First, the good news
The Department of Transportation, formerly under the leadership of Elaine Chao, Mitch McConnell’s wife, has a new leader! Yesterday, the Senate confirmed Pete Buttigieg, aka Mayor Pete, to the position of Secretary of Transportation!
You’ll remember that Mayor Pete ran as a candidate for president in the 2020 Democratic Party presidential primaries and gained significant momentum in mid-2019 when he participated in several town halls and debates. Buttigieg narrowly won the Iowa caucuses and placed a close second in the New Hampshire primary. By winning Iowa, he became the first openly gay candidate to win a presidential primary or caucus. Buttigieg dropped out of the race on March 1st 2020, and endorsed Joe Biden the following day.
Under Ms. Chao, the Department of Transportation faded into the background, for she was rarely available to speak to the press, but make no mistake – this is a very important agency that oversees aviation safety, railroads, transit, highways and more. At age 39, Buttigieg is also the youngest Cabinet secretary in the Biden administration and youngest person to serve as Secretary of Transportation.
Congratulations, Mayor Pete!
Now for the humorous
You all know that Trump has a golf course in Scotland, right? Actually, he owns two of them. The Scottish Parliament is considering launching an investigation into the financing of those golf courses. Scottish Greens co-leader Patrick Harvie is urging the government to seek what is called an unexplained wealth order (UWO) against the Trump Organization’s two golf courses in Scotland.
A UWO is a relatively new piece of British criminal legislation, requiring the subject, in this case Donald Trump, to explain how exactly their assets were acquired. If their reasoning is not satisfactory, then the assets are “presumed to be recoverable property,” meaning they could be seized. Reading this was my first chuckle of the day today!
Now, nobody in the Trump family can be accused of having an excess of intelligence, but the dumbest of them all is son Eric, who is said to be fuming at the possibility of the investigation …
“Patrick Harvie is nothing more than a national embarrassment with his pathetic antics that only serve himself and his political agenda. If Harvie and the rest of the Scottish government continue to treat overseas investors like this, it will deter future investors from conducting business in Scotland, ultimately crushing their economy, tourism and hospitality industries.”
According to Harvie, the fact that Trump’s businesses and business practices are the subject of a massive investigation in New York prompted his call for an UWO. Makes perfect sense to me, knowing that Trump has been involved in some 6,000 lawsuits!
And last … ol’ Lindsey Graham
President Biden nominated Merrick Garland as Attorney General, the top position in the Department of Justice. This is a key and critical position and Merrick Garland is more than qualified to fill it. Merrick Garland was literally screwed over by Mitch McConnell and his gang of republican thugs in 2016 when President Obama nominated him to fill the Supreme Court seat vacated upon the death of Justice Antonin Scalia. McConnell would not even permit the Senate to interview Garland then, saying that the next president should be the one to fill that seat … some 9 months before even the election, 11 months before that ‘next’ president would take office. (Isn’t it funny how he changed his tune last year and hustled to confirm the bigoted and unqualified Amy Barrett to the seat vacated by Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death?)
Merrick Garland is … or should be … a shoo-in for the Attorney General position, and confirmation hearings are likely to be more of a formality, as he is well-known and well-respected by members of both parties. But Lindsey Graham likes to play games, even when his games are a threat to the nation. Because as of yesterday, the two parties had not yet managed to come to terms on the ‘organizing resolution’ for the Senate, which is currently split 50-50, Lindsey Graham is still the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman.
When the incoming chairman, Dick Durbin, requested scheduling the confirmation hearing for Garland on February 8th, Lindsey immediately rejected the notion. Why? Because it would take place the day before the start of Trump’s impeachment trial.
“A one-day hearing as you are proposing the day before the impeachment trial of a former president is insufficient. Democrats do not get to score political points in an unprecedented act of political theater on one hand while also trying to claim the mantle of good government on the other.”
OH HO HO HO … read that last sentence again! Is this not the ultimate hypocrisy? But then, the entire GOP has become the very definition of the word ‘hypocrisy’. Expecting to hold a confirmation hearing for the top spot in the Justice Department a full month after the nomination is ‘political theater’? Somebody really needs to send Lindsey Graham back home to South Carolina!
But there is a bright spot in this story. This morning, Senators Schumer and McConnell finally managed to reach an agreement. According to Schumer …
“I am happy to report this morning that the leadership of both parties have finalized the organizing resolution for the Senate. We will pass the resolution through the Senate today, which means that committees can promptly set up and get to work.”
So, by tomorrow, Mr. Graham will likely no longer be the Senate Judiciary Committee chairman and the decision will not be his to make! Let us hope that Senator Durbin will get the confirmation hearings on the schedule for next week, and that the process is completed quickly so that Merrick Garland can take his place as Attorney General and begin doing the serious work that must be done in the aftermath of the January 6th attacks on Congress.