Those relying on the U.S. justice system to hold the Trump administration accountable for the crime spree that was the past four years, need to consider the record of the Justice Department in prosecuting corporate and white collar criminals. Let’s just start with one case.
In January of 2021, the Justice Department allowed Boeing to resolve a criminal charge “related to a conspiracy to defraud” the government in connection with the FAA’s evaluation of Boeing’s 737 MAX airplane.
Boeing needed FAA approval for the planes and FAA was charged with developing safety protocols for them. Employees of Boeing, however, placing “profit over candor” deceived the government by withholding important information from the regulatory agency, information which might have delayed approval or necessitated increased training for the use of the planes.
These employees continued to withhold the information and participate in a conspiracy to cover up the withholding, even after the first disastrous crash of the Boeing 737 MAX in 2018.
In 2018, Loin Air Flight 610 crashed near Indonesia. 189 passengers and crew were killed. In March 2019 Ethiopian Airlines Flight 302, crashed near Ejere Ethiopia. All 157 passengers and crew died. In March 2019 the plane involved, the 737 MAX, was officially grounded.
No individuals were charged in the federal criminal information filed against a company, Boeing, and no individuals were punished. Boeing was allowed to buy itself out of prosecution.
The agreement accepted by the Justice Department was a Deferred Prosecution Agreement (DPA), one of many the Department of Justice enters into with corporations every year. According to “The Chikenshit Club” by Jesse Eisinger (one of the most underestimated books in the past decade) from 2002 until the Fall of 2016, the Justice Department entered into 416 such agreements. In the previous 10 years, they had participated in 18.
These DPAs take the place of prosecutions. They are easier for the Justice Department (require less resources and risk of losing), allow the Department to claim victories and tout what appear to be large fines. And, the NPAs are much less painful for the corporation. The fines are usually tiny compared with resources of the corporation, and they rarely involve individuals.
So even though individuals at Boeing made decision after decision to deceive the regulatory agency the public depends on to ensure flying safety, they were not named and not prosecuted. They were allowed to hide behind a NPA that resulted in a fine paid by Boeing.
DPAs are similar to plea bargains. But, unlike plea bargains, they are not lowered charges in exchange for a guilty plea. It is a prosecution that has been deferred, not brought. Boeing has not been prosecuted for a crime, and can claim so. It has been allowed to buy itself out of prosecution.
Every criminal in every court in the country (except the innocent ones) would love to be allowed to pay a small sum in order not to be prosecuted for the crime s/he committed. They are almost never afforded this opportunity.
Ordinary criminal defendants (the poor) are almost always required to plead guilty to a crime in order to secure a more lenient sentence. The poor defendant is subject to the stigma of criminal prosecution, the economic costs. These companies, however, are allowed to negotiate a settlement that doesn’t even include prosecution, or necessarily an admission of guilt.
In this case, Boeing agreed to a settlement, a bribe, in order not to be prosecuted for deceiving the government by withholding crucial information about one of its planes from those charged with developing safety protocols, information that might well have prevented two crashes and the loss of over 400 lives.
Boeing, a company, a legal fiction, is held responsible for its’ employees behavior. Those employees who participated in this conspiracy, knowing that it would endanger lives for profit, are left free to be promoted, or leave the company and get jobs working elsewhere, committing more crimes.
The FAA is one of the agencies administering regulations about how corporations function. Republicans have spent the past forty years fighting against every regulation of industry, starving regulatory agencies of funds, and demonizing them in the eyes of the public they were designed to protect.
When a white collar or corporate criminal is caught, they are allowed to hide behind their “company” and evade responsibility.
If you want to know what Republicans stand for, this is it – free, unfettered, unaccountable fraud against the American people for profit.
Free Speech TV: Economic Update with Richard Wolff, History Lessons on Capitalism’s Failures, 3/2/21.
Joe Scarborough, both-sideser in chief and head MSNBC misogynist is at it again this morning joined by his usual kiss ass crew. He got in a little trouble yesterday by repeatedly asking guests whether it was necessary to impeach Trump. The dreadful Mika told him to stop and he responded like the petulant bully he is, by berating her and trying to embarrass her on national television.
