Authoritarianism: Jan 6–12

The government of the United States is not a bargaining chip. A president cannot close the government when he doesn’t get his way, and then offer to open it as a concession when he does. That would not be a democracy; it would be a dictatorship.
–Robert Reich, @RBReich

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tl;dr

So amid all the sturm und drang of the shutdown dragging on and Трамп “prepping” for a speech…and the weird failed negotiations over the wall over the weekend, I think this twitter thread may be spot on: https://twitter.com/costareports/status/1082455031964676098 whereby this turns into an all-out war and Трамп declares some kind of national emergency thing. I don’t think he can get very far with it (mostly because we’ve been in a state of emergency since 9/11; go check out the text of the damn “Patriot Act” sometime and because much of the actions taken by the admin to “mitigate” the collateral damage are ineffective or flatly illegal (see As shutdown drags on, Trump officials make new offer, seek novel ways to cope with its impacts) but this is going to be tough.

So yes, most of this week was about the shutdown though there were a few bright spots like the new California governer being installed, and AOC & company putting out a Green New Deal.

My guess is that Трамп is going to scrounge up money from other parts of the executive (especially where it can punch someone down, like snagging HUD money or something), throw it at the wall and call it a day, without acceeding to a bill that doesn’t provision the wall. I hope this pops McConnell’s nuts. Because the truth is all Congress has to do is pass a clean funding bill in both chambers with a veto proof majority; and Pelosi and McConnell can most certainly deliver on that. Me, I’m just trying to figure out what it will take to make the GOP turn on Трамп. There’s got to be a point where it’s the only thing to do to save their skin. I thought that point was passed long ago; they apparently still see some value in him yet.

 


Sunday

Republican GOP senators face a difficult reelection map in 2010, similar to the one Dem senators just faced last November. Cracks are starting to show, as the first to demand of McConnell to do something are the ones most vulnerable in 2020.

[W]ith the shutdown soon to enter its third week, and Mr. Trump dug in on his demand for $5 billion to build a border wall, Mr. McConnell for the first time is facing pressure from members of his own party to step in to resolve the stalemate that has left 800,000 federal workers either furloughed or working without pay.

By absenting himself, Mr. McConnell had hoped to push the blame for a prolonged shutdown onto Democrats while protecting Republicans running for re-election in 2020 — including himself.

McConnell Faces Pressure From Republicans to Stop Avoiding Shutdown Fight

McConnell Faces Pressure From Republicans to Stop Avoiding Shutdown Fight

By absenting himself, the Senate majority leader had hoped to push the blame for a prolonged shutdown onto Democrats while protecting Republicans running for re-election next year — including himself.

Source: www.nytimes.com/2019/01/03/us/politics/mcconnell-senate-republicans-shutdown.html


Lies over the border.

Rep. Bennie Thompson (D-Miss.) made the accusation in a scathing letter to Nielsen following a private presentation to Congress in which she tried to promote President Donald Trump’s border wall by falsely claiming thousands of terrorists were apprehended at the southern border last year.

“Your border security presentation submitted to Congress today is yet another example of the misinformation and outright lies the Trump Administration has used to make the case for the President’s boondoggle border wall,” Thompson wrote, also referencing the ongoing partial government shutdown and the recent deaths of two children at the border.

Democrat Accuses Kirstjen Nielsen Of ‘Outright Lies’ On Border, Calls For Hearing

House Homeland Security Committee head Bennie Thompson wants to look into the Trump administration’s border policy and the deaths of two migrant children.

Source: www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/kirstjen-nielsen-border_us_5c30523ee4b073352832ee7a?ncid=engmodushpmg00000004


It’s not just TSA workers.

How the shutdown is hurting some of America’s poorest families

How the shutdown is hurting some of America’s poorest families

As the shutdown drags on, it’s jeopardizing the welfare of those who live in HUD-subsidized housing, including low-income families and the elderly.

Source: www.nbcnews.com/politics/politics-news/how-government-shutdown-hurting-some-america-s-poorest-families-n954361


Shutdown nearly shuts immigration courts, but deportations continue

Shutdown nearly shuts immigration courts, but deportations continue

“You’re shutting down the immigration court over the issue of immigration,” said Judge Ashley Tabaddor, president of the immigration judges union.

Source: www.nbcnews.com/politics/immigration/shutdown-nearly-shuts-u-s-immigration-courts-deportations-continue-n954826


New Dem lawmaker slams Gaetz for using the term ‘Sacagawea’ to attack Warren

New Dem lawmaker slams Gaetz for using the term ‘Sacagawea’ to attack Warren

Freshman Rep. Deb Haaland (D-N.M.), who this week became one of the first two Native American women sworn into Congress, said it was “offensive and hurtful” for Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) to call Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) “Sacagawea.” Haaland slammed Gaetz for making the comparison to Sacagawea, the Lemhi Shoshone woman who helped the Lewis and Clark expedition. “Sacagawea made great sa…

Source: www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/new-dem-lawmaker-slams-gaetz-for-using-the-term-sacagawea-to-attack-warren/ar-BBRQtUO


That’s going to stick in his craw

Donald Trump is less popular than Nancy Pelosi for the first time during his presidency

Donald Trump is less popular than Nancy Pelosi for the first time during his presidency

First things first: The theme song of the week is The Blind Boys of Alabama’s Way Down in the Hole from The Wire.

Source: www.cnn.com/2019/01/05/politics/pelosi-trump-favorability-poll-of-the-week/index.html


Funny how that works… SUCH A COINCIDENCE.

Shutdown spares federal park rangers at site in Trump hotel

Shutdown spares federal park rangers at site in Trump hotel

WASHINGTON (AP) — Smithsonian museums are closed. There are no federal staffers to answer tourists’ questions at the Lincoln Memorial. And across the United States, national parks are cluttered with trash. Yet despite the federal government shutdown, a historic clock tower at the Trump International Hotel remained open Friday for its handful of visitors, staffed by green-clad National Park Service rangers. “We’re open!” one National Park Service ranger declared around lunchtime, pushing an elevator button for a lone visitor entering the site through a side entrance to ride to the top of the 315-foot-high, nearly 120-year-old clock tower.

Source: apnews.com/a92b044703354064a34217492c5a0923


So instead this time around we can flood social media with pictures of overflowing garbage instead of closed gates, amirite? I just want to scream at the amount of damage being directly and indirectly done here (the article does a good rundown of the latter type of thing). If you remember when asswipe yeehawd Bundy shut down and trashed Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, you’ll remember the damage that had to be undone first, which delayed work on the fish rehabbing and so on down the line? Yeah.

“I would suggest it’s more political,” says Jon Jarvis, the former National Park Service director under the Obama administration. “The administration did not want to suffer the public outcry that came during the last shutdown.”

After a 16-day government shutdown in 2013, the government faced massive public backlash as disappointed park visitors flooded social media with images showing closed gates at parks across the U.S.

National parks face years of damage from government shutdown

National parks face years of damage from government shutdown

When the government eventually reopens, park experts warn reversing damage won’t be as easy as throwing out the trash.

Source: www.nationalgeographic.com/environment/2019/01/why-national-parks-trashed-during-government-shutdown/


Syrian troop withdrawal halted forever

Syrian troop withdrawal halted forever

Source: www.motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2019/01/syrian-troop-withdrawal-halted-forever/


Trump: ‘No hurry’ to name permanent replacements for acting Cabinet members

Trump: ‘No hurry’ to name permanent replacements for acting Cabinet members

President Trump said Sunday he’s in “no hurry” to name permanent choices for a handful of Cabinet positions being filled in an acting capacity.

