Mr. Toad’s wild interview – or why AG Barr keeps me awake at night.

Pete Williams’ interview with AG Barr on NBC stopped me in
my tracks. The man is dangerous because he is totally amoral, has no qualms
about violating the balance of powers established in the Constitution, and is
quite persuasive as long as you don’t look too hard. I am quoting verbatim some
of what he said to so upset me. We should remember that, hanging over the
interview, is the central irony that Barr is questioning whether there was
sufficient predication for the FBI to launch an investigation into the Trump
campaign …

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Takeaways from the Wednesday and Thursday Impeachment Hearings.

  At this point in the hearings, we expected to
get mostly clarifications rather than “new news”. The two major items on
Wednesday were Sondland’s affirmation that the actions of the “3 Amigos”
(Perry, Volker and Sondland) were very much dictated by the White House, that
Giuliani was the conduit for Trump’s wishes, and that major figures in the
executive branch knew what was going on – Sondland implicated Vice-President
Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Acting Chief of Staff for the
President Mick Mulvaney. Another item of significance spilled …

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Takeaways from Day 3 of the Impeachment Inquiry.

  I did not watch Day
3 of the impeachment inquiry in its entirety – life happens, but here are some
conclusions I gleaned from the evening shows, as well as some of my own
conclusions from the 5 hours or so that I did see.

  The morning witnesses,
Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman and Jennifer Williams, appeared at the request of
the Democrats. Vindman is a career Army man, delegated from the Pentagon in
July 2018 to serve at the NSC as a coordinator for Ukraine policy. Ms. Williams
is a career …

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Notes on Week 1 of the Trump impeachment hearings.

First, I would like to consider several points that have to
do with the Trump presidency in general, and are apparent in the impeachment
inquiry.

Trump
and company love to rail against the “deep state”. What they call “deep state”
is made up of non-partisan career civil servants. They have, as one of their
main functions, the task and duty to examine and ascertain facts, then to make
those facts available to government. Decisions are made, policies elaborated,
based on those facts. Decimating the ranks of civil servants (usually in the
name of saving …

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STICKS AND STONES.

Words matter. Republicans and Democrats increasingly use different words to describe the same things. The terms, used repeatedly, end up coloring the speaker’s perception. I am not suggesting an all-out war of words, but I think it is important to push back sometimes. Using humor takes some of the sting, as we are not looking for direct confrontation if we are to persuade some voters to re-consider their allegiance to the Republican Party under Trump. Here is a list of terms used by each …

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Gun safety reform.

  I was living in
Jerusalem at the time of the First Gulf War. I learned to put gas masks on my
kids, just in case the Scud missiles coming from Saddam Hussein’s Iraq were
tipped with chemical loads. When my parents, frantic with worry, called from
Europe, I tried to explain that, while it was true that we were not safe
anywhere in Israel, we were statistically at low risk of dying in a rocket
attack.

  We are at that same
point now in the US, and particularly in Texas. We …

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