This morning, he and Peter Baker are trying to figure out how “we” can work with the Republicans like James Langford, who have suddenly had an attack of conscience over trying to overthrow an election.
But, for Scarborough and Baker, that’s just a minor blip. Sedition? Just apologize and Scarborough will find a way to launder your reputation (if you are a Repubican).
Baker’s contribution to this was to lament the fact that, in his words, both sides have decided to go back into their partisan corners. Equal corners, right? One side is providing the rationale for sedition and the other is trying to restore democracy, but they are both equally to blame.
On to other matters.
On Ari Melber’s MSNBC show last night, Eugene Robinson (Mr. Mild Manners himself) said that the Republicans created this division and now they are buying body armor.
AOC was evidently so afraid when the attack was going on, she was fearful of going into a safe room with Republicans. She thought they might lead the attackers to her. It was not an unreasonable suspicion since one of the members of the House was texting out the location of Nancy Pelosi.
Lindsey Graham characterized the impeachment proceedings as “sheer hatred.” I can’t wait to find out why Graham did a 180 turn to support Trump. Maybe if Trump gets more and more frustrated, he will start to spill the dirt.
Rep Madeleine Dean, who will be one of the impeachment managers said “Lindsay Graham knows better.” “You too” she said referring to Graham, “are complicit…”
Trump evidently brought Bannon back into the sedition circle. Roger Stone was the one who came up with the “Stop the Steal” rallying cry.
Tony Schwartz is saying that Trump is now moving “between rage and delusion.” And that Trump has unleashed forces that we may well see become more powerful in the future.
Peter Strzok, former FBI, expressed “frustration and anger” at the lack of preparedness at the Capitol. If you look at other events, Strzok argued: “The government can secure the capitol when it wants to and that didn’t happen here.” Strzok said that the tour groups that evidently went through the Capitol the day before the assault needed to be “looked into.”
Elizabeth Newmann, former Assistant Secretary for Threat Presentation and Security Policy at DHS, explained that the Terrorist Watch List is a separate list from the No Fly List and is broader, larger. She says it includes “suspected white supremacists.” But, she also said, this list functions more as an alert system than a surveillance system. If, for example, someone got arrested, law enforcement could run the name and the person would show up as on this Terrorist Watch List. But, there is no ongoing surveillance on these people. So, they could all decide to go to Washington at the same time and go and there would be no automatic alert because of this list.
Last night, Rachael Maddow was commenting on the absurdity of having people on this list, but not knowing that they were all converging on the same problematic location. The only way law enforcement could know this is if these people were under constant surveillance and I’m not sure that’s what we want.
A number of people are already pointing out on Twitter and in articles that this siege of the Capitol may well end up working to the disadvantage of legitimate protest. As always, it’s easy to argue for more surveillance of individuals when they are opposed to you politically. But, these same surveillance measures can be turned quickly against legitimate protest.
I heard no discussion yesterday of the way in which a person might be put on this Terrorist Watch List. Once on this list, are you ever taken off? What surveillance measures can the government take after you are put on this list? These are questions we need to answer.
Newman, after explaining the list, went on to say that there was “no excuse for the lack of preparation” at the capitol. She pointed out that that the Executive Branch, while reluctant to tell another branch of government what to do, has a “duty to warn” of dangerous situations. They, for example, should have issued a “Joint Intelligence Bulletin.” They did not. “They knew that violence was planned” Newman continued. “You always assume the worst, prepare for the worst…”
Petef Strzok expressed disappointment that we had not heard from Director Wray. He wondered whether the FBI attempted to warn other agencies but was prevented from doing so. Strzok didn’t say by whom.
Anna Palmer noted that since the COVID outbreak, the Capitol had been like a “ghosttown.” She noted the extensive security measures for even going into the Capitol as a reporter. “It’s been months since people were even around” she noted. These tours were highly unusual.
Biden has named Jamaal Bowman head of the DNC. It has not escaped notice that Bowman is against Medicare For All.
