Weekly Wilson - Blog of Author Connie C. Wilson

Welcome to WeeklyWilson.com, where author/film critic Connie (Corcoran) Wilson avoids totally losing her marbles in semi-retirement by writing about film (see the Chicago Film Festival reviews and SXSW), politics and books—-her own books and those of other people. You'll also find her diverging frequently to share humorous (or not-so-humorous) anecdotes and concerns. Try it! You'll like it!

Category: Editorial Page 2 of 15

“Meet the Press:” Mueller’s Report; Home-Grown Terrorist; Florida Amendment 4

If Mueller is going to have more indictments, they would come before the report. “They’d be returned, if not revealed,”
said one of the talking heads on Sunday morning’s “Meet the Press” on February 24, 2019.

Q: Would we see the Russian collusion charge revealed? (From Chuck Todd)

A:  “Mueller has indicted Roger Stone for conspiring with WikiLeaks, which is a Russian organization”. Solomon Wisenberg, former special counsel, says  “Everyone should be concerned about and be worried about” the obstruction of justice charge. [Does obstruction of justice mean the same thing as collusion? “These are crucial crimes because they delay the revelation of the truth.”] 

A:  Wisenberg: “It’s a big mystery why some of the people did lie and we should absolutely be concerned about it.”

“At the conclusion of the Special Counsel’s work, he or she shall provide the Attorney General with a confidential report….” Chuck Todd: “Does this mean the public will never see it?”

A:  “The overall intent of the regulation is public confidence in the investigation and any sort of suppression will flunk the test.”

The charging of the Mueller investigation said:

“The A.G. will notify the Chairman and ranking minority member of the House with an explanation…”

Wisenberg: “Barr has great discretion over what he reveals. How will Mueller reveal his report to Barr? He can do it in a way that makes it easier for Barr to release it to the public.”

Neal Katyal, former acting solicitor general: “We’re in a different world than when those regulations (from the Clinton impeachment hearings under Ken Starr) were created. There will be a lot more pressure on Mueller to give all of the information to Congress.”

Chuck Todd notes that the President will get to read the report first. 

The catch, they say, is whether the president will order someone to do something about the Mueller report. “That is when things would get interesting. The obstruction of justice is of great consequence to anyone, but especially when committed by the Chief Executive of our land, the President.” (Asa Hutchinson R/Ar of Kentucky, now the Governor of Arkansas said this in 1999 when commenting on the Kenneth Starr investigation into Bill Clinton.) Hutchinson says it is a very serious charge. “The American public look at any charge against the president of the United States with great scrutiny, as they should…This one is less than 2 years of time, where the investigation of President Clinton took 4 years under Kenneth Starr.”

Q:  What are you looking for in this report?

Q/A:  Jim Himes (D/CT): “I’m looking for a report that gets to the truth and gets out there. More than anything else, the question of the Russian interference and the possibility of collusion and obstruction has twisted our politics into something unrecognizable. The way to end that is to get the truth out there. First and foremost, given that we’ve been on the edge of our seats for the past 2 years, everyone needs to know what happened and then we’ll be ready to take it further.”

Hutchinson: “You have to have conversations in a bi-partisan way in the timing of what should be revealed. This could simply be a report that does not list any offenses against the president of the United States. Let’s communicate. Let’s see if that can be done in a bi-partisan way.” (Jim Himes expressed doubt that there would be much bi-partisanship in the current political climate).

Chuck Todd: Q:  “Is there anything that can be done (to make it more bi-partisan)?

A:  Jim Hines, D/CT: “One answer is that Devin Nunes is no longer the head of the investigative committee. I sort of chuckle at Governor Hutchinson’s optimism, because today, facts are disputed. Now, each and every fact is disputed. I point out that we’re going to get a sort of partisan warping of our system because there will be legislation before the House saying that his decision to spend money on his border wall is not constitutional. I suspect that the GOP are going to vote that Trump is not going to be held accountable for going around the Congress to get money for his wall.”

Jim Hines:  “There’s always some question about whether Michael Cohen feared retribution for his testimony.”

Chuck Todd: “The House GOP seems to be rigging the rules to keep the president from having a challenge in 2020.”

Asa Hutchinson (R/AR):  “Obviously, in our system of democracy, anyone is free to make a challenge. It will be very difficult for someone to make a successful challenge against President Trump. You’re always going to have a debate…It’s about what he has accomplished.”

“You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows and you don’t need a special report to know what kind of president Trump is.” (David Graham)

Talking heads: It’s (the Mueller Report) a political document and a historical document. “We have to have a long view of the reckoning that we have to take after this administration is over.” (Al Cardenas, Republican strategist): “A lot of people who are bad people around the President of the United States have been indicted…I don’t feel the President will be indicted…I think the Mueller Report will leave a lot of unfinished business. This will be a setting of the bar.”