Source: thehill.com/homenews/administration/424088-trump-no-hurry-to-name-permanent-replacements-for-acting-cabinet


Monday

https://www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/01/07/before-looking-ahead-democrats-should-look-back-hubert-humphrey/

Perspective | Before looking ahead to 2020, Democrats should look back to Hubert Humphrey

The blueprint for reinvigorating the Democratic agenda.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/outlook/2019/01/07/before-looking-ahead-democrats-should-look-back-hubert-humphrey/


https://www.inc.com/chris-matyszczyk/delta-united-airlines-pilots-to-president-trump-cut-nonsense.html

Delta and United Airlines Pilots to President Trump: Cut the Nonsense

Delta and United Airlines Pilots to President Trump: Cut the Nonsense

Airline pilots are very worried about the government shutdown.

Source: www.inc.com/chris-matyszczyk/delta-united-airlines-pilots-to-president-trump-cut-nonsense.html


https://medium.com/@parkermolloy/5-things-the-media-does-to-manufacture-outrage-ba79125e1262

5 things the media does to manufacture outrage. – Parker Molloy – Medium

5 things the media does to manufacture outrage. – Parker Molloy – Medium

People are so sensitive these days! People are just offended by every little thing! Millennials, amirite?!

Source: medium.com/@parkermolloy/5-things-the-media-does-to-manufacture-outrage-ba79125e1262


What Romney Exposed About Late-Stage Trumpism – The Bulwark

What Romney Exposed About Late-Stage Trumpism – The Bulwark

Last week’s op-ed from Mitt Romney was interesting not just for what it was, but for what the response to it revealed. Because the defense mounted by Trump World tells us quite a lot about the decadence of late stage Trumpism. Romney’s central heresy was his observation that “policies and appointments are only a part …

Source: thebulwark.com/what-romney-exposed-about-late-stage-trumpism/


The GOP depends on the fact that MANY people don’t understand how marginal tax rates work, and gin up outrage over 70% marginal tax rates that will never touch 90% of their base.

https://jezebel.com/alexandria-ocasio-cortez-how-do-you-not-know-how-margi-1831529269

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This is going to be a giant fucking mess, literally and figuratively, to clean up, especially at the National Parks. The admin apparently signaled a number of possible compromises to get their 5bil, but the Dems ain’t smoking any of that shit.

But a border wall is “central to any strategy,” Vought wrote, and Democrats — who have said the wall should not be tied to an agreement to reopen the government — remained skeptical of any overtures by the president, suggesting that there is no end in sight to the shutdown, which has entered its third week.

A Democratic official familiar with the meeting said no progress was made over the weekend, in large part because the White House hasn’t been forthcoming about how the money would be used or why the request is for so much more than the administration sought only a few months ago.

The posturing came as the shutdown’s impacts mounted, with the Trump administration scrambling to mitigate its effects on Americans expecting to get a tax refund next month, those who rely on federal assistance for their housing, and vulnerable national monuments and parks.

As shutdown drags on, Trump officials make new offer, seek novel ways to cope with its impacts

The administration now wants $5.7 billion for a “steel barrier” and $800 million “to address urgent humanitarian needs” at the border. Meanwhile, to avoid fallout from the budget impasse, national parks will dip into entrance fees to bolster operations, which critics said may be illegal.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/national/health-science/as-shutdown-drags-on-trump-officials-seek-novel-ways-to-cope-with-its-impacts/2019/01/06/96c54a50-11ee-11e9-90a8-136fa44b80ba_story.html


https://www. rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/democrats-election-changes-775071/

Inside the Democrats’ New Plan to Fight Dark Money and Voter Suppression

Inside the Democrats’ New Plan to Fight Dark Money and Voter Suppression

Take a look at sweeping changes Democrats are proposing under a new House bill

Source: www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-news/democrats-election-changes-775071/


https://gsiexchange.com/farm-bankruptcies-have-now-surpassed-great-recession-levels/

Farm Bankruptcies Have Now Surpassed Great Recession Levels | GSI Exchange

Farm Bankruptcies Have Now Surpassed Great Recession Levels | GSI Exchange

American farms are going bankrupt, a rising trend that sees no respite in sight. In a report recently published by the Federal Reserve Bank of Minneapolis, a growing number of American farms are unable to maintain their operations. And the numbers indicate that more filings are to be expected in the near future. 84 farms …

Source: gsiexchange.com/farm-bankruptcies-have-now-surpassed-great-recession-levels/


https://www.politico.com/story/2019/01/07/gavin-newsom-california-governor-trump-1083304

‘More aggressive and in your face’: Newsom takes power in California

‘More aggressive and in your face’: Newsom takes power in California

The incoming governor has a powerful ally in fellow San Franciscan House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, but a president eager to use the state as a foil.

Source: www.politico.com/story/2019/01/07/gavin-newsom-california-governor-trump-1083304


https://www.democracynow.org/2019/1/7/ari_berman_dems_introduce_sweeping_voting

Ari Berman: Dems Introduce Sweeping Voting Rights Bill to Combat Rampant Voter Suppression

Ari Berman: Dems Introduce Sweeping Voting Rights Bill to Combat Rampant Voter Suppression

Voting rights activists are hailing a new House bill that aims to restore voting rights to millions, crack down on the influence of dark money in politics, restore the landmark Voting Rights Act, establish automatic and same-day voter registration and other measures. The bill has been dubbed the For the People Act. It is the first piece of legislation introduced by the new Democratic majority in the House. We speak with Ari Berman, senior writer at Mother Jones, reporting fellow at The Nation Institute and author of “Give Us the Ballot: The Modern Struggle for Voting Rights in America.” His latest piece is titled “Democrats’ First Order of Business: Making It Easier to Vote and Harder to Buy Elections.”

Source: www.democracynow.org/2019/1/7/ari_berman_dems_introduce_sweeping_voting


https://www.lawfareblog.com/case-closed-justice-department-wont-stand-behind-its-report-immigrants-and-terrorism

Case Closed: The Justice Department Won’t Stand Behind Its Report on Immigrants and Terrorism

Case Closed: The Justice Department Won’t Stand Behind Its Report on Immigrants and Terrorism

​The record is clear: The president lied, citing Justice Department data that do not exist, and the Justice Department released a report designed to be as suggestive of that lie as possible without repeating it.

Source: www.lawfareblog.com/case-closed-justice-department-wont-stand-behind-its-report-immigrants-and-terrorism


https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/01/supreme-court-will-rule-gerrymandering-md-and-nc/579550/

The Supreme Court Could Make Gerrymandering Worse

The Supreme Court Could Make Gerrymandering Worse

It likely won’t rule partisan gerrymandering unconstitutional. Instead, it may disallow independent redistricting commissions.

Source: www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/01/supreme-court-will-rule-gerrymandering-md-and-nc/579550/


https://www. nytimes.com/2019/01/05/us/politics/donald-trump-border-wall.html

How the Border Wall Is Boxing Trump In

How the Border Wall Is Boxing Trump In

What started out as a memory trick for an undisciplined candidate has become the central priority of the Trump presidency, even as some immigration hard-liners do not view it as a top goal.