And, lastly, in Georgia…
I had an interesting exchange with a friend on Facebook. He commented that when the FBI asked all these low-level attackers who are being arrested if they had any coordination or contact with Congressmen or Trump, they would flip and implicate them.
I responded: True, if the FBI agents ask them.
Now, as usual, he took exception to this. Most people, especially those who have worked around law enforcement accept a law enforcement ethos. They resist any aspersions on the integrity of the force, even confronted with daily evidence to the contrary.
He responded in a curious way. First he said that I shouldn’t paint all agents with a “broad brush.” Seemed to me that he was painting them with a broad brush, just assuming that the FBI would be trying to turn offenders on higher ups. Why this assumption is made, I don’t know.
We have just witnessed years of the most curious behavior on the part of the FBI and the Justice Department in recent memory. Why did James Comey make public the absurd reopening of the investigation of Hillary Clinton right before the 2016 election? Why did he within the past few days argue publicly that Biden should pardon Trump? What was going on in the New York City office of the FBI in 2016 that almost lead to a work stoppage? These are just a few threads that need to be followed up here. In addition, why was the Justice Department so easily compromised by Jeff Sessions and then Bill Barr? Why was the Mueller investigation so limited as to make it meaningless?
I’m sorry, but I just don’t think we can assume that all those FBI agents out there are crusaders for justice especially when it comes to investigating people at the top of the food chain. (See Jesse Eisinger’s “The Chickenshit Club.)
Then, my friend said that the last time he talked to me I was (overly) concerned “dismayed” with voter suppression in Georgia, and Georgia had become the beacon of election security. Georgia, he said had become the “honest election state that is saving democracy. What truly happened?”
Now, I have no idea what this last paragraph has to do with FBI agents working overtime to get dirt on powerful Congressmen, but there you are.
I find the statement amazing. I fully realize that the media, prone as they are to simplistic narratives, is trying to make heroes out of Raffensperger, Sterling and Kemp, but anybody who reads should know that Georgia is far from a beacon of hope.
Brian Kemp’s government spent a fortune on a fancy new voting machine system. And they conducted a propaganda operation by replacing all the “I voted” material with “I secured my Vote.” It was all a propaganda operation. I did poll worker training in Georgia before the general and I left at lunch and didn’t go back. It was obvious to me then that the new system was unwieldy and full of holes. The measures taken to “secure the vote” were geared toward security threats in the 19th century. Nobody could answer questions about hacking into the system.
Even though the media has touted “paper ballots” as an indication of transparency, in Georgia, they are not really “paper ballots.”
The ballots are marked by a machine. Then, the voter gets a sheet of paper which has his choices printed on it. The voter is supposed to check these choices to make sure they are right. But, the scanners that count the votes do not even register the words printed on the ballot. They count a bar code at the bottom of the ballot. The voter cannot read the bar code. The poll workers cannot read the bar code. I don’t think anybody outside of the Voting Machine company can read the bar codes. It’s protected by law. What kind of state of affairs is that?
Before the general election, Brian Kemp’s government made a decision that any recount in Georgia would be done by simply feeding the same ballots (with the same bar codes) through the scanners again.
In short, Georgia spent a fortune on a voting system that is impenetrable. They regularly send out “experts” who claim that the system cannot be hacked. But, Jennifer Cohn, Jonathan Simon and the Coalition for Good Governance have repeatedly offered evidence that at best, we don’t know this.
In addition, Kemp is the king of voter suppression. That’s how he won a race against Stacey Abrams for governor. Raffensperger and Sterling were in the voter suppression game up to their eye balls. Kemp, Raffensperger and Sterling are like the guys who are willing to drive the getaway car, but not willing to go into the liquor store with the gun.
Just in case you hadn’t heard…Kyle Rittenhouse is out on bail and sitting in a bar drinking and yucking it up with the Proud Boys. Reality Winner has COVID and in still in jail. I know she’s not receiving her mail because I have a box of returned letters.
Can I just say that Sam Nunberg is an imbecile. He was in an important position in the Trump as a “campaign advisor” because he is an imbecile and now CNN is interviewing him as if he is this expert on anything.
