Trump’s trip – Is it over?

Headline:  Trump attacks our close allies, and kisses up to Russia

I’ve said  it would appear that Trump is competing for the Lie of the Year award from Politifact.com and his only competion is himself.

There are more coming.

This is from the Tom Toles, the phenomenal cartoonist with the Washington Post.  I hope to discuss  Trump’s absurd remark of Germany being Russia’s captive state soon.  If anyone seems to kissing up to Putin, it is Donald Trump.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Tom Toles is one of the best reasons to subscribe to the Washington Post:

www.washingtonpost.com

http://www.politifact.com/

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Trump: Populism, Nationalism with overriding Pro-business focus

Populism and nationalism are not policies, but ideologies, which when rigidly applied or taken to extremes, have terrible consequences.   Populism concentrates on the problem, rather than the solution.   Nothing is every built on existing solutions.   It is more of a tear down and rebuild philosophy,  Underlying populism is a focus not on problems of society, but on government itself.   An excellent example was Trump’s campaign slogan, “Let’s drain the swamp.”   The message was that policies in the Obama administration were only what lobbyists wanted, and he was truly independent of their efforts.   The more Hillary Clinton spoke of her background in government, the more she became part of the “elite” class who were causing all the problems.

Populists exaggerate the problem and are vague on the solutions.  Trump frequently goes from an exaggeration to an outright lie.   Populists  are constantly at war with opponents who they claim will only make matters worse by continuing government policies.   Case in point was Scott Pruitt, Administrator of the EPA, taking an axe to hundreds of environmental rules, on the basis of deregulation.   He had no interest in protecting the environment.  He allowed  and in fact appointed “elitists” or fossil fuel lobbyists guide federal policies.  I guess Pruitt would defend his policies as doing what is best for the nation in helping companies explore for oil, ultimately lowering the cost of gasoline.

Nationalism says that a country does only what is in its best interest.   With Trump, it seems anytime we are part of an international organization, we have this tremendous clout to determine outcomes.   Case in point, is Trump’s verbal attack of Germany at the NATO summit.

Trump renewed the long-standing U.S. criticism of the project on Wednesday, and doubled down by tying it to the future of NATO. “Germany, as far as I’m concerned, is captive to Russia because it’s getting so much of its energy from Russia,” Trump told NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg, speaking on camera. “We have to talk about the billions and billions of dollars that’s being paid to the country we’re supposed to be protecting you against.”

Trump was referring to the Nord Stream 2.  It will take another blog to Here is the irony of nationalism – other countries can’t tell us what to do, but we can tell them how to run their countries. I will explain the Nord Stream 2 pipeline in a later blog.

The third element is a pro-business agenda.  The tax cut is a very much part of this.  It seems not much of the tax cut is being put to use to expand manufacturing.  It likely will drive up our deficits.   With trade tariffs, this will in the short term help some businesses, particularly steel and aluminium manufacturers.  It is likely to hurt US car makers, and drive up the price of cars.  In Florida,  the orange and grapefruit growers are worried about being priced out of Asian markets due to reciprocal tariffs.

So, if populism focuses only on the problem, and nationalism guides policy decisions, the end result as in the coming trade war, likely will hurt Trump’s pro-business agenda.  International cooperation will be dwindling under Trump, as he pushes America first, and above everything else.

The travel ban is an excellent example of populism and nationalism, accomplishing very little.   Certainly,  the Muslim world thinks very little of our president.

Getting tough on immigration, was rooted in populism and nationalism.   It was founded on exaggeration and frequent lies. The resulting family separation and horrific outcomes were predictable.  It was a bet that executive authority would triumph over judicial restraint.  It didn’t.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

 

 

Peter Strzok – You’re it

I notice that when people have some trash to get rid of, they tend to dump it somewhere where there is already a lot of trash.  I think Mr. Jeffries got it right:

“There is a criminal investigation into the Trump campaign and possible crimes related to the 2016 presidential election involving collusion with Russian spies to sell out our democracy and hijack the presidency,” said Representative Hakeem Jeffries, Democrat of New York. “My colleagues in the cover-up caucus don’t like that criminal investigation, and therefore, they need to identify a villain. Mr. Strzok, tag, you’re it.”