Source: www.nytimes.com/2019/01/05/us/politics/donald-trump-border-wall.html


From a few years back and still relevant.

https://theintercept.com/2015/07/30/jimmy-carter-u-s-oligarchy-unlimited-political-bribery/

Jimmy Carter: The U.S. Is an “Oligarchy With Unlimited Political Bribery”

Jimmy Carter: The U.S. Is an “Oligarchy With Unlimited Political Bribery”

According to the former president, Americans are now experiencing “a complete subversion of our political system as a payoff to major contributors.”

Source: theintercept.com/2015/07/30/jimmy-carter-u-s-oligarchy-unlimited-political-bribery/


https://mavenroundtable.io/theintellectualist/news/trump-is-doing-his-best-to-reproduce-conditions-just-before-the-great-depression-x1l0gOW5jk-sysDgLEBQGg/

Trump Is Doing His Best To Reproduce Conditions Just Before The Great Depression – The Intellectualist

Trump Is Doing His Best To Reproduce Conditions Just Before The Great Depression – The Intellectualist

Economists warned about protectionist trade in 1930 and no one listened. Now, economists have warned President Trump.

Source: mavenroundtable.io/theintellectualist/news/trump-is-doing-his-best-to-reproduce-conditions-just-before-the-great-depression-x1l0gOW5jk-sysDgLEBQGg/


This is really worth reading.

Too many people—including many pundits, political scientists, and politicians themselves—are laboring under a misimpression that our political problems are inevitable, or the result of a weakening of the parties, or due to the parties’ ideological incoherence, or because of an increasingly polarized American public. Those who focus on these reasons are looking in the wrong places. The result is that despite all the commentary and attention on politics in recent years, there is still no accepted strategy to reform the system and things keep getting worse.

We need a new approach. Our political problems are not due to a single cause, but rather to a failure of the nature of the political competition that has been created. This is a systems problem. We are not political scientists, political insiders, or political experts. Instead, we bring a new analytical lens to understanding the performance of our political system: the lens of industry competition. This type of analysis has been used for decades to understand competition in other industries, and sheds new light on the failure of politics because politics in America has become, over the last several decades, a major industry that works like other industries.

We use this lens to put forth an investment thesis for political reform and innovation. What would be required to actually change the political outcomes we are experiencing? What would it take to better align the political system with the public interest and make progress on the nation’s problems? And, which of the many political reform and innovation ideas that have been proposed would actually alter the trajectory of the system?


WHY COMPETITION IN THE POLITICS INDUSTRY IS FAILING AMERICA (pdf, 79 pages)


https://www.politico.com/story/2019/01/07/mueller-probe-concord-management-1085285

Judge blasts lawyers for Russian firm charged by Mueller

Judge blasts lawyers for Russian firm charged by Mueller

“I’ll say it plain and simple: knock it off,” U.S. District Court Judge Dabney Friedrich told lawyers for the Russian company.

Source: www.politico.com/story/2019/01/07/mueller-probe-concord-management-1085285


https://www. rawstory.com/2019/01/hud-instructed-landlords-use-reserve-funds-shutdown-not-knowing-federal-program-expired/

HUD instructed landlords to use reserve funds during shutdown – not knowing federal program had expired

HUD instructed landlords to use reserve funds during shutdown – not knowing federal program had expired

Secretary Ben Carson’s Dept. of Housing and Urban Development on Friday tried to contain the damage caused by President Trump’s shutdown of the federal government. HUD sent letters to 1500 landlords that were part of a federal program, instructing them to use reserve funds from a federal program to avoid evicting tenants. HUD officials, according to The Washington Post, were unaware the program they directed landlords to use had already expired. Calling it “a last-minute …

Source: www.rawstory.com/2019/01/hud-instructed-landlords-use-reserve-funds-shutdown-not-knowing-federal-program-expired/


https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/01/nancy-pelosi-and-new-house-democratic-majority/579358/

Why the New Democratic Majority Could Work Better Than the Last

Why the New Democratic Majority Could Work Better Than the Last

House Democrats today are far more ideologically and geographically cohesive than they were during Nancy Pelosi’s previous speakership.

Source: www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2019/01/nancy-pelosi-and-new-house-democratic-majority/579358/


Focused on all the wrong things here. “How are we going to pay for this” is NOT the question, especially when never asked about the T-ian tax cuts, massive Pentagon spending sprees and so on. Ugh. AOC herself has pointed that out previously though she didn’t call him on that here.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and America’s Centrist Media

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and America’s Centrist Media

Yesterday was the big day, folks: Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, the youngest woman ever elected to Congress who defeated an entrenched incumbent in the primary to get there, finally Arrived with an interview on the old people news program. Truly, nothing could be a greater honor.

Source: splinternews.com/literal-vanderbilt-wants-to-know-how-aocs-gonna-pay-for-1831547115


Hell  yes.

Corporate leaders struck a delicate public balance with Trump, after he became president, reflecting awareness that he won high office as one of the most reviled public figures in the world, on a platform of anti-immigrant and Islamophobic panic, and that associating with him might cost them customers. They’ve been long forgotten, but shortly after he took office, Trump convened two advisory panels—the Manufacturing Jobs Initiative and the Strategic and Policy Forum—composed largely of corporate leaders, who were nominally assigned to provide Trump guidance on how to foster economic growth. Their participation was framed in terms of the public good, rather than their private interests, but in truth, these were quid pro quo affairs in which leaders with business before Trump’s administration curried favor with the president, as he sought to quell their concerns that associating with him would be bad for business.

Many of the participants faced intense pressure not to join the boards in the first place, and a few even dropped out under duress as Trump implemented his Muslim ban, and pulled the U.S. out of the Paris climate change agreement. But it wasn’t until Trump praised the Nazis marching in Charlottesville, VA that a mass exodus began, compelling Trump to disband both panels.

If that was the beginning and the end of corporate America’s flirtation with Trumpism, it would be a fairly banal story about business leaders trying to navigate turbulent and unfamiliar waters, before retreating to safe harbor. In reality the whole thing was a charade obscuring an unseemly and ongoing alliance. All along, Trump has sought to lever his corporate-friendly fiscal and regulatory agenda, and his deafening public megaphone, into patronage relationships with corporate leaders, and has lashed out intemperately (even retributively) at those who haven’t adequately bent to his will.

Another forgotten episode involves Trump’s Medicare and Medicaid administrator, Seema Verma, who convened a meeting of top insurance company officials and regulators, and threatened to withhold billions of dollars in public funds intended to offset out-of-pocket costs for low-income beneficiaries, unless the insurers agreed to support the repeal of the Affordable Care Act.

The repeal legislation famously failed, but this episode, which deserves close congressional scrutiny, revealed the real contours of the Trump-corporate relationship much more closely than the kabuki advisory panels did.

After Trump signed the Republican corporate tax cut bill into law, dozens of enormous corporations, including some represented on the disbanded advisory panels, participated in a grotesque public relations spectacle, in which they issued statements attributing long-planned holiday bonuses to the tax cuts, allowing Trump and Republican leaders to claim credit for the bonuses while providing the companies themselves some free advertising.

Because the tax cuts have accrued overwhelmingly to the richest people in America—because they arguably placed downward pressure on wages, and created offshoring incentives for large employers—they became a huge political drag on Republicans in last year’s elections. But the political failure of the tax cuts shouldn’t lull Democrats into complacency about the fact that Trump and these corporate leaders worked hand in glove to help Trump parlay the tax cuts into electoral dividends for him and his fellow Republicans.

