Democracy #Featured

Worst is the New Normal

Let me get this straight.

The president (shudder) lies in hinting that he might have tapes of his conversations with James Comey in order to make sure that Comey tells the truth when he testifies under oath in front of Congress? Comey says that this spurred him to have a friend leak information he hoped would result in the appointment of a Special Prosecutor because Comey believed that the president might have obstructed justice? The president now says that no tapes exist, but that his threat was enough to keep Comey honest, which proves that what Trump was saying was the truth?

That conclusion makes no sense. If anything, what Comey said was incredibly damaging and he actually hoped, prayed, that there were tapes to back up his testimony.  Trump says that he never asked Comey to stop investigating Micheal Flynn. Comey said he did. So how can Trump say that his threat about tapes kept Comey honest? If that’s so, then Comey being honest means big trouble for Trump.

And the worst part is that Trump created his own fake news.

But in an administration where truth is the second option, this story will go through many more twists and turns. In fact, it’s already becoming the cover story so the administration can continue to do other things like weaken consumer protections, cut taxes on the wealthy and generally cut back public services in the name of personal responsibility.

And speaking of person responsibility, the Senate’s absolutely awful TrumpCare bill not only will result in millions of people either losing their insurance or being priced out of any meaningful health care because the deductibles will be astronomically high, but assumes that if you took responsibility for your life then  you wouldn’t need a government subsidy or help with your whiny preexisting condition. Conservative orthodoxy has generally held that anyone who depends on public help must be scamming the system, so the new health care law will punish you by making you face a choice of high premiums or high deductibles.

Conservative orthodoxy apparently also holds that being a woman of child-bearing age is a liability and an expense, so the new bill is essentially going to make you pay for your contraception or your pregnancy, then make you pay even more for private child care because, well, it’s your fault your a woman.

That’ll learn ya.

It would be great if the economy was growing fast enough to create well-paying jobs with health insurance attached, but the Trump administration is doing virtually nothing to help other than to threaten companies that move jobs overseas. Trump was able to cow Carrier into keeping jobs in the United States, but now word comes that most of those people will be laid off by the end of the year. And Ford just announced that they would be building a plant in China, partly because the Chinese are committing their resources to electric cars.

The world, and the world of commerce, seems to be ignoring the president and his nonsensical isolationist, protectionist policies that have led to the United States leaving the Paris Climate Accords and generally disengaging from global politics except, of course, when it comes to supporting dictatorial regimes around the world who create terrorists, like Saudi Arabia, or suppress human rights, like Turkey. Then we’re best buds. And don’t forget that many American businesses are facing worker shortages because, oddly, Americans don’t want to do the dirty jobs that immigrants used to do before they became public enemies. Wages are going up, which is good, but shortages can lead to inflation, which is not good.

Could things get better? Not before they get a little worse. The health care bill will pass in some lousy form, even with some push-back by moderates, which will result in some terrible consequences. Democrats need to run on this issue hard for the next 18 months and remind people that what Trump promised his base is not what he’s delivering. Don’t fret about Georgia or South Carolina or any of the other unattainable special elections we’ve had. Be methodical. Win in VA and NJ in the fall. Then cultivate those who don’t vote in Congressional elections.

It’s the only way.

For more, go to www.facebook.com/WhereDemocracyLives or Twitter @rigrundfest

Featured

The Comey Storm

The editorial boards of these reliable conservative newspapers were geniuses in the fall, and they’re geniuses now because they saw what other Republicans refused to see: that Donald Trump was, and is, not fit to be president.

I’m not psychoanalysis him. I’ll leave that to the professionals. He doesn’t have the personal skills or ideas or knowledge to be an effective president, and the entirety of his tenure has proven that.  What he does is not presidential, what he says is not presidential and what he sees as his role in the national conversation is not presidential.

