración a la prensa y pedirles a otros que se comprometan a publicar sus propios editoriales en la misma fecha."

El presidente Donald Trump en Twitter ha publicado que los medios representan “fake news”, son enemigos del pueblo americano, causan guerras y divisiones y son peligrosos y enfermos.

Estos fueron los puntos clave de nuestra colaboracion de hoy: 

El Boston Globe: “Proponemos publicar un editorial el 16 de agosto (de 2018) sobre los peligros del asalto de la Administración a la prensa y pedirles a otros que se comprometan a publicar sus propios editoriales en la misma fecha."

El presidente Donald Trump en Twitter ha publicado que los medios representan “fake news”, son enemigos del pueblo americano, causan guerras, causan divisiones y son peligrosos y enfermos.

Los medios han tenido un papel clave en la historia política de Estados Unidos.

El Paso Times y el Ku Klux Klan: Durante los años 20 del siglo pasado el diario expuso a la organización racista, nombrando quienes de las elites de El Paso, Texas, pertenecían, y esto ayudo a desmantelar el grupo que llego a tener más de 3,000 miembros.

El periodista de la red CBS Edward Murrow: El alzo la voz en 1954, arriesgando su carrera y reputación, en contra del ex-Senador Joe McCarthy, quien llevo una campaña larga de intimidación, acusando a centenares de personas de ser “comunistas” – el “enemigo” de ese entonces – que destruyo a muchos profesionistas que fueron falsamente tachados como traidores.

Los reportajes del Washington Post sobre “Watergate”: Llevaron a que Richard Nixon renunciara el puesto de presidente en 1974. El, al igual que Donal Trump, también atacaba a los medios como parte de una estrategia política.

El asesinato del periodista Don Bolles con una coche-bomba en 1976 en Phoenix, Arizona: La muerte del reportero que investigaba corrupción inspiro un proyecto periodístico, “Arizona Project”, que conto con la colaboración de casi 40 periodistas, que continuaron el trabajo de Bolles y que destaparon muchas instancias de corrupción en ese estado.

Hoy, algunos piensan que el presidente Trump está dando luz verde para que los americanos que lo apoyan ataquen a los medios establecidos, cuestionando la credibilidad de los comunicadores y sus empresas, y aceptando a fuentes de “fake news” y “fake conspiracies” de los que el presidente concede su imprimatura.

Se podían sentir con el “permiso” de llegar hasta la violencia física. El tiroteo en el diario Capital Gazette en Annapolis, Maryland (junio de 2018) que dejo a cinco muertos, nos da pausa porque sirve como ejemplo de que existe esta posibilidad.

Diana Washington Valdez es una galardonada periodista y autora y fundadora de Digie Zone Network, una red digital de noticias e informacion.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

The Resistance: What we are fighting

The Resistance

 Diana Washington Valdez/Opinion

DWV at protest/El Paso,TX
Today, we Americans - and it’s important to emphasize we are all Americans - face a new onslaught of oppression, mistreatment and persecution. And once again, as before, we must be up to the task and resist as never before.

What are we fighting?

-       Anti-immigration and racist rhetoric and practices that suggest ethnic cleansing.

-       A tyrannical federal policy known as “Zero Tolerance,” the name speaks for itself, which has resulted in crimes against humanity. The U.S. government separating children from their parents at the border and sending them to faraway centers where they have been medicated with psychotropic drugs and otherwise abused, certainly qualifies as a serious violation of human rights.

-       A White House administration with ambiguous messages that inspired national supremacists to go public with parades, run for elected office, and engage in widespread hate-filled campaigns via social media.

-       An increasing number of anti-Jewish incidents in the United States. For example, in July 2018 in El Paso, Texas, the Jewish section of the historic Concordia Cemetery was severely vandalized, prompting the FBI to investigate the desecration as a potential hate crime.