Trump is an enticing target for Democratic investigators, but as a historically unpopular president, his misconduct is already widely known to his opposition, and as head of the executive branch, he has unique powers to thwart or draw out investigations of his personal conduct. The corporate executives who entered patronage relationships with Trump have no such powers. To the contrary, they have unique incentives to be reasonably, if not eagerly, responsive to requests from Congress and congressional subpoenas. I’d like to know why these companies, which shape American life, and depend on American consumer loyalty, chose to provide Trump and Republicans such valuable political p.r., and whether there’s more to the quid pro quo than the tax cut law itself, which was already on the books when those statements went out.

Democrats: Investigate Trump’s Corrupt Corporate Alliance | Crooked Media

Democrats: Investigate Trump’s Corrupt Corporate Alliance | Crooked Media

Trump is a petty thief, but don’t lose sight of his greater crime: the conscription of corporate America into his program of racist authoritarianism.

Source: crooked.com/articles/democrats-trump-coroporate-america/


Sotomayor and Gorsuch Resume Their Fight for the Future of the Sixth Amendment

The two joined forces once again to stick up for the right to a trial by jury when the government seeks to impose crippling fines.

Source: slate.com/news-and-politics/2019/01/sotomayor-gorsuch-supreme-court-dissent-criminal-restitution.html


I am for the moment going to ignore that ugly as fuck sentiment that there are people out there “that need to be hurt” and just point out some of the absurd situations set up by Трамп’s temper tantrum shut down.  I’m also going to add an obligatory OH FFS FLORIDA!

“It’s Just Too Much”: A Florida Town Grapples With a Shutdown After a Hurricane

In Florida’€™s deeply conservative Panhandle, federal prison workers were already struggling after Hurricane Michael. Then came the government shutdown.

Source: www.nytimes.com/2019/01/07/us/florida-government-shutdown-marianna.html


Of course this also means he’s got nothing to lose. I think this twitter thread nails it and I’m going to be watching that stupid speech of his (actually: watching the results/transcript of it but you get the idea): https://twitter.com/costareports/status/1082455031964676098. However, if the GOP turns on him, he’s finished. Anyway note this (and remember GOP Senators have a difficult 2020 map even without T’s numbers to consider)

It’s not just Trump, either. If his approval rating doesn’t rise over the next two years, multiple Senate Republicans will be in trouble. I’ve long assumed that Susan Collins of Maine could win re-election for as long as she wanted. But she may not be able to do so if Trump loses Maine by 15 percentage points — which was the combined Republican deficit in Maine’s two midterm congressional races.

Then there is Cory Gardner of Colorado (where Republicans lost the 2018 popular vote deficit by more than 10 percentage points), Joni Ernst of Iowa (where the Republican deficit was four points) and Martha McSally of Arizona (where it was two points).

If Trump’s popularity were to drop at all, another batch of senators — from North Carolina, Texas and Georgia, three states where Republicans only narrowly won the 2018 popular vote — would become more endangered. Even Kansas elected a Democratic governor last year, and it will have an open Senate seat in 2020. On Friday, Pat Roberts, the Republican incumbent, announced he would not run again.

Opinion | Trump the Vulnerable

Opinion | Trump the Vulnerable

A close look at the 2018 midterm results shows why he is so weak.

Source: www.nytimes.com/2019/01/06/opinion/trump-2020-republicans-impeachment.html


Oh boy. Wonder what kind of advice these people will give or what kind of job they’ll do on the refunds if they’re being forced to work with no pay at the time. Sickouts, I betcha, just like TSA. It’s amazing how many people they are trying to force to work without pay… GOP endgame, I guess.

In a late-afternoon call with the chairman of the Ways and Means Committee, Richard E. Neal of Massachusetts, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said the administration will call back a significant number of I.R.S. employees from furlough, in order to issue refunds. Mr. Mnuchin also told Mr. Neal that the I.R.S. would open the tax filing season on time at the end of January, and that enough employees would return to work to allow the I.R.S. to answer 60 to 70 percent of phone calls seeking tax assistance.

Those employees will not be paid until the shutdown ends.

Tax Refunds Will Be Issued During Shutdown, Trump Official Says

Tax Refunds Will Be Issued During Shutdown, Trump Official Says

The announcement could violate a law governing what federal agencies may do when their funding has lapsed.

Source: www.nytimes.com/2019/01/07/us/politics/tax-return-refunds-government-shutdown.html


Tuesday

This is beyond ridiculous. C’mon you fuckers. Skip airing it, and do a 30 second spot later to hit the highlights. That way you can filter out the lies, the windbagging, and the fapping from the actual speech. You know how this is going to go down, we can already see this: Donald Trump Runs Apocalyptic Border Wall Ads As Networks Clear Time For Speech

Networks giving Trump free airtime on Tuesday refused to air Obama’s 2014 immigration speech

Networks giving Trump free airtime on Tuesday refused to air Obama’s 2014 immigration speech

Trump’s address is supposed to be about the government shutdown he initiated.

Source: www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2019/1/7/18172419/trump-immigration-speech-networks-obama


And…

Networks plan to carry Dem response to Trump primetime address

Networks plan to carry Dem response to Trump primetime address

Most major broadcast networks indicated Tuesday they plan to carry the Democratic response to President Trump’s primetime address from the Oval Office on the partial government shutdown and the situation at the southern border.

Source: thehill.com/homenews/media/424290-networks-plan-to-carry-dem-response-to-trump-primetime-address

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Of course, fuck you CNN because you’re fucking airing it when you punted on Obama’s 2014 address you fucking morons.

Trump’s border address sparks extraordinary debate inside and outside TV networks

Trump’s border address sparks extraordinary debate inside and outside TV networks

President Trump is tapping into one of the powers of the presidency, a televised Oval Office address, for his first time.

Source: www.cnn.com/2019/01/08/media/trump-prime-time-speech-debate/index.html


It’s a thoughtful and even interesting article but it’s not helping with my deep distrust of white evangelicism and of most branches of xianity. I mean, have any of these people even fucking read the New Testament?

Now if the so-called “orthodox” evangelicals don’t interfere with my personal health and reproductive care? Stop telling me who I’m allowed to love? Then we good. Otherwise it’s war as usual. Ugh, just stop trying to own everyone around you, you motherfuckers. Fix your own fucking shit first.

Dammit, I tried.

“It’s a thoughtful and even interesting article…but the fundamental problem with White Evangelicals is their desire to forcibly proselytize and convert everyone around them.”

Fine. Just dump Trump, you mofo’s.

Conservative Evangelicals Attempt to Disentangle Their Faith from Trumpism

Conservative Evangelicals Attempt to Disentangle Their Faith from Trumpism

Karen Swallow Prior stands at the vanguard of a new movement of Christians looking to reclaim their faith from the regressive politics that have co-opted it.

Source: www.newyorker.com/news/on-religion/conservative-evangelicals-attempt-to-disentangle-their-faith-from-trumpism

I rest my case. See also: Evangelical activists want LGBT people excluded from anti-lynching bi. I mean, FOR FUCKS SAKE.


It’s worth going back (originally written July 2015) and rereading this:

When Trump launched his campaign, his real constituency was the media — not any group of voters per se. His goal was to shock the media into paying attention to him. But as it happens, he stumbled into something even more valuable: an actual constituency.

The message he found won a real and intense emotional response from some group of Americans — powering him to the top of the Republican primary race, and now, presumptively, the nomination.

Trump likes to say that no one was talking about immigration before he entered the race. That isn’t true. But the way he talked about it resonated much more deeply than anything his rivals could muster.

