connecting the dots

Taken together, these stories are extremely disturbing. But they also point toward a potential means of taking these monsters down. Given that outrage is building up over the Acosta coverup of Epstein, one can hope that Kraft will not be similarly dealt with. For too long these billionaires have played with people’s lives simply because they could, perhaps because they derived sick satisfaction from the power imbalance. Who knows?


Opinion | Nothing about Jeffrey Epstein’s deal with prosecutors was remotely normal

Opinion | Nothing about Jeffrey Epstein’s deal with prosecutors was remotely normal

Then-U.S. Attorney Alex Acosta violated the victim’s rights, Justice Department policy and every prosecutor’s instinct in this case.

Source: www.nbcnews.com/think/opinion/jeffrey-epstein-s-deal-federal-prosectors-wasn-t-normal-men-ncna974911


Robert Kraft, Jeffrey Epstein, Donald Trump and a day of reckoning for America’s billionaires | Will Bunch

Robert Kraft, Jeffrey Epstein, Donald Trump and a day of reckoning for America’s billionaires | Will Bunch

Billionaires behaving badly are empowering everyday Americans to take back the country.

Source: www.philly.com/opinion/commentary/robert-kraft-prostitution-jeffrey-epstein-sex-slavery-trump-20190224.html


Now, given those above two articles, with the various links and such that they describe, consider this. It cannot be accidental.

Human Smugglers Are Thriving Under Trump

Human Smugglers Are Thriving Under Trump

The president’s “zero tolerance” policy drains manpower and money from deeper probes that target criminal syndicates.

Source: www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/02/human-smugglers-thrive-under-trumps-zero-tolerance/583051/

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Posted in The Global Picture | Tagged , , , , , | Comments Off on connecting the dots

the high cost of subsidizing huge corporations

There are so many ways we subsidize obscenely wealthy corporations that don’t actually need the money other than built-in greed in the corporate structure.  For example:

Johnston explained how the process typically works: “You come in as Walmart or Home Depot or Lowes and say, ‘I want to build a store on that land, and the guy who owns it doesn’t want to sell it.’ ” In its eagerness to entice the company to build there, the local government might seize the land through eminent domain and then sell municipal bonds—essentially borrowing money—against the lease on the store. The chain then builds its store and parking lot and employs local people to work there. The bonds that the government issued, meanwhile, are repaid not by the company but through residents’ sales taxes. “When you check out of a Walmart that has this deal, and you pay eight dollars and change in sales tax, that money does not go to cops, library, schools, or parks,” Johnston told me. “That money goes to pay the bonds.” Approximately ninety per cent of Walmart distribution centers were built this way, according to Johnston. The situation is exacerbated by the fact that states, and even different municipalities within states, can compete with one another to offer the most generous subsidies and the lightest regulation, leading to an arms race of giveaways. “Often these things turn out to be complete frauds,” Johnston said. Multiple studies have shown that some short-term economic benefits may accrue to the community that has extended the tax breaks, but, over the long term, there is little positive benefit (and often none) because the practice saps money from public education and infrastructure, which is extremely harmful to a local economy.

While the article goes on to say how the Amazon deal might have been different, I don’t agree. The underlying premise, the leaching of local resources, still inflicts long term damage. Three billion dollars is an obscene amount of money to throw after a company that simply does not need it. Amazon could have just set up its offices there without the additional pay-off that would leach even more resources away from the community.

Does Amazon’s Retreat from New York Signal the End of Corporate Subsidies?

Does Amazon’s Retreat from New York Signal the End of Corporate Subsidies?

The company’s proposed headquarters in Queens was a more complicated case than most.

Source: www.newyorker.com/business/currency/does-amazons-retreat-from-new-york-signal-the-end-of-corporate-subsidies

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Authoritarianism: Feb 10–16

Let us never forget that government is ourselves and not an alien power over us. The ultimate rulers of our democracy are not a President and senators and congressmen and government officials, but the voters of this country.
Franklin D. Roosevelt

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Read the CIA’s Simple Sabotage Field Manual: A Timeless Guide to Subverting Any Organization with “Purposeful Stupidity” (1944)

Read the CIA’s Simple Sabotage Field Manual: A Timeless Guide to Subverting Any Organization with “Purposeful Stupidity” (1944)

I’ve always admired people who can successfully navigate what I refer to as “Kafka’s Castle,” a term of dread for the many government and corporate agencies that have an inordinate amount of power over our permanent records, and that seem as inscrutable and chillingly absurd as the labyrinth the character K navigates in Kafka’s last allegorical novel.

Source: www.openculture.com/2015/12/simple-sabotage-field-manual.html

More below the fold:

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Sunday

Shutdown looms as border talks break down over immigration enforcement

Shutdown looms as border talks break down over immigration enforcement

The number of beds ICE can have for detention of unauthorized immigrants has created a new stalemate.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/border-talks-at-impasse-as-shutdown-looms-friday-officials-say/2019/02/10/aa8ef08c-2d36-11e9-813a-0ab2f17e305b_story.html


Though El Paso doesn’t seem pleased by that.

El Paso to Trump: Stop lying about us

El Paso to Trump: Stop lying about us

The president is holding a rally in the city on Monday. El Paso leaders are not pleased.

Source: www.motherjones.com/politics/2019/02/el-paso-to-trump-stop-telling-lies-about-us/


Scoop: Nikki Haley honored at high-flying GOP donor dinner

Scoop: Nikki Haley honored at high-flying GOP donor dinner

Haley is being spotlighted as a key surrogate for the congressional races of 2020.

Source: www.axios.com/2020-presidential-election-nikki-haley-89987260-8dae-4a78-8679-09ad56bd872a.html


The ostensibly left/liberal NY Times ain’t listening. This should be a surprise to no one. In fact this may be one of the few points on which left and right base agree.

The only thing more startling than the flurry of tax proposals Democrats have unveiled in recent weeks is the full-throttle response they’ve gotten from the public.

[…]

The soak-the-rich plans — ones that were only recently considered ridiculously far-fetched or political poison — have received serious and sober treatment, even by critics, and remarkably broad encouragement from the electorate. Roughly three out of four registered voters surveyed in recent polls supported higher taxes on the wealthy. Even a majority of Republicans back higher rates on those earning more than $10 million, according to a Fox News poll conducted in mid-January.

For Democrats Aiming Taxes at the Superrich, ‘the Moment Belongs to the Bold’

For Democrats Aiming Taxes at the Superrich, ‘the Moment Belongs to the Bold’

Soak-the-rich plans that seemed politically far-fetched just months ago are getting a full-throttle response from voters.

Source: www.nytimes.com/2019/02/08/business/democratic-wealth-tax-warren-sanders-ocasio-cortez.html


Worth reading through.  I don’t know how much of it is conspiracy stuff or not but there’s certainly food for thought.  And definitely grounds for pushing way past the midterms to taking back the government.

Bezos, the National Enquirer, the Saudis, Trump, and the blackmailing of U.S. democracy | Will Bunch

Bezos, the National Enquirer, the Saudis, Trump, and the blackmailing of U.S. democracy | Will Bunch

What’s really sexy about the Bezos scandal is the Trump-Saudi-National Enquirer nexus behind it.

Source: www.philly.com/opinion/commentary/jeff-bezos-national-enquirer-donald-trump-blackmail-saudi-arabia-20190210.html


Monday

In new government shutdown, flight attendants won’t let passengers’ lives be put at risk

In new government shutdown, flight attendants won’t let passengers’ lives be put at risk

The shutdown put our lives and livelihoods in danger, risked the safety of everyone who flies, and threatened our entire economy.

Source: www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2019/02/11/government-shutdown-threatens-air-travel-safety-flight-attendants-risk-column/2829694002/


However, advocates are also warning that the Dem proposal contains some dangerous loopholes: Democrat’s Shutdown Proposal Could Make Immigration Detentions Under Trump Even Worse, Immigration Advocates Warn

To avert a partial shutdown set to begin Saturday, the House and Senate must pass identical spending bills that Trump would then need to sign into law.

Trump’s demands for funds to build a border wall, which prompted the 35-day government shutdown that ended late last month, are not the central sticking point in the current impasse. Instead, the two sides are at odds over Democrats’ attempt to impose a new cap on detentions of immigrants apprehended within the U.S. — as opposed to at the border.

Republicans want to exclude immigrants charged with or convicted of certain crimes from the cap, arguing U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement might not otherwise have the ability to detain dangerous criminals. Democrats say excluding people from the cap would render it toothless, as they seek to rein in the Trump administration’s aggressive enforcement policies.

Top lawmakers to meet to revive stalled border talks with possible shutdown days away

Top lawmakers to meet to revive stalled border talks with possible shutdown days away

A new barrier is built along the Texas-Mexico border near downtown El Paso. (Eric Gay/AP)

Trump’s wall is no longer the main issue. Instead, immigration enforcement rules are the sticking point.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/top-lawmakers-meet-to-revive-stalled-border-talks-with-shutdown-days-away/2019/02/11/3cd0fc1a-2dff-11e9-813a-0ab2f17e305b_story.html


Trump cannot allow the dispute to be perceived as one over whether to dial down the rounding up of nonviolent longtime residents — who are often sympathetic figures.

So Trump has hit on a new way around this problem. Over the weekend, Trump tweeted that Democrats “all of a sudden” have declared that they “don’t even want to take murderers into custody.”

Moments ago, Trump raged: “The Democrats don’t want us to detain, or send back, criminal aliens! This is a brand new demand. Crazy!”

The idea that this represents a “new” demand is a lie. The call for a 16,500 cap on detention beds was in the original Democratic offer made in these talks over 10 days ago. That Jan. 31st offer explicitly includes a provision that “statutorily limits” the daily population of people detained from the interior at 16,500 by the end of the next fiscal year, phasing it in over time.

So this isn’t “new” at all. If anything, what’s “new” is the Trump/GOP objection to this.

Opinion | Raging over a looming loss on his wall, Trump rolls out more lies

Opinion | Raging over a looming loss on his wall, Trump rolls out more lies

The latest sticking point in the border talks once again turns on Trump’s lies and bad faith.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/02/11/raging-over-looming-loss-his-wall-trump-rolls-out-more-lies/


I’ll tell you one thing though. A fucking gas-bag conservative pundit, whether Coulter or Hannity, should NOT have this kind of say over national questions and concerns. Fucking shut them the fuck up. They don’t get to dictate course for the rest of the fucking country just because they get such a hardon for nasty shit and a lackwit wannabe tinpot dictator drools over their every word.

The details of the deal itself appear to still be in flux. A source briefed on the deal told TPM that the rough agreement cuts the number of detention beds available to the Immigrations and Customs Enforcement agency for undocumented immigrants, a point demanded by Democrats, and adds some money for new physical barriers at the border to please Republicans. According to the Washington Post, the deal cuts the total number of detention beds from 49,000 to 40,500, and gives $1.375 billion for border barrier construction — short of the $5.7 billion Trump has previously demanded.

Trump didn’t signal whether he’d accept the deal.

“Maybe progress has been made, maybe not,” he said during a Monday night rally.

And conservative commentators including Fox News’s Sean Hannity attacked the agreement, an ominous sign for negotiators.

Negotiators Say They Have Tentative Agreement To Avoid Another Shutdown

Negotiators Say They Have Tentative Agreement To Avoid Another Shutdown

The bipartisan group negotiating to avoid another shutdown announced on Monday night that it had the broad outlines of a…

Source: talkingpointsmemo.com/dc/negotiators-say-they-have-tentative-agreement-to-avoid-another-shutdown


Are they? I want to see this translate into votes. So far, Трамп says jump and the GOP says HOW HIGH MASTER SIR. Pissed at him? Show us, you Трамп lickspittle lackies.

GOP livid with Trump over ignored Khashoggi report

GOP livid with Trump over ignored Khashoggi report

It’s the latest rift between Republicans and the president over foreign policy.

Source: www.politico.com/story/2019/02/11/gop-trump-ignored-khashoggi-report-1164487


Tuesday

It’s a gift…it truly is…

[Trump is] now getting slightly less than that $1.6 billion while also making a concession to Democrats on detention beds.

This is a big reason the deal was almost immediately rejected by Trump’s most conservative supporters. Sean Hannity called it “garbage,” Ann Coulter retweeted a bunch of people deriding the deal, and House Freedom Caucus Chairman Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) texted to The Post, “This does not represent a fraction of what the president has promised the American people … I don’t speak for the president but I can’t imagine he will be applauding something so lacking.”

But even Meadows has conceded Trump has almost no leverage left in this shutdown debate. Republicans, including Meadows, have signaled they aren’t prepared to shut down the government again at the Friday deadline. Without that, Democrats have no real reason to make concessions. Meadows has said he would support a regular, clean government funding bill if no deal can be reached.

That’s a pretty attractive fallback if you’re a Democrat. Democrats have now put Trump in the unenviable position of accepting a deal that is worse than what he began with if he wants wall funding, or rejecting the deal and risking congressional Republicans signing off on something with no wall funding, possibly leading to a veto standoff with his own party. And Republicans have put this deal on the table knowing that can’t really do any better, given their leverage was sapped by the shutdown.

Analysis | Trump’s failed shutdown strategy produced an even worse deal than he started with

Analysis | Trump’s failed shutdown strategy produced an even worse deal than he started with

Trump would get some funding for border fencing. It wouldn’t even be what he was originally offered.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/02/12/trumps-failed-shutdown-strategy-produced-an-even-worse-deal-than-he-started-with/


Trump Just Stole Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Campaign Slogan, And People Have Noticed

Trump Just Stole Hillary Clinton’s 2016 Campaign Slogan, And People Have Noticed

Twitter users shred the president and GOP for swiping his former rival’s motto.

Source: www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-hillary-clinton-stronger-together_us_5c626321e4b028d543175fde


New Proof the Trump Tax Cuts Are Doing the Exact Opposite of What They Promised

New Proof the Trump Tax Cuts Are Doing the Exact Opposite of What They Promised

Overseas cash is not coming in, and cost of compliance is going up. Everything Paul Ryan said is happening in reverse.

Source: nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/02/trump-tax-cuts-doing-opposite-of-promised-corporate-cash-accountants.html


Unsurprising.

Trump Fan Launches ‘Incredibly Violent Attack’ On BBC Cameraman At El Paso Rally

Trump Fan Launches ‘Incredibly Violent Attack’ On BBC Cameraman At El Paso Rally

“The crowd had been whipped up into a frenzy against the media by Trump and other speakers all night,” said one BBC journalist.

Source: www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/donald-trump-supporter-attacks-bbc-cameraman_us_5c629078e4b0ffd8515dd234


To the surprise of precisely no one.

New Proof the Trump Tax Cuts Are Doing the Exact Opposite of What They Promised

New Proof the Trump Tax Cuts Are Doing the Exact Opposite of What They Promised

Trump, with Rep. Ryan and Rep. Brady, displays so-called tax postcard.

Rep. Paul Ryan, President Donald Trump and Rep. Kevin Brady displaying the alleged new tax postcard. Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post/Getty Images

Overseas cash is not coming in, and cost of compliance is going up. Everything Paul Ryan said is happening in reverse.

Source: nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/02/trump-tax-cuts-doing-opposite-of-promised-corporate-cash-accountants.html


If McConnell spends the next eternity screaming in hell, it won’t be long enough.

McConnell Plans To Bring Green New Deal To Senate Vote

McConnell Plans To Bring Green New Deal To Senate Vote

The Senate majority leader wants to put the massive progressive climate change framework to a vote. Its Democratic sponsor is not pleased by the move from the top Senate Republican.

Source: www.npr.org/2019/02/12/694060405/mcconnell-plans-to-bring-green-new-deal-to-senate-vote


Move along, move along folks. Nothing to see.  :-/

Peterson attributed the growing national debt to “a structural mismatch between spending and revenues.” The biggest drivers are the aging population, high healthcare costs, and growing interest payments, combined with a tax code that fails to generate sufficient revenue, he said.

And since GOP considers taxes untouchable, look at what they’ll put up on the chopping block. You already know they want to kill Social Security, Medicare and so on.

National debt tops $22 trillion for the first time as experts warn of ripple effects

National debt tops $22 trillion for the first time as experts warn of ripple effects

Treasury Department reports that national debt hits $22.012 trillion, which experts say is a sign of the country’s “unsustainable” fiscal situation.

Source: news.yahoo.com/national-debt-tops-22-trillion-214033190.html


Wednesday

“Oh hey, they’re having trouble paying back student loans? LET’S STARVE THEM TO DEATH.” –xxoxoxo, GOP

Critics of the proposal say that payments should always be voluntary, and that people need the flexibility to default on their student loans. One in 5 borrowers are in default or delinquency on their student debt.

When a borrower defaults on their federal student loans, Kantrowitz said, the government currently can garnish up to 15 percent of their wages anyway, which is more than the 10 percent that would be taken out under Alexander’s proposal.

“Many borrowers who default have sufficient income to repay their debts, but just have difficulty managing their money,” Kantrowitz said. “There’s the potential for a lot of elegance in the design of student loan repayment via payroll withholding.”

However, Barmak Nassirian, director of federal relations at the American Association of State Colleges and Universities, called the proposal a “detour from real reform.”

I mean I’m just spit-balling here, but maybe “for-profit colleges” deserve a much more baleful look from the gov’t?

The government could soon grab your student loan payments right out of your paycheck

The government could soon grab your student loan payments right out of your paycheck

Lawmakers are proposing a massive overhaul to the student debt system, in which borrowers’ monthly bills would be automatically deducted from their paychecks.

Source: www.cnbc.com/2019/02/13/a-gop-proposal-would-snatch-your-student-loan-payment-right-from-your-paycheck.html


Thursday

A few weeks before President Donald Trump’s inauguration, then-DHS Secretary Jeh Johnson determined that DHS was responsible for helping protect election infrastructure—meaning polling places, voting machines, voter databases, and all the other components that make elections happen. The new, complex undertaking involved scores of state and local governments. A few years in, the department is still getting its footing. So the changes detailed here have people close to the department deeply concerned.

“Because it’s a very difficult task and because DHS has never done it before, there’s a lot of catching up to do,” said the former DHS official. “Even with a fully resourced effort, that would be an extremely tall task. But having it be deprioritized and lacking access to senior leadership, it’s virtually impossible.”

That said, these changes appear to reflect the White House’s lack of interest in beefing up election security, according to Paul Rosenzweig, formerly deputy assistant secretary for policy at DHS.

Trump’s DHS Guts Task Forces Protecting Elections From Foreign Meddling

‘It’s very curious why the leadership has not committed resources to prepare for the 2020 election,’ one Homeland Security official tells The Daily Beast.

Source: www.thedailybeast.com/trumps-dhs-guts-task-forces-protecting-elections-from-foreign-meddling


Why Ocasio-Cortez’s lesson in dark money is the most-watched political video

Why Ocasio-Cortez’s lesson in dark money is the most-watched political video

A clip in which the congresswoman asks ethics experts about government corruption has been viewed 40 million times

Source: www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/feb/14/campaign-finance-but-make-it-viral-alexandria-ocasio-cortezs-unlikely-video-hit


Rachel Maddow reports on ‘Trump selling the government for cash’ in a ‘jaw-dropping scandal’

Rachel Maddow reports on ‘Trump selling the government for cash’ in a ‘jaw-dropping scandal’

MSNBC anchor Rachel Maddow on Tuesday “followed the money” from Trump’s inauguration to a sweetheart deal that will make climate change worse. Maddow noted that federal prosecutors have subpoenaed Trump’s inauguration committee as part of their investigation into the White House. Maddow was gobsmacked that Trump spent so much more money than Barack Obama — for such a small inauguration. “It has been this puzzling thing about the Trump presidency from the very, very beginning,” …

Source: www.rawstory.com/2019/02/rachel-maddow-reports-trump-selling-government-cash-jaw-dropping-scandal/


Not every challenge in New York will be run on ideological grounds. Some will be powered by more local disputes, longstanding grudges or just timely ambition. But for many progressives, the goal is to police the Democratic Party ideologically, much in the way the Tea Party pushed Republicans to the right.

“We are trying to elect more Alexandrias,” said Alexandra Rojas, executive director of Justice Democrats, the insurgent group devoted to recruiting progressive primary challengers nationally. “She is an example of what one victory can do. Imagine what we can do with more primary wins across the country.”

After Mr. Crowley’s defeat almost no one is seen as untouchable.

“They should be afraid,” Maria L. Svart, the national director of the Democratic Socialists of America, which backed Ms. Ocasio-Cortez, said of incumbent House Democrats.

The Ocasio-Cortez Effect: Wave of Challenges Hits Entrenched N.Y. Democrats

The Ocasio-Cortez Effect: Wave of Challenges Hits Entrenched N.Y. Democrats

As many as six House challenges are in the works, in a possible echo of the divisions roiling the 2020 presidential primary. Insurgents are inspired by Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.

Source: www.nytimes.com/2019/02/14/nyregion/ny-congress-primaries-2020.html


The border security compromise, tucked into the $49 billion portion of the bill that funds the Department of Homeland Security, is perhaps the most stinging legislative defeat of Mr. Trump’s presidency. It provides $1.375 billion for 55 miles of steel-post fencing, essentially the same that Mr. Trump rejected in December, triggering the shutdown and far from the $5.7 billion he demanded for more than 200 miles of steel or concrete wall.

In opting to declare a national emergency, Mr. Trump would seek to access funds for the wall that Congress had not explicitly authorized for the purpose, a provocative move that would test the bounds of presidential authority in a time of divided government. Legal experts have said Mr. Trump has a plausible case that he can take such action under current law, but it would almost surely prompt a court challenge from critics arguing that he is usurping two centuries of congressional control over spending.

Trump Plans National Emergency to Build Border Wall as Senate Passes Spending Bill

Trump Plans National Emergency to Build Border Wall as Senate Passes Spending Bill

President Trump would proceed with plans to construct barriers on the southwestern border without legislative approval but keep the government open.

Source: www.nytimes.com/2019/02/14/us/politics/trump-national-emergency-border.html


Chump.

Headed for another defeat on his signature promise to make either Mexico or U.S. taxpayers pay for a southern border wall, the president was frustrated after a briefing by Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen and others on details of the final deal to avoid a shutdown, according to officials involved in the discussions. Trump threatened not to sign the legislation, the officials said, putting the government on the brink of another damaging shutdown.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) was on the phone with Trump at least three times during the course of the nerve-racking day, pleading with him to stay the course and asserting that Democrats had actually lost the spending fight, two people familiar with the conversations said.

“We thought he was good to go all morning, and then suddenly it’s like everything is off the rails,” said one senior Republican aide.

