Topics and articles chosen with care. Linked articles in bold purple
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I hope it really does build a dialog of diverse viewpoints on public issues.
◆ What does the Mueller appointment mean?
Here’s my take:
- The appointment was widely applauded. Everybody said that, if anyone had to do the job, Mueller was the best choice. He is
- A straight-shooter, not a partisan
- A work horse, not a show horse
- An experienced hand at the FBI, which he directed. That means he can get up-to-speed quickly and choose a staff quickly.
- An experienced prosecutor, who will know what to pursue and what to leave aside.
- A focused investigator, who is unlikely to go off on tangents, as previous special prosecutors have
- The appointment decision was made by Rod Rosenstein, the second-in-command at DOJ and, in this case, acting Attorney General because Jeff Sessions has recused himself.
- Rosenstein continues to acquit himself well. He made the decision himself and simply gave the White House a heads-up shortly before the public announcement.
- Some strong Trump supporters think a special counsel was not needed and is a victory for the Democrats. They are mistaken, IMO.
- It is a victory for the Democrats in the sense that they, and not the Republicans, have been seeking such an appointment.
- But it was essential to restore public trust after the Comey firing and conflicting stories about what caused it, following by Comey’s leaked memo.
- The reason why the appointment was essential is that only a trusted, non-partisan, and highly-competent investigator, such as Mueller, can clear Trump of the serious allegations against him and his team, namely that they collaborated with the Russians and that Trump tried to kill the investigation in a private conversation with Comey.
- If the prosecutor or special counsel were tainted, the findings would be, too.
- If Trump wants to reboot his Presidency and move beyond the Democrats’ unsubstantiated charge that he stole the election and committed a high crime to cover it up, then he needs Mueller and not some toady to say so.
- The big question about the scope of the investigation is how much it will delve into Russia’s overall involvement in the 2106 election.
I will stay on top of this issue and, in later posts, will take up other aspects.
Meanwhile, we need an equally thorough investigation by the intel agencies themselves into who is leaking their crown jewels to hackers and highly-classified material to the Washington Post and New York Times.
◆ How bad is Turkey’s sinking Islamic autocracy? Erodogan’s thugs beat up protesters in Washington, DC, outside the Turkish Embassy (Washington Post)
D.C. police arrested two men, one from Virginia and one from New York, and said they are pursuing charges against additional suspects since the melee outside the Turkish ambassador’s residence at Sheridan Circle. Eleven people were injured, among them a police officer. Some were kicked and stomped, their heads bloodied.
Included in the police search are members of Erdogan’s armed protective detail, according to two people with direct knowledge of the case. –Washington Post
Comment: This is really nasty and some of the thugs will escape justice because of diplomatic immunity.
◆ Twenty-one members of the violent MS-13 Gang arrested in LA raid (Los Angeles Times)
Twenty-one people accused of being part of the notoriously violent MS-13 gang were arrested Wednesday as federal and local investigators forced their way into homes and businesses across Los Angeles County in a pre-dawn sweep that came as a result of a more than two-year racketeering investigation. . . .
MS-13, also known as Mara Salvatrucha, preys on immigrants without legal status.
“They extort them. They rob them. They rape them. They murder them. Without their cooperation as witnesses, none of this would be possible,” [LA Police Chief Charlie] Beck said, noting that LAPD officers do not check immigration statuses before talking to witnesses. –LA Times
Comment: This needs to keep going, month after month.
◆$ The tech sector is leaving the rest of the US economy in its dust: Apple, Alphabet, Facebook, Amazon, and Microsoft (The Verge) Their dominance in the stock market rally is clear-cut.
It took Amazon 15 years to match the market capitalization of Walmart. Two years later, it is worth more than double its biggest rival. –The Verge
◆$ Ben Bernanke says America’s economy is now nearing capacity (Financial Review, Australia)
“We’ve got basically a 2 per cent economy here and that means it doesn’t take that much to knock you off track,” Bernanke told attendees at the SkyBridge Alternatives Conference in Las Vegas. “We have already approached the limits of our capacity and unemployment is pretty much about as low as it can go, so we don’t have that extra capacity to create growth.” –Financial Review
◆ Here’s what free speech means: Univ. of Chicago students get to hear a talk by the head of Homeland Security and actually engage with a key policymaker on crucial issues (WLS, ABC7 Chicago)
Comment: At many universities, the head of DHS, retired general John Kelly, would be shouted down because he is the front line of Trump’s immigration policy and anti-terrorism efforts. Because he was not shouted down, our students got to hear him, ask tough questions, and make their own decisions, without intimidation.