Through The Mystery Fog, Danger Lurks

Every day around 5 p.m. a new development breaks in the so-called Trump-Russia investigation. Its has dominated the news cycle for about four months, upended the White House, and is the talk of America. It deserves to be reported the way it has – with candor and as much clarity as you can get without all the pieces falling into the puzzle. Those pieces will eventually come together, and we’ll find out if it is all real, or just the result of a coincidences of bad happenings in an administration that has communications problems, starting at the top.

In the meantime, the country as we know it, is being changed as the investigation covers it up with the dark foreboding possibility of scandal.

Some examples: The Secretary of Education is trying to soft pedal sexual assault on campuses. The Interior Secretary is waging a mini-war on beautiful national monuments. The head of the EPA doesn’t seem to care about protection against foul water. The HUD secretary decries the reality of poverty. The Attorney General seems to be disinterested  in civil rights. The First Daughter has a White House office as her fashion companies run with cheaply paid foreign workers. Her husband may be in legal trouble. But he gets the support of the President while the Commander-In-Chief waits three days to defend his son for meeting with possible agents to Russia.

About the only strong point is the national defense team which seems to be filled with real experts. The intelligence community also appears to be on target.

The Republicans are rarely outspoken. But their silence speaks volumes. The Democrats are hardly aggressive in fighting against the chaos and conflicts of interest.

Social style and embarrassing comments have reduced many people in the nation to a wave of anxiety and rage.

In the meantime, the scandal, or whatever it becomes, has devoured the news space, and all the while, the power of the people seems to be diminished.

The only hopeful news is that individuals, millions of them, on whatever side of the divide, will eventually let their votes do the talking.

Happy Fourth And It Is Real Fireworks For Governor Christie

First, hope you have a wonderful holiday, sharing with friends and family the greatness of our nation, and the story of how America was created.

Unfortunately, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie, is having a bad week. But does he know it?That, my fellow Americans, is the big question. A deal was reached to solve the New Jersey government shutdown. So the state parks and some closed beaches will reopen. But in the meantime, the Governor made a mistake. Some people call it “Beach-gate.” I call it “The Sand Trap.”

First, I want to say I don’t know the Governor as well as most of the politicians I know. We have met, but that’s about it. The reason is simple. He has done very few interviews with Philadelphia-area journalists, preferring instead to go national. Some of his best local interviews have been on the radio with Angelo Cataldi, the King of Sports radio in Philadelphia. Let me tell you: if you can’t sound good with the spectacular Angelo, you won’t ever sound good!

do know much about the Governor, mostly from his staff, Republican sources, and the reporters who have covered him. He can be egotistical, power hungry, hates the press, plays hardball politics, and outside of his heroic battle for treatment of drug addicts, seems to care very little about the electorate. He has managed to irritate many of the people who put him in to power. Like some people I’ve met along the way, Chris Christie has a distorted view of his own worth. In the beginning. I loved his passion. But as he morphed from ambitious and creative to nasty and self-serving, many of us in the media realized that he was a paper tiger. No one in recent area political history has brought on so many self-inflicted wounds, except for some area politicos who went to prison for corruption. But those are stories of criminality, and Christie is not corrupt. In the area of decision-making though, he has been challenged.

His decision this week to go to the Governor’s summer retreat at the closed Island Beach State Park, after shutting down the government, and with it state parks and attractions during a holiday period, will cement his legacy.

I mean, what was he thinking? How selfish can you get to pull something like that off? it has turned into a worldwide story. After all, he and members of the family were the only people on the beach.

The Governor could have left office peacefully with some positive moves for the future. Instead he may be viewed as callous, uncaring, and having no clue of what the reaction would be. He doesn’t seem to care. And this trip to the shore had to be be an embarrassment for his family. And from what I hear, Governor Christie is a great family man.

His recent style has been disappointing. Bridge-Gate was a political disaster. Hiring a friendly law firm to clear him at taxpayer’s expense was questionable. His change of positions on social issues during last year’s campaign was stunning. Chris Christie had a lot of goodwill built up over the years, but in his second term, he seemed to check out early. The good news is that the current shutdown is over. The bad news is the big picture.

The appearance of arrogance. A raw appetite for power. Acting like a King instead of en elected official. All prerequisites for what will probably be his next job, after his term ends. You can bet the house that Governor Christie will join the administration of President Donald Trump.