How serious is obstruction of justice to Congress (Andrea Mitchell): “We have let people normalize criminal and abnormal behavior. If this is a witch hunt, they found a coven—37, so far. Going forward in 202 we do not know what impulses in social media are being programmed from Moscow. I’m now so suspicious of anything we’re reading.”

Lanhee Chen, Republican strategist – “Clearly the president not directly saying, ‘I look forward to the report’ is telling. I think it’s a fairly simply political calculus.”

Chuck Todd: “Will Democrats regret it if they DON’T open an impeachment investigation?” (Many now regret not standing up to Mitch McConnell over Obama’s right to name a Supreme Court Justice.)

Talking Heads, A:  “These are people who took an oath to the Constitution.” (Implied: yes there must be an impeachment).

Andrea  Mitchell: “Mueller’s reputation in the country seems impeccable. It will not go well with the Republicans if they attempt to impugn him. I’m curious how the Attorney General will handle the Mueller Report.”

COAST GUARD HOME-GROWN TERRORIST

It was 72 hours before the public learned of the Coast Guard officer who had stockpiled weapons since 2017 and planned to massacre as many people as possible, especially Democratic leadership and various political commentators. The head of Homeland Security, commenting, said he was glad that they found this individual’s writings on his Homeland Security computer.

Todd: “How did someone with this ideology get into the Coast Guard and stay in the Coast Guard and not get caught doing things like this at his work computer?”

A:  (Jeh Johnson, former Head of Homeland Security): “We don’t probe into people’s political leanings. We need to do a better job of rooting out people with extremist leanings that could lead to terrorist actions.” In 2016, the budget was $21 million, whereas in 2018 the budget has been reduced to $8 million to ferret out plots like this. (Fewer employees, less money).In 2017 , there were 65 incidents totalling 95 deaths. Muslim extremists committed just 7 attacks. “Very definitely there is a rise in the level of extremists and violent actions directed towards individuals perceived to be in positions of power: “the list.” “The levels of hatred and violence that we see are going up. It’s got to start at the top. Leaders lead. We’ve got to see it start at the top. Individuals like the Coast Guard individual become emboldened and may even feel entitled. It is incumbent to raise the levels of our political discourse.”

THE BORDER WALL

Q:  Is a wall at the border a national emergency? (Chuck Todd)

A:  Jeh Johnson, former head of Homeland Security: “I do not believe it was appropriate for the President to evoke the National Emergency statute. Better to work with Congress and collectively come to a decision.”

FLORIDA AMENDMENT

Florida: Amendment 4  returning voters’ rights to convicted felons who have served their time; the end result is that 1.4 voters could be added to the rolls. Many are African American. 52% of those who had lost their voting rights were Democrats and 14% were Republican. Democrats could see a net gain of voters. Amendment 4 has the potential to be a game-changer in Florida. Not happening yet as newly enrolled voters were nearly evenly split between the GOP and Democrats, so far.

 

Beto O’Rourke Speaks Out (Con’t., The End)

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Texas Legislature Image, Beto O’Rourke

(From Beto O’Rourke, on the border wall controversy)

But we still have a choice.  In this democracy, if, in fact, the people are the government and the government is the people, we still have a chance to prove it.

We can decide that we’ll get past the lies and fear, focus on the facts and human lives in our midst, and do the right thing.  The end goal is a stronger, safer, more successful country.  Critical to achieving that goal is having immigration, security and bilateral policies that match reality and our values.

  1.  Extend citizenship to the more than 1,000,000 Dreamers in this country.  Not only those who are in our classrooms, but those who are teaching in our classrooms, those who are keeping our country safe around the world tonight in the military; those who contribute more to our communities than they’ll ever take.
  2. Give permanent legal protection and a path to citizenship to their parents, the original Dreamers.
  3. Bring millions more out of the shadows and onto a path to citizenship by ensuring that they register with the government and gain status to legally work, pay taxes and contribute even more to our country’s success.
  4. Make us safer and more secure.  Significantly reduce illegal drug trafficking and stop human trafficking by investing in infrastructure, technology and personnel at our ports of entry.  The ports that connect us with Mexico are where the vast majority of everything and everyone that ever comes into our country crosses.
  5. Increase the visa caps so that we match our opportunities and needs (for work, for education, for investment, for innovation, for family reunification) to the number of people we allow into this country.  Ensure that those who want to work in jobs that we can’t fill can legally come here and legally return to their home country.
  6. Fully accept our opportunity and responsibility under our asylum laws to welcome those whose own governments can no longer protect them, including women fleeing abusive relationships.
  7. Address visa overstays (which account for the majority of undocumented immigration) through better tracking of and notification to visa holders (a first step could be text message reminders) and fully harmonizing our entry/exit systems with Mexico’s and Canada’s (when a visa holder exits the U.S. and enters Mexico, we will then know that they have left the U.S. Currently, if they leave through a land port of entry, we literally haveno clue if they are still here or have returned to their country of origin.
  8. Make Latin America and specifically Central America a top foreign policy priority. Stop relegating it to second-tier status. Invest the time, talent and resources to assist in the development of the domestic institutions that will allow these countries to thrive and offer their citizens protection and economic opportunity.  It is the long long-term solution to the number of asylum seekers and refugees coming to this country.
  9. End the global war on drugs.  An imprisonment adn interdiction-first approach has not worked, has accelerated the erosion of civil society in much of Latin American and has militarized a public health issue to the detriment of all concerned.
  10. Speak with respect and dignity when referring to our fellow human beings who happen to be immigrants and asylum seekers, who, in so many cases, are doing exactly what we would do if presented with the same threats and opportunities.  No more “invasions,” “animals,” “rapists and criminals,” “floods,” “crisis”—dehumanizing rhetoric leads to dehumanizing policies.  We cannot sacrifice our humanity in the name of security or we risk losing both.