‘Off the rails’: Inside Trump’s attempt to claim victory in his border wall defeat

‘Off the rails’: Inside Trump’s attempt to claim victory in his border wall defeat

The president nearly blew up negotiations again on Thursday, frustrated by a bipartisan agreement that again failed to provide funding for his signature campaign promise.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/politics/off-the-rails-inside-trumps-attempt-to-claim-victory-in-his-border-wall-defeat/2019/02/14/af772978-2fe5-11e9-8ad3-9a5b113ecd3c_story.html


How congressional Democrats could fight a Trump wall national emergency declaration

How congressional Democrats could fight a Trump wall national emergency declaration

Congress hasn’t voted to overturn a presidential emergency in 44 years. But in 2005, one congressman threatened to  and the president blinked.

Source: www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2019/02/08/presidential-declaration-national-emergency-donald-trump-border-wall-congress-oversight/2784488002/


The president’s relationship with Deutsche Bank intrigues investigators for several reasons. Trump turned to the big German bank two decades ago, when U.S. banks wouldn’t extend him more large loans. The Post estimated in 2016 that Deutsche Bank had $360 million in outstanding loans to Trump’s companies. Deutsche Bank also lent $285 million to Jared Kushner’s family real estate company in October 2016.

Investigators have noted other points of interest: Deutsche Bank, unusually, managed its lending to Trump through its private-banking division rather than normal commercial lending. Finally, the bank has been implicated in Russian money laundering, paying $630 million in fines in 2017 to settle U.S. and British charges that it had improperly transferred $10 billion from Russia.

Trump last week tweeted his indignation at Schiff for “looking at every aspect of my life, both financial and personal,” and calling the House probe “Unlimited Presidential Harassment.”

Trump’s bizarre claim that the subject of an investigation has the right to circumscribe the inquiry into his conduct dates back to a July 19, 2017, interview Trump gave to the New York Times. Asked whether a Mueller probe of his finances would be a “red line,” Trump answered, “I would say yeah.” He then offered a rambling defense, saying at one point, “I don’t do business with Russia.”

Opinion | We’re entering a new phase of the Trump-Russia investigation

Opinion | We’re entering a new phase of the Trump-Russia investigation

Despite constant insistence his Moscow Tower project was above board, the money trail says differently.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/were-entering-a-new-phase-of-the-trump-russia-investigation/2019/02/14/10f13b70-30a5-11e9-8ad3-9a5b113ecd3c_story.html


Senator Burr and the Undermining of Democracy – Musing about law, books, and politics

Senator Burr and the Undermining of Democracy – Musing about law, books, and politics

[View here as a Twitter thread] DiDi wants to know if our democracy is strong enough to withstand Trump’s lawbreaking. It’s the lying (which is directly related to lawbreaking) which is the real problem. The answer is yes. I think Read more…

Source: terikanefield-blog.com/senator-burr-and-the-undermining-of-democracy/


Friday

 

Ocasio-Cortez, Castro plan to introduce bill to block national emergency

Ocasio-Cortez, Castro plan to introduce bill to block national emergency

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Joaquin Castro (D-Texas) plan to introduce a bill to stop President Trump’s emergency declaration.

Source: thehill.com/homenews/house/430173-ocasio-cortez-castro-plan-to-introduce-bill-to-block-national-emergency


It’s really quite amazing to watch his sing-song delivery. I’m not kidding. I only wish captions could show this.

Trump Declares a National Emergency, and Provokes a Constitutional Clash

Trump Declares a National Emergency, and Provokes a Constitutional Clash

The president’€™s decision incited instant condemnation from Democrats, who called it an unconstitutional abuse of his authority and vowed to overturn it with Republican support.

Source: www.nytimes.com/2019/02/15/us/politics/national-emergency-trump.html


And so much for our international relations.

Watch: this is what happened when Mike Pence brought up Donald Trump in a speech to European leaders

Watch: this is what happened when Mike Pence brought up Donald Trump in a speech to European leaders

“I bring greetings from the 45th President of the United States of America, President Donald Trump,” Pence told the crowd.

Source: www.newsweek.com/mike-pence-mentions-trump-met-silence-1333887

 

 

 


 

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Posted in Authoritarianism, U.S. Politics | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on Authoritarianism: Feb 10–16

Authoritarianism: Feb 3–9

“We are beckoned to see the world through a one-way mirror, as if we are threatened and innocent and the rest of humanity is threatening, or wretched, or expendable. Our memory is struggling to rescue the truth that human rights were not handed down as privileges from a parliament, or a boardroom, or an institution, but that peace is only possible with justice and with information that gives us the power to act justly.”
―John Pilger

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Image of the red MAGA hat and text that says Someday Politicians Will Be Forced To Resign Because of an Old Picture of Them Attending A MAGA Rally

More below the fold:

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Sunday

I have long considered McConnell a traitor. Трамп is a venal, petty grifter, a half-assed mobster who simply started out with a big pile of money and an equally corrupt family and literally doesn’t know how to do anything else. McConnell, on the other hand, is well aware of how the country and the government works, and what he has done, from Garland to this, is traitorous.

Voter suppression is traitorous. Intentionally restricting access to the ballot is a violation of the ideals that we have been told are inherently American. The United States government is of, by and for the people. Yet we are barred from the fundamental democratic process by those in power merely because our skin color predicts our political persuasion.

Mitch McConnell, Enemy of the Vote

Photo of Sen. Mitch McConnell

The Senate Majority Leader mocked a bill expanding ballot access while staying silent on foreign threats to our elections

Source: www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/mitch-mcconnell-enemy-of-the-vote-787596/


Someone’s looking for some illicit prescriptions?? Hey maybe he can OD in office.

Ronny Jackson, Trump’s former physician, appointed chief medical adviser

Ronny Jackson, Trump’s former physician, appointed chief medical adviser

Photo of Ronny Jackson

Jackson’s nomination for VA secretary was torpedoed by allegations of inappropriate work behavior

Source: www.cbsnews.com/news/ronny-jackson-trumps-former-physician-appointed-as-assistant-to-trump/


Heartbreaking. Utterly heartbreaking and unacceptable. We need to start some kind of civilian registry/effort to reunite these families. Imagine losing your own son or daughter. “Burden”?!

Trump Admin Says It’s Too Hard To Reunite Thousands Of Separated Families: Court Filing

Trump Admin Says It’s Too Hard To Reunite Thousands Of Separated Families: Court Filing

Huffington Post logo

It referred to the process of reuniting separated families as a “burden.”

Source: www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/report-trump-admin-does-not-plan-to-reunite-families-separated-before-zero-tolerance_us_5c55c3c4e4b087104753e468


I can’t make this stuff up.  You REALLY have to wonder what kompromat Russia has on Paul.

Sen. Rand Paul goes to Moscow and invites Russians to Washington in unofficial bid to boost ties

Sen. Rand Paul goes to Moscow and invites Russians to Washington in unofficial bid to boost ties

Senator Rand Paul seated at large table with Russian representatives.

Sen. Rand Paul attends a meeting with Russian lawmakers in Moscow on Monday. (Pavel Golovkin/AP)

Once a foe, Paul has become one of President Trump’s fiercest defenders on Russia.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/world/sen-rand-paul-goes-to-moscow-and-invites-russians-to-washingtonin-unofficial-bid-to-boost-ties/2018/08/06/0090975a-9945-11e8-8d5e-c6c594024954_story.html


Monday

Nice!

Prosecutors are seeking documents and records related to the committee’s donors to the massive inauguration fund, according to sources familiar with the request. Prosecutors are also seeking attendees to the events surrounding the inauguration including benefits to top level donors such as photo opportunities with President Trump, sources said.

New York prosecutors seek records from Trump inauguration committee: Sources

New York prosecutors seek records from Trump inauguration committee: Sources

Photo of Trump and Melania at Inauguration Day

Prosecutors in New York’s Southern District have reached out to President Donald Trump’s inauguration committee and plan to subpoena the organization for documents.

Source: abcnews.go.com/beta-story-container/Politics/york-prosecutors-seek-records-trump-inauguration-committee-sources/story?id=60841246


We are degrading all aspects of our government, by decimating the expertise of all the various civil servants we have built up over decades.

Just as in the military, the men and women of the CIA, the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the National Security Agency and other intelligence services are professionals focused first and foremost on their mission. They are more interested in facing the unique challenges of clandestinely collecting intelligence, and they view politics and those who practice it as largely irrelevant to their craft. Most intelligence officers I know are also inherently loyal to the consumers of intelligence. The holy grail of intelligence professionals is knowing the information they helped collect, analyze and disseminate went straight to the president, the commander — and intelligence consumer — in chief. This is not because they like or even voted for a specific president, but because that is the whole point of intelligence work: to provide the best information to the highest levels of government.

But there is a limit to everything. And despite the apolitical work ethic of intelligence professionals, being called passive, naive and uneducated will sting. It will sting officers serving abroad in war zones and other places where they and their families are at risk. It will sting those officers who have personally sacrificed to serve, but who know (or at least thought they knew) that at the end of the day, it was worth it because their work was important to protect our democracy and highly valued by policymakers and elected officials.

Perspective | I was in the CIA. Trump’s petty fights and insults will make us all less safe.

Perspective | I was in the CIA. Trump’s petty fights and insults will make us all less safe.

Photo of Trump at Oval office

How long will it be before intelligence officers decide the insults and the ignorance aren’t worth it?

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/02/04/i-was-cia-trumps-petty-fights-insults-will-make-us-all-less-safe/


You know they’ll do some kind of tabling vote and then spin like mad but still.

The Post reports that acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney has privately told Trump that a national emergency is “viable,” and officials at the Army Corps of Engineers are searching for ways to build the wall. This would be challenged in the courts, which would have to decide whether the statute Trump invoked actually does authorize this type of spending.

But Pelosi has a much more immediate way to challenge Trump’s declaration. Under the National Emergencies Act, or NEA, both chambers of Congress can pass a resolution terminating any presidentially declared national emergency.

Elizabeth Goitein, who has researched this topic extensively for the Brennan Center for Justice, tells me that if Pelosi exercises this option, it will ultimately require the Senate to vote on it in some form as well. The NEA stipulates that if one chamber (Pelosi’s House) passes such a resolution, which it easily could do, the other (McConnell’s Senate) must act on it within a very short time period — forcing GOP senators to choose whether to support it.

Alternatively, Goitein notes, the Senate could vote not to consider that resolution or change its rules to avoid such a vote. But in those scenarios, the Senate would, in effect, be voting to greenlight Trump’s emergency declaration.

Opinion | If Trump declares a national emergency, Pelosi can jam Republicans. Here’s how.

Opinion | If Trump declares a national emergency, Pelosi can jam Republicans. Here’s how.

Photo of Trump talking while VP Pence and Speaker Ryan sit behind him

The House speaker can initiate a process that forces the GOP-controlled Senate to vote on Trump’s emergency declaration.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/02/04/if-trump-declares-national-emergency-pelosi-can-jam-republicans-heres-how/


Oh, Congress.

90 Democrats, one lone Republican sign onto a bill giving back pay to federal contract workers

90 Democrats, one lone Republican sign onto a bill giving back pay to federal contract workers

Photo of someone mopping the floor

Sen. Tina Smith is still “hopeful and optimistic” of eventual GOP support for her bill to help those hardest hit by the government shutdown

Source: thinkprogress.org/90-democrats-one-lone-republican-sign-onto-a-bill-giving-back-pay-to-contract-workers-4ed1b943b79c/


Graham is a bona fide idiot. That is all.

Lindsey Graham encourages Trump to use his emergency powers even if it wreaks havoc on the GOP

Lindsey Graham encourages Trump to use his emergency powers even if it wreaks havoc on the GOP

Photo of Lindsey Graham in mid-rant

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) thinks Donald Trump should use his emergency powers to build a border wall with Mexico — in spite of the prospect of “war” within the GOP over it. Charleston, SC’s Post and Courier newspaper reported Monday that Graham is “not at all” worried about the precedent it would set if Trump used his emergency powers. “To me, this is within the power of every commander in chief,” the South Carolina Republican said. …

Source: www.rawstory.com/2019/02/lindsey-graham-encourages-trump-use-emergency-powers-even-wreaks-havoc-gop/


I mean, contrast this with ANY other President’s daily schedule… o.O  “Executive Time” sounds like the punchline to a bad joke.

Scoop: Leaked private schedules show Trump spent 60% of last 3 months in “Executive Time”

Scoop: Leaked private schedules show Trump spent 60% of last 3 months in “Executive Time”

Photo of Trump, back to viewer, with a sparse schedule overlaying the image

It’s unprecedented visibility into how the president spends his days.

Source: www.axios.com/donald-trump-private-schedules-leak-executive-time-34e67fbb-3af6-48df-aefb-52e02c334255.html


Tuesday

Effin’ A!

[Rep. Ayanna] Pressley, who said she initially worried that a decisive margin of victory for Democrats in 2018 would allow the party to be less introspective, pointed to picking Abrams as a sign the party was still moving forward.

PHOTO: Donna Brazile speaks during the second day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, July 26, 2016.Paul Sancya/AP, FILE
Donna Brazile speaks during the second day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia, July 26, 2016.

“The fact that Stacey Abrams will be delivering the State of the Union response is an early and encouraging indicator to me that we are taking stock of those lessons learned,” Pressley said.

And experts say choosing Abrams, despite her loss in 2018, sends a unique message that the party doesn’t intend to let that energy go.

“The Democrats aren’t going to leave that money on the table,” Michener said. “There are some real rewards at stake here. It’s crucial for the Democratic Party at this point to decide what sorts of voices they want to represent and what sorts of inroads they want to make as far as the party being optimally inclusive.”

Keneshia Grant, an assistant professor of political science at Howard University who studies race and the electoral system, pointed out the important timing of this speech, coming out of 2018 and heading into 2020.

“We can kind of see the Democratic Party — in the people, the candidates — are thinking about black voters,” said Grant, mentioning the early focus 2020 presidential candidates are placing on states like South Carolina, where a majority of those casting ballots will be African-American.

“Choosing Abrams is in line with that idea that black voters matter,” Grant said.

For Democrats, Stacey Abrams sends key message on gender and race in SOTU response

For Democrats, Stacey Abrams sends key message on gender and race in SOTU response

Photo of Stacey Abrams giving a speech

Abrams, from Georgia, lost the 2018 governor’s race in Georgia.

Source: abcnews.go.com/Politics/democrats-stacey-abrams-sends-key-message-gender-race/story?id=60785717


Mm, nasty little shitstain of a man. Good.

Mike Pence Likely Implicated In Trump’s SDNY Criminal Charges

Mike Pence Likely Implicated In Trump’s SDNY Criminal Charges

Photo of Mike Pence at a podium

Donald Trump’s inauguration committee has been accused of money laundering and making false statements in a subpoena from prosecutors with the Southern District of New York (SDNY). And it appears that both the president and the

Source: www.politicususa.com/2019/02/05/mike-pence-likely-implicated-in-trumps-sdny-criminal-charges.html


A petty, lying, idiot grifter. That’s our Трамп.

In fact, the way Trump interacts at Mar-a-Lago, which he still visits as a weekend escape from the White House, give us incredible insight into the type of guy Trump is in Washington, and what may be his ultimate undoing as president. Leamer explains how the famously insecure Trump bought Mar-A-Lago in a desperate effort to be accepted by the Palm Beach upper crust, hoping it would don him “the king of Palm Beach.” But in the same way that Queens-born Trump failed in his quest to be accepted by the Manhattan elite, the old money of Palm Beach looked down on tacky Trump.

“Here comes this flamboyant guy bringing in hundreds of models from Miami Beach, vulgar language, suing them if he doesn’t get his way. He brings in this new money, this new gilded age of America,” Leamer explained to me. “There are 40 billionaires in Palm Beach. These are the people he identifies with. You want to be a billionaire or you’re nobody.”

And Trump’s love of lying didn’t begin as president either. Back in the early days of owning Mar-a-Lago, Trump served up lies to appear more important, such as falsely telling people that the membership list at his swanky club included royalty like Prince Charles and Princess Diana, as well as celebrities like Steven Spielberg and Elizabeth Taylor.

Mar-a-Lago: Where Donald Trump learned to be a petty, self-promoting liar with ties to sketchy Russians

Mar-a-Lago: Where Donald Trump learned to be a petty, self-promoting liar with ties to sketchy Russians

Trump in tuxedo and stupid grin walking with Melania at his side

From lies to sketchy Russian deals and porn stars, Mar-a-Lago groomed Trump for his unique presidential leadership

Source: www.rawstory.com/2019/02/mar-lago-donald-trump-learned-petty-self-promoting-liar-ties-sketchy-russians/


Interesting chat here:


THIS is the argument over the “billionaire” taxing. COME ON PEOPLE! Let AOC and Warren sock it to these guys. WE have WAY more votes than the billionaires do (why do you think they work so hard to take it away from us??)

Graph that illustrates just how few people are actually impacted with proposed billionaire taxes

Source: https://www.facebook.com/791327391/posts/10157106600762392/


Refreshing to see.

Cummings acknowledged the disruptive nature of the new Congress; the freshman class will at times be at odds with other members of the Democratic caucus. Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib of Michigan launched a 24-hour news cycle when she declared she wanted to “impeach the motherfucker,” in reference to Trump. Tlaib and Ilhan Omar of Minnesota have also stoked controversy with their criticism of Israel—notably putting them at odds with some Democrats on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, on which Omar sits. Just last week, Ocasio-Cortez, Tlaib, Omar, and Congresswoman Ayanna Pressley, another freshman, signed a letter calling on the bipartisan conference committee negotiating a border security deal to cut, not increase, funding for the Department of Homeland Security and, specifically, the ICE and C.P.B. agencies—a move certain to complicate the negotiation effort.

But Cummings suggested that disagreement within the ranks is a considerable strength. “It is important that you have people like her—not only on my committee, but in the Congress—to remind folks of who we are, who we are as the Democratic Party, and who we have been for many years,” he explained. “And so, sure, when you do that like Ms. Cortez, you may ruffle a few feathers, but I think that, in the end, it will make us a better and stronger party.”

Last week, during a House Oversight Committee hearing on the cost of prescription drugs, the freshman congresswoman presented as measured and methodical as she probed the relationship between drug manufacturers and taxpayer-backed organizations like the National Institutes of Health. “She asked the best set of questions of anybody in her five minutes,” Cummings said, noting that the New York congresswoman stayed for the entire hearing, which stretched beyond the five-hour mark. “It was clear that she had done her homework.”

How A.O.C. Won Over Her New House Colleagues

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez walking outside the Capitol

AOC photographed outside the Capitol on January 4, 2019.
By Mark Peterson/Redux.

After unnerving Washington with her Omaha Beach-like landing in Congress, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has emerged as an unlikely unifying force for Democrats—and a surprisingly egoless champion of a new, progressive politics.

Source: www.vanityfair.com/news/2019/02/aoc-house-democrats-nancy-pelosi


Screenshot of Nancy Pelosi's tweet about President and SOTU


The inestimable Stacy Abrams.

Warning, not captioned (from live feed). I may replace this later.


Wednesday

As Pelosi Applauds Trump, the Internet Sees a Clapback

As Pelosi Applauds Trump, the Internet Sees a Clapback

Photo of Nancy Pelosi, in white, in front of the red and white stripes of American flag, clapping with a sarcastic bless-your-heart expression on her face

When Speaker Nancy Pelosi clapped as President Trump gave his State of the Union address on Tuesday night, many social media users declared her the queen of shade.

Source: www.nytimes.com/2019/02/06/us/politics/pelosi-trump-clap-state-of-the-union.html


They are closing the doors to the country and looting it.

Trump’s World Bank nominee ‘another sign of US retreat from the world’: MSNBC’s Ali Velshi

Trump’s World Bank nominee ‘another sign of US retreat from the world’: MSNBC’s Ali Velshi

Photo of David Malpass flanked by Mulvaney and Trump

MSNBC’s Ali Velshi on Wednesday distilled the significance of President Donald Trump’s decision to nominate David Malpass, a harsh critic of the World Bank as well as multilateralism, to lead the international financial institution, saying it represented another step backward for the United States. “The World Bank provides funding and financing for development projects in parts of the world” that most banks consider “too risky,” Velshi said. “The U.S. is the lead investor in that.” …

Source: www.rawstory.com/2019/02/trumps-world-bank-nominee-another-sign-of-us-retreat-from-the-world-msnbcs-ali-velshi/


Whoa.

“I reject the federal contention that there exists an overwhelming national security crisis at the Southern border,” Lujan Grisham said, adding that the area has “some of the safest communities in the country.”

The governor’s order covers most of New Mexico’s deployed troops, along with Guard members who have traveled from Arkansas, Kansas, Kentucky, New Hampshire, South Carolina and Wisconsin. In all, 118 National Guard troops have been deployed in New Mexico, the governor’s office said.

Lujan Grisham ordered the withdrawal just before Trump delivered his State of the Union address, in which he railed against illegal immigration and labeled a group of mainly Central American migrants as “illegal immigrants” — despite the fact that most of them are traveling with legal humanitarian visas.

N.M. Governor Pulls National Guard From Border, Citing A ‘Charade’ At Federal Level

N.M. Governor Pulls National Guard From Border, Citing A ‘Charade’ At Federal Level

Photo of Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signing a piece of paper

“I reject the federal contention that there exists an overwhelming national security crisis at the Southern border,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said.

Source: www.npr.org/2019/02/06/691937342/n-m-governor-pulls-national-guard-from-border-citing-a-charade-at-federal-level


Next, we kill all the banks.

GOP gave banks $21 billion tax cut — and they used it to fire thousands

GOP gave banks $21 billion tax cut — and they used it to fire thousands

Photo of Mitch McConnell walking in hallway giving a thumbs up

Banks benefited the most from the GOP’s tax scam.

Source: shareblue.com/republican-tax-bill-21-billion-tax-cut-bank-jobs/


Poor cranky moneygrubbing Donnie

Democrat Schiff draws Trump ire with House intel probes

Democrat Schiff draws Trump ire with House intel probes

Photo of Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA)

The House Intelligence Committee is set to pursue a wide investigation into atte…

Source: www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-russia-house/democrat-schiff-draws-trump-ire-with-house-intel-probes-idUSKCN1PV23B


Hang on, maybe MIKIE gets caught first? But Трамп can appoint the next VP. Hrm. This could turn out very Ford-esque for whoever might replace Pence.

Christie did not shut down the transition, and he was fired. To be clear, he was fired for not taking part in a scheme to allow Trump to keep all of that money. In fact, it can be inferred from the book that Trump actually admitted his intention to keep the money — and both Bannon and Christie could be called as witnesses to testify to that fact.

So along came a new transition leader, and lo and behold, the money is now in question. Did Mike Pence agree to Trump’s scheme?

