Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

Adam Schock Legal Shocker

March 8, 2019

Adam Schock Legal Shocker

Adam Schock, the disgraced former GOP congressman, fraudster, and ticket scalper indicted on 24 felony counts, reached a sweetheart deal with Federal prosecuters in Chicago on Wednesday without actually pleading guilty. He agreed to pay a $25,000 FEC fine, will repay his campaign committees $67,956, and fork over unpaid 2010–2015 taxes and taxes on the $42,375 he made by scalping sports tickets. Mr. Schock has already repaid Congress $40,000 for redecorating his House office as Downton Abbey and $88,000 in phony mileage expense claims. In the “deferred prosecution” arrangement, if Aaron Schock doesn’t re-offend for six months, charges will be dropped and his criminal record wiped clean. He won’t rule out another run for public office.

It did not go unnoticed that Mr. Schock, the Prince of Peoria, avoided jail time, while another former Illinois Congrssman, Jesse Jackson Jr., was sentenced to 30 months in prison for misusing campaign funds.

More:

“Ex-congressman Aaron Schock strikes deal to avert prosecution,” Matt Zapotosky, Washington Post

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Serial Flag Molester In 2-Hour Hostage Situation

March 4, 2019

Serial Flag Molester In 2-Hour Hostage Situation

On Saturday, a 72-year-old flag molester held a crowd of conventioneers hostage for over two hours at a Maryland hotel while he delivered an expletive-laced rant. The situation concluded without casualties, and the perpetrator’s unhinged utterances were fact-checked. The miscreant had been observed groping the national banner three years ago in Florida and at a meeting last year where he boasted of separating children from their mothers.

There is no national registry for violators of the Flag Code of the United States.

More:

“The 7 most bizarre moments from Trump’s long-winded CPAC rant,” Amanda Sakuma, Vox

“The 7 Most Bewildering Moments From Trump’s CPAC Speech,” Andrew Kragie, The Atlantic

“15 Claims From Trump’s Speech to CPAC, Fact-Checked,” Linda Qiu, New York Times

“Trump’s unhinged CPAC speech should concern us all,” Eugene Robinson, Washington Post

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SOTU: Guests at the Farce

February 5, 2019

SOTU: Guests at the Farce

Tonight, 10 days before the next Federal shutdown, we’ll have the (rescheduled) State of the Union Address. Most presidents have fulfilled this annual constitutional requirement by submitting a document to Congress (“everything’s great, but here’s what you must give me”). With the advent of broadcasting, the SOTU morphed into an annual public spectacle, and nobody loves a spectacle more than Donald J. Trump. Mr. Trump sees this as just another rally, without the red ball caps but with better TV coverage, even if Nancy Pelosi is looking over his left shoulder and half the audience members are sitting on their hands and rolling their eyes.

The event is officially a joint session of Congress, but there are guests. The President is bringing a bunch of them, a ready-made claque. The First Lady is bringing a kid named Trump who’s not even an in-law but says he gets bullied anyway.

The many guests of Speaker Pelosi include: the president of Planned Parenthood, chef and humanitarian José AndrésFred Guttenberg (whose14-year-old daughter Jaime was killed in the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting), two active-duty transgender soldiers, Jeremy Butler of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Angelica Salas of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles,  National Education Association president Lily Eskelsen García, United Steelworkers president Leo Gerard, carpenters union president Doug McCarron, AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, and Mary Kay Henry of the Service Employees International Union.

Each member of Congress gets to bring a guest, and they’re making the most of it. Rep Donna Shalala (D, FL-27) invited DREAMer and grad student Edwin Herrera. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is bringing transgender Navy officer Blake Dremann. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer is bringing air traffic controller Ronan Byrne, who worked unpaid during the shutdown. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D, NJ-12 ) invited Victorina Morales, an undocumented immigrant recently fired from the Trump National Golf Club after working there for five years. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) is bringing Diane Whitcraft, a constituent with MS who stopped taking a drug after 23 years because she could not afford it. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) will host Albertina Conteras and her daughter, Guatemalan asylum-seekers who were separated from her daughter by border agents. The guest of Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) will be Nicole Smith-Holt, whose diabetic son Alec died because he could not afford his insulin. Rep. Cheri Bustos (D, IL-17) is bringing Tom Mueller, a family farmer hit by the Trump trade war.  Ana Maria Archila, the activist who confronted Jeff Flake in an elevator during the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, was invited by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D, NY-14).

We regret to say that, once again, nobody invited Stormy Daniels.

