Basically what I do when writing theses op-eds is find a subject that motivates me and write about it. Especially under the Trump administration; the motivation is usually negative. As I often state, the problem is not finding something to write about but deciding which items to omit. My goal is an article of about 600 words in length; often I find myself eliminating paragraphs to keep it near 1,000 words. In the past year big news item(s) seems to break on Friday. Last week was a week of Fridays very much including Friday night. Let’s explore some of the events I have not covered thus far.
This one is far from the most important or prominent but it is one that I happen to know a decent amount about, particularly irritates me and I have written about it in the past. I am speaking of Trump’s attack on Jeff Bezos as it relates to the Postal Service. The motivation for the attack has absolutely nothing to do with the Postal Service, the American taxpayer or Amazon (of which Bezos is the largest stockholder); it has to do with the Bezos-owned Washington Post which has the habit of printing the truth and in the process making Trump look bad.
Contrary to Trump’s repeated despite being debunked lies; the Postal Service (USPS) receives no federal funding. Contrary to the implication in Trump’s remarks Amazon pays the same shipping rate as any other large volume postal patron does. Amazon is not putting the Postal Service broke. The drop in letter mail is hurting the USPS, but the biggest factor contributing to the USPS’ financial challenge is the legislation the 2006 lame duck Republican Congress passed punishing the Postal Service’s unions for their efforts in the 2006 election. In a nutshell that lame duck Congress has required the USPS to fund ten years’ worth of retirement liabilities annually. Note to President Trump: My site is searchable, find someone on your staff with decent reading comprehension and have them read what I have written to you. That will is a lot cheaper and much more productive than empaneling a commission of lackeys.
Last week the Senate confirmed Andrew Wheeler, a former coal industry lobbyist as the number two at the currently led by the embattled Scott Pruitt EPA. In addition to having worked for big coal, Wheeler served a stint advising Republican Senator James Inhofe of Oklahoma who is arguably the loudest climate change denier in the Senate. I’ll let you connect and project the dots.
Staying in Congress for a bit, the House passed a Farm Bill which contained a work requirement in order to receive SNAP (Food Stamp) benefits. While I certainly oppose freeloading on the government dime, (have the critics of the SNAP program ever seen just how little the amount received from SNAP is?), one of the biggest reasons people end up on SNAP is because they can’t find a job that pays a living wage. Fortunately I think this provision will have problems in the Senate and not make the final bill, but that is not a certainty. For good people who fall on hard times denied food committing crimes and/or incurring health problems is a certainty.
The other day I actually watched a few minutes of Fox News just to see what life was like in the alternate universe. Bill Bennett was on making comments. Bennett and the anchor were complaining about Cory Booker’s questioning of Mike Pompeo during his Senate confirmation hearing for Secretary of State. I happen to have caught that segment of the hearing live. Booker used Pompeo’s direct quotes and asked him to defend them. When Pompeo attempted to spin/filibuster Booker stopped him by demanding direct and truthful answers. Remember a Senator’s time is limited during a hearing. The Fox people (why does anyone pay attention to Bennett anyway?) thought that was shabby treatment. I wonder if they would have felt the same way if Booker were not an African-American Democrat who could very possibly be the 2020 Democratic standard bearer.
Trump issued his second pardon last week. This time the recipient was Lewis “Scotter” Libby. Libby was convicted of two felonies in connection to revealing the identity of a covert CIA agent. He was convicted by a special counsel and one of the charges was perjury in an attempt to cover-up his illegal activities when he was chief-of-staff to them Vice President Dick Cheney. Even George W. Bush was not willing to issue a pardon to Libby despite Cheney’s persistent pleas. Don Trump, who lacks the integrity of W. and the honesty of Nixon (and those are extremely low bars), was sending a message to his Capos. The message is: stick with the boss and I’ll cover you; forget about the law and the American people. Never forget that the Trump administration is an organized criminal enterprise.
People of my generation are constantly drawing parallels between Watergate and Russiagate. Another possible one emerged last week. Reportedly Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen was in the habit of recording conversations. Now it appears the feds may possess many of those recordings. It was an audio tape recording that brought down Nixon in Watergate. Wouldn’t it be interesting if a tape was the last nail in Trump’s Russiagate coffin?
Republican National Committee (RNC) Deputy Finance Chair and influence peddler Elliot Brody stepped down from that post Friday after reports surfaced that Cohen was his attorney in a 2017 $1.6 million paternity settlement with a Playboy Playmate. Brody is married. He is also not the first high ranking RNC operative involved in questionable financial affairs. Admitted felon, Rick Gates served as Trump’s 2016 Deputy Campaign Manager and as a senior transition official before he went to work at the RNC in fundraising. Advice to 2018 Democratic challengers: If your district is anti-Trump, link your Republican opponent to Trump.
The final event of the week was Friday’s 9pm military strike on Syria. The attack was a joint operation with the UK and France. Expect an analysis soon, but that’s enough for today.
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