Otherwise Happening

Impeachment is sucking up all the oxygen in the political news world but there is much else going on that I want to try to touch on. The operative word may be “try”. Let’s explore.

The most concerning to me is the conoravirus. This serious disease seems to have originated in China but in today’s global economy and with our modern travel that doesn’t mean far away America is immune. This has the potential to be a nothingburger and I hope that’s what it turns out to be. The optimal response would be a federal one but the Trump administration has proven to be incredibly inept under normal, predictable circumstances. Why would I have any confidence in its ability to handle a dynamic and unpredictable plague? The answer is I don’t. Couple that with its distain for science and expertise and you have the makings of a disaster.

In a 5-4 decision the Supreme Court ruled that the Trump administration can implement its wealth test for people wanting to immigrate to the United States. I’m certainly glad that Samuel Alito, Neil Gorsuch, Brett Kavanaugh, John Roberts and Clarence Thomas weren’t on the Supreme Court when three of my grandparents came here from Poland around the turn of the last century. I don’t know much about their story but I’m certain they weren’t wealthy. If you like this policy, be sure to send a note of thanks to Stephen Miller, Mitch McConnell along with Trump.

Prince Andrew has been implicated in the Jeffrey Epstein scandal. In his case it includes photographic evidence. U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman is leading the investigation into the matter and his office has reported, “Zero cooperation,” from the Prince. The Epstein scandal may be on the back burner but it will explode one of more times before it is over. That may be bad news for a lot of wealthy and powerful men on both sides of the American political divide and the Atlantic Ocean.

One of the dangers of thinking you are smart is that you may not be and you assume you are smarter than anyone else. For example, President Trump always assumes he is the smartest person in the room. Generally that is only true when he is the only person in the room. But today I want to talk about Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. He accused NPR reporter Mary Louis Kelly of lying and being unhinged. In reality Pompeo wasn’t savvy enough to use the proper (and very simple) verbiage to communicate that an interview was off the record. He then called Kelly into a private meeting to berate her. During that profanity laced session he said she couldn’t find Ukraine on a map. He then had staff bring an unlabeled map into the room and Kelly promptly pointed to Ukraine on it. Note to Secretary Pompeo: You are not quite as bright as you think you are and everyone else is not a stupid as your boss.

Endorsements are not as powerful as they once were. That said a coveted one in Iowa is that of the Des Moines Register and they endorsed Elizabeth Warren in the Democratic Caucus. That will help her in what looks to be a wide open race.

In his continued efforts to solidify his support among the extreme right and play bully Trump had his minions announce that they will withhold aid from California if it does not rescind requirements that private insurers operating in it cover some abortion procedures. Trump’s anti-abortion policy is about as genuine as a three dollar bill and I guess the right’s clamor for the Tenth Amendment and States’ Right only applies selectively.

The impact of the Trump admiration will be felt for decades and lives will be lost because of it. A case in point is the federal government science community. Under Obama it was growing at about a rate of 8% for a three year period. Under Trump we have already lost 1600 scientists or about 1.6%. My quick math tells me that is a negative differential of almost 10%. You take it from there.

At the EPA 700 scientists have left under Trump with only 350 replacements hired. Many projects are long-term and data lost can never be replaced.

District of Columbia Attorney General Karl Racine filed suit against the Trump Inaugural Committee over a $1 million booking at the Trump Hotel where the Committee overpaid and in the process shut out other venues. By rough calculations, at least $50 million of the money the Committee raised appears to be unaccounted for. This is a scandal that will still play out over time. Somebody(s) pocketed a huge chunk of change in this scam!

The United Nations is calling for an investigation into Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s (MBS) involvement in the hacking of Jeff Bezos’ cell phone. MBS is a close friend of Jared Kushner, a Trump extended family financier and is also implicated in the torture and murder of Washington Post contributor Jamal Khashoggi. Bezos owns the Washington Post which Trump hates because they print the truth. You connect those dots; and while you do hold your nose because something smells here.

OK, I guess that, while incomplete, is enough for today and I did it all without mentioning Trump’s impeachment.

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One thought on “Otherwise Happening”

  1. Referring to the Supreme Court decision about immigration, and the ramifications of the Jeffrey Epstein case, I have the following question. If the Epstein case results in a number of wealthy defendants losing their wealth, will they then be deported? Asking for a friend. Insert laughing emoji here.

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