Archive for the ‘Politics’ Category
Kevin Drum is on a roll. His new post includes a chart:
Excellent column. Read it now. Good take.
UPDATE: And read this one too, which begins:
It’s laughable watching President Trump whine endlessly this afternoon about how his health care bill didn’t get any Democratic votes. Not one! The Democrats just wouldn’t work with him to craft a bill! Boy, that sure makes things tough.
Needless to say, neither Trump nor Paul Ryan ever tried to bring Democrats into this bill. It was purely a Republican plan from the start, and neither of them wanted any Democratic input. That’s just the opposite of Obamacare, where Democrats tried mightily to get Republican buy-in, and still ended up getting no Republican votes in the end. Not one!
Anyway, Trump’s plan now is to wait for Obamacare to implode and then Democrats will have to do a deal. I guess it hasn’t occurred to him that he could do a deal with Democrats right now if he were really serious about fixing health care. But no. Trump says he intends to move on to tax reform, because that’s something he actually cares about.
In the meantime, it’s very unclear what will happen to Obamacare. With so much uncertainty surrounding it, it’s hard to say how insurance companies will respond. They might give up and pull out. Or they might stick it out and wait. It’s pretty close to a profitable business now, so there’s probably no urgency one way or the other for most of them. . .
Read the whole thing.
There is no question that Donald J. Trump is a lying, thieving, backstabbing, two-faced, violent criminal.
There is also no doubt that he is the front man for a far-right network of white nationalist politicians and businessmen that want to revive the Confederacy. This network has been contracted by Vladimir Putin to facilitate the takeover of the federal government of the United States as part of a larger effort to dismantle western nations, alliances and power. Collectively, they have occupied the White House and begun the process of dismantling the federal government, isolating the US from its allies, bankrupting the economy, restructuring and hyper-funding the military and cleansing the nation of people of color, the poor, people living with disabilities, non-Christians, and anyone else not deemed part of the master race. Together, under the authority of Donald Trump and his Republican Congress, the GOP and the Russian government are gutting the corpse of the United States and positioning its zombie carcass to carry out the will of an adversarial Putin led eastern alliance that is openly working to dismantle the Western World.
And he is legally unimpeachable.
In the United States, the only entity that can impeach Donald Trump is Congress. A Congress that has formed a united front against the Democrats, against Civil Rights, against the people of the United States and in support of Vladimir Putin. They do not respond to their constituencies, their duties as officials, the constitution, media pressure or public shaming. They respond to their contracts. Which have been implemented with the explicit intent to prevent the removal of Putin’s GOP puppet government.
Congress will not impeach Trump.
Here’s why. The Constitution gives only the House of Representatives the legal authority to bring formal charges of impeachment against a sitting president. It would take half of Congress to successfully bring charges. The Senate has sole power to bring a president to trial for impeachment. Two-thirds of the Senate would have to vote to convict and remove Trump from office to successfully impeach him. With the GOP in control of both the House and the Senate, as planned, there is no chance that the GOP will violate its contract with the Russian government in order to impeach Trump.
So here’s the quick takeaway:
The United States has been taken over by a white nationalist puppet government contracted by the Russian government. They want to dismantle federal authority in the United States and all western nations for their own political, economic, social and military visions of an ethnically-cleansed, post western world order.
They are willing to lie, cheat, break laws, and murder to accomplish their goals. They know how to rig elections and utilize mafia tactics. They don’t respond to constituencies, political pressure, or the media. They cannot be shamed away, tweeted away, marched away or phone called away. The will not be investigated by the GOP controlled House and Senate Oversight Committees or Department of Justice. They cannot be impeached.
Ok, that’s a lot. It might be more than you want to hear. But it’s what’s happening. Take it in. Take a breath.
This isn’t going to be easy to digest.