Last week we welcomed the President of the United States to one of the safest cities in the United States.  Safe not because of walls and not in spite of the fact that we are a city of immigrants.  Safe because we are a city of immigrants and because we treat each other with dignity and respect.  A city that has the opportunity to lead on the most important issues before us, out of experience, out of compassion and out of a fierce determination to see this country live its ideals and rise to its full potential.

We can learn from the errors of our past, have the courage to do what’s right while we still have the chance, and ensure that the President doesn’t commit this country to making mistakes from which we may never recover.

It’s up to us.

Beto O’Rourke

(Received on 2/19/2019 via e-mail)

Beto O’Rourke Speaks Out (Day #3)

Beto O’Rourke’s piece about the border wall, mailed out from Beto O’Rourke headquarters. As someone who has captured a great deal of interest from the general public in his run against Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, it is safe to say that we haven’t heard the last of Beto O’Rourke.

“After terror attacks in the 1990s and in 2001, the Mexican immigrant was a ready scapegoat for politicians, and the intensity and brutality of enforcement and deterrence measures increased.  In the face of terrorism that originated in Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia, the United States chose to conflate the war on terror with immigration from Mexico and Latin America.

With the passage of the Patriot Act of 2001 the number of deportations skyrocketed, with nearly 400,000 sent back to their country of origin in 2009 alone.  Not one of the 9/11 terrorists entered through Mexico—and yet Mexicans bore the brunt of this country’s immigration response to the terror attacks.  Last year, the State Department’s Bureau of Counter-terrorism found that “there are no known international terrorist organizations operating in Mexico, no evidence that any terrorist group has targeted U.S. citizens in Mexican territory, and no credible information that any member of a terrorist group has traveled through Mexico to gain access to the United States.”

This year’s report found much the same thing.  “There was no credible evidence indicating that international terrorist groups have established bases in Mexico, worked with Mexican drug cartels, or sent operatives via Mexico into the United States.”

In addition, walls and fences authorized by the Secure Fence Act of 2006 pushed migration flows to ever more treacherous stretches of the U.S.-Mexico border.  More than 4,500 human beings died while crossing the border from 2006 to 2017.

Far too many of these deaths were children.”

Beto O’Rourke Speaks Out (Con’t, #2)

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                                        Beto O’Rourke, Wikipedia

Here’s why the illegal immigration population grew: as we made it harder for people to cross into the United States, we made it less likely that, once here, they would attempt to go back to their home country.  Fearing an increasingly militarized border, circular patterns of migration became linear, with immigrants choosing to remain in the U.S., many of them ultimately joined by family members from their home country.

This government-created condition continued to feed upon itself:

“The sustained accelerating accumulation of anti-immigrant legislation and enforcement operation produced a massive increase in border apprehensions after the late 1970s, when the underlying flow of migrants had actually leveled off.  For any given number of undocumented entry attempts, more restrictive legislation and more stringent enforcement operations generated more apprehensions, which politicians and bureaucrats could then use to inflame public opinion, which led to more conservatism and voter demands for even stricter laws and more enforcement operations, which generated more apprehensions, thus bringing the process full circle.

In short, the rise of illegal migration, its framing as a threat to the nation, and the resulting conservative reaction set off a self-feeding chain reaction of enforcement that generated more apprehensions, even though the flow of undocumented migrants had stabilized in the late 1970s and actually dropped during the late 1980s and early 1990s.”

This would only get worse.

(Beto O’Rourke Speaks Out, Continued, Day 2)

Beto O’Rourke Speaks Out

Beto O’Rourke photo from his Facebook page.