There about 1,000 summaries of the hearing on the internet, but I still like Mr. Jeffries the best.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

Making American Great again – for insurance companies

Part of the Obamacare program is to provide grants to non-profit organizations to help people obtain coverage for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act.  They are called Navigators, which I think, given the complexities of health insurance, is a wonderful name.   Their budget was slashed in 2017, after Trump was elected from 63 million to 36 million dollars.  Now only 10 million dollars will be budgeted.

It gets worse.  The navigators will help people get insurance plans which are not at all compliant with the Affordable Care Act.  The navigators should inform consumers of other options, like “association health plan” and short term, limited duration insurance  lacking in standard health services like preventative services and prescription drug coverage.

Democrat Senator Ron Wyden got it right when he stated, “This move amounts to federally funded fraud – paying groups to sell unsuspecting Americans on junk plans.”

One last element is guaranteed to open the door wide open to fraud.  The Navigator groups are not required to have a physical presence in the areas where they operate.  This means it’s going to be on internet, and over chat sessions.   It’s going to be bad.  Ron Wyden says Trump is on a sabotage crusade to wreck the Affordable Care Act.  That’s exactly right.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Breastfeeding Resolution – Additional comments

I neglected to add a few items. First, after the resolution was introduced by Russia instead of Ecuador,  it passed.  I don’t know the final vote.   Frequently, when it becomes obvious that a resolution will pass, and it is not what the US wants, countries will simply abstain.

I also neglected to include the entire Trump tweet,  which says  the US “strongly supports breastfeeding but we don’t believe women should be denied access to formula. Many women need this option because of malnutrition and poverty.”   Along with calling the New York Times article a “fake”,  this is equally dishonest.  There was nothing in the resolution denying access to formula.  Of course, this would be impossible.   WHO and other women’s health organization all recognize that when breast feeding is not possible, then formula is the right solution and women have to be able to purchase formula.

The US Health and Human Services put out a statement, saying this was a women’s choice.   Of course it is.   But unfortunately, they are often fed wrong information from advertisers.  All the World Health Organization was trying to do, is counter decades of formula promotion.

A link to the original New York Times article was not given.   It looked like it was for subscribers only,  but really NYT maintains a limit on the number of free accesses, which I guess I used up.  Here’s the original story:  NYT article.

Every journalist would like actual quotes from people attending the meeting.   NYT articles simply stated that:

The showdown over the issue was recounted by more than a dozen participants from several countries, many of whom requested anonymity because they feared retaliation from the United States. Health advocates scrambled to find another sponsor for the resolution, but at least a dozen countries, most of them poor nations in Africa and Latin America, backed off, citing fears of retaliation, according to officials from Uruguay, Mexico and the United States.“We were astonished, appalled and also saddened,” said Patti Rundall, the policy director of the British advocacy group Baby Milk Action, who has attended meetings of the assembly, the decision-making body of the World Health Organization, since the late 1980s.

Health and Human Services responded as follows:

“We recognize not all women are able to breast-feed for a variety of reasons. These women should have the choice and access to alternatives for the health of their babies, and not be stigmatized for the ways in which they are able to do so.” The spokesman asked to remain anonymous in order to speak more freely.

Again, this misinformation about choice and access.  It wasn’t part of the WHO  resolution.   Of course, HHS isn’t about to issue a statement that perhaps all the millions of dollars of political donations could be impacted, if Trump supported the breastfeeding resolution.

I am very glad we have journalists like Adam Jacobs,  with the New York Times, who provide accurate honest reporting.   I really put facts first.

Both Bush and Obama supported the World Health Organizations efforts in breastfeeding as the preferred feeding at least in the first 6 months.  If fact,  George W. Bush was a very strong advocate, as per the “failing fake NYT:

Twelve years ago, during the George W. Bush administration, the Department of Health and Human Services promoted breast-feeding in a public health campaign that suggested that failing to breast-feed would be as bad for your baby as riding a mechanical bull while pregnant. A senior scientific adviser to the Office on Women’s Health in the department at that time said that it was risky not to breast-feed, and compared not breast-feeding to smoking during pregnancy.

The breastfeeding incident would not be so bad, if the Trump administration just backed off, and apologized to Ecuador for their heavy handed approach.  It is hardly Trump’s style.  And his combination of threats and demands hasn’t been working in many areas.  Hillary Clinton’s campaign slogan of “Stronger Together”  can be restated as “Weaker apart” – case in point being the recent NATO summit, or the NAFTA negotiations, or trade war with China.