The formal plan to overthrow the federal government of the United States has been in action for years. Vladimir Putin is a ruthless military and political strategist. He knows the offensive and defensive histories, strengths and weaknesses of his nation, its alliances, it’s adversaries and those standing in the way of his ultimate goals. And his ultimate goals don’t begin and end with Hillary Clinton or even the United States. Vladimir Putin is years into a strategy designed to take over the federal governments of the Western powers, install puppet regimes, dismantle their individual and collective authority and usher in a Russian led new world order.
Putin didn’t just up and one day decide that he was going to partner with a C level businessman and celebrity to embarrass Hillary Clinton. He has been plotting to tear down the western alliance — including the UN and NATO — since his days in the KGB and has spent years successfully guiding the GOP to victory in their efforts to take Congress and the White House.
Putin considered every lever necessary to pull to ensure his puppet government would take the White House and that there would not be anything that could be done by Congress or the federal government to unseat him. He planned, he executed and he won. He didn’t just win, but Putin and the White Nationalist network he contracted to carry out his agenda kicked our assess. And they are still in power — kicking our asses.
What’s worse, the Democrats had numerous opportunities to counter the maneuvers of the GOP and they did nothing. As the stated defenders of minority rights and the strategic defenders of the nation against the Conservative Confederacy, they failed to live up to their responsibilities. This failure allowed them to be easily defeated by the GOP’s efforts to dismantle federal authority and Putin’s efforts to dismantle the West.
Every nation has specific governmental, political, and social systems that must be considered when designing a strategic agenda. Different strategies were required for the UK than in the United States. Different levers needed to be pulled to accomplish Brexit than to pull off MAGA.
In the United States, Putin needed to identify a far-right conservative network that aligned with his vision to dismantle federal authority and implement a system of white nationalism. He did not have to look hard to find the GOP and its neo-Confederate heart. That core has functioned since the Civil War and its Confederate flags still fly high around the United States. It has used force, laws and criminal activity to dismantle civil rights, suppress voting, incarcerate and impoverish communities not of the chosen race, and take land from sovereign entities.
The overwhelming majority of GOP candidates and members of the Trump administration are funded by Robert Mercer, David & Charles Koch, Sheldon Adelson, the Scaife family, the DeVos family and other core members of the far-right funding megalith, the Donor’s Trust. These individuals are responsible for such entities as the Tea Party, Freedomworks, the Heritage Foundation, the American Enterprise Institute, the Manhattan Institute and the Federation of American Immigration Reform. They are behind the gutting of the Voting Rights Act, the implementation of illegal voter ID and citizenship requirements. They train “poll watchers.” These individuals funded Breitbart and produced anti-Democratic media and campaigns. They invented the War on Cops and actively work to dismantle civil rights and pass anti-immigrant and anti-POC legislation. The most prominent members in their network are currently occupying the white house and enacting the agenda contracted between them and Vladimir Putin.
Putin also had to identify his opposition and their strengths and weaknesses in countering the maneuvers of the GOP. That honor would go to the Democratic Party — and its defensively inadequate core. The Democrats have stood by and done absolutely nothing as communities of color stood helpless against police brutality and the inaction of Congress, the Department of Justice and the Attorney General. They did nothing as the Crosscheck voter purge system was implemented across the country and the Voting Rights Actwas gutted. They did nothing to protect Tribal sovereignty at Standing Rock. They refused to take action to provide a living wage and fair housing to their working-class constituents and refused to enforce compliance with ADA standards even on election day. They even refused to legally counter Citizens United v FEC or Shelby County v Holder.
The Left has allowed the GOP to get away with almost every single policy maneuver they attempted. Especially those that functioned to deprive the rights of minorities, the poor, and people living with disabilities. . .