There is absolutely no reason to doubt that the Southern District, having (for once) actually listed the crimes they intend to charge Trump and his family with, has proof that Pence was all in on the $107 million heist.

Mike Pence Gets Caught Up In Criminal Charges, Will Likely Be Implicated In Southern District Of NY · DC Tribune

Mike Pence Gets Caught Up In Criminal Charges, Will Likely Be Implicated In Southern District Of NY · DC Tribune

Photo of Mike Pence

Source: dctribune.org/mike-pence-gets-caught-up-in-criminal-charges-will-likely-be-implicated-in-southern-district-of-ny/


This is horrendous…but note also that the wire is…on the U.S. side??

‘Inhuman’ wall of razor wire on Arizona-Mexico border sparks outcry

‘Inhuman’ wall of razor wire on Arizona-Mexico border sparks outcry

Photo of schoolbus driving past a wall with six rows of concertina razor wire attached to it

Nogales city council considers officially condemning dangerous material spread across local structure

Source: www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/feb/06/arizona-razor-wire-border-wall-nogales


And Trevor Noah totally goes there.


Thursday

Ever in the service of billionaires and corporations…

Financial watchdog to gut its payday lending rules

Financial watchdog to gut its payday lending rules

Stock photo of a payday lender store

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is getting rid of a requirement that lenders make sure borrowers could afford to repay a payday loan without being stuck in a cycle of debt, a standard known as “ability to repay.”

Source: www.pbs.org/newshour/economy/financial-watchdog-to-gut-its-payday-lending-rules


Oh, brother.

Whitaker says he won’t testify unless Democrats drop their subpoena threat

Photo of Matthew G. Whitaker

Acting attorney general Matthew G. Whitaker and acting defense secretary Patrick Shanahan sit behind Agriculture Secretary Sonny Perdue and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin during President Trump’s State of the Union address Tuesday at the Capitol. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

Whitaker says he won’t testify unless Democrats drop their subpoena threat

The House Judiciary Committee voted earlier Thursday to give its chairman the authority to subpoena the acting attorney general’s testimony, should he fail to appear Friday or answer lawmakers’ questions.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/house-panel-authorizes-subpoena-for-acting-attorney-general-whitaker-just-in-case/2019/02/07/1e5ec47a-2af2-11e9-b011-d8500644dc98_story.html


Interesting! Prescription drugs and trade. Talk about healthcare and frame the soaring costs of drugs in that discussion (eg, INSULIN,  etc). Point out stuff like this Republicans want to block Utah’s voter-approved Medicaid expansion and replace it with something worse. And pound on the gains Big Pharma stands to gain from kicking NAFTA around… I should also point out that it’s hardly only the working class whites outraged by what Big Pharma is doing on drug prices and so on.

Working-class whites in Greenberg’s focus groups apparently agreed. As his memo notes, these voters “hate” pharmaceutical companies and are deeply convinced that high drug prices are the result of their political influence.

In effect, Greenberg concluded, this debate links corporate power directly to soaring medical costs, providing a gateway to a larger argument about the ability of big corporations to rig market rules in their favor. These voters, Greenberg noted, “especially distrust the way that corporations bend the system to their will,” with lobbyists and big campaign donations, “so that they can earn more profits while hurting workers and consumers.” As one Macomb man put it: “They are buying their laws, basically.”

Greenberg was surprised by the depth of emotion about pharmaceutical companies and drug prices, noting that they “emerged as an extraordinary point of anger.” The result: Pointing to the Big Pharma provision constitutes the “single most powerful argument” against Trump’s NAFTA rewrite.

Opinion | Democratic focus groups may have identified a hidden vulnerability for Trump

Opinion | Democratic focus groups may have identified a hidden vulnerability for Trump

Photo of WaPo headquarters


SAUL LOEB/AFP/Getty Images)

Obama-Trump voters are angry about soaring drug prices, and this may undermine Trump on one of his biggest issues.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/02/07/democratic-focus-groups-may-have-identified-hidden-vulnerability-trump/


Federal prosecutors in the Southern District of New York served a sweeping subpoena on President Trump’s inaugural committee on Monday. Nothing could more clearly illustrate the breadth of the president’s legal exposure and the limits of his nearly two-year strategy to attack and undermine special counsel Robert S. Mueller III — because the special counsel’s work is merely the sturdy root of a veritable Mueller family tree. What began as an FBI counterintelligence investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election has sprouted into multiple investigations in multiple jurisdictions examining multiple possible crimes. The case against the president’s personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen is the direct line, the first child. The investigation of the inaugural committee, which sprang from the Cohen case, is the grandchild. And on it goes.

Perspective | The Mueller investigation has sprouted. Therein lies the jeopardy for Trump.

Perspective | The Mueller investigation has sprouted. Therein lies the jeopardy for Trump.

Photo of Trump facing a separate photo of Mueller

President Trump and special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. (Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post; Win McNamee/Getty Images) (Jabin Botsford; Win McNamee/The Washington Post; Getty Images)

What started as an FBI investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election has spawned multiple investigations of other possible crimes. And that increases the legal exposure for Trump.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/02/07/mueller-investigation-has-sprouted-therein-lies-jeopardy-trump/


/laughing  Schiff really knows how to get  under Трамп’s skin!

Trump furious after Schiff hires former NSC aides to help oversee his administration

Trump furious after Schiff hires former NSC aides to help oversee his administration

Photo of Trump facing separate photo of Rep. Adam Schiff

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff has hired officials with experience at the National Security Council to help with its oversight of President Donald Trump’s administration, according to a committee aide.

Source: amp.cnn.com/cnn/2019/02/07/politics/adam-schiff-trump-white-house-staffers/index.html


And about those taxes (are we coming full circle?)

Trump Has Bigger Legal Problems Than Mueller

Trump Has Bigger Legal Problems Than Mueller

Partially obscured photo of Trump waving from inside a limo

For Donald Trump, this elevator only goes down.

Source: truthout.org/articles/trump-has-bigger-legal-problems-than-mueller/


You’ll have to click through to watch the video. Do it. It’s completely devastating.  She lays it out completely.

NowThis on Twitter

NowThis on Twitter

Screenshot of video clip where Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez is quizzing ethics committee members

“‘We have a system that is fundamentally broken.’ — Rep. @AOC is explaining just how f*cked campaign finance laws really are https://t.co/7rRXf9pD6Z”

Source: twitter.com/nowthisnews/status/1093601038622281728


While everyone has erupted into a frenzy of trying to decide if this does meet legal definitions of extortion or blackmail and so on, the real question in the whole “Bezos Exposes Pecker” (that would be Pecker owner of National Inquirer, etc) episode, this appears to be the real question to ask: Just exactly where did Pecker get the salacious pictures of Bezos from?  I mean, it’s not like we have a President petty enough to use national security resources to get back at someone he dislikes, do we? (See also WaPo Reporter: Bezos’ Investigators Believe ‘Government Entity’ May Have Been Behind Obtaining His Sexts. And in an interesting addition: After Bezos Post, Ronan Farrow Says He’s Received Similar ‘Blackmail Efforts from AMI’. )

Jeff Bezos’ investigator suspects ‘a government agency’ intercepted Amazon CEO’s text messages

Jeff Bezos’ investigator suspects ‘a government agency’ intercepted Amazon CEO’s text messages

Photo of Jeff Bezos with a magnifying glass icon superimposed

A Washington Post reporter said Thursday night that an investigator working for Jeff Bezos believes ‘a government agency’ accessed the Amazon CEO’s texts and intimate photos.

Source: boingboing.net/2019/02/07/bezos-hack-government-entity.html


That was welcome if unexpected. Do note the explicit dissent from Kavanaugh.

Supreme Court blocks restrictive Louisiana abortion law by 5-4 vote as Roberts joins liberals

The fate of the Louisiana abortion clinic law was seen as an early test of the Supreme Court’s view of abortion rights.

Source: www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-court-abortion-louisiana-20190207-story.html


Friday

Not sure what’s happening here. I would have thought any emergency would have been declared around SOTU but maybe Трамп is/was still recovering from the stinging claps? In any case, there still seems to be some worry in D.C. over possible emergency declarations. But it’s the GOP Senators who will likely get reamed over it.

 

Trump’s “National Emergency” Would Please His Base But Put GOP Senators On The Spot

Photo of Trump and McConnell

WASHINGTON, DC – FEBRUARY 05: President Donald Trump greets Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) after the State of the Union address in the chamber of the U.S. House of Representatives at the U.S. Capitol Building on February 5, 2019 in Washington, DC. President Trump’s second State of the Union address was postponed one week due to the partial government shutdown. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)

The Democratic-led House would be likely to pass a bill undoing an emergency declaration — and Mitch McConnell could not stop it from coming up for a Sen…

Source: www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-emergency-congress_us_5c5c9ecbe4b0e01e32aa9b4b


/hands Whitaker a very large shovel

Hearing erupts as Acting AG Whitaker calls time on Dem chairman: ‘Your 5 minutes is up’

Hearing erupts as Acting AG Whitaker calls time on Dem chairman: ‘Your 5 minutes is up’

Photo of Rep. Nadler facing another photo of Acting AG Whitaker

Acting Attorney General Matthew Whitaker stunned onlookers and lawmakers during an already-contentious House hearing Friday, when he tried to call time on the Democratic chairman after yet another line of questioning regarding Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s Russia probe.

Source: www.foxnews.com/politics/hearing-for-acting-ag-whitaker-erupts-in-fireworks-as-top-republican-alleges-character-assassination


Wow. Just…. wow. For lots more context on this article, take a look at this twitter thread: https://twitter.com/SethAbramson/status/1093555871651635205

[Seth Abramson:] Skeptics reading this thread—who will be stunned by what they read—should understand that the interviewee [in this CBS news article], Republican Senator Richard Burr of North Carolina, was on TRUMP’S NATIONAL SECURITY TEAM as of October 2016.

and, also Abramson’s point:

Equally significant is how the Senate team is operating: it’s a nine-person bipartisan team apparently so unified in their concern about what they’re finding that they’re able to agree on nearly everything. That’s right: Burr describes a team basically on the same page.

Richard Burr on the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation, 2 years on

Richard Burr on the Senate Intelligence Committee’s Russia investigation, 2 years on

Photo of Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC)

After two years, the committee’s chairman sees no collusion, but says some questions will linger for decades

Source: www.cbsnews.com/news/richard-burr-on-senate-intelligence-committees-russia-investigation-2-years-on/


…And another one. Damn, AMI is sleazeballs.

Terry Crews Claims AMI Tried to ‘Silence’ Him ‘By Fabricating Stories of Me With Prostitutes’

Terry Crews Claims AMI Tried to ‘Silence’ Him ‘By Fabricating Stories of Me With Prostitutes’

Photo of a smiling Terry Crews

Terry Crews joined Jeff Bezos and others in accusing American Media Inc., the parent company of the National Enquirer, of extortion by threatening to publish

Source: www.mediaite.com/online/terry-crews-claims-ami-tried-to-silence-him-by-fabricating-stories-of-me-with-prostitutes/


The ACA repeal effort made a fool out of Susan Collins even if she ultimately voted against repeal. The Tax Bill made a fool out of Susan Collins (Sen. Susan Collins takes huge leap of faith with tax bill. Critics say she’s getting played.). And yes, this makes a fool out of her too. C’mon, Maine! You can do better than this sad sack charlatan.

Kavanaugh’s dissent in abortion case makes a fool out of Susan Collins

Kavanaugh’s dissent in abortion case makes a fool out of Susan Collins

Photo of Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)

Collins said she thought Kavanaugh would respect Supreme Court precedent on abortion — but he just refused to enforce a decision the court made only two years ago.

Source: shareblue.com/kavanaugh-dissent-louisiana-abortion-case-makes-fool-susan-collins/


Saturday

Wow.  Just wow. But this is the best response to Трамп’s vituperous post.

Ruth Hopkins on twitter: While the President tweets insults and racial slurs directed towards Natives, Native Congresswoman Deb Haaland is at our southern border with other leaders working for the good of this country.

(Link to Трамп’s tweet; I won’t dignify it with more than that: https://twitter.com/realDonaldTrump/status/1094368870415110145 ; see also Donald Trump Jr. calls father’s tweet about Sen. Elizabeth Warren’s Native American heritage ‘savage’ in social media post)

Trump and Trump, Jr. blasted for joking about genocide in attacks on Democratic 2020 presidential candidate

Trump and Trump, Jr. blasted for joking about genocide in attacks on Democratic 2020 presidential candidate

Photo of Trump at rally, wearing MAGA hat, hands outstretched

President Donald Trump was highly criticized on Saturday for making an apparent joke about genocide during political attack on a 2020 campaign challenger. On Saturday, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) announced she was running for the highest office in the land. Trump, who has nicknamed Warren “Pocohontas” over her claims of Native American heritage, blasted the Massachusetts Democrat on Twitter. Today Elizabeth Warren, sometimes referred to by me as Pocahontas, joined the race for President. Will …

Source: www.rawstory.com/2019/02/trump-trump-jr-blasted-joking-genocide-attacks-democratic-2020-presidential-candidate/


This is just weird.

Mr. Trump effectively bypassed a deadline set by law as his administration argued that Congress could not impose its will on the president. Critics charged that he was seeking to cover up Saudi complicity in the death of Mr. Khashoggi, an American resident and a columnist for The Washington Post.

“Consistent with the previous administration’s position and the constitutional separation of powers, the president maintains his discretion to decline to act on congressional committee requests when appropriate,” the Trump administration said in a statement. The statement said the administration had taken action against the killers and would consult with Congress.

But Democrats said Mr. Trump was violating a law known as the Magnitsky Act. It required him to respond 120 days after a request submitted in the fall by committee leaders — including Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee and then the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee — a period that expired Friday.

Trump Defies Congressional Deadline on Khashoggi Report

Trump Defies Congressional Deadline on Khashoggi Report

Photo: President Trump on Thursday at the National Prayer Breakfast in Washington. Credit: Doug Mills/The New York Times

President Trump refused to provide lawmakers with a report on the killing of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, leading to complaints of a cover-up.

Source: www.nytimes.com/2019/02/08/us/politics/trump-khashoggi-congress.html


Interesting. I believe the 15th is when we find out what happens next after the CR from the last shutdown expires.

Now together, they have broken another: It is the first time two women have held the highest leadership positions on the Appropriations Committee, one of the most prestigious panels on Capitol Hill.

Ms. Lowey and Ms. Granger will be responsible for leading the negotiations to fund the next fiscal year and reaching a two-year agreement to avoid a reduction in spending levels. And they will continue to guide debate over funding for border security, especially given speculation that a final deal will involve a multiyear compromise.

Unlikely Partnership in House Gives Lawmakers Hope for Border Deal

Unlikely Partnership in House Gives Lawmakers Hope for Border Deal

Representatives Nita M. Lowey and Kay Granger are the first women to lead the House Appropriations Committee. Their bond gives lawmakers optimism for the work to come.

Source: www.nytimes.com/2019/02/09/us/politics/congress-border-wall.html


Whoa. We can’t have THAT, can we?

Federal law gives the chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee the power to request tax information on any filer, and then to release it to the public, if a majority of the committee approves. The statute holds that the Treasury Department “shall” provide the information upon request (establishing that the “request” has the legal force of an order). Recent polls have found that upward of 60 percent of Americans want the Democratic Party to use its control over Ways and Means to release the tax returns that their president had promised to show them.

All this puts Republican lawmakers in an unenviable position: They must find a way to argue (with righteous indignation) that the president’s finances should be concealed, in defiance of popular opinion and his own campaign promises. At a Ways and Means committee hearing in D.C. Thursday, GOP lawmakers unveiled their case: If Congress gives voters insight into Donald Trump’s financial interests, what’s to stop it from giving voters insight into the financial interests of all who rule them?

Oddly enough, I have no problems with that.

GOP Warns That Releasing Trump’s Taxes Could Lead to Further Transparency

GOP Warns That Releasing Trump’s Taxes Could Lead to Further Transparency

Photo of three House Representatives, with Rep John Lewis (D-GA) in the center

Republicans say exposing Trump’s conflicts of interest is a slippery slope that would lead to exposing all politicians’ conflicts of interest.

Source: nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/02/gop-warns-releasing-trumps-taxes-could-lead-to-transparency.html


T-Mobile executives seeking merger approval booked more than 52 nights at Trump’s D.C. hotel — more than previously known

T-Mobile executives seeking merger approval booked more than 52 nights at Trump’s D.C. hotel — more than previously known

Congressional Democrats are demanding information on the visits as political scrutiny of the deal intensifies.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/politics/t-mobile-executives-seeking-merger-approval-booked-more-than-52-nights-at-trumps-hotel–more-than-previously-known/2019/02/06/cd6fa7e6-29ca-11e9-b011-d8500644dc98_story.html

 


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Brexiteers demand Theresa May ask Trump to solve Brexit talks

/spits out coffee. No! Seriously, no!  WTF??

Conservative MPs, who oppose the prime minister’s European Union exit deal, want her to approach the US president and request that he lobby the Irish government to give ground in negotiations, Sky News reported on Tuesday.

Brexiteers demand Theresa May ask Trump to solve Brexit talks

Brexiteers demand Theresa May ask Trump to solve Brexit talks

Conservative MPs want the prime minister to request US President Donald Trump to intervene to persuade the Irish government to give ground in talks.

Source: www.businessinsider.com/brexiteers-demand-theresa-may-ask-trump-to-solve-brexit-talks-northern-ireland-backstop-2019-2

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stripping rights from women

“Reproductive freedom is critical to a whole range of issues. If we can’t take charge of this most personal aspect of our lives, we can’t take care of anything. It should not be seen as a privilege or as a benefit, but a fundamental human right.”
Faye Wattleton

You know what they call a person without rights, or with reduced rights? A slave, a child. This is what a large percentage of particularly white,  privileged, entitled people are working on in this country. While the effect will be felt by all women, its burden will fall disproportionately on those that the selfsame rich white entitled hate the most. And without an understanding of the underlying dynamics pinning it, it further fractures women who may all be women but are also either rich or poor, white or non-white, educated or non-educated and so on.

Abortion is a particularly nasty pretext for all of this.  And it is instructive to see the fury anti-abortionists have brought to bear ever since Roe vs. Wade.

After such victories could no longer be achieved openly in the federal courts, the battle moved to the statehouses, where hundreds upon hundreds of TRAP laws—that stands for Targeted Regulation of Abortion Providers—have been passed, often making debunked or unfounded claims about maternal health and exigent medical necessity. Only rarely and inadvertently is the desired endgame—to shutter clinics, all clinics, forever—acknowledged. Occasionally, someone will make this point out loud. The day after Texas approved its own TRAP law in 2013, then–Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst tweeted a photo of a map that showed all the abortion clinics that would close as a result of the bill, writing, “We fought to pass SB5 thru the Senate last night, & this is why!” But even though most elected officials aren’t as forthright as Dewhurst, shuttering clinics has always been the explicit plan, as Americans United For Life— the organization that designed most of these laws—has expressed openly. “As we’re moving forward at the state level, we end up hollowing out Roe, even without the Supreme Court,” said the former head of the group. “States can’t outlaw abortion. That does not mean there’s a constitutional right to abortion being convenient,” another AUL official said.

And yet the subterfuge persists. Even as groups targeting the right to choose demand nothing but perfect loyalty from state government officials, judicial nominees, and presidents, everyone still pretends this isn’t about closing down clinics. The impossibility of this public stance has become increasingly evident under Donald Trump, who promised to appoint only judges who would overturn Roe. Even so, the Supreme Court justices he’s seated insist they have no strong feelings on the matter, even as Neil Gorsuch has written, about employee contraception, that “all of us face the problem of complicity. All of us must answer for ourselves whether and to what degree we are willing to be involved in the wrongdoing of others,” and Brett Kavanaugh has written that “some disagree with cases that allow the Government to refuse to fund abortions … some disagree with cases holding that the U.S. Constitution provides a right to an abortion.”

Will five justices on the current Supreme Court vote to protect Roe? Maybe. Will five justices on the current Supreme Court happily stand back while that precedent is hollowed out by states and lower courts? Very likely. This is the maddening subterfuge women wait out, as men who have promised that they respect precedent decide this week whether they respect it enough to fight for it.

 

 

The Lies That Will Kill Roe v. Wade at the Supreme Court

Decades of falsehoods from conservative activists and judges are about to pay off.

Source: slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/02/roe-v-wade-overturned-abortion-june-medical-services-gee-roberts-court.html

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a shot across the bow for Puerto Rico

Oh, this is sublime….

On Monday, however, U.S. District Judge Gustavo Gelpí—a George W. Bush appointee—issued a shot across the bow that throws the legality of this federal abuse into question. In a fiery ruling, Gelpí accused the federal government of unconstitutionally discriminating against Puerto Ricans, violating their equal protection rights by withholding disability benefits owed to mainland residents who are from the island. Gelpí concluded that the Supreme Court’s recent marriage equality decision eroded the old, racist precedents, guaranteeing Puerto Ricans the full privileges of citizenship. His decision could mark the beginning of an earthquake in federal law—one that could finally limit the federal government’s ability to abuse the territories.

Judge Blocks Discrimination Against Puerto Ricans, Says Federal Government Is Engaging in “Citizenship Apartheid”

Judge Blocks Discrimination Against Puerto Ricans, Says Federal Government Is Engaging in “Citizenship Apartheid”

Although residents of Puerto Rico are American citizens, Congress has refused to extend the full social safety net to the island.

Source: slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/02/puerto-rico-social-security-benefits-gelpi-ruling-citizenship-apartheid.html

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the havoc that the wealthy wreak

Another must read on Brexit.

It’s embarrassing, trying to explain Brexit to Americans. It’s like trying to explain wildfires to people whose houses are underwater. Given that Americans have their own political horror show to watch through their fingers as their faith in humanity fizzles, they may well wonder why on Earth they ought to pay any attention to the crypto-nationalist omnishambles happening across the Atlantic. Isn’t it essentially just the same as the American omnishambles, except on a BBC budget, with more subdued special effects and a lot of squashed-looking posh people pretending to know what they’re talking about? Well, no, it’s not quite the same, and yes, it’s worth your attention. Here’s why.

Brexit Britain is an object lesson in how a modern nation fails. It’s the last act in a familiar unhappy marriage plot, with ruthless neoliberal economic orthodoxy wedded to the genteel thuggery of old-school conservative entitlement, combining to create something so much weirder, and so much worse, that the result can collapse an entire culture.

