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18 Years Of Walking A Shared Road

May 24, 2018

18 years ago this evening James and I had our first date. We had dinner on State Street and I was really nervous which might account for my concluding the evening with a kiss on his cheek. Two years to the day we moved in together. Each day I get to live with the love of my life; my best friend with a sharp wit, and a curious mind. Walking the shared road of life remains the reason to smile each day.

Good News That North Korean Summit Cancelled

May 24, 2018

I have felt from the start that is was a horrible idea for Donald Trump and Kim Jong-Un to meet.  It was not structured around any plausible basis of understanding for such a high-level meeting.  The laborious part of developing why such a meeting was rational never happened.  I also come from the perspective that in most cases the United States does not allow for a meeting with the leader of the free world until there are some foundations established.   Photo ops are not a reason to meet and shake hands with international piranhas.

I also felt very troubled with Trump holding such a meeting.  He does not like to read and is easily bored with briefings which are designed to educate him on the many things of which he is not aware.  The international stage is one that Trump has no understandings about so a most sensitive and complicated meeting with the leader of North Korea could have turned out to be a huge disaster.

So my view on the news this morning is most clear.  This summit was half-baked from the start so this is a positive development that it was never held.  Meanwhile, Trump supporters will have to hold off on hoping for any Nobel Peace Prize for their Leader.  Or does the three thumb crowd think there is a Nobel Prize for making North Korea look good and the US look stupid?

What has been most bizarre to watch play out was how National Security Advisor John Bolton talked about ‘the Libyan model’, and how Vice President Mike Pence threatened a fate like Quadaffi when referencing Kim.  How precisely did the US think such rhetoric would play on the Korean Peninsula?

Kim is evil.  There can be no doubt when considering how he has starved his people for military might.  But at the same time let’s be honest the words from Bolten and Pence were highly disrespectful, inflammatory, and irresponsible.   There is no doubt that diplomacy was actively being screwed up by the United States.

There were outright attempts made to show the entire world that Kim was not, and never would be, an ‘equal’ on the leadership stage.  There is no way to be pressing for a summit on the one hand, but using such low-ball tactics on the other hand, and then be shocked at the new today.  If the Trump Administration truly wanted to build trust and cooperation they should not have threaten to activate the ‘Libyan model’.

There might be some lessons, however, to be taken from this embarrassing episode starring Trump.  Perhaps those in power and most close to the workings of government might curtail their mouths, twitter fingers, and attitude, and stop acting like such incompetent and irresponsible loose cannons.

I know….I know….now I am writing comedy.

Alderman David Ahrens Akin To Senator Rand Paul

May 23, 2018

Madison Alderman David Ahrens is our Rand Paul—and that is not a positive comparison.

There are times when a city is required to take an action that is not perfect but clearly needed–as was the case at the last council meeting.  The last thing needed is to revisit what has been settled–by unanimous vote!

The Judge Doyle building project has been one of the longest to get off the ground due to antics of some who claim they are for the over-all project but still need to attempt to inject their personal grievances.  With no care for the forward movement that is in the best interest for the city some like to maneuver and plot ways to undermine what has already been decided.

So here comes Ahrens.

Ahrens was out of town last week when the council met and so missed the vote to spend the additional $11 million.   But fear not late-night lovers of all-night council proceedings.  The alder will ask his colleagues to reconsider the proposal.    This is an excuse for him to pontificate on camera over the Judge Doyle project. 

Like Paul in Washington, Ahrens in Madison is annoying and frustrating.  He seems to get his nose out of joint with some degree of regularity.  How the council will handle him for what is a meeting item no one wants will be most interesting.

I would suggest alders bring a book to read.  No one will blame them for getting a few chapters of light reading done for the day.

Trump Still On Learning Curve About First Amendment

May 23, 2018

Some learn slowly.

Donald Trump cannot block Twitter users for the political views they have expressed, a federal judge in Manhattan has ruled.