Nunberg at one time faced prosecution because of his role in the Trump campaign and he is saying about Trump: “He is not a perfect man.” Nunberg, says that he has no regrets about working to get Trump elected. This fruitful line of discussion was cut off by the CNN anchor. But, Nunberg continued: “I don’t regret the Supreme Court. I don’t regret …Israel.” “He (Trump) did a service to the forgotten men and women…” “I am happy he beat Hillary Clinton…”
Tony Schwartz, who was also on the CNN panel broke in to confront Nunberg. Schwartz said it was “sad to hear somebody say I don’t take any responsibility.” “Come one Sam.” “It’s time to say the truth about this man.”
But, Nunberg, growing visibly angry, just continued to defend Trump.
While CNN cut this discussion off, it is an important one. What it demonstrates is that these people around Trump (even those who have been left out to dry in terms of prosecution by the Trump administration) have learned nothing. To the extent that Nunberg is willing to criticize Trump and those around him it is because they didn’t step in to legally protect Nunberg.
On to another topic raised by the CNN coverage this morning. Tony Schwartz said that this might be his last public statement about Trump because everything that can be said has been said.
I agree with Schwartz. I am completely disgusted with this continued cheap psychoanalysis of Trump that takes up hours and hours on corporate news. I don’t care what Trump thinks. I don’t care what is “inside Trump’s head” as CNN purported to cover this morning. I care about what Trump does and what he represents and what the complicit group of people around him are fomenting. This is a movement and make no mistake, Mitch McConnell is as much a part of it as is Donald Trump. Getting rid of Trump (if we even can) is not going to solve the problem.
This is one of the reasons why people in my intellectual territory of the Democratic Party shudder every time Biden or his cohorts starts to talk about “healing” or “unity” or (to repeat Obama’s line) “moving on.”
McConnell may have decided that he has gotten as much out of Trump as he can, and is now ready to kick him to the curb. But, moving on means McConnell and the Koch’s will find somebody else, smarter, cleaner, more devious, and more palatable to carry on the fight to establish an authoritarian one-party Christian nationalist state. That’s where they have been going for decades and where they will continue going, with Trump at the head or not.
Mitch McConnell (and McConnell’s wife), Bill Barr and others are making self-serving statements, so that they can live to fight another day. And, the corporate media is already complicit in laundering the reputations of prominent Republicans. Joe Scarborough is a prime example of someone who will happily criticize Trump (who threatened to out his adulterous affair, and who called Scarborough a murderer) and then turn around and laud Republicans who are complicit in advancing Republican goals while making superficial criticisms of Trump.
“I don’t regret the Supreme Court” should be tattooed on the foreheads of Mitch McConnell, Steve Schmidt, Joe Scarborough, Elise Jordan, Nicolle Wallace, Mitt Romney, Pat Toomey, Ben Sasse, John Bolton, George Conway, Bill Kristol, Michael Steele, Jeff Flake, Justic Amash, David Jolly?, John Kasich, Tom Cotton, Marco Rubio, Susan Collins, Richard Burr, James Lankford and many others.
Folks, these people are not our friends. They cannot be our allies. They have worked for decades to bring this situation about. They established the groundwork for this situation. They cannot plead ignorance and innocence now.
It is increasingly apparent to me that watching the corporate news will be as difficult over the next four years as it was over the last four.
Nicolle Wallace, one of the Never-Trumpers that the corporate Democrats love so much, just begged a reporter for information on Republicans who are likely to cooperate with the Democrats. The reporter cited SUSAN COLLINS as one of those likely Republicans. Susan Collins? If we are pinning our hopes on Susan f…ing Collins, we are in sad shape.
Wallace and the reporter spent ages discussing how “fascinating” watching the relationship between Biden and McConnell was going to be. It will be a real test, the reporter said, to see if Biden can move McConnell on “anything at all.”