The swamp has been referred to by Donald Trump as the cozy relation of business lobbyists to government.  The main targets of industry are those that make regulations,  the Environmental Protection Agency,  Department of Interior (oil drilling leases), Department of Energy,  Consumer Finance and Protection Bureau, and of course,  Health and Human Services. It’s filling up fast, particularly at the EPA.

I think we will hear more about HHS in this month.  HHS is now defying the court ordered re-uniting of illegal immigrant parents with  children.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Breastfeeding resolution

Truly disgraceful is a term Trump uses whenever the Deputy  Attorney General Rosenstein or Special Counsel Mueller begins investigating friends and Trump campaign officials of breaking the law.  It isn’t.  It’s good to see the laws of our country  applied equally.  The Trump foundation can be investigated just as thoroughly as the Clinton foundation.

What was truly sad, and disgraced our country is the action taken by the US at the World Health Organization.  I came close to crying when I read it.   Not fake news, Donald Trump.   Real shameful action by the US to help US companies producing baby formula to the detriment of their baby’s immune system.

Excellent research,  much of it by US scientists in close collaboration with other scientists around the world, has resulted in a much better understanding of the immune system, and how to keep us disease resistant, beginning at age 0 with mother’s milk.   I think there isn’t a mother in the world  who doesn’t want the best health for her infant.  But there is a tremendous amount of advertising which has been going on for decades, telling new moms that formula is better in general.

This is the USA Today’s story:

No country in the world supports breastfeeding moms like they should, according to a new report released Tuesday by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF).  WHO and UNICEF recommend mothers breastfeed infants within the first hour of birth, exclusively for six months and continue breastfeeding, while adding complementary foods, until the child is at least 2-years-old. Breastfeeding has a host of health benefits, most notably improving a baby’s immunity.   “Breastmilk works like a baby’s first vaccine, protecting infants from potentially deadly diseases and giving them all the nourishment they need to survive and thrive,” Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of WHO, said in a release.

According to Dr. Prakash Sunder Shrestha, President of the Nepal Breastfeeding Promotion Forum, “The persistent failure of governments to invest significantly in breastfeeding is hard to
comprehend. Many thousands of babies die each year because they did not enjoy the benefit of breastfeeding and multiple thousands more grow up deprived of the many wonders of this special gift of god of nature and of the mother.

The NYT reports:

,” A resolution to encourage breast-feeding was expected to be approved quickly and easily by hundreds of government delegates who gathered this spring in Geneva for the United Nations-affiliated World Health Assembly…  the US delegation, embracing the interests of infant formula manufacturers, upend the deliberations.”

Ecuador was ready to sponsor the resolution. The US objected to two key passages, calling on countries to “protect, promote and support breastfeeding”  and another passage to restrict the promotion of food products which many experts say have a deleterious effects on children.  Another words,  remove any significant recommended actions.

This was crazy and really sad.    The US did not negotiate with Ecuador; it threaten them with a cut off of all military and foreign aid if Ecuador did not remove these key statements.   Ecuador refused to cave in to US demands, but did not want to introduce the resolution.  It got ugly:

The showdown over the issue was recounted by more than a dozen participants from several countries, many of whom requested anonymity because they feared retaliation from the US.  Health advocates scrambled to find another sponsor for the resolution, but at least a dozen countries, most of them poor nations in Africa and Latin America, backed off, citing fears of retaliation according to officials from Uruguay, Mexico and the US.

Finally, Russia came to the rescue, introducing the resolution to the World Health Assembly.

Of course, Donald Trump tweeted that none of this was true.

“The failing NY Times Fake News story today about breast feeding must be called out.” (See PS)

The Trump administration and its  support for business profits above everything, including keeping babies healthy, which needs to be called out.   Poorer  countries have another problem – contaminated water is often mixed with the formula.   Mothers sometimes dilute the formula to make it last longer- resulting in malnutrition.   Profits from baby’s formula and snacks totaled 71 billion dollars.  There’s millions of dollars ready to support the formula makers, and nothing there to help support the mothers, particular from the HHS.

Read the links, then decide who should be “called out.”

Stay tuned,

Dave

PS:  (7/12/18):  I didn’t include the full Trump tweet, which stated: US “strongly supports breastfeeding but we don’t believe women should be denied access to formula. Many women need this option because of malnutrition and poverty.”    Still dishonest, because there was nothing in this resolution denying access to formula.