So let’s remind ourselves what’s at stake here. Let’s take a hard look at the worst-case, and right now most likely, outcome: a no-deal Brexit. In less than 60 days, Britain has to leave the E.U., and the difference between doing so with a deal and without one is the difference between being kicked out of a plane with and without a parachute. Here’s what no-deal Brexit means: it means an immediate and lasting recession. It means massive job losses. It means serious shortages of food and medicines. It means major businesses closing down. It means, ironically, the possible break-up of the United Kingdom, as the Scottish, who didn’t vote for Brexit, inevitably demand a second independence referendum. It means new violence along the Irish border. It means Britain losing its cherished place at the top table in the international community after we’ve definitively demonstrated that just because we once owned a lot of other countries doesn’t mean we can be trusted not to trash our own. It means that ordinary people, already reeling from nine years of brutal austerity, will find their lives collapsing, all in service of a rich man’s gamble.

And if you wonder, why not just back out?

We could stop this train if we wanted to. All it would take is for Parliament to turn around and admit that it got it wrong, and face the consequences at the polls. The E.U. will let us stay. The E.U. doesn’t want England to leave. Not because the rest of Europe likes us. They don’t. Why would they? We’ve been nothing but trouble, even before we pulled this tantrum. We never fully signed up to the spirit of the E.U., preferring to nurse our crabbed fantasies of the plucky little empire that could. But if Europe lets us leave, member states will feel the knock-on financial effects—and it will set a dangerous precedent that could lead to the break-up of the already fragile European bloc. At which point, the only person who goes home happy is Russian President Vladimir Putin.

That’s about the size of this seven-dimensional cock-up. Nobody can decide what to do, but just ignoring it and hoping it will go away is the worst idea of all. As E.U. president Donald Tusk wrote on Twitter in January: “Nobody wants no deal, and nobody can agree on a deal—who has the guts to state the obvious option?”

The obvious option, of course, is not doing Brexit. But any politician who says so risks losing their job at the next election. The few who had the fortitude to place the nation’s interests ahead of their own were condemned as “traitors,” which is Brexitese for “the only actual patriots in the room.”

How Austerity Caused Brexit

How Austerity Caused Brexit

Brexit Britain is an object lesson in how a modern nation fails.

Source: psmag.com/ideas/brexit-how-austerity-and-a-cowardly-ruling-class-brought-down-england

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Authoritarianism: Jan 27–Feb 2

“People shouldn’t be afraid of their government. Governments should be afraid of their people.”
Alan Moore, V for Vendetta

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Sunday

Oh, headlinitus >.<

Americans support investigating Trump, but many are skeptical that inquiries will be fair, new poll finds

Americans support investigating Trump, but many are skeptical that inquiries will be fair, new poll finds

A new Washington Post-ABC News survey finds that half of respondents express “just some” confidence or none at all that the forthcoming special counsel’s report will be evenhanded.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/politics/americans-support-investigating-trump-but-many-are-skeptical-that-inquiries-will-be-fair-new-poll-finds/2019/01/26/12c30a9a-2129-11e9-8b59-0a28f2191131_story.html


Does this have to be either/or? I say we do BOTH.

Most proposals to tax the rich have focused on raising rates on income and capital gains, as well as increasing estate taxes. That’s what Ocasio-Cortez raised on CBS’ “60 Minutes” earlier this month, when she proposed setting rates as high as 70% on earnings above $10 million to help fund a climate change plan she describes as a “Green New Deal.”

Warren, on the other hand, wants to tap into different pool of money — the assets of the wealthy. A plan developed by her nascent presidential campaign would impose a 2% tax on Americans whose net worth exceeds $50 million, with an additional 1% levy on billionaires, according to documents provided by Warren’s presidential campaign.

How Warren’s plan to tax the rich is different from Ocasio-Cortez’s

How Warren’s plan to tax the rich is different from Ocasio-Cortez’s

Both Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren and freshman New York Rep. Alexandra Ocasio-Cortez want to tax the rich — but the two progressive Democratic icons are proposing going about it in very different ways.

Source: www.cnn.com/2019/01/27/politics/ocasio-cortez-warren-rich-tax/index.html


Meanwhile, Putin’s getting his ROI.

Deripaska and Allies Could Benefit From Sanctions Deal, Document Shows

Deripaska and Allies Could Benefit From Sanctions Deal, Document Shows

The Trump administration’s agreement to lift sanctions on the empire of the Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska would allow him to pay off substantial debt.

Source: www.nytimes.com/2019/01/21/us/politics/oleg-deripaska-russian-sanctions.html


Ethics watchdog calls out Trump for threatening Starbucks to ‘keep putting money in his pocket’

Ethics watchdog calls out Trump for threatening Starbucks to ‘keep putting money in his pocket’

An ethics watchdog flagged a tweet from President Donald Trump that appeared to threaten Starbucks over a possible political challenge from its former CEO. Trump responded in his customary form to media coverage of Howard Schultz considering a presidential campaign as an independent. “Howard Schultz doesn’t have the ‘guts’ to run for President!” Trump tweeted Monday morning. “Watched him on @60Minutes last night and I agree with him that he is not the ‘smartest person.’ …

Source: www.rawstory.com/2019/01/ethics-watchdog-calls-trump-threatening-starbucks-keep-putting-money-pocket/


Monday

Not that logic is this chump’s strong suit.  It wouldn’t even slow him down. I’m legit unsure if he’d be smart enough to avoid another shutdown.

Trump Is Destroying His Own Case for a National Emergency

Trump Is Destroying His Own Case for a National Emergency

U.S. President Donald Trump pauses as he announces a deal to end the partial government shutdown as while speaking in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., January 25, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque – RC12AAA15710

By waiting for Congress to act, the president is undermining the legal basis for any declaration.

Source: www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/01/trump-has-no-case-national-emergency/581356/


The rent is too damned high because money-laundering oligarchs bought all the real-estate to clean their oil money

The rent is too damned high because money-laundering oligarchs bought all the real-estate to clean their oil money

The rent is too damned high because money-laundering oligarchs bought all the real-estate to clean their oil money

Source: boingboing.net/2019/01/27/cz-edwards.html


Opinion | Paths to Power: How Every Member Got to Congress

Opinion | Paths to Power: How Every Member Got to Congress

Most members of the House, even the new ones, made it to Washington by way of institutions and professions that are out of reach for most Americans.

Source: www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/01/26/opinion/sunday/paths-to-congress.html


By the way, we paid dearly for Трамп’s posturing and temper tantrum.

The report, which was released Monday, estimated a hit of $3 billion, or 0.1 percent, to economic activity during the fourth quarter of 2018. The impact was projected to be greater during the first quarter of 2019: $8 billion, or 0.2 percent of GDP.

Although most of the damage to the economy will be reversed as federal workers return to their jobs, the CBO estimated $3 billion in economic activity is permanently lost after a quarter of the government was closed for nearly 35 days.

The shutdown cost the economy $11 billion – including a permanent $3 billion loss, government says

The shutdown cost the economy $11 billion – including a permanent $3 billion loss, government says

Overall, the CBO projected economic growth will slow this year to 2.3 percent, compared with the 3.1 percent rate last year, as the benefits of the new tax law begin to fade.

Source: www.cnbc.com/amp/2019/01/28/government-shutdown-cost-the-economy-11-billion-cbo.html


Waste of time & resources all most probably to keep from spending any time on anything actually useful to investigate. But in any case there is a reason this buffoon is on the committee:

While Graham, who also promised to use his spot on the committee to speed through Trump’s judicial nominees, is apparently eager to do Trump’s bidding on the panel, Democrats are calling for Graham to call Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, to testify.

No matter how much Graham badmouths Трамп (most recently in declaring that Трамп’s presidency would be absolutely OVER if he caved on the shutdown) seems he stays busy on his knees before Трамп.

Lindsey Graham renews probe into Hillary’s emails; Democrats burst out laughing

Lindsey Graham renews probe into Hillary’s emails; Democrats burst out laughing

New Judiciary Committee chair is eager for yet another go at Hillary and the FBI; Dems suggest Michael Cohen

Source: www.salon.com/2019/01/23/lindsey-graham-renews-probe-into-hillarys-emails-democrats-burst-out-laughing/


Oh, for fucks sake. This likely won’t pass because I can’t see House approving this (which the article fails to point out).

Top GOP senators propose repealing estate tax, which is expected to be paid by fewer than 2,000 Americans a year

Top GOP senators propose repealing estate tax, which is expected to be paid by fewer than 2,000 Americans a year

The proposal, backed by three of the top Republicans in the Senate, comes as leading Democrats call for dramatically increasing taxes on the wealthy.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/us-policy/2019/01/28/top-gop-senators-propose-repealing-estate-tax-which-is-expected-be-paid-by-fewer-than-americans-year/


Setting aside for the moment that the LAST thing this country needs is yet another fatwit, egotistical billionaire who thinks he’s G-ds answer to the U.S.’s problems (or hell, just as a convenient way to line his own pockets further, the current mobbed up mobster in the W.H. isn’t having any of it.

Ethics watchdog calls out Trump for threatening Starbucks to ‘keep putting money in his pocket’

Ethics watchdog calls out Trump for threatening Starbucks to ‘keep putting money in his pocket’

An ethics watchdog flagged a tweet from President Donald Trump that appeared to threaten Starbucks over a possible political challenge from its former CEO. Trump responded in his customary form to media coverage of Howard Schultz considering a presidential campaign as an independent. “Howard Schultz doesn’t have the ‘guts’ to run for President!” Trump tweeted Monday morning. “Watched him on @60Minutes last night and I agree with him that he is not the ‘smartest person.’ …

Source: www.rawstory.com/2019/01/ethics-watchdog-calls-trump-threatening-starbucks-keep-putting-money-pocket/


They’re trying to kill us all, part 37653

The AP identified up to $11.6 billion in potential future savings for companies that extract, burn and transport fossil fuels. Industry windfalls of billions of dollars more could come from a freeze in vehicle efficiency standards that will yield an estimated 79 billion-gallon (300 million-liter) increase in fuel consumption.

On the opposite side of the government’s ledger, buried in thousands of pages of analyses, are the “social costs” of rolling back the regulations. Among them:

— Up to 1,400 additional premature deaths annually due to the pending repeal of a rule to cut coal plant pollution.

— An increase in greenhouse gas emissions by about 1 billion tons (907 million metric tons) from vehicles produced over the next decade — a figure equivalent to annual emissions of almost 200 million vehicles.

— Increased risk of water contamination from a drilling technique known as “fracking.”

— Fewer safety checks to prevent offshore oil spills.

For the Trump administration and its supporters, the rule changes examined by AP mark a much-needed pivot away from heavy regulations that threatened to hold back the Republican president’s goal of increasing U.S. energy production. But the AP’s findings also underscore the administration’s willingness to put company profits ahead of safety considerations and pollution effects.

Trump rollbacks for fossil fuel industries carry steep cost

Trump rollbacks for fossil fuel industries carry steep cost

BILLINGS, Mont. (AP) — As the Trump administration rolls back environmental and safety rules for the energy sector, government projections show billions of dollars in savings reaped by companies will come at a steep cost: more premature deaths and illnesses from air pollution, a jump in climate-warming emissions and more severe derailments of trains carrying explosive fuels. The Associated Press analyzed 11 major rules targeted for repeal or relaxation under Trump, using the administration’s own estimates to tally how its actions would boost businesses and harm society.

Source: apnews.com/e38e8c16b610439db2273b8b35b4bc58


Wednesday

“Quietly…”  But they sure trumpeted the issue with fanfare first…so that is what will stand out in peoples’ minds…

Texas quietly informs counties that some of the 95,000 voters flagged for citizenship review don’t belong on the list

Texas quietly informs counties that some of the 95,000 voters flagged for citizenship review don’t belong on the list

County officials said the number mistakenly flagged is “significant.”

Source: www.texastribune.org/2019/01/29/texas-voter-citizenship-list-problems-state-tells-counties/?utm_campaign=trib-social-buttons


It’s hard to see how Trump could be more out of touch with voters — or how Democrats, for now, could be better positioned. Going up against Trump has done wonders for the Democrats and for Pelosi personally, but there are several concerns Democrats would do well to address. First, Democrats need to pivot from opposing the wall to supporting smart, serious border security measures. Since no one in Congress these days seems to care much about spending, they shouldn’t be afraid of spending some real money. Second, they have leverage now to do something useful about the real, current problem: migrants. They should push for more immigration judges to reduce the backlog, and more aid and assistance to the countries from which migrants are fleeing.

Finally, protection for the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals is a winning issue for Democrats. They might try to throw it into this negotiation, but they shouldn’t let Republicans paint them as holding up border protection for “dreamers.” They will score points by passing and sending over to the Senate a realistic and humane bill to legalize dreamers and to protect those on temporary protected status. Let Republicans be the ogres — again.

Opinion | Pelosi should send the GOP roses

Opinion | Pelosi should send the GOP roses

No question which party had the best leader.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/01/30/pelosi-should-send-gop-roses/


“Why don’t people ever tell billionaires who want to run for President that they need to ‘work their way up’ or that ‘maybe they should start with city council first’?” the 29-year-old congresswoman tweeted.

The freshman lawmaker was referencing criticism she received during her House campaign last year that she should have aspired to a more local position before running for federal office.

Ocasio-Cortez on Schultz: Why are billionaires who want to run for president never told to ‘work their way up’?

Ocasio-Cortez on Schultz: Why are billionaires who want to run for president never told to ‘work their way up’?

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) on Wednesday ripped former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz over his possible independent presidential bid, suggesting his lack of political experience pointed to a double standard.

Source: thehill.com/homenews/house/427631-ocasio-cortez-on-schultz-why-are-billionaires-who-want-to-run-for-president


Billionaires need to be taxed out of existence.

A science journal funded by Peter Thiel is running articles dismissing climate change and evolution

A science journal funded by Peter Thiel is running articles dismissing climate change and evolution

Yet Inference also has contributions from well-known intellectuals and scientists.

Source: www.motherjones.com/environment/2019/01/a-science-journal-funded-by-peter-thiel-is-running-articles-dismissing-climate-change-and-evolution/


Thursday

The White House quietly rolled back workplace safety rules during the shutdown

The White House quietly rolled back workplace safety rules during the shutdown

Public health groups are suing the Trump administration for blocking a rule requiring employers to report details of workplace injuries.

Source: www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/1/29/18197346/trump-labor-electronic-injury-reporting-rule


Pelosi and Trump harden positions on border wall

Pelosi and Trump harden positions on border wall

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday hardened their positions about a border wall, casting doubt on the prospects of Capitol Hill negotiations intended to reach a compromise and avoid a second government shutdown. “There’s not going to be any wall money in the legislation,” Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters. Her remarks came after Democrats had signaled at least some flexibility in the talks on border security funding that began only Wednesday.

Source: apnews.com/d2767ce335644e4c9d27386231b1edf3


Meanwhile:


Friday

WH Cancels Trump’s Daily Intelligence Briefing Amid His Anger At Intel Chiefs

WH Cancels Trump’s Daily Intelligence Briefing Amid His Anger At Intel Chiefs

The White House abruptly cancelled President Donald Trump’s daily intelligence briefing with his chiefs Wednesday, a day after CIA Director…

Source: talkingpointsmemo.com/news/white-house-cancels-trump-daily-intelligence-briefing-anger-at-chiefs


5 House freshmen get seats on panel probing Trump’s WH

WASHINGTON (AP) — IIt’s known as “the theater committee” for its high profile, high-drama role investigating President Donald Trump’s White House. And now, five of the fieriest Democratic freshmen in the House are players on that stage. By LAURIE KELLMAN and MARY CLARE JALONICK Associated Press

Source: apnews.com/a035c41ff3bf4980b8e68bbfe2586ce8


So just what does faze these stupid GOP batshit politicians?

“Recently he seems to put his political position, things he wants to achieve as political objectives, far above any informed assessment that the intelligence community is providing to him,” said Carrie Cordero, a former counsel to the assistant attorney general for national security, on CNN on Wednesday.
Trump’s shot at the clandestine community even has some Republicans, who are often loath to criticize the President, worried.
“I prefer the President would stay off Twitter, particularly with regard to these important national security issues where you’ve got people who are experts and have the background and are professionals,” said Sen John Thune, a South Dakota Republican.
“I think in those cases when it comes to their judgment, take into consideration what they’re saying. … I think we need to trust their judgment.”

Even some Republicans balk as Trump targets US spy chiefs

Even some Republicans balk as Trump targets US spy chiefs

Even after two years, President Donald Trump’s assaults on US spy chiefs are shocking coming from a commander in chief.

Source: www.cnn.com/2019/01/31/politics/donald-trump-russia-intelligence-cia/index.html


Saturday

 

Twitter Users Erupt After Mitch McConnell Calls Election Day Holiday A Dem ‘Power Grab’

Twitter Users Erupt After Mitch McConnell Calls Election Day Holiday A Dem ‘Power Grab’

“Only Mitch McConnell and Senate Republicans could manipulate something as benign and well intentioned as making Election Day a holiday into a vast left-…

Source: www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/mitch-mcconnell-power-grab-democrats-reaction_us_5c52aabee4b0ca92c6dd453b


Oh for fuck’s sake.


Trump: I’m ‘Entitled’ to Positive Coverage From The New York Times

Donald Trump has told The New York Times that he thinks he’s “entitled” to positive coverage from the newspaper because he’s from Queens.

Source: www.thedailybeast.com/trump-im-entitled-to-positive-coverage-from-the-new-york-times


Russia Is Attacking the U.S. System From Within

Russia Is Attacking the U.S. System From Within

A new filing by Special Counsel Robert Mueller shows how Russia uses the federal courts to go after its adversaries.

Source: www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/02/new-mueller-filing-shows-how-russia-misuses-us-courts/581884/


‘Was it worth it?’ CNN host corners Louisiana Republican after GOP takes huge approval hit after shutdown

‘Was it worth it?’ CNN host corners Louisiana Republican after GOP takes huge approval hit after shutdown

Louisiana Republican Senator John Kennedy found himself in the hot seat on Thursday as CNN’s Brooke Baldwin forced him to say whether President Donald Trump’s shutdown was “worth it”, after the president came away with nothing and the Republican party suffered a massive hit to its approval rating. Baldwin, noting the Republicans’ predicament, had one question for Kennedy: “was it worth it?” Kennedy, for his part, took a folksy tone, and tried to skirt the …

Source: www.rawstory.com/2019/01/worth-cnn-host-corners-louisiana-republican-gop-takes-huge-approval-hit-shutdown/


Revealed: FBI investigated civil rights group as ‘terrorism’ threat and viewed KKK as victims

Revealed: FBI investigated civil rights group as ‘terrorism’ threat and viewed KKK as victims

Bureau spied on California activists, citing potential ‘conspiracy’ against the ‘rights’ of neo-Nazis

Source: www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/feb/01/sacramento-rally-fbi-kkk-domestic-terrorism-california


Worth thinking about.

A Surprisingly Simple Solution to Fake News

A Surprisingly Simple Solution to Fake News

Fake news is an old problem that has been given a fresh breath of air. Here are five things you should do to stop it affecting you.

Source: www.inc.com/david-amerland/a-surprisingly-simple-solution-to-fake-news.html


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a little bit of history in tax studies

Man, those republicans REALLY don’t like anything that disagrees with them, do they?

If you are a Republican member of the United States Senate, you do everything in your power to suppress that report—particularly when it comes less than two months before a national election where your candidate is selling this very economic theory as the basis for his candidacy.

Initially released on September 14, 2012, the study—authored by Thomas Hungerford who is a specialist in public finance at the C.R.S.—correlated the historical fluctuations of the highest income tax rates and tax rates on capital gains dating back to World War II with the economic growth (or lack of the same) that followed.

The conclusion?

Lowering the tax rates on the wealthy and top earners in America do not appear to have any impact on the nation’s economic growth.

So, natch, THIS COULD NOT BE ALLOWED TO STAND!

Not surprisingly, the results of the study caught the attention of a great many conservatives—so much so that, according to a New York Times piece, Republican’s in the United States Senate successfully pressured the Congressional Research Service to withdraw the report shortly after it was released. The withdrawal came over the objection of the CRS economic team and the author of the study.

The Times further reports that, according to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell’s spokesperson, Senator McConnell—along with additional GOP senators— “raised concerns about the methodology and other flaws,” adding that additional people outside of Congress were also criticizing the study.

The nature of these alleged flaws?

That the report included terms such as “the Bush tax cuts” and references to “tax cuts for the rich.”

Democrats are pulling it back into the public arena.

On Thursday, Senate Democrats republished the study following a letter sent to the C.R.S. by the ranking Democratic tax expert in the House, Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI), which reads, in part—

“I was deeply disturbed to hear that Mr. Hungerford’s report was taken down in response to political pressure from Congressional Republicans who had ideological objections to the report’s factual findings and conclusion. It would be completely inappropriate for CRS to censor one of its analysts simply because participants in the political process found his or her conclusion in conflict with their partisan position. I would like your explanation as to why this report was removed from the CRS website, who made that decision and what considerations led to it.”

For almost 100 years, the Congressional Research Service has worked to assist Congress by providing well-researched and accurate data to be utilized in the creation of important public policy.  It has done so when Congress was controlled by Democrats and when Congress has been under the control of Republicans. No matter what party was in charge, the C.R.S. has always endeavored to keep politics out of their work in the effort to provide data that would inform and advance our public policy.

Non-Partisan Congressional Tax Report Debunks Core Conservative Economic Theory-GOP Suppresses Study

What do you do when the Congressional Research Service, the completely non-partisan arm of the Library of Congress that has been advising Congress—and only Congress—on matters of policy and law for nearly a century, […]

Source: www.forbes.com/sites/rickungar/2012/11/02/non-partisan-congressional-tax-report-debunks-core-conservative-economic-theory-gop-suppresses-study/

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Authoritarianism: Jan 20–26

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.–Issac Asimov

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Govt Employees: Working without Getting Paid; Mitch McConnell: Getting Paid without Working

More below the fold:

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Sunday

The third annual Women’s March was yesterday (1/19/2019). A snapshot…

Women’s March 2019: Live updates

Women’s March 2019: Live updates

Photo of Women's March D.C., crowd waiting for a speaker to appear.

Thousands of women are expected to rally in cities across the US for the third year of Women’s Marches. Follow here for the latest

Source: www.cnn.com/us/live-news/womens-march-2019/index.html

All the best signs from Women’s March events around the world

All the best signs from Women’s March events around the world

Women's March sign with an angry ovary on it saying 'WE ARE NOT OVARY-ACTING'

“I USED TO LIKE CHEETOS.”

Source: mashable.com/article/best-signs-womens-march-2019/

In pictures: Women march across the country

In pictures: Women march across the country

Women's march, unknown location, showing protesters with signs.

Women across the country are marching on Saturday, February 19.

