Sunday, May 14, 2017

A lie here, a tall tale there…….

First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a Socialist.
Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a Trade Unionist.
Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out—
because I was not a Jew.
Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.

Martin Niemöller (1892–1984) was a prominent Protestant pastor who emerged as an outspoken public foe of Adolf Hitler and spent the last seven years of Nazi rule in concentration camps.

GSE Good News from Mel Watt;  
Comey’s Firing Fails Smell Test

Yay Mel Watt; MW for FHFA Director???

I know, I know, he already has the job, but in my view—and I don’t know if Watt applied the pressure up or someone at Treasury pushed it down—Watt’s testimony before a hostile Senate Banking Committee was as close to a “GSE Profile in Courage” as we’ve had in many moons.

Lots of us on the political fringes can blog, talk and support “Fannie Mae recap and release,” but we don’t have the influence or the FHFA Director’s pulpit.

It took Mel Watt (and I suspect those above him in this Admin) to suggest a logical and different approach in a substantive way and—to my twisted sense of justice--shove the need and rationale for the mortgage finance system’s greater good right up the orifices of some arrogant doubting Senators (pick your party).

He called for “recap” and was a little light on “relief,” but it still sounded real good.

Former Congressman Watt walked into the SBC “Valley of Death” hearing room and simply testified—in effect--“Hear me, I’m the biggest, baddest regulatory Mother %$#@&% in this valley.”

(Paraphrasing, Watt said), “It is better to let Fannie and Freddie keep some of their quarterly earnings as capital protection against future losses then to lend them more money if those losses occur—as some of you Senators suggest--since the latter could send an unwanted signal, threatening the financial markets quite broadly.”

The Senators heard him, loud and clear.

There is little chance that Watt’s daring and audacious position did not reflect—right now--exactly where the Treasury Department is on the matter and, maybe, President Trump himself.

Bold and accurate, Watt took no crap from Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), and pushed back at the most antagonistic of the anti-GSE committee members.

See excerpt of Paul Muolo’s Inside Mortgage Finance Watt Senate hearing article, below.

By Paul Muolo
Federal Housing Finance Agency Director Mel Watt has a law degree and is a former member of Congress. Anyone who has followed him over the years, especially during his time at the FHFA, knows that when he speaks, it’s in measured tones and he’s quite careful about what he says. If you watched his testimony before a Senate panel this week, you can read in between the lines and come to the conclusion that his message boiled down to this: Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac will not take another government draw, at least not while I’m in charge…
In the second to last paragraph of his prepared remarks, Watt did a masterful job of setting the table, knowing full well that what he’s suggesting by allowing Fannie and Freddie to build capital once again would ruffle more than a few feathers: “It would, therefore, be a serious misconception for members of this Committee, or for anyone else, to consider any actions FHFA may take as conservator to avoid additional draws of taxpayer support either as interference with the prerogatives of Congress, as an effort to influence the outcome of housing finance reform, or as a step toward recap and release…” 

I certainly hope that Mr. Watt’s performance vis-à-vis Sen. Corker reflects a second GSE story which appeared earlier last week in Rocky Top Politics (see link below).

Anyone looking for more information on Corker’s reported questionable financial adventures can find that information in the Rocky Top archives on the same page.


Comey: We now know that when this White House says something isn’t— IT generally “IS”

This Pittsburgh puppy ain’t consuming the latest White House “dog food” offered up by the Trump kennel managers, explaining why President Trump suddenly fired FBI Director James Comey.

That pooch fare just doesn’t taste/smell right and violates my limited canine taste of how this POTUS operates.

When the surprising, “He fired the FBI Director” announcement first popped, I contacted a friend who works with the FBI on serious matters, asking him about Comey’s “in the Bureau” reputation.

He told me that Comey, across the board, did well as an organizational leader and he (my friend) knew of no internal complaints, implying no hint of internecine Director-hostility on anything representing the grand unhappiness scale the WH spinners suggested.

That doesn’t mean DJT liked Comey personally and I could see where this Prez might not. But what I can’t see is President Trump worried about 1) drooping federal employee morale or 2) injustice shown toward Hillary Clinton.

After all, to name a few Trump appointees who have produced that negative workplace impact, the President named Scott Pruitt, a wingnut anti-environmentalist to head EPA, upsetting those employees; chose Betsy DeVos, a public school opponent to run the Department of Education, upsetting those employees; picked former MoC Dr. Tom Price, an Obamacare opponent and anti-medical care spending zealot (not counting his controversial stock trades while a House Member) to oversee the Department of Health and Human Services, upsetting HHS employees.

Does anyone really believe that the thousands of employees at those three federal operations mentioned above are content with and in rapture over their new bosses, who seem to oppose their very agency missions and core assignments?

