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Britain following US’s footsteps?

June 14, 2017

The Economist views the recent UK election as a turn toward American-style value politics. If that is so, alas poor Britain.

No, the energy sector isn’t booming

June 13, 2017

Contrary to Trump’s tweets that the “drilling and energy sectors are way up,”they are in fact“the only sector among 11 in the S&P 500 to lose ground since Trump’s win.” I don’t think that has any more to do with Trump’s actions than I do the stock market’s continued rise. No matter that it happens weekly, it still continues to amaze me that Il Donald is compelled to create completely bogus alternative facts, solely to boost his ego. More frightening, his Republican supporters now treat that as normal and unremarkable. Their president can step out regularly to say certain business is up when it is down or that the sun rises in the west, and his supporters dutifully will go around the table singing his praises. Americans should think that is weird and eery.

National shame

June 12, 2017

This should embarrass all Americans. (ICE deports man with sick child.)

This should embarrass all Americans. (Trump nominates David Clark.)

This should piss off all Americans. (Republicans working to let mass marketers leave voicemail without ringing phone.)

This should embarrass all Americans. (Canada has realized America is no longer a world leader or trusted partner.)

Kudos to Senator Grassley for telling Il Donald that both parties in Congress have oversight responsibility.

Qatar

June 9, 2017

The gulf crisis now threatening explosion has a variety of causes. And Russia may have lit the fuse.

The Saudis clearly believe they have a green light from Trump to do what they want. Their excuse that Qatar supports terrorism is farcical. Has anything generated more terrorism than Saudi funded Wahhabi mosques throughout the world?

To Comey’s credit

June 8, 2017

He seems cautious in interpreting evidence, and fair both in extrapolating from others’ actions against him as well as when explaining his own actions.

Where Comey disappoints

June 8, 2017

Strangely, I have yet to see anyone comment on what strikes me as a disappointing aspect of Comey’s prepared statement. In my view, it is this: Comey had several opportunities to correct Trump on his duties as FBI director, on the appropriate relationship between him and the president, and on his obligations due to position and national allegiance. And if he ever did so, it wasn’t present in that statement. Instead, where the conversation naturally would elicit that, Comey held his tongue or even found evasive way to avoid that, as with his assent to “honest loyalty.” Even if tongue-tied during their personal meetings, Comey could have made those corrections in writing afterwards.

I understand when someone young is starting in their career that they naturally have hesitation when professional obligation conflicts with what a new head of the enterprise wants and possibly with retaining their job. But Comey is a mature man with decades of experience. At some point, I would have expected him to say, “no, Mr. President, that’s not right, that’s not the way our government works.”

Now, maybe I’m reading this wrong, and the fact that he didn’t say that came not from hesitation, but from belief that he should not be the one saying that to a new president. It’s clear he saw Trump’s behavior as unethical. The way he memorialized their conversations and reported them to others speaks to that. In the end, Trump clearly knew he wasn’t going to get the kind of loyal consigliere that he wanted. I’m just surprised that Comey didn’t speak more directly to the ethical conflict at some point during those conversations.

Tweet storm

June 7, 2017

These events are best understood in the order in which they occurred.

1) Kellyanne Conway goes on CNN complaining that the media is obsessed with Trump’s tweeting, and denying that it is his chosen method of communicating with the public. Monday morning.

2) During(!) that interview, Trump makes his travel ban tweet: “People, the lawyers and the courts can call it whatever they want, but I am calling it what we need and what it is, a TRAVEL BAN!”

3) That same morning, George Conway, a lawyer and Kellyanne’s husband, tweets a response to that: “These tweets may make some ppl feel better, but they certainly won’t help OSG get 5 votes in SCOTUS, which is what actually matters. Sad.”

4) Tuesday morning, just in case there were any lingering doubt about his chosen means of communicating with the public, Trump tweets: “The FAKE MSM is working so hard trying to get me not to use Social Media. They hate that I can get the honest and unfiltered message out.” Which, as usual with Trump, is a lie. The media loves his tweeting. It is his outreach team and his lawyers and his other staff who have some issue with it.

5) The ACLU also likes Trump’s tweeting: “Here at the ACLU, we think you should keep using social media.” Really likes it: “Yes, we may incorporate @realDonaldTrump’s tweets about the ban into our Supreme Court argument.”

Of course, Trump’s tweets sometimes embarrass us all, for example, when he used the London terror attack as an excuse to falsely criticize its mayor. I apologize to my British friends for that one. Most Americans are better than that.