This is not the first time that I have written an article like this and I can assure you it will not be the last. In fact I have been seriously thinking of making it a regular feature. It seems by the time we are a few days into the week there are so many things that I would like to cover that I end up with a “cleanup article”, usually published on Thursday. Much of this is caused by the plethora of sins being committed by President Trump and his enablers. Also there is just a lot going on in American politics. In any event, let’s explore.
Tuesday was Primary Day in Kansas, Michigan, Missouri and Washington. It also brought us an interesting special Congressional election in Ohio. As of this writing the two most interesting races are still too close to call.
From the progressive standpoint the Kansas Republican Gubernatorial primary is both interesting and a dilemma. Current Kansas Governor Jeff Colyer, (he ascended to the post when Trump named politically doomed Sam Brownback to be Ambassador-at-Large for International Religious Freedom), was facing radical right winger Kris Kobach. The conventional liberal wisdom was to root for Kobach because he is so extreme that he would be easier to upset in November. The problem with that thinking is that sometimes the outrageous candidate actually wins and then we are stuck with them. Yes I’m thinking of the current occupant of the White House.
In the heavily gerrymandered to favor a Republican Ohio 12th Congressional District special election Republican Troy Balderson leads Democrat Danny O’Connor by less than 1% and that outcome is truly impossible to predict at this point. The last time a Democrat held that seat America had not yet entered World War II. The fact that a Democrat even makes this race close is another bad omen for the Republicans entering the mid-term. Like any special election for the House the winner only serves out the remainder of the term. Due to a quirk in Ohio’s election laws and timing these two will square off again in November for a full term. This looks like a flip to the Democrats to me. If the best Balderson could do was either a very narrow win or a loss when he had all the backing a special election/only show in town candidate gets how is he supposed to raise the funds necessary to finance a winning campaign when easier races for a Republican to win are going on all over the country?
In Missouri voters rejected a Republican backed right-to-work law that was aimed at weakening labor unions and collective bargaining. I refer to these laws more accurately when I call them right to be exploited laws. Seeing how unpopular this law was I only wish the referendum had been on the November ballot to help bring pro-Claire McCaskill voters to the polls.
Wednesday Republican Representative Chris Collins from my native Western New York was indicted by federal prosecutors for insider trading. Collins was one of Trump’s earliest Congressional endorsers. Although not indicted, I find it interesting that former Republican Representative Tom Price (yes, he and Collins served together and knew each other) also invested in the same company. If Dr. Price’s name is familiar it might be because he was Trump’s first HHS Secretary, until he resigned in disgrace that is.
I am not going to do anything resembling a paly-by-play of the first Manafort trial but please note that so many financial fraud and monetary theft situations are now becoming public record. For months Dr. Howard Dean and I (I think I was first) have been calling the Trump operation an organized criminal enterprise.
Sticking with that theme for another paragraph, it was reported that federal prosecutors have subpoenaed Michael Cohen’s accountant and are looking into his financial activities. Specifically they are looking into Gates/Manafort style tax and bank fraud. That brings to mind an old saying about birds of a feather. All those birds spent a lot of time with Trump.
Last Saturday Hope Hicks hopped a ride on Air Force One to a Trump rally in Ohio (for Balderson and Trump’s ego). Especially with Trump’s involvement in the Trump Tower meeting and Don Jr.’s “excuse letter” back in the public spotlight this one certainly doesn’t pass the smell test. Could Hope and Trump senior have been rehearsing her coming (to use her words) “White lies?”
On Monday Trump issued perhaps his most perplexing tweet yet. “California wildfires are being magnified & made so much worse by the bad environmental laws which aren’t allowing massive amount of readily available water to be properly utilized. It is being diverted into the Pacific Ocean. Must also tree clear to stop fire spreading!” I lack the time and space to refute all the falsehoods, but allow me two observations. Trump failed to acknowledge the deaths – a simple task. Later that day the blaze was declared the worst in California in recorded history.
Wednesday morning the Washington Post’s chief fact checker, Glenn Kessler, called Trump out again. It seems this time his claim of the trade deficit going down by $52 billion in the second quarter merited the top lie rating of four Pinocchios. Another, this time new, axiom: If Trump mentions a number, he is lying.
Sticking with Trump’s lies; or perhaps to be more kind statements of ignorance we turn to North Korea. After the summit in Singapore where “Little Rocket Man” (Trump’s words, not mine) cleaned Trump’s clock Trump proclaimed the North Korean nuclear threat to be over. This week Trump’s own national Security Advisor, John Bolton, declared that North Korea wasn’t keeping their word on denuclearization. Bolton’s assessment agrees with those of US intelligence agencies. I am far from a Bolton fan but you know the saying about a blind dog and his bowl.
Just in case you aren’t sufficiently sickened by now let me close with one more credible news report. The following is a description of conditions at a migrant detention center in Virginia: “Children as young as 14 stripped naked, shackled, strapped to chairs, their heads encased in bags, left for days or longer in solitary confinement, and in some cases beaten and bruised.” Remember some if not all of these children are refugees who were forcibly separated from their parent(s) at our southern border.
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