See Reuter’s article:

https://www.theatlantic.com/health/archive/2018/07/the-epic-battle-between-breast-milk-and-infant-formula-companies/564782/

https://www.bupaglobal.com/en/your-wellbeing/family-life/breastfeeding-around-the-world

 

 

oops

The prior post wasn’t done – and it went out by mistake.  An updated version of Bluster, Brag and Diplomacy is available on my website.   Thanks and I’ll be more careful in the future.

Bluster, brag and diplomacy

“In the world of diplomacy, some things are better left unsaid.”, Lincoln Chafee

I was glad there was a summit between North Korea’s President Kim Jung-un and Donald Trump.   They signed an agreement to work towards “denuclearization” of the Korean peninsula.  That’s a positive step forward.   North Korea released 3 American prisoners prior to the summit.  More good news.

Donald Trump went to Grand Falls, Montana fora “Make American Great Again” rally.  Notably absent from Trump’s entourage was Ryan Zinke,  Secretary of the Interior, who served in Congress representing Montana.  Known as Scott Pruitt’s evil twin,  he immediately cosied up to the fossil fuel industry.   Like Pruitt, he is under investigation by the Office of Inspector General for his spending. See link below.

Trump was right on message,  slammed the media in general as being dishonest and fake. (note, last I looked, Trump statements were rated “true” about 5% of the time according to Politico).   He endorse US senator candidate Matt Rosendale,  and bashed his opponent, current Senator Jon Tester.  Tester had discovered that the President’s nominee for the VA Secretary Ronnie Jackson,  was known as the “candy man” for over prescribing medications and there was evidence that Jackson was drinking on the job.   Hearings were postponed and then cancelled as Trump withdrew the nomination.

No mention of Scott Pruitt, who had just moments before, was forced  to resign amid a slew of scandals.  It would explain why Ryan Zinke,  Secretary of Interior,  wasn’t there.

Since Mike Pompeo was in North Korea,  it was time for Trump to start bragging at he got the prisoners free without spending 1.8 billion dollars like Obama had done, and the peace treaty with North Korea.  All bluster and brag – and on top of it untrue.

This  was an old Republican allegation – and a false claim right  from the get-go.  A payment of 400 million dollars was made to Iran.  It wasn’t ransom, but Iran’s money which we had frozen, after the overthrow of the Shah of Iran. in 1979.   Iran’s claim was valid, and they were chasing after the US in World Court.   They wanted 10 billion from the US.  We couldn’t really keep holding on to their money. What we did, was make the payment only after Iran had released American prisoners.   There was no bargaining for prisoners, but the timing looked bad. See links below.

Then Trump launched into how the North Korea problem was a slam dunk because he was the man in charge.   It was this very old, muy macho stunt, with the US Space Force, which I guess is supposed to intimidate people around the globe  every time they look up at the sky.

Trump:  “But we signed a wonderful paper saying they’re going to denuclearize their whole thing. It’s going to all happen.”

Per CNN – see link below:  This statement was made yesterday, in a 2020 campaign rally.   Crowds loved it. Trump’s assertion that North Korea has agreed to denuclearize and that “it’s going to all happen” is a massive overstatement of the facts. What Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un signed in Singapore last month was a sort of outline of an agreement. There was nothing binding in it. And this week we got word that satellites have picked up what looks to be more construction at a ballistic missile site in North Korea. So yeah, this version of the North Korea story via Trump misses some major points.

Then came Mike Pompeo claim that the meetings were “productive.”   The reason why Kim Jong Un signed the agreement with Trump was  because he considers South Korea to be a nuclear power, due to the US bases in South Korea, and that we have nuclear weapons ready to defend South Korea.  Of course, we’re not going to trade our bases for nuclear disarmament in the North.  But of course,  to make the summit look like a success for both leaders, the word “denuclearization”  was left undefined.

North Korea had had enough.   This meeting was not productive.  North Korea charged that the US was pushing a “unilateral and gangster-like demand for denuclearization”  and called Pompeo’s remarks, “deeply regrettable.”

Politics is one thing,  diplomacy another.   His bragging about how great a negotiator is, may in the end, cause the talks to fail.

 But, if there is one take away from the Grand Falls, Montana rally,  it is that Donald Trump is trying to set some kind of Guinness book of records, for the most lies in less than an hour.  And his only competition is himself.

