02 September 2017

A casual report

Things are odd, as usual, en Amerique. Yesterday in San Francisco was the hottest day ever recorded there, 106° (41° in real). But the Russian consular annex, having just been given 48 hours to vacate, as part of the ongoing retaliatory tiff (wherein the Russians slashed American embassy staff in retaliation for sanctions which were in retaliation for the most serious cyber attack on another country in history, so somewhat asymmetrical, but I digress)...anyway, they started a fire in an outside bin and an inside fireplace. The fire department was called but was told "Zdes' nechegto smotret" ... "nothing to see here..." the Russians were obviously burning sensitive documents. Don't they know about shredders? 

The West Coast's epic heat wave (not yet arrived in the Portland or Seattle areas but expected shortly), is yet another instance of extremes of weather that climate scientists like Michael Mann and James Hansen are no longer equivocating over: they are definitely being caused by increases in atmospheric CO-2 over the last century or so in particular. 

This all contrasts with the continuing obsession of Toddler/Man president, who still has never actually criticized Putin or his government in public since declaring his then seemingly quixotic run for office now more than two years ago.  Toddlerman is now widely expected to cancel the DACA orders put in place by Obama in 2012... despite strong support among even many Republicans (such as Dippy Paul of Janesville) for keeping them. Apparently just out of spite. He delayed the announcement just to keep hundreds of thousands on edge over a holiday weekend. Former (R) Sen. John Danforth of Kansas put it quite bluntly the other day in an op-ed:  "Our party has been corrupted by this hateful man." 

Meantime the Mueller investigation continues apace. They have brought in CI, the elite criminal investigations unit of the IRS to help untangle financial crimes (probably focusing on Manafort). They also, weirdly, apparently unsolicited, received briefs from Trump's defense lawyers as to why firing Comey wasn't obstruction of justice (presumably under the specific circumstances, because without them it's kind of an empty issue). Jill Wine Banks, a Watergate era prosecutor, commented that the Trump defense people appear to be "on their heels." We don't actually know what evidence there is of actual collusion with the Russians, but the circumstances and timing of the release of the hacked emails to Wikileaks is looking really suspicious, and the conduct of the president, including his comments to Lester Holt about the Comey firing and repeated conversations with various people where quid pro quos were broadly implied viz. the Russia investigation, looks more and more like a plausible bill of particulars for impeachment. If the Republicans in the House ever get to the point where they have any stomach for that. At least Mueller will likely give them a report that will be damning in the extreme and if they don't impeach, their failure to do the obviously right thing will be there for history's judgment. 

I still don't think it's the right strategy for Democrats to put a lot of stock in the Mueller investigation to "save us." We have, as a party, failed miserably, and we must rebuild our message and present candidates, especially for the House, who present an obviously superior alternative to the chaos and corruption of the Republicans. If we do not do this, and just rely, as Clinton did, on "they're awful, and we're not so bad," we will lose many of these elections and our democracy, which I really believe is currently in greater peril than at any time in the last 150 years, will remain in great and increasing peril. This isn't tiddlywinks: we should be fighting for our political lives as a Center Left political movement. Fortunately, there are many in our party who see it in just these terms, and things are happening. I am optimistic. 

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