The right man for the job

An old Lincoln tale says the President refused to appoint a friend’s supporter as a local postmaster because he did not like the looks of the man. The man’s friends argued it was not fair to judge a man by his face. Lincoln said that, until forty, it might be unfair, but that after forty, a man was responsible for his own face.

With that in mind, I present Andrew Wheeler, nominated to the Environmental Protection Agency. What say you? Does the man Wheeler get your vote as Deputy Administrator of the EDF?

coal guy

It might influence your decision, so I hesitate a moment before adding Mr. Wheeler’s background in environmental issues.

OK, the moment is up. Mr. Wheeler

“Since 2009, Wheeler has represented the interests of some of the largest fossil fuel companies in the U.S. as a consultant and lobbyist, and national environmental groups including the Natural Resources Defense Council and Sierra Club oppose his nomination. According to an analysis of public documents by ProPublica, Wheeler has worked as a registered lobbyist for, among others, a major uranium mining company, one of the largest coal companies in the country and a refrigerant manufacturer.
Each of the companies has worked to shape EPA regulations in their favor….”

Pay no attention to…

Stories of interest/amusement/distress associated with the day’s news.

l/ President Trump — in person and through his aidess — has tried to downplay or deny news items about his alleged encounter with a porn star.

2/ A glance at news-stand headlines or TV features suggests the denial tactic has not and apparently will not produce number 1 above.

3/ President Trump’s standard strategy when confronted with negative items is, first, an outright and outraged denial. That failing, he resorts to distraction. Get people — and the press — to look at something else for a while.

4/ Thursday, the President had a White House meeting with a delegation from North Korea.

5/ During that meeting, President Trump at least twice left the briefing room to put the press on the alert for a major item.

6/ After that meeting, the North Korean delegation, standing on the White House steps, announced that the President had agree to meet with President Kim-jong Il.

7/ As a consequence of number 6, item number 1 appears to be getting far less attention.

8/ As a consequence of numbers 1-7 above, administration officials — some named, some not — are walking back announced features of the proposed meeting.

  • It probably will not come as soon as May of this year
  • Several new pre-conditions are being developed
  • It may not happen at all.

9/ With no apparent direct connection to any of the above, plans are still underway for a military parade in the nation’s capital.

Our nation, that is.

About those “tapes”

Most comments I’ve seen regarding the Comey-Trump confrontation make sense, more or less. Most, I say. However, one straightforward and — to me — perfectly obvious factor seems to have been ignored. Or perhaps it’s so obvious it doesn’t need to be mentioned.

You decide.

After firing FBI Director Comey, President Trump sent a rather odd early-morning tweet. (I know, I know, all his tweets are rather odd. But this one seemed even more so.) On the remote possibility that you’ve not heard, it was

James Comey better hope that there are no “tapes” of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press.

Consider now. James Comey was a career FBI agent, one so hard working and competent he had been promoted to head the Bureau. A man, then, whom we might expect to be keenly aware of intelligence matters. Spy stuff, not to put to corny a title on it. He knew about and — only surmising here but pretty confident nonetheless — might have participated in covert activities. Like, say, secret recording. I mean, he might at least have heard about the practice, right?

So this man with this background has a coversation with the man then regarded as President of the United States.

Still with me?

Intelligence guy, meeting in White House, talking to President. Does he go in aware that his conversation might be recorded, or does he assume such a thing would never happen and blab carelessly about anything that comes to mind?

With that in mind, does Trump’s threat really make sense?

Even to Trump?

He man is even farther off reality’s base than I thought.

Reading as a dangerous activity

I made a pretty serious mistake in reading this morning. It was an article by Andrew Bacevich at TomDispatch, one of the sites I recommend in the side bar. So why, you may reasonably ask, was it a mistake to read something which — presumably — I would recommend that you read?

Well, it was all in the timing. See, I had just finished reading a very good book, The Brothers, by Stephen Kinzer. Good as in scary good. Because it will — in retrospect anyway — scare the pants off you. Why? Here’s a lift from the NYTimes review.

Anyone wanting to know why the United States is hated across much of the world need look no farther than this book. The Brothers is a riveting chronicle of government-sanctioned murder, casual elimination of “inconvenient” regimes, relentless prioritization of American corporate interests and cynical arrogance on the part of two men who were once among the most powerful in the world.

Which brothers? John Foster Dulles and his brother Allen.

The book came out more than three years ago, and clearly for all that it is well-written, carefully documented and widely available it seems to have made no significant impression on anyone connected with the US Government.

The mistake reading Bacevich? He only emphasized so many of the horrendous parts of The Brothers. Nonetheless — or maybe it should be “therefore” — I suggest you read one or the other. Both if you can, but not too close together. Enough to make your head hurt. And if I may say so without veering into religiosity, to make your soul hurt as well.

If you aren’t already pissed off…

Bear with me a moment. This whole spying-disrupting-electing-bugging-dissembling-swaggering-accusing thing makes my head go funny inside. And hurt. Really hurt.

Wading through or trying to walk around in as much of the story as the rational mind can assimilate, I come down at last to one question. Well, to a lot of questions, but one of them seems obvious and I don’t understand when it hasn’t been asked before.

Given:

  • The Russians did in some manner attempt to influence the 2016 Presidential election.
  • Several individuals and committees and boards of inquiry have been probing the extent and possible consequences of that Russian interference.
  • Said individuals/committees/boards are in agreement that something happened but they can’t report on what they have found out.
  • They also agree that they have not had access to all presumably extant information.

Conclusion:

Somebody or somebodies somewhere are sitting on and apparently refusing to tell what they know. Rather, what they knew and when.

Question(s):

Somebody knew some very important shit way back probably as much as a year, information pertinent to and possibly destructive of our democratic processes.

  • So how come aforementioned somebodies did not speak out back then?
  • Is it not the purpose of gathering national intelligence to apply what is discovered to the advantage of the nation?
  • Why, to cut to the chase, did various security agencies not inform us: the public, the press, the government what was going on?

And right this very minute — 10:42 AM MONDAY — with the sort of timing you find only in the most cheesy of spy novels, comes a bulletin from The New York Times. FBI Director James Comey has “publicly confirmed an investigation into Russian interference in the presidential election and whether associates of the president were in contact with Moscow.

 

 

Hell of a way to run a railroad

If you’re in need of head-scratching material, try an on-line search for differences between “democracy” and “republic.”

Once you’ve decided how they differ, consider which one accurately describes what we — the USA — are. A casual read of the material, and a somewhat-less-casual fit of head-scratching led me to categorize us as two different places, trying to co-exist.

As is linguistically inevitable, Republicans follow in Republic’s footsteps, and Democrats in Democracy’s. So are we — in our political thinking — captives of casual nomenclature? What would happen if the two parties were called, say, the Fizzies and the Bubbles? Might we then find it easier to reach accord, to come to agreement, to resolve differences?

Please do not fritter away any more time here. I’m just rambling and figeting, trying to ignore all the media accounts of strange behavior on the part of those in power. But I cannot ignore them, of course. For one thing, they seem to imply that we are neither democracy or republic.

We are somewhere between kingdom and plutocracy.