Beto O’Rourke reached out via an e-mail and, since I’ll be traveling for the Oscar weekend, I’m going to break it up into smaller sections and share it with those of you who have, perhaps, not received it. I probably received it because I contributed to his campaign against Ted Cruz; I am in Texas. We are likely to hear a lot more about Beto O’Rourke, I think, so hear him out, in smaller segments. Thanks!

Connie:

The President came to El Paso last week.  He promised a wall and repeated his lies about the dangers that immigrants pose.  With El Paso as the backdrop, he claimed that this city of immigrants was dangerous before a border fence was built here in 2008. (*Untrue, El Paso was named the nation’s 2nd safest city after San Jose, California in one poll).

El Paso was one of the safest communities in the United States before the fence was built here. The president said the wall saves lives. In fact, walls push desperate families to cross in ever more hostile terrain, insuring greater suffering and more deaths.  He spoke about immigrants and crime, when immigrants commit crimes at a lower rate than Americans born here. It’s worth thinking about how we got to this place.

How did it come to be that 11 million undocumented immigrants call America home? How did we come to militarize our border?  How did we arrive at such a disconnect between our ideals, our values, the reality of our lives, and the policies and political rhetoric that govern immigration and border security?

I’ve come to the conclusion that the challenges we face are largely of our own design—a function of the unintended consequences of immigration policy and the rhetoric we’ve used to describe immigrants and the border.  At almost every step of modern immigration policy and immigration politics, we have exacerbated underlying problems and made things worse.  Sometimes with the best of intentions, sometimes with the most cynical exploitation of nativism and fear.

Much of the history of immigration policy, and the source for the data that I’m using, is powerfully summarized in a report entitled “Unintended Consequences of U.S. Immigration Policy:  Explaining the Post-1965 Surge from Latin America,” by Douglas S. Massey and Karen A. Pren.

In 1965, the United States ended the bracero farm-worker program, in part because of the sub-standard wages and conditions in which these Mexican workers labored.  And yet, after decades of employing this labor, with our economy dependent on the laborers and the laborers dependent on access to the U.S. job market, the system of low-cost Mexican labor didn’t go away.  Many of the same Mexican nationals returned to the U.S., returned to the same back-breaking jobs, only now they were undocumented.  Ironically, despite the intent of the 1965 law ending the program, they enjoyed fewer protections and wage guarantees in the shadows as they continued to play a fundamental role in our economy.

As this same population converted from being documented to undocumented, a wave of scary metaphors was employed to gin up anxiety and paranoia and the political will to employ ever more repressive policies to deter their entry.  It was good for politicians and newspapers, but terrible for immigrants and immigration policy.  Thus began the “Latino threat” narrative.

As Massey and Pren wrote:

“The most common negative framing depicted immigration as a ‘crisis’ for the nation.  Initially, marine metaphors were used to dramatize the crisis, with Latino immigration being labeled a ‘rising tide’ or a ‘tidal wave’ that was poised to ‘inundate’ the United States and ‘drown’ its culture while ‘flooding’ American society with unwanted foreigners (Santa Ana 2002).  Over time, marine metaphors increasingly gave way to martial metaphors, with illegal immigration being depicted as an ‘invasion’ in which ‘outgunned’ Border Patrol agents sought to ‘hold the lin’ in a vain attempt to ‘defend’ the border against ‘attacks’ from ‘alien invaders’ who launched ‘banzai charges’ to overwhelm American defenses.” (Nevins 2001; Chavez 2008).

The fear stoked by politicians produced the intended paranoia and political constituency demanding ever tougher immigration measures.  The result of this was not to stop undocumented immigration.

Instead, it caused the number of undocumented immigrants in the United States to grow.
(Beto O’Rourke’s words continued tomorrow)

