Story of the Day: Mueller

manafort

Mueller Going Too Easy on Manafort and Gates

This is probably one of the most important stories of the day.  The federal judge hearing the Manafort/Gates bail issue has questioned federal prosecutors from Mueller’s office about why they are being so lenient on Manafort and Gates.

Everybody in the universe of Cable News has been lauding Mueller and talking about his integrity and deluding themselves into thinking that Mueller is going to save us.  I am not so sure.  Mueller is one person, conducting one investigation and the overwhelming pressure will be to paper over this, gloss over it, prevent too great a shock to the masses (us).  Remember that Congress decided in their infinite wisdom not to impeach Reagan for the Iran/Contra affair because they thought the country couldn’t take it.  We must put pressure everywhere we can to prosecute this and not just rely on Mueller.  What I think the country can’t take is to have yet another massive scandal swept under the carpet.

Read the Raw Story coverage here:

https://www.rawstory.com/2017/11/judge-thinks-muellers-team-is-going-too-easy-on-manafort-and-gates-in-bail-hearing/

Things We’re Thinking About This Morning: Donna Brazile

 

Brazile and Rove Photograph

I have no idea why Donna Brazile decided to write her new book, or why she decided to release it at this particular moment.  I have, however, heard several people propose alternative explanations.  1) She is just blatantly trying to promote a book and make money.  She has purposefully written a sensational book designed to sell.  And, she is getting the media coverage for sure.  2) She is trying to make herself relevant again.  Evidently, though, she was still being paid by the DNC.  I certainly got fund-raising emails with her photograph on them, some of them signed by her.  3) Something happened with the Clintons or the campaign since the election that has prompted her to lash out.  4) She is positioning herself behind the faction she thinks will take control of the Democratic Party, the Sanders people.  5) She is trying to ingratiate herself to Cory Booker and Joe Biden, thinking they are going to be the front runners in the 2010 campaign.

 

Did Jeff Sessions Just Get Caught Lying to Congress Again?

sessions  Sen. Al Franken asked:  What would you do if anyone in the administration “communicated with the Russian government during this election?”  Sessions answered: “I am not aware of any of these activities.”  “I did not have communications with the Russians.” 

As a Southerner I will say that I think we should get rid of all these relics of the Confederacy, starting with this one.

Donna Brazile

At 5 AM, a story was released by Politico, written by Donna Brazile.  The article is supposedly an excerpt from Brazile’s new book.  In it, Brazile details her discovery (I”m shocked, shocked that gambling is going on in here) that the Clinton campaign had hijacked the finances of the Democratic Party early in the process, long before she had secured the nomination.  Brazile throws Clinton and Debbie Wasserman Shutlz under the bus.  There are so many things wrong with this story, I don’t even know where to begin.  I see no coverage on cable news.  All Chris Hayes had to say was: “This is nuts.”

This one deserves following…

 

What We’re Thinking About This Morning

NEW YORK

CNN and MSNBC are still giving the attack in New York full-time coverage this morning.  As far as I can determine, there’s not one thing new or enlightening being covered.  Everybody in New York and Washington is being interviewed, saying the same thing they have said every time this has happened before.  There is nothing, nothing new to say about this or at least nothing that the cable news media is reporting.  Rachael Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell gave half their shows last night to going over details of the attack that had been reported all day.  There is a whole world out there, but everybody and their brother had to be shown commenting on the details of this particular attack.

It seems to me that there is a bad combination of things wrong with the coverage of terror attacks like this.  First, the obsessive coverage gives more power to the people who have perpetrated the attack.  It creates the impression that the threat is more serious in terms of probability than it is.  Second, by sanitizing the coverage the media argues that it is taking power away from the terrorists.  But, when the public is given a sanitized version of the event, there is no real recognition of the true horror of these attacks.  I think if the media is going to give hours and hours of coverage, they should at least allow the public to see the reality of what has happened.  This includes dead bodies.

I don’t remember seeing one dead body after the Las Vegas attack.  There’s something wrong with this.

Instead of covering the true horror of these attacks, increasingly what is happening is a sort of pep rally.  The press conferences given by officials immediately turn into a kind of awards ceremonies for first responders and politicians.  It’s just not appropriate to start congratulating ourselves on how great our first responders are when there’s been a terrorist attack.  Is this happening just because nobody has anything useful to say?  Is it because it somehow makes us feel better if we have something great (first responders) in the middle of this confusing, perplexing problem?  It reminds me of a time when I phoned up and asked the head of a death row unit how his officers dealt with living with men sometimes for decades and then having to see them put to death.  “We have the cleanest death row in the world.”  The guy responded.  He went on for at least 5 minutes in the same vein.  I thought he was crazy.  But this is what’s going on in these press conferences.  They spend most of the update press conferences congratulating everybody in sight.  It also provides a political photo op for every politician to demonstrate their supposed public concern.

I also don’t understand why these government officials have to uniformly act as if the press is the enemy.  There is this ill-tempered, impatient attitude toward people doing their job and trying to give information to the public.

Also, why is it necessary to define every terrorist attack as “cowardly.”  Why is this important?  Why is it relevant?  As I remember, Bill Mahrer lost his job years ago for saying that there was nothing “cowardly” about the 9/11 attack.  It might be a lot of things, but why “cowardly.”

RUSSIA

Rachael Maddow did do an analysis of the documents released last night explaining why the government thought Paul Manafort was a flight risk. If you missed it, it’s worth looking at.  Joyce Vance, former federal prosecutor, pointed out that Manafort had a number of passports with different numbers as well as a cell phone registered under an alias.  On Morning Joe, Clint Watts, also pointed out the same thing.

And it’s just 7 AM.

 

 

 

Podcast World: The Young Turks

cenk   The Young Turks podcast is hosted by former MSNBC host Cenk Uygur and Anna Kasparian.  I started listening to Uygur when he did a progressive radio program with TCM host Ben Mankowitz.  Uygur later hosted a news program on MSNBC 2010 – 2011.

On the October 27 podcast, Uygur and his panel talk about the awarding of a $300 million contract to Whitefish Energy, a company owned by a buddy of Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke, to do work in Puerto Rico.  Only a few months ago, this company had two permanent employees.

There were charges of cronyism when the no-bid contract was awarded and now, as if it couldn’t be worse, details of the contract between the company and FEMA have been leaked.   According to an article in the Hill, the deal between the Trump headed government agency and the small Montana company prohibits the “government from reviewing labor costs or profits related to the company’s relief efforts in Puerto Rico.”   According to the contract, the government is not allowed to “audit or review the cost and profit elements” of the work.

The contract also prohibits the government from making “any claim against Contractor related to delayed completion of work.”

When San Juan Mayor Carmen Yulin called for the deal to be voided, the company threatened in a tweet to stop work.

“They are threatening not to do their job which frankly is quite irregular for a company hired to the work for the public sector,” Yulin tweeted in response.

Two House committees and a federal watchdog have all opened investigations into the deal.

As one of the panelists on The Young Turks asked: “Why bother going into organized crime when you can go into politics?”

See The Hill, “Whitefish Energy contract bars government from auditing deal.”  By John Bowden, 10/27/17

The Young Turks Podcast.