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Archive for December, 2017

So, according to Yahoo News, some guy, a public health employee of Los Angeles County, delivered horse manure in a Christmas package to Steven Mnuchin’s house in Los Angeles as a protest against the tax bill. This is a quick back-of-the-envelope list of why this stunt was foolish:

1) It plays right into the idea that liberal extremists are rude exhibitionists who just don’t other, more square, people very much. Giving somebody – anybody – the digested leavings of a horse – really? Just thoughtless and unkind. And despite what the sender thought, really unfunny (see #3)

2) The letter of protest along with the manure was signed, “The American People”. It is highly presumptuous to do almost anything in the name of “The American People”. “The American People”, like any group of 300 million people, have a hard time agreeing on virtual anything of controversy. Think about it – the war in Afghanistan, single payer health insurance, nuclear power, Taylor Swift as an artist – the American people have a range of opinion on each. To claim to speak for all of them on any matter – especially one like this millions of them will lose money and millions more will get it – is an exercise in moral narcissism.

3) As I imagine the sender well knows, senior public officials get regular threats against themselves and/or their families. That’s why this letter wasn’t funny. Somebody had to figure out this package contained merely horse manure. Officials had to x-ray the thing because it could have been, and occasionally is, something more dangerous. So this package and its contents needlessly messed up the workday of some poor employee not named Steven Mnuchin (who wasn’t home and likely went on his way blissfully unaware of any security concerns).  Furthermore, it needlessly cost taxpayers money.  I figure the sender, being a public health official in Los Angeles County, would consider public funds scarce enough.  I don’t see why he thinks he has the right to make them even more so.  Unless of course, like in paragraph #2 (so to speak) – moral narcissism.

At the risk of costing the taxpayer another fifty cents, Mr. Mnuchin might want to have a short note sent to the sender to thank him for his gift and letting him know the Secretary would be using it to improve his daffodils.  Such a delicate response might be noteworthy for the presence of a little good-natured humor and its lack of Trumpian sound and fury.

Look, I’ve got a few issues with the tax bill and more with Mr. Mnuchin personally. He strikes me as a guy who was born fabulously wealthy and had his path through Goldman Sachs blazed for him by his father and older brother, so he never had to struggle or worry about finances like regular Americans. He’s not the person whom I would have chosen for Treasury Secretary. No matter. Despite what the sender might imagine, this wasn’t funny or even clever. I would be upset if this had been done to any member of any administration. It is no way to treat a public official or really, anybody.

-1TF

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Politico reported on widespread speculation on Capitol Hill that then aging and ailing senior senator from Mississippi, Thad Cochran (R-MS), may retire early next year. (h/t politicalwire.com)

Should that happen, the Magnolia State’s governor, Phil Bryant, will have the responsibility of choosing a successor. This writer respectfully implores the Governor to appoint someone who won’t embarrass the state or the Republican Party. Please avoid the debacle that occurred next door. When Jeff Sessions resigned his seat in Alabama, the embattled then-governor Robert Bentley appointed the attorney general that had been investigating Mr. Bentley for ethics and law violation. How that was not investigated for obstruction of justice, I know not. That mal-appointed senator, Luther Strange, never, ever should have accepted something of value – namely the Senate seat – from the governor he was investigating. Strange managed to lose a primary to disgraced judge Roy Moore, who then managed to lose the seat to Democratic prosecutor Doug Jones. The whole thing was just a perfect storm of depravity and incompetence.

Please, Governor Bryant, should the moment present itself, choose someone who won’t embarrass your state. Choose someone who can withstand a primary challenge from anyone who would embarrass your state. Cast a wide net in your search.  Get caught looking for someone other than a white male.  I’m not saying you can’t choose a white male; the best candidate may wind up being one.  But your pool of contenders should look like the citizens of Mississippi, who last I checked, included about 1.5 million females and more than a million African-Americans.  I’m a pro-life conservative; I would hope any new senator would be as well.  But there are conservatives with whom moderates can work, and conservatives who only speak to their base and turn off everyone else.

I wish Senator Cochran good health and that he and his family have times of peace and love in the days ahead.  Meanwhile, I suspect that the Governor will have to make an important choice.  There are plenty of right-of-center, inclusive possibilities.  Choose wisely, Governor.

– 1TF

 

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