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Thursday, January 10, 2019

Trump's dirtiest deal

    In last week's trip to Washington, I happened to drive down Pennsylvania Avenue.  The optics of Individual 1's dirty deal are so obvious, I felt I had to write.  The FBI headquarters building occupies an entire city block on Pennsylvania Ave.  It is located between The White House and the Capitol.  It is about a block away from the Trump Hotel.  The land on which it sits may be the most valuable land in all of Washington.  The headquarters is a crumbling overcrowded mess.  It accommodates about 7,000 of the FBI's 11,000 employees.  The rest work in various buildings in D.C. and the suburbs.
          The FBI has been looking at plans to build a new headquarters in a D.C. suburb since 2011.  After receiving several proposal the Government Services Administration (GSA) settled on the best proposal.  The present building and land would be sold for hundreds of millions to a private developer.  The developer would demolish the headquarters and build a hotel and commercial complex on the site.  The developer would also build a new FBI headquarters in the suburbs.  The new building in the suburbs would accommodate all 11,000 employees.  Then Chump got elected.
       On January 24, three days after being sworn in, Individual 1 met with the administrator of the GSA.  This is bizarre by itself. Who ever heard of a brand new president making it a top priority to meet with the head of the GSA? In May the GSA announced it was abandoning the existing plan and announced a new plan to demolish the existing building and build a new building on the same site.   The head of the GSA testified before a Senate panel  in  April, 2017 . She claimed that the reason for the change of plans was because the FBI asked to stay in the old site.  The administrator did not disclose that she had met with individual 1.  Now that this information is public, she has refused to say what was discussed at the meeting.
        Please understand that the change of plans represents a huge financial benefit to individual 1 and a huge cost to taxpayers.  First, of course, he will not have a competitor directly across the street from his hotel.  Second, with the FBI building in place, presumably some additional business will be generated for his hotel.  By the way, the new plan will costs hundreds of millions of dollars more than the old plan.  The new building will still require about 3,000 employees  to work off campus.  And finally, the new plan will require FBI employees  to relocate twice.
         In late October, 2018 Elijah Cummings and four other representatives sent a letter to the GSA asking for a detailed account of what was said in the January 24 meeting.  As far as I know that letter has never been answered.  Guess what, now it will be.  Cummings will make this investigation a priority.  He is going to have the GSA administrator under oath.  It will not surprise me  if it is revealed that she lied the first time when she testified that the change of plans was at the request of the FBI.
        Ryan Zinke, made national news with his dirty deal involving land in Whitefish Montana.  Zinke's deal was small potatoes compared to this.  If Chump talked about the deal with the GSA administrator, he  and she clearly violated ethics rules.  I am not a  criminal lawyer, but it seems to me that there must have been violations of criminal law. 
         The GSA administrator is  Emily Murphy.  I assume she has never before been embroiled in any ethical controversy.  It is amazing how Chump dirties everyone he deals with who was not dirty before.  It is not easy to have a Chump deal called the dirtiest of all.  I think this qualifies.  Thanks for listening.
P.S.  It is sickening that the sociopath in chief has caused hundreds of thousands to go without pay.  He could not care less. His time is coming.

Monday, January 7, 2019

Delusional Vs Pathological liar

  Our family recently had a debate as to whether Individual 1 is merely a pathological liar or if he is delusional.  In the end we concluded he is both. 
        The inspiration for the debate was Chump's statement that privately several past president have told him that they wish they had done what he is doing in promoting "the wall."  This is beyond a lie.  It  sounds delusional.  According to all known sources, individual 1 has not spoken to any former president since he took office.   It is inconceivable that any of the living presidents, including W would have endorsed what he is doing. He can't possibly think that anyone would believe him.  Is it possible that  swimming around in his head this really happened?
       Then there is the pathological lying point of view.  His thousands of lies have been well documented.  The one that I most recently focused on was his statement that the president who had the greatest election victory ever cannot be impeached.  Bragging is one thing.  This is beyond bragging.  As a perfect rejoinder to Chump there is Richard Nixon.  Without question he would have been impeached  had he not resigned.  In 1973 Nixon won 49 out of 50 States' electoral votes.  Less than two years after the election he was gone.
          Chump has lasted longer than Nixon even though he is far more venal and far less competent.  That is because Chump has had a complicit Congress.   That has now changed.  It may be that Chump will survive for two more years.  But with all the material already available, and more to come,  Congress  or the criminal courts can get rid of Chump more quickly than Nixon.  Stay tuned.


