Thoughts on recent events

So. Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy is retiring, his replacement likely a right wing conservative, who will join an already tilted court. Said court has of late favored right wing interests at the expense of the population in multiple cases, the most prominent being the cake shop case and the Janus case, involving union fees. A shooting at a newspaper, the Capital Gazette, resulted in five deaths of journalists who were just doing their jobs. Finally children are no longer being torn from their parents on the border, but as far as I am aware over 2000 are still separated from their parents and even when they are united they will most likely be held in indefinite detention. Not so long ago it seemed as if things were calming down some, if not Trump then just life in general. Still tumultuous but not so cruel I suppose. And now all of this.

At some stage I have to believe that this will all slow down, due to inertia if nothing else. But it is difficult at times, when in the face of blood and cruelty, some people demand civility as if manners could stop a bullet or an institution, or would even be recognized if it didn’t suit those with a loud enough voice. Or a twitter account.

Honestly, I can only look at the midterms for some resolution to these events, and despite Republican cheer at Kennedy’s retirement I don’t think they will benefit from it as much as they hope. I am tired of all these events, of this never ending tide of conflict, but I don’t live there. And those that do, look pretty damn resolute to me. Guess we’ll see.

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Legal Updates, 19 April Edition

Because nothing immediately stands out to me regrading current events (while I’m aware of Pompeo’s Senate hearings, the (alleged) North Korea talks, and the Russia sanctions which were postponed because of course they were) I’m instead gonna provide some thoughts on ongoing legal matters, and on former FBI director Comey’s book. Because I can.

First off, there’s the matter of Stormy Daniels and her ongoing suit against Trump to be released from her Non-Disclosure agreement, which he did not sign, and $20 million in damages. While I am almost entirely ambivalent to the idea of Trump having an affair, which frankly seems like a normal state of affairs if anything for this guy, I am somewhat impressed (and very amused) by Daniels and her Attorneys ability to handle and rebuke Trump in nearly any format, which I imagine not coincidentally keeps a fair bit of media attention on them, further annoying Trump. Additionally there is their dealings with Cohen, Trumps attorney who paid Daniels the $130,000 she initially received for the Non-Disclosure agreement. He was required to release to the court his client list, which he withheld in regards not only to the Mueller investigation, but also regarding his interactions and dealings with Stormy Daniels. When he was required to release the list verbally, he revealed that one of his clients was one Sean Hannity. Que soap opera gasps.

And this is the second matter, and also it really does feel like a soap opera affair the way this has all been released. Season two of the Trump Show really is heating up, huh? Anyway, with this revelation Hannity has naturally denied everything, though Cohen is at this stage cooperating, and is currently a concern of the Trump team who fear he might break under pressure. Unfortunately I don’t have much to add beyond that (except that Daniels released a sketch of the man she claims threatened her in front of her daughter, which Trump denies. So that happened) but given the current trends, I wouldn’t be surprised if Cohen managed some scandal for Hannity and that came out. So that could be interesting.

And finally Comey’s book has been released, detailing his personal experiences and his view on his interactions with Trump during his time as the Director of the FBI in early 2017. All told, I’m not exactly fond of Comey, but he certainly feels he did his job to the best of his ability, tried not to let FBI independence be compromised (as he saw it), and while I feel that certain members of that institution played far too many games during the election, and his response could have been better, I imagine he’ll be relatively well regarded by the FBI and the public for the next few years. The books apparently not bad either.

Till next time.

Summation of the news,1st of March edition

Because I’m short on time today I’ll just do a short summation on a few topics (because I haven’t done this in a long time, right? /s).

Firstly, the CNN town hall for the survivors of the Florida school shooting, involving the two senators from Florida and a representative of the NRA, Dana Loesch, was quite the show, the kids comporting themselves well and challenging both Rubio and Loesch not only in regards to gun laws and the NRA itself but also to, you know, answer their questions. Because political double-speak just doesn’t work with these kids. I won’t say it changed any minds, but it does present movement towards actual change and a recognition that people are truly tired of this damn ritual regarding shootings that so many on the right have tried to almost institutionalize. I wonder how far this’ll go.

Secondly, Hope Hicks is out of the White House, and Mueller is looking further into Trumps business dealings, and his threats towards Sessions. With Hicks leaving, not only is another member of the original campaign bowing out of the White House but Trump is now also bereft of a communications director, which I’ll admit is something of a misnomer; the only real communications director in this White House is Trump, but still. I’m guessing Huckabee-Sanders is now in charge, or the new guy who’s been showing up lately (and no I don’t remember his name, and apparently neither does google).