Has President Trump Ceded Power

Numerous reports from seven newspapers, one wire service and many reputable internet sites insist that President Donald Trump is leaving most of the major military decisions to the Pentagon. If that is true,  it would mean  that the President has given up an active role as Commander-In-Chief. Has he basically resigned as Supreme Commander?  Is it true? If so, it would mean that the President is basically ceding his most important role as the nation’s defender. Now some of you may be happy about that. You shouldn’t be. The founding fathers shaped a military that reported to the leader of the executive branch. Frankly, the military team in place, the security system at the White House and Pentagon seems to be much more competent than some of the people selected to the Cabinet. But the President needs to make the major decisions.  A note to the President — say it isn’t so!

And I ask the question –  Where the hell is Congress? Maybe the party leaders are too busy trying to put one over on the health care front to worry about how much deeper we are getting into the Syrian quagmire. Or is any member of Congress asking why we are not doing more about the bloodbath in nearby Venezuela?

Vision is blurred these days in other areas. For example, has anyone on the Hill addressed the the implosion of retail sales? Do we have a plan to save retail?  Chuck Todd expertly reported on Meet The Press this week that no one is concerned about the number of retail jobs being lost around the nation. Why don’t we hear about this economic disaster from the White House or Congress?

Final notes for now regarding the previous post and the Russia investigation.. The President obviously knew when he issued the challenge about tape recordings to James Comey that the White House had no tapes. You have to think about this as a game of poker. But Comey didn’t blink, nor was he rattled.

Now Mr. Trump seems to be messaging another investigator. Area lawmakers are buzzing about this.  In two tweets and three interviews this past week the President when asked about the future of  Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller said, “We’ll just  have to see…he’s very close friends with James Comey…the people he’s been hiring are  Hillary Clinton supporters…I just don’t know.”  These are the questions. Are these statements just efforts to challenge Mueller’s credibility, or is he setting up the voters with a case that would justify his firing Mueller as special prosecutor?  So the big question comes front and center.  Is Mr. Trump just on the attack or is he thinking about firing the prosecutor which would certainly deepen the Russian crisis?

 

Don’t Play Games With Suspected Comey Tapes

Another challenge for President Trump who is obviously unaware of the deep hole he keeps digging.

If he does have tapes of talks with James Comey, and they verify what he he says , release them already, If he does have the tapes, and they vindicate him, he must be be unhappy with the “tone”.

If he doesn’t have tapes, maybe he’s afraid that people will call his bluff on them, and he might look weak. By all means, here’s a message to Ivanka, Jared, Bannon and other confidants: get this guy together already.

Another sore point. The President is allowing his insiders to float a possible disaster, that being the possibility that he might fire Special Prosecutor Robert Mueller. That decision would be a catastrophe. Like then firing of Comey, it would send a very bad message, a message that the President is scared of something.

My perspective on Trump is not about President Trump. It is about the stability of the country. Love him or leave him, the dramatic drops in his approval ratings have less to do with his policies, and more to do with his weird, changeable, sometimes inexplicable behavior. That continuing show is hurting the people, damaging the mental well being of Americans, and making our allies crazy. His failure to motivate excitement about the future is grim and foreboding.

It’s supposed to be America First. I don’t see that. Do you?

All For One – And One For None Leaves America At Risk

I have tried very hard to be as analytical as I can about our current political situation. After all, I’ve always been an equal opportunity critic of politicians. My sources are Democrats, Republicans and Independents,  and I have a weekly call list that would surprise you. But what happened today at the NATO meetings may be the greatest threat to American security in decades.

There was nothing wrong in President Trump demanding more financial support from some members of the NATO alliance. But it was outrageous for him to have not mentioned our nation’s determined commitment to support all NATO countries. This “all for one and one for all” commitment is a legal part of the NATO alliance and has been embraced by every American President since Harry S. Truman. That is, until now.

This omission was a tremendous victory for Russia’s determined dictator and sometimes murderer Vladimir Putin. President Trump handed him the green light to start spreading his cyber and real-bullet threat to Eastern and Western Europe and the near and Middle East.

In vacating that pledge, Trump has sent shockwaves of fear to millions of people in Europe. And in doing so, the President has reinforced the view that America First may mean Russia First as well.

The eventual result will be an anti-American wave through our nation’s allies. And that will no doubt endanger our own security in the long run.

A firm commitment to support all NATO nations would have gone a long way to convincing angry Americans and our friendly allies to believe that maybe Donald Trump’s behavior is really just a lot of proud bluster. But, after today, trust in our nation’s commitments may never be the same,

As the President would say…. sad.