Sunday, December 02, 2018

Herewith is the text of a letter I sent to the editor of the SB News-Press today. I'll update this post when/if it gets published.

Update: The letter was published in the News-Press on Sunday, December 9, 2018.

At last, the "witch hunt" is getting interesting. Straight out of a John le Carrė novel, we learn from the Special Counsel's recent court filing that "cooperating" defendant Paul Manafort was actually a "mole," lying to Robert Mueller's team about "a variety of subject  matters," while being a conduit to the President for information about the Russia/collusion/obstruction investigation.

But wait -- the le Carrė tale doesn't stop there. What if Mueller's team knew all the while that Manafort was Trump's mole and they were feeding Manafort false information for transmittal to Trump, which Trump then used in fashioning his answers to Mueller's questions? That would explain why the plea bargain with Manafort was voided immediately after Trump's answers were finally delivered to Mueller: Mueller set the trap and Trump strode into it.

But wait – le Carrė isn't finished. Because the President's written answers were doubtless lawyer-honed and contained weasel-words such as "to the best of my recollection," those answers wouldn't be a sound basis for proving anything much. Instead, it's likely that Mueller has independent evidence that Manafort lied. We'll likely learn details about the "subject matters" that Manafort allegedly lied about in court filings that Mueller will present shortly and in Manafort's lawyers' filing seeking to show he didn't lie. These presentations, whether or not they dovetail with Trump's ambiguously-crafted answers, will reveal only the next chapter in the story, including, obviously, the scope of Trump's pardon power. Turn the page.

Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Herewith is the text of a letter I emailed today to the SB News-Press. I'll update this post if/when it's published.

It sounds crass, I know, but I'm grateful for Hurricane Florence. It has, for a day or three, knocked stories about Trump/Cohen/Manafort/Stormy/Mueller down from the lead to the second story on front pages and telecasts. Wildfires occasionally did the job earlier this year, but that season is ending – thankfully, with hurricane season beginning. God forbid the top stories should report the death tolls in Iraq/Afghanistan/Yemen or the plight of the millions of refugees. No – never, not America's mainstream media.

The press's mantra used to be "If it bleeds, it leads." No more – the buckets of blood and trauma abroad are insufficient to warrant our attention. Nowadays, under the current political climate, the mantra has become, "If it stinks, it inks," or, likely the more apt, "If it stinks, it links."

Tuesday, April 24, 2018

Letter to the editor

Here's the text of an email I sent to the editor of the Santa Barbara News-Press today. I'll update this post if/when it's published.

Update: The letter was published in the News-Press on Sunday, April 29, 2018.

To the editor:
An unheralded benefit to middle-class wage-earners has been found from recent studies of the effect of the Republican "tax cut" legislation. The studies determined that while high-paid employees are seeing significant take-home pay increases from the legislation, most taxpayers whose wages are mid-range are experiencing little – and many no – increase in their take-home pay. The benefit? These folks won't experience much of a decrease in their take-home pay when these temporary cuts expire in a few years.

Sunday, March 25, 2018

This says it all...

An excellent essay by MATT Taibbi. Couldn't have written it better myself.