Source: www.cnn.com/2019/01/19/us/gallery/womens-march-2019/index.html

Thousands turn out for Women’s March across the country

Thousands turn out for Women’s March across the country

Women's March in Los Angeles: protesters with signs.

Thousands turn out for Women’s March in downtown Los Angeles

Source: www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-ln-los-angeles-womens-march-20190120-story.html

Thousands flood San Diego streets for Women’s March

Thousands flood San Diego streets for Women’s March

Aerial photo of San Diego's Women's March showing the sizeable crowd at Waterfront Park.

Waterfront Park in downtown San Diego played host to thousands of people demonstrating in the third annual Women’s March, which also took place in dozens of other cities across the country Saturday.

Source: fox5sandiego.com/2019/01/19/third-annual-womens-march-planned-in-san-diego-across-u-s/


This is the largest Democrat freshman class we have had in decades. Look to these people to see where the House will be heading. I find it fascinating and highly encouraging, especially given the diversity of these people.

But these freshmen are determined to deliver on campaign promises that broadly unite them in calling for improving the lives of working-class Americans by increasing access to affordable health care and good-paying jobs. Sworn in to the first Congress to convene amid a government shutdown, the members instead have encountered a capital where the dysfunction they campaigned against is deeper than many of them foresaw and where every other issue is secondary to resolving a crisis they had no role in creating.

The partial government shutdown that’s forced 800,000 federal workers to go without pay since Dec. 22 is impacting many of their constituents and impeding their desire to move forward on their campaign promises. Impatient, and in some cases nervous and uncertain about how to proceed, many of the freshmen concluded quickly that they could not stand by to wait and watch to see if Trump, Pelosi, McConnell and other leaders could find their way out of the impasse.

Instead they’ve acted, including with the impromptu visits to McConnell’s offices led by Neguse, Rep. Katie Hill (D-Calif.), Ocasio-Cortez and others, which have been broadcast widely on social media, heightening focus on the shutdown among the grass-root activists who sent these lawmakers to Congress.

“I think one thing that a lot of members, especially members like Majority Leader McConnell are not prepared for, is the fact that 70 percent of our class are non-career politicians. We’re activists. We’re front line community leaders. We’re small-business owners, nurses, teachers,” Ocasio-Cortez said as she, Hill and others stood outside one of McConnell’s offices this week. “And we’re not going to operate in Washington the way that they have been.”

As shutdown drags on, Democrats’ massive class of newcomers makes its mark

As shutdown drags on, Democrats’ massive class of newcomers makes its mark

Photo of Ayanna Pressley (D-MA)

Democratic freshmen are turning to the activist tactics they used in their campaigns to make their mark amid the shutdown.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/business/economy/as-shutdown-drags-on-democrats-massive-class-of-newcomers-makes-its-mark/2019/01/19/c34800d8-1a89-11e9-8813-cb9dec761e73_story.html


Yep.

On Saturday, signs of movement appeared but the two sides remained far apart on the central issues.

Trump proposed that Congress fund a wall in exchange for a three-year reprieve from deportation for the so-called Dreamers, immigrants who entered the country illegally as children. Pelosi called that “a nonstarter.”

Instead, she plans to pass a package of House bills that would reopen shuttered government agencies and increase spending on border security — without a wall.

Both proposals appeared intended to allow each party to claim that it’s working toward a solution, another front in the battle for public sentiment.

Pelosi’s real goal is to establish a new balance of power for the next two years — reflecting her fourth precept: “Congress is a co-equal branch of government.”

Nancy Pelosi is winning in her battle with Trump. Here’s why

Nancy Pelosi is winning in her battle with Trump. Here’s why

Pelosi, in now-famous moment when she told Trump not to characterize the strength she brings to the house and where Trump said he would 'own the shutdown.'This is the showdown Nancy Pelosi has been planning for, preparing for, even yearning for since President Trump was inaugurated two years ago. Trump is learning a lesson many others have learned the hard way: Pelosi may be a San Francisco progressive but there’s nothing soft about her in a fight.

Source: www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-mcmanus-column-pelosi-20190120-story.html


Monday

This is quite true. That’s why the only resolution to this shutdown is for Congress to ovary up and pass a clean funding bill with a vetoproof majority.

Offering something temporary for something permanent isn't a proposal. It's a con. Offering to give something back you took away isn't a proposal. It's blackmail. Using people as bargaining chips isn't a strategy. It's extortion.


The white Evangelicals’ name has been permanently shattered (let it rot in the lexicon alongside swastika, etc), but this is still good news if they abandon Трамп. Won’t save their black, rotten, hateful souls but we’d be rid of Трамп the faster.

Unperturbed by Trump’s history as a liar, serial philanderer and casino operator, the religious right has chosen instead to see in Trump the man who is going to deliver on their dreams, especially the anti-LGBTQ ones.

From Stormy Daniels through the Russian investigation, Trump could always count on his evangelicals supporters to give him, in hate group leader Tony Perkins’ words, a “mulligan” for his actions.

But if a recent poll is any indication, Trump may be running out of mulligans.

According to an NPR/PBS NewsHour/Marist Poll, Trump is beginning to see evangelicals start to turn against him. The survey results, based on more than 1,000 responses from voters earlier this month, shows a significant erosion of support from conservative Christians from just the month before. Trump’s positive/negative ratings shifted 13 points, from 73-to-17 percent approve to 66-to-23 percent approve.

It’s worth remembering we only have Трамп because of the way the GOP fucks around with the electorate.

The problem for Trump is that he doesn’t have any margin for error in his re-election effort. He won in 2016 thanks to 80,000 people in three swing states, even though he lost the popular vote by 3 million. With such tight margins, he can’t afford to lose any of his supporters, especially since Democrats are chomping at the bit to vote against him.

Trump is starting to lose his evangelical base when he needs them most

Trump is starting to lose his evangelical base when he needs them most

Photo of Trump with hand over heart (if he has one).

A new poll shows Trump is starting to lose support among conservative white evangelicals, jeopardizing his re-election chances.

Source: www.lgbtqnation.com/2019/01/trump-starting-lose-evangelical-base-needs/


Oh,  yeah.

  • First, special counsel Robert S. Mueller III does his job methodically, secretly and effectively, wrapping up one witness after another.
  • Second, Trump’s play-to-the-base strategy was a blunder with enormous ramifications.
  • Third, in the midst of a scandal, most presidents can fall back on their role as commander in chief and architect of U.S. foreign policy to sustain their aura of power. Trump’s foreign policy, aside from the taint from his subservience to Russia, is characterized as chaotic, frightening and entirely ineffective.
  • Fourth, Trump’s narcissism, incompetence and rotten judgment have led him to force out any adviser with a modicum of common sense, experience and influence.
  • Finally, a primary challenge to Trump was once unthinkable. However strongly Republicans cling to Trump in the face of Democratic attacks and harsh media coverage, Republicans are increasingly open to a primary challenge.

Opinion | Five reasons Trump may be a one-termer

Opinion | Five reasons Trump may be a one-termer

Washington Post

The shrinking possibility of a second Trump term.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/01/20/five-reasons-trump-may-be-one-termer/


I’m torn between “Thank God this lump of shit doesn’t destroy more by being on the ball,” and “What an utter piece of shit, he can’t even do the job  he ran for.” Then I just return to head-desking.

“Low energy”: Trump works less than most Americans

“Low energy”: Trump works less than most Americans

Photo of Trump wearing a MAGA hat while golfing.

In a Special Report, MSNBC Chief Legal Correspondent, Ari Melber, examines Trump’s first two years in office and a scandal hiding in plain sight: mounting evidence that there are stretches of time when Trump avoids doing most of the work of the Presidency. Melber breaks down how Trump has demonstrated a “new low” in Presidential work ethic, coming into the office late, play golf frequently, spending “Executive Time” watching TV and making personal calls and failing to make many key Government appointments in the State, Defense and other departments.

Source: www.msnbc.com/the-beat-with-ari/watch/-low-energy-trump-works-less-than-most-americans-1429581379748


LORDY THERE ARE TAPES

Screenshot of tweet in link showing Giuliani's slip about reviewing tapes. Text is: Giuliani tells NYer he's 'been through all the tapes' and that's how he knew BuzzFeed misreported. Pressed on what he means by tapes, Giuliani: 'I shouldn’t have said tapes.' Pressed again, says, 'I have listened to tapes, but none of them concern this.'

(Link to article quoted in above tweet: “Even If He Did Do It, It Wouldn’t Be a Crime”: Rudy Giuliani on President Trump)


Tuesday

Welcome to shutdown day 32…

Quick rundown on past shutdowns:

Here’s how previous government shutdowns ended under Trump, Clinton, Obama

Here’s how previous government shutdowns ended under Trump, Clinton, Obama

How will the government shut down end? We don’t know yet, but here’s what happened with previous government shutdown under the Trump, Clinton and Obama administrations.

Source: www.sandiegouniontribune.com/opinion/the-conversation/sd-how-government-shutdown-could-end-20190110-htmlstory.html


This is deeply concerning.. Because, this is effectively how culture reinforces DV, coercion of women and children, and really, rape culture as a whole, through these lowkey attributes wherein the perp can throw up his hands and say “hey, I didn’t touch her” and in so doing, misses the entire point. You’d think this was chump change and yet… and yet it’s important enough for the WH to change this from the very top (which conversely, underscores how important it is).

The previous definition included critical components of the phenomenon that experts recognize as domestic abuse—a pattern of deliberate behavior, the dynamics of power and control, and behaviors that encompass physical or sexual violence as well as forms of emotional, economic, or psychological abuse. But in the Trump Justice Department, only harms that constitute a felony or misdemeanor crime may be called domestic violence. So, for example, a woman whose partner isolates her from her family and friends, monitors her every move, belittles and berates her, or denies her access to money to support herself and her children is not a victim of domestic violence in the eyes of Trump’s Department of Justice. This makes no sense for an office charged with funding and implementing solutions to the problem of domestic violence rather than merely prosecuting individual abusers.

The Trump Administration Quietly Changed the Definition of Domestic Violence and We Have No Idea What For

The Trump Administration Quietly Changed the Definition of Domestic Violence and We Have No Idea What For

Image of Trump (not flattering).

It is too early to assess the full impact of the change.

Source: slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/01/trump-domestic-violence-definition-change.html


“Art of the Deal,” eh?

Trump is offering a three-year extension for the Obama-era Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which protects from deportation hundreds of thousands of immigrants brought to the U.S. as kids. The offer would also give a three-year extension to 300,000 people from El Salvador, Haiti, Nicaragua and Honduras who are living in the U.S. under the temporary protected status program.

Democrats rejected the offer before Trump even announced it on Saturday, however, maintaining that it didn’t go nearly far enough and that the president ought to reopen the government before any negotiations over the border proceed.

But the GOP bill incorporating his offer would also gut existing asylum laws for children and trafficking victims from Central America, ban asylum for minors who present themselves at ports of entry, gut the concept of temporary protected status for future cases and expand immigration detention ― all measures making it more likely to be dead on arrival in the Senate.

“Given the poison pills stuffed into a proposal that was supposed to entice Democrats we can now say the Trump ‘offer’ isn’t about getting to a deal but about shifting blame. So obvious. So predictable. So pathetic,” Frank Sharry, the executive director of the immigration advocacy group America’s Voice, tweeted on Tuesday.

The bill would ban asylum for Central American minors, including those who arrive at the border with their parents, unless the minors apply for asylum in their home country. It would also cap the number of Central American minors who are allowed to apply for asylum each year at 50,000 and limit the number of asylum applications that could be granted per year to 15,000.

Trump’s ‘Compromise’ Immigration Offer To Democrats Includes Major Changes Restricting Asylum Law

Trump’s ‘Compromise’ Immigration Offer To Democrats Includes Major Changes Restricting Asylum Law

Image of Huffington Post's logoThe proposal would gut asylum laws for Central American minors — which critics are calling a poison pill.

Source: www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/government-shutdown-trump-asylum-offer_us_5c472b5ce4b0bfa693c75e0e


Meanwhile in the House.

In a bipartisan 357-22 vote, the Democrat-led lower chamber sent the Senate the NATO Support Act, which would prohibit the use of federal funds to withdraw from the 70-year-old alliance.

Beyond asserting Congress’ power of the purse, it affirms support for NATO and its mutual defense clause, for the goal of each member nation to spend at least 2 percent of its gross domestic product on defense by 2024, for Montenegro’s accession and for “robust” U.S. funding for the European Deterrence Initiative, among other provisions

US House votes overwhelmingly to bar US exit from NATO

US House votes overwhelmingly to bar US exit from NATO

House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer of Md., left, accompanied by Rep. Jimmy Panetta, D-Calif., center, and Rep. Chrissy Houlahan, D-Pa., right, speaks at a news conference to introduce legislation supporting NATO on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, Jan. 22, 2019. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

The US House passed legislation meant to bar President Donald Trump from pulling the US out of NATO.

Source: www.defensenews.com/congress/2019/01/23/us-house-votes-overwhelmingly-to-bar-us-exit-from-nato/


<grin> Looks like @AOC is also teaching a number of fellow Dems… look at who else participated in #WheresMitch…

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Torches Trump For Shutdown In First House Floor Speech

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Torches Trump For Shutdown In First House Floor Speech

Huffington Post logo

“The truth is, this shutdown is about the erosion of American democracy and the subversion of our most basic governmental norms,” the freshman lawmaker s…

Source: www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-wheres-mitch-twitter-shutdown_us_5c404e8be4b0a8dbe16dd3e1


Wednesday

Exactly.

Image of Rep. Pramila Jayapal with the text: WHAT WOULD YOU DO NEXT TIME WHEN TRUMP SHUTS DOWN THE GOVERNMENT UNTIL WE CUT SOCIAL SECURITY? END LEGAL IMMIGRATION? WHAT DEAL WOULD YOU WANT US TO MAKE THEN? NO, SOMEONE NEEDS TO CALL OUT THE BULLY AND MAKE HIM TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE PERPETUAL HARM HE IS INFLICTING.

Note: quote is unverified and I haven’t been able to locate where she might have said this. Her twitter feed, however, is completely consistent with such a sentiment. If you find a source for this, please feel free to comment! Rep Pramila Jayapal (D-WA): @RepJayapal


This is delightful. YouTube video is captioned


This is a pretty interesting read.

The Unbelievable Story Of The Plot Against George Soros

The Unbelievable Story Of The Plot Against George Soros

The glass tower that houses George Soros’s office in Manhattan is overflowing with numbers on screens, tracking and predicting the directions of markets around the world. But there’s one that’s particularly hard to figure out — a basic orange chart on a screen analyzing sentiment on social media.

Source: www.defensenews.com/congress/2019/01/23/us-house-votes-overwhelmingly-to-bar-us-exit-from-nato/ The Unbelievable Story Of The Plot Against George Soros

How two Jewish American political consultants helped create the world’s largest anti-Semitic conspiracy theory


Witness tampering by POTUS o.O

NEWS - @MichaelCohen212 postponing his Feb. 7 testimony after threats to his family from President Trump and his team. Story TKMore here:

Michael Cohen Postpones Congressional Testimony Due to ‘Threats’

Michael Cohen Postpones Congressional Testimony Due to ‘Threats’

Michael Cohen, the former attorney for President Donald Trump, now cooperating with special counsel Robert Mueller, is postponing his planned February 7th testimony next month to Congress.The reason: threats from President Trump and attorney Rudy Giuliani, according to…

Source: www.newsmax.com/newsfront/michael-cohen-postpones-testimony-threats/2019/01/23/id/899475/


Text of Alyssa Milano’s @Alyssa_Milano tweet:

If Trump’s shutdown continues, SNAP, could run out of funding—leaving 42 million Americans without access to food. That’s like cutting off the food supply to the entire state of New York. And Ohio. And Michigan. /via

Text of reply tweet from Hamberder Helper @ChildPleez007

Y’all know this is what Kim Jong Un does to get his people to submit to him. He starves them.


Unsurprising. Also, GOP base, what the fuck is wrong with you? He’s not even doing what you wanted.

A strong majority of Americans blame President Donald Trump for the government shutdown and reject his primary rationale for a border wall. That’s according to a new poll that shows the turmoil in Washington is dragging his approval rating to its lowest level in more than a year.

The poll by The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research finds that 34 percent of Americans approve of Trump’s job performance, down from 42 percent in December.

Trump’s approval among Republicans remains high, but his standing with independents is among its lowest points of his presidency.

AP-NORC poll: Shutdown drags Trump approval to yearlong low

AP-NORC poll: Shutdown drags Trump approval to yearlong low

AP-NORC poll: Shutdown drags Trump approval to lowest mark in year as Americans reject rationale for wall.

Source: www.miamiherald.com/news/nation-world/article224974825.html


Round 1: Pelosi

Next step: END THE SHUT DOWN
not that I want to hear this 💩 for 🧠 speak…
I am curious about the next step. National strike by airline workers?

I’m guessing the Red Square was nixed?

More here

Trump Bends to Pelosi’s Will, Accepts Postponement of SOTU

Trump Bends to Pelosi’s Will, Accepts Postponement of SOTU

Photo of grumpy Trump.

In the end to a dramatic day of symbolic assertions of power and mastery between President Donald Trump and Speaker…

Source: talkingpointsmemo.com/news/trump-bends-to-pelosis-will-accepts-postponement-of-sotu


Thursday

Shit president, shit GOP like shit.

In the two decades before President Trump took office, EPA civil fines averaged more than $500 million a year, when adjusted for inflation. Last year’s $72 million in fines was 85 percent below that amount, according to the agency’s Enforcement and Compliance History Online database.

Cynthia Giles, who headed EPA’s enforcement office in the Obama administration and conducted the analysis, said the inflation-adjusted figures represent the lowest since the agency’s enforcement office was established.

The decline in civil penalties could undermine EPA’s ability to deter wrongdoing, some former agency officials said, because they help ensure it is more expensive to violate the law than to comply with it. But Trump administration officials have said they are focusing much of their effort on working with companies ahead of time so that they don’t run afoul of the law, rather than punishing them after the fact. That approach, they say, will ensure business operations can thrive without harming the environment.

Giles, now a guest fellow at the Harvard Environmental and Energy Law Program, questioned whether the new approach can achieve what administration officials promise.

“The public expects EPA to protect them from the worst polluters,” she said. “The Trump EPA is not doing that. What worries me is how industry will respond to EPA’s abandonment of tough enforcement.”

Civil penalties for polluters dropped dramatically in Trump’s first two years, analysis shows

Civil penalties for polluters dropped dramatically in Trump’s first two years, analysis shows

Top official says the more EPA can bring companies into compliance with laws, “the fewer enforcement actions we need to take.”

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/civil-penalties-for-polluters-dropped-dramatically-in-trumps-first-two-years-analysis-shows/2019/01/24/7384d168-1a82-11e9-88fe-f9f77a3bcb6c_story.html


History repeats itself. Does anyone hear metal edges being sharpened?


Exactly as Justice Ginsberg predicted.

No tradition,” Ginsburg noted, “and no prior decision under RFRA, allows a religion-based exemption when the accommodation would be harmful to others.” Through Hobby Lobby, the court had transformed RFRA from a shield into a sword, creating a license to discriminate with no clear limitations.

On Wednesday, the Trump administration proved Ginsburg right. In a decision of startling breadth, the Department of Health and Human Services declared that, under RFRA, a federally funded foster care agency in South Carolina has a right to discriminate against non-Christians, closing its doors to would-be parents of different faiths. As Ginsburg predicted, the administration’s interpretation of the law has no limiting principle: It all but announced that taxpayer-funded adoption and foster care agencies may now engage in flagrant discrimination without consequence, so long as they state a religious rationale for their actions. The grim future that Ginsburg foresaw in Hobby Lobby has arrived.

The Trump Administration Will Let Adoption Agencies Turn Away Jews and Same-Sex Couples. Thank SCOTUS.

The Trump Administration Will Let Adoption Agencies Turn Away Jews and Same-Sex Couples. Thank SCOTUS.

The grim future that Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg foresaw in the Hobby Lobby case has arrived.

Source: slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/01/trump-adoption-same-sex-couples-jews-miracle-mill.html


Dissension in the ranks? I’m frankly shocked the Senate has done NOTHING, no votes, nothing at all, all this time. Ugh. I’m hoping McConnell’s run for power blows up in his face. This looks to be lose-lose for him.

The argument was one of several heated moments in a lunch that came just before the Senate voted on the opposing plans to end the shutdown offered by President Trump and Democrats.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell leaves the Capitol Building for the day after two Senate bills to end the partial government shutdown failed. (Andrew Harnik/AP)

The outbursts highlighted the toll the shutdown has taken on Republican lawmakers, who are dealing with growing concerns from constituents and blame from Democrats, all while facing pressure from conservatives to stand with Trump in his demand for money to build a wall on the border with Mexico.

The votes the Senate cast on Thursday were the first on the shutdown since it began Dec. 22, with McConnell and other GOP lawmakers previously refusing to vote on anything this year unless it had Trump’s approval — a policy that has drawn widespread criticism.

The day ended with some limited signs of progress. After the votes, McConnell and Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) engaged in a face-to-face negotiation that senators hoped would lead to a solution in the near future.

‘This is your fault’: GOP senators clash over shutdown inside private luncheon

‘This is your fault’: GOP senators clash over shutdown inside private luncheon

McConnell walking through a crowd of reporters

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) walks out of the Senate chamber after holding two votes on the shutdown that failed to pass on Thursday. (Bill O’Leary/The Washington Post)

Sen. Ron Johnson lashed out at Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, who snapped back, “Are you suggesting I’m enjoying this?”

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/powerpost/this-is-your-fault-gop-senators-clash-over-shutdown-inside-private-luncheon/2019/01/24/cde0ca22-2045-11e9-8b59-0a28f2191131_story.html


Not captioned but I gather this speech is lit. C-SPAN usually has captions, maybe they will appear later. But the rest of you enjoy, since Cruz clearly didn’t 🙂

The gist of it can be found here:

Who is Michael Bennet? Colorado senator’s impassioned government shutdown speech goes viral

Who is Michael Bennet? Colorado senator’s impassioned government shutdown speech goes viral

“These crocodile tears that the senator from Texas is crying over first responders is hard to take,” said Democratic Colorado Senator Michael Bennet.

Source: www.newsweek.com/michael-bennet-colorado-senator-speech-government-shutdown-ted-cruz-1304786


Friday

What a pack of greedy, incompetent criminals. Hm, “Individual 1 of Organization 1″… I like it.

The indictment unsealed Friday after Stone’s arrest makes clear he communicated with multiple people about what Assange knew, and they were providing him updates from Assange and what Stone wanted to communicate with him. Prosecutors cite text messages and emails he exchanged with the people about what Assange had, and one sent a photo of himself standing outside the Ecaudorian embassy in London, where Assange has stayed for years.

