Political Bias In Congress, In The Media, And Within The Administration. Is It Really What America Needs?

two fighters   The Nunes memo release sheds some light on very serious culture issues within our government and media.

The levels of bias between the two government parties is being raised to a potentially dangerous level given the constant us versus them behavior.  I say dangerous because each opposing party is constantly trying to discredit the other with their political point of view and applying it to some very important legislative issues.

There seems to be no middle ground.  There seems to be an attitude that one party is right on any given issue and that their counterparts are wrong.

How can 530 plus legislators all be wrong, according to their adversarial counterparts?  How can their constituents and the citizens they serve be so wrong in supporting and electing them?

I was taken back by one of the comments that Nunes made during an interview with FOX news surrounding his relationship with his counterparts on the Intel Committee.  He said that he has had to play whack a mole with them throughout the investigative process. To me those kinds of comments represent his level of maturity and a condescending attitude.  It makes me question his intentions and agenda.

His actions are just one example of party bias in both parties.  The democrat’s are not afraid to express their distane for any republican efforts.  The republican’s are not afraid to express their distane for any democratic efforts.  There is always gridlock present when it comes to furthering some very important legislative issues. When it comes to the President, it is a whole different world.  Below are some bullet points that I feel offer some insight into why our government is so dysfunctional.

  • We need to seriously take a look at what our congressional representatives are doing to further the agenda and important issues for their constituents.  If you reflect on what they promised to do and what actions they are taking towards that end, you can see that some of them purposely or involuntarily fall short. In other words,they can’t or won’t fulfil their promises.
  • Congress is a peculiar animal.  Just think about the phenomenon that happens as soon as they get into office.  They start working on the next election.  That I don’t get.  It is important however, to recognize that most legislators do the work of their constituents and thoughtfully accept responsibility for their actions relative to national issues.  It is to me, unfortunate that those who don’t, negatively reflect on the affirmative and positive activities of those that do.
  • The adversarial posture of some can at times appear to be juvenile.  Just like in high school, many of those who represent us act like their popularity within their peer group is more important than their basic responsibilities.  It is also sometimes obvious that we have law makers that have antiquated and obsolete points of view and principles. I think this contributes to why there is so much stealthy corruption, racism and good ol’ boy posturing.
  • Sooner or later (hopefully sooner), the dysfunction of our two-party branches of government will come around to reflect the culture and needs of Americans today.  I think that our government will also come around to respond to, and represent our commitments and mutual interests of our allies.  The solution is obvious, we need to inject a more current open-minded roster of ladies and gentleman into our government.  They will continue to need the mentorship of those who wield wisdom, knowledge and historical context in order to educate them an bring them into the fold.  By the way, I am referring to those that know the mechanics of government and maneuver them to the benefit of the country.
  • When we look at the media, there are several examples of inappropriate behavior. Watching some media coverage can be like a car accident.  You weren’t involved, but you can’t take your eyes off of those that were.
  • There is conservative media, liberal media, far right and far left media, conspiracy theory and propaganda media.  Think about it, they all have listeners, viewers and readers who subscribe to their viewpoints and representations.  That is the beauty of our country and the provisions of our constitution.
  • There is also some in media who behave irresponsibly or debate a  point of view just because they have a talent to manipulate their audience.  It is kind of like an attorney.  They are sworn to vigorously represent their client, no matter what the truth is.  This is a common practice among those in media who pander to their audiences with the goal of improving them or their company’s bottom line.  I personally believe that there is at least one member of the mainstream media who has abused his first amendment right and crossed the line to the point where he is meddling in our government processes.  Often I think his actions can be construed as criminal (you know who I am talking about).
  • With a couple of major exceptions, most media organizations succeed as a result of there responsible, research, knowledge and dissemination of information that is important to their audience.  Like I say, with the exception of a couple of dangerous media operations,  those that are effective are still in business, those that aren’t, are gone.
  • incidentally,  the “expert” contributors on some of these outlet’s panels are more amusing than expert.  This is not to say that most aren’t fascinating, knowledgeable and informative.  I am just saying that some are just plain out there.  Sebastian Gorka is an example of one of the many that are just plain strange.
  • What does “everyone knows this” mean when Trump speaks to a point during discussions with the media?  Why does he run his presidency on the advice of a couple of people in the media?   I can understand why he is critical of our institutions, he doesn’t know how they work.  Why does he always say that our country is a mess?  Isn’t he the maid?
  • By the way, many talking heads lately, try to compare the crap that is going on today to previous administrations, especially Obama.  At the rate Trump is going, he will be the benefactor of the worst number of scandals of all times by the end of his term.  Of course, he will say that he had the fewest and less serious ever and the scandals that he did face, he fixed them himself.

