Friday, June 23, 2017

The prevaricator in chief

Trump’s Lies (New York Times)
Many Americans have become accustomed to President Trump’s lies. But as regular as they have become, the country should not allow itself to become numb to them. So we have catalogued nearly every outright lie he has told publicly since taking the oath of office. [Click on link]

Roquemore does Bakersfield: blah, blah, and blah

Leadership Matters:
Reimagining Leadership to Sustain Transformative Change
to Advance Student Success & Equity
 May 24th, 2017
Glenn’s part starts at 13:30.
Session III: Aligning Resources to Support and Sustain Change (Re-envisioning and Repurposing Panel)

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Jim Frogue is on Trump's "beachhead team"

     Various news sources (e.g., here) described Jim Frogue as “Senior Health Policy Advisor to the Donald J. Trump for President campaign….” Evidently, Frogue took a leave of absence from his firm, occupying Trump tower from August until November, helping to fashion Trump's spin on health care.
     The question is, what is Frogue’s role, if any, during the post-election period?
     The answer is that Jim Frogue has been part of the Trump transition. More specifically, he’s on Trump’s “beachhead” team, which is not to be confused with his “landing” team.
     According to Politico, Jan. 30, “Three unconfirmed members of the [beachhead] team” [include] “Jim Frogue.” A week later, Politico reported that “Among the hundreds of revelers at Saturday night's Health Policy Ball, held at the Ritz-Carlton ... [are] Trump transition and beachhead staffers Jim Frogue (wearing a Trump/Pence pin), Keagan Lenihan, Carla DiBlasio, Kamran Daravi,” et al.
     But just what is a "beachhead" staffer? Above the Law (a magazine for lawyers) explains:
     ... Top government positions ... are so-called “PAS” positions, “presidential appointment with Senate confirmation.” The Attorney General is a PAS post, of course, and so are many others at the Justice Department — top positions at Main Justice in Washington, such as deputy attorney general and solicitor general, plus other jobs around the country, such U.S. Attorneys.
     It’s not possible to get all the PAS posts at an agency filled before a new presidential administration takes over. So what typically happens during the transition is that the incoming administration selects a number of non-PAS political appointees to place in the various divisions of an agency (sometimes called “beachhead” appointees). Because these appointees do not require Senate confirmation, they can join the agency immediately after inauguration, and they can represent the voice of the new administration from day one. They basically hold down the fort until the arrival of the Senate-confirmed appointees, which usually happens a few months later.
* * *
Steve Frogue, Neanderthal
     Why, one might ask, should anyone care that this Trumpian "beachhead" staffer is the son of Steven J. Frogue? The factoid certainly sheds no negative light on Jim Frogue. That a guy's father is a conspiracy theory nut shouldn't count against him, I say. Jim seems to be a very sharp and successful businessman (albeit a lobbyist for evil corporations—don't get me started). He is a health policy expert of sorts and he has made a name for himself especially in the area of combating Medicare fraud.
     Good for him.
     That Steven J. Frogue's son turned out to be a hotshot lobbyist and Trump advisor will certainly be interesting to us, i.e., to those who lived through the Frogue era, especially denizens of the SOCCCD. For instance, my reaction to this revelation is surprise. How, I ask, could the likes of Steve Frogue, a clueless boob, raise such an accomplished son, even if said son is a global warming skeptic who likes Milo Yiannopoulos? Who'd 've thunk?
     Of secondary and minor interest, I suppose, is Jim Frogue's apparent efforts to leave virtually no trail back to his Lake Forest roots with silly old papa Steve.
     That's just good business, I guess.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Frogue's son was Trump's senior health policy advisor during the 2016 campaign!

Jim Frogue with his hero, Donald Trump
Lobbyist Frogue
     (See UPDATE.)
     My two little brothers attended El Toro High School in Lake Forest. I happened to notice recently that a “James Frogue” attended that school, class of ’89. That would make James about 45 years old today. Might he be the son of longtime Lake Forest resident and notorious one-time SOCCCD trustee Steve Frogue? You'll recall that the latter was to college trusteeship what Trump has been to the Presidency: a destroyer, a ridiculoid. An apocalyptic clown. An amazing asshole from Hell.