Stay tuned,
Dave

https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/obama-bribed-iran-400-million-to-release-u-s-prisoners/

http://time.com/4441046/400-million-iran-hostage-history/

Scott Pruitt is out – no time to celebrate

This land is your land, this land is my land
From the California to the New York island
From the Redwood Forest, to the gulf stream waters
This land was made for you and me

Beautiful words by Woody Guthrie.   Donald Trump has a different definition of “you and me.”

Anyone who believes the Environmental Protection Agency  will change its course, now that Scott Pruitt is out, better think again.  It’s going to get worse under former coal industry lobbyist Andrew Wheeler.   The Clean Air and Clean Water Acts provide the necessary authority to establish standards and preserve the environment.  But they don’t go into particulars.   This is left to the rules and regulations of the EPA.   The laws give the EPA authority to enforce their rules, but exactly how vigorously rules are enforced is up to the EPA.

Trump’s agenda is simply to eliminate everything done by Obama.   But, by the time the destruction is done, he’ll roll back rules dating back to the Nixon administration.  Probably the single most harmful one, is the plan rollback car emission standards.   This hurts most people who live in urban areas, the elderly and health impaired individuals.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Andrew Wheeler,  the fossil fuels lobbyist now making (undoing) policies:

https://www.npr.org/2018/07/06/626525274/get-to-know-andrew-wheeler-ex-coal-lobbyist-with-inside-track-to-lead-epa

This land is made for Exxon,  Murray Coal and Dow Chemical.

See link below (it has been updated to July 2018):

 

 

Trade Wars – What doesn’t work

“Trade wars are good, and easy to win”  Donald Trump March 2, 2018 tweet

Trump would like to pressure China into respecting intellectual property.  A lot of folks who understand free trade say this is fair and right.   Trade wars using tariffs don’t work.  In fact, the outcomes are so absolutely predictable, the other country will retaliate.  We have a 34 billion dollar tariff against China, so they impose equal tariffs against us.   Their and our exporters get hurt.  Does any country gain leverage on trade disputes by first imposing tariffs?   What tariffs have done is to end trade discussions between countries.   Policy changes can’t proceed while trade wars are in progress.   So, the idea of waging war and peace doesn’t work.  And leverage would work if one country is feeling real pain and the other is not.  But, this isn’t the case, and our pain is very apparent to voters.  China doesn’t have voters, so their tolerance is as high as the leaders want to go.

Really dumb.

Stay tuned,

Dave

PS.  I’m working on another blog called Presidential lies and myths.    Trump’s tweet on trade wars is a myth and it’s a whopper.   Lies usually have some false statistic associated with them, most notably with immigration and the economy.

 

 

 

 

World Cup Soccer

If you’ve been missing your loved one for the past week or so, because he/she said they were going to a friend’s house to watch the game, I have written this blog for you.

Futbol, football, soccer – it is the world’s sport.   The word goal is pronounced G O O O O O O L. There are millions of fanatic fans of this sport.  They paint their faces, carry all kinds of annoying “musical” instruments, and scream at television sets across the globe.  It’s great.

The World Cup began with teams from 32 countries, at least one representative from each continent (well except Antarctica).   The first series of games (round of 16)  eliminated half the countries using a point system.   Out of the game are a slew of countries which were underdogs:  Australia, Japan, Saudi Arabia, Senegal  and Nigeria. If Nigeria had won, all 51 countries in Africa would celebrate for weeks.  Africa will celebrate anyway.   I thought Mexico would enter the semi-finals.

Now we are in the quarter finals. with games as follows:  July 6,  Uruguay x France  (morning) ,  Brazil x Belgium (afternoon),  July 7: Sweden x England (morning),  Russia v. Croatia (afternoon).   The morning and afternoon stuff is just for those in my time zone (Eastern US).  Others likely will have to tape the first game.

So, after Friday, we will know the 4 teams headed for the semi-finals.  Who does the world want to win?  I think Brazil and Uruguay.   And Croatia, because they seem to be happy and nobody knows where this country is  (except its in Eastern Europe) or their language. And Sweden because nobody expects them to win.  What country does the world not want to win?   I think Russia.  It’s because of mean spirited Putin.  But the Russians definitely know how to  party and they are very friendly.  Just, they aren’t a third world country.  My guess is Belgium v. Brazil for the finals.  Personally, I’m rooting for Brazil.   I can always update this post after the cup is over, to show how brilliant I was at picking the winner.

On July 15, 2018,  the final match takes place starting at 11:00 am.  The FIFA website http://www.fifa.com is excellent on details.