Saturday, January 5, 2019

An incredible day, three incredible women

Greetings from Washington.  Yesterday Kathryn and I joined in the festivities around the swearing in ceremonies of the new Congress.  We watched the ceremony on a screen in Elissa Slotkin's new congressional office.  We shuttled back and forth between Elissa's office and Haley Steven's office with a stop at Andy Levin's. Having never done this before I thought you might  want to get a first hand description of the day.
        Elissa and Haley are two of the three incredible women I will discuss.  The third is Nancy Pelosi.  Pelosi's name was put into nomination by Hakeem Jeffries, a congressman from NY.  His speech was beautiful.  See if you can find it on you tube. He is a rising star. He described Pelosi's incredible accomplishments.
           After the vote Pelosi also gave a magnificent speech.  She highlighted all of the important issues the new Congress will tackle.  She was gracious in reaching out to Republicans.  She even quoted Ronald Reagan in a quote I had never heard.  Reagan said something like" if we close the door to new Americans, our leadership to the world is lost. "   By the way, Reagan also agreed to amnesty for illegal immigrants.   Pelosi also gave high praise to George H W Bush for signing the Americans With Disabilities Act.  Pelosi vowed to have  open debates with a willingness to listen to all sides.  As I recall she never mentioned Chump or any potential investigations.  Her speech was gracious while at the same time setting forth Democratic priorities.  
        To set the scene, there are three congressional office buildings with multiple entrances.  There were long lines of celebrants waiting to get in.  The mood was jubilant.  Elissa and Haley opened their offices for afternoon receptions.  Unfortunately, Haley and Elissa could only pop in for a few minutes because they needed to get back to the House for important votes.  They also had evening receptions.  Again the could stay for only a short time because the continuing resolution bills were scheduled for a vote at 9:00.
       The events were filled with Haley and Elissa's families, friends and supporters.  For me the best part was hearing from people who had known them forever.  They said that they were not surprised by Haley's and Elissa's successes.  The successes were predictable from childhood.
      I am speaking of only three incredible women.  The Democrats have about 90 women in Congress.  Each is incredible in her own way.  I think the Republicans have about 13 women in Congress.  It was an amazing sight to see one side of the house filled with women and many people of color.  The other side  was primarily filled with old white men.
       There is one other woman who needs to be described.  She is less than incredible.  Liz Chaney, the daughter of Dick, made a speech endorsing Kevin McCarthy for speaker of the House.  Liz has famously feuded with her sister Mary who is married, gay and has two children.  Liz opposes gay marriage.  Liz has said she has a "disagreement" with her sister.  Mary has said this is not a disagreement.  It is purely a difference between right and wrong.
        She gave a disgustingly partisan speech.  There was not even a fake effort at bipartisanship.  She explained that McCarthy would fight hard to protect America from the stranglehold of socialism.  And for me, the most disturbing line was when she said that McCarthy understood that our rights are derived from God.  This person is considered a rising star in the Republican party.  
          I think there will never be a more euphoric event than Obama's first inauguration.  But there was euphoria aplenty in this event yesterday.  Individual 1 is largely responsible for the landslide election of Democrats.  He seems to be getting crazier by the day.  But in my view the checks and balances of our system is working.  With the election of a new Congress we may have turned the corner.  It sure looked like it yesterday.  Take care all.