     See The Evil of Froguenstein (OC Weekly)

     So I Googled "James Frogue." As it turns out, there’s a highly successful Washington lobbyist named “Jim” R. Frogue. Until about 2010, he worked for the odious Newt Gingrich. Nowadays, he lobbies for Eli Lilly among other horrifying organizations. Starting in 2010, he's been running his successful lobbying firm but he took a few months off in late 2016 to serve as candidate Donald Trump's chief health policy advisor. That's right! He hung out for three months at Trump Tower, planning our medical futures! He's a medium fish in the Trumpian pond of bottom-feeding money-grubbers.
     And get this: he’s 45 years old and there are indications that he might hail from Lake Forest!
     Could it be that Jim R. Frogue, bigtime Trump advisor, is son of Steven J. Frogue, small-time Holocaust denier?
     I've learned that Jim Frogue attended USC. I recall that one of the first articles about Steve Frogue, back in the 90s, noted, not only that Steve and his wife raised two sons (in Lake Forest), but that the couple “paid both boys' expenses at affluent, private USC.” (See Studying the Lessons of Steven J. Frogue [Times, 1996])
     If you check those sites that dig up people's records (I just get their “free” info), you’ll find indications that, among Lake Forest resident Steven J. Frogue’s relatives is a "James" R. Frogue.
     The son? The lobbyist? The Trumpian lieutenant?!
     Jim R. Frogue’s Facebook page indicates that the fellow does indeed hail from Lake Forest. He flat out says so.
     I figure that settles it. "Trump Team" Froguester is indeed one and the same as scion of district-ruining Froguester. 
* * *
     Here’s Jim R. Frogue’s bio:
     Jim Frogue is a partner and co-founder of FrogueClark. He is a nationally recognized health policy expert with over 20 years of experience in the government, non-profit, and for-profit sectors. His areas of expertise include Medicaid, fraud prevention, health insurance, and information transparency. He has played a lead role in securing over $1 billion in contracts for clients since 2010. 

During the 2016 election cycle, Jim was the senior health policy advisor to the Trump for President campaign, spending three months at the campaign headquarters in Trump Tower in New York City. He has served as an expert witness before Congress on three occasions, appearing before the House Committee on the Judiciary, the Senate Special Committee on Aging, and the House Committee on Energy and Commerce. He has also testified to state legislatures in Florida, Georgia, Missouri, Ohio, Texas, Colorado, Kansas, and Alaska. He has given hundreds of speeches in 40 states across the country, including to the Republican Governors Association, the Harvard School of Public Health, the John F. Kennedy School of Government, the Western Governors Association, the National Conference of State Legislatures, the Conference of Western Attorneys General, the Alliance for Health Reform, and the Congressional Health Care Caucus.
     Jim's television credits include On the Record with Greta Van Susteren, ABC's Good Morning America, CNBC's Bullseye and Power Lunch, and multiple appearances on the Fox Business Channel. He also has appeared on countless radio shows, including NPR's The Diane Rehm Show, All Things Considered, and On Point. He was a guest on the Kaiser Family Foundation's Ask the Experts. He edited the book Stop Paying the Crooks, and with Newt Gingrich, he co-authored Chapter 16, Solutions for Stopping Health Care Fraud, in the 2010 New York Times best seller To Save America. Jim's work has also appeared in RealClearPolitics, Roll Call, The Hill, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, and the Florida SunSentinel. He has also been cited in Donald Trump’s book The America We Deserve, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, USA Today, and on The Rush Limbaugh Show. His work on fighting health care fraud was even discussed on The Daily Show with Jon Stewart.
     Prior to co-founding FrogueClark, Jim was for six years the vice president and director of state policy for Newt Gingrich's Center for Health Transformation. Prior to that, he spent three years as the director of the Health and Human Services Task Force at the American Legislative Exchange Council. He has served three members of Congress, most recently as legislative director for Congresswoman Kay Granger of Texas. He also spent two years as the health care policy analyst at the Heritage Foundation. Jim holds a M.Phil. from Cambridge and a B.A. with honors from the University of Southern California.

     Meanwhile, Steve's still alive, I think. He'll be 75 years old in a few days. His name still pops up in publications of a local chapter of the Masons, where he served as "master" in 1996. He's keeping a low profile.

