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About this blog: The Raucous Caucus shares the southpaw perspectives of this Boomer on the state of the nation, the world, and, sometimes, other stuff. I enjoy crafting it to keep current, and occasionally to rant on some issue I care about deeply...  (More)

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Corruption in the Balance?

Uploaded: Apr 7, 2018

Item: per the NYTimes report of Press Secretary Sara Sanders, on the White House view of EPA Secretary Scott Pruitt: “Ms. Sanders said that Mr. Pruitt’s success in achieving items on the president’s agenda … may weigh heavily as a counterbalance to allegations that he misused taxpayer dollars.”

Therein lies one of the keys to understanding decisions emanating from the scandal-ridden, tribal White House: corruption is fine as long as you perform – ethics is weighed in a balancing test against results in achieving the President’s agenda. Concern for conflicts of interest and gleeful waste of taxpayer resources is for suckers. Competence is a literal get-out-of-jail-free card.

Thus, we can see why former HHS Secretary Tom Price’s lavish tastes in taxpayer-funded travel and entertainment brought him down – he failed to deliver the Obamacare repeal (albeit with a major assist from the President’s failure to ever understand the substance or the issues). VA chief Shulkin was okay living high on the public hog – until he (properly) questioned privatization of his agency.

This decision rule may also explain the likely imminent departure of Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin (you heard it here first). Commandeering a military plane for a thinly-veiled pleasure excursion with his wife was okay, but he opposes the budding and mutually-destructive trade war with China – I suspect his skids are greased. But how to explain the continuing survival of the embarrassingly incompetent Betsy DeVos? She must be simone-pure.

Pruitt is an interesting case.

Vox reports that he seems not to be in this for personal gain, but much more as a righteous crusader – literally his god’s instrument. He has been historically blind to his conflicts-of-interest in zealous pursuit of his deity-sponsored, industry-advocated agenda. In Oklahoma as its Attorney General, oil industry talking points showed-up – verbatim – in his policies and speeches.

More recently, he saw nothing unethical in renting a swanky DC apartment from an energy industry lobbyist, for a scant $50/night. The Motel 6 in Capitol Heights will leave the light on for you for 60% more (before tax). There are reports that he had to be dunned for even that payment; at least the lobbyist landlord understands that a completely free accommodation might be construed as a quid pro quo for the client pipeline extension Pruitt also recently approved.

Other examples of impropriety abound. He routinely travels first-class on our dime (ostensibly to avoid the rabble – I’m told the food’s better, too), he demoted a staffer who refused to use the siren on his vehicle routinely to overcome DC traffic (there’s some irony there), and he took a citizen-sponsored trip to Morocco for $40,000 to promote a private LNG terminal there. Further, he unilaterally granted EPA cronies he brought with him more than $40K raises, each, by-passing normal scrutiny; he demoted other staffers who questioned the move.

If you think all of this (there’s much more) stinks to high heaven, your olfactory instincts are in good working order. Which brings us to the Secretary’s remarkable longevity in a revolving door administration.

There is a line of thought positing that Mr. Pruitt, having demonstrated his loyalty and devotion to The Don, is next in line to be Attorney General. Once there, he might receive divine guidance to fire Special Counsel Mueller, or at least curtail his investigation into other malfeasance. Rumor has it, however, that Pruitt himself is the source of that speculation.

Better to take Ms. Sanders at her word, for once. She has unwittingly placed dishonesty and ethical violations on a scale to be balanced against success. The two concepts should never, ever be so compared. Ethics and respect for the taxpayer fisc in personal dealings are what you sign-up for in public service. They are the ongoing behavioral baseline qualification to serve. They are not a chip to be played, nor a factor to be balanced against success. To do so upsets yet another foundational norm on which democracy is built.

Apparently at least Chief of Staff Kelly recognizes that fact – he has advocated that Pruitt join the long list of administration alums – to no apparent effect.

Perhaps that’s what ‘running the government like a business’ or at least a Trumpian family company, really means. Of course, loyalty without standards is also the hallmark of another kind of family enterprise, one which the current administration more resembles as its time ticks away.

Comments

 +   9 people like this
Posted by voter, a resident of Downtown,
on Apr 7, 2018 at 9:57 am

Agreed. With every single thing that you said. The saddest part is the lack of ability to see what these money grubbing idiots are doing to our country. The fact that there are more than a dozen trump supporters in total leads me to question the life expectancy of the government. Number those brain challenged supporters in the millions and we are simply doomed. The only thing for me to gleefully anticipate is the complete destruction of the lives of those same idiot voters when the trade war eliminates their jobs, they lose their homes and their health care is gone. Good riddance. The rest of us might be able to rebuild without the idiot masses.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Apr 7, 2018 at 10:41 am

El Pruitt requests a bullet proof vest, furniture, and car! Who needs bullet proof furniture...HUH?

I take no pleasure in trashing the Americans who voted in Trump and hopefully their lives WILL NOT be destroyed. Trump did indeed mislead and manipulate fellow Americans...and, Mueller will eventually report the deception. Be patient...IT'S COMING!!!

Today I'm taking my 4 legged buds to the park! Seems to me that only dogs are sane these days! HOORAY!


