Sunday, March 31, 2019

Deep State to Trump: Take the Win and Move On

Trump says people need to be held accountable for the collusion hoax.  Some are worried that he means it.  I'm worried that he doesn't.

President Trump has people of all stripes telling him to take the win on the Mueller investigation and just move on.  Focus on the people's business.  Pivot to infrastructure.  Everybody agrees on infrastructure.  All of this while the worst perpetrators of the hoax are still promoting the lie despite Mueller's report.  But President Trump has made some noises recently on Twitter and at his recent rally in Michigan implying he is not ready to move on just yet.  He says we need a fuller accounting of how this miscarriage of justice came about in the first place.  I hope he means that.  I'm afraid he might not. 

There are both Republicans and Democrats urging the president not to be vindictive; not to seek revenge for the three year long investigation mounted against him based on a hoax that started with some opposition research promoted by Hillary Clinton.  Just forget about it, and open a new chapter of your presidency.  All of this while the efforts of notorious liars like Adam Schiff, Jerry Nadler and Eric Swalwell to hamstring his administration continue unabated.  The folks who maneuvered behind the scenes to create the hoax, to promote the hoax, and finally to investigate the president based on the hoax have failed in their efforts to overturn the results of a valid election.  And now, as they recognize the danger they face in the exposure of their scheme, some of them are promoting a "let bygones be bygones" approach to the issue.  Others, like the aforementioned Congress critters have chosen to double down hoping to bluff their way out of the discovery of their subterfuge.  Their political futures are on the line.  For others, their freedom may be at stake.  I understand what motivates them; both the ones who are begging the president to move on and the ones who have chosen to double down.  This is it in a nutshell:  "We tried to frame you for treason, but we failed.  Oh well.  No hard feelings."  Are they serious?  Who would fall for that? 

But plenty will fall for it.  Some who have no idea what happened, and many who know exactly what happened but don't want their partisan champions exposed.  The question is has the president fallen for it.  I am not convinced he really intends to pursue the issue further.  I'm worried he is just trying to mollify members of his base and people like me who may not care for Trump all that much, but have a problem with the way they tried to oust him.

Maybe Trump really does think it's time to move on.  Or maybe it's a quid pro quo of some sort.  Maybe Trump refrains from pursuing the treasonous cabal who tried to nullify the results of his election, and in return, they decline to vigorously investigate the stuff he may really be guilty of like the tax issues, the shady past business practices, the campaign finance minutia or the alleged emoluments infractions.  There are reasons to wonder.  For months, Trump urged the Justice Department to release documents to Devin Nunes' House Intel Committee.  He urged them to remove the redactions that presumably concealed important information.  He urged these actions, but he never compelled them.  He promised to declassify and release documents relating to Nunes' investigation including the disputed FISA applications, then failed to do so after appeals from foreign governments.  How much will we never learn in the name of preserving relationships with foreign governments that may have been as complicit in this attempt at a soft coup as were elements of our own government?  How committed is Trump to exposing this entire sordid business.  There are reasons to question his sincerity.  I hope I'm wrong.  I hope the fix isn't in.  But I'm cynical enough to wonder.

So what purpose would be served by a thorough investigation?  I believe that upper leadership in the Justice Department, State Department, FBI and Intelligence Community conspired to, at best entrap, and at worst to frame the president for actions that never occurred.  I believe some foreign governments were complicit.  I would not be surprised to learn that Hillary Clinton and maybe even Barack Obama knew about all of it.  I can't prove all of this, but I think there is overwhelming evidence to suggest that this is what happened.  I believe that the evidence is compelling enough that the American people have a right to demand both a thorough investigation and full disclosure of what transpired

Some of the actors may have acted in good faith when the investigation of Trump was first initiated.  They may very well have had some justification for their suspicions.  But some knew, or should have known from the very beginning that the allegations were false.  Many of those whose initial efforts were based on a sincere belief that the facts merited further investigation,  nevertheless went on to break the law in pursuit of their suspicions.  They did so because of political bias.  Some of these people probably should go to jail.  Some others, maybe not.  But what they did needs to be uncovered, and everyone who participated in it needs to be exposed for whatever part they played in the whole affair.

For those of you who think we should just move on, and especially for those of you who urge that course of action out of partisan fear that your political allies will be exposed and your political interests harmed, consider this.  The man that you so despise; the man in whom you invested months and months of investigations in order to undermine and resist; the man whom you consider to be the ultimate danger to both our own country and indeed the entire free world; that man is now in charge of the exact same apparatus that your political heroes used in their almost successful attempt to illegally overturn an election.  Nothing short of a full and complete accounting of this conspiracy can inoculate us from the possibility that some future administration, who knows, maybe even the administration of that very same Donald J. Trump, might attempt a similar soft coup against the next administration.  Are you comfortable with the fact that Donald Trump now has the capacity to do to you exactly what your would be allies tried to do to him?

