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

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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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