-       Across the United States, an extensive intimidation campaign is unfolding, and it is aimed at minorities. It includes reporting people of color to people and challenging their right to occupy public places. (Our modern technology makes it possible for these confrontations to be recorded and uploaded to the Internet almost as quickly as they occur.)

-       Other threats to minorities include voter-suppression schemes, attempts to frighten them from being included in the next U.S. Census, as well as the rollback of admission guidelines that enabled minorities to enroll in universities.

-       Other forms of social violence include plans to cut or dismantle the social safety nets that help to sustain millions of families. This will set back Americans financially by decades. Don’t let it happen.

We’ve reintroduced terms like “gaslight” and “dog whistle” to our public political discourse. We’re seeing social media used to weaponize divisive propaganda that reflects the kind of age-old supremacy ideology that preceded the Nazi's rise to power.

Let’s call it what it is

You may have seen, or even take part, in the so-called “Resistance” movement on Twitter, with the hash tag “#Resist.” Why do we need to be on Twitter? It is the president’s preferred social media site. His constant Tweets provide us with insights into his thinking on public issues in their rawest form and in real time.

The Resistance indeed is up and running. It began with the unprecedented Women’s March in 2016. It gained steam with young people leading gun-control efforts with the “March for Our Lives” movement; and, it must continue with our active participation in the 2018 and 2020 elections.

Any effective Resistance should be inter-generational, and ought to incorporate solidarity, mutual respect, civility, and most importantly, action. We must decide to get along, and respect each other’s ethnicity, faith and culture. The life we aspire to for ourselves and for the next generation depends on it.

* Extract of remarks at The 2018 MALCS Summer Institute Convivencia y Resistencia: Fronterizas for Social Justice, at the University of Texas at El Paso.

Right-wing groups and opposing groups are expected to rally Aug. 4, 2018 in Portland, Oregon. Right-wing and anti-racist rallies

[Diana Washington Valdez, an author and multimedia journalist, is president of The Digie Zone Network. Her views are her own. @digiezone and]

Sunday, February 18, 2018

DNA report shows we are related

Diana Washington Valdez

DNA ancestry report

(Hey, some of you out there in the world are my relatives ...)

Diana Washington Valdez
The Digie Zone Network

I received the results for one of those DNA ancestry tests ordered for me and my siblings during the recent Christmas holiday.

Several articles I’ve read recommend taking the results from these kits with a grain of salt. Their accuracy is still highly debated, but things are supposed to get better after more people contribute samples to the growing data bases of the DNA profiles.

Here are some of the findings:
Nearly 60 percent Native American. This part is connected to indigenous groups in New Mexico, including the Zuni pueblo! This caught my attention because growing up I was told by relatives that the indigenous part of me was mostly Otomi from Mexico’s interior. It would be interesting to see if the Otomi are related in great part to the Zunis.

 When I was reporting on the New Mexico Legislature in Santa Fe, one of the senior legislators asked me if I was Zuni! He said I looked a lot like the Zunis, which is only one of several indigenous groups that settled in New Mexico.

The DNA ancestry report says the Native Americans I was connected to likely migrated through Siberia to Northern North America and continued their journey southward. Several of these migrants stayed and settled along various sites of the journey.

The other major part of me is supposed to be Southern European, some distant relatives were Ashkenazi Jews (cool) and others were Neanderthals (cool). Some of these ancestors, Spanish and Portuguese, migrated to what is now Mexico. I have numerous relatives with identical segments of DNA (connoting common ancestors) that are in the United Kingdom, Sweden, California, New York, Texas and 11 other U.S. states. 

These are highlights … I’m still distilling details from the report.

The most important aspect of DNA technology is that the massive Human Genome Project already proved that we are all one human race. That means, all of us are related. Let that sink in.

Commentary: Crisis in Donald Trump's presidency extends across the nation and beyond

Donald Trump Crisis in Donald Trump's presidency extends across the nation and beyond Diana Washington Valdez/The Digie Zone  C...