Will Hurd (R, TX) Speaks Out Against Trump’s Border Wall

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Will Hurd (R,Tx)
Image from Wikipedia
Will Hurd, (R,TX) on “Face the Nation” on February 17, 2019 was asked about the looming show-down over President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency to get funding for his border wall.
Q:  You have 800 miles of the border in your district?  How will the National Emergency Declaration affect your district?
Will Hurd: I’m the only Republican who represents a border town. I spent almost a decade chasing bad guys as an undercover guy (before serving in Congress). I don’t think we needed a National Emergency Declaration. This is a problem that has existed since before Ronald Reagan. What we need to be doing is using a combination of technology and other methods.
DEL RIO BORDER SECTION, EAGLE PASS
Will Hurd: “We just passed a declaration that adds new technology. I was just down in the Del Rio sector of the border in Eagle Pass, and I crossed the border into Mexico. There was unprecedented cooperation with the Mexican government. Most of the caravan members are from Central America. Nine-two percent of the people in the caravan are from Central America, especially Honduras.
Will Hurd: We need to address things like border patrol pay. There is a retention problem with border patrol agents. We need additional technology. We just passed something in Congress called the Innovative Tower Initiative, the Smart Wall, which uses technology to figure out what is going on.
Q: How does this concept of the wall and using eminent domain to take land to build Trump’s wall affect Private property in your district?
Will Hurd A; In the great state of Texas we care about a little thing called ownership of private property. Over 1,000 ranchers and farmers would be affected. The government gets to automatically take the land (using eminent domain) and the owner has to go into court to fight to make sure they are getting the bare minimum payment for their land. One. One million acres of arable land is being seized…It’s CRAZY! (with emphasis).
(Hurd sits on House Appropriations)
Will Hurd: “This national emergency declaration. You can’t spend $8 billion in the next 6 months. Can you take funds for military construction…how about in Del Rio, TX, which produces more pilots than anywhere, we’ve been working on fixing additional funds to stop the flooding that keeps us from training pilots. There is
already 654 miles of barrier.The president has already been authorize over 654 million and over 750 million by Home Security. Our government was not designed to exist by national emergency. Our government was designed for the power of the purse to reside in Congress. We shouldn’t have a president, whether Republican or Democratic, who tries to get around it. I would support something that prevents taking money out of military construction for this. They need to make sure that these people are property trained and properly armed. We’re almost in uncharted territory. This is one of the first times that there has been a disagreement It sets a dangerous precedent.
Q: You are saying that the U.S. doesn’t need this wall but will hurt national security?
Will Hurd: “If you’re taking $ away from the military, we just spent the last 4 years rebuilding the military. I don’t want to see that money being taken away from that. We went through a number of hearings and investigations for that money and that is how our government is supposed to operate. 67 billion of drugs are coming into our country and 400,000 people coming in illegally. We need to have operational security. We need manpower and technology. In some places a physical barrier makes sense; we already have 654 miles of fence or barrier.)
Will Hurd: We need a focus on technology, not just one tool (a wall).

 

“Obama’s Odyssey” (Vol. 2) ON SALE for $1.99 Tomorrow (2/17); Paperback $4.95 on 2/17 & 2/18

“Obama’s Odyssey” (Vol. 2) (Convention to Inauguration) with 61 photographs from the field that have appeared nowhere else will be ON SALE in honor of Presidents’ Day, February 18th. The sale will commence on Feb. 17 (e-book) and continue through Feb. 18 for the paperback version. Both books are significantly reduced in price, from 66 and 2/3% for the paperback to -40% for the e-book. Prices will return to normal on Feb. 19th, as I return to my Texas lair and try to stop shaking my head at the comments being made in Munich, Germany and elsewhere by members of the current administration.

The e-book version of “Obama’s Odyssey” (Vol. 2) will be on sale ONLY February 17th for $1.99. (Normally, it is $3 more). The paperback will be on sale for TWO DAYS, February 17 and February 18 for a 2/3 reduction, from $14.99 (normal price) to $4.95. 

This is me, missing President Obama while dealing with the rambling, incoherent announcement yesterday from the current occupant of the White House regarding his “national emergency.” (The “pronouncement” was so rambling and unfocused and unintelligible that CBS cut away from the unfocused rambling after 25 minutes.)

I’m here in Texas (Austin). While most Texas representatives have fallen in line behind DJT, here is the pronouncement from our representative Chip Roy (R) who said (and I quote):  “With this authoritarian power grab, Trump would divert resources from real security challenges elsewhere to his politically-contrived, on-crisis on the Rio Grande.  I am a sponsor of a privileged resolution to stop him.  If his routine Republican enablers refuse to join us in standing up for the Constitution, we will promptly seek judicial relief.  What we clearly don’t need is a multi-billion dollar waste in pursuit of his anti-immigrant hysteria.”

 

Bombshell Andrew McCabe “60 Minutes” Interview Runs (Feb. 17)

Andrew McCabe
Andrew McCabe official portrait.jpg
16th Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation

(Wikipedia image)

Former Acting FBI director Andrew McCabe of the FBI, regarding a “Sixty Minutes” interview to be aired on February 17th: “I wrote memos about my interactions with President Trump for the same reason that Comey did: to have contemporaneous records of talks with a person who cannot be trusted.”

 McCabe called for an obstruction of justice investigation in advance of Robert Mueller’s ongoing investigation. The violation of the president’s oath of office and his abuse of power, was under discussion by CNN talking heads at noon on Valentine’s Day. The concern level regarding Trump’s loyalty to the nation amongst career FBI officials was so high that they were discussing which Cabinet members might support a movement to remove the president from office using the 25th amendment, says McCabe. Legal experts within the department were approached more than once.