The research that made me take Donald Trump seriously

The research that made me take Donald Trump seriously

For many Americans, anxiety about immigrants is wrapped up in a cluster of stereotypes about Latinos, legality, and crime. Donald Trump was the first candidate to speak directly to their fears.

Source: www.vox.com/2015/7/29/9060427/nativism-research-immigration-trump


Of course he is. That’s all the motherfucking greedy motherfucker motherfucking does…

Trump fundraises off prime-time address

Trump fundraises off prime-time address

President Trump is fundraising off his national prime-time address Tuesday focused on the border amid the ongoing partial government shutdown.

Source: thehill.com/homenews/administration/424356-trump-fundraising-on-national-address-on-border


I’m not going to subject any of you to a video OR transcript of T’s “speech”. This should be enough a summary.

Live fact-checking and analysis of President Trump’s immigration speech

President Trump is set to make a case to a national television audience Tuesday night for long-sought border wall funding; the impasse over the wall has led to a partial government shutdown. His remarks are scheduled for 9 p.m. Eastern and are expected to last about eight minutes and be carried live by all major television networks.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2019/live-updates/trump-white-house/live-fact-checking-and-analysis-of-president-trumps-immigration-speech/


No, Trump Can’t Build a Wall Through Military Eminent Domain | National Review

No, Trump Can’t Build a Wall Through Military Eminent Domain | National Review

His emergency powers aren’t broad enough to bypass Congress.

Source: www.nationalreview.com/2019/01/no-trump-cant-build-a-wall-through-military-eminent-domain/


Trump’s shutdown could get people kicked out of their homes

Trump’s shutdown could get people kicked out of their homes

Millions of vulnerable Americans may be about to pay the price for Trump’s incompetence.

Source: shareblue.com/trump-shutdown-hud-housing-people-kicked-out-homes/


Wednesday

I just can’t make this shit up. But… YES! Dooooo eeeeeet!

DC Water board debates whether they can cut off White House service after Trump admin misses payment

DC Water board debates whether they can cut off White House service after Trump admin misses payment

The District of Columbia’s Water authority board debated whether they can shut off water to the White House after the federal government missed its quarterly payment due to the president’s border wall shutdown. WAMU, American University’s NPR station, reported Tuesday that DC Water officials noted during their first meeting of 2019 that they received an email from the Treasury Department announcing it won’t be paying for $5 million of the federal government’s $16.5 million water …

Source: www.rawstory.com/2019/01/dc-water-board-debates-whether-can-cut-off-white-house-service-trump-admin-misses-payment/


Fucks sake.

It is unclear, based on the tweet’s wording, if Trump already directed the Federal Emergency Management Agency to withhold funds or if he would be doing so. FEMA representatives did not immediately respond to a request for comment Wednesday morning. An email sent to them generated this automated reply: “Due to the federal funding hiatus, we are not able to respond to general press queries.”

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for clarification on the intent of the president’s tweet.

Whether the president even has the authority to rescind FEMA funding that has already been approved remains unclear. Guidelines for the way federal dollars flow after the president declares a national disaster, like he did after devastating wildfires in California this year, are outlined in the Stafford Act, said Rafael Lemaitre, the former director of public affairs for FEMA under the Obama administration.

‘Another low’: Democrats blast Trump for threatening to cut wildfire aid to California

‘Another low’: Democrats blast Trump for threatening to cut wildfire aid to California

It’s unclear whether the president could or how he would freeze the funds, or whether individuals seeking disaster aid would be affected.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/nation/2019/01/09/trump-threatens-cut-off-fema-aid-california-forest-fires/?utm_term=.6a1031ab5b35


I thought I was savage.

The dark warning of the dangerous brown tide coming across the border feeds the Breitbart/Fox News base with the same messages they’re getting every day, but it lacked the showmanship and agenda-changing power Trump hoped it would. Even if it had, just keeping the base’s amygdalas stoked doesn’t come close to solving his multiple political problems.

The speech can most accurately be seen as the death twitch of The Wall cult. Trump can’t deliver a product, so he’s looking to sell something different.

He said it tonight; the idea of a glorious concrete wall from the Pacific to the Gulf of Mexico is deader than that lemur he glues on his head every morning. It will, at most, be a fence. This is not what Trump’s supporters voted for. They voted for his sales pitch of a 30-foot concrete wall with laser moats, robot alligators, and minefields, all paid for by Mexico.

Donald Trump Delivers a Wet Fart Oval Office Address


Wow.

As I signaled last night, the seemingly accidental redaction error in the Manafort legal filing combined with the news published mid-evening by The New York Times is one of the biggest revelations in more than two years of the Trump/Russia scandal. It’s bigger than the Trump Tower meeting in June 2016, though the two cases can’t be fully understood without reference to each other. Just as importantly, these new revelations combined with earlier reports effectively end the debate about whether there was ‘collusion’ between Russia and the Trump campaign during the 2016 election. There was. It wasn’t marginal. It was happening at the very top of the campaign. The campaign manager was secretly funneling campaign data and information to a Russian oligarch closely tied to Russian President Vladimir Putin, someone who had no possible use for such information other than to use it in the Russian efforts to get Donald Trump elected President.

The ‘Collusion’ Debate Ended Last Night

The ‘Collusion’ Debate Ended Last Night

As I signaled last night, the seemingly accidental redaction error in the Manafort legal filing combined with the news published…

Source: talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/the-collusion-debate-ended-last-night


Still in shutdown mode. C’mon, Senate.

24 Eye-Opening Traveler Tweets That Show The Dangers Of A Government Shutdown

24 Eye-Opening Traveler Tweets That Show The Dangers Of A Government Shutdown

While Donald Trump stokes nonsensical fear of terrorist hordes, flooding over the border to justify his precious wall for ‘national security,’ people are finding themselves in real and present danger due to the government shutdown he has called to get his way.

Source: www.boredpanda.com/tsa-agents-after-government-shutdown/


I can’t overemphasize this one enough

Finally, Someone Who Gets It

Finally, Someone Who Gets It

Between President Trump struggling to read his racist bile off the teleprompter in the Oval Office and a stultifying “rebuttal” by our leading Democratic crypt keepers, Sen. Chuck Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, you would think that being past retirement age with brain fluid slowly leaking out of your ears is a requirement for public office.

Source: splinternews.com/finally-someone-who-gets-it-1831597291


It’s amazing that Трамп and the GOP consider economy so important because they aren’t doing a goddamn thing for it. Which may actually destroy his presidency rather than scandals, theft, bribery, collusion, etc. /facepalm.

Already reeling from tariff war, some farmers aren’t receiving government support checks amid shutdown

Already reeling from tariff war, some farmers aren’t receiving government support checks amid shutdown

Many farmers, among Trump’s loyal base in rural America, can’t make ends meet and are considering abandoning their crops.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/national/already-reeling-from-tariff-war-farmers-arent-receiving-government-support-checks-amid-shutdown/2019/01/09/2403fca2-40a0-4cc2-8d9c-d4787edde1b4_story.html?utm_term=.f1f91002c5dc


I mean, it’s the GOP that’s supposed to be so concerned about security and shit, isn’t it? I mean I dont’ like TSA goons but the workers deserve to be fairly compensated (and properly trained and so on, but one thing at a time I suppose).

Last week, AFGE launched a lawsuit against the federal government for forcing federal employees to show up to work uncompensated, calling the demands “inhumane.”

Around that time, the union said TSA agents were starting to skip work. The situation now appearing to be escalating.

In addition to raising security issues, fewer staffers on duty would increase wait times with longer lines at airports.

