March 10, 2019

Sunday School 3/10/19

I wandered around three classrooms this morning. I'm not sure exactly what I was looking for, so I'm not exactly sure if I found it or not.

Let's start with Face the Nation and Ed O'Keefe's interview with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), one of the declared presidential candidates. He kicked things off with her recently announced plan to break up tech companies, asking her why it needs to be done. Her answer?
Because the giant tech companies right now area eating up little, tiny businesses, startups - and competing unfairly. 
The thing is, Warren says, the platform companies should not be competing with people who use their platforms, putting their items ahead of the competition in the search returns, and so on.
So what I'm saying is we've got to break these guys apart. You want to run a platform? That's fine, You don't get to run a whole bunch of the businesses as well. You want to run a business? That's fine. You don't get to run the platform. Think of it this way, it's like in baseball. You can be the umpire or you can own one of the teams, but you don't get to be the umpire and own the teams.
So Facebook would have to sell off Instagram, Amazon would have to sell off Whole Foods, and "all those little businesses that they're running, competing businesses. Yup."

O'Keefe asked who the federal government was to tell these companies they had to do this; Warren mentioned long-standing anti-trust laws.  But, she's not anti-market, she pointed out, she's pro-markets-that-work:
The way markets work is they have to have rules and they have to have a cop to enforce them. A market without rules is theft and I'm not in favor of theft, I'm in favor of markets that produce real competition. 
She talked about taxing the ultra rich, noting that the top 1/10th of 1% will pay about 3.4% of their total net wealth in taxes while the 99.9% will pay about 7.4% and that's not fair because (paraphrasing here) when all of their inherited wealth was actually being earned by their families way back in the day, they did it on the backs of the rest of us -- along the lines of Obama's "you didn't build that" but in a way that seemed to be less offensive, if not more accepted. We 99-per-centers educated all of those workers back then, and built the roads, bridges, and factories, and so
So what we're really saying is look, just put a little back in the kitty. This is what we're asking for. Pay a fair share, so the next kid has a chance to build something great and the kid after that and the kid after that. 
She also said if anyone labels her as a socialist, "it's just wrong."

On MTP, I sat in on the panel discussion, which included how the House ended up dealing with (or not dealing with) Rep. Ilhan Omar's anti-Semitic comments, and how Speaker Nancy Pelosi is in a tough spot.
Kasie Hunt (NBC):  So you know, I think Nancy Pelosi is doing what she has very carefully done, since this, you know, new caucus as come together, which is to try to very carefully thread that needed and try to sew these two very disparate generations together. And it's getting harder. 
Robert Costa (WaPo):  ...I met with some House Democrats, seasoned veterans...and they say, in this day and age of social media, where someone like Rep. Omar or Rep. Ocasio-Cortez can have millions of followers, that the old rules don't apply. And so Speaker Pelosi may try to cobble together legislation to send a message to voters, but the people who have political capital inside this party are those with a social media following.
Maria Teresa Kumar (MSNBC): ...And I think that the challenge is that president Trump has really done a fantastic job communicating to a broader audience, based on his tweets. And it's toe to toe now, with a generation that actually expects that they're going to have their breaking news not on the front page of the NY Times, but through a tweet. And then you don't know how to actually have the accurate literacy of, "is this actually accurate?" and that's a challenge. 
(For further reference on "is this actually accurate?" see Trump, Donald J, 2015 - present)

There was more, which you can find in the transcript, including a discussion about generational issues in the Democratic Party.

Moving finally to the panel discussion on Fox News Sunday, they started with a discussion of Michael Cohen and whether he's lying now or if he was lying then or maybe he's always lied - you get the drift.

Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich said Cohen "shouldn't be on the national stage" and that he's "a circus" and "a fool," but columnist Juan Williams noted that it's not Cohen's words that matter, it's the documentation that he's presented that matters at this point, including Trump's "EKG signature" on those checks.

Jonathan Swan, of Axios, said the White House is upset about Cohen's testimony (even as the president just wanders around calling him a liar and saying there's no collusion, as if everything is exactly the same post-Cohen's testimony as it was before.)
The thing that disturbs them the most is when he gives inside information about the Trump organization and seems to lead investigators down the path...
He referenced Cohen telling AOC that there was inflation of assets and insurance fraud (without providing any proof) and referred them to Allen Weiselberg, and of course then the House investigations go where Cohen pointed them.

Shelby Holliday of the Wall Street Journal offered some insight on Paul Manafort, after Chris Wallace clarified that the president had lied when he said that the judge who sentenced Manafort to more than 15 years less than what was recommended said there was "no collusion." Here's what Holliday said about Manafort, going back to 2016:
We are talking about the president's campaign chairman at the time overseeing a convention in which one day, an entire day, was dedicated to the theme of law and order, and president Trump supporters loved it. They love it that he was a law and order candidate. 
 Now, fast forward to where we are today, Paul Manafort has pleaded guilty or been convicted of crimes spanning more than a decade, including bank fraud, money laundering, witness tampering, conspiracy against the United States, working here on behalf of a foreign power illegally. 
Kind of makes a pardon from the 'law and order president' for the man who has otherwise lived a blameless life seem ill advised, doesn't it? But then, "no collusion, witch hunt, hoax, sham, SAD!" and who knows what will happen. Swan suggests a pardon, if it were to come, would likely be a second-term thing, not before the election.

And finally, on the elephant in the room -- the Mueller Report - no one has a clue when it's coming or what will happen when it does, but Gingrich has an idea  - release the whole report:
I mean, in the end - this is - the American people who've got to decide, the American people ought to have complete access, and there's no really good valid reason  except for classification and in the case of some innocent people who're just named in passing but in fact aren't in any way involved. 
I actually agree with New Gingrich on something?  Huh.

See you around campus.

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