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Michael Austin, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Apr 7, 2018 at 10:55 am

Michael Austin is a registered user.

There is nothing tribal about the white house.
With the exception of one cabinet member they are all white.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Danville,
on Apr 7, 2018 at 11:14 am

Tom Cushing is a registered user.

Hi Michael: there have been 'tribes' of every ethnicity and race, throughout history. Here's a link to the Vox article's use of the term. YMMV. Web Link


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Apr 7, 2018 at 12:28 pm

This may be helpful: Web Link


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Michael Austin, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Apr 7, 2018 at 6:14 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

The Vox article misused tribalism to make his point.
His point would better have been made with Chauvinism.
Or, even sectarianism.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Scott Hale, a resident of San Ramon,
on Apr 7, 2018 at 7:36 pm

Scott Hale is a registered user.

Drain the swamp. Fill 'er up with sewer water. Or pond scum. Not sure which is worse....

Queue the GOP defenders. Queue the 'full time Trump cheerleaders'.


 +   6 people like this
Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Danville,
on Apr 8, 2018 at 7:11 am

Tom Cushing is a registered user.

Maybe "competence" was too strong a word. As with all things Trump, it's merely the Appearance of competence that really matters.

Politico, The Myth of Scott Pruitt's EPA Roll-back: Web Link

"In fact, Pruitt has not yet killed or rolled back any significant regulations that were in place when President Donald Trump took office. While Pruitt is often hailed (or attacked) as Trump's most effective (or destructive) deregulatory warrior, ... the truth is that Scott Pruitt has done a lot less to dismantle the EPA than he - or his critics - would have you believe."

New York Times, In his haste to Roll-back Rules, EPA Chief risks his Agenda: Web Link

“'In their rush to get things done, they're failing to dot their i's and cross their t's. And they're starting to stumble over a lot of trip wires,' said Richard Lazarus, a professor of environmental law at Harvard. 'They're producing a lot of short, poorly crafted rulemakings that are not likely to hold up in court.'

Six of Mr. Pruitt's efforts to delay or roll back Obama-era regulations - on issues including pesticides, lead paint and renewable-fuel requirements - have been struck down by the courts. Mr. Pruitt also backed down on a proposal to delay implementing smog regulations and another to withdraw a regulation on mercury pollution."


 +   6 people like this
Posted by Resident, a resident of Laguna Oaks,
on Apr 8, 2018 at 8:21 am

So this is the next “scandal" the left has conjured up?

Get back to me when one of you geniuses post the travel numbers from the past two EPA administrators for comparison.

You won't have the stones to do it.


 +   5 people like this
Posted by Malcolm Hex, a resident of another community,
on Apr 8, 2018 at 10:04 am

Throw in Loretta Lynch and Eric Holder while you're at it.

Oh, and there is so much more...


 +   7 people like this
Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Danville,
on Apr 8, 2018 at 10:38 am

Tom Cushing is a registered user.

There you two are - I heard your little club was on a weekend retreat. Not surprised that you don't know about Pruitt's many impecuniaries - Fox News refuses to cover it, despite the fact that it's big enough for your man Kelly to recommend Pruitt's ouster to the Prez.

And Res - why make an actual point, when just a little nonsense innuendo will soothe your cognitive dissonance? WAPO reports that Lisa Jackson flew to the Netherlands for a summit when she ran the EPA - and went coach. But hey, that's just the way the Obamans rolled, back when the biggest administration scandal was Barack in a brown suit.

By contrast, do you know how much a first-class short-hop ticket from DC to NY costs? Scott Pruitt does: it's $1,641.43, the cost of his ticket the day he flew it. BTW, that's six times the cost of coach fare. Web Link


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Resident, a resident of Laguna Oaks,
on Apr 8, 2018 at 11:20 am

“...and went coach."

Ah, so your problem with Pruit really isn't about how much he's spent compared to the past two EPA administrators (hint, it's less so far), it's that he had the temerity to fly first class?

Good to know.

Why not tell everyone the rest of the story and mention that his security team suggested he fly first class due to the voluminous threats from the left and democrats?

Because you are being dishonest.

And did you see the clarification from the ethics office saying that the rental did in fact conform to policy?

Bet you didn't.

Find the link yourself.

And really Tom, if Pruit isn't effective, why then is he being hit so hard right now?

Travel expenses? Rental market rates?

“Doth protest too much"!




 +   14 people like this
Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Danville,
on Apr 8, 2018 at 11:34 am

Tom Cushing is a registered user.

That's terribly desperate spin. How convenient for his first class predilections that people are mean to him. You also need to actually read up on the opinions of those who actually Know something - but then, who's a Harvard environmental law prof to know anything about the quality of the work product coming out of the EPA? Pshaw - he's just one of those elite experts, also being mean to the Secretary.

In order for your paranoid fever dreams to carry any weight, EVerything needs to be a big conspiracy against your boys. But it ain't. They're just bad at their jobs, and very bad for the country. Very very bad.


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Malcolm Hex, a resident of another community,
on Apr 8, 2018 at 11:47 am

@ Pot Shots, or is it P-shot? Definitely not P Diddy.

