“You’re fired.” Those magic words that made Donald Trump a reality TV star have come back with a vengeance. Trump appears to be cleaning out the Department of Homeland Security as if he was still on TV. I’m beginning to have this uneasy feeling that the man is beginning to recreate what he believes were his past triumphs to cover up his present failures. The head of DHS is gone. Head of the Secret Service now gone. Another director rejected as too soft. Directors, undersecretaries, general counsel dropping like flies. It’s an old Soviet-style purge in modern America. I’m betting that Trump is going to do all the things he wants to do. Perhaps close the border. Perhaps bring back detention camps. Perhaps separate the children again. He knows U.S. Attorney General William Barr is now his puppy and he’s not going to get in the way. This is his reelection issue and—legal or illegal—he simply doesn’t care. Besides, Trump knows this is going to the U.S. Supreme Court probably before the election and those are his boys up there. He figures they owe him big time and they’re smart. Like any good employee, they’ll figure out a way to give him what he wants and, scary as it might be, Trump could win.

•••

Walking the treadmill at the gym, I listened to the ever-avuncular Barr testifying before a House committee about the Mueller report. Barr was clear that he expects to send the report to the Congress sometime soon—maybe even next week—and it will all be there for everyone to read, minus a few necessary redactions. Of course, they will have to remove most everything from the Grand Jury testimony, since that is secret and I suspect that Mueller put a lot before the Grand Jury, so that sounds like a significant part of his report may be out. Then, of course, nothing about people who weren’t indicted, so I guess Trump is out since Barr cleared him. Then, of course, there is national security, meaning intelligence operation information, so I guess everything about the Russians and the Saudis is out. And then, there are things related to ongoing investigations, perhaps meaning Trump and his family business. I suspect that doesn’t leave a whole hell of a lot of information other than a title page and the credits, but hopefully I’m just too cynical.

•••

Big doings on the local scene here in Malibu. The City Council decided the land in Bluffs Park, which could have been used for additional badly needed ball fields, a recreation center or perhaps a pool, is going to be handed back to the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy after five years with a big “no thanks” from the city. The council basically said it should not worry because the city has other land purchased that could be the site of those amenities. In all of the years I’ve been around politics, I can say something with absolute certainty: When someone claims they are killing something but you’re going to get a better something in the future and there is no alternative plan on the table, you can bet it’s not going to happen. It’s like Trump trying to kill Obamacare and saying there is a great health care plan in our future. What surprised me was how little interest there was about canceling the swap. If it wasn’t important to the Little League parents and to the AYSO parents, then perhaps no one really cares. I don’t know if it means people are so beat by the Woolsey Fire that they have no energy to fight, or if others are thinking maybe it’s time to just get out and leave the town to old people and the surfers. 

•••

If we’re going to be a town of old people and surfers, I guess it’s a good thing the city may have some additional crosswalks installed across PCH. There are three crosswalks in the development process currently: one at the La Costa Beach Club, one at Malibu Beach Inn and one at Malibu Seafood. I’m hoping Caltrans is going to install the crosswalks with flashing lights or some sort of signal. There is a crosswalk at La Costa Beach Club that has no light, which is deadly. All summer long, you can hear the screeching of brakes. Sometimes, crosswalks can be traps, giving people a false sense of security. What’s worse is I’ve seen people walking across PCH while looking at their cell phones, which to my mind is grounds for a psychiatric commitment.

•••

Some of the parents in the college admissions scandal are beginning to plead guilty and the question that comes to mind is: What are the courts going to do? Or even more importantly, what should they do? Should the parents go to jail? Should the kids go to jail? Should the kids be barred from any college for some period of time? We all accept the fact donors give big money to schools and their kids get admitted, so what’s different about this? How about legacies? How many schools accept the dumb younger siblings because their older brothers and sisters went there? Send us some letters. Tell us what you think. 

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