Did anything newsworthy happen during the past five days? There was the resignation of Andrew McCabe from his position as Deputy Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation, another mass shooting, President Donald J. Trump’s first “State of the Union” address, British Justice minister Phillip Lee expressing his thoughts on “Brexit” publicly, the Palestine Liberation Organization’s condemnation of the United States decision to place Hamas leader Ismael Haniyeh on the OFAC SDN terror blacklist, and….
If you are paying attention to American news, you may have noticed the now former Deputy Director of the FBI, McCabe resigned from his position Monday, 29 Jan. 2018. McCabe’s resignation came a week after it was reported Trump had been actively lobbying for his ouster.
Trump’s situation with the FBI is growing increasingly grim. Only last week, in an act of political partisanship, Trump allegedly encouraged United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions to pressure FBI Director Christopher Wray into firing McCabe.
With numerous references to the bureau’s many investigations in 2016, it seems Wray has been complying with Sessions on this “request.” Despite having already turned in his resignation, it is reported McCabe will remain on the FBI payroll until at least mid-March.
Do you follow Trump’s twitter feed? If you do, you might recall the trashing the president gave McCabe. Even though White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders explicitly told reporters Trump did not play a role in the decision pertaining to McCabe’s FBI departure, the president’s social media activity paints a distinctly different representation of the political landscape.
Trump demands loyalty from people. Illustrating this point is the question Trump asked of McCabe when FBI Director James Comey was fired.
During a meeting in the Oval Office, Trump asked the FBI’s then second-in-command who he voted for in the 2016 Presidential Election.
In other news from Monday, 29 Jan. 2018, another mass shooting took place in the United States.
The shooting took place at around 03:00 on Sunday morning in the village of Melcroft, some 42 miles southeast of Pittsburgh. Pennsylvania State police reported they found four bodies and two injured persons. Counted amongst the dead was the suspected gunman, now identified as being 28-year-old Timothy Smith.
As of Wednesday, 24 Jan. 2018, there had been at least 11 mass shootings which had occurred in the United States since the beginning of the year.
It is questionable the United States can go a week without seeing a mass shooting.
What is Trump doing about mass shootings? He is apparently too busy obstructing justice to care about what is occurring in his own country.
In unrelated news, Tuesday 30 Jan. 2018 saw Trump deliver his first “State of the Union” address to the United States Congress and the American people. Held in the chamber of the House of Representatives, Trump spent much of his speech self-aggrandising to the nation.
While the central theme of Trump’s speech was what he referred to as being a “down the middle” compromise on immigration, it did not stop Democrats sceptical of his behaviour from booing some of the proposals.
The hypocrisy of the speech was clear. Trump called for bipartisan unity. If you recall when the now former President Barack Obama was in office, Republicans made zero effort to work with the Democrats on anything. Trump, as significant mouthpiece of the so-called “Birther Movement,” should not expect Democrats to play nicely with Republicans.
Like a lot of the material Trump has put out there for us to digest, much of what was expressed in the speech was factually wrong. Trump tends to attribute to Obama things which were done by the previous Republican administration.
Running for an hour and twenty minutes, Trump’s State of the Union speech was the third longest in the last 50 years.
With a clear eye for pandering to conservatively minded viewers, Trump spoke to traditionally held beliefs of church, family, police, military and the national anthem. It was almost as if the president was reminiscing over a “Leave It to Beaver” June Cleaver America where 1950s ear nationalistic tropes and hoping for a return to those arcane standards.
The Democrat response to Trump’s “State of the Union” was delivered by United States House Representative Joseph Kennedy III.
Kennedy, the grandson of Robert F. Kennedy, delivered his response speech in Fall River, Mass.
Even though Kennedy’s incorporation of the Spanish language in the middle of his speech was a nice touch, many Dreamers did not need him to do that for them to understand the gist of what he was expressing.
Across the pond, in the British Isles, Justice minister Phillip Lee was creating waves for the British Prime Minister Theresa May. The British PM effectively silenced Lee by ordering him to “air his views in private.”
But if these figures turn out to be anywhere near right, there would be a serious question over whether a government could legitimately lead a country along a path that the evidence and rational consideration indicate would be damaging. This shows the PM's challenge…2/3
— Dr Phillip Lee MP (@DrPhillipLeeMP) January 30, 2018
May’s order came after Lee had openly expressed the widely held view the UK’s withdrawal from the EU should be based on evidence rather than dogma.
It is not for the PM to tell people what they can and cannot say in public. Lee has a right to express his thoughts. May silencing him indicates the prime minister might have serious reservations pertaining to the withdrawal.
In other parts of the world, but still pertaining to Trump and his administration, Thursday, 1 Feb. 2018 saw the Palestine Liberation Organization openly condemn the United States for its decision to place Hamas leader Ismael Haniyeh on the Office of Foreign Assets Control’s Specially Designated Nationals terror blacklist.
For people not familiar with the OFAC SDN terror blacklist, this list is distinctly different from the one maintained pursuant to Section 314(a) of the USA PATRIOT Act. The SDN terror blacklist consists of persons, organizations and vessels with whom Americans and permanent residents of these United States are prohibited from doing business.
This weeks’ news, at least for the purposes of this article, came to an end with the British PM concluding her three-day visit to China. May’s visit apparently generated £9 billion in trade deals. Despite the economic goodwill the British Prime Minister was able to secure with China, journalist Kent Ewing was quick to point out May was “too busy winning trade deals with China to care about Hong Kong’s blatant erosion of freedoms.
Since Britain handed back control of Hong Kong to the Chinese government in 1997, there has been a marked decrease in the degree of freedoms Hong Kong residents have been afforded by its new governing country.