Now, I will say that the topic you bring up is a good one. In fact, I will agree with you that anyone who misuses tax payer money should be down the door. Let's also include the ever so popular abuse of power. Every administration has been guilty of that. Lois Lerner come to mind?

How about Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.) who summoned Patricia Haynes, then deputy chief of criminal investigation at the IRS, before his subcommittee on terrorism and berated her for not criminally prosecuting conservative nonprofits.

But how 'bout that last commander in chief of ours? Obama informed the civil service that he considered tea party organizations dangerous and a threat to democratic values, which of course ended up with the Senate majority placing intense pressure on the IRS to target conservative groups.

But please... Stop going after Fox; especially when CNN does the same thing.



 +   5 people like this
Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Danville,
on Apr 8, 2018 at 12:19 pm

Tom Cushing is a registered user.

Malc: you are the very King of False Equivalence and Deflection, whether it's Holder, Lynch, Obama, CNN, or the IRS. But at least you're trying, rather than braying forth about conspiracies and male parts and unsupported nonsense claims, so there's that. Your point always seems to be that everybody does it, so it's okay. Except that isn't true. They don't, and it isn't.

I made the Fox point because ol' F&B has not seen fit to even report on this scandal - which is, as I pointed-out, plenty big enough to be newsworthy. BTW, CNN Has covered it, as has everybody else on the sane side of Alex Jones.


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Resident, a resident of Laguna Oaks,
on Apr 8, 2018 at 5:57 pm

“That's terribly desperate spin"

It isn't spin if it's the truth. Go find the links yourself.

I guess “death threats" severe enough for his security to make the recommendation is now equal to being “mean". You liberals: always changing the definition of words to suit your politics.

It's how we conservatives know you are loosing the debate.

Winning




 +   3 people like this
Posted by Resident, a resident of Laguna Oaks,
on Apr 8, 2018 at 6:00 pm

NOBODY watches CNN.

Not one program on CNN is in the top 20 of cable news programming.

Not one.

I think it best to never use CNN as a source for “news".


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Malcolm Hex, a resident of another community,
on Apr 8, 2018 at 6:21 pm

Huh? And he wonders why I call him P-shots...

I agreed with Shots regarding abuse of executive privilege by pointing out FACTS.

Here's one:

On June 20, 2012, the Oversight Committee voted 23"17 along party lines to hold Holder in contempt of Congress for not releasing documents the committee had requested.

On June 28, 2012, Holder became the first U.S. Attorney General in history to be held in both criminal and civil contempt.

If you want to fact check what I just pasted here Shots, check out Wiki, Politico, Wired, and NPR.

Oh but wait, let us not forget about "Fast and furious" too.

Look, it goes both ways Mr. Blowhard. It ain't just a Republican thang.




 +   5 people like this
Posted by voter, a resident of Downtown,
on Apr 8, 2018 at 6:41 pm

@res, your stupidity is showing. Fly first class because of threats? Hmmm, how does that work. On 9/11 the terrorists ONLY threatened the coach passengers and everyone else was safe up there in the fancy seats? Um, no. Or let's go back to what started the entire personal screening of passengers. The PSA employee who was angry at his boss and killed him on the plane in his first class seat. Oh, and he killed everyone else too. But by your logic buying the expensive seats is a safety thing.


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Michael Austin, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Apr 8, 2018 at 6:54 pm

Michael Austin is a registered user.

Commentary on this blog has become ridiculous.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Resident, a resident of Laguna Oaks,
on Apr 8, 2018 at 8:06 pm

Hey voter,

Your insult aside, secret service can conceal carry, dude.

Perhaps if a few people on any of those 911 flights could carry, over 3000 people would still be alive today.

Think about it, clown


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Resident, a resident of Laguna Oaks,
on Apr 8, 2018 at 8:08 pm

“Commentary on this blog has become ridiculous“.

Yeah, let's talk more about “tribes", that'll make it better.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Malcolm Hex, a resident of another community,
on Apr 8, 2018 at 10:43 pm

From Pots:

"Your point always seems to be that everybody does it, so it's okay. Except that isn't true. They don't, and it isn't."

Everybody does it, so it's okay? What are you talking about? All I did was point out that the Dems abuse their power too. So what?

Lastly, chill out. Stomp some grapes instead of the floor. Not every news story gets air time.


 +   8 people like this
Posted by Doug, a resident of Birdland,
on Apr 9, 2018 at 7:58 am

LOL! LOL! LOL!

“‘Take that down!': Watch Fox host Howard Kurtz panic after graphic shows Fox News is least trusted network"

“In what was undoubtedly a painful moment on Fox News this morning, media analyst Howard Kurtz frantically implored his producer to take down a graphic that showed Fox is the least trusted of the big three cable networks."

Web Link


 +   3 people like this
Posted by You Know Who I Am, a resident of Danville,
on Apr 9, 2018 at 8:06 am

Tom, if Pruitt was President Obama's EPA Secretary and pursuing your agenda on environmental regulations and restrictions, but doing the same exact things you claim are "corruption", would you write an entire blog on the so called "corruption"? Honestly, we both know the answer is a hard no.

