The swamp is getting drained

In his 2016 presidential campaign, Donald Trump started using the slogan “drain the swamp.” It was a rallying cry for those tired of the rich and powerful in DC getting more power at the expense of everyone else.

While most of the time Trump enables the swamp, his Justice Department has made some incredible moves to “drain the swamp.” And they’re not just going after the swamp creatures of DC. They’re looking for anyone that’s trying to use their power to tip the scales in their favor.

Most recent example is billionaire financier Jeffrey Epstein who was charged for sex trafficking.

The newly released charges concern an alleged multi-state sex trafficking ring Epstein operated between 2002 and 2005 with the help of his employees and associates.

Donald Trump is a friend of Epstein’s. He’s been quoted as saying “I’ve known Jeff for fifteen years. Terrific guy. He’s a lot of fun to be with. It is even said that he likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side. No doubt about it — Jeffrey enjoys his social life.”

Epstein was recently charged in Florida but got a lenient deal by then US Attorney and now Donald Trump’s Secretary of Labor Alex Acosta.

Epstein sounds like the epitome of a swamp creature. Excited to see him behind bars for the rest of his natural life.

But that’s not all the swamp draining news today. GOP super donor Elliott Broidy is being investigated by the feds for using his status with the Trump campaign & inauguration to illegally attract foreign business.

They say money and power don’t make you evil. It just amplifies who you are.

Well, as capitalism has become more unrestrained, we’ve seen the growth of the rich. More people know power than ever before. We need a rule of law and independent Justice Department that’ll hold the rich and powerful to account for their actions. It’s good to see it work today, even within the Trump administration.

Time to get to work

We no longer have a government unified on rubber stamping Donald Trump’s delusions. It’s time to get to work. What should the agenda be?

David Brooks brilliantly puts it

On the other hand, we could put the Trump soap opera off to the side and pay attention to actual Americans and actual solutions. We could acknowledge that we are an evenly divided country. We could build the bipartisan governing coalitions and agendas suited to that reality.

Our addiction to oil

In Thomas Friedman’s column today, he points out how we have to pick between bad and worse decisions in the Middle East because of our addiction to oil.

Rather than choosing between bad allies and bad enemies, we should be working frantically to do the one thing that is in our whole country’s security interest, financial interest and moral interest — launch a Manhattan Project to get America off oil by 2025.

It is our addiction to oil that funds so much of the bad behavior out of the Middle East. It is our addiction to oil that forces us to look the other way at a murder most vile. And it is our addiction to oil that leads us to think it is actually O.K. to trade a call for justice for a purchase order of arms.

Real leadership is about looking at the long term vs giving us all a sugar high.

American Values for Sale

The publisher at the Washington Post has called out President Trump. The President is supporting Saudi Arabia amidst their role in killing Jamal Khashoggi because they’re investing in the American economy.

Throughout this crisis, the president has maintained that he’s looking after our “national interests.” But Trump’s response doesn’t advance the United States’ interests — it betrays them. It places the dollar values of commercial deals above the long-cherished American values of respecting liberty and human rights. And it places personal relationships above the United States’ strategic relationships. For more than 60 years, the U.S.-Saudi partnership has been an important one based on trust and respect; Trump has determined that the United States no longer requires honesty and shared values from its global partners.

Diversity and Immigration are Part of American Greatness

Great op-ed in the New York Times with facts about the caravan…

People seeking to partake of the American dream have always been central to America’s identity and strength. How the country treats them goes straight to its core values. The Democrats cannot sit this one out, especially when the Republican leader is so blind to the true sources of America’s greatness.

Shaping a Political Culture

President Donald Trump and the words that he uses are shaping a political culture that will be here we’ll after he leaves office. New York Times op-ed columnist Bret Stephens writes

Conservatives used to understand the danger. Why care about social formalities, modes of dress, niceties of speech, qualities of restraint? Not simply because manners make the man, although they do, but because manners also shape political cultures. How does a conservative movement that is supposed to believe that every healthy society needs powerful moral guardrails give itself over to a president whose every other utterance cheerfully knocks those guardrails down?

Weight Watchers for our minds

In a New York Times Op-Ed, columnist Frank Bruni talks about how the internet can be a safe have for people looking for communities that support their worst instincts.

He shares a quote from Apple CEO Tim Cook…

Platforms and algorithms that promised to improve our lives can actually magnify our worst human tendencies.

Information can be as bad for your mind as sugar is bad for you body. Consistently feeding yourself bad info can make you sick, as is evident by Franks column.

We need to be smarter consumers of how we take in information. We almost need Weight Watchers for our minds.

Facts about the caravan

Some important facts in this New York Times piece

  • The caravan won’t reach the United States for multiple weeks. So, why are we sending 5k troops down to the border on Friday? Perhaps because it’s a political ploy to whip up fear and then look strong. They’re trying to be play us for fools.
  • The Trump administration is building tent cities because the caravan is trying to enter the United States to get political asylum as refugees. Despite what’s said in speeches and tweets, they’re not trying to enter the US illegally.

Life as a Trump Ambassador

The former Ambassador to Mexico in the Trump Administration just retired and he wrote a pretty stinging rebuke as a New York Times op-ed.

Over the past three decades, successive American administrations have worked diligently to vanquish the anti-American DNA in Mexico. We were overcoming the suspicions that a history of invasion, territorial loss and imperial intent had bequeathed. That kind of trust is slow to build, and remarkably easy to destroy. It is being destroyed now.