“It is completely unacceptable that the women and men who risk their lives safeguarding our airports are still required to report for work without knowing when they’ll be paid again,” AFGE National President J. David Cox Sr. said.

TSA Union Warns Of ‘Massive Security Risk’ As Some Officers Quit Amid Shutdown

TSA Union Warns Of ‘Massive Security Risk’ As Some Officers Quit Amid Shutdown

“Every day I’m getting calls from my members about their extreme financial hardships and need for a paycheck,” one union official said.

Source: www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/transportation-security-administration-shutdown_us_5c35a382e4b05b16bcfbf808


Why is anyone even meeting with Трамп? He’s not the bottleneck. Someone needs to pin McConnell down and make him put a Senate vote up on a clean bill to override Prez Tantrum.

Trump Storms Out of White House Meeting with Democrats on Shutdown

Trump Storms Out of White House Meeting with Democrats on Shutdown

President Trump slammed a table, then stormed out of a negotiating session with Democrats, declaring it “a total waste of time” as the shutdown stretches on.

Source: www.nytimes.com/2019/01/09/us/politics/government-shutdown-trump-senate.html


A useful rundown.

National Emergency Powers and Trump’s Border Wall, Explained

National Emergency Powers and Trump’s Border Wall, Explained

President Trump’€™s threat to invoke emergency powers to build a border wall would be extraordinarily aggressive and most likely touch off a legal battle.

Source: www.nytimes.com/2019/01/07/us/politics/trump-national-emergency.html?module=inline


I say we take note of which companies are the first to start killing us and take those companies down as the sociopathic predators they are.

Food-Safety Inspections Halted Due to Shutdown: Report

Food-Safety Inspections Halted Due to Shutdown: Report

With hundreds of food-safety inspectors furloughed due to the ongoing government shutdown, the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has suspended all “routine” inspections of U.S.-based food-processing facilities, according to a Washington Post report citing excerpts from an interview with the FDA commissioner, Scott Gottlieb.

Source: gizmodo.com/food-safety-inspections-halted-due-to-shutdown-report-1831616684


/snort

Pelosi says Trump doesn’t get shutdown’s effect on workers: ‘He thinks maybe they could just ask their father for more money’

Pelosi says Trump doesn’t get shutdown’s effect on workers: ‘He thinks maybe they could just ask their father for more money’

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) took a dig at President Trump on Wednesday after a brief meeting that Trump described as a

Source: thehill.com/homenews/administration/424607-pelosi-says-trump-doesnt-get-shutdowns-effect-on-workers-he-thinks


“If it’s what you say I love it!”

Donald Trump Jr. Will Be First to Be Subpoenaed by House Democrats Says Top Congresswoman

Donald Trump Jr. Will Be First to Be Subpoenaed by House Democrats Says Top Congresswoman

“If it’s what you say I love it.”

Source: www.thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/2019/01/donald-trump-jr-will-be-first-to-be-subpoenaed-by-house-democrats-says-top-congresswoman/


I’m hopeful that between California and New York, we can whipsaw the rest of the country into becoming someplace humane to live.

Paid Vacation to Be Required for Private Sector Workers, Mayor Says

Paid Vacation to Be Required for Private Sector Workers, Mayor Says

The move could cover 500,000 New Yorkers and came a day after Mayor de Blasio announced a health care plan that seemed similarly aimed at a national stage.

Source: www.nytimes.com/2019/01/09/nyregion/bill-de-blasio-paid-vacation-nyc.html


I keep saying the media can’t continue with this kind of bullshit. It’s lazy and disingenuous and AN  UTTER FAILURE OF JOURNALISM. It’s fucking “infotainment”.

Fact-checking has evolved during Trump’s time in office — mainstream news outlets are far more likely to call a lie a lie than they used to. Even on Tuesday night, big outlets relied on policy expertise to clearly dispute Trump’s false claims.

But the night also revealed that outlets still feel the urge to find fault on both sides or assign neutral blame for political problems. The political press has long wanted to cover politics like a sport, to cover the plays of each party as if they are morally and ethically the same. On a night when the president looked the public in the eye and lied about why the government has been shut down for weeks, the press needs to not fall into the false equivalency trap.

The New York Times and AP bungled their fact checks of Trump’s speech — badly

The New York Times and AP bungled their fact checks of Trump’s speech — badly

False equivalency is creeping into the fact-checking business.

Source: www.vox.com/2019/1/9/18175186/trump-oval-office-speech-fact-check-failures


Thursday

Maybe. Slamming on tables and stomping out means he still hasn’t realized it. Let’s see where this goes.

Trump’s border wall speech was the moment he lost his media swagger

Trump’s border wall speech was the moment he lost his media swagger

The significance of the telecast comes from what it potentially revealed to millions of viewers about what has been widely considered his mastery of media, particularly television, the medium that made him a familiar face to Americans.

Source: www.baltimoresun.com/entertainment/tv/z-on-tv-blog/bs-fe-zontv-trump-losing-touch-20190109-story.html


This is the one thing the Трамп presidency has shown us…how much of the president’s behavior was constrained by norms and tradition rather than actual law, and the consequences of having a president that doesn’t give a flying fuck about norms.

The president may seem weak, but the presidency remains strong. Mr. Trump has illustrated that even a feeble commander in chief can impose his will on the nation if he lacks any sense of restraint or respect for political norms and guardrails. True, Mr. Trump has not been able to run roughshod over Congress or ignore the constraints of the federal courts. But he has been able to inflict extensive damage on our political institutions and public culture. He has used his power to aggravate, rather than calm, the fault lines that have divided our country.

His “wall” government shutdown is the latest example of his misuse of executive power. To end this essentially pointless standoff of his own making, he is exploring the use of national emergency powers to build a wall Congress and a majority of the public don’t want.

The Trump administration has provided a new example of an old concept: the “imperial presidency.” That term, famously used by the historian Arthur Schlesinger Jr. in 1973 to describe the excesses and abuses of the Nixon White House, fell out of use almost as soon as President Richard Nixon fell from grace. The reckoning of Watergate and the first-ever resignation of a president seemed to show that the executive branch was not as uncontrollable as it had once seemed.

Opinion | Have We Had Enough of the Imperial Presidency Yet?

Opinion | Have We Had Enough of the Imperial Presidency Yet?

Even a feeble president can impose his will on the nation if he lacks any sense of restraint or respect for political norms and guardrails.

Source: www.nytimes.com/2019/01/09/opinion/president-trump-border-wall-weak.html


They should make it out of corbomite /coughs

Steel prototype for border wall cut through with saw, photo shows

Steel prototype for border wall cut through with saw, photo shows

NBC News obtained a photo showing results of a test on a steel wall prototype.

Source: www.nbcnews.com/politics/immigration/test-steel-prototype-border-wall-showed-it-could-be-sawed-n956856


Pay close attention. Also, I’m not big on Instagram (may have to change that) but LOOK at this (you’ll need an account 😛 ): Congress Camp Week 2.

Last week, a video emerged of a college-age AOC doing a dance routine, mockingly tweeted by what appeared to be a QAnon conspiracy account (since deleted), and later retweeted by Gateway Pundit and memed by the Daily Caller. There was an immediate counterreaction on the left to the supposed (though possibly overstated) reaction on the right, which sparked a counter-counterreaction. It was a spectacle all the way down.