See previous post, in which I recommend reading Rubin’s Right Turn columns this morning, including the always excellent “Morning Bits” (the first column of the day, consisting of carefully selected quotations on current political issues). Here’s a section of just one of the columns:
First, in an effort to help the administration run from the headlines that confirm ties between President Trump’s former campaign chairman and Russian officials and that underscore the FBI’s evidence of collusion between Trump aides and Russian officials, House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.) destroyed the pretense that he was conducting a conscientious investigation in accordance with his constitutional oversight duties. He ran to the White House to disclose what he allegedly found and to the cameras to suggest nefarious behavior by the intelligence community. As the Lawfare blog explained:
Assuming that anything Nunes said was true, it appears to involve material obtained under FISA. Nunes confirmed as much in his White House press conference; when asked if the targets were subjects of surveillance “under FISA orders,” he said, “It appears so.” Silly us, but we thought such material was classified until affirmatively declassified by the original classifying authority. Have [the National Security Agency] and FBI declassified the facts that Nunes publicly described today? Remember that Nunes apparently hasn’t even spoken to [FBI Director James] Comey about this yet.
When asked whether the Justice Department authorized him to make the information public, Nunes said he thought the President “needed to know,” presumably indicating he did not, in fact, have DOJ permission. Considering the focus on leaks of FISA material of Republicans at Monday’s hearings, the question of whether Nunes himself has just improperly discussed classified FISA matters in public is one that deserves at least some attention.
Considering that Nunes and other Republicans spent the lion’s share of Monday’s House Intelligence Committee hearing condemning leaks and release of classified information, this is the height of hypocrisy.
Second, Nunes reportedly consulted House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) before racing to the White House and the cameras. In failing to prevent the stunt, Ryan confirmed his own poor judgment and intellectual dishonesty. He’s now an enabler in Nunes’s efforts to disrupt the investigation, one that Ryan promised would not require a select committee or independent commission.
Third, the president in an interview with Time magazine demonstrated how divorced from reality he is, how contemptuous he is of anything — including the press, the voters, the Congress, the facts — that impede his assertion of power. His rambling answers, filled with self-congratulation, illogical assertions and lies, reflect the mindset of a seriously troubled mind:
But you would agree also that some of the things you have said haven’t been true. You say that Ted Cruz’s father was with Lee Harvey Oswald.
Well that was in a newspaper. No, no, I like Ted Cruz, he’s a friend of mine. But that was in the newspaper. I wasn’t, I didn’t say that. I was referring to a newspaper. A Ted Cruz article referred to a newspaper story with, had a picture of Ted Cruz, his father, and Lee Harvey Oswald, having breakfast. …
But isn’t there, it strikes me there is still an issue of credibility. If the intelligence community came out and said, we have determined that so and so is the leaker here, but you are saying to me now, that you don’t believe the intelligence community when they say your tweet was wrong.
I’m not saying—no, I’m not blaming. First of all, I put Mike Pompeo in. I put Senator Dan Coats in. These are great people. I think they are great people and they are going to, I have a lot of confidence in them. So hopefully things will straighten out. But I inherited a mess, I inherited a mess in so many ways. I inherited a mess in the Middle East, and a mess with North Korea, I inherited a mess with jobs, despite the statistics, you know, my statistics are even better, but they are not the real statistics because you have millions of people that can’t get a job, OK. And I inherited a mess on trade. I mean we have many, you can go up and down the ladder. But that’s the story. Hey look, in the meantime, I guess, I can’t be doing so badly, because I’m president, and you’re not. You know. Say hello to everybody OK?
This man is frighteningly divorced from reality — happily so from his standpoint — and unable to process facts. Republicans who excused his behavior and rationalized his outbursts are responsible for this sorry episode. The 25th Amendment addresses situations in which the president is unable to perform his duties. We’re getting perilously close to that point.
Fourth, in the last-minute wheeling and dealing on the American Health Care Act, Ryan and Trump have apparently shredded the original bill, removing, for example, the list of minimum benefits for insurance. This bill now does not resemble the bill voted for in committees, nor does it adhere to the president’s pledge to provide everyone with better coverage than they had under Obamacare. We do not know how much this costs and how it will affect coverage. There is no more vivid example of the thirst for victory for victory’s sake, the abandonment of principle and of concern for the public’s well-being. Few, if any, members will know what is in the bill before voting for it, if in fact the bill goes to the floor today.