More:

“Democrats troll Trump with their State of the Union Guests,” Tina Nguyen, Vanity Fair

“Tonight’s State of the Union guests represent a deeply divided America,” Heather Timmons and Justin Rohrlich, Quartz

Related:

“When the state of the union is scary, the State of the Union gets weird,” Ted Widmer, Washington Post

“3 Reasons That State of the Union Speeches Don’t Matter,” Nathaniel Rakich, Geoffrey Skelley and Julia Azari, FiveThirtyEight

“It’s Time to Abolish the State of the Union Address,” Jared Keller, Pacific Standard

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Trump Prepares National Emergency Declaration

January 30, 2019

Trump Prepares National Emergency Declaration

After temporarily freeing the 800,000 hostages and temporarily reopening the federal government after six weeks of shutdown, President Donald Trump is said to be preparing a Declaration of National Emergency in case Congress doesn’t give him $5.7 billion for his border wall by Valentine’s Day. He’ll declare an emergency because of the grave threat of invasion by savage caravans of duct-tape-wielding rapists at the US-Mexico border. Funding for the wall will come from Mexico Trump’s daddy Deutsche Bank Russian oligarchs the loose change under the Pentagon‘s couch cushions, and money slated for 50 disaster relief projects including some in Texas and Florida, states that voted for Trump in 2016. The man is a political genius.

More:

“Legal and practical hurdles would await Trump emergency declaration,” Wesley Morgan, Politico

“A ‘National Emergency’ Is Not An Option To Save Trump From Failure,” Elie Mystal, Above the Law

“The US border situation isn’t a national emergency, Pentagon officials tell Congress,” Heather Timmons, Quartz

Updates:

“‘I want him to declare an emergency’: Eric Trump urges his father to use executive power to build a border wall,” Timothy Bella, Washington Post

“Trump: ‘Good Chance’ I’ll Declare National Emergency for Border Wall,” Daily Beast

“Trump teases national emergency declaration could come during SOTU,” John T. Bennett, Roll Call

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It’s On! State of the Union, February 5th.

January 29, 2019

It's On! State of the Union, February 5th.

After yanking the rug out from under Donald Trump’s January 2019 State of the Union address, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi invited the president to harangue a joint session of Congress on February 5th and he accepted.

Attention new members of Congress: each of you may invite one guest to observe the State of the Union from the visitors’ balcony. One of you must invite Stephanie Clifford, a Republican and a working Mom also known as Stormy Daniels. She even knows the guy who’ll be talking.

Related:

“Democrats tap Georgia’s Stacey Abrams to deliver the response to Trump’s State of the Union address,” Felicia Sonmez, Washington Post

“The State of the Union is … perhaps outdated?” Jason Dick, Roll Call

Updates:

“Undocumented Immigrant Who Worked for Trump Will Attend His State of the Union,” Matt Stevens, New York Times

“Capitol Police announce street closures, restrictions for State of the Union address,” Michael Burke, The Hill

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The Lonely Quest of Howard Schultz

January 28, 2019

The Lonely Quest of Howie Schultz

On Sunday, former Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz told 60 Minutes he was considering a 2020 run for president as an independent. This whipped up a hot latte froth of indignation among Democrats, who see Schultz as a 2020 spoiler, undercutting their candidate and re-electing Donald Trump.

More:

“‘Crappuccino’: Twitter Users Roast Ex-Starbucks CEO’s Presidential Plans,” Ed Mazza, HuffingtonPost

Updates:

“Ex-Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz admits causing ‘hate, anger’ with 2020 talk,” Martin Pengelly, The Guardian

“Trump tweets that Howard Schultz lacks the guts and smarts to be president,” John Wagner, Washington Post

“A third-party centrist candidate like me could win the presidency in 2020,” Howard Schultz, USA Today

“Howard Schultz Is Fully Capable of Winning the 2020 Election … for Trump,” Eugene Robinson, RealClear Politics

(more…)

Trump: ‘Emergency! Emergency! I Mean, If I Wanted to….’

January 14, 2019

Trump: 'Emergency! Emergency! I Mean, If I Wanted to....'

After spending a week threatening to declare lack of a border wall a national emergency, President Trump backed off, saying he could do that if he wanted to, but he won’t do that just yet. There are two reasons for him to say that:

  1. Diverting Army Corps of Engineers project money from disaster prevention and recovery for useless political promise fulfillment isn’t a good look; and
  2. Democrats in the House and border landowners would tie him up in court well past 2020.