I'm quite exhausted from listening to those who express concern over the so called reputations of the FBI and the Justice Department.  I know that most of the folks in those agencies perform their jobs with integrity.  But some were corrupt.  I trust the worst elements have now been purged.  The more exposure we give to the corruption that existed, the longer we can expect to go before the next episode of corruption occurs.  Let's not give anybody the false sense of security that they can get away with something like this again by relying on a reputation that only exists because we were too afraid to look very hard for the truth. 

Call it a conspiracy theory if you like, but this is what I suspect.  A not insignificant number of partisan government personnel attempted to overthrow, albeit in a non violent way, the elected government of the United States.  If keeping the deeds of this cabal a secret is your primary concern, then by all means press to abandon any further investigation, and just move on.  If you're as concerned as I am that this should never be allowed to happen again, then I hope you will join me in urging the president to resist whatever self serving inclination he may have to broker a deal that offers sanctuary to the plotters.  Even if that means rejecting some sort of promise of diminished scrutiny of his other alleged indiscretions.  This has to be about America, not about Donald Trump.  The preservation of our Constitutional form of elected government is dependent on the president stepping up now and being presidential.

Trump Going Back to Healthcare

Republicans fear a strategic mistake.  Democrats are licking their lips.  Maybe they're both wrong.

This is not as complicated as some recent articles have made it sound.  A Federal District Court in Texas has ruled that the Affordable Care Act (aka Obamacare) is unconstitutional.  Not just pieces of it, but the whole damn thing.  If you're like me, you're thinking, great!  It's about time.  But in what I would have thought were counterintuitive expectations, many thought the Trump administration would join in an appeal of that ruling to the Federal Appeals Court for the Fifth District.  That's because the District Court ruling was thought to be overly broad and decided on what some consider to be shaky grounds.  Also because the total destruction of the ACA would jettison the mandates for coverage of pre existing conditions and allowing children up to age twenty six to remain on their parents' insurance.  While decidedly anti free market measures, they have proved to be very popular, especially with the beneficiaries of those provisions.  Big surprise.  People like free stuff.

Anyway, the political consensus is that the GOP lost their multiyear long campaign to kill Obamacare completely, and the parts that remained were politically popular.  No one had much of an appetite to stir up a hornets nest on an issue that was credited, at least in part, for having led to the loss of the House in 2018.

Enter The Donald, and his uniquely Trumpian reasoning.  To the chagrin of a lot of Republican pols, Trump appears to want to put the final nail in the coffin of Obamacare.  Maybe as an expression of his animus towards Obama.  Maybe as an expression of his animus towards John McCain whose critical thumbs down led to the failure of the GOP to kill the ACA legislatively.  Or here's a weird thought.  Maybe he just wants to fulfill a campaign promise.

So what the hell is Trump thinking?  I can think of two possibilities.  Maybe he's been advised that the questionable nature of the District Court's decision makes it unlikely that the Appeals Court or even the Supreme Court will uphold it.  If true, Trump can claim to have gone the extra mile to kill Obamacare only to have been stymied once again by the courts.  Republicans won't have to answer for depriving some constituents of their goodies, but Trump can tell his base he did everything possible.

Or maybe Trump really wants to fulfill this particular promise, for all the reasons mentioned previously.  If that's true then I've got some words of caution for both Democrats and Republicans.  First of all:  Don't underestimate Trump.  The terminally smug political pundits on the left wing Sunday shows this morning were drooling over the prospect of the huge political blunder Trump is about to make.  "Trump has no idea what he's setting himself up for"  they say.  And we should believe them because they have proven so omniscient in the past on the prospects of Donald Trump's unconventional thinking.  They're the ones who told us that Trump's populist message had no appeal to average Americans.  Then he won the election.   What do the pundits understand about average Americans?  They don't know any average Americans.  Is it possible that there is a substantial constituency that would still love to see a clearing away of the wreckage of that Rube Goldberg monstrosity that is Obamacare.  Wouldn't millions of Americans love to see the ACA finally, thoroughly, and totally terminated with extreme prejudice?  I know I would.