Miscellaneous factoids about Jim Frogue:
  • On his Facebook page, Jim Frogue indicates that he “likes” Milo Yiannopoulos and Tomi Lahren
  • His favorite movie (yes, movie) seems to be Atlas Shrugged. He's clearly an Ayn Rand fan
  • He seems to know Megyn Kelly
  • His favorite author, Mark Steyn, is a climate change skeptic, among other things

     I found a photo, accompanying a 1989 Tustin News article, of Steve Frogue with his son, James:

Steve and James at left (Tustin News, 8-24-89)
     In the article, James is identified as James Relfson Frogue (Relfson is his mother's maiden name). The article explains that James is among three students receiving the Tustin Educators' Association Scholarship, and that he'll be going to USC to study political science and economics:

Tustin News, 8-24-89
     Below, I've put an image of Jim R. Frogue, Trump Guy, in 2011, next to a pic of James R. Frogue, son of Steve, in 1989:

     It's the same guy, age 39 and age 17. No?
     I suppose it's none of my business, but why is it so hard to connect Trump Guy with son-of-Steve? Aside from hometown and age and USC (enough for an identification, eh?), I can find nothing to indicate that the bigtime lobbyist is the son of our local Holocaust-denying nut. 
     Trump Guy doesn't seem to want to be associated, at least publicly, with his OC family.
     Sad, that.

P.P.S. (June 22, 2017):
     A reporter friend sent me a photo of lobbyist Jim Frogue drinking beer with his dad. I believe he found the photo on Jim's Twitter Instagram page:

     Next to that photo, I've placed a shot of Steve Forgue, c. late 80s 1992. They're clearly the same guy.

SEE ALSO The FROGUE Files: Son of Lake Forest Holocaust Denier now helping Trump Ruin Your Healthcare! (Orange Juice Blog)

Monday, June 19, 2017

1963: "Dear Patriot"

No enjoyment
     James B. Utt … helped Orange County gain a national reputation as a hotbed of archconservatism…. "Utt the Nut," his enemies called him. He was elected to Congress in 1952 and handily won reelection until his death in 1970. Each year Utt introduced a bill to eliminate the federal income tax. He also tried to pass a constitutional amendment which would recognize Jesus Christ as America's authority figure. He opposed all civil rights legislation, but gained national fame, however, when he argued that rock 'n roll was a communist plot.    LA Times, December 27, 1999         
     Back in 2008, on something called “Paleofuture,” blogger Matt Novak noted the existence of a “time capsule book,” named “2063 A.D.,” a copy of which was buried in the ground somewhere back in 1963.
     Novak informs us that the late California congressman James B. Utt—he of the “James B. Utt Library” at Saddleback College*—contributed the following remark for the book:
...The cost of escaping gravity will probably always curtail any commercial space travel, but the time will come when the scientists will be able to change the molecular body system and reduce the weight to zero and reconstruct the molecular system at any place and any time. Travel will then be as rapid as the mind can conceive. Personally, I do not look forward to this with any sense of enjoyment.
     Golly. Do you suppose Utt was a Trekkie?**
     In Congress, he was called “Utt the Nut” owing to his out-of-this-world ideas about Commies creeping under every rock. According to Wikipedia, “In 1963, he claimed that ‘a large contingent of barefooted Africans’ might be training in Georgia as part of a United Nations military exercise to take over the United States.” On another occasion, he warned about Chinese communists amassing at the California/Mexico border.
Utt: 1899-1970
     Utt, who mentored a young Tom Fuentes,*** promoted an organization you may have heard about: Liberty Lobby. No doubt that's where he got his best info!
     You’ll recall that Steve Frogue, the SOCCCD’s notorious Holocaust denying trustee, was a big fan of Liberty Lobby, the foremost racist/anti-Semitic publisher in the U.S. (it went bankrupt in 2001).
     It already had that reputation back in 1966, when well-known investigative journalist, Drew Pearsonreported that “Four Congressmen ... have accepted ‘Statesmen of the Republic’ awards from the Lobby for their right-wing activities.”
     Utt was among them. At one point, said Pearson, Utt mailed an appeal (“Dear Patriot”) in which he wrote: “Liberty Lobby…consistently works in the halls of Congress to oppose the international socialist takeover. …I strongly urge you to send in your subscription to Liberty lobby’s legislative report, ‘Liberty Letter,’ without delay.”
     Liberty Letter—and, later, The Spotlight—were the of the pre-internet era. (See Spotlight Archives.)
     Essentially, nothing changes, it seems.
IHR was founded by Willis Carto, who
founded and ran Liberty Lobby, 1955-2001.
See Trustee Calls Recall Effort 'Witch Hunt'

     Here are mostly "conspiracist" titles you'll find on Breitbart at this very moment:
  • Caitlyn Jenner: ‘Liberals Can’t Even Shoot Straight’
  • Caddell: Anti-Trump Resistance Rhetoric Fueling ‘Raging Fever’ in Unbalanced People
  • BBC Targets Kids with Fake ‘Islam Means Peace’ Claim Following Finsbury Park Attack
     The President is an ardent Breitbart reader. He's also a fan of Alex Jones!