In and of itself, Trump’s firing of James Comey should not have been big news. Comey has lived on borrowed time since the inaugural, and would have been immediately sacked at 12:02 pm on January 20 had Hillary won. But the Trump White House looks like a rat’s nest with people peeking their heads out to see if there’s a trap. Good public servants have dutifully explained what the talking-points said and legislators have responded as expected to their party over country.
Then the president (shudder) weighs in. And by now it should be crystal clear that he has little sense of protocol or how to shape a message, and it is not clear if he wants to acquire these skills. It’s all personal. Venomous. Vindictive. Vile. Accusatory. Threatening…  This is not presidential and it never will be. There is no normal here.
As for the actual content, clearly Comey has something on Trump or Trump has something on Trump, and Comey should just come right out and say what he has and see if Trump releases any “tapes” if they exist. This is how you confront a bully. I think one of Hillary’s big mistakes in the debates was not taking Trump’s offer that he would release his tax returns if she released her deleted emails. As soon as he proposed it, she should have extended her hand and said, “Deal. We’ll release them on the same day.”  Comey needs to do the same thing in response to Trump’s threats. The country is bigger than one person’s personality.
As I said before, my life has become much easier now that I reject anything that comes out of Trump’s mouth, twitter feed or pen. And now that he has essentially said his administration will say anything or even cancel press briefings, my life is getting even more relaxing. The problem is that we still live in a democratic republic that demands an active press. Shutting down the process is dangerous.
And finally, let’s not overplay Trump’s dysfunction. He has done nothing impeachable nor can people who oppose him gain anything by demonizing those who voted for him. What we need is a responsible opposition that focuses on the issues such as health care, taxes, immigration and jobs and makes clear what we think the country should do about these things. That’s what voters will eventually use to make their choices. There is plenty of time to identify quality candidates and to begin the process of making a case.

Featured

Donald Trump Threatens Former FBI Director James Comey

How else are we supposed to take this?

So far, the story from Trump and his White House Minions concerning the firing of FBI Director, James Comey, is the only side of story being told.

A couple of days ago when this debacle, the story coming from the White House stated that Comey was fired because of his handling of the Hillary Clinton email scandal. Trump’s minions ran out and told the American people that Trump’s decision to fire the Director was based on a memo produced by his assistant Attorney General, Rod Rosenstein.

As it turns out, that reason was a lie. Rosenstein was being used by Trump as an excuse to fire Comey. In an interview on NBC pretty-much admitted that the whole thing had nothing to do with Hillary Clinton or the memo, but had everything to do with the connection between Russia and the Trump’s campaign. Donald Trump threw all his White House Minions under the bus. In the interview, Trump said the was thinking about “the Russian thing” when he decided to fire Comey, and that he considered it for a long time.

But in producing that Rosenstein’s meme made him do it lie, Trump said also that Comey told him on three different occasions – once at a dinner and twice on the telephone – that he was not the subject of the ongoing FBI investigation into possible collusion between Trump’s campaign and the Russians.

Everyone speaking on behalf of Comey and the FBI said Comey would never make such assurances to Trump especially in the midst of an ongoing investigation. And the New York Times has already reported that two people who spoke with Comey disagrees with Trump’s recollection.

The only other party left to tell his tale is Comey, and he is sure to say his piece soon.

With that in mind, Trump took to Twitter to let Comey know exactly where he stands – “James Comey better hope that there are no “tapes” of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!”

If this is not a threat then I don’t know what is.

Featured

Trump Fires Comey For Doing What Trump Praised Comey For – Video

Jeffrey Toobin, a Senior Legal Analyst, dropped some knowledge on CNN moments after news broke that Donald Trump fired FBI Director, James Comey.

After Trump revealed in a statement that he fired Comey because he “disapproved” of the way the FBI director handled the Clinton investigation last year, Toobin was asked to comment on a video showing the same Donald Trump, praising Comey for the way he handled the Clinton email investigation last year.

In the video, Trump is seen and heard at a campaign ralley in Grand Rapids Michigan, saying that Comey’s decision to re-open the investigation into Hillary’s email server just days before the presidential election, “took gut!” Trump said in the video that Comey “brought back his reputation” with that decision and the video ended with Trump saying that Comey “did the right thing.”

