It’s Saturday morning as I pen this and the news media is filled with speculation portrayed as reporting on the Mueller Report. The reality is that we know precious little about it. The media became aware of its being delivered to Attorney General Bill Barr about 5pm Friday which they erroneously keep reporting that it dropped. If you follow the few facts we know it actually dropped a bit earlier in the day. I strongly feel that one way or another we will know most everything contained in the report with the possible exception of classified material (which may or may not be in there) and possibly grand jury testimony that functions as supporting documentation. But there were many other things that occurred lately that I haven’t touched on. Let’s explore some of them in the following paragraphs while we wait for the Mueller report to begin to leak/be made public.
Friday President Trump said he intends to nominate Stephen Moore to an open Federal Reserve Board (Fed) seat. Moore lacks a doctorate although he has a master’s in economics. He wrote opinion pieces for the Wall Street Journal and is currently with the Heritage Foundation. He was one of Trump’s 2016 economic advisors and has remained a Trump cheerleader supporting both the Trump Tower Tax Cut and deregulation. Moore, who would like to be thought of as one of the serious people, is basically just a goofy guy with a perpetual laugh. He does have the number one quality Trump looks for – he is a sycophant.
Last week it was reported that 2.5 million Trump era disaster survivors had their personal information purloined from FEMA files. In about 1.8 million cases this included both banking and address information. We will need more information before we can determine if this was a case of incompetence or not. This is just another Trump administration scandal that will have to fight for news coverage.
On Thursday the Treasury Department announced new sanctions against North Korea. On Friday Trump cancelled them. His justification reportedly is because he likes North Korean dictator Kim Jung-un. While I will stipulate to the fact that Trump’s gut is ample I don’t think it is capable of making intelligent foreign policy decisions. For that matter I doubt any part of his body is.
Trump has acted even more irrational in recent days than is his normal. Many people speculated that his increasingly erratic behavior was due to the coming release of the Mueller Report. I don’t know if a cause and effect exists but consider this: Trump, like us, doesn’t know what Mueller knows, but he knows everything he has done that is wrong and/or illegal. There is an old saw: A guilty conscious needs no accusing.
California Republican Representative Devin Nunes filed some silly lawsuit last week that had something to do with him feeling he was getting picked on and a cow. (I honestly didn’t feel it was worth my time to follow this closely and still feel that way.) Ironically Nunes was the sponsor of a 2013 bill against frivolous lawsuits. Judging by the “value” of Nunes’ public service, a story involving him and a cow may be serious business.
Although I am not a Republican nor do I ever see myself becoming one, America needs a center-right political party. I feel the GOP is vulnerable to collapse largely because of the Tea Party takeover and the election of Donald Trump. The Arizona Republican Party is a case study in point. The late Senator John McCain was a legend and shook off various extremist challenges late in his career making the McCain family name “gold” in Arizona politics. Senator McCain has a politically knowledgeable daughter Meghan with high name recognition that is an articulate conservative. Currently she doesn’t live in Arizona which is an easily overcome obstacle. The smart move for the Arizona GOP would have been to put a placeholder in McCain’s seat, beg Meghan to move back to Arizona and run her in 2020. It would have been nearly impossible for a Democrat to beat her. Instead they put Jon Kyl in the seat to help confirm Brett Kavanaugh shortly thereafter replacing him with Martha McSally who in 2018 lost her only attempt at statewide election. That attempt was for the other US Senate seat. McSally has already drawn a quality Democratic opponent in Mark Kelly and that seat is very much in jeopardy in 2020.
The biggest Republican outrage in America last week occurred in Mississippi; last I check Mississippi, albeit reluctantly except for taking federal dollars, was still part of the United States. On Thursday Republican Governor Phil Bryant signed into law a bill banning almost all abortions once a fetal heartbeat could be detected. That means that before most women even knew they were pregnant their constitutional right to choice would be taken away from them in Mississippi. Similar laws have been declared unconstitutional in other states and we certainly hope that will again be the case with Mississippi’s law. (Of course Mississippi taxpayers will pay to defend it in court just like North Carolina taxpayers paid to defend the 13 or 14 clearly unconstitutional laws the Republicans in the North Carolina General Assembly passed since they took control in 2011.) As if this Republican war on women and American law wasn’t bad enough expect several other states to enact similar laws this year. Maybe Republicans just expect women to have anticipatory abortions. That is as logical as defending fetuses while sabotaging health care and public education for children.
I’ll conclude by circling back to the Mueller Report. To put where we are in baseball terms Mueller was the starting pitcher and he has now left the game. The relief staff is taking over. I don’t think the setup man has taken the mound and I’m certain the closer isn’t throwing in the bullpen. This game is far from over. As to the Mueller Report my only question is if we will eventually be fully informed or just adequately informed.
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