More:

“No ‘Emergency’ Will Allow Trump to Build His Wall,” Noah Feldman, Bloomberg

“Toddler-in-Chief Doesn’t Wanna ‘Do’ a National Emergency,” Claire Lampen, The Cut

“Bipartisan blowback hits idea of tapping Army Corps for wall money,” Annie Snider, Politico

“Texas Border Landowners Vow To Reject Buyouts For Trump’s Wall,” Nomaan Merchant, AP, via Talking Points Memo

“6 real emergencies that should be more important to Donald Trump than the wall,” Paul Brandus, USA Today

Related:

“That GoFundMe to build a border wall is issuing $20 million in refunds,” Taylor Hatmaker, Techcrunch

“A Border Is Not a Wall. It’s much more interesting.” Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic

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National Emergency

January 10, 2019

National Emergency

Frustrated with the actual process of governing, President Donald Trump now believes he can rule by fiat like his pals Duterte, Putin, Xi, Kim, el-Sisi, and Erdogan simply by declaring a National Emergency when he can’t get his way.

More:

“Having Failed To Convince Americans There’s a National Emergency, Trump Now Poised to Declare One,” Ed Kilgore, New York Magazine

“National Emergency Powers and Trump’s Border Wall, Explained,” Charlie Savage, New York Times

“If Trump declares a state of emergency, he might actually cause one,” Andrea Pitzer, Washington Post

(more…)

Oval Office, Networks, and Truth Abused by the Politics of Fear

January 9, 2019

Oval Office, Networks, and Truth Abused by the Politics of Fear

President-for-now Donald Trump put in a prime-time Oval Office appearance on Tuesday in a futile effort to explain away his federal government shutdown, which locked-out 800,000 federal employees and denied services to millions of U.S. taxpayers. Stephen Miller’s sulfurous script was dark with fear-mongering, untruths, and racism, but the delivery by Mr. Trump, a former Reality TV personality, was unconvincing, even though the tale followed many of his long-time personal falsehoods. In a jaw-dropping display of audacity, Mr. Trump claimed he wanted to stop a humanitarian crisis on the Mexican border, a crisis he exacerbated by refusing entrance to asylum seekers and separating children from their families.

Fact-checkers and bookmakers are still busy counting up the president’s counterfactual assertions.

More:

“Trump tried to play a normal president on television. The result was very strange.” Alyssa Rosenberg, Washington Post

“Trump Gets Instant Fact-Check From Fox News’ Shepard Smith After Oval Office Speech,” Matt Wilstein, Daily Beast

“The cascade of false claims as Trump makes his case for a crisis on the US-Mexico border,” Marshall Cohen, Priscilla Alvarez, Geneva Sands, David Shortell and Jeremy Diamond, CNN

“Trump Appeals for Wall, Citing Misleading Statistics of Crisis and Crime Along Border,” Peter Baker, New York Times

“The U.S. Doesn’t Have a Border Crisis. Trump’s Campaign Does.” Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine

“The real crisis is that Trump has no idea what he’s doing,” Matthew Yglesias, Vox

“Gamblers Made $270,000 Betting That Trump Would Lie a Bunch in His Address,” River Donaghey, Vice

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A steel barrier is America’s greatest defense.

January 8, 2019

A steel barrier is America's greatest defense.

President-for-now Donald Trump says the U.S. needs a steel barrier to protect it from a national crisis:

Mr. Trump wants $5.7 billion in tax dollars to build a 234-mile steel wall of unknown design, a sort of pig-iron-in-a-poke situation. A project like that could require as much 3 million tons of steel, according to industry sources. That must please all the former steel company execs and lobbyists in the Trump administration.

“I intend the call the heads of United States Steel and a couple of other of our great steel companies” said the president. “I will have them come up with a template or design of a beautiful steel product, which we now may use and use that as our barrier.”

Actually, the Federal Bureau of Prisons has some very effective steel barriers, and they’re quite compact. Mr. Trump should try one out, for size. Oh wait, that might be awkward. Federal prison guards aren’t being paid due to the president’s shutdown.

More:

“Trump Offers a ‘Steel Barrier,’ but Democrats Are Unmoved,” Michael Tackett and Catie Edmondson, New York Times

“Trump Sees Border Wall As Another Boost For U.S. Steel Industry,” Jim Zarroli, NPR News

“Most illegal immigration doesn’t come through the Mexican border where Trump wants to build his wall,”Carmin Chappell, CNBC

Related:

“Trump Was Never a Great Dealmaker. The Shutdown Proves It.” Timothy L. O’Brien, Bloomberg

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