The amused Toobin replied;

“Keep in mind that what then candidate Trump was describing in that speech is now a firing offense in president Trump’s mind. I mean could anyone believe that? It’s just ridiculous. It is now even barely credible that the candidate Trump could be praising Director Comey for something that he is now being fired for.”

Toobin concluded that the FBI director “was not fired for something he did eight months ago.” It should be note that the now former FBI director was leading an investigation against Trump’s campaign and possible collusion with Russia.

Video

Featured

FBI Director – No Evidence of Wiretapping, But Investigating Trump/Russia Ties

The Trump White House took another hit today when FBI Director, James Comey, shot down Trump’s false claims of being wiretap by former President, Barack Obama. Comey also confirmed that the FBI is actively investigating collusion between the Trump campaign and Russia.

The FBI is investigating whether President Donald Trump’s campaign associates coordinated with Russian officials in an effort to sway the 2016 presidential election, Director James Comey said Monday in an extraordinary public confirmation of a probe the president has refused to acknowledge, dismissed as fake news and blamed on Democrats.

In a bruising five-hour session, the FBI director also knocked down Trump’s claim that his predecessor had wiretapped his New York skyscraper, an assertion that has distracted White House officials and frustrated fellow Republicans who acknowledge they’ve seen no evidence to support it.

The revelation of the investigation of possible collusion with Russians, and the first public confirmation of the wider probe that began last summer, came in a remarkable hearing by one branch of government examining serious allegations against another branch and the new president’s election campaign.

Tight-lipped for the most part, Comey refused to offer details on the scope, targets or timeline for the FBI investigation, which could shadow the White House for months, if not years. The director would not say whether the probe has turned up evidence that Trump associates may have schemed with Russians during a campaign marked by email hacking that investigators believe was aimed at helping the Republican defeat Democrat Hillary Clinton.

“I can promise you,” the FBI director vowed, “we will follow the facts wherever they lead.”

Politics

FBI Announces – There’s Nothing To See in New Clinton Emails

The announcement came just days before the 2016 presidential election between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. After arousing the Republicans’ manhood with news that more Clinton emails were found on Anthony Weiner’s computer, FBI Director James Comey has now announced that after reviewing the new emails, there will be no further charges to Mrs Clinton.

The pressure was intense. FBI Director James B. Comey had told legislators in late October — less than two weeks before the election — that the bureau’s work had resumed, igniting a firestorm of criticism that his revelation had affected the election. The agents’ work, at first, seemed endless. They had to use special software to sift through some 650,000 emails.

But on Sunday, just two days before the election, Comey announced that the team had news to share. After reviewing “all of the communications that were to or from Hillary Clinton while she was Secretary of State,” he wrote, investigators had “not changed our conclusions.”

The messages, U.S. officials familiar with the case said, were either personal or duplicative of those found earlier in the investigation.

Politics

Top FBI Official Resigns Because of Comey’s Decision to Cozy Up to Republicans

When James Comey, Director of Federal Bureau of Investigation, decided to use the Federal Agency as a stool to prop up Donald Trump’s candidacy, he probably didn’t think Renaldo Tariche would resign because of that decision.

The head of the FBI’s Agent Association (FBIAA), Reynaldo Tariche, resigned tonight to work in the private sector in protest over Director Comey’s decision to use the FBI as a political tool on behalf of Donald Trump. “Importantly, we will not be used for political gains, and any implication that the FBI Special Agents are unwilling or incapable of performing effective investigations is simply false.’”

And quit he should. Comey’s behavior has been most unbecoming as the head of a federal law enforcement agency who is obligated to remain impartial for the good of our nation. The FBI has no idea what the emails that “may be pertinent” that were discovered on disgraced Congressman Anthony Weiner’s laptop actually contain; there was no need to alert Congress and doing so so close to an election is an obvious move to try to tip the scales in favor of the most unqualified and morally abhorrent candidate our nation has ever seen.