We Know Nothing

So. That was super disappointing.

Mueller filed his report. Barr sent out a summary. Mueller couldn’t find sufficient evidence to convict anyone in the Trump camp of criminal collusion with Russia’s social media and hacking operations to influence the election.

That’s it.

Eric Levitz in New York Magazine tries to put it in perspective.

None of this should obscure the fact that Mueller’s investigation had previously produced criminal convictions of the president’s former campaign manager, national security adviserlongtime personal attorney, among others in his extended orbit. Nor should it banish from memory Donald Trump Jr.’s eager acceptance of an offer of aid from the Russian government, or his father’s decision to pursue a development project in Moscow while campaigning on an aberrantly Russia-friendly platform, or the president’s repeated insistence that Vladimir Putin’s word was more truthworthy than the CIAs, or the myriad other undisputed acts that would, in normal political times, be seen as presidency-defining scandals, in and of themselves.

Of course, the full Mueller report hasn’t been seen by anyone besides Mueller, Rosenstein, and Barr. Plus, I’m sure there’s going to be more in the report, if it ever sees the light of day, that will add fuel to the dumpster fire of a presidency, but the bottom line is Trump will now campaign on the No Collusion Train and the 30-40% of the country who believe whatever he says will go right along with him.

Sigh.

Let’s all remember the multitude of other federal and state investigations into Trump and the Trump crime family. I mean, there are so many legal entanglements I can’t keep track of all of them (although Andrew Prokop at Vox has a decent breakdown).

There are the hush money payments, the inaugural committee financials, how security clearances were granted, his personal and business taxes, the Trump foundation corruption, all the sexual assault accusations, the violations of the emoluments clause, and probably a dozen more I’ve since forgotten because Trump, his family and his cronies are nothing but career criminals.

Is it possible Robert Mueller did find potential conspiracy amongst Don Jr., Kushner, Manafort for the Trump Tower meeting, but he’s handed that off to the Southern District of New York? It would make sense because if he had indicted Trump’s family, the case would have been fought for years with the hand-picked, partisan Attorney General possibly pulling the plug on the whole thing plunging the country into a constitutional crisis. This way, the SDNY, who already have a legal case against Individual-1,” can bring the hammer of justice down within the Michael Cohen case and maybe unknown related cases.

We don’t yet know what’s in the Mueller report, we don’t yet know if Mueller handed off information to other prosecutors who can’t be touched by Trump, and we don’t yet know how the other legal jeopardy facing Trump, his family and businesses, and campaign/administration will play out.

Just like the Game of Thrones character Jon Snow, We know nothing” and it’s super frustrating.

March 25, 2019

Extinction-Level Event

Andrew Sullivan seems quite put out by Donald Trump.

In this post-truth world, where Trump has allied with social media to create an alternate reality, lies work. This week, he approached the press corps simply repeating, No Collusion! No Collusion!” And he will continue to say this regardless of what the Mueller report may reveal, because it doesn’t matter what actually happened. Whatever Trump says will become the truth for 40 percent of the country, while the expectations of the opposition, troubled by pesky empiricism, may well be deflated. Fox, a de facto state propaganda channel, will do the rest.

This remains a surreal state of affairs, does it not? Life goes on; politics has the forms of democracy, even if the substance is now monarchical; and the economy continues to grow. And how did we respond to his usurping the power of the Congress with an emergency declaration, or his marshaling of the military for an election-eve stunt on the border, or his refusing any cooperation with the House committees, or his two-hour, delusional rant at CPAC, or his response to white nationalist mass murder by pivoting to an invasion” of the U.S., or the blizzard of simply deranged tweets last Sunday? How did we react when he said, in the context of a fight with Democrats, I have the military.” For what? Mr. President. What plans do you exactly have in mind?

Yes, we’re numb. Yes, this has become normal. And yes, as far as liberal democracy is concerned, this is an extinction-level event.

I disagree that it won’t matter what the Mueller report reveals. I think it’s what everyone is waiting for.

No one knows what the Mueller report is going to say, but I think it will show the Trump campaign and administration has been utterly corrupt from the beginning.

I don’t think 60-70% of the country is numb to the almost hourly scandals of the Trump presidency. I think they are waiting for him to be removed either by vote, resignation, or some other calamity. I think the country would rather vote for a Democrat in 2020 than Trump. The 2016 election foretells 2020.

Seriously, what everyone with a working brain really wants is Mueller to indict everyone in the Trump circle. And I mean everyone. Not just Trump and his immediate family (but that’s a good start), but everyone in the campaign, the inauguration committee (and that means Pence), and probably several members and former members of his cabinet.

Trump isn’t going to go quietly. Even if he is defeated in a 2020 election, he won’t leave until forcibly removed by the Secret Service. And then he’ll immediately be indicted by the SDNY for a variety of crimes which won’t be waved away by a federal pardon. To be honest, it’s entirely possible the SDNY will indict a sitting President for state crimes. Wouldn’t that be crazy?