There is no test here. And, Biden is wasting his time. McConnell is not going to cooperate with Joe Biden because Biden’s a nice guy. The Democrats essentially nominated and ran Biden not for any policy agenda, but because he was a “nice guy.” Well, I will just go out on a limb here and say that Mitch McConnell is not going to change the total obstruction that has characterized his entire leadership due to the power of Joe Biden’s personality.
Mitch McConnell, Bill Barr, Pompeo and others are on a mission. They perceive themselves to be fighting a war and that war didn’t end just because we were lucky enough to have Trump turned out because of mail-in ballots.
The entire Democratic nominating convention was a celebrity creation exercise. It had nothing to do with policy which was hardly mentioned. It was about creating and marketing a celebrity. Part of that process was trying to convince the consumer that the power of Biden’s personality was going to change politics in Washington.
I am afraid that Biden has come to believe his own hype and truly thinks that he’s going to walk into the Senate, put his arm around Mitch McConnell and say, “come on man” and McConnell is going to go down on his knees. It ain’t gonna happen. I’ll say it again. It ain’t gonna happen.
But corporate media hosts like Nicolle “I facilitated torture” Wallace will spend hours of valuable ideological real estate publicly wondering which Republicans are going to “cooperate” and the ins and outs of some kind of personal relationship between Biden and McConnell.
The corporate media and the Democratic Party still perpetuate the notion that Trump and the Republican Party are different. Biden has said that once Trump is gone, the Republicans are going to return to “normal.” The Republicans were completely willing to use Trump and his crazed supporters as a vehicle to advance their agenda. They are not going to stop advancing that agenda, not now, not when they are this close to establishing a one-party authoritarian state.
If Democrats think that the power of Biden’s personality is going to change what is, for Republicans, a holy war, they are delusional. But, I guess we already knew that.
Widespread protests continue in Belarus. Protests have been happening in the major city of Khabarovsk for weeks after Putin “removed a popularly elected governor and replaced him with a hand-selected loyalist. Putin is now in the position of allowing Lukashenko to flee to Russia (as he did with Yanukovych in Ukraine) and gobbling up parts of Balarus, or does he modulate his interference. https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2020/08/15/putin-lukashenko-belarus-russia/
David Plouffe, along with others stress that the destruction of the effectiveness of the Post Office, is an emergency (see also Jesse Eisinger). He recommends prime-time hearings, now; subpoenas to Trump WH and other officials. “This is a RICO case,” says Plouffe. Twitter From the Democrats, silence, strongly worded letters.
Lest we Forget: Don McGahn is the nephew of mafia attorney, Pat McGahn, who brokered the AC Taj Mahal land deal between Donald Trump and mob boss, Little Nicky Scarfo.
Jesse Eisinger’s book “The Chickenshit Club” is one of the most important books in understanding what is happening with the Republican party and the Trump administration. Tweet (8/16/20) “…cutting government and then pointing to a crippled government as proof that government doesn’t work has been a Republican strategy for 40 years.” Republicans who are surprised at the inaction of the federal government in the pandemic and at the dismantling of the post office have not been paying attention to the policies of the Republican party they have been voting for.
Biden is already caving on health care for Americans. Democratic operatives tell “The Hill” that the most likely strategy is to “fix” Obamacare without providing a public option. This is just one example of what a Biden/Harris administration will be like. There will be repeated caving to corporate interests and the abandoning of the people they are begging to vote for them now. “Powerful health care industry groups, ranging from drug companies to health insurers to hospitals, are strongly opposed to a public option, worried about its impact on their bottom line, and would fight any legislative push on the subject next year. The industry is instead pushing the idea of a more modest ObamaCare fix that does not include a public option.”
Bill Barr, after being threatened with a subpoena by Jerry Nadler’s Judiciary Committee, appeared before the House on July 28, 2020. There was no reason for anybody who has watched Barr with increasing outrage and fury, as he has politicized the administration of justice in this country, to hold out much hope that these hearings would reveal much.
Democrats are hopeless at taking on people with even moderate intelligence in a hearing setting. They refuse to adopt an aggressive approach to Republican authoritarians. They are so concerned with being “nice” or “polite” or “well mannered,” they never anticipate the depths of obfuscation and bad behavior to which the Republicans are willing to sink.