In total, this is a portrait of a party contemptuous of everything but winning and defending the indefensible. It is no longer a party deserving of respect or support.
Very interesting piece, written under a pseudonym, obviously: “Busta Troll.” It begins:
This should get me plenty of hate mail.
I am a liberal. As such, I believe in progress and equality. I yearn for societal evolution and a government that works for the people it serves. I stand on the side of all that is good and fair and rail against the oppression levied on the American people by the oligarchal one percent.
Those are all ideologies that any liberal can get behind. Those are the kinds of things that if taken as a whole and implemented would create a utopia the likes of which people on the left dream about. The mere thought of such perfection makes us believe that we are on the side of righteousness. After all…we are more intelligent and far more tolerant than our opposition.
And yet we can’t seem to stop losing elections.
Yes, there is gerrymandering and voter suppression and lies and deceit and billions of dollars working against us. Those things are real and horrible and wrong. They are also only half of the story. Our enemies are easy to see — hate, fear, bigotry and greed. The driving forces of the modern day conservative and the Republican party they love so dearly.
The Republican base, particularly die-hard Trump supporters, are the worst our country has to offer. They are the lowest common denominator; fruit hanging so close to the ground it can be easily snagged up and eaten by the GOP elite. Those people represent a huge piece of the American voting puzzle. They do not, however, represent every single person who voted for Donald Trump.
That brings us to the subject of this article. How could it possibly be that with our superior intellects and wholesome ideologies that any independent could possibly be persuaded by our inferiors to vote against the best interests of themselves and their country? That’s not so hard to understand if you step outside the box and think about that statement. People in the middle of our battle against evil may find the right to be as ridiculous as we do…and yet many may feel the same way about us.
The issue here isn’t that we’re arrogant, intolerant know-it-alls who refuse to bend on anything or see anyone else’s point of view as valid, the issue is we look like arrogant, intolerant know-it-alls who refuse to bend on anything or see anyone else’s point of view as valid. That may seem harsh, but our political world is the epitome of the word…so maybe harsh is exactly what we need.
Before I go into examples, please remember that I am not nor will I ever defend the radical right-wing views of the people we fight with day in and day out. What I’m talking about here are typical American independents who only follow politics when they feel they are directly affected. It’s almost impossible for us to consider that there are people who aren’t completely polarized, but they not only exist, they decide elections.
The first and most important thing far too many liberals show intolerance towards is Christianity. We tend to take our contempt for Christian extremism out on anyone who follows the religion at all. We ridicule people who send “thoughts and prayers” after a tragedy and call God things like “Sky Daddy.” We forget that faith isn’t always something used as a front for hate and intolerance. In doing so, we alienate people who hold many of our same beliefs and have since Sunday school.
On the other hand, we show absolute tolerance for a religion that is currently the most dangerous on the planet. Yes, I completely understand why President Obama and the State Department refrained from saying “radical Islam,” but does that really mean we have to pretend there is no danger at all? We’re at war with terrorism, not Islam, but those terrorist are who they are because they follow a twisted version of that religion.
So…we admonish Christians because the right-wingers use a twisted version of that religion to justify hate, all the while defending all Muslims and denying that they are an inherent danger to our society. What if, and sure this may sound crazy, but what if we showed the same tolerance for the peace-loving versions of all religions and admitted that while right-wing extremists are the worst of their kind, they don’t represent their entire religion?
Sounds like a familiar argument doesn’t it?
It’s tough to consider that . . .
David Pell writes in Medium:
For the past few months, we’ve seen a common trend emerge. It goes something like this:
Trump says something bombastic, offensive, jaw-dropping, terrible, dangerous, horrific, stupid, false, or — as is most often the case — all of the above.
