Trump hasn’t made it easy for his enablers on Capital Hill. As sworn testimony from career diplomats and national security officials rolls in regarding his “perfect” attempt to shake down Ukraine and its new president over the phone, Trumpers like Rep. Jim Jordan (R-OH) are left with no relevant facts to argue in defense of their guy, who now faces almost certain impeachment. The former Ohio Stat wrestling coach (which as it happens is giving Jordan problems in another matter) finds himself wrestling well above his weight class, indulging with his GOP cohorts in conjecture about conspiracy theories, the whistleblower’s identity, the witnesses’ lack of personal familiarity with Trump, or any other straw, which grasped might score their guy a point in the eyes of anyone not currently a member of Trump’s cult-like following.
This cartoon idea popped into my head back in January, when the FBI paid Roger Stone an early-morning visit at his Florida digs. I filed it away for a later date, which, as it happened, came yesterday.
Dunmore accountant Janet Brier’s successful write-in campaign for Dunmore Borough Council last week was quite the accomplishment. Riding a wave of popular resistance toward Keystone Landfill’s expansion plans, Brier managed to convince 2,323 Dunmoreans to write in her name, easily besting two incumbent councilmen who previously had sided with the landfill.
Trump advisor and hardline anti-immigration agitator Stephen Miller is getting married! This in and of itself is not particularly newsworthy, but makes for a handy metaphor in light of a recent email dump that shows Miller pushing far-right and white-nationalist ideas and materials to the editors of the similarly far-right and white-nationalist “news” outlet, Breitbart.
The Pennsylvania Medical Association — the well-funded organization representing the interests of doctors statewide — has come out with both barrels blazing against Senate Bill 25, a measure that would allow advanced-degree nurses to operate a practice not under the direct supervision of a licensed doctor. The organization argues that only doctors should be allowed to diagnose and prescribe treatments, or at least give them their stamp of approval. There’s merit to that argument, but I suspect it also serves a desire among doctors to preserve their “market share.” Allowing advanced-practice nurses and nurse practitioners to open up shops in all likelihood would make health care more widely available, particularly in under-served, poorer rural areas of the state.
The tradition of using the levers of political power to hire and promote friends and family members runs deep in Northeastern Pennsylvania. So deep, in fact, that the locals call it “NEPAtism.” Scranton School Director-elect Tara Yanni’s behind-the-scenes efforts to land her husband an assistant baseball coaching job at West Scranton High School is a classic example, and flies in the face of last week’s reform-minded city and county elections.
It’s election day — a unique one locally, given the multi-candidate race to fill out the remainder of Bill Courtright’s term as Scranton mayor. In addition to the two parties’ nominees, there are five independent candidates, all of whom offer differing visions for how to lead the city forward and return some sense of honor to the mayor’s office (Courtright is awaiting sentencing on a federal corruption conviction). Meanwhile, a certain political gadfly has plastered nearly every main thoroughfare in town with signs urging folks to write his name in. The problem, of course, is that as a convicted felon, he cannot serve as mayor if elected (he claims otherwise, but I’m going with the judge on this one). This, in addition to his past homophobic and bigoted remarks, renders him unfit for the ink in the voters’ pen.
It’s fairly apparent that Donald Trump has little use for — or at least little understanding of — the U.S. Constitution. His open disdain for the document has brought us to this current point in history, as House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her Democratic majority attempt to check a lawless chief executive and his cult of congressional enablers and supporters.
Election-year political advertising reportedly is worth roughly $275 million for social media behemoth Facebook. That sounds like a lot — and, to be fair, it is a lot — but it’s a small portion of the billions the company rakes in via other methods of exploiting and monetizing personal privacy. So it’s curious that CEO and founder Mark Zuckerburg has no interest in vetting political ads for truthfulness as the 2020 elections approach. Given the chaos Facebook helped facilitate in 2016, when Russian intelligence and others polluted social media with bogus “news stories” intended to help Donald Trump and hurt Hillary Clinton, one might think Zuckerburg would be interested in adding “good citizen” to his title as World’s Youngest Oligarch.