Amid the media swirl, AOC dropped a very concrete policy proposal on Anderson Cooper’s show: increase the top marginal income tax rate to 70 percent, effectively rewinding history to before the 1980s Reagan-era tax cuts. In an instant, Paul Krugman, economics Nobelist and New York Times columnist, chimed in with his support, and suddenly the Overton window of acceptable discourse on taxes blew open.

Of course, for weeks before the dance kerfuffle, AOC had regaled her growing list of followers—which last week surpassed that of the newly installed Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi—with candid looks at DC politico life, including the party leadership election process, the office lottery, the joy at getting official congressperson business cards, and even doing laundry. Her Instagram feed is a master class in political brand building, and I’d not be surprised if canny civics teachers are assigning it as homework. In a world awash in irony and preening phoniness, she possesses the unique and valuable currency of authenticity: She is who she ran as, she’ll be that same person in office, and it drives her political opponents crazy.

How Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Shapes a New Political Reality

How Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Shapes a New Political Reality

The newly elected congressmember offers older colleagues a master class in social media.

Source: www.wired.com/story/how-alexandria-ocasio-cortez-shapes-new-political-reality/


We really need to think about where our priorities are as a nation. Because this isn’t it. These are the kinds of things we should always put a premium on supporting and not have them be the first on the chopping block in a political dispute.

From EPA to TSA, Agencies Devoted to Nation’s Health and Safety Are Going Unfunded During Shutdown

From EPA to TSA, Agencies Devoted to Nation’s Health and Safety Are Going Unfunded During Shutdown

The partial government shutdown has entered its 20th day. On Saturday, it will become the longest shutdown in U.S. history if a deal is not reached. President Trump reportedly stormed out of a meeting with House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer Wednesday after they refused to back a deal to fund a wall on the southern border. Schumer accused Trump of throwing a temper tantrum. Trump described the meeting as a “total waste of time.”€ We speak with Robert Weissman, president of Public Citizen. The group just released a report titled “As Shutdown Drags On, Agencies Devoted to Consumer and Worker Health and Safety Unfunded and Deprioritized.”

Source: www.democracynow.org/2019/1/10/from_epa_to_fda_agencies_devoted


This is ridiculous! Shove the hunters out!

Government restaffs wildlife refuges during shutdown to allow hunters access

Government restaffs wildlife refuges during shutdown to allow hunters access

An email from the Fish and Wildlife Service indicates 38 wildlife refuges around the country will bring back some furloughed staff using carryover funds.

Source: www.pbs.org/newshour/nation/government-restaffs-wildlife-refuges-during-shutdown-to-allow-hunters-access


Look, Трамп is a petty criminal with a long and sordid history of questionable actions and ties to questionable people. He’s destroying the office of the presidency because he doesn’t give a flying fuck about norms and traditions.

But McConnell is a flat out traitor. He knows how this stuff works, what the consequences are, and he is clearly working toward specific outcomes (such as control of the judiciary) though his actions with Garland’s nomination and now this.

His place in history should be next to, if not UNDERNEATH, Benedict Arnold.

McConnell blocks House bills to reopen government

McConnell blocks House bills to reopen government

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Thursday blocked two House-passed funding bills that would reopen the federal government.

Source: thehill.com/homenews/senate/424730-mcconnell-blocks-house-bills-to-reopen-government


This would explain a lot.  (It also makes me wonder about Sanders and Spicer…)

Manafort revelations could put Kellyanne Conway under Mueller scrutiny: campaign data expert

Manafort revelations could put Kellyanne Conway under Mueller scrutiny: campaign data expert

The latest revelations about Paul Manafort’s contacts with an alleged Russian spy could mean that Kellyanne Conway may fall under scrutiny by special counsel Robert Mueller. David Measer, an advertising and communications expert, explained the importance of the polling data that Manafort shared with Ukrainian associate Konstantin Kilimnik, who Mueller alleges has ties to Russian military intelligence. THREAD: I’m just an advertising guy, but thought I’d put a marketing lens on the news of Manafort …

Source: www.rawstory.com/2019/01/manafort-revelations-put-kellyanne-conway-mueller-scrutiny-campaign-data-expert/


I am generally cautious with Kos publications, because it’s pretty far left  and can mostly contain anti-GOP tirades that I’m perfectly capable of doing myself. However, this is a really good overview of McConnell’s position.

I hope his nuts are in that vise.

Trump got his shutdown wish. Why doesn’t he look more proud? Maybe because of this?

Trump got his shutdown wish. Why doesn’t he look more proud? Maybe because of this?

President Donald Trump stepped up, put his big-boy pants on, and took the mantle of leadership. “I’ll take responsibility for shutting it down, I won’t blame you for it,” he famously told Chuck Schumer in the Oval Office. “I’ll be proud to do it.” Not…

Source: www.dailykos.com/stories/2019/1/9/1824871/-Trump-got-his-shutdown-wish-Why-doesn-t-he-look-more-proud-Maybe-because-of-this


Boom boom boom…

Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, to testify publicly before Congress

Michael Cohen, Trump’s former lawyer, to testify publicly before Congress

President Donald Trump’s former lawyer Michael Cohen will testify before the House Oversight Committee, the first major move by House Democrats to haul in a member of Trump’s team connected to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, according to a schedule published by the committee.

Source: www.cnn.com/2019/01/10/politics/michael-cohen-testify-congress/index.html


Oh my god. I want McConnell’s entire bank account and assets frozen to pay toward the cleanup and fixing of this. But some of this won’t be fixed, they will be ugly scars for a long, long time 🙁

Joshua Tree National Park has been trashed in the shutdown. Now visitors are cutting down trees.

Joshua Tree National Park has been trashed in the shutdown. Now visitors are cutting down trees.

Despite severe damage, the park will not shut down entirely.

Source: www.vox.com/the-goods/2019/1/10/18177478/joshua-tree-national-park-government-shutdown


Friday

Photo

Gah.

Trump is using the government as a bargaining chip – like a dictator would | Robert Reich

Trump is using the government as a bargaining chip – like a dictator would | Robert Reich

Trump’€s entire presidency to date has sacrificed the means of democracy to preserve his personal power, and the shutdown over the border is no different

Source: www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/jan/10/trump-government-shutdown-democracy-power-dictatorship


Hey, Congress, esp. Senate: IT’S CALLED A VETO OVERRIDE you motherfuckers. Stop this crap.

Government Shutdown Threatens Native Americans’ Access To Health Care

Government Shutdown Threatens Native Americans’ Access To Health Care

Indian Health Service medical providers aren’t getting paid and have to keep working. They don’t know how long they can hang on.

Source: www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/government-shutdown-native-american-health-care_us_5c36a544e4b0c469d76ad336?nts


Go past the headline for a pretty useful overview of how these special investigations work.

The myth of the Mueller report

The myth of the Mueller report

No one knows whether the Trump-Russia special counsel will produce a final and public report telling all.

Source: www.motherjones.com/politics/2019/01/the-myth-of-the-mueller-report/


Ex-DOJ lawyer: I felt we used ‘the law to legitimize’ Trump lies

Ex-DOJ lawyer: I felt we used ‘the law to legitimize’ Trump lies

A lawyer who worked in the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel under the Trump administration writes in a new Washington Post op-ed that she sometimes felt that she and her colleagues were “using the law to legitimize lies” made by Presid

Source: thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/424886-ex-doj-lawyer-i-felt-we-used-the-law-to-legitimize-trump-lies


Of course he did. And it will, somehow, be the Dem’s fault…

Some of the relevant details of the plan remain elusive, but by all accounts, there was a proposal on the table. Vice President Mike Pence and acting Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney took it to the president, who balked.