When I switched channels over to MSNBC from TCM where I had been contemplating hiding in escapism for the duration, there was nothing but noise, loud, irritating, obnoxious noise. Then, the camera switched to a screen inside the committee hearing. On this screen was a video, displaying images of protesters, tear gas, confrontation, people pounding at fences. What? Isn’t this the Barr hearing?
It was the Barr hearing. What was going on was that bad-boy Jim Jordan, the crazed ex-wrestler who refused to report his colleague for sexual abuse, had introduced as an “opening statement” a long, selectively edited campaign video purporting to give an accurate representation of the protests occurring in various cities in the United States. The video employed one of the right’s main strategies, fear, creating fear and therefore anger in their base. That’s what Fox News does 24/7.
If you watched the video divorced from any other news, you would think the country was descending into total chaos and violent anarchy. That is exactly what the Republicans wanted to portray. They spent the rest of the hearing, pounding home the point and punching the key words over and over – protest, chaos, anarchists, violence, crime, hate…”my constituents are afraid.” As usual, the Republicans had all been briefed on the key words to use during the hearing to drive home the point. Like faithful soldiers, they complied.
This is a strategy they have used for decades. Even years ago, ten or fifteen Republicans would be interviewed independently on television. All of them would use the same words and phrases to describe a situation, to get their point across, to insert their frame on the news. They are good little soldiers, obedient and loyal and willing to do and say anything. That’s one of the many reasons we need to fear them and fight them.
But, even though, Jerry Nadler scolded Jordan for violating Committee rules by not notifying committee of the intent to show the video, the damage was done.
Why are Democrats always like Charlie Brown with the football? Every time, they stand around and watch Lucy put the ball on the ground, suspecting nothing. Then, they watch Lucy yank the ball out from under them. Then, they issue a scolding after the fact, or ignore the behavior with dignified silence.
Why didn’t Jerry Nadler know the Republicans were going to play this video? Why didn’t he review it? There had to be people in the hearing room, setting this up. If I had been burned as many times as the Democrats in hearings, I would have informants everywhere and somebody watching that room from the minute the doors were unlocked.
And, if you want to argue that Nadler couldn’t have known about the video, why didn’t he stop it? If showing the video violated the rules, why didn’t Nadler stop the video? Why didn’t he demand it be stopped when he saw that it was – a propaganda campaign ad that grossly misrepresented the situation? Nadler can’t walk but somebody could have been told to go and stop that video if it violated Committee rules. But, Jerry Nadler (and other corporate Democrats) refuse to enforce the rules?
I watch a lot of politics. I have spent most of my adult life reading about, watching, writing about, studying politics, specifically politics and crime. But, now, when one of these big hearings is scheduled, I start feeling queasy in the morning. I feel obligated to watch, to witness this descent into authoritarianism. But I don’t want to watch. As someone said yesterday on Twitter, how can these hearings always end up being a loss for both sides?
I know corporate Democrats are largely cowards, feckless cowards who will not fight, or enforce the rules even when enforcing the rules would be to their advantage. But, how did we end up with such a sorry lot? And, what are they afraid of?
I think part of the answer lies in the fact that Democrats are living in a culture in Washington that no longer exists. They can’t seem to accept, acknowledge, understand, that they are facing ruthless authoritarians who will resort to anything, anything to win. They act like if they just stand erect, stare directly ahead of them and behave in a dignified manner (watch Adam Schiff), this ruthless, gutter fight for power on the part of the Republicans will disappear.
In fact, Joe Biden has said just that. He has stated that when we get rid of Trump, all his Republican friends are just going to go back to “normal” and we can return to a bipartisan Kumbaya that hasn’t existed for decades. Republicans haven’t been “normal,” haven’t participated in this gentleman’s club of bipartisanship for decades. And, they aren’t going to do so now. People keep saying we need somebody who can “unite us.” No, that’s not what we need. We need somebody who can marginalize and neuter these rabid authoritarians, see them for what they are, and push them as far away from power as we can get them.
