Infrastructure Week; What Infrastructure Week?

According to the Trump administration’s game plan last week was supposed to be Infrastructure Week. If you didn’t notice you are excused; you were not alone. Let’s explore.

Monday Trump supposedly started to unveil his big infrastructure plan with a proposal to privatize the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). Republicans privatizing government functions; now that’s a novel idea. Not!

The main place where the “rubber meets the road” for most Americans when it comes to the FAA is the vital function of the air traffic controllers. These are the people who quite literally prevent the planes we fly in from crashing into each other mid-air and on runways.

While it appears that the FAA could use some modernization and a steadier stream of revenue, there is no need to privatize it to improve it. When it comes to our infrastructure deficiencies the air traffic control system is low on the list. Mile for mile  American air travel is extremely safe; much safer than traveling on our roads and bridges.

Perhaps, it is the liberal in me, but I feel that some functions need to remain in the people’s control, not the hands of private, for-profit corporations. The way our society is structured that means in the hands of the government.

Trump is suggesting a public-private partnership model where the public effectively finances the project and a private corporation ends up owning and controlling the asset(s). This is a slight variation on a classic Republican model. In this case we are socializing the investments while privatizing the profits and assets. Fortunately Trump’s actions were sizzle with little steak. He signed some official looking paperwork that did little more than communicate a wish list to Congress. This occurred on Monday and ended up being the highlight of Infrastructure Week.

Last week was another week where the dominant political news had to do with Russiagate. I’d like to devote the next few paragraphs to hitting some of the “highlights”.

Let’s start with a basic premise based on past performance: because this President says something it doesn’t make it true; it makes it suspect. Trump has yet to make the transition from campaign to governing. In a campaign for an open seat the candidates are the show. Trump was a master at garnering free coverage from our largely for-profit media. Because of his outrageousness Trump was the show. When governing the President is just a player in a game that is much larger than any one player.

The biggest event of the week was James Comey’s testimony before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Thursday. It, like the testimony by a quartet the day before, left many unanswered or incompletely answered questions. Much of that is because they were both held in open session. (There have been no leaks – nor should we expect any – from Thursday afternoon’s closed session.)   It appears that the Special Counsel Robert Mueller is approaching Russiagate as an organized criminal enterprise (where have you read that before?) and following the money.

Trump claimed that Comey’s testimony was a total vindication for him. The only thing that was verified was Trump’s claim that on three separate occasions Comey told him that he (Trump) was not the subject of an FBI investigation. Let’s examine that for a minute. What Comey was actually telling Trump was that at that moment in time Trump was not the subject of an ongoing investigation. Trump is the President and, as the candidate, was the top of his campaign. In a criminal investigation into an organized criminal enterprise law enforcement works up the organizational chart not down it. We have every reason to believe that the ongoing investigation is aimed at Trump but hasn’t reached him yet. The vindication may well be only temporary.

Thursday’s pushback by Trump’s lawyer was based on a botched timeline of Comey’s activities. When caught he tried to come up with a new definition of what exactly he was talking about. It is lacks credibility and is too convoluted to bother trying to explain.

Friday Trump broke his silence calling Comey a liar. It smacked of the schoolyard: “I know you are but what am I.” During a Rose Garden appearance Trump echoed the Comey is a leaker rhetoric of the day. What they call a leaker in the Donald Dome we call a truth teller in the real world. This is an extension of the Republican deflection/fake obsession with who leaked the facts to the press. They are obsessed with who called 911, not apprehending the criminal.

This is another iteration of “the leaks are real but the news (the substance of which is based on those leaks is fake” defense. It didn’t make sense when Sean Spicer used it and it certainly didn’t gain any validity coming out of Trump’s mouth.

The question of the existence of recordings of a Comey/Trump dinner discussion again arose. Arrogantly Trump said that he would answer that, “Sometime in the near future.” That gave me the answer I needed; much like having had Obama tapping his wires these recordings do not exist. In the Donald Dome who knows what the near future is? We know that two weeks is much longer than 14 days.

Trump’s big blunder was declaring that he would testify under oath. The House investigation is a joke and the Senate one is only a bit better. Robert Mueller is the real deal. You can be certain that he heard the declaration and will play that card at the most opportune time when he is ready to tighten the trap around Trump.

As to infrastructure; who is talking about that?

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