WEARING A WIRE

The fact that Rod Rosenstein was approached to wear a wire in conversations with the President is confirmed by Andrew McCabe. Andrew McCabe says he  did not consider Rosenstein’s proposal “joking around.” The top intelligence officials of the United States government, with resources above and beyond the average citizen, saw enough evidence of potential collusion with the Russians and enough wrongdoing on Trump’s part during the election that the very top officials (McCabe, Comey) were trying to right the ship of state and sound the alarm early in the game. (* Paul Revere:”One if by land and two if by sea moment…”)

NEW ATTORNEY GENERAL WILLIAM BARR

The Mueller Investigation is nearing completion, but, with the confirmation of William Barr (which seems to be a foregone conclusion and is happening now in the halls of the Congress and Senate), will Barr attempt to hush up the Mueller findings to “protect” the president? Barr’s pre-hearing writings indicate that he would not move against a sitting president; it is clear that this is Barr’s chief virtue in Trump’s mind for selecting him, following temporary Acting Attorney General Matthew Whittaker.

Matthew Whitaker
Matthew G. Whitaker official photo.jpg
Acting United States Attorney General
In office
November 7, 2018 – February 14, 2019

(Wikipedia image of Matthew Whittaker)

ACTING ATTORNEY GENERAL MATTHEW WHITTAKER

Whittaker was unqualified for the job  and turned out to be a very uncooperative Senate testifier during recent hearings (with only 6 days remaining in his temporary term). Like so many Trump appointees, Whittaker got the job temporarily not because of what he knew, but because of who he knew. In this case, Whittaker was previous Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ sidekick, but had, himself, been accused of defrauding veterans while involved with an Iowa concern and served only a few years in the southern district of Iowa in a position that would even remotely qualify him for the top judicial spot in the nation. [But nevermind about calamitous Cabinet appointees or we will have to discuss Betsy DeVos as the Secretary of Education and the policy of poor picks will take over this piece.]

FROM TED DEUTCH of the JUDICIARY COMMITTEE

“What we ought to really focus on is that there  enough concern about the president’s actions and behavior that this even came up. We knew that the Republicans saw their role as defending the president above anything, above their duty to defend the Constitution. Now we know what they were defending from.”

The statement above from Representative Ted Deutch of the Judiciary Committee also included the response that he didn’t know that Bill Barr, (who appears to be headed towards confirmation as Attorney General), is now bringing his son-in-law along with him to the Attorney General’s office. Said Deutch: “I didn’t know it was a two-fer.”

Andrew McCabe, Deputy Director of the FBI who was fired just days before his retirement, said, in the interview that will be aired on Sunday, February 17th, that the idea that Rod Rosenstein should perhaps wear a wire to talk to Trump was NOT “sarcasm,” (although some have dismissed it as such.) He said that the concern was high enough that legal experts were approached on more than one occasion about steps that should be taken; legal sources were consulted on more than one occasion.

ANDREW MCCABE

McCabe was ultimately fired from the FBI, days before his retirement eligibility.  His offense was that he leaked to the press and then denied it under oath. The consensus amongst the three-member panel discussing the upcoming “60 Minutes” interview was that Andrew McCabe’s impeccable record as a public servant over decades offset the  minor offense used to remove him from the FBI and that McCabe’s warnings should be taken seriously. McCabe quote: “I was very concerned that I was able to put the Russia probe on absolutely solid ground that were I removed the case could not vanish in the night, that if I were removed there would be a documentary record that those investigations had begun.” “Sixty Minutes interviewer recaps: “Because you feared that the investigation would be made to go away?” McCabe’s response: “That’s right.”

Will the Trump supporters, (one of whom told me yesterday that he would “ride the Trump Train to hell,”) consider the implications of the former head of the FBI saying how concerned they were (and are) that Trump was (and is) a traitor and change their minds? [*Is there no amount of evidence that will convince them that the man has conned his way into the White House? Have they drunk not just a glass of Jim Jones’ Kool Ade, but the entire pitcher?]

The Trump people will try to discredit this public servant. He is selling a book now. He was mistreated, first, by being fired just days shy of his pension eligibility. Naysayers will see dumping on McCabe as an attempt to stifle the free press, (since McCabe was accused of leaking to journalists). [James Comey has experienced how a person who lies 8,500 times in his first 2 years in office then points to truthful others and claims THEY are the liars; it’s the old “The best defense is a strong offense.”] Will Trump’s base accept this judgment from the top? [*I rode the Edwards Express until his true colors showed. Why can’t Trump supporters do the necessary analysis to see that their own trust has been misplaced? Learn to admit it when you are wrong and move on.]

James Gagliano, a retired FBI Supervisory Agent, said, in regards to McCabe (whom he knows personally to be an honorable public servant) that not telling the truth about leaking to the press under oath was incorrect, but that the FBI is supposed to defend the United States against foreign interference including situations where a fictional “Manchurian Candidate” becomes fact.