Mueller indicts Roger Stone, says he was coordinating with Trump officials about WikiLeaks’ stolen emails

Mueller indicts Roger Stone, says he was coordinating with Trump officials about WikiLeaks’ stolen emails

Roger Stone has been indicted by a grand jury on charges brought by special counsel Robert Mueller, who alleges that the longtime Donald Trump associate sought stolen emails from WikiLeaks that could damage Trump’s opponents while in coordination with senior Trump campaign officials.

Source: www.cnn.com/2019/01/25/politics/roger-stone-arrested/index.html

I want them to get their back pay plus interest, of course, but hell, I’d happily volunteer to do this one!


And now here comes the pressure. Personally I think the National Air Traffic Controllers Association should negotiate for guaranteed salaries, independent of any shutdown and other inducements to re-establish a thriving set of employees. Safe and smoothly running air travel is crucial to the U.S.

Significant flight delays were rippling across the Northeast on Friday because of a shortage of air traffic controllers as a result of the government shutdown, according to the Federal Aviation Administration.

The agency said it was slowing traffic in and out of the airports because of staffing problems at facilities in Washington and Jacksonville, Fla.

The delays were cascading along the Eastern Seaboard, reaching as far north as Boston. But La Guardia was the only airport closed off to arriving flights from other cities because it was so crowded with planes taking off and landing on a weekday morning.

Airport Delays Ripple Across Northeast Due to Air Traffic Controller Shortage

Airport Delays Ripple Across Northeast Due to Air Traffic Controller Shortage

The stoppage of flights to a main airport serving the New York City area comes as federal workers miss a second paycheck as a result of the government shutdown.

Source: www.nytimes.com/2019/01/25/nyregion/lga-flights-government-shutdown.html


Here’s another pressure point though truth be told, it’s a balance between the government that does need this money, those that want to drown the government in a bathtub, and those (wealthy enough to bring big sticks to this) who don’t want to pay taxes.

At least 14,000 unpaid IRS workers did not show up for work as broad shutdown disruption hits tax agency, according to House aides

At least 14,000 unpaid IRS workers did not show up for work as broad shutdown disruption hits tax agency, according to House aides

Photo of the sign outside one of the IRS buildings

FILE PHOTO: A security camera hangs near a corner of the U.S. Internal Revenue Service (IRS) building in Washington May 27, 2015. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)

The absences pose a challenge for the Trump administration hoping to get through tax filing season during the government shutdown.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/01/25/least-unpaid-irs-workers-did-not-show-up-work-broad-shutdown-disruption-hits-tax-agency-according-house-aides/


Here we go. You know I know that flight attendants are not all women, but it’s interesting the scope of pushback coming from women against the Трамп admin.  And what do you think of when you see ‘flight attendant’?

Flight Attendants Are ‘Mobilizing Immediately’ Over Shutdown, Union Says

Flight Attendants Are ‘Mobilizing Immediately’ Over Shutdown, Union Says

Photo of Sara Nelson, president of the Association of Flight Attendants-CWA

Sara Nelson speaks during a press conference on aviation safety at Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport on January 24, 2019. Photo: ANDREW CABALLERO-REYNOLDS/AFP/Getty Images

Source: nymag.com/intelligencer/2019/01/flight-attendants-are-mobilizing-immediately-union-says.html


Interesting message from Christopher Wray, FBI director. (Captioned)

[Raw mp4 file for download/view: https://archives.fbi.gov/FBI-Director-Shutdown-Message-192418.mp4]


I hope so. I have little love for Congress but in part that’s because of the craven way it’s ceded so much of its authority to the Executive Office over the last 25 years or so.

Perspective | The State of the Union shifts power to the president. Pelosi took it back.

Perspective | The State of the Union shifts power to the president. Pelosi took it back.

Photo of Nancy Pelosi, Speaker of the House

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) speaks to reporters on Thursday about the State of the Union speech. (Leah Millis/Reuters)

The shutdown upended the “bully pulpit” that Trump’s predecessors have used.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/the-state-of-the-union-shifts-power-to-the-president-pelosi-took-it-back/2019/01/25/855415ae-2025-11e9-9145-3f74070bbdb9_story.html

 


Okay, the shutdown is apparently over (for now? trying to find out if this is the 3 week CR or what; Трамп’s batshit rambling isn’t helping here).

The stopgap funding measure that Trump endorsed on Friday would fund the government through February 15, but does not include any new funding for Trump’s promised border wall.

Will be interesting to see what happens. Трамп threatened another shutdown or invocation of “emergency powers” in February if he doesn’t get his way then. I do not think the public will react well if there’s another shutdown mid-Feb. I am also curious as to whether McConnell’s selfish and callous machinations pay off for him or not. That motherfucker better be run out of Kentucky in 2020. Also: Good god, is Coulter ever a hateful little gormless fuckwit: Coulter blasts Trump over shutdown deal: ‘Biggest wimp ever to serve as president’

Trump to temporarily end shutdown — without wall funding

Trump to temporarily end shutdown — without wall funding

President Donald Trump said Friday he’s reached a deal to temporarily reopen the federal government after a month-long shutdown, an agreement that won’t include new funding for a border wall despite weeks of the President’s once-ironclad demands.

Source: www.cnn.com/2019/01/25/politics/donald-trump-shutdown-border/index.html


Nailed it.

For 35 days, President Trump has robbed hundreds of thousands of American families of their paychecks, forcing dedicated public servants to turn to foodbanks and unemployment benefits to feed and support their families. For 35 days, President Trump denied millions of taxpaying Americans access to public services. For 35 days, President Trump has inflicted pain on the American people and compromised our national security.

And for what? All of this pain and suffering to end where we began. On December 19, the Senate passed a bill by voice vote to fund the government to February 8 – nearly what the President has proposed today – only for President Trump to break his word and precipitate this national crisis.

The Trump Shutdown should have never happened, and it should have never dragged on for 35 days. I hope that the President has learned that Congress is a coequal branch of government, and the American people are not pawns to be played with in his political games.

I look forward to continuing my bipartisan work with Chairman Shelby to make responsible investments in the American people and border security, and I pray that President Trump does not repeat this national embarrassment again. Let us promptly vote to reopen the government and end this national nightmare.

Reaction To President Trump Proposing A Three-Week Continuing Resolution And Finally Agreeing To Demands To Reopen The Government | U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont

Photo of Patrick Leahy D-VT

Senator Patrick Leahy D-VT

Reaction To President Trump Proposing A Three-Week Continuing Resolution And Finally Agreeing To Demands To Reopen The Government | U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont

The official U.S. Senate website of Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont

Source: www.leahy.senate.gov/press/reaction-to-president-trump-proposing-a-three-week-continuing-resolution-and-finally-agreeing-to-demands-to-reopen-the-government


Post-ABC poll: Trump disapproval swells as president, Republicans face lopsided blame for shutdown

Post-ABC poll: Trump disapproval swells as president, Republicans face lopsided blame for shutdown

Photo of Donald Trump

President Trump speaks about tariffs on Jan. 24 in the Cabinet Room of the White House. (Jacquelyn Martin/AP)

The findings in a new Washington Post-ABC News survey illustrate the political damage the president and his party have suffered in the fight for partial border wall funding.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/politics/poll-majority-of-americans-hold-trump-and-republicans-responsible-for-shutdown/2019/01/25/e7a2e7b8-20b0-11e9-9145-3f74070bbdb9_story.html


This. I’d quote the entire damn thing but copyright infringement. Just go read.

2 winners and 3 losers in the deal to end the government shutdown

2 winners and 3 losers in the deal to end the government shutdown

Air traffic controllers’ role in American political history comes full circle.

Source: www.vox.com/2019/1/25/18197668/government-shutdown-deal-winners-losers

See also


After weeks of chaos, the thousands of air traffic controllers and baggage screeners who have been working without pay for the last month will return to a normal pay schedule. But though an immediate crisis was averted — cascading flight delays appear to have forced Friday’s resolution — the shutdown could convince these federal employees to quit in numbers that would be difficult to replace quickly.

The impact could be particularly acute for Immigration and Customs Enforcement officers whose credit took a hit while they were working without pay. They risk losing eligibility for security clearances; debt and poor credit can be disqualifying based on the belief workers with financial troubles are vulnerable to bribery.

With the tax filing season due to begin on Monday, tax preparers are hoping the IRS will quickly restore its online services, including access to taxpayer data, and ensure that workers are on the job to respond to taxpayer inquiries. Still, the effects of the shutdown are likely to ripple throughout the season, as the agency deals with backlogs.

Recovery from shutdown will be long and difficult

Recovery from shutdown will be long and difficult

It won’t happen overnight.

Source: www.politico.com/story/2019/01/25/studown-recovery-long-back-pay-1117804


Saturday

They did what, now? /laughs helplessly for several minutes

They wasted this time and effort on a chump who just blew most of what political capital he had that same day?

The Republican National Committee unanimously voted Friday to offer the GOP’s “undivided support for President Donald J. Trump and his effective Presidency.”

Members passed the largely symbolic resolution during the RNC’s regular winter meeting near Albuquerque, New Mexico, affirming their support for Mr. Trump two years into his administration.

OK, granted they killed a more binding proposal. But that it even existed, that they still endorsed this orange embarrassment, however symbolically…well.

RNC unanimously pledges ‘undivided support’ for Trump, stops short of explicit 2020 endorsement

RNC unanimously pledges ‘undivided support’ for Trump, stops short of explicit 2020 endorsement

The Republican National Committee unanimously voted Friday to offer the GOP’s “undivided support for President Donald J. Trump and his effective Presidency.”

Source: www.washingtontimes.com/news/2019/jan/26/rnc-vote-unanimous-support-trump-no-endorse-2020/


Trump and His Associates Had More Than 100 Contacts With Russians Before the Inauguration

Trump and His Associates Had More Than 100 Contacts With Russians Before the Inauguration

Donald J. Trump and at least 17 of his associates repeatedly had interactions with Russian nationals and WikiLeaks during the 2016 presidential campaign and transition.

Source: www.nytimes.com/interactive/2019/01/26/us/politics/trump-contacts-russians-wikileaks.html


Reopening the government for three weeks may seem like a temporary solution, but Republicans now know that they’ll be the ones in the barrel if they shut down the government again. Speaker Pelosi holds all the cards in the upcoming negotiation.

Sure, Trump began his statement in the White House on Friday by suggesting he could declare a state of emergency to fund his wall, but the legality of that option is, at best, dubious. And it is significant that he has not yet done so.

This is why Republicans were so desperate to keep Nancy Pelosi from becoming speaker again

This is why Republicans were so desperate to keep Nancy Pelosi from becoming speaker again

Trump caves.

Source: thinkprogress.org/trump-caves-shutdown-reopens-government-speaker-nancy-pelosi-effective-5e247a05034a/


Former CIA director: Robert Mueller will indict a lot of “familiar” names in the next 60 days

Former CIA director: Robert Mueller will indict a lot of “familiar” names in the next 60 days

The special counsel’s probe could hit the very top of the Trump campaign, said former CIA Director John Brennan.

Source: www.newsweek.com/roger-stone-robert-mueller-john-brennan-russia-probe-russia-investigation-1305134


Totally prescient: “Published 3:15 a.m. ET Aug. 29, 2017

Why has Trump’s comfort for white supremacists provoked bipartisan recriminations while North Carolina’s GOP’s effort to deny black Americans the vote did not? Why are conservatives silent about reports that the Indiana GOP has limited early voting in urban areas while letting it flourish in suburban communities?

Perhaps Republicans know they get away with policies that enforce white supremacy through voting restrictions and mass incarceration, but to do this, they must reject public displays of bigotry. This unstated compromise is the heart of a strategy that has helped the party accumulate more political power than at any time since the Great Depression.

Trump could blow lid off GOP’s well-mannered white supremacy

Trump could blow lid off GOP’s well-mannered white supremacy

Republicans know they can get away with voting and incarceration policies that enforce white supremacy, as long as they reject public bigotry.

Source: www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2017/08/29/trump-blow-lid-off-polite-gop-white-supremacy-jason-sattler-column/607732001/


There is no part of this that isn’t utterly reprehensible, and the Thomases should be run out of D.C. in disgrace and impeachment.

President Trump met last week with a delegation of hard-right activists led by Ginni Thomas, the wife of Justice Clarence Thomas, listening quietly as members of the group denounced transgender people and women serving in the military, according to three people with direct knowledge of the events.

For 60 minutes Mr. Trump sat, saying little but appearing taken aback, the three people said, as the group also accused White House aides of blocking Trump supporters from getting jobs in the administration.

It is unusual for the spouse of a sitting Supreme Court justice to have such a meeting with a president, and some close to Mr. Trump said it was inappropriate for Ms. Thomas to have asked to meet with the head of a different branch of government.

A vocal conservative, Ms. Thomas has long been close to what had been the Republican Party’s fringes, and extremely outspoken against Democrats. Her activism has raised concerns of conflicts of interest for her husband, who is perhaps the most conservative member of the Supreme Court.

Trump Meets With Hard-Right Group Led by Ginni Thomas

Trump Meets With Hard-Right Group Led by Ginni Thomas

At the meeting, which was unusual for the spouse of a Supreme Court justice and a president, the activists denounced women serving in the military and questioned the administration’s hiring.

Source: www.nytimes.com/2019/01/26/us/politics/trump-ginni-thomas-meeting.html


A Bruised Trump Faces Uncertain 2020 Prospects. His Team Fears a Primary Fight.

A Bruised Trump Faces Uncertain 2020 Prospects. His Team Fears a Primary Fight.

With his approval rating sinking, and foes within the party wooing potential Republican challengers, aides to the president are working to shore up his support.

Source: www.nytimes.com/2019/01/26/us/politics/trump-rnc-2020.html


 

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undermining our foundations

Well worth reading.

A predatory attitude has come to rule us, an exploitative and abusive way of life that’s normalized, celebrated, and pursued, thanks to the ascendance of neoliberalism and capitalism, in which as long as I profit, everything else can go, quite literally, to hell. Perhaps even by you and I — we are only human, after all. Yet if we understand all that, then the solution — such as there is — also becomes a little clearer.

Our challenge now, in this new century, is this. Nourishing, replenishing, nurturing, renewing, endowing. What? Everything that we can. Everything from basic incomes to to trees to insects to glaciers to hospitals to schools to retirement to mountains and forests. Do you see how the theme of nourishment and replenishment is what flows through all our challenges, like a great laughing river, renewing a parched, weeping ocean?

To do that, we will have to create whole new systems of thought — reinvent stale, dead, foolish disciplines like economics, slightly less dead ones, like psychology. We will have to reimagine the kind of organizations that we make — will “corporations” and “banks” as we know them be capable of replenishing and nourishing a depleted, ravaged world — or do we have to reinvent those, first? We will have to alter the nature of “work” — so far, it basically means “how good you are at exploiting something or someone” — but it must come to mean “how good you are at nourishing and renewing something or someone.” And then we will have to change our social norms and values — and the attitudes they reflect — so that we prize and celebrate and reward the act of nourishment, not just more ruthless, violent predation.

The Age of Collapse

and what to do about it

by umair haque

Why Everything’s Collapsing, and What to Do About It

Source: eand.co/the-age-of-collapse-e606bfc1b46d

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the face of white privilege starts here

(Updated to include interview of Phillips, the Native American being harassed.)

The strangest thing is that fotohgirl@twitter circulated this picture and I honest to god thought it was part of that 10/20 year challenge thing, having missed the context in which it was posted.

But in a larger sense that photo above is 100% true because this thing of entitled, privileged, arrogant white boys being taught that they will always win out, no matter what has been true in this country for many, many decades. From the article below:

The face is in this photo of a clutch of white young men crowding around a single black man at a lunch counter sit-in in Virginia in the 1960s, and in many other images of jeering white men from that era. The face is the rows of Wisconsin high school boys flashing Nazi salutes in a prom picture last year. The face is Brett Kavanaugh—then a student at an all-boys Catholic prep school—“drunkenly laughing” as he allegedly held down Christine Blasey Ford. Anyone who knew the popular white boys in high school recognized it: the confident gaze, the eyes twinkling with menace, the smirk. The face of a boy who is not as smart as he thinks he is, but is exactly as powerful. The face that sneers, “What? I’m just standing here,” if you flinch or cry or lash out. The face knows that no matter how you react, it wins.


The Face of the Teenager Who Harassed a Native American Veteran Is All Too Familiar

The Face of the Teenager Who Harassed a Native American Veteran Is All Too Familiar

By Ruth Graham

Source: slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/01/maga-teenager-native-american-veteran-harassment-smile.amp


An interview with Nathan Phillips on the #MAGAYouth incident – IndianCountryToday.com

Vincent Schilling: What were your thoughts regarding the disrespect being shown by the youth?

Nathan Phillips: We’re indigenous. We’re different than that. When we see our youth going the wrong way, we will go up and say, “You are doing the wrong thing there nephew, or grandson. This is just the wrong way. I tell them, “This is the way you have to behave. This wrong, this is right.”

You gotta do it a certain way. We have protocols.

Vincent Schilling: In Native culture, the things we’re taught more than anything else is being respectful to our elders and to see you disrespected in that way hurt my heart more than I could explain

Nathan Phillips: I’m angry with those instructors, the chaperones and tutors whose children’s lives were in their hands. That was their job, that wasn’t my job to do.

No, but then again, we are Indigenous and it is my job and from an Indigenous point of view.

But they were getting paid to take care of those children to act and for them to be allowed to behave that way. Is it in my mind, is a fireable offense. They’ve aligned those children to take the wrong path and they have a bright future to live. You know, if that was my child, I would not be happy with the school officials right now to allow my child to behave that way. I don’t care if my child is that way. When he’s out in public, he’d better behave.

An interview with Nathan Phillips on the #MAGAYouth incident – IndianCountryToday.com

“I see a bright, beautiful future if we want it … it’s there for us. It’s ours to pass on to the next generation.”

Source: newsmaven.io/indiancountrytoday/news/an-interview-with-nathan-phillips-on-the-magayouth-incident-7wUkJHLjtUa2-k2Fx14MvQ/

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best time travel fic…

You HAVE to read this…

 

Wikihistory

Wikihistory

Wikihistory by Desmond Warzel

Source: www.tor.com/2011/08/31/wikihistory/

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Authoritarianism: Jan 13–19

Authoritarian political ideologies have a vested interest in promoting fear, a sense of the imminence of takeover by aliens and real diseases are useful material.
–Susan Sontag

 

<Prev | Next>

 

By the way, I strongly encourage you to browse this site. Lots of good stuff here:

Recommended reading for understanding our current constitutional crisis and slide into oligarchy. – Russia Investigation Summary

Recommended reading for understanding our current constitutional crisis and slide into oligarchy. – Russia Investigation Summary

These are my top recommendations, followed by links to my twitter threads highlighting key points from the books. Click on the book for the Amazon description. … Continue reading “Recommended reading for understanding our current constitutional crisis and slide into oligarchy.”

Source: russia-investigation-summary.com/recommended-reading-for-understanding-our-current-constitutional-crisis-and-slide-into-oligarchy/

More »


Sunday

Nails it. This is exactly what’s happening, what the GOP has done all along since the 2016 elections, really. Gut all the programs they hate. Look very carefully at which programs they are going to raid to fund the wall without Congressional purse strings.

Note that this article was written in April 28, 2017 and it is as true of this shutdown as of that one.

If the last “shutdown” is any guide, the military, Trump’s luxurious vacations, soft power, our bombing of seven Muslim-majority countries, NSA bulk surveillance, agencies that prop up the oil and gas industry, the CIA’s arming and funding of Syrian rebels, and the FBI’s entrapment regime will remain entirely untouched. The parts of government that serve the poor and working class, however, will be first on the chopping block: libraries, tax collection, national parks, labor and safety regulators, the Commodity Futures Trading Commission (which oversees the derivatives market), environmental regulators, financial regulators, welfare, and WIC will all be axed. Indeed, the one time the government got remotely close to undermining, even briefly, a pillar of the right-wing state, the powers that be arbitrarily decided to leave the Defense Department virtually untouched.

So what’s happening on this round? Well Steve Miller keeps pushing for an emergency declaration (so you know that’s going to be bad). There’s a lot of talk of raiding other government programs such as the Army Corps civil service (which got shut down pretty quick), of potentially diverting aid to Puerto Rico (which would be criminal). GOP politicians finally seem to be somewhat nervous of these possibilities (mostly because they are afraid Democrats would use it to justify emergency action on climate change–can I roll my eyes any harder?).

Anyway, I think this is something to keep in mind:

As we build toward another choreographed, deliberate starvation of liberal government by the GOP, the media should think critically about finding other words for what’s taking place. A more precise term would be to call it a “soft right-wing coup” or simply a “right-wing coup.” If that seems too loaded, “Republican government starvation” or “attacks on liberal programs” would suffice. All of these terms are, by their very nature, fraught with subjective input, but so is “government shutdown”—a label that necessarily creates a tiered system of “essential” and “nonessential” functions based on the reactionary principle that “property” is an axiomatic good.

Other sources: Trump touts shutdown plan, but advisers say ‘no one knows what he will do’

It’s Not a Government Shutdown. It’s a Right-Wing Coup.

It’s Not a Government Shutdown. It’s a Right-Wing Coup.

Programs designed to help the vulnerable are gutted, while institutions designed to serve the rich and powerful remain unscathed.

Source: www.thenation.com/article/its-not-a-government-shutdown-its-a-right-wing-coup/


Anyway, a quick roundup of shutdown links shows that Трамп isn’t fooling anyone by trying to blame the Dems, and shows whom the shutdown is affecting.


It shouldn’t surprise me that the GOP tolerates fucking nitwit airbreathers like this guy but they do it over and over again… So yeah. I would vote for a fucking potato before I ever voted for any GOP.

Social Security official: Married working moms hurt society, condoms rob women of semen’s “remarkable chemicals”

Social Security official: Married working moms hurt society, condoms rob women of semen’s “remarkable chemicals”

Robert W. Patterson also suggested that homosexuality is a mental disorder and sexual orientation can be forcibly changed

Source: www.mediamatters.org/blog/2019/01/11/social-security-official-married-working-mothers-hurt-society-condoms-rob-women-remarkable-chemicals/222474


In the continuing grand tradition of placing people in positions where they can best destroy what they love to destroy, the Трамп admin has nominated a lawyer well known for representing families fighting the IRS to… run the IRS. What could possibly go wrong?

The Beverly Hills tax attorney tapped by President Donald Trump to lead the Internal Revenue Service has represented a number of high profile clients fighting that very agency, including one of Contra Costa County’s most high-profile families — the Seenos.