This is exactly why our country is so divided and polarized. Extremes on both sides of the aisle just keep throwing mud after mud on each other, without making any attempt to impartially analyze real issues facing our country.

If your blog was simply you outlining factually why you disagree with Pruitt's roll back on environmental regulations, without straw man attacks on "excessive spending" and "corruption", a balanced and fair conversation could take place, with independents and some Republicans finding some areas of common ground and compromise with you. But when the headline is yelling about "corruption", ears close as does impartial debate.

Pretending that President Obama's appointees were all boy scouts without any scandals or "corruption" is an insult to anyone who has bothered to pay attention the last 8 years to the numerous reports of inappropriate behavior.(No, not just Fox News, any media outlet) Does it bother me when wealthy political appointees waste OUR money on excessive expenditures, absolutely! But unfortunately both parties have been doing this for decades, and no amount of government oversight will end this practice. How much of OUR money did President Obama spend flying Air Force One and all the secret service protection and related expenses to purely political fundraising events all over the country in 8 years? But to be fair, the Presidents before him, and after him, do the same thing.


 +   7 people like this
Posted by Doug, a resident of Birdland,
on Apr 9, 2018 at 8:16 am

“Tom, if Pruitt was President Obama's EPA Secretary and pursuing your agenda on environmental regulations and restrictions, but doing the same exact things you claim are "corruption""

Reality Check Time! That's a really sad and weak defense of a guy who was blowing away taxpayer money on first class tickets and bullet proof tables and round-the-clock security for himself.


 +   11 people like this
Posted by More of the same, a resident of Birdland,
on Apr 9, 2018 at 8:50 am

Looks to me we have a situation where the pot is calling the kettle black (Am I allowed to say this.....?).

Democrats and Republicans are all the same - not doing what is best for the country and only thinking of themselves.


 +   9 people like this
Posted by Jerry, a resident of San Ramon,
on Apr 9, 2018 at 9:26 am

FOX is not news! check out their registration, it for entertainment. There should be a law suit to change their actual name to FOX Entertainment. Pruitt is the perfect example of the Trump admin.


 +   8 people like this
Posted by voter, a resident of Downtown,
on Apr 9, 2018 at 9:41 am

@res -- "Your insult aside, secret service can conceal carry, dude. "

Well duh, there you go. I had no idea that they can ONLY carry while sitting in first class but that must be your point. If their protectee sits in coach they magically and immediately lose the conceal carry permit. Of course, so simple even an idiot can get that part.

So your guy is forever required to fly only in first class for the safety of the entire plane. Got it. Any ridiculous argument to cover the fact that this creep is wasting our money and many of us can see what fox will never report.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Neighbor, a resident of San Ramon,
on Apr 9, 2018 at 11:30 am

"If your blog was simply you outlining factually why you disagree with Pruitt's roll back on environmental regulations, without straw man attacks on "excessive spending" and "corruption", a balanced and fair conversation could take place, with independents and some Republicans finding some areas of common ground and compromise with you. But when the headline is yelling about "corruption", ears close as does impartial debate."

I think what closes more ears is Trump's name calling and bullying. It used to be possible to have "fair and balanced conversations", but when one side of the debate resorts to personal attacks by name calling, many people just withdraw from verbal debate and wait to vote at the next election.


 +   6 people like this
Posted by Malcolm Hex, a resident of another community,
on Apr 9, 2018 at 4:16 pm

Whoops. More corruption, look out...

Ex-AG Lynch: Clinton tarmac talk was about 'innocuous things'

Uh, yeah... Lynch holds a pow-wow on the tarmac with the husband of a spouse who is under investigation. Shady, shady, shady.

Oh no! Even more corruption!

Loretta Lynch Throws Comey Under The Bus

Web Link


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Apr 9, 2018 at 4:29 pm

Listen up mes petites!!! Mueller and his team have just raided the offices of Michael Cohen, the trump's private attorney. hmmmmmmmmmmmmm...

I can't wait to HEAR ALL ABOUT IT!!!!!

HOORAY! VIVA AMERICA!


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Ron Spier, a resident of Blackhawk,
on Apr 10, 2018 at 6:48 am

In light of recent events regarding the raid into the office of Trump's lawyer, I'm curious as to what Mr. Cushing would say about attorney client privilege.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Doug, a resident of Birdland,
on Apr 10, 2018 at 7:31 am

@Ron Spier

Trump's lawyer may have broken campaign finance laws with his $130K payoff to Stormy in support of a political candidate. That's why his offices were raided. Where the heck does attorney-client privilege come in to protect him from breaking the law?


 +   6 people like this
Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Danville,
on Apr 10, 2018 at 7:37 am

Tom Cushing is a registered user.

Prodigal Poster:

1 - this blog is about Corruption, and even more so about enabling More corruption by balancing perceived effectiveness against serious, fundamental and sustained ethical lapses. It is not about the guts of the attempted roll-backs - which are bad for everyone who breathes the air or drinks the water.

If you want to opine about environmental policy, you are welcome to write your own blog. If you want to inform yourself on Pruitt's actual results, read the Politico (little right) and NYT (little left) articles I helpfully posted above.