Gagliano says that there may have been panic on the 7th floor of the FBI headquarters (I’ve been there, by the way). Career justice department people panicked at the very thought of Donald J. Trump with the power of the presidency. “You have to be the calm in the chaos,” says Gagliano. He questioned whether McCabe was being calm amidst the chaos. The talking heads say that McCabe saw a five-alarm fire where the President of the United States was involved with Russians in an inappropriate way. (The five-alarm fire may have just escalated to a six or seven-alarm fire).

IN OTHER BREAKING NEWS

1) Paul Mananfort is declared to have lied while supposedly cooperating with the Mueller investigation. (“You’re burnt!”)

2) Dianne Feinstein says Joe Biden is going to for President.

3) Trump is leaving everyone hanging on whether he will sign the funding bill to avert a shutdown. The news from that front goes back and forth. Fox News host Laura Ingraham is dictating Trump’s actions, as per usual, by suggesting that he NOT sign the compromise bill that others have worked on for weeks.

Adam Schiff Lays It Out on “Meet the Press” (Feb. 3, 2019)

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Adam Schiff, Wikipedia image

Representative Adam Schiff, who is heading up the investigative committee on Trump in Congress, appeared on Chuck Todd’s “Meet the Press” on February 3rd. I copied down his remarks (as best I could) because he is always articulate and it is such a nice change from the chaotic, incomprehensible utterings emanating from the Oval Office.

Here is what Adam Schiff said, condensed slightly:

“Our priority is to make sure the President of the United States is working in the national interest…We’re not interested in whether he’s a tax cheat as he said he is. We’re not interested in whether he is worth more millions or fewer millions. We’re interested in whether the President is compromising our national security and a perfect example is Trump Tower (Moscow).

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               Adam Schiff on Twitter

While he was telling the American people that he had no business interests in Russia, he was pursuing perhaps the most lucrative deal of his career and that’s important because it means the President of the United States is looking out for his bank account and not for the United States of America…I find it just remarkable that the President of the United States or the presumptive nominee of the Republican party could be pursuing business with the Kremlin and lying about it to the American people…We have a responsibility to tell the country what happened.

What we have seen from (Attorney General nominee) Bill Barr’s testimony is that there is to be no leadership to find out and tell the American public, so we will have to find out ourselves…

When the President said that there is”no collusion,” he means that Bob Mueller has not proven beyond a reasonable doubt that he is not guilty of colluding with the Russians.  When Michael Cohen was meeting with the Russians, that was a form of collusion.  When Trump Junior was meeting with the Russians in Trump Tower to try to get dirt on Hillary Rpdham Clinton, that was a form of collusion.  When the president  himself in his business is trying to make money from the Russians and promising a new relationship with Russia, promising relief from sanctions, that’s a form of collusion.

Ultimately, it will be up to Bob Mueller to determine if that is a crime. Our job is to find the facts and make them public, whichever way they cut.  The people closest to the President (Steve Bannon) have said that there is zero chance that other people would make a decision without talking to the President.”

Minnesota’s Amy Klobuchar Announces Her Run for President

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Amy Klobuchar, (D, MN) Senator

Senator Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota announced that she is running for President today in a snowy appearance from Minneapolis, where it was 16 degrees. She is among the other female candidates (5 others by last count) who have thrown down the gauntlet, but she is the first one to announce while hatless, in a blizzard. By the end of her announcement today, snow had accumulated on Ms. Klobuchar’s nose; she looked fairly well frozen, as did about 100 hardy supporters clutching signs and occasionally chanting “Amy!”

Here were some of the themes that Klobuchar hit during her announcement:

INFRASTRUCTURE

Alluding to the collapse of the I-35 bridge in Minneapolis, she said, “A bridge just shouldn’t fall down in the middle of America, but it happened. In that day, America saw in a very visceral way that everyone matters—everyone.” Klobuchar went on to praise the heroism of a man who gave up his own life to insure that a school bus full of children did not plunge into the abyss and also praised the heroics of divers who took part in the rescue and recovery mission. She went on: “Later, we worked across the aisle to fund that I35 bridge.  That’s community.  That’s ordinary people doing extraordinary things.”

She continued, “But that vision is wearing down, worn down by the petty nature of our politics.  We are tired of the gridlocks and the grandstanding. Today, on this snowy day, we say enough is enough! Our nation must be governed not through chaos but through opportunity.”

BIOGRAPHICAL INFORMATION

A crash course in Amy’s biography came next, with the information that her parents “arrived in this country with just a suitcase.  They arrived with nothing.  It was cold—Okay, maybe not as cold as this.” (Biggest laugh line). Klobuchar said that her 90-year-old father was present this day and that he had gotten a 2-year degree after arriving in Minnesota, followed by a degree from the University of Minnesota in Journalism, after which he worked for the Associated Press. She described her father as having interviewed everyone from presidents to Ginger Rogers.” Her mother, “a proud union member, taught second grade until age 70.”