Your loved ones may re-appear sometime after this.  If not, then maybe they left for other reasons or are still hung over.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

 

Replacing Justice Kennedy

There’s battle lines being drawn
Nobody’s right if everybody’s wrong
Young people speaking their minds
Getting so much resistance from behind

Buffalo Springfield,  1966

They were talking about civil rights marches, and protests against the Vietnam war.   It wasn’t about the changes in the Supreme Court.  This might be a bit harsh, but voters in 2016, who did not want a Supreme Court run be conservatives, should have voted for Hillary Clinton.  Trump gets to chose who he wants and they will be highly regarded judges, according to most sources.   The Democrats will have no wiggle room to suggest that his nominee is not qualified to be a Supreme Court judge.

The four top names are,  Amy Coney Barrett,  Thomas Hardiman,  Brett Kavanaugh and Amul Thapar,  all of whom have the stamp of approval of conservative legal organizations, like the Federalists.   Kennedy sided with the progressive judges in Planned Parenthood v. Casey (1992), upholding Roe v.  Wade, the famous case which legalized abortion.   Kennedy wrote the majority opinion, legalizing same sex marriages (Obergefell v. Hodges, 2015).   But,  Kennedy also sided with the conservatives when he wrote Citizens United v. FEC (2010) which through the free speech rights of corporations, allowed for massive campaign spending by corporations in the 2016 election.

Justice Kennedy was often a key vote.   In this last term,  on the close votes, he seemed more incline to agree with conservatives, including the most recent case which decided that Trump’s travel ban (note Travel Ban III) was within his authority and legal.

Judge Kennedy was 81 years old.  Could more retirements be announced?  The oldest judges, Ruth Ginsburg, 85 years old,  and Stephen Breyer, 79 years old,  still seem pretty spry.    They are the more liberal judges.

Trump wants a young Judge, who is espouses a conservative philosophy, suitable to the Republicans and likely will not change once he is on the court.   For this reason,  I believe the next Supreme Court nominee will be Brett Kavanaugh.

Stay tuned,

Dave

 

 

 

Peter Strzok

Most of  Peter Strzok professional career has been spent working for the FBI.  His primary mistake was sending text message to Lisa Page, Special Counsel to the FBI  using a cell phone issued by the FBI.  Their phone messages were discovered, and Peter Strzok was taken off the Mueller investigation.   There were about 7,000 text messages between Page and Strzok and a small fraction of these emails had disparaging comments about Trump.

The Inspector General made a thorough investigation of the Hillary email scandal, and found no bias on the part of Peter Strzok.    Of course Strzok and Page were trying to keep their affair a secret.  The comments were meant to be part of a very  private conversation.    With the release of the text messages, it has become the most public affair ever, and great fodder for Fox News.

Unfortunately,  Strzok’s days at the FBI are probably numbered.  He is likely an excellent FBI investigator, and did nothing wrong in both the email scandal and the Russian probe.    But, the obvious political heat makes him a hot potato.

He is scheduled to testify on Wednesday in a closed session of the House Intelligence Committee, whose chairman Devin Nunes has been in lockstep with Trump.  This committee likely leaked all of Strzok’s text messages before the DOJ decided to release them.

Stay tuned,

Dave

Links:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peter_Strzok

 

Rob Rogers – Cartoonist, Fired for attacking Donald Trump

Ego deflating political humor is good, but with Rob Rogers, it is superb.   With Trump, his ego had expanded slightly larger than a Goodyear blimp, so the target was so much out in front.  Hitting it was no problem, but with Rob Rogers, it was his aim that was so perfect.

See links:

http://robrogers.com/category/archive/

There’s several pages of cartoons, the link to page through them is at the top of each page.

http://robrogers.com/2018/06/19/support-rob-on-patreon/

FBI Honesty and Integrity

I’ve been working my way through the 500 pages of the Inspector General report, and at the same time, listening to FBI Christopher Wray and the Inspector General Michael Horowitz in the congressional hearing.   Occasionally, I listen to Fox News nonsense, to hear Lou Dobbs and Ed Rollins tell me what a horrible state we are in with subversive Democrats pulling the strings, operating in some deep state cabal.