2 - your point seems to be that I would tolerate corruption in furtherance of clean air and a cooler climate. We will likely never know for sure, but I doubt it. Corruption and self-dealing are personal failures, distinct from policy issues. They also would have shown-up in a potential appointee's record, as they did with Pruitt. Such a person would not be appointed into a more ethical administration, and if they were, they'd be fired. (Got any dirt on Jackson or McCarthy? Bring it.) This bunch of bad apples is rotten to the core - as demonstrated by the balancing test to which Ms. Sanders so blithely admitted, as if it was okay. Several other of many more examples set out in the blog - it's an unprecedented Pattern of corruption.

3 - If you see no difference between various administrations' tolerance of corruption, you join Malcolm on the false equivalence band wagon, in a ditch. It's a defensive substitute for thought. Anyone can cherry-pick an incident or a few, but this is not binary, a zero or a one, perfect or terrible. It's a sliding scale, and this bunch ranks down there at the bottom with Harding, Grant and Nixon. There is a reason that ethics experts are continually aghast at the state of affairs in the White House, and it's not because they're Democrats, because they're not. It's because they know their field.

As usual, you are guilty of the very blindness you complain about.


 +   5 people like this
Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Danville,
on Apr 10, 2018 at 8:00 am

Tom Cushing is a registered user.

Ron: welcome. A lot needs sorting out, including whether Mr. Cohen really was acting in a legal capacity, specifically or generally, or whether he was just a thuggish fixer for the Trump organizations, including the campaign.

But let's say it's determined that he was, in fact, acting as a lawyer for the Trump campaign when he crudely attempted to buy-off a woman with whom the President did not, uh, consort. IIRC (it's been a while), the A-C and 'work product' privileges might apply to insulate some evidence from being admitted in court. They do not immunize the attorney from investigation of possible misdeeds. There will be a lot of commentary on this subject before we're through, but I think that's the nuts-and-bolts. BTW, Mr. Manafort is also an attorney. Anybody?

This is also where the Prez needs really excellent legal advice. Suffice it to say that the Prez is not getting such good advice, in part because he's incapable of reining himself in to follow it. For instance, by volunteering that he knew nothing about the purported deal to which he was a signing party, he raised a serious Q about whether the deal, in fact, existed. Not a good move if you also want to enforce untold $millions of penalties that would require that the deal be enforceable. His impulsiveness makes him his own worst enemy, which is why his people don't want him to meet with Mr. Mueller, under oath.


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Resident, a resident of Laguna Oaks,
on Apr 10, 2018 at 8:17 am

Voter,

Bottom-line lady, on average he isn't spending any more money then the past two EPA administrators. That's a fact.

You can insult all you want...but you still LOSE.

Ta ta.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Danville,
on Apr 10, 2018 at 8:22 am

Tom Cushing is a registered user.

Yeah, voter - as Res sez, Pruitt could just pay it all to himself and not travel at all, and that would be okay - just as long as he stayed within budget. Wow.


 +   5 people like this
Posted by Doug, a resident of Birdland,
on Apr 10, 2018 at 8:29 am

@Resident

So you say that the head of the EPA spending taxpayer money on first-class tickets for himself, and round-the-clock security details, and bullet-proof tables for his office is all OK? Alright, I'll remember that in the next election.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Danville,
on Apr 10, 2018 at 8:37 am

Tom Cushing is a registered user.

Doug: he has to spend it on SOMEthing, and it sure isn't enforcement of the environmental laws:

How Trump is letting polluters off the hook: Web Link

EPA enforcement actions hit a ten-year low in 2017: Web Link


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Resident , a resident of Laguna Oaks,
on Apr 10, 2018 at 8:57 am

Let's see if I have this straight:

Mueller was brought in to investigate Trump collusion with the Russians, facilitated by a opposition research report paid for by the DNC and the Clinton campaign.

When he couldn't find any collusion, he then went after Trump because it was reported that Trump obstructed Justice by legally firing James Comey.

When Mueller couldn't find any obstruction, he now turns toward Trumps personal lawyer due to a payoff of a bribe to a prostittute.

Tom talks a lot about “corruption" in Trumps administration, but funny thing is, nobody seems to actually, you know, find and prove corruption.




 +   3 people like this
Posted by Resident, a resident of Laguna Oaks,
on Apr 10, 2018 at 9:04 am

Doug,

Yes, given past EPA administrators spending and his security needs, I am saying that it's ok.

So is the EPA ethics office and his boss, President Trump.

The fact that you and others said nothing about the past admins travel spending makes you all hypocrites and make this reek of pure politics.

Sucks to be outta power, eh?

Get used to it.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Doug, a resident of Birdland,
on Apr 10, 2018 at 9:56 am

@Resident

Remember that your side was supposed to be the one to come in and "clean the swamp"? A distant and forgotten memory now, is it? Just another bait-and-switch, was it? Now that the hypocrisy has been fully exposed, your side will be out of power soon enough.


 +  Like this comment
Posted by Resident, a resident of Laguna Oaks,
on Apr 10, 2018 at 10:13 am

“Clean the swamp"

We'll see about that, hopefully in time for the next election.