Social media, as it’s designed to do, goes berserk. Mainstream media picks up on the moment as well, and covers it ad nauseam.
Then, across all forms of media, the backlash occurs. Social media rips mainstream media for being distracted by Trump’s follies, instead of focusing on the real story. Similarly-themed thinkpieces appear in publications right next to the stories still covering the distraction. And on cable news, pundits interject into their realtime coverage of the distraction to self-flagellate over their own failure to change the subject back to the real news (which they once again seem unable to do even as they critique their own failure to do so).
How can we be talking about tweets concerning Pence’s trip to Hamilton when there’s a more important story about the $25 million judgment against Trump University? How can we be focused on a slapstick press conference when we should be digging into the ties between Russia and the Trump team?
Stop beating yourself up.
The distraction is the story.
When Mike Pence goes to Europe, anxious leaders there need to be assured that their relationship with the US is still secure and can still be depended upon. The same goes for Mattis, Tillerson, and other members of Trump’s team. Trump’s erratic behavior, crazy statements, and horrible lies are precisely what we should be focused on; because the world is watching, and that’s exactly what they’re focused on — and deeply concerned about. Our allies have been offended and unnerved. Our enemies have been buoyed.
That’s no distraction. It’s a crisis.
When it comes to international relations, personalities matter. They can change history. And there’s almost no clear-thinking leader in the world who thinks Trump’s will change history for the better.
And the so-called distractions matter at home too. When Trump attacks the . . .
Cezary Podkul reports in ProPublica:
Fired by President Donald Trump, Preet Bharara left behind a mysterious, thirteen-word message. “By the way, I know what the Moreland Commission must have felt like,” he tweeted on Sunday.
Americans are getting used to deciphering the tweets of a president who eviscerates his enemies in 140 characters or less. So perhaps it’s inevitable that a public official whom he dismissed would fight back in the same way — and similarly raising questions about the tweeter’s intent and state of mind.
A spokesman for the U.S. attorney’s office for the Southern District of New York said he could not elaborate on Bharara’s tweet. And the ex-prosecutor himself has made no further public comment, leaving those familiar with the Moreland Commission’s history to speculate about the presidential parallels.
The cryptic reference to the corruption-fighting commission, which New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo unexpectedly disbanded in March 2014, could simply mean that Bharara knows what it’s like to be let go when there’s still important work to be done. Or it could be read to accuse Trump, like Cuomo, of trying to axe an investigation before it brings down his friends. In the most sinister interpretation, it could even be a threat or a portent — since Cuomo’s allies ultimately faced justice anyway.
“I think Preet is way too smart to simply say something that might have wide-ranging implications without thinking it through,” said Chris Malone, a political science professor at City University of New York’s Lehman College. Malone said he thinks Bharara was “sending a message” that “you’re cutting off an investigation in midstream.”
Following a series of corruption scandals involving state lawmakers, Gov. Cuomo created the Moreland Commission to Investigate Public Corruption, as it was formally known, in July 2013 to root out corruption in politics and state government. It was named for a 1907 law known as the Moreland Act, which gives the governor broad authority to investigate state agencies. The panel’s 25 members included current and former district attorneys from across the state who were empowered to issue subpoenas and compel testimony.
The panel issued a first draft of its findings in December 2013 and vowed to “proceed with ongoing investigations as we continue to follow the money.” Those investigations hadn’t reached their conclusion when, four months later, Cuomo abruptly dismantled the commission.
Cuomo said at the time that a package of modest ethics reforms agreed to by the legislature eliminated the need for the commission. But a subsequent New York Times investigation revealed that Cuomo’s aides undermined the commission as the panel’s subpoenas started getting close to the governor’s office. The timing suggested Cuomo was concerned that the commission might dig up unwelcome facts about his administration.
Enter Bharara. After Cuomo disbanded the panel, the Moreland Commission handed over documents, computer files and other materials from its investigation to the federal prosecutor, who vowed to take over its mantle. . .