There’s some things occurring in Europe, a German Federal Court has allowed the banning of certain diesel cars in the cities, which is a bad sign for one of the largest industries in the country. It’s also fully deserved given their conduct and malpractice regarding their cars, but that’s just my opinion. The Italian election is coming up, which I’ll discuss at a later date, but it looks like a right-wing government has a fair chance of getting into power though as always that is never a guarantee these days. Guess we’ll see.

 

Thoughts on Porter

Former White House staff secretary Rob Porter resigned a few days ago, after information surfaced that during his background check the FBI had uncovered accusations of abuse from his two previous ex-wives. It’s good that he’s left of course, however it later came out that the White House was in fact aware of these allegations since January, and decided to let him remain in his position (with interim clearance for classified documents) until such time as these allegations surfaced. He was even being considered for a promotion to deputy chief of staff, because of course he was.

First off, this man is a disgusting piece of shit and I’m glad he’s gone. That said I unfortunately have to say I understand McGahns motivations, regardless of the moral implications Porter really was one of the few actually competent members of this Administration. It’s not really surprising that he remained, even if it is disheartening on general principal.

Oh and a second staffer, a speechwriter I believe, has also been outed for abuse allegations. Wonder how many more of these pricks will show up.

Doug Jones Won in Alabama

Ha! Ahhh, so glad I was wrong about this one. I haven’t talked about this one too much, but I have been paying attention, and when the votes first started to come in I expected a Moore win. Should’ve known better than to assume.

So, Doug Jones won in Alabama, by a slim margin yes, but this is Alabama. No Democrat has won there since 1992, so this not only a major upset for Moore and Trump (also Bannon) but the Republican establishment. From what I can glean, an energized base and significant Black voter turnout was what won this race for Jones, which does bode well for Democrats running in states with a larger and growing minority populations, especially with a Trumpian foil to play off of.

However this doesn’t change certain actions being taken elsewhere. While it could be said that the Senate should wait on all major votes until their newest member is sworn in, I very much doubt the Republicans are inclined to wait for a surefire no vote. especially if, as they claim, they have the votes necessary pass their tax bill. Regarding Sen. Strange, I’m uncertain he should vote at all. While I don’t begrudge the man, the combination of a lame-duck status and the fact that this man was not selected by voters but by the former governor is enough for me to question his current role. Still, if the Republicans push through with this vote, Strange will support them, and America will simply have to deal with the consequences. Assuming it passes of course.

Update 30th November Edition

So, the tax plan has moved forward once more, North Korea has announced that it has completed it’s nuclear program and has fully operational nuclear capabilities, and Trump re-tweeted fake anti-Muslim videos. Well, shit.

First off, the Senate has voted on a party line basis to move the tax bill (one of them, I don’t know which, none of the reporting I’ve read has actually labeled the bills. I’m assuming it’s the Senate one) forward, meaning they will now debate it on the floor. Likely this means that the bill will be discussed for a bit, republicans stymieing any attempts to filibuster or amend the bill and try to move the bill as fast as they can onto a vote. I still don’t know where this is going or if it’ll pass, and part of why I feel that way is that this is just a really bad bill. It’s poorly designed, badly crafted and just really short sighted. Even if this does pass there’s every chance that if the democrats get far enough along by 2020, they’re just gonna try and repeal the damn thing. Assuming that’s possible of course.

Anyway, secondly, North Korea has proclaimed victory, or something. They’ve got nukes, and Trump an’t pleased. That’s kind of it. War has not been prevented, negotiations are not happening and nobody’s backing down. This is not going to end well.

And finally, Trump has re-tweeted some conspiracy shit about Muslims from a British far right group. This isn’t news, it’s just really fucking stupid. So yeah, not a great day.

 

Citation:
The Atlantic: North Korea Announces Nuclear Capability 

Update November 24 Edition

Because it’s a slow day in America (I still don’t understand Thanksgiving but whatever), Zimbabwe’s still reeling and rejoicing from Mugabe leaving and Europe’s mostly focused on the Germans inability to form a government. So yeah, not a lot has happened today, the Tax Bill is still a maybe up in the Senate, both theirs and the House’s, Frankel has now got two more women accusing him of sexual misconduct. On one hand that means this is four times he’s been accused of this and that means we’re looking at a pattern of behavior, not one fuck up. On the other hand, they haven’t yet gone public with their identities and that means these claims can be refuted. The problem with anonymity at this present moment and with this sort of claim is that unless your pretty public with who you are and what they did, too many people will brush it aside as a political attack.

They can’t do that with Tweeden as she not only went public with her allegations but gave evidence. Menz in turn also went public and I’ve yet to hear anyone deny her allegations. But these two haven’t done that, and unfortunately it would be far too easy to simply say it’s an attack from the Right rather than consider what this means of Frankens character. But that’s just my take on it.

We’ll see how things look next week.