Sunday, May 14, 2017

Week 72: "Among the Bushes" (May 14, 2017)

Dear Readers,

It has been an eventful week. For all past newsletters (and more), make sure to go to the blog at

Among the Bushes

First, some lighthearted fun at the expense of everyone’s favorite White House press correspondent, Sean Spicer. Spicer, early this week, was entrusted with the lovely job of telling the world that FBI Director James Comey had been fired (more on that later), and afterwards, meets with his team in the bushes outside the White House. Sorry, what’s that? Oh, my bad, Sean. Apparently, Sean wasn’t “in” the bushes. He was hiding “among” the bushes. Well, that changes everything. How much more dignified can one get than being among the bushes! Boggles the mind.

Next Casualty: James Comey

"He wasn't doing a good job. Very simply. He was not doing a good job." Donald Trump submitted the dismissal of Comey as FBI Director this week, calling Comey a “showboat”. And he has a point there. Comey clearly did care about his own image more than the image or goings on of his agency. However, it’s a wee bit suspicious that Comey was fired just after he started investigating Trump’s ties with Russia and Russian hacks of the 2016 election. He’s not the first to be dismissed after beginning this sort of investigation, either - remember Sally Yates? Or Preet Bharara? While each of those may have had some legitimate reason to be fired, it doesn’t look good for Trump and it totally makes it appear like he has something to hide.

Another Casualty: John Thompson

“Who is John Thompson?” You ask. He’s the coach of the Georgetown men’s basketball team, don’t you know? But we’re here to talk about another John Thompson. Thompson was the director of the Census Bureau, and he suddenly resigned this week. We don’t really know why, but the reasons could stretch from something harmless to nefarious politicizing of the Census. You might think, “How can the Census be exploited for political gain?” Well, Census data is used to apportion House seats (and decide electoral vote totals), and to help draw congressional districts. And while it’s hard to manage actual intense political gains from sending out forms, it’s still best to avoid any possibilities of that. While I don’t want to buy into conspiracy theories of this type, and indeed it’s likely he resigned for a personal reason and no politicking was intended, we really have no idea why Thompson resigned and any possibilities are fair game.

Smiling Trump Greets Russians...

To add another level of “totally-not-suspicious” to this week, Trump invited Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak (a key figure in the investigation of Russian meddling with the election) and Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov to the Oval Office. No American press was allowed in - but Russian state press was, strangely enough. Trump took photos with them with a grin on his face, and those aren’t the only sketchy parts. A reporter asked Lavrov afterwards how the firing of Comey affected the meeting. His response was sarcastic: “Was he fired? You are kidding. You are kidding.” This all made for a very disturbing scene, considering everything about the Russian-American relationship in this day. Again, nothing about this scene expressly indicates that there is something weird going on, but Trump isn’t doing anything to assure us otherwise, and the optics are awful and make us assume the worst, and we can’t be blamed for it, either.

Thanks for reading! Feel free to reply or comment, as usual.

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