If you are interested, this link will take you to a Wikipedia page that lists scandals by Presidents and Congressional men and women.

Historical Scandals




Who is this Devin Nunes, And Why Is He So Sketchy?

Nunes    When it comes to the Republican party, it seems that there is always someone involved who marches to the beat of a different drum.  I cringe every time I hear Representative Nunes’s name in the media.  If you go to the Library of Congress site, or Wikepedia (make sure you verify the information on the site), you can see what his activities are in the House including his activities with respect to his home district.  His core positions in congress are identical to the President’s.

He dismisses global climate change.  He is for the deregulation of several laws related to environmental protections.  He is for major regulation repeal, including the provisions of the clean air act.  He supports wholesale deregulation, especially when it benefits groups such as the fossil fuel industry.    He supports in some fashion the Tax bill which overwhelmingley benefits the wealthy.  He supports Trump’s ban on muslim travel to the US.  He supported the Benghazi investigation and has maintained the position that their was a cover up by Secretary Clinton, even though all parties were eventually cleared of wrong doing.  He supports major changes to Medicare and Social Security including rasing the plan’s rates which negatively affects the growing elderly population.  He voted in favor of the 2013 government shut down which furlowed 800,000 federal workers.  In his district, he has not done a whole lot to represent central California.  With any substance, he has been active in introducing legislation related to water and irregation managemt in the San Joaquin valley.  He is also involved in highway infrastructure within the state including legislation to improve state highway 99.  It is worth pointing out that the Governor of California has played a more significant role.  Incidentaly, most of the legislation that he has been involed in may get the support of the House, but rarely does he and the committees he is associated with garner discussion or even a vote in the Senate.

Representative Nunes is an advocate of undoing any legislation or laws that President Obama passed.  He is very party biased and most of his federal efforts reflect support for the defiant GOP membership.

He has recently garnered attention because of his behavior in the house relative to the Russia investigation.  He is becoming well known for embracing and spreading conspiracy theories.  He has leaked classified information many times during his time in Congress.  He repeatedly runs to the White house to share any information he has garnered relative to the President’s involvement in the Russian meddling in our electoral process.  My sketchy label for him is because he is always very sneaky and continually leaves the democrats on the house Russia investigation out of the loop.  For a guy who says he has recused himself, he sure spends a lot of time being intimately involved.

One reason why I am sharing my thoughts about the Representative, is to point out that for the administration’s claim that they are draining the swamp, they sure support a serpent and revere him as a significant player in the GOP’s efforts to manipulate and hamper the investigation into the President’s involvement with regard to the Russian meddling.

Just look at him, he even presents himself as being shifty.  To me, it is disgusting that he and others have become lap dogs for the President.

Fusion GPS Transcript, Some Takeaways

I have had the opportunity to read the entire transcript of the Glenn Simpson Senate hearings.  With my usual unorthodox viewpoint, I came away with some observations.

Mr. Simpson indicated that not all campaigns can afford GPS’s services, which would explain why the Clinton campagne engaged them rather than the DNC.  This also explains to me why the Sanders campaign was not in the loop.  Not just because Clinton was running against him, but because his party couldn’t afford to pay for it.