     *The name was changed after the Library was significantly rebuilt and remodeled several years ago.
     **Star Trek didn't debut until two or three years later.
     ***According to Fuentes himself.

• Saddleback College's "Nutt" Memorial Library  ~ (2009) ~ According to Wikipedia, Utt, born in Tustin in 1899, was a “conservative Repubican Congressman” who held that office from the early fifties until his death in 1970. (His successor: John Schmitz!) That means that Fuentes, as OC Supervisor (and Republican) Ronald Casper’s bagman (er, executive assistant), may have known the guy. It’s hard to say. I guess I could ask Tom.
• Utt the Nut, Jesus, and rock 'n roll ~ (2010) ~ He opposed all civil rights legislation, but gained national fame, however, when he argued that rock 'n roll was a communist plot.
• James B. Utt remembered ~ (2010) ~ In February 1970, just a couple of weeks before his death on March 1, Utt attended the three-year anniversary celebration of the founding of the Saddleback [Community College District]. On a long walk around the campus, he and Vogel discussed the future of the district. It was at that time Vogel told Utt that the trustees had decided to name the first permanent structure – the library – in his honor. Upon hearing this he was quite humble and expressed his gratitude. He was, obviously, very pleased.
• Mentor and friend and wacko ~ (2010) ~ I FORGOT TO MENTION one funny moment during last night’s board meeting. Saddleback College’s "Utt" library is going through renovation. The building is named after a notorious OC Congressman. Trustee Tom Fuentes therefore found it necessary to announce that “James B. Utt was a mentor and friend in my youth….” Why, of course he was!
• Benighted Orange County: conspiracism central ~ (2010) ~ Nowhere is that particular American trait more apparent than in Orange County. How many other places have had a community college board trustee offer to teach a seminar with a guest speaker espousing the theory that Israeli intelligence agents helped assassinate JFK, as Steven J. Frogue did in the 1990s? More recently, how many have elected an official such as former Orange Unified School District trustee Steve Rocco, who alleged that the county was secretly controlled by “The Partnership,” a dark alliance that included a supermarket chain and a sausage manufacturer, and who operated a website devoted to the theory that comedian Andy Kaufman had faked his 1984 death from lung cancer?
• "Apegate" festers at the party of “too many Mexicans on the beach” ~ (2011) ~ [In 1972, Republican OC Supervisor Ronald] Caspers, annoyed that a Mexican-American group of county employees were demanding affirmative action …, called them "bandidos" during a board meeting, then asked county counsel to explore moving the county seat from [Santa Ana] to whiter environs because "we are in an area which does not have a normal ethnic balance."
• Renaming Saddleback College's "Butt" Library ~ (2011) ~  …How about the “Bedtime for Bonzo” Library—in honor of Saint Ronald, who was on hand for the campus’s opening? “Bonzo” Library is more pithy. Also “Bedtime” Library (which gets a plus for fidelity to fact). Or just “Library.” That would be cool, pithy-wise. You can’t call it the “Gaucho” Library because, as you should know, the “Gaucho” moniker/mascot is controversial and, indeed, there’s some sort of committee working on its replacement. How about “Gabacho” Library? From “Gaucho” to “Gebacho” is cool, I think, in a meta kind of way.
• Utt the Nut helped put "under God" in the Pledge ~ (2011) ~ But get this: according to the Utt article on p. 38 of 100 People, James B. "helped lead the effort to add 'under God' to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954."
• Congressman Utt's racist remark ~ (2012) ~ Well, the Lariat article repeats that factoid without explaining its significance. We are supposed to guess, I suppose, that one might object to Utt's suggestion that "'a large contingent of barefooted Africans' might be training in Georgia as part of a UN military exercise to take over the U.S."
• James B. Utt on the radio, 1969: in his own seriously wacky words ~ (2012) ~ Utt: "And why should we, the tax payers and the moral people of America be supporting the ... these pornographic uh ... mills that are making so much money in California in fact all over the United States. And I became concerned mainly because, time after time I was getting letters from concerned mothers enclosing some of the pornography ... pornographic literature that they were receiving and that their children were receiving and wondering what they could do about it.”
• James B. Utt: conspiracy theorist, whack job ~ (2012) ~ Utt: :The Council [on] Foreign Relations dictates—they together with the international bankers who actually are in the Conference of [sic] Foreign Relations—dictates the moves of this country. I’m inclined to agree with [the Congressman]. But it doesn’t have to be so. ….We should be an independent and free country. … When the people want a change they should get the change they want and not still be subject to a hidden government such as the Council of Foreign Relations [sic]. I’ve put out newsletters on the CFR, …and they are controlled by the international bankers.:
• More on Utt the Nut: "Extensive experiments in hypnotism and rhythm" ~ (2012) ~ Utt: “The Beatles and their mimicking rock-and-rollers use the Pavlovian techniques produce artificial neuroses in our young people. Extensive experiments in hypnotism and rhythm have shown how rock-and-rock music leads to a destrtuion [sic] of the normal inhibitory mechanism of the cerebral cortet [sic] and permits easy acceptance of immorality and disregard for all moral norms.”
• Utt the Nut gets Patch job ~ (2012) ~ Peter Schelden (MVP editor) mentions Utt’s curious slam of the Beatles and his appearance on “Dr. Burpo’s” evangelical radio show, in which he connects a sex education advocacy group to communism and pornography.
• The great UN anti-property rights conspiracy: Wackitude from James B. Utt—to Newt Gingrich ~ (2012) ~  A couple of days ago, the New York Times published an article that explains that Tea Partiers in Virginia and elsewhere have embraced a conspiracy theory, again focusing on the UN (and its alleged agenda of “one world government”), that views efforts at sustainability and the like as part of a plot against private property rights and other individual rights.
• Right-wing paranoia and foolishness c. 1970: "The depths of your own mind" ~ (2013) ~ Robert Lowery, the architect, explained that “We cut out the second floor outdoor reading balconies … in order to eliminate the chance students will throw books down from them to other students as you [trustees] suggested.” 