Of particular interest, though, is who Graham negotiated with. In this case, the Republican South Carolinian worked on a deal with other Republicans, and Democrats were excluded from the process altogether. Despite the fact that Dems control the House, and many Democratic votes would be needed in the Senate, the party was “left out” of the talks and “were never read in” on the proposal.



Trump rejects shutdown deal Republicans negotiated with Republicans

Trump rejects shutdown deal Republicans negotiated with Republicans

Yesterday offered a strange dynamic: Republicans negotiated a deal with other Republicans, only to be shot down by a Republican president.

Source: www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/trump-rejects-shutdown-deal-republicans-negotiated-republicans?fbclid=IwAR1YWZPvQAm6Xyg256YPHnH4QsTG4LYGHxUNI4VKyfWiBaD97pYS81EpMss


Boom


/facepalm

Federal Employees Are Suing Over The Shutdown. The Government Still Hasn’t Figured Out How Much It Owes From The One In 2013.

Federal Employees Are Suing Over The Shutdown. The Government Still Hasn’t Figured Out How Much It Owes From The One In 2013.

The federal government is still calculating damages owed to federal workers who worked without pay during the 2013 shutdown.

Source: www.buzzfeednews.com/article/zoetillman/federal-workers-suing-government-shutdown-2013


Some background info from Lawfare on wtf with all the “acting” positions currently in the White House.

Acting Accordingly: Acting Officers and the Federal Vacancies Reform Act

Acting Accordingly: Acting Officers and the Federal Vacancies Reform Act

Non-Senate confirmed acting positions in the executive branch have begun to meet their 300-day deadline. What now?

Source: www.lawfareblog.com/acting-accordingly-acting-officers-and-federal-vacancies-reform-act


And also on the “emergency powers” bullshit:

Emergencies Without End: A Primer on Federal States of Emergency

Emergencies Without End: A Primer on Federal States of Emergency

This November marked the start of our 39th year in a continuous emergency state. A look at how we got here.

Source: www.lawfareblog.com/emergencies-without-end-primer-federal-states-emergency


It’s a tough gig.

Photo


Whoa.

F.B.I. Opened Inquiry Into Whether Trump Was Secretly Working on Behalf of Russia

F.B.I. Opened Inquiry Into Whether Trump Was Secretly Working on Behalf of Russia

The investigation, whose fate is unclear, led counterintelligence investigators to consider an explosive question: whether the president’s actions constituted a possible threat to national security.

Source: www.nytimes.com/2019/01/11/us/politics/fbi-trump-russia-inquiry.html


What McConnell is doing is denying Senators the ability to represent their constituents. This man should be judged a traitor to the U.S. and go down as such in history. Time to revolt against your Majority Leader, GOP Senators. Elections are coming.

McConnell blocks House bills to reopen government

McConnell blocks House bills to reopen government

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) on Thursday blocked two House-passed funding bills that would reopen the federal government.

Source: thehill.com/homenews/senate/424730-mcconnell-blocks-house-bills-to-reopen-government


Elections are coming.

Early Voting and Other Changes to Election Laws Are Coming to New York

Early Voting and Other Changes to Election Laws Are Coming to New York

The overhaul is a veritable wish list for those interested in making voting easier: early voting, preregistration of 16- and 17-year-olds and consolidating state and federal primaries.

Source: www.nytimes.com/2019/01/10/nyregion/voting-reform-election-ny.html


Well that’s very interesting. (Captioned.)

Republicans ignore looming climate catastrophe

Republicans ignore looming climate catastrophe

“This is a far bigger crisis than anything happening at the border,” says Chris Hayes.

Source: www.msnbc.com/all-in/watch/republicans-ignore-looming-climate-catastrophe-1424589891726?cid=sm_npd_ms_tw_ma


Damn.

TSA agent hammers Trump for forcing her to work for free after she receives eviction notice

TSA agent hammers Trump for forcing her to work for free after she receives eviction notice

Appearing on CNN on Thursday afternoon, a TSA agent who works out of Chicago’s O’Hare airport said she may be homeless soon after receiving an eviction notice because she is working without pay and can’t pay her rent. Speaking with host Brianna Keilar, agent Christine Vitel said that she received an eviction notice on property she owns despite explaining her situation and providing documentation from the government about her working but unpaid status. “How has …

Source: www.rawstory.com/2019/01/tsa-agent-hammers-trump-forcing-work-free-receives-eviction-notice/


Saturday

The extremes to which it took to reach censure is ridiculous, but it would be great to see King go.

King faces bipartisan condemnation after lamenting white nationalist language being deemed ‘offensive’

King faces bipartisan condemnation after lamenting white nationalist language being deemed ‘offensive’

Republican Rep. Steve King — who has long been a target for criticism because of his public comments on race and immigration — rejected Thursday being labeled a white nationalist, following bipartisan outrage for comments he made appearing to lament that white supremacist comments are considered offensive.

Source: www.cnn.com/2019/01/10/politics/steve-king-white-nationalism-nyt/index.html


I’m not laughing. Nobody I know is laughing.

“The idea that’s contained in The New York Times story that President Trump was a threat to American national security is silly on its face and not worthy of a response,” Pompeo told “Face the Nation” moderator Margaret Brennan for an interview to air Sunday.

Pompeo calls idea president is threat to America “ludicrous”

Pompeo calls idea president is threat to America “ludicrous”

The secretary of state told Margaret Brennan that report of an FBI investigation into Trump is “silly on its face”

Source: www.cbsnews.com/news/pompeo-says-notion-president-is-threat-to-america-is-ludicrous/


Brutal.

Trump fired off a series of tweets pushing back against the notion that he doesn’t have a strategy to end what became the longest government shutdown in U.S. history when it entered its 22nd day Saturday. “Elections have consequences!” he declared, meaning the 2016 election in which “I promised safety and security” and, as part of that, a border wall.

But there was another election, in November, and the consequence of that is that Democrats now control the House and they refuse to give Trump money for a wall.

Trump tweets into the void as shutdown sets record

Trump tweets into the void as shutdown sets record

WASHINGTON (AP) — As the partial government shutdown slipped into the record books Saturday, members of Congress had left town, no negotiations were scheduled and President Donald Trump tweeted into the void. He did not tip his hand on whether he will move ahead with an emergency declaration that could break the impasse, free up money for his wall without congressional approval and kick off legal challenges and a political storm over the use of that extraordinary step. A day earlier, he said he was not ready to do it “right now.”

Source: apnews.com/b3867898a78740f39d8cc8538c5db196


I’d maybe hold off on flying if possible for the moment…

Airport officials, however, warn that the situation could get much worse if the shutdown isn’t resolved soon. Many say they’re drafting contingency plans to deal with a shortage of TSA workers, like shutting certain security checkpoints or supplying extra staff temporarily to run bins or perform other nonsecurity functions.

“Despite the shutdown, TSA security officers continue to do a great job of effectively and efficiently screening passengers and bags,” said Christopher Bidwell, senior vice president of security for Airports Council International-North America, an association that represents the owners and operators of airports. “But we’re very concerned that the situation of government workers working without pay is unsustainable.”

Shutdown effects are being felt at airports

Shutdown effects are being felt at airports

With Transportation Security Administration employees calling in sick, Miami International closed a concourse.

Source: www.washingtonpost.com/politics/shutdown-effects-are-being-felt-at-airports/2019/01/12/e939cd56-1699-11e9-90a8-136fa44b80ba_story.html?__twitter_impression=true

 


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