Ahead From Behind

For a variety of reasons the fourth quarter always seemed to be a heavily constrained time of the year for me. This has continued into my “retirement”. Part of the reason this year is the plethora of impeachment hearings which take up tons of hours to watch (and I watch most of them). That is far from the only political news. Today (Saturday morning) I will write ahead while catching up with the news that I’m behind commenting on. Let’s explore.

Friday more news broke rather cryptically of Mike Pence’s involvement in Ukrainegate. It is premature to project exactly what will become of this but anyone who actually trusts Pence is a suit short of a full deck in my opinion. Pence is the best straight faced liar I have seen in D.C.

Republican California Representative and early Trump endorser Duncan Hunter has announced he will resign his House seat, “Shortly after the Holidays”. On Tuesday December 3rd Hunter pled guilty to misusing $250,000 in campaign funds. On Wednesday December 4th he voted in the House which brought a warning from the House Ethics Committee. At first Hunter tried to blamed the misuse of funds on his wife. That fell apart when it was revealed that part of the “misuse” included paying for dates with five separate mistresses. (No wonder he didn’t have time to check the bank and credit card statements.) The motivation for the after the Holidays qualifier is obvious; Hunter wants to collect one more paycheck. Where is the leadership of Kevin McCarthy in all this?

In the least surprising news event of last week, faced with a 5pm deadline, White House Counsel Pat Cipollone wrote a letter to the House Judiciary Committee complete with the witch hunt theme that effectively (Cipollone won’t win any communication skills contests) informed the Committee that Trump will not participate. Other than the fact that he is a sycophant I think I figured out why Trump hired Cipollone – his signature is a huge example of his ability to write in cursive just like Trump’s.

More than 500 law professors from schools including Columbia, Harvard, Yale, Cal-Berkley and Michigan have signed a letter saying that based on publically available information in their opinions President Trump has committed impeachable acts. No word if anyone from Hillsdale or Liberty signed.

I don’t think endorsements from newspapers, politicians or unions carry the weight they used to but nonetheless Joe Biden got one this week that made me take notice. It was from former Senator, presidential nominee and secretary of state John Kerry. Kerry also joined Biden on the campaign trail in Iowa.

Last week Tuesday the Senate confirmed Trump appointee Sarah Pitylk to a lifetime seat on the federal bench. The only Republican to join the Democrats in opposing the nomination was Maine’ Susan Collins. While Pitylk was rated “Not qualified” by the American Bar Association (ABA) she had the only credentials Dons Trump and McConnell are interested in – membership in The Federalist Society. Someday, possibly in the not too distant future, we will be rid of both Trump and McConnell; Pitylk (age 42) will probably take quite a lot longer.

Here is her legal “resume”. She has never been counsel or co-counsel in a trial in either criminal or civil court. She has never selected a jury, examined or cross examined a witness nor has she ever taken a deposition. I can see the ABA’s reasoning which has to make you question the Republicans’ motivation. What happened to only the best?

Attorney General Bill Barr appears to have been unable to deliver in his latest attempt to shield Trump. The word is that his hand-picked investigator, John Durham, was unable to come up with (and apparently unwilling to manufacture) any evidence to back up the right wing mythology that the U.S. investigation of Russia’s interference in the 2016 election was a setup.

The House Homeland Security Committee has begun to investigate why a $400million border wall contract was awarded to North Dakota-based Fisher Sand and Gravel. Trump and GOP North Dakota Senator Kevin Cramer have been vocal supporters of Fisher Sand and Gravel who was originally rated as an unqualified bidder by the Army Corps of Engineers. Somehow their bid made it into the final round and ended up being selected. I have to wonder –and apparently I’m not alone – if Fisher’s involvement in right wing activism led by Steve Bannon had anything to do with the “mystery”.

I’ll finish today’s article with a few comments on Trump’s trip to London for the NATO meetings. He started out by criticizing French President Emmanuel Macron (whose name he can’t pronounce correctly) even before landing. He backed Turkish dictator Recep Erdogan in his unsuccessful effort to have NATO recognize the Kurds as a terrorist group. During one of his lie filled news conferences he asked Macron, “Would you like some nice ISIS fighters?”

Trump ended up storming out early after Macron, along with Canadian and British Prime Ministers Justin Trudeau and Boris Johnson were caught on a hot mike making fun of him. How low has America sunk under Trump when Boris Johnson is making fun of its president?

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