As I write this on a sunny Monday morning the “political weather forecast” includes two major storms for later this week: Michael Cohen’s Congressional testimony and Kim Jung-un’s opening of a cleaners in Hanoi with Donald Trump as his exclusive customer. What I want to do today is share a couple of recent stories that piqued my interest. Let’s explore.
Early Monday morning news broke of a 2016 Trump campaign staffer filing a lawsuit against the now President and his 2016 campaign alleging that Trump gave her an unwanted kiss during an August campaign stop in Tampa. While this is breaking news it must be noted that she appears to have corroborating evidence. Unsurprisingly the White House has denied the claims. It must be noted that this is consistent with behavior Trump admitted to during the now infamous Access Hollywood tape.
“Under no plausible assessment of the evidence is there a national emergency today that entitles the president to tap into funds appropriated for other purposes to build a wall at the southern border.” That is a direct quote from a statement signed by 58 former national security officials including the political odd fellows Democrat Madeleine Albright and Republican Chuck Hagel.
In another Trump administration scandal, last week a federal judge in Florida ruled that current Labor Secretary Alex Acosta broke the law in a sweetheart plea deal that he gave to apparent billionaire Jeffrey Epstein. Epstein is a friend of Trump’s but I caution the Democrats about gloating over this one. Bill Clinton is also among Epstein’s circle of party friends. That doesn’t mean either or both were involved in the sex with (read: rape of) well underage girls events. However, if this one is full exposed I expect a lot of powerful men in politics, sports, business and entertainment will be implicated. Regardless of all that, in any other administration Acosta would be on the express train out of DC; under Trump he has a 50-50 chance of survival and the story struggles to make the front page.
Ten days ago Heather Nauert withdrew her name from nomination from consideration to be the next Ambassador to the United Nations. Nauert had been/still is (nothing is clear under Trump) the spokesperson for the State Department. In my mind that begs the question: Does Mike Pompeo actually require any assistance in lying? Prior to that Nauert’s main qualification appears to be that she was on Fox News.
Now Trump is nominating current Ambassador to Canada Kelly Knight Craft for the UN post. Every administration passed out a fair share of ambassadorships as rewards to donors. Canada is certainly a plum assignment. While officially a bi-lingual country the main language is English. The social transition to Canada is very easy for an American to make. It is a safe and very pleasant place. I lived on the border for 47 years and visited frequently. I am only a bit of a wise guy when I describe Canada as America with a better health care delivery system.
The UN is a very different thing! It is no surprise that Craft is a Republican and Trump mega-donor. What most people don’t know is that her third and current husband is a wealthy coal baron. While she tries to conceal it in a false equivalency, Craft is a climate change denier. Is this the person we want to lead our delegation to the world’s primary diplomatic body? While she may well represent Trump she does not represent America. And then there is the “little detail” of not being qualified in the first place.
Last week news broke of the arrest of a Coast Guard Lieutenant (remember that is a Captain in Army rank) being arrested for amassing an arsenal and plotting to kill elected Democrats and members of the media. Breaking from normal procedures the executive branch tried to keep it quiet. Why the apparent attempt at a cover-up?
I’ll conclude with a tale of the two sides of technology. Saturday the Washington Post reported two stories that will have opposite effects on society. The good news one was: The next money crop for farmers: Solar panels. On the other side of the coin was: The Kalashnikov assault rifle changed the world. Now there’s a Kalashnikov drone. Obviously generating more power from the sun is a good thing as it makes farmers both more self-sufficient (if there is a self-sufficient occupation in America it is farmers) and profitable. The AK-47 made relatively unskilled riflemen and women into killing machines in large part because it was low cost. Low costs drones will be available to non-state and often terrorist groups making the lives of everyone more dangerous.
Put on your foul weather gear it looks stormy for the rest of the week!
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