Cabal:   a secret political clique or faction. “a cabal of dissidents” synonyms: clique, faction, coterie, cell, sect, junta, camarilla;

We were doing just fine with James Comey, as Director of the FBI, and Christopher Wray is also very capable. I’ve included Director Wray’s biography.   I think Trump believed he could change the course of the Russian investigation with Comey, and was upset when this wasn’t working.  He won’t have any better success with Wray and can’t afford to fire Wray.

The chief complaint against FBI Director Comey was excessive transparency.  His disclosure to Congress in October 2016  of reopening the email scandal likely  hurt Hillary Clinton’s chances of being elected.   Director Wray spoke about the need for balancing  two essential competing requirements – the need to keep the Congress’s oversight committees informed on FBI work in general, and the need to keep FBI sources and methods confidential during an ongoing investigation.   I call this the simultaneous need for transparency and opaqueness.   At some point, he will be accused of concealment of vital information sought by Congress.  It’s all part of the job.

Finally,  the texting stuff between FBI Special Counsel Lisa Page and FBI agent Peter Strzok.    In hindsight,  the chief crime in all this, was their decision to use FBI issued cell phones to carry on personal conversations.   They did this because they were in a relation and did not want their spouses to know.   In one exchange on Aug. 8, 2016, according to the IG report, Page wrote, “[Trump’s] not ever going to become president, right? Right?!” Strzok’s response: “No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.”    It should be remembered this was supposed to be a personal  private conversation, and joking, exaggeration  or excessive chutzpah are allowed.   The inspector general conducted over 100 interviews,  and ultimately cleared Page and Strzok of any political bias in the decisions they were involved in.

Revealing the personal chatter between these two individuals gets pretty silly at some point.  It was a relationship for god sake- they were sharing intimate secrets and passions.    Peter Strzok by August 2016,  had potentially damning information on Trump’s campaign officials, but it was complicated and highly circumstantial.   If he wanted to, he could have done severe damage to Trump’s campaign.    He and everyone at the FBI kept a tight lid on what they knew at the time.   Strzok chose opaqueness,  as any other decision would compromise his professionalism at the FBI.  Yet, partisan Republican are going after Strzok  big time, because he was part of the Mueller investigation, and the only one they have some dirt on.   He is the Director of Human Resources at the FBI, so there is nothing in his current work they can attack.

Everyone in the FBI is entitled to personal political opinions.  They can love or hate the current or future president.   But, what will not be repeated for a long time, is personal conversations on government issued cell phones.   There is spying on employees at work in private businesses, and cellphones become much more of a liability than an asset.

Director Comey would have been blasted by Republicans for concealment of critical information, had he not gone public with his announcement in July 2016,   Loretta Lynch was also routinely attacked by Fox News and conservatives in Congress in 2016, for what appeared to be a rubber stamp of Comey’s clearing Clinton of wrongdoing.   There wasn’t a winning option in all of this.

Trump has gone off into another orbit on this, saying the IG report exonerates him of firing Comey and that Comey’s conduct was criminal.  Wrong on both accounts.  The firing of Comey was pretty close to obstruction of justice, as Trump was asking for Comey’s loyalty in the investigation of Michael Flynn.   That’s why Comey was fired and not his excessive transparency in July 2016.

What the IG didn’t find is likely why the Democrats are embracing the report.   The IG found no evidence that the political bias of FBI agents had any role in the investigation.   The email investigation was done thoroughly by the FBI.

Bottom line:  All evidence points to an honest and hardworking FBI in 2016, 2017 and we still have one today.

Stay tuned,

Dave

See link below:

Factcheck.org: Trump Misleads on IG Report

Christopher Wray

Director Wray – Wikipedia:

Wray joined the government in 1997 as an Assistant United States Attorney for the Northern District of Georgia. In 2001, he moved to the Justice Department as Associate Deputy Attorney General and Principal Associate Deputy Attorney General.[10]

On June 9, 2003, President George W. Bush nominated Wray to be the 33rd Assistant Attorney General in charge of the Criminal Division of the Justice Department. Wray was unanimously confirmed by the Senate on September 11, 2003.[11][12][13] Wray was Assistant Attorney General from 2003 to 2005, working under Deputy Attorney General James Comey. While heading the Criminal Division, Wray oversaw prominent fraud investigations, including Enron.[10][14] In March 2005, Wray announced that he would resign from his post.[15] His last day at the Justice Department was on May 17, 2005.[citation needed]

In 2005, Wray received the Edmund J. Randolph Award, the Justice Department’s highest award for public service and leadership.