But what about the backlash?  Trump says he wants to replace it with something better.  He wants the Republican Party to become known as the Party of Healthcare.  Democrats scoff.  Republicans, many of them at least, wink.  But what if Trump's serious?  I can easily see Trump abandoning the remnants of Obamacare and pressing for something better.  Something politically palatable to both his base, and a large number of independents and even some Democrats.  Something that perhaps some old school Republicans might choke on, but hey, Trump is a disrupter.  Is it really so difficult to believe that Donald Trump could come up with a plan?  Is it really so difficult to think that Donald Trump could come up with a new coalition for healthcare reform that skewers the sacred cows of both sides and their existing special interest constituencies?  Most, if not all of the governments in the developed world provide some form of universal coverage for their citizens.  Is it really so hard to believe that it could happen in the United States?  The cynical politicos on the right don't want it.  The smug pundits on the left think the answer is Medicare For All.  If there is a middle ground solution, it will take a guy who is a genuine disruptor to find it.  Corporate owned Republicans and mainstream media Democrats guffaw at the prospect that Trump is that guy.  Are they right to chortle so smugly?  We've seen this movie before, and it had a surprise ending early one Wednesday morning in November of 2016.  Careful what you wish for Democrats (and Republicans).  You just might get it.

Democrats are Trying to Kavanaugh Joe Biden

If you thought Kavanaugh got screwed, you should be defending Joe Biden now or else you're part of the problem.

Politicians have got to be among the most despicable people on the face of the earth.  Certainly US politicians at the national level anyway.  I vacillate back and forth as to why I think that.  Is it because they are such liars, or is it because they are such hypocrites?  Today I'm going with hypocrites.  I'll probably switch back to liars the next time I see Adam Schiff on television (or maybe Donald Trump).

So last week, this woman I'd never heard of named Lucy Flores came out to accuse Joe Biden of sexual harassment because, while appearing on her behalf in support of her candidacy for Nevada Attorney General in 2014, he allegedly placed his hands on her shoulders, smelled her hair and kissed the back of her head.  I know!  Creepy right?  But wait just a second.  Joe Biden has a reputation for being what most would consider overly familiar with women.  This criticism of Uncle Joe has always been more of a light-hearted joke than a serious accusation of bad intent.  I think that's where it should remain.  Rich Lowry made the point this morning on CBS Face the Nation that Biden's was the kind of behavior that in today's corporate world, would get most folks referred to HR for counseling.  But does anybody really think Joe Biden is some sort of sexual predator ala Harvey Weinstein?  I don't.

I've seen all the photos and all the videos.  You know why I've seen them?  Because all this stuff happened in plain sight.  If you try and tell me that's what makes his brand of sexual harassment all the more sinister, then I'm gonna tell you you're delusional.  I'll admit that Biden's cavalier attitude toward other people's personal space is probably on the far side of the Bell Curve, but it's  more of a two to three sigma position.  Not a six sigma, stay 500 yards away from a school, sort of position. Apparently, he's that way with all the genders; not just women.  

 Remember this picture?  Are you going to try and tell me Joe Biden is a closet homosexual who comes on to strange men while seated in the front row of public events?  Get serious!  I think there is something much more nefarious at work here.

I don't know what Lucy Flores' political preference is in the upcoming 2020 Democratic presidential primaries, but I do know that she was a Bernie supporter in 2016.  Biden is the current frontrunner in the Democratic race for 2020, even though he has yet to announce he's in.  It's not too much of a stretch to view this as nothing more than a cynical attempt by the progressive left to kneecap Joe before he even properly enters the race.  We've seen these tactics before.  Democrats, especially the newer progressive version of the species, are certainly not above encouraging the latest wannabe "Me Too" star to level a reckless accusation or two against a political opponent.  Scruples, integrity, or a sense of fairness certainly won't stand in their way.  We witnessed that firsthand during the Kavanaugh hearings.

It's bad enough that the Democrats have decided to do this to one of their own, but I'm a little disappointed by the Republicans' reaction.  Kellyanne Conway was on FoxNews Sunday this morning and apparently, the White House approach to this is to pile on.  After Kavanaugh, I expected better from Republicans.  I guess I'm naive.  I agree with Lily Tomlin on her assessment of the political class.  No matter how cynical I get, I just can't keep up.

Naive I might be, but I'm not a simpleton.  I do see what's going on here.  The White House has betrayed itself.  Joe Biden may face a devil of a challenge overcoming  the intersectionality of the modern Democratic Party in their search for the perfect "woke" candidate in 2020.  But if he can clear that bar, he's got the best chance of any of them to beat Trump, and Trump knows it.

Is Joe Biden's apparent handsiness with women a little unusual?  Yeah!  Sure it is.  But is it properly the fodder of a political character assassination.  No it is not.  It wasn't during the last Supreme Court nomination hearings, and it isn't now.  I guess I should expect this sort of hypocrisy from politicians, but I won't buy into it.  I'm not a politician.  And by the way, neither are you, so what's your excuse?