It appears that the research project started with the conservative group the Washington Free Beacon originally retaining them to do the research on Trump.  The plan was to gain information that would be helpful to several candidates in the 2016 election.  At some point, they ended their agreement with GPS.

If it was me, given the substantial amount of information that had already been collected by Fusion GPS, I would jump at the chance to get them to help me, which the Clinton campaign did.

Interestingly, a lot of what Fusion GPS found in the beginning of their process focused on Trump dealings in countries other than Russia.  Also, I understand that the first thing that pointed them into the direction of ongoing improper business dealings, was Trump’s connection to the Russian mob.

In my opinion, it would make sense to focus a significant amount of intellectual resources to uncover issues related to the financial health and practices of Trump’s organization.  It is apparent that everywhere Fusion GPS was digging for information, Trumps name and involvement popped up.

For Glenn Simpson, It is a good thing he subcontracted or associated with people he has been dealing with for years who have significant expertise or ongoing relationships with certain groups.  Not only does that mean he can trust them, he is also able to utilize their expertise effectively.  A great example is the retaining of the Russian diplomatic interpreter.  If you don’t speak Russian and were trying to gain information from Russians, it would be imperative that you worked with a translator you can trust to properly convey or gather relative information.

It also sounds like his projects are not based on party affiliation which is supported by the make up of his group.  As an aside, I am sure that Mr. Simpson has run across some real flakes over the years, especially when he was an investigative reporter working for the Wall Street Journal.

When he first started his investigation, he testified that he was very familiar with Trump, his slimy business practices and his association with unsavory characters well before he was commissioned to take on this project.  He also said that during the most recent investigation, he discovered through public records that Trump is a horrible business man with many properties that didn’t make any money and are always embroiled in lawsuits related to his practices including his failure to pay his bills.  He also revealed that Trump’s ability to get money for places like the building in SOHO could only happen with the help of Russian financeurs.  If you remember anything from the old mob movies, you should remember that when you get into bed with the mob, you usually end up with a debt so large that you have to give them major control over what you do.  Can you say money laundering?

Fusion GPS didn’t commission Christopher Steele to do his research until long into the project.  Simpson testified that Steele was brought into the fold because of his ability to do extensive “human” research.  By the time he was commissioned, Fusion GPS had basically come to the end of their ability to gain information using their traditional methods.

Simpson testified that Mr. Steele was not given anything specific to investigate.  Instead, he was instructed to see what he could find out about Trump without any real expectations of what he was going to dig up.

The Dossier, actually a series of memorandums was the form of communication used by Simpson and Steele.  Given the content and chronology of the memos, it supports Simpson’s contention that he was not looking for anything specific.  As an aside, both Simpson and Steele were cognisent of the fact that they were, along the way, being given misinformation designed to effect their findings.  To me, that may be why there are some events in the dossier that may not be factual.

As Steele’s research unfolded, it became apparent that he and Simpson uncovered that Trump was involved in just about everything Russia.  They discovered relationships with oligarchs, banks controlled by the Russian government and so on.  He also discovered that the Russian government was playing Trump for a fool and had in fact among other things, set him up to be blackmailed.  When Steele discovered this happening he insisted on informing the government.  After settling a disagreement with Simpson on whether or not they should contact law enforcement, Steele met with his FBI contact in Paris.

Simpson testified that at the time, Steele’s information was considered credible by the FBI based on information they already had knowledge of through their own investigaion.  When the FBI was going public with information about Hillary’s email, they apeared to ignore the Dossier that Steele had been working with them on, so he quit cooperating with them.

Fusion GPS had no idea that the Russian government was hacking into the Clinton’s emails and were going to dump them on the American public.  The timing of their investigation proves that.

As far as Mr. Simpson’s testimony,  after 10 hours of grilling which generated 312 pages of testimony,  I can’t see how anyone would not take him at his word.  I believe that even though there was a lot of “I don’t recall” and “won’t answer” responses to the panel, his overall testimony supported the truth.  You would have to be pretty misanthropic to think otherwise.