An interesting “tell” here is the ability of the “squad” and some of the other recently elected Democrats to run circles around these career corporate Democrats in hearings. They are not still living in a culture that doesn’t exist.
First, they aren’t afraid. They aren’t afraid to use their common sense and ask questions that make Republicans squirm. They ask the sort of questions that these career corporate Democrats would rather die than ask. Secondly, these women come prepared. They generally don’t just read a prepared statement like they’ve never seen it before, stumbling over what are supposed to be their own words. Third, they usually actually show up and listen to the hearings. They don’t just appear and read a series of questions like bad third-grade actors. They know what has gone on in the hearing and are capable of adapting to the situation. Fourth, these women were by-and-large elected in an upset. They have not been groomed by the DNC. They were elected with a skill set that was larger than just being able to raise money and kiss butt. When I watch people who have been on capitol hill for decades perform at a committee hearing, stumbling through the text of canned questions written by their staff, I always think: They are there because they can raise money, lots of money. That’s the only reason they are there. The DNC supports these types of candidates over other candidates that are more qualified because they can raise money and will behave.
The DNC has worked tirelessly to keep new candidates from emerging in the Democratic party and has created a blacklist for consulting businesses who work for candidates challenging incumbents. The Congressional Black Caucus actually supported an incumbent, Elliott Engels, over a progressive black challenger. This tells you how institutionalized these Democrats have become. The DNC is actively working to keep people in Congress who will play ball, who will not enforce the rules, who will not fight, and who will not ask the tough questions.
Recently, I read an interview of somebody in the music industry. She said: “Oh, they don’t look for talent anymore. They look for somebody with the right look and a compliant personality.” That’s what the DNC looks for and they are selling us down the drain by doing so. That’s why an important hearing makes my stomach hurt.
Armed federal agents, dressed in combat gear, have been sent into the streets of Portland, Oregon against the wishes of local authorities. These agents display no identifying information and are taking citizens off the streets in unmarked cars to undisclosed locations. The agents are reporting to the Department of Homeland Security.
In a strong stand against such unbridled intervention, the House Appropriations Committee just approved a new Homeland Security Funding Bill.
The Oregon Attorney General has sued over the deployment of the federal agents and asked for a restraining order. The Trump administration is expressing disdain over the objections of local officials and publicity threatened to send more anonymous police into other Demcratic-led cities.
According to an interview on MSNBC (7/20/20) with Ryan Haas, Oregon Public Broadcasting:
Protestors are sometimes not even near federal property.
People are being taken in for questioning inside the federal courthouse.
Charges range from pointing something at federal officers, assault of federal officer, and defacing property.
The administration dismissed warnings of local officials that the actions of the federal agents is making the situation worse. In fact, that is likely exactly what they want. They are being sent into Democratic-run cities, generating conflict and confrontation with protestors, in order to scare the suburbs into thinking that violence is widespread and escalating.
DHS, therefore, has been transformed into a political arm for the Republican candidate.
The use of secret police is common in authoritarian governments, but again, as with all the moves toward authoritarian control in this country, the corporate media fails to sound the alarm and normalizes the activities. While they spend hours and hours talking about Trump’s psychology and dysfunctional family history, they have no commentators talking about the implications of using the federal government as instruments of political power. In addition, CNN, is blurring out the faces of the federal agents so that they can’t be recognized.
In another move common, indeed essential, to authoritarian leaders, Trump is installing loyalists to senior roles at the Pentagon. These toadies are being put in place as “acting” officials, thus skirting a Senate confirmation process. The administration just announced that they are assigning a 33-year-old White House chief technology officer to be the head of the research and engineering for the entire Department of Defense.
The man has a bachelor’s degree in political science and is replacing a man with a Ph.D. in aerospace engineering.
The Trump administration is discussing installing a “Fox News regular” to be the Pentagon’s top policy official.
The assurance of loyalty and the elimination of expertise is essential to establishing authoritarian rule. We have seen this play out during the Trump administration in the State Department, the CDC, and now the Pentagon.
A discussion of politics, law, justice, and crime.