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

My God, that video

The Mortification of Jeff Sessions (Frank Bruni, NYT)
…My God, that video, the one of the cabinet in full session at long last. I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s the most chilling measure yet of Trump’s narcissism, and it’s a breathtaking glimpse into what that means for the people around him.
     They don’t volunteer purplish flattery like that because it’s their wont. He wants it so badly that they cough it up. To buoy his ego, they debase themselves, and what you heard them doing in that meeting wasn’t just swallowing their pride but choking on it. They looked like hostages — hostages in need of the Heimlich.
     Well, most of them. Mike Pence has discovered a freaky talent for such freakish sycophancy, and called it “the greatest privilege of my life” to assist “the president who’s keeping his word to the American people.” (Which word is that?) He sounded like he believed it. The mysteries of faith, indeed.
     A few others in the meeting summoned less ardor. “It’s an honor,” Mattis said, but then continued, “to represent the men and women of the Department of Defense.” Trump turned away just then, as if the absence of his name equaled the loss of his interest.
. . .
     No one in Trump’s administration was forced into this service and its compromises. Some hungered for power, in whatever bastard package delivered it. At least a few, like Sessions, had poisoned reputations already.
     But there were those with higher motives, too, and they find themselves in a White House governed by dread. Who’s next to be shamed? What tweet or tantrum awaits? They thought that they’d be bolstering a leader. They see now that they’re holding a grenade....

Special counsel is investigating Trump for possible obstruction of justice, officials say
     The special counsel overseeing the investigation into Russia’s role in the 2016 election is interviewing senior intelligence officials as part of a widening probe that now includes an examination of whether President Trump attempted to obstruct justice, officials said.
     The move by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III to investigate Trump’s conduct marks a major turning point in the nearly year-old FBI investigation, which until recently focused on Russian meddling during the presidential campaign and on whether there was any coordination between the Trump campaign and the Kremlin. Investigators have also been looking for any evidence of possible financial crimes among Trump associates, officials said….

The prevaricator in chief

Trump’s Lies (New York Times) Many Americans have become accustomed to President Trump’s lies. But as regular as they have become, the...