In any event, I am confident the rule of law is going to ultimately win the day.

March 22, 2019

Leadership

"Every semi-automatic weapon used in the [Christchurch] terrorist attack will be banned in this country."

New Zealand PM @JacindaArdern moves to ban all military style weapons, effective immediately https://t.co/KDsydPBHM4 pic.twitter.com/8z5rUwP5eR

— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) March 21, 2019

March 21, 2019

Alia

My step-daughter Alia is 23 today. She has been thinking and talking about her birthday since March 22, 2018. Today is also World Down Syndrome Day, which is a day to celebrate the lives of people with Down syndrome. So, in regards to Alia, we have two things to commemorate.

Imagine a stereotypical twentysomething young woman and you have a pretty clear picture of Alia. She loves singing and dancing. She loves doing her make-up and having her nails done. She has her celebrity crushes. She wants nothing more than to be hanging out with her friends. She’s excited to start a new job. Her phone with its selfie-creating camera, text messaging, YouTube videos and her Spotify playlist is permanently attached to her hand. Her favorite drinks are root beer, mascato wine, and margaritas not necessarily in that order.

She just happens to have three copies of chromosome 21 instead of the two.

Alia and her sister Brynne were part of the package when I married their mother. I thought I maybe had an idea what I was getting into, but I was not even remotely in the ballpark. What I’ve learned more often than not is that I have a vast sum of patience and I’ve learned to temper any frustrations I feel. Of course, I fail at this constantly. However, I’m getting better and thankfully I have an understanding wife.

Alia brings so much joy and happiness to the house that it can be infectious. Random dance parties are bound to erupt out of the blue, especially if her best friend is spending the night.

Alia is the best judge of character and I have learned to rely on her observations. If she warms up to you immediately, I know she has an instinctive trust. If she ignores or dismisses you, then something is always amiss. More often than not she is spot on.

Her smile lights up any room she happens to be in. She is quick to anger and just as quick to laugh. Her emotions are always at the forefront. No one can ignore Alia.

Basically, every day is an adventure with Alia (and her Mom and sister too).

I’m incredibly lucky to get to see her grow up and become more independent. I’m proud of her accomplishments and how brave she’s been lately. Her future is wide open and I can’t wait to see what she does next.

March 21, 2019

The Myth of Quality Time

Luke Leighfield’s newsletter linked to a New York Times article from 2015 by Frank Bruni about spending time together. After spending a long weekend with several of my wife’s family at a resort, this passage spoke to me:

There’s simply no real substitute for physical presence.

We delude ourselves when we say otherwise, when we invoke and venerate quality time,” a shopworn phrase with a debatable promise: that we can plan instances of extraordinary candor, plot episodes of exquisite tenderness, engineer intimacy in an appointed hour.

We can try. We can cordon off one meal each day or two afternoons each week and weed them of distractions. We can choose a setting that encourages relaxation and uplift. We can fill it with totems and frippery — a balloon for a child, sparkling wine for a spouse — that signal celebration and create a sense of the sacred.

And there’s no doubt that the degree of attentiveness that we bring to an occasion ennobles or demeans it. Better to spend 15 focused, responsive minutes than 30 utterly distracted ones.

But people tend not to operate on cue. At least our moods and emotions don’t. We reach out for help at odd points; we bloom at unpredictable ones. The surest way to see the brightest colors, or the darkest ones, is to be watching and waiting and ready for them.

I hope our family time blossoms in the same way.

March 20, 2019

The Rise of White Nationalism

Judd Legum, in his newsletter Popular Information, takes an unsparing look at the rise of white nationalism in the United States. It details exactly what Donald Trump has said and done to empower violent racists.”

The bottom line is it’s getting harder and harder to say Donald Trump is not a racist.

More and more I appreciate this type of independent journalism and I’m considering paying the $50 a year to get it four times a week. I think you should too.

March 19, 2019

The Egg

When I read something like what Andy Weir has written, I get super jealous because it’s literally just under a thousand words of pure brilliance. I wish I had a fraction of the talent of Weir.

Read The Egg” and then read it again.

March 16, 2019

We Can’t Destroy Planet Earth

Author Hugh Howey wrote an essay on his website about the definition of existential threats. It is smart with lots of observations that make a lot of sense. Climate change deniers will probably get the wrong message from it and climate change advocates will dismiss it as not quite urgent enough. Still, I think everyone should read it.

No excerpt. Just click and read.

March 15, 2019

Pi Day

For lunch, I spent $3.14 at Blaze Pizza and then bought a slice of apple pie at work with the money going to a worthy cause. I think that’s enough celebrating for one day.

March 14, 2019

Simply Reprehensible

You know, the worst bit I learned about the college admissions scandal is how the individual at the center of the fraud explained the way to get extra time on the ACT/SAT was to "act slow and show deficiencies" to get the accommodation for more time. Simply reprehensible.

— Sean McDevitt (@sean_mcdevitt) March 13, 2019

March 13, 2019

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