Charles Rettig has spent the last five years representing a number of Seeno family members after they sued the federal government, hoping to recoup some of the more than $159 million in delinquent federal income taxes paid by the family, and it appears he was successful in two of the cases.

Trump nominates Seeno family tax attorney to run IRS

Trump nominates Seeno family tax attorney to run IRS

Charles Rettig has spent the last five years representing various members of the family that runs one of the largest home building operations in the East Bay in an attempt to recoup $159 million in…

Source: www.mercurynews.com/2018/03/27/trump-nominates-seeno-family-tax-attorney-to-run-irs/


And yet, the GOP seem to be okay with this. But I bet we’re gonna have a lot of beltway therapists working overtime in the years to come.

Trump’s willingness to humiliate his top staffer in front of Chuck Schumer and Nancy Pelosi is another reminder — beyond Democratic unwillingness to fund a barrier — of why shutdown talks have made zero progress: Trump exhibits little regard for the credibility of his own deputies.

“You just f—ed it all up”: Trump dressed down Mulvaney in front of congressional leaders

“You just f—ed it all up”: Trump dressed down Mulvaney in front of congressional leaders

The confrontation happened during the shutdown briefing in the Situation Room.

Source: www.axios.com/donald-trump-mick-mulvaney-government-shutdown-meeting-7d84ea72-5aaf-45e0-a707-5f955836070e.html?utm_source=twitter


Good.

Judge blocks Trump birth control rules in 13 states and D.C.

Judge blocks Trump birth control rules in 13 states and D.C.

The new rules, allowing more employers to opt out of providing free birth control under Obamacare, are set to take effect elsewhere on Monday.

Source: www.nbcnews.com/news/us-news/judge-blocks-trump-birth-control-rules-13-states-d-c-n958226


I think Kanefield nails it here.

14/ Back in the time of Trump’s father, it was hard to convict a white man of rape. Sexual harassment wasn’t illegal. Basically white men could do as they pleased. As Archie Bunker sang: Those were the days. For what I mean about rape laws, click here.

15/ It’s easy to imagine America without without the laws Trump wants to get rid of. Just carry yourself back to the 1920s, before the New Deal and before Civil Rights legislation. There was no income tax or minimum wage, so people (whites) with money lived like kings.

16/ There was no Social Security, no protection against injury in the workplace. Injured workers were left to starve. No overtime or 40 hour workweek. Income inequality meant that only 5% of families could afford college, which trapped laborers in a poverty cycle.

17/ Things were worse for blacks, who were segregated and lived in fear of lynching. There were no regulatory agencies. Insider trading was legal. Basically, white men of means could do as they pleased. They could cheat. They could grab. MAGA means take America back to 1920.

What’s up with all Trump’s lawbreaking? – Musing about law, books, and politics

What’s up with all Trump’s lawbreaking? – Musing about law, books, and politics

[View here as a Twitter thread]   1/ What’s up with all Trump’s lawbreaking? Spoiler: When you understand how the Trump family became wealthy, the meaning of MAGA becomes clear. I’ll explain. Sources in links and these (well researched books): Read more…

Source: terikanefield-blog.com/whats-up-with-all-trumps-lawbreaking/


I’m starting to think all Republicans should lose their voting rights. What? Don’t look at me like that. They leave the GOP, their rights can be restored.

Opinion | Florida restored voting rights to former felons. Now the GOP wants to thwart reform.

Opinion | Florida restored voting rights to former felons. Now the GOP wants to thwart reform.

Will GOP politicians reverse voters’ will by blocking ex-convicts from casting ballots?

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/florida-restored-voting-rights-to-former-felons-now-the-gop-wants-to-thwart-reform/2019/01/13/84e2dcdc-1520-11e9-803c-4ef28312c8b9_story.html?utm_term=.c97ec1b5c44f


“Compromised.”

There’s no ‘innocent explanation’ for Trump confiscating notes from Putin meeting: former White House attorney

There’s no ‘innocent explanation’ for Trump confiscating notes from Putin meeting: former White House attorney

A former White House attorney said Monday on MSNBC that there were no innocent explanations for President Donald Trump ordering the destruction of notes taken during his private meeting with Russia’s Vladimir Putin. Two stories broke over the weekend revealing the FBI had launched a counterintelligence investigation of Trump as a possible Russian agent and that he confiscated a translator’s notes following his one-on-one meeting with Putin in Helsinki. “I can’t imagine an innocent explanation …

Source: www.rawstory.com/2019/01/theres-no-innocent-explanation-trump-confiscating-notes-putin-meeting-former-white-house-attorney/


What terrifies me more than anything else is another four years of Трамп and GOP destruction. So admittedly, I will vote for a fucking potato if I have to. However, what I really don’t want is such a fractured in-fighting that T sails to victory in 2020. Or Pence. There are too many big issues that need to be addressed now to risk that. Climate change, health care, social security, energy policy… a daunting list and one at which the Republican party is an utter, complete, abject failure at addressing. The other thing that annoys me about this is that the president at the top is rarely the one moving the overton window. That office really can’t because it has to deal with the entire country (and other countries). However, down the line: senators, governors, representatives, state politicians: these people can be much more radical, push far more to the left, and get things done. You want radical left shift in politics? Elect your mayors, your state assembly, your governor, your representatives and your senators accordingly. Judges, too. The weight of these positions, collectively, will do it. That’s exactly what 2018.

Huh, I think I just talked myself into the “one who can defeat Трамп” camp. Except, again, I think a potato could defeat him, absent GOP election fraud.

Of Sanders, Biden, Warren, Harris, and O’Rourke, which ones are best passing “policy litmus tests” and which ones are “most capable of defeating” Трамп?

Because Sanders doesn’t pass any litmus test and I don’t see his as “most capable” of defeating Трамп. He’s old, sexist, and racist, and has not in his entire political history actually done anything of consequence. And running as a Democrat when he’s only just called himself one in order to run was such a joke last time and it’s even less funny this time around. I liked him when I first saw him, but the cracks became evident rather quickly.

Biden is old, has a tendency to put his foot in his mouth, is probably rather too centrist, but benefits from VP to Obama. He could defeat Трамп, though.

I like Warren a lot, but I wish she was about 20 years younger. She could defeat Трамп.

Harris and O’Rourke are both relative newcomers, especially the latter. Harris has been exemplary as California’s junior Senator and I think she would make a fantastic president. I don’t know O’Rourke as well, but everything I’ve seen of him I’ve also been impressed. I think these two also have a lot more charisma and ability to rally than the former two. But I don’t think they neatly fall into the two categories described in the article. Either of them could defeat Трамп.

After a 2018 midterm election that energized the left, perhaps the most consequential political question facing the Democratic Party is whether liberals will insist on imposing policy litmus tests on 2020 presidential hopefuls, or whether voters will rally behind the candidate most capable of defeating the president even if that Democrat is imperfect on some issues.

These dual priorities — and which one is emphasized more in the coming primary race — will help determine how the party approaches 2020. Will candidates sprint to the left on issues and risk hurting themselves with intraparty policy fights and in the general election? Or will they keep the focus squarely on Mr. Trump and possibly disappoint liberals by not being bolder on policy?

The two paths may help determine the electoral fortunes of potential left-wing candidates like Senator Bernie Sanders and more moderate ones like former Vice President Joseph R. Biden, Jr., as well as Democrats like Senator Kamala Harris and Beto O’Rourke who have a history of appealing to both liberals and moderates and drawing ire from some leftists for not being aggressive enough on policy.

Democrats Want to Run on Issues in 2020. But Does Beating Trump Matter Most?

Democrats Want to Run on Issues in 2020. But Does Beating Trump Matter Most?

A major question in the coming Democratic primary is which candidate will be the best antidote to Trump and Trumpism. Liberals may want to apply policy litmus tests. Moderates may just want a winner.

Source: www.nytimes.com/2019/01/14/us/politics/democratic-candidates-issues-2020.html


Monday

I… honest to god I thought this was a parody. I’m not even going to say anything further about this.


I’m only surprised they haven’t nominated a convicted pedophile to run one of the children’s programs like SNAP or something.

Trump Officially Nominates Former Coal Lobbyist Andrew Wheeler to Head EPA

Trump Officially Nominates Former Coal Lobbyist Andrew Wheeler to Head EPA

In a long-expected move, President Donald Trump formally nominated acting U.S. Environmental Protection Agency head and former coal lobbyist Andrew Wheeler to officially run the agency Wednesday.

Source: www.ecowatch.com/andrew-wheeler-epa-2625606967.html


She called it. But apparently the media is only just now realizing this now that they don’t have emails to discuss.


More shutdown chatter. Also, you know who are the most frequent flyers? Rich people. If they start screaming at their Senators, they will sit up and take notice.

Unpaid TSA Screeners Just Might Be What Breaks the Government Shutdown

Unpaid TSA Screeners Just Might Be What Breaks the Government Shutdown

Without them, commercial air travel in the United States would grind to a halt.

Source: slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/01/tsa-screeners-call-out-shutdown.html


Took ’em waaaaaay too long. An interesting analysis on that here: The Steve King rebuke is proof that solid reporting still matters

The punishment came on a day when Mr. King was denounced by an array of Republican leaders, though not President Trump. The Senate majority leader, Mitch McConnell, suggested Mr. King find “another line of work” and Senator Mitt Romney said he should quit. And the House Republicans, in an attempt to be proactive, stripped him of the committee seats in the face of multiple Democratic resolutions to censure Mr. King that are being introduced this week.

Those measures would force Republicans to take a stand on the House Democratic majority’s attempt to publicly reprimand one of their own.

Mr. King, who has been an ally of President Trump on the border wall and other issues, has a long history of making racist remarks and insults about immigrants, but has not drawn rebukes from Republican leaders until recently. In November, top Iowa Republicans like Senator Charles E. Grassley endorsed Mr. King for re-election even after one House Republican official came out and denounced him as a white supremacist.

But in an interview with The Times published last week, Mr. King said: “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization — how did that language become offensive?”

Steve King Removed from Committee Assignments Over White Supremacy Remark

Steve King Removed from Committee Assignments Over White Supremacy Remark

Republicans voted Monday night to remove Mr. King from the House Judiciary and Agriculture committees after he made remarks questioning why white supremacy is considered offensive.

Source: www.nytimes.com/2019/01/14/us/politics/steve-king-house-judiciary-committee.html


Grover Norquist and drowning in bathtubs comes to mind.

The shutdown is “a means to an end for something they have long pursued, which is limiting the size and scope and role of government,” former House GOP staffer Kurt Bardella said of the conservative Freedom Caucus. Bardella became a Democrat in 2017.

“These are small-government guys, not wall guys,” one former White House official, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private exchanges, said of Meadows and Jordan.

Conservatives have for decades questioned the size and effectiveness of the federal bureaucracy. The shutdown has in some ways underscored their view that government can function with fewer employees.

How out of touch with reality are these morons? Right now, Federal employees are not not working. THEY ARE BEING FORCED TO WORK FOR FREE, which is the other thing they’ve long wanted to expand. Slave labor.  See: IRS Recalls 46,000 Furloughed Workers for Tax Season

The shutdown is giving some Trump advisers what they’ve long wanted: A smaller government

The shutdown is giving some Trump advisers what they’ve long wanted: A smaller government

They have shown a high tolerance for keeping large swaths of the government dark.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/politics/the-shutdown-is-giving-some-trump-advisers-what-theyve-long-wanted-a-smaller-government/2019/01/14/70b22348-1427-11e9-90a8-136fa44b80ba_story.html


Hm. Why am I having flashbacks (well not literally, I’m not old enough to remember that) to “I am not a crook!” ??


Tuesday

The #ТрампMcConnell shutdown continues.

McConnell blocks House bill to reopen government for second time

McConnell blocks House bill to reopen government for second time

Senate Republicans blocked a House-passed package to reopen the federal government for a second time in as many weeks on Tuesday.

Source: thehill.com/homenews/senate/425414-mcconnell-blocks-house-bill-to-reopen-government-for-second-time


Seriously, WTF.

Ajit Pai Refuses to Brief Congress About Why Bounty Hunters Can Buy Cell Phone Location Data

Ajit Pai Refuses to Brief Congress About Why Bounty Hunters Can Buy Cell Phone Location Data

The Chairman’s staff said the selling of location data is not a ‘threat to the safety of human life or property that the FCC will address during the Trump shutdown.’

Source: motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/mbymqp/ajit-pai-refuses-to-brief-congress-about-why-bounty-hunters-can-buy-cell-phone-location-data


I can’t make this shit up.

Burger King mocks Trump over misspelled tweet: ‘We’re all out of hamberders’

Burger King mocks Trump over misspelled tweet: ‘We’re all out of hamberders’

The fast food chain Burger King took aim at President Trump on Tuesday over his mention of “hamberders” in a recent tweet.

Source: thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/425423-burger-king-mocks-trump-over-misspelled-tweet-were-all-out-of


A chilling overview of Barr. Session’s proposed replacement for AGUS.  See also William Barr’s Slick Performance Shouldn’t Fool Anyone on why he must recuse himself from the Mueller investigation, same as Sessions.

William Barr May Be Worse on Immigration Than Jeff Sessions

William Barr May Be Worse on Immigration Than Jeff Sessions

William Barr, Trump’s nominee for attorney general, has a long record of immigration extremism.

Source: theintercept.com/2019/01/15/william-barr-confirmation-hearings-immigration/


Holy hell you guys, this is COMPLETELY unacceptable! It’s also UNCONSTITUTIONAL. WTF?

WATCH: William Barr says he could conceive of prosecuting journalists ‘as last resort’

WATCH: William Barr says he could conceive of prosecuting journalists ‘as last resort’

President Donald Trump’s nominee for attorney general says he can’t rule out jailing reporters for doing their jobs.

Source: www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/watch-william-barr-says-he-could-conceive-of-prosecuting-journalists-as-last-resort


Nope.

White House tries to bypass Pelosi on shutdown talks, but moderate Democrats rebuff offer

White House tries to bypass Pelosi on shutdown talks, but moderate Democrats rebuff offer

Moderate Democrats decline an invitation to the White House as President Trump tries to undercut House Speaker Nancy Pelosi in shutdown talks.

Source: www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2019/01/15/government-shutdown-white-house-tries-bypass-nancy-pelosi/2580775002/


Ignore the rather overwrought click-bait title. This is still some good news. Not that this admin has ever hesitated to make public fools of themselves. However the most interesting bit is buried at the bottom:

Tuesday’s ruling will not be the last word on the census. In February, the Supreme Court will consider whether Furman was allowed to go beyond the official record to reach his decision—by, for instance, permitting the deposition of DOJ officials. But in his opinion, Furman explains that his conclusions do not rest on evidence beyond the official record. To the contrary, he notes that his findings are based on that record, and that all additional evidence only confirms those findings. Even if the Supreme Court decides that additional evidence was gathered improperly, the bulk of Furman’s ruling will stand.

Eventually, the Supreme Court will probably also rule on the case’s merits. And here, Furman lays out a challenge to the justices. In October, Justice Neil Gorsuch suggested that Ross was merely trying to cut through “red tape,” an astoundingly naïve view of his machinations. But the APA, Furman held on Tuesday, exists not to create “red tape” but “to protect core constitutional and democratic values.” This rebuke to Gorsuch lays out the stakes of the case: Will the courts defer to Ross and accept his screaming falsehoods? Or will they apply independent judgment and see the plain truth—that the Commerce Department violated the law?

In that sense, this case is a test of the Supreme Court’s consistency. The conservative justices, Gorsuch chief among them, routinely rail against federal agencies that exceed their statutory authority. They insist that courts scrutinize agency actions to confirm that they followed the text of the laws Congress passed. Here, Ross ignored those laws over and over again. If the Supreme Court’s conservative justices can’t recognize that fact, they will demonstrate a commitment to partisanship above law.

There are still major, troubling problems with the  upcoming census, because the GOP and the Трамп admin have not been adequately funding or preparing for the census and the probability of marginal groups being undercounted or not at all is still very high. However this ruling is a bit of good news. See also:

Federal Judge Obliterates Trump’s Census Shenanigans and Dares the Supreme Court to Reverse Him

Federal Judge Obliterates Trump’s Census Shenanigans and Dares the Supreme Court to Reverse Him

Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross’ actions violated the law in several major ways.

Source: slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/01/federal-judge-census-ruling-wilbur-ross-trump.html


Stripping the country down for parts. It’s disgusting. WTF else are they doing?

Trump administration to bring back offshore drilling staff during shutdown

Trump administration to bring back offshore drilling staff during shutdown

The Trump administration is bringing dozens of federal employees back to work to carry out the administration’s plan to expand offshore oil and natural gas drilling.

Source: thehill.com/policy/energy-environment/425501-trump-administration-to-bring-back-offshore-drilling-staff-during


Wednesday

Brutal. See also Stephen Miller was writing SOTU to blame Democrats for shutdown — until Nancy Pelosi pulled the rug out: report.

Pelosi asks Trump to move State of the Union address

Pelosi asks Trump to move State of the Union address

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi has sent a letter to President Donald Trump asking to move the day of the State of the Union address or deliver it in writing, citing security concerns from the ongoing government shutdown.

Source: www.cnn.com/2019/01/16/politics/nancy-pelosi-asks-trump-move-state-of-the-union-address/index.html


Clearly, the speculation that the shutdown isn’t just about the wall but also to start drowning the government is starting to take hold. After all, if you force federal workers to work for free…

5 reasons Trump may want a shutdown that have nothing to do with a wall

5 reasons Trump may want a shutdown that have nothing to do with a wall

Clearly, Trump must enjoy having a big chunk of our government closed. Besides a border wall fight, what else is he getting out of this mess? A lot.

Source: www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2019/01/16/border-wall-5-other-reasons-trump-may-want-government-shutdown-column/2583844002/


And there you go. Raise the top marginal tax already!

Poll: A majority of Americans support raising the top tax rate to 70 percent

Poll: A majority of Americans support raising the top tax rate to 70 percent

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and her Republican critics have both called her proposal to dramatically increase America’s highest tax rate “radical” but a new poll released Tuesday indicates that a majority of Americans agrees with the idea.

Source: thehill.com/hilltv/what-americas-thinking/425422-a-majority-of-americans-support-raising-the-top-tax-rate-to-70


Thursday

The real point here is not the stupid gloaty game-referee CAGE MATCH style headline but the fact that her explanations are quick, articulate, and understandable. She clearly knows  her way around online and how to talk to her audience. These are extremely important abilities for any politician to have and it’s really refreshing to watch her break down concepts and issues to get at the heart of why her proposals are good and fair ideas. It’s a treat watching her grow & learn, as well, in the year I’ve been following her.

And if you step beyond Twitter, polls show her plan is popular. A survey conducted by The Hill/Harris Poll found that a sizable majority — 59 percent agreed with the idea of raising the highest tax bracket to 70 percent. Even a fair percentage (45 percent of Republicans) were on board with this.

Most notably, many economists, including Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman say Ocasio-Cortez’s tax policies are sound.

Note also that most Americans do support increasing the top marginal rate, as outlined in the Hill article I included above.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Embarrasses Scott Walker After He Tries To Insult Her On Twitter (TWEETS) – The United States Blues

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Embarrasses Scott Walker After He Tries To Insult Her On Twitter (TWEETS) – The United States Blues

Former Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker tries to insult Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez on Twitter, and she responds. We bet his ears are still burning

Source: theunitedstatesblues.com/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-embarrasses-scott-walker-after-he-tries-to-insult-her-on-twitter-tweets/


This is actually a pretty interesting article and maybe something to lead in with if you’re talking to a Трампista.

Using a 2017 University of Maryland Critical Issues Poll, we found that believing Trump was not born “very wealthy” leads to at least a 5-percentage-point boost in the president’s job approval, even after considering the many factors that can influence public approval ratings. This shift is rooted in the belief that his humble roots make Trump both more empathetic (he “feels my pain”), and more skilled at business (he is self-made and couldn’t have climbed to such heights without real business know-how).

What happens when Americans learn of the president’s privileged background? In a 2018 survey, we provided half the respondents the following question, which was intended to impart Trump’s biographical information: To what extent were you aware that Donald Trump grew up the son of wealthy real estate businessman Fred Trump, started his business with loans from his father, and received loans worth millions of dollars from his father in order to keep his businesses afloat?

Many Voters Think Trump’s a Self-Made Man. What Happens When You Tell Them Otherwise?

Many Voters Think Trump’s a Self-Made Man. What Happens When You Tell Them Otherwise?

Who is Donald Trump? Ask Americans and many of them will describe a self-made billionaire.

Source: www.politico.com/magazine/story/2019/01/17/many-voters-think-trumps-a-self-made-man-what-happens-when-you-tell-them-otherwise-224019


OK, one more:

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Torches Trump For Shutdown In First House Floor Speech

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Torches Trump For Shutdown In First House Floor Speech

“The truth is, this shutdown is about the erosion of American democracy and the subversion of our most basic governmental norms,” the freshman lawmaker s…

Source: www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-wheres-mitch-twitter-shutdown_us_5c404e8be4b0a8dbe16dd3e1


On WSJ (paywall), they report outright bribery per Cohen.

In early 2015, a man who runs a small technology company showed up at Trump Tower to collect $50,000 for having helped Michael Cohen, then Donald Trump’s personal lawyer, try to rig online polls in his boss’s favor before the presidential campaign.

In his Trump Organization office, Mr. Cohen surprised the man, John Gauger, by giving him a blue Walmart bag containing between $12,000 and $13,000 in cash and, randomly, a boxing glove that Mr. Cohen said had been worn by a Brazilian mixed-martial arts fighter, Mr. Gauger said.

Mr. Cohen disputed that he handed over a bag of cash. “All monies paid to Mr. Gauger were by check,” he said, offering no further comment on his ties to the consultant.

(More here: Michael Cohen paid Jerry Falwell Jr’s tech officer to rig early polls for Trump: report)

Cohen Hired IT Firm to Rig Early CNBC, Drudge Polls to Favor Trump

Behind the scenes, Michael Cohen hired RedFinch Solutions, then allegedly stiffed it—and his boss

In early 2015, the owner of a small tech company showed up at Trump Tower to collect $50,000 for helping Michael Cohen try to rig online polls in Donald Trump’s favor before the presidential campaign. He says he never got what he was owed.

Source: www.wsj.com/articles/poll-rigging-for-trump-and-creating-womenforcohen-one-it-firms-work-order-11547722801


This is a point I’ve made repeatedly, that Трамп isn’t the problem; he is merely a symptom. Getting rid of him is NECESSARY but not SUFFICIENT. (But by the same token, I don’t want to see opposition to Трамп fall into disarray because our options “don’t go far enough”… you have to work with what you have…LOOKIN’ AT YOU, BERNIEBROS)

Here it’s crucially important to distinguish between a minority of committed anti-Trump actors who do not labor under the illusion that all will be well with Trump gone and the far greater number of liberal Democratic “resisters” whose resistance is only skin deep and who are drawn to apocalyptic framing because of the way it absolves them from having to confront the uglier realities of a system that can, after all, be very good to educated elites of all political persuasions.