;)


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Danville,
on Apr 10, 2018 at 10:32 am

Tom Cushing is a registered user.

Readers: here's something to tuck away. That stunningly uncritical, slapdash and shallow, but proud and repetitive level of analysis comes with the right to vote. Please make certain that you exercise yours.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by You Know Who I Am, a resident of Danville,
on Apr 10, 2018 at 10:44 am

Tom, my point was which is more important to you: Environmental policy that you believe in, or ending so-called "corruption" and excessive spending of OUR tax payer's money?

I would assume you would select the first. Hence, in order to help achieve your priority, arguments on the environmental policy merits, not attacks on "corruption" or excessive spending, would help influence your audience. I honestly think there are many Independents and Republicans, who may be closer aligned to you on the environmental policy than to our current administration. But when you start using words like "corruption" and excessive spending, it comes across a leftist partisan attack, rather than an attempt to find a middle common ground that actually benefits our country and our environment. We have lost our common ground thinkers, as people are now digging in on extreme sides that refuse to compromise.

Finally, if ending "corruption" and excessive government spending is your top agenda, did it bother you at all how money of OUR tax payers money was spent by President Obama in 8 years in flying all over our nation to purely Democratic Party fundraisers, where us taxpayers picked up the tab for millions of dollars for Secret Service, travel, and related expenses?


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Doug, a resident of Birdland,
on Apr 10, 2018 at 11:21 am

“You know who" wrote “Finally, if ending "corruption" and excessive government spending is your top agenda, did it bother you at all how money of OUR tax payers money was spent by President Obama...."

The old classic and familiar “Yes-We're-crooks-but-what-about-the-other-guy?" defense.

Brought to you by the people who claimed that they would be cleaning up the Swamp!


 +   4 people like this
Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Danville,
on Apr 10, 2018 at 12:08 pm

Tom Cushing is a registered user.

Prodigal: Let's take a step back. You have been Full of advice for me since I started writing this blog several years ago - including to stop writing it, threatening a boycott of the publication and promising to sue. You've noisily left this blog four times, but you're back - a moth to the flame, I guess.

THIS time, you say I should choose corruption OR the environment about which to write. It's a false dichotomy - why should I have to choose between those two options? If I don't write about some topic this time, I can always do so next time.

I suspect that your advice has much more to do with discomfort over the topic, which I understand. When all you can muster is some completely unsupported, unlinked, unanalyzed charge about Obama, you're serving up a very weak sauce.

It's reminiscent of other righties' apoplexy of Obama golfing and taking a very occasional vacation - which had everything to do with their belief that he should be caddying instead, and working three jobs (despite the fact that he took 1/3 the vacation time of his predecessor, or Mr. 45.) Here's an actual link: Web Link


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Posted by You Know Who I Am, a resident of Danville,
on Apr 10, 2018 at 1:58 pm

Tom, I stand by my prior outrage over you "thinking it was in good fun" to leave up a comment from a poster laughing about killing police officers. I have many family members and friends who serve in the police department, and have been to funerals of officers who died in the line of duty.

I stand by my prior outrage of you violating the rules of use and my privacy by cross-referencing my email address to the State Bar to obtain my identity.

I am deeply concerned about the growing political fractions in our country and extremism on both sides of the aisle, and the refusal of both sides to make any effort to come together, to compromise, and put country first over political ideology.

My recent postings were an attempt to encourage you to stop flaming the differences in our country, and mudslinging, by finding a common ground on your issues of gun control, and environmental protection. I suggested Republicans support raising the age to purchase a gun to 21, and Democrats to stop pushing for abolishment of the Second Amendment. On environmental protection, I suggested you stop leading with "corruption" and excessive spending, and focus on factually pointing out which regulations both sides should support to protect our earth.

Your responses were personal attacks on me, not my positions on issues. Your final post noting that I believe President Obama should be a caddy and not golfing is incredibly offensive to everything I believe is great about our country, and if you actually really knew who I was, you would know that statement could not be further from the truth.

If your goal is to increase your readership by posting false, inflammatory statements, congratulations, goal achieved. My goal was to attempt to bring the extremes together, with compromise, trying to see some overlap of ideas, that benefit us all. I have read both Ronald Reagan and Tip O'Neil's books, and both concur on how they put partisan differences aside and worked on finding common ground to put country first, by avoiding inflammatory and demeaning personal attacks. They could disagree on an issue, but find compromise, and then enjoy a pint of Guinness together.

I did not vote or support Donald Trump in the primary, as his personal attacks on the other candidates, especially war hero John McCain, was inappropriate, and caused disruption, rather than unity. It is very easy for Democrats to see how President Trump's personal attacks make it hard for opponents to work with him, to reach compromises, that put country first. It is not so easy for Democrats to see how extreme personal attack comments from Nancy Pelosi, Chuck Schumer, and others make it hard for
Republicans to work with them to reach compromises, that put country first.

From your recent comments, I can see I am tilting at windmills with you, and I have failed in my goal.

I return the microphone to you, realizing your personal attacks will follow. You may win the battle, but we all are losing the war.