GOAL

“I am running for this job for every person who wants their job recognized and rewarded, for every parent that wants a better world for their kids, for every student who wants to be able to afford a good education, for every senior who wants affordable drugs.  I am running for every American.  I am running for you.  And I promise you this:  as your president I will look you in the eye, I will tell you what I think, I will focus on getting things done and, no matter what, I’ll lead from the heart.”

At this point, there were numerous chants of “Amy!” from the chilled spectators.

CLIMATE CHANGE

“Let me be blunt: for too long, leaders in Washington have sat on the sidelines.” She went on to cite the inactivity on climate change and the tumult in our world. “Did we view snow as an obstacle? No, we did not. Let’s see those problems as obstacles in our path.  Insidious forces trying to make it harder to vote mean it is time to organize. It is time to galvanize.  It is time to take back our democracy.  We must overturn Citizens United and get the dark money out of our politics. We must restore the voting rights act.  It is time to pass my bill to automatically register every  young person to vote when they turn eighteen.”

Klobachur acknowledged that there were obstacles, but said, “That is also our patch.  They are how we organize.”

On climate change, Klobachur said, “The people are on our side when it comes to climate change.  Why?  Because, like you and I, they believe in science.  That’s why, in the first 100 days of my administration, I will restore the gas mileage standards and put in sweeping legislation to invest in green jobs and infrastructure.  On Day One we will rejoin the International Climate Agreement (Paris Accord).”

COMPUTERS

Moving on to the subject of computer literacy, Klobuchar said, “Way too many politicians have their heads stuck in the sand when it comes to the digital revolution.  If you don’t know the difference between a hack and a slack, it’s time to pull off the digital highway.  We need to put some digital rules of the road into law when it comes to people’s privacy.  For too long the big tech companies have been telling us, ‘Don’t worry.  We’ve got your back,’ when they have been mining your data.” She promised to guarantee net neutrality. I promise to connect every household to the Internet by 2022.  And that means you, rural America.  We need to train our workers today for the jobs of tomorrow and strengthen our economy by planning ahead.  Making it easier for people to get 2 year degrees is part of that plan.  Comprehensive immigration reform is part of that plan.  It is time, America.”

HEALTH CARE

Klobuchar moved on to medical questions with the story of a young Minneapolis man who was forced by the high cost of the drug to ration his insulin and, as a result, died.

“We’re going to harness the negotiating power of 43 million seniors and lift the ban on negotiating cheaper prices for prescription drugs. They (big pharma) don’t own me.”

GUN CONTROL

“I will continue to advocate for criminal justice reform.  In a state where we still enjoy hunting, universal background checks and common sense gun legislation will be voted into law. It is time, America.”

WORLD UNITY

“A safer world isn’t judged by what we do here at home.  Even if we want to isolate ourselves, the rest of the world won’t let you.  We need to stand strong and consistently with our allies.  We need to be clear in our purpose.  We must respect our front line troops, diplomats, and intelligence officers, who are there every day risking their lives for us.  They deserve better than foreign policy by tweet!”

Summing up, Klobuchar urged those who support her to text 91990 to AmyKlobuchar.com and added, “Stop the fear-mongering and stop the hate.  We may come from different places, but we all live in the same country of shared dreams.  In Minnesota we have the biggest Somalian population in the country, and we are proud of that country.” She proceeded to tell a story about a man who told a family of 4 to “go home,” causing their small daughter to protest that her mother had said they could eat out that night.  “That little girl only knows one home, and that is the United States of America.”

E PLURIBUS UNUM

Klobuchar quoted Walt Whitman:  “Walt Whitman once wrote, ‘I hear America singing the very carols I hear.’ For Whitman those were the songs of the masons, carpenters, the shoemakers, and those carols are still being sung today.  A chorus of different colors and creeds. E Pluribus Unum: Out of one, many.  It is the North Star of our effort, of our democracy.  It’s time to take back our democracy.  I am asking you to join our campaign. I don’t know if you can even see our number because of the snow.  I don’t have a political machine.  I don’t come from money. But what I do have is grit.  I have family, friends, neighbors, and all of you who are willing to come out in the middle of winter, all of you who are willing to stand up and say, ‘People matter!’ I’m asking you to look up and to look at each other and to look at the future before us. Let us rise to the occasion and meet the changes of our day.  Let us cross the river of our divides and walk across the bridge to the sturdy land of higher ground.  To pursue the good, we must believe that good will prevail, so let’s join together as one nation to pursue the good.”

Thank you, and God bless America!

 

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