The government had argued that blocked individuals could still access Trump’s tweets. The judge agreed but said that even considering the First Amendment rights of the person in the Oval Office, preventing users from interacting directly with that person on Twitter represented a violation of a “real, albeit narrow, slice of speech.”

It is hard to fathom why Trump ever thought otherwise.

As a First Amendment fan this outcome makes me proud to know that checks and balances is working in the nation.   May it continue.

Will Citizens Fall For “Deep State” Or Stand Up For Law And Order?

May 23, 2018

Here we go again.

Donald Trump has long complained about a matter that is at times the source for a good book or a summer-type film at the theater.  The topic is also one that the far un-hinged element on talk radio like to rant about on late night shows.   The matter is the so-called “deep state” which a good author can make some money on with a paperback read.

But Trump is not writing a book–Good Lord he has admitted to not even liking to read!–but instead is playing partisan politics for his under-educated base by invoking “deep state” and pretending that he is somehow the victim of a sinister attack.   Once again he is trying to spin his yarn that law enforcement and intelligence communities are out to get him.

The purpose of Trump’s nefarious activity is one that strikes to the heart of our republic.  What Trump is aiming for is to delegitimize the work of career professionals who seek to make sure law and order is adhered to in our nation.  The work of the FBI and Justice Department should be respected in our country and the results of investigations made public.  The law once broken needs to have a remedy applied.

For too many decades Trump has flounced the law, it not actually breaking it, in a number of ways–many which have been reported.   But as the person who sits in the Oval Office, however, it is incumbent on Trump to follow the laws, not undermine the respect for law and order, and to not mock or disdain those who seek to uphold justice.

Yes, Trump is in a very deep and self-dug legal hole.  But that was his choice in creating.   For the good of the republic he must be stopped from trying to tear down the nation in order to save himself.

And in the same breath it needs stating we need to have a citizenry who will value our laws and history and not cow to Trump who is operating outside of normal behavior for a president in the post-Watergate era.  (And I know a thing or two about that…as long time readers are aware.)

This Legal Event Was Felt In The West Wing

May 23, 2018

And it will have a legal reaction.  

It needs to be noted that what we find out in court proceedings is what Special Counsel Robert Mueller and his team have been working on and developing for many weeks–in some cases months.   The level of criminal behavior that exists within the Trump world is breathtaking.   And those who flip and talk will allow for even more insight into the legal nightmare unfolding.

Michael Cohen’s one-time business partner, Evgeny “Gene” Freidman (a.k.a. the “Taxi King”), has reached a plea deal with prosecutors and will cooperate with the government (the news was first reported by The New York Times):

Evgeny “Gene” Freidman, an immigrant from the former Soviet Union long known as the “taxi king” of New York, pleaded guilty to criminal tax fraud in Albany County Court. He is a former business partner of Cohen who managed taxis owned by the president’s lawyer for several years.

State prosecutors said Tuesday that Freidman, who operated 800 taxis between 2012 and 2015, failed to remit a 50-cent-per-ride tax owed to the state. Instead, he filed false tax returns designed to hide the theft, they said. During that period of time, he was operating taxis controlled by Cohen, according to people familiar with their relationship.

Both the timing and the circumstances are key. Freidman faced allegations that he failed to pay $5 million in taxes, including four counts of tax fraud and one of grand larceny. As part of the deal, he will serve no jail time. That suggests that he has been able to provide information of some value when it comes to Cohen, who is widely seen as a target for prosecutors to, in turn, flip against Trump.

Will We Soon Have First Black Female Governor In U.S.?

May 22, 2018

Just as I hoped!

Stacey Abrams defeated Stacey Evans in the Democratic primary for Georgia governor tonight and has set the table perfectly for November.  This contest drew national attention for months and now the headlines will carry through to Election Day.

Abrams, who is African-American and targeted minority voters during the campaign, hopes to turn the state blue in November, becoming the first black female governor in the country.   While Georgia is conservative and there is an uphill road this is also a Blue Wave Election with women and black-Americans demanding to be heard.

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