By James A. Kidney Texas hosted the first primary election of 2018 on March 6, kicking off the race for the entire House of Representatives and one-third of the Senate. The contested Senate seats are mostly owned now by Democrats in pink or red states. Another big state, Illinois, holds its primary March 20. There is some electoral relief until May 8, when four states, including barometer states North Carolina and Ohio, hold their primaries. Thirteen states hold primaries in May with 17 more in June. Hello, Bob Mueller? Most prognosticators of the Mueller investigation believe there is still a long way to go before final indictments and a confidential report to the acting attorney general complete the actions of the special counsel. The predictions are based on known grand jury subpoenas and named cooperating witnesses. The Mueller team itself seems pretty much inoculated against the D.C. disease known as … Read more of this post . . .
By James A. Kidney Most of the mainstream media identifies the Republican Party as one in distress, torn between the capital C Conservatives embodied by Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, and the radical flamethrowers encouraged by Steve Bannon and the actions, if not always words, of Donald Trump. But I wish I was a Republican. I wish I could be unabashedly in favor of the rich while proclaiming I am looking out for the little guy. I wish I could speak crassly of my fellow citizens on occasion and let inner prejudices out for a stroll. I wish I didn’t worry so much about those same citizens as their economic condition deteriorates or look with anger on the very wealthy for whom enough is never enough. I wish I could be blind to the damages inflicted on this great nation as a democracy is converted to a corporatocracy with the … Read more of this post . . .
By James A. Kidney Five observations on the Donald Trump Jr. emails and meeting with the Russians: Don’t let Trump Derangement lead to bad law. Some journalists and political commentators — is there still a difference? — are pushing for some very bad law when they argue/analyze/conclude that Donald Trump Jr.’s agreement to receive negative information about Hillary Clinton from the Russians is unlawful. The main theory being proffered (there are many) is that the law prohibits contributions to U.S. political campaigns from foreign governments and that information, which sometimes has a price, is equivalent to a financial or services donation. Equating delivery of accurate, non-classified information with illegal financial contributions, or contributions of meals, transportation and the like, is a very dangerous pathway. Information, unlike air travel, catering, and advertising, for example, is very fluid and its source not always identifiable. Penalizing people for receipt of useful information which … Read more of this post . . .
By James A. Kidney The worst thing that can happen to an entertainer like Donald Trump happened last week when he tweeted the visual of his faux physical attack on CNN. Trump jumped the shark. He is not only a boor, which we have known for years, but his antics are old and tired. Of course, he is still news. He is still a huge, perhaps existential, threat to our Constitution and even our world. But his personality, upon which he relies for his dwindling popularity, has moved from entertaining or curious to “what else is new?” If you are unfamiliar with the term “jump the shark,” it means that a tv series has outlived its entertainment value. It originates from a really boring, extended shot of the Fonz in the 1970s show “Happy Days” water skiing over a shark. That was viewed by critics as a sign the show … Read more of this post . . .
By James A. Kidney “Govern” is a six letter word, but it is treated as a four letter word in Washington, D.C. A strong case can be made that there has been no governance on domestic issues since Newt Gingrich promoted the “contract with America” back in 1994, turning up the flames on political partisanship. It is certainly the case that neither party has done much to govern the nation domestically since Bill Clinton’s impeachment trial later in the ’90s. (Adding pharmaceutical benefits to Medicare and passing Obamacare, both of which had serious defects, are the two major exceptions.) Neither Democrats nor Republicans are interested in governing. Only in getting elected. Then the focus is on the next election. Republicans have proven this point for their party. They were in control of Congress beginning in January 2011. They criticized everything President Obama did or tried to do for six years, and … Read more of this post . . .
By James A. Kidney Presidential Rasputin Steve Bannon called for “deconstructing the administrative state” at a convention of those-who-used-to-be-known-as-Reagan-conservatives-but-are-now-just-Trump-nuts Thursday at the new MGM gambling palace in Maryland. “Deconstructing the administrative state” echoes Lenin after a couple bottles of vodka screaming in Red Square, or maybe just a long-haired 19-year-old outside the 1968 Democratic convention. It is both threatening and laughably cracked. The phrase probably is just a word pudding for the old Republican oligarch’s favorite book, A Treasury of Economic Nonsense, a political Kama Sutra coauthored during a fevered coupling of Ayn Rand and Milton Friedman. These are the erotic (to Republicans) positions that cause enthusiastic ejaculations by Paul Ryan – no taxes, no rules, no government, except to buy military equipment and to protect patents. Give Bannon credit for PR. “Deconstructing administrative excess” certainly is gentler sounding than “gutting the government.” Once you are accustomed to the … Read more of this post . . .