You would have to be in denial if you can’t see the obvious connection between Trump’s Russian relationships and the meddling in our election brokered by Putin.

I personally am of the opinion that if any of the information gleaned by Fusion GPS were to have been shared with the American people during the campaign rather than six months later, we would possibly have had a totally different outcome to the election.  I am also of the opinion that the attacks on Hillary’s campaign were more a product of Putin’s hate and distane for her, not some overwhelming admiration of Trump.

It is my opinion that Mueller has a ton information that is not related to the Fusion GPS investigation and that the overall Fusion GPS/Steele findings are just one piece of a much larger puzzle for Mueller’s group.

To me the testimony was fascinating, informative and sometimes confusing.  Anyway, that is just a few of my thoughts on the latest news.  I could go on for hours, so I will spare you.

Popular Political Talking Points. In My Opinion.

I think these talking points that are common in our daily lives deserve some of my onorthodox input and opinion.

Congress:  Currently, our government’s legislative branches are generally not working the way that they are supposed to.  The Republican party is advancing flawed legislation, repealing sensible regulations and obstructing and dismissing any Democratic party efforts to advance their agenda.  The Democratic side of government does not have a clear and productive agenda.  Instead, some Democratic law makers spend most of their time expressing their dissatisfaction and disdain for the Republicans.  In all fairness, there are members of both parties who take their roles seriously and work towards the best interests of their constituents as well as their role to work for citizens of this country as a whole.  For those that don’t, they need to step down or face a certain demand for their replacement.  This includes party leadership.  It is as simple as that.

The President:  The role of the President is to represent the best interest of all Americans.

Our president is expected to behave in a manner that reflects strong leadership, statesmanship, compassion and common sense.  While in office, the President is to focus all of his energy and efforts to this end.

The basic requirements for the job include a solid knowledge of the mechanics of government, the rules and processes of the legislative bodies and the necessary structure of the executive administration.  Another requirement is the ability to champion causes that improve American’s quality of life, safety and security.  He is required to represent our country abroad through solid relationships with our allies and on the flip side effectively manage relationships with our enemies.  As with all branches of government, the President is required to provide oversight and interaction with state and local governments including providing needed resources of the federal government.

If the President is unable to fulfil his responsibilities and job requirements, he should step down or be terminated and replaced by a qualified candidate.  As a business man, he should know this.  Again, it should be as simple as that.

The First Amendment:  This common and well publicized provision of our constitution affords all americans the right to speak freely without reprisal from our government or any group or individual that opposes us.  With this right comes responsibility.  The first amendment does not provide protection for individuals who purposely propagate malicious, defamatory or libelous statements against another,  This includes making accusations of wrong doing towards any person that are not supported by facts which could be recognized by a “reasonable” person.  The processes with in our system of justice would be the place to make such claims or statements.  Once again it seems pretty simple to me.

Free Press:  Put simply, our forefathers made provisions for the Free Press to have access to all branches of government in order to inform the public.  The first amendment, however, does not protect activities of any member of the press that includes any form of media to purposely report false information designed to damage or defame any individual in government through unsupported and non factual claims of wrong doing.  Ultimately, the free press establishes a form of checks and balances by playing a role to hold government accountable.

Russia:  Russia is an adversary of the United States, not a friend.  Any efforts by our government to recognize them differently, would not be in the best interest of the security and principles of the United States.  Any relationship, whether political or business related must be measured and reflective of the fundamental values of our country.  We need to remember that Russia does not value human life and global civility. This is contrary to the principles of the United States and our Friends.   As far as mutual agreements, Ronald Reagan used to say, extending any trust between the two countries must be verified.  It is ill advised to treat any relationships with Russia and other adversaries differently.