We can see this distinction play out among possible candidates for the Democratic nomination. Elizabeth Warren and Sherrod Brown are both avowed foes of the neoliberal project: free trade, deregulation, de-unionization, privatization. Both understand that concentrated wealth at the top is never innocent—that it’s extracted from workers and the poor. Both understand the scandalous reality of debt peonage in America. And although both could and should be much more explicit about the crucial role played by white supremacy in propping up this system, they do say that they want to attack the structures that underpin plantation capitalism. There’s no question that both want to break the hammerlock of corporate wealth in national politics.

These positions will clearly handicap Warren and Brown in the all-important money primary that’s already unfolding. I take no satisfaction from predicting that corporate power inside the Democratic tent will prevent either of these people from being nominated, let alone elected. I likewise do not rejoice to predict that the vast majority of white liberals within the Democratic fold will be pleased to accept a candidate who is fully approved and substantially funded by our corporate overlords, especially if the proceedings exhibit the requisite gloss of diversity.

The Antichrist Trap: Trump Isn’t the Whole Story

The Antichrist Trap: Trump Isn’t the Whole Story

Peter Laarman: Far too many of our self-anointed progressive saviors speak as though Trump’s overthrow will make everything good again. A bargain-priced plastic surgeon might want to convince us that removing a large carbuncle will render our face entirely beautiful, but can that kind of pitch really be trusted?

Source: www.laprogressive.com/trump-satan/


This is of course not surprising. Because the office of POTUS does not formally forbid this, and we haven’t actually raised emoluments clause in courts before because previous presidents refrained from this (at least so visibly) because in the past the backlash would have finished those presidents. But since this one doesn’t care, and the GOP doesn’t care, this is what you get.

T-Mobile announced a merger needing Trump administration approval. The next day, 9 executives had reservations at Trump’s hotel.

T-Mobile announced a merger needing Trump administration approval. The next day, 9 executives had reservations at Trump’s hotel.

Such visits raise questions about whether patronizing the president’s private business is viewed as a way to influence public policy, critics said.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/politics/a-place-i-feel-very-comfortable-t-mobile-executives-seeking-government-approval-for-merger-stayed-at-trumps-hotel-repeatedly/2019/01/15/6a114d3e-142c-11e9-b6ad-9cfd62dbb0a8_story.html


Click through on link to see videoclip. AOC discusses the shutdown.

CSPAN on Twitter

CSPAN on Twitter

“First House Floor speech from Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC): “The truth of this shutdown is that it’s actually not about a wall…The truth is, this shutdown is about the erosion of American democracy and the subversion of our most basic governmental norms.” https://t.co/r8tmsGSNtT”

Source: twitter.com/cspan/status/1085737193564504066


But of course. Our border & immigration system is SO broken it needs to be scrapped and rebuilt from the ground up. Not with the GOP participating in any way shape or form >.<  See also: Trump admin weighed targeting migrant families, speeding up deportation of children

The federal government has reported that nearly 3,000 children were forcibly separated from their parents under last year’s “zero-tolerance” immigration policy, under which nearly all adults entering the country illegally were prosecuted, and any children accompanying them were put into shelters or foster care.

But even before the administration officially unveiled the zero-tolerance policy in the spring of 2018, staff of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the agency that oversees the care of children in federal custody, had noted a “sharp increase” in the number of children separated from a parent or guardian, according to the report from the agency’s Office of Inspector General.

As of December, the department had identified 2,737 children who were separated from their parents under the policy and required to be reunified by a federal court order issued in June 2018.

But that number does not represent the full scope of family separations. Thousands of children may have been separated during an influx that began in 2017, before the accounting required by the court, the report said.

Thousands More Migrant Children Were Probably Taken From Families Than Reported

Thousands More Migrant Children Were Probably Taken From Families Than Reported

The government has reported about 2,700 migrant children separated from their families at the border last year. But the removals may have involved thousands more.

Source: www.nytimes.com/2019/01/17/us/family-separation-trump-administration-migrants.html


The GOP and idiot portions of the media are, of course, putting a different spin on this, but this report matches all the video coverage available.

The House was voting on another stopgap bill to reopen the government, this one until Feb. 28. Nearly all House Republicans routinely have voted against House Democratic spending bills over the last two weeks in an effort to stay in lockstep with President Trump’s demand for border wall funding. And it’s important to their messaging that they show unity against the Democratic bills.

When the bill came up, the Democrat presiding over the House, North Carolina Rep. G.K. Butterfield, called for a voice vote and declared the resolution passed. This is a standard majority move. What’s supposed to happen afterward, though, is for a member who wants a recorded vote to call for a recorded vote. The Republican at the lectern responsible for this task was Kentucky Rep. Brett Guthrie. Either he didn’t call for the recorded vote, or Butterfield didn’t hear him. (If Guthrie did say something, it’s certainly not audible on the C-SPAN replay.) Butterfield waited about 30 seconds and then moved on to the next item of business.

In other words, because no roll call vote was requested, the Democratic bill to reopen the government had just passed without Republicans recording their objection. On paper, that might look like House Republicans had sided with Democrats to defy President Trump and reopen the government without wall funding.

Some Republicans, realizing the messaging snafu that took place while they were tuned out, stayed in the chamber and tried to convince Butterfield, and Democratic Majority Leader Steny Hoyer, that Guthrie totally called for the recorded vote. Butterfield and Hoyer insisted that they didn’t hear it. When Republican Whip Steve Scalise offered a series of ideas for redoing the vote, Hoyer noted that most of his members were already at the airport so, eh, sorry.

Republicans Tuned Out During House Vote on Bill to End the Shutdown. Now They Want a Redo.

Republicans Tuned Out During House Vote on Bill to End the Shutdown. Now They Want a Redo.

Being in the minority is hard.

Source: slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/01/house-republicans-forgot-roll-call-democrats-shutdown-bill.html


Meanwhile, regarding Puerto Rico:

Trump tried to illegally withhold disaster relief money from Puerto Rico

Trump tried to illegally withhold disaster relief money from Puerto Rico

Trump’s handling of his one big external crisis remains terrifying.

Source: www.vox.com/2019/1/17/18186818/trump-puerto-rico-hurricane-funds


Encouraging news. I mean, you see why McConnell and GOP are trying so hard to pack and own the courts.

A federal court just blocked Wisconsin Republicans’ attacks on early voting

A federal court just blocked Wisconsin Republicans’ attacks on early voting

During the lame-duck session, the party passed controversial measures to make it harder to vote.

Source: www.motherjones.com/politics/2019/01/federal-court-blocked-wisconsin-republican-early-voting/


Well, when you get in bed with someone who only thinks of themselves…

Why the NRA is struggling

Why the NRA is struggling

Legislative defeats, financial problems, and a surprisingly difficult ally in the White House.

Source: www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/1/17/18167430/nra-2018-midterms-trump-spending-trouble


Hmmm. I’d add to this Трамп’s penchant for declassification via careless tweeting, eg of a covert group in Iraq when he paid a surprise Christmas visit (Donald Trump Twitter Account Video Reveals U.S. Navy SEAL Deployment During Iraq Visit). He’s done that sort of thing several times now.

It’s not just Trump’s unpredictable decision making that has officials on edge, it’s also his penchant for politicizing the military— something that’s come into focus in recent months as he’s struggled to fulfill his campaign promise to crack down on immigration and build a border wall. His decision to draw down troops in Syria and his claims that ISIS is defeated have also rankled military commanders who felt it wasn’t well thought out.

Some of the highest-ranking officers say there is a new atmosphere of unease inside the Pentagon, particularly among some of the most senior ranks, over the President’s inclination to use the military to achieve certain partisan policy objectives. Behind the scenes officials are trying to keep it all at bay. “The amount of time we have to spend making sure our statements and what we say is apolitical is astronomically higher than ever before,” one senior military officer told CNN.

If commanders order the troops to perform a mission for reasons that are political — rather than based on national security grounds — the fundamental nature of the US military is changed, several officials worry. That line has already been crossed in the minds of some over the issue of sending troops to the border. It could become even more of a problem should the President decide to declare a national emergency to gain access to Defense Department funds to build the wall.

On top of that, there are also general concerns about the President’s foreign policy decisions, particularly his public announcement to pull US troops out of Syria. Wednesday’s suicide attack in Manbij in northern Syria that killed American service members raises the question of whether the President’s decision to withdraw troops might have resulted in ISIS or other groups seeing a vulnerability and attacking US forces.

Trump is fraying nerves inside the Pentagon

Trump is fraying nerves inside the Pentagon

Two years into his presidency, Donald Trump is fueling unprecedented uncertainty and anxiety inside the Pentagon. In private conversations over the past month, many of them unsolicited, more than a dozen key military officers, enlisted personnel and senior civilians have expressed worry and concern to CNN. None of the officials have spoken publicly about this, as military law prohibits active-duty personnel from criticizing a sitting president. expressed worry and concern to CNN.

Source: www.cnn.com/2019/01/17/politics/trump-frays-nerves-at-pentagon/index.html


Chief among any Dem proposals should be restructuring of CBP and ICE to reduce the acts of genocide and such among the migrants reaching the border, to bring us back to international standards on amnesty, as well as reinforcing where drugs and such actually do come in: at points of entry, NOT along the border. Hey, throw in some stuff like guaranteeing the pay of folks like the TSA, IRS workers etc…

“There have been concerns by some members saying we need to tell our constituents what we’re for and what it would look like in terms of border security,” said Representative Lucille Roybal-Allard, Democrat of California and the chairwoman of the appropriations subcommittee that handles homeland security. “That is probably a way to respond to that, and a way that does not violate what we are saying: open up the government and then we will talk about border security.”

Representative Peter A. DeFazio, Democrat of Oregon and the chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, who told a group of committee chairmen at a closed-door meeting on Wednesday that it was time for their party to go public with its own border security ideas, reiterated the idea in an interview.

Now here’s a more concerning piece of this incident. Congress IS equal to the POTUS (which is equal to the judiciary, etc — just check your copy of the Constitution). In particular, the Speaker is charged with requesting a state of the union from the POTUS. But in turn, T compromised the security of a trip to Afghanistan. The GOP Congress have given up a lot of congressional power. It remains to be seen whether the Democrats can bring that back in line.

“We’re not going to allow the president of the United States to tell the Congress it can’t fulfill its oversight responsibilities, it can’t ensure that our troops have what they need whether our government is open or closed,” said Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the chairman of the intelligence panel.

“We are a coequal branch of government,” Mr. Schiff said, suggesting that the president apparently did not understand the new reality in Washington. “It may not have been that way with the past two years when he had a Republican Congress willing to roll over anytime he asked, but that is no longer the case.”

Mr. Schiff was on the bus outside the Rayburn House Office Building near the Capitol when Mr. Trump fired off his letter, along with Representative Eliot L. Engel, Democrat of New York and the chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, and several other lawmakers in what made for an unusual tableau.

Instead of heading for Joint Base Andrews and boarding a military plane, the lawmakers sat stunned on their bus, unsure of what to do next, until it eventually drove slowly to the Capitol driveway — some journalists jogging or riding electric scooters to keep up — to disgorge its perplexed passengers. At one point, the House sergeant-at-arms, the chamber’s chief law enforcement officer, turned up to puzzle over the security arrangements for the lawmakers, whose secret travel plans were now public. And the speaker, holed up in her office with aides as reporters mixed near the Rotunda with tourists oblivious to the drama, calmly plotted her next steps.

Trump Hits Back at Pelosi, Threatening Her Trip to See Troops

Trump Hits Back at Pelosi, Threatening Her Trip to See Troops

The House speaker had threatened to cancel President Trump’€™s State of the Union address, citing security concerns because of the government shutdown.

Source: www.nytimes.com/2019/01/17/us/politics/trump-pelosi-letter-trip.html


Also:

Left unappreciated by the back and forth was just how impulsive the president’s swift response truly was.

White House officials told CNN that Trump had coordinated with the Department of Defense about the decision to prohibit the use of military aircraft for Pelosi. But as of the time of this publication, staffers in the Pentagon were furiously scrambling to gather information about the cancellation.

“We’re still gathering information just like you,” one Pentagon official told The Daily Beast. “We are trying to figure out what is going on.” One other source inside the Pentagon said that the White House had not coordinated with senior officials in Kabul about the cancellation, either.

The White House did not respond to The Daily Beast’s question on whether or not the president or his team directly contacted the Defense Department and the Air Force about restricting Pelosi or her team’s use of military aircraft, prior to issuing the White House announcement Thursday afternoon. But the president’s team appeared prepared for the moment in other ways.

Within an hour of the White House’s announcement, the Trump campaign was already fundraising off of the tit-for-tat.

What Trump Just Wrecked by Canceling Pelosi’s Trip to Afghanistan

For more than three weeks, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and her staff had quietly planned an international trip to Brussels and Afghanistan to check in on America’s longest war.

Source: www.thedailybeast.com/what-trump-just-wrecked-by-canceling-pelosis-trip-to-afghanistan


Getting rid of GOP control is only a first step, but it sure does have generally good dividends. Now let’s just hope that California can increase it’s per student spending so that it isn’t ranked 41st…

Consider the experience of California, where Democrats took full control in 2011. Conservatives lambasted Jerry Brown’s increases in taxes, spending and the minimum wage, declaring that the state was committing “economic suicide.” In reality, the economy boomed, while California’s enthusiastic implementation of health reform brought the uninsured share of the population down from 18 percent in 2011 to just 7 percent in 2017 — almost twice the reduction in the U.S. as a whole.

Or consider New Jersey, where Democrats took control last year and used that control to implement a series of measures — including reimposing the requirement that individuals buy health insurance — that reversed many of the Trump administration’s efforts at health care sabotage. The result was a sharp drop in insurance premiums, which are now among the lowest in the nation.

Now that Democratic control has expanded, we can expect to see more of this kind of activism.

Opinion | The Real Governments of Blue America

Opinion | The Real Governments of Blue America

In some states, politicians are actually trying to do their jobs.

Source: www.nytimes.com/2019/01/17/opinion/shutdown-democrats.html


Friday

It is with no hyperbole that I say McConnell is one of U.S. biggest traitors. C’mon Kentucky, get rid of this MoFo already.  Anyhow, Трамп needs to watch his ass: Polls agree: Americans don’t like shutdown and they blame Trump.

Hm, ya think McConnell is giving ol’ Трамп the finger on the down low? Doesn’t matter, still a traitor  (starting with Garland, FFS.)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stands back as shutdown drags on

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell stands back as shutdown drags on

The Republican leader has been conspicuously deferential to Trump since the shutdown began.

Source: www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/senate-majority-leader-mitch-mcconnell-stands-back-as-shutdown-drags-on


Christ on a pogo stick. When you can’t trust the WH to keep security on stuff like this…

 


That said, Pelosi is lethal. Click to play clip

 


That BuzzFeed report. I wasn’t going to go into much detail on it.  But I do want to pull a couple of interesting pieces together.

First the report itself, published Thursday: President Trump Directed His Attorney Michael Cohen To Lie To Congress About The Moscow Tower Project. OK, that’s pretty whoa.

Then this morning it’s reported Cohen shows up returning from the hospital Thursday evening: Michael Cohen arrives home from hospital with arm in sling, fueling quite a bit of speculation, although Cohen has made no statement so far.

Then, the Mueller’s office actually weighed in: In a rare move, Mueller’s office denies BuzzFeed report that Trump told Cohen to lie about Moscow project. Definitely whoa.

My take: “The leak did not come from US.” I’m going to point this out. SDNY is a leaky faucet whereas Mueller’s office has not leaked once so far.

Note for example emptywheel’s twitter thread here: Folks, as I noted in my post form this morning, the BuzzFeed story conflicted with what SCO had Cohen allocute to under oath. That raised questions for me last night. She expounded on this further on Saturday: Peter Carr Speaks

Popehat on twitter:

In a rare move, Mueller’s office denies BuzzFeed report that Trump told Cohen to lie about Moscow project

In a rare move, Mueller’s office denies BuzzFeed report that Trump told Cohen to lie about Moscow project

The special counsel, which almost never speaks about its investigation, says explosive assertions are ‘not accurate.’

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/2019/01/18/b9c40d34-1b85-11e9-8813-cb9dec761e73_story.html?utm_term=.1c62ec65a431


Meanwhile in our Education dept…

DeVos Will Recommend the Removal of Civil Rights Protections for Students of Color

DeVos Will Recommend the Removal of Civil Rights Protections for Students of Color

Any day now we’re going to hear the news that Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos and the Trump administration are removing guidance meant to reduce

Source: educationpost.org/devos-will-recommend-the-removal-of-civil-rights-protections-for-students-of-color/


And you know that Трамп doesn’t care.

The D.C. Metro is losing $400k in revenue for every weekday of the government shutdown

The D.C. Metro is losing $400k in revenue for every weekday of the government shutdown

Now in its 28th day, the shutdown has become the longest in history.

Source: thinkprogress.org/dc-metro-shutdown-revenue-losses-6eb593b9c313/


Saturday

Let’s return for a moment to a deeper look at what went on with Трамп’s cancellation of the top security trip to Afghanistan… I think that the fact that Pelosi is a woman makes Трамп madder than anything else.

Keep in mind also that other lawmakers went on similar trips after Pelosi’s was declassified and cancelled: Lindsey Graham Flew To Turkey On Official Trip After Trump Canceled Pelosi’s.

One of the most striking aspects of Donald Trump’s petty decision to cancel House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s trip to Afghanistan is the degree to which it was lacking in any sense of proportionality. The president and his team were bothered that the California Democrat had raised security concerns about the upcoming State of the Union address.

In response, Trump decided to scrap a long-planned secret trip in which congressional leaders – including the chairs of the House Intelligence and Foreign Affairs Committees – who were set to visit with American troops stationed abroad, while receiving briefings on the status of an ongoing war.

It’s hard to imagine any fair-minded observer making the case that these are two comparable.

Trump White House reportedly sought to put Pelosi ‘in her place’

Trump White House reportedly sought to put Pelosi ‘in her place’

It’s as if a group of far-right online trolls took control of the executive branch of a global superpower.

Source: www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/trump-white-house-reportedly-sought-put-pelosi-her-place


Word. Although I don’t think McConnell should just stand back as a result. He could, if he wanted to, pull together a veto proof vote on a clean funding bill as a way of giving Трамп the middle finger. That he doesn’t gives rise to two speculative theories (perhaps even both): he’s up for election in 2020 in a state where TТрамп is wildly popular (supposedly); and he’s likewise compromised by Russia (has several 100K from oligarchs). Hard to say.

Sen. Mitch McConnell was jolted with a fresh reminder of President Trump’s capriciousness last month: The majority leader persuaded Republican colleagues to take a politically difficult vote to temporarily fund the government, but not a border wall, only to see Trump withdraw support — initiating the longest shutdown in history.

House Republicans learned the same lesson early in Trump’s presidency when he rallied them to repeal Obamacare, then described their effort as “mean.”

As Trump reaches the halfway mark of his term on Sunday, he has left a trail of negotiating partners from both chambers of Congress, both political parties and countries around the world feeling double-crossed and even lied to.

The result is that the president who campaigned as the world’s best deal-maker, vowing that he alone could fix Washington’s dysfunction, has been stymied as he looks for achievements before facing the voters again. Two years in, the man who built a political reputation as a guy who tells it like it is has lost the essential ingredients to closing deals: credibility and trust.

“He just undermined the trust and confidence that some Republican members did want to have in him,” said Carlos Curbelo, a Florida Republican who lost his House seat in November, in part because of Trump’s unpopularity.

But what has worked for Трамп in the past doesn’t work here

Trump’s tactics were honed over decades. Throughout his business career, he moved from one project to the next — real estate development, sales, casinos and branding — often leaving scorned partners or creditors to deal with the fallout from bankruptcies or deals gone bad.

“This was all to stay ahead of his reputation,” said Michael D’Antonio, author of “The Truth About Trump.” But “in Washington,” he said, “you can’t escape who you are for very long. He’s proven that he can’t keep his word.”

The president has broken records for false statements, according to nonpartisan fact checkers. An increasing majority of voters — by 61% to 34% in one recent poll — say he is not honest. The same poll, from Quinnipiac University, found that voters also rated his leadership skills as poor, by 58% to 39%.

Complicating the problem, Trump has churned through staff faster than his predecessors. He has surrounded himself with a collection of temporary officials, family members and inexperienced advisors with little sway on Capitol Hill.

I don’t know what the fuck to say about these asshole idiots.

Republican lawmakers’ criticism is muted, however, because even as Trump has ranked among the least popular presidents in modern history, he has consistently commanded overwhelming support from Republican voters, according to polls.

However, GOP lawmakers might want to pay closer attention: Opposing Trump is making Nancy Pelosi more popular and How unpopular is Donald Trump?. (Although to be fair these are aggregate numbers: if you check Трамп’s popularity within GOP voters, it’s generally in the low to mid 80s, which is actually astonishing, even for a competent politician (eg Trump’s popularity remains high among Republican voters, despite pessimism over wall funding).

What’s instructive is to look at something like this: How Trump’s Popularity Is Holding Up, By State; look at Kentucky. It was at +34 and as of last summer still at +15 which is high relative to other states but is still a 19 point drop. McConnell might do better than look like a particularly incompetent Трамп lapdog, the way he does in this shutdown standoff by twiddling his thumbs.

Why can’t Trump make deals? No one trusts him anymore

Why can’t Trump make deals? No one trusts him anymore

At the halfway mark of his term, the self-professed deal-maker has left negotiating partners from both chambers of Congress, both parties and numerous countries feeling conned and lied to.

Source: www.latimes.com/politics/la-na-pol-trump-credibility-20190118-story.html


Mind you, I keep thinking about this sort of thing. It’s why I try not to post about Трамп outside of this compilation, otherwise it overwhelms the stream of posts I offer, wherever I am.  At the same time, I think it’s instructive to gather them together and review from time to time. For example, this was my first in the Authoritarianism series.

Stop helping Donald Trump spread his lies. Don’t correct, don’t rage, just turn away.

Stop helping Donald Trump spread his lies. Don’t correct, don’t rage, just turn away.

Trump doesn’t lie to be believed, he lies to be repeated. Even fierce opponents can be unwitting viral marketers for his lies. Don’t fall into the trap.

Source: www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/09/10/donald-trump-liar-dont-help-his-lies-go-viral-column/1215197002/


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