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Posted by Tom Cushing, a DanvilleSanRamon.com blogger,
on Apr 10, 2018 at 2:15 pm

Tom Cushing is a registered user.

For the record, I violated no rules and I do not know your email address. I figured it out via your voluntary disclosures, over your many, many comments. If you treasured your anonymity, you could have guarded it better.

And anyway, I've disclosed it to no one, nor did I ever say I intended to disclose it, nor do I intend to do so in the future. Your panic that I might is more than a little weird. So, 'outrage' on, I guess.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Malcolm Hex, a resident of another community,
on Apr 10, 2018 at 3:00 pm

Oh, he (Shots) hate me!

He sayeth:

If you see no difference between various administrations' tolerance of corruption, you join Malcolm on the false equivalence band wagon, in a ditch.

Well, slap me into conciousness! I believe I have made Potty's hate list. Let me crawl out of this ditch here to be heard. Ah, much better.

Shotty states that I have tolerance for corruption in government. I'm aghast! But wait, there is hope for civilty after all. Look, if the current president is found guilty of a crime, well, good riddance to him. Good riddance to every civil servant who abuses power. Uh, do I meet your standard(s) now, Shotty?

The problem with the left, and Shotty, is that when you attempt to meet them half way, they still can't muster the courage to do so on their end.

I echo You Know Who I Am's thoughts regarding division around the political sphere. And I believe we all need to chillax a bit. Although, when the old vine repeatedly produces sour grapes, it's hard to get the taste out your mouth.

But hey, I'll try.


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Posted by Resident, a resident of Laguna Oaks,
on Apr 10, 2018 at 3:18 pm

Doug (arbiter of only real news sources),

Do yourself and everyone else a favor and look up Inspector General Horowitz and US Attorney Huber out of Utah and please be kind enough to tell us what they're doing in terms of the swamp.

I don't have the time and inclination to fill you in on what's happening, but while you, Tom and the other kids are whining about porn actresses and EPA expenditures, the two individuals above are wrapping an investigation of said swamp and we should be hearing about it shortly.

Anyone who's been paying attention knows what's coming down and it won't be pretty.

Don't believe me? Then don't do any research.

I really don't care what you think.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Doug, a resident of Birdland,
on Apr 10, 2018 at 4:04 pm

Resident wrote “Heck, Tom KNOWS that Pruit spent less on average then the last two admins...."

Same tired old unsupported and unverified claim now repeated for at least the third time....

Reminds me of Trump. Just make stuff up as you go along...


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Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Apr 10, 2018 at 6:32 pm

I have a hunch that Resident is FUMING! BUT...ABOUT WHAT..EXACTLY?

darned if I know?


 +   2 people like this
Posted by MichaelB, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Apr 11, 2018 at 7:34 am

MichaelB is a registered user.

"The saddest part is the lack of ability to see what these money grubbing idiots are doing to our country. The fact that there are more than a dozen trump supporters in total leads me to question the life expectancy of the government. Number those brain challenged supporters in the millions and we are simply doomed. The only thing for me to gleefully anticipate is the complete destruction of the lives of those same idiot voters when the trade war eliminates their jobs, they lose their homes and their health care is gone. Good riddance. The rest of us might be able to rebuild without the idiot masses."

@voter

Trump hasn't been in office for long so it remains to be seen as to what will happen.

But some of us knew that we didn't want four more years of what we had been getting - weak economic growth, increased taxpayer dependency, open borders, obedience to international bureaucrats, etc. Health care is already "gone". The public was repeatedly lied to about keeping their existing plans and doctors.

The "brain challenged" still think that Obama supposedly "saved" the nation by having the government micromanage the economy, promising mythical "shovel ready" jobs, and promoting the feel good idea that the only way to get ahead economically was to take income/wealth from someone who already had. Good luck rebuilding anything with people who think like this. The idiot masses will just want someone else providing them with a "fair share" of income/wealth - from those who they claim can "afford" to give it up.


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Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Danville,
on Apr 11, 2018 at 7:53 am

Tom Cushing is a registered user.

Okay, so I've drained the swamp of several of the more ridiculous themes. A few notes:

Res - you cannot post just any old crap on this forum, and refuse to support it - somehow claiming that it's everyone else's job to DISprove it. It's not, as I've advised you repeatedly in the past.

You are the arsonist who burns down his house, then accuses his neighbor of doing it. When the neighbor responds "Prove it," you reply "Oh yeah? Well, prove you Didn't." That's not how this works. I understand where you got the tactic, but it won't fly here. Your claim = your burden to support it. Every time, and especially when challenged. Otherwise, you're just lying.

Jake: if you knew how much of Cholo's stuff I have to delete, you'd understand how unintentionally funny your irrelevant personal attack really is. My editor has banned him from the Town Square. Not so Sam - I do admire his intellect and stamina, but he's not me. There IS a tiny, fringey little treehouse boys club on this forum, though. You know who you are.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by MichaelB, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows,
on Apr 11, 2018 at 8:32 am

MichaelB is a registered user.