Maloni and Comey

Last year--as many Democrats were--I was PO’d at James Comey, when I thought he engaged in ugly partisan politics, with his unnecessary announcement of the non-indictment of Hillary Clinton, just days before the 2016 presidential election.

But, I figured he’s an R and wanted to help Trump win. While it sucked—given my belief about appointed senior government execs—it didn’t shock me.

So, following the Trump win, Comey goes about his FBI business. Had I been asked, I would have said Comey was doing a decent job, since he seemed to be angering D’s and R’s alike, which never is a bad standard.

Wham! Then last week, Trump drops the unemployment hammer on Comey.

After the fact, Trump called Comey a show boater!!?? (I guess it takes one to know one.)

Did Comey attract too much of the media glare which the insatiable Trump wanted?

Now I’m left trying to figure out what really happened…since the WH seldom tells the truth.

Instead, Spicer adopt Kim Jong-un North Korean type media visions, suggesting our POTUS is driven only by the purest of motives after deeply considering all the reasonable alternatives.

No thanks, I prefer to follow my instincts and sechel (Yiddish for brains or smarts).

The President, bored with his day job and the slings and arrows of the presidency, gets the DoJ—in the person of newbie Deputy Attorney General  Rod Rosenstein, who still is trying to locate the Department’s men’s rooms—to author a memo suggesting Comey bungled last year investigation into “Hillary Clinton.”

That memo’s talking points are given to all of the rightwing media and they begin chattering in the same vein about what Rosenstein found and what the President had to do (reportedly pissing off Rosenstein, who saw himself being set up and blamed for the justification to fire Comey).

A desperate Administration then exhumes Kellyanne “Conwoman”-- brushes from her outfit the dead leaves and dirt, the smell of embalming fluid, slaps some makeup on her, twice, since she does day and nighttime CNN interviews with Tapper and Cooper--where she claims Trump fired Comey because Rosenstein said the latter’s investigation  was unfair to Hillary Clinton. (OK, she unconvincingly did her piece, get the coffin and fluids ready and return her.)

Comey was “Unfair to Hillary,” the person who Trump spent every day last year battering, demeaning, calling for her imprisonment, and more. Really, Kellyanne, really??

The other White House explanation of the dismissal is that Comey would not pledge fealty to the President.

Sounds better. But is this the Middle Ages, i.e., “Your orange Liege-ness, I promise to…?”

But the Pres keeps chirping/tweeting and changes the storyline. Ooops.


How about this for a real reason?

I say, Comey’s Russian investigation was getting embarrassingly close to the POTUS, his family business interests, and allies. He felt hassled and upset.

DAG Rosenstein and AG Jeff Sessions (wasn’t the AG supposed to recuse himself from all Russian DoJ matters??) provide grist for dumping Comey, the FBI "engineer" driving this inquiry train?

In my explanation fantasy, the POTUS yells, “Hey, works for me. After all I am the President; just put in my letter that he told me three times I wasn’t under investigation, three times, so I can point to it. Despite the fact, clearly, that it was just stupid and illegal of me to ask and him to answer”

A spineless and compliant Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell--whose questionably credentialed spouse is holding down another cabinet sceretarial spot--quickly announces the obvious, he will not support an Independent Counsel or Special Prosecutor, after Trump’s reincarnation of Nixon’s “Saturday Night Massacre,” which this year DJT performed on a Tuesday.

House Speaker Paul Ryan—the proven lightweight lemming ewe, who can’t leave tracks in wet mud--lines up with McConnell insisting the two congressional investigations, which very few people believe can accomplish much, will handle the Russian investigation.

“Move along folks, nothing to see here.”

Reportedly Steve Bannon is working on a new Trump tweet. (But will it fit on a baseball hat?)

“You better ignore my many foibles, innumerable conflicts, family soap operas, and love me, or I will smite you! “Donald J. Trump, President.

We’ll see just how the American public accepts this presidential high handedness and Trump ego-mania.

Which family owned golf course will the taxpayers send DJT to next to soothe the Prez’s frazzled nerves??

After the healthcare debacle, again, in the House, I would think the American public would be so upset and see through this Comey charade that the White House will find itself in more political trouble, even with Hill Republicans and conservative media.

We’ll see.

Maloni, 5-14-2017


Bill Maloni said...

I recommend this op-ed by former US Attorney Preet Bharara to all readers.

Anonymous said...

Washington Post?

Bill Maloni said...

That's where PB placed it, but the message was solid.

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Anonymous said...

Here is why all the Conspiracy Theories are fake. Quit drinking the Kool-Aid. Thank goodness for honest citizens.