North Korea:  The North Korean government is an example of an authoritarian society that has little regard for the health and well-being of their population or actually, anyone else in the world.  Through propaganda, the government is able to garner allegiance even when their citizens suffer sometimes unbearable living conditions.  Kim Jong Un is one of the most dangerous and immature leaders of any country we are subjected to.  He couldn’t care less who he kills in order to establish himself and his country as a nuclear world power (or at least he thinks so).  Interestingly, Russia and China are a couple of his allies.

The Environment:  Sensible people of the United States expect our country leaders to do whatever they can to improve and preserve or environmental health.  Pollution in many forms needs to be addressed with appropriate consequences.  The only way this can be accomplished is through sensible regulations and enforcement with regard to the practices of our citizens and businesses.  The same priority is evident in the commitments of many other countries.  It is probably a stretch however, to believe that all countries will live up to their commitments.  The administrative office of the Environmental Protection Agency is tasked with enforcement as well as corrective actions and established activities administered by scientific and real world expertise.  If the Secretary can’t or doesn’t want to do his job…he should be replaced.  That is pretty simple to me.

Education; Energy; Urban Developement; Health and Human Services and Treasury:  In previous posts, I detailed my take on specific administrative departments and the functions of their leaders.  These departments are currently being run by people who have no clue of what their responsibilities are.  It is not worth trying to explain them.  If I were their boss, I would get rid of all of them.

The State Department:  The State Department is one of two of the most important departments in our government.  The other is our defense related departments.  With out the functions of this department,  we would be at war with many countries.  Our allies will be unable to understand any substantive activities, supportive positions and mutual expectations.  Appropriate diplomatic relationships relative to our enemies is almost non-existent.  We have a president who maintains that he can represent us better than anyone else in government.  Representing diplomacy through Twitter and interviews with hard right individuals in conservative media will most likely not end well.  It is imperative that he allows our Secretary of State to do his job and build an effective organization to accomplish our goals.

The Russian Election Meddling Investigations:  The Mueller investigation has a purpose and is happening as a result of the concerns of the American people surrounding the circumstances of Russia’s meddling in our free elections.  The investigation as it has evolved now includes the possibility that a group or individuals involved with Trump’s businesses or election campaign are complicit in the activities of the Russian government.  The Mueller investigation is the most comprehensive and effective of any of the legislative bodies and their specific investigations.  I strongly believe that it is in the bests interest of the American people to support the special counsel, accept their findings whether crimes were committed by Americans or not.

The President and Republican Efforts to criticize and undermine the counsel’s investigation by suggesting that there is political bias that is influencing the investigation of the FBI is self-serving and dangerous.  The principles and missions of the FBI is fundamentally and overwhelmingly bi-partisan.  Trying to get the country to turn on them really points out the possibility of  sinister motives by the accuser.  Ironically, Imagine a person who lives in a community that believes they can’t trust law enforcement.  (remember the fuzz and pigs of the late sixties).  The vast majority of them will still call 911 when a crime involving them is committed.  Who are a misinformed and misanthropic group of republican’s and some media going to call when they are subjected to a major crime.  It won’t be their cousin, it will be law enforcement including the FBI.  The services of law enforcement including medical assistance are not pre qualified based on an evaluation of party affiliation as some might suggest.  There is a very interesting component to particular groups insistence of a scandal.  It has been recently revealed by the media that a very small group of republican representatives have been meeting secretly to put together a plan to derail the Mueller investigation.  Is it just me or wouldn’t this group represent the most hideous example of political bias?

On this topic and as an aside, have you ever noticed that when one of your kids have done something wrong, you know it, even though they unleash a plan to cover it up.  The tells are obvious and usually include them attaching themselves to you and over and over denying any involvement even when you don’t ask them.  They also blame shift.  Is this happening in our government?

Personally, I think that our government needs to clean up their act.  Those who do effectively function in their positions need to expose and neutralize those who don’t.  I still have faith in our institutions.  It may just take a while for them to get grounded again.