"You also need to actually read up on the opinions of those who actually Know something - but then, who's a Harvard environmental law prof to know anything about the quality of the work product coming out of the EPA? Pshaw - he's just one of those elite experts, also being mean to the Secretary."

@Tom

And perhaps you to read up on the actions/belief systems of the "regulate everything" crowd of the political left and the previous administration. Pshaw - how much time do they bother with how much regulations actually cost, what are the tangible benefits, how many jobs will be lost, what businesses will have to do to comply, etc?


 +   9 people like this
Posted by Buc Lau, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood,
on Apr 11, 2018 at 9:51 am

Tom-is there any reason to resort to the lowest common denominator and name call or demean your readers in your comments? This would be a clear violation of the Terms of Use, if it were used by any other poster. You have your say in your columns, stick with those; rather than the tit-for-tat and back and forth debate and name calling. Shameful.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Malcolm Hex, a resident of another community,
on Apr 11, 2018 at 9:57 am

Hey folks, the thought police is alive and well on this blog.

Last night I posted something that was true and funny. It was not threatening, crude, nor did it contain foul language. In fact, the posting was no different than the kinds of attempt at humor so very much in line with Cushing's past writings. To put it simply, the posting was NOTHING MORE THAN POLITICAL HUMOR.

Beware, the thought police is out there. I wonder if Cushing knows Zuckerberg?




 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Tom Cushing, a DanvilleSanRamon.com blogger,
on Apr 11, 2018 at 10:22 am

Tom Cushing is a registered user.

Malc: you were off-topic and I've lost patience with it. "But ... but ... what about x, y or z. Or Clinton???!!!" Deal with it.

Res: you really need to stop with the lies that you want others to disprove. Their half-lives will be brief. You ARE acting as the arsonist in my metaphor. Deal with it. You do know what a metaphor is? If not, you'll just have to look it up.

For the record, I have retained your several conspiratorial "comings soon" - so far - which also have no basis in fact (remember how the Mueller probe was about to implode, a few blogs back?), but at least they are future-based. Don't abuse it.


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Danville,
on Apr 11, 2018 at 10:37 am

Tom Cushing is a registered user.

MichaelB: those issues are part of every rule-making. How do I know? Because I used to be a lobbyist for a very big business, and I had to make those arguments. Here's what happens:

Air's dirty = an industry externality. Our government proposes a rule to protect the public health. Industry lobbies hard, saying it's technologically impossible, will cost jobs and make the US uncompetitive. Rule sometimes goes into effect, sometimes modified, sometimes withdrawn. Lo and behold, industry Can comply, ending the externality and bearing the true cost! No jobs are lost. Air gets cleaner. Industry takes out ads - crowing about what terrific environmentalists they are. Rinse/repeat.

I've also worked with regulators who see the big picture. E.g., Chem plant has 1700 separate smokestacks. Treating every one of them would be expensive. Regulators agree to treat the plant as having ONE smokestack, as long as overall emissions comply. Industry saves $Millions by treating the biggest problems. Air's cleaner.
Everybody wins.


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Posted by Resident, a resident of Laguna Oaks,
on Apr 11, 2018 at 10:39 am

“Res: you really need to stop with the lies that you want others to disprove."

You know Tom, you and others make this accusation, but you never seem to post the evidence to support the claim.

Why not?

If I'm lying about anything, then prove me wrong and put me in my place.

You won't. Not because it's a waste of time, but because you can't.

Your threats of impending doom and censure won't do a lick of good.

It's all you got.


 +   2 people like this
Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Danville,
on Apr 11, 2018 at 11:11 am

Tom Cushing is a registered user.

I link my claims. So does everybody else. You do not, expecting us to do your homework on verifiable claims for which you have no actual factual bases. That's not how this works - burden is yours to support your nonsense. If you won't or can't, then it won't appear here.

Pretty simple, and appropriate. It's the price of posting here. You don't get to waste everyone else's time.


 +   3 people like this
Posted by Barabara Murphy, a resident of San Ramon,
on Apr 11, 2018 at 11:29 am

Hi Tom,


It appears as though your temperament is wearing thin with some of your commentators.

I saw Malcolm's post before you removed it and thought it was funny, at least in my opinion.

If you are that sensitive to political comentary, maybe you should blog about something else.






 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Tom Cushing, a DanvilleSanRamon.com blogger,
on Apr 11, 2018 at 11:39 am

Tom Cushing is a registered user.

Hi Barabara: thanks for your concern.

Patience does occasionally wear thin, especially when a forum is in the process of being hijacked. Then, in my view as the guy who invested himself in writing and managing the blog, a moderator's touch is required - together with a reiteration of norms regarding relevance and claims.

If you'd like a copy of Malc's off-topic comment and choose to email me, I will send it to you.


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Posted by Cholo, a resident of Livermore,
on Apr 11, 2018 at 11:53 am

/Cholo comment deleted. TFC





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Posted by Tom Cushing, a resident of Danville,
on Apr 11, 2018 at 12:00 pm

Tom Cushing is a registered user.

So, Jake: I wanted you to see the comment above before I delete it. You really think I wrote that? ;-)

Too late. Cholo struck again. Knock it off, Cholo.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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