Posts Tagged ‘GOP’

DC Shut Down? The GOP Does Davos.

January 15, 2019

DC Shut Down? The GOP Does Davos.

The president has shut down the U.S. government by refusing to authorize federal spending, but presidential aides and cabinet officials are spending $3-4 million and change to go to the World Economic Forum at Davos, kind of a Coachella for billionaires and financial heavies at a resort in the Swiss Alps.  Administration figures scheduled to attend include: Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Labor Secretary Alexander Acosta, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Small Business Administrator Linda McMahon, DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen, Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao, U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner.

U.S. officials at Davos will have a significant weight lifted from their shoulders at this year’s WEF. Unlike last year, President Donald Trump will not attend. Swiss protesters must be crestfallen.

More:

“Trump’s team is still running up bills for Davos during the government shutdown,” Justin Rohrlich and Heather Timmons, Quartz

“Davos, other Swiss ski resorts warned of high avalanche danger,” Xinhua

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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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Image (“Trump TV, after Dalton Avalos Ramirez”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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The Trump Foundation Christmas Party Is Cancelled

December 20, 2018

The Trump Foundation Christmas Party Is Cancelled

This week New York State Attorney General Barbara Underwood announced that she is euthanizing the rogue Donald J. Trump Foundation. The so-called nonprofit outfit was directly run by Donald Trump and three of his spawn. Rather than engaging in charitable actives,said the AG, there was a“shocking pattern of illegality involving the Trump Foundation—including unlawful coordination with the Trump presidential campaign, repeated and willful self-dealing, and much more. This amounted to the Trump Foundation functioning as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests.” This included funding Trump Senior’s election campaign, promoting his businesses, paying off his legal obligations.

As Charles Blow observes, “How can a family that can’t run a charity run a country?”

More:

“Trump’s Crooked Foundation Dissolves, But Investigation Continues,” Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine

Clinton Foundation exec mocks Trump Foundation closing amid legal trouble
BY Morgan Gstalter, The Hill

“What the Collapse of the Trump Foundation Tells Us About Donald Trump,” John Cassidy, The New Yorker

“Trump lashes out at New York attorney general who sued his foundation,” David A. Fahrenthold, Washington Post

“Trump Foundation dissolves, but Trump abuses and pursuit of personal gain live on,” Noah Bookbinder and Norman Eisen, USA Today

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GOP: How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?

December 19, 2018

GOP: How Do You Solve a Problem Like Maria?

Former American University grad student Maria Butina pleaded guilty last week to conspiracy against the United States, acting as an unregistered agent of the Russian Federation, and seeking to influence U.S. conservative politicians through the National Rifle Association. It’s a salacious spy story of sex, guns, money, and the National Prayer Breakfast, and it’s packed with oligarchs, Republicans, lobbyists, Treasury officials and Kremlin connections, a saga spanning the globe from Siberia to South Dakota.

Ms. Butina, deemed a flight risk, has been imprisoned since her indictment in July. We hope she’s been able to continue with her Tai Chi in jail. There are indications she will be testifying before a federal grand jury sometime soon.

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Top image (“Maria ‘Natasha Fatale’ Butina, after Jay Ward and Alex Anderson“) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Fraudster & Political Hack Illegally Acting as U.S. Attorney General

November 13, 2018

Fraudster & Political Hack Illegally Acting as U.S. Attorney General

After firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, President Trump appointed right-wing political hack Matthew Whitaker, a man the president doesn’t know (except when he does) as acting attorney general. There are a few issues with Mr. Whitaker’s appointment, chief among them the fact that it’s against the law. The Constitution, Which Donald Trump swore to defend, requires principal federal cabinet officers to be confirmed by the senate, and Matt Whitaker wasn’t. His appointment was illegal. Even Kellyanne Conway’s husband says so. So does Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano.

But there’s more. As acting AG, Matt Whitaker oversees the Mueller investigation, and he is already on record criticizing it, suggesting he would choke off Mueller’s funding. Mr. Whitaker has also opined that judges should be Christian, and the courts are an inferior branch of government, an interesting stance for the nation’s chief law enforcement officer.

And Matt Whitaker has some distinctly unchristian episodes in his past. He was on the board of World Patent Marketing, which paid a judgment of $25,987,192 to the FTC for defrauding inventors. Mr. Whitaker used his reputation as a former federal prosecutor to threaten inventors who complained. A perfect AG pick for a president with fraud judgments of his own.

More:

“Acting attorney general reportedly interviewed to be a ‘legal attack dog’ for Trump against Mueller,” Bonnie Kristian, The Week

“Trump’s acting attorney general involved in firm that scammed veterans out of life savings,” Jon Swaine, The Guardian

“Whitaker abandoned taxpayer-funded project in Iowa in 2016,” Ryan J. Foley and David Pitt, Associated Press

“Who Is Matt Whitaker And Why Is He Illegally Pretending To Be The Attorney General?” Elie Mystal, Above the Law

“Trump pick Whitaker rose through ranks as partisan targeting Democrats,” Stephanie Kirchgaessner and Jon Swaine, The Guardian

“The rules are clear: Whitaker can’t supervise Mueller’s investigation,”Neal Katyal, Washington Post

“A Quick Primer on the Legality of Appointing Matthew Whitaker as ‘Acting’ Attorney General, and Whitaker’s Power to Influence the Russia Investigation,” Marty Lederman, Just Security

Update:

“Whitaker’s Appointment as Acting Attorney General Faces Court Challenge,” Charlie Savage, Washington Post

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Jimmy Carter’s Letter to Brian Kemp

October 31, 2018

Jimmy Carter's Letter to Brian Kemp

Former president and Georgia resident Jimmy Carter wrote to his state’s Republican nominee for governor, Brian Kemp, asking him to resign as Georgia secretary of state. The secretary of state oversees elections.

October 22, 2018

To Secretary of State Brian Kemp:

I have officially observed scores of doubtful elections in many countries, and one of the key requirements for a fair and trusted process is that there be nonbiased supervision of the electoral process.

In Georgia’s upcoming gubernatorial election, popular confidence is threatened not only by the undeniable racial discrimination of the past and … serious questions … about the security of Georgia’s voting machines, but also because you are now overseeing the election in which you are a candidate. This runs counter to the most fundamental principle of democratic elections — that the electoral process be managed by an independent and impartial election authority. Other secretaries of state have stepped down while running for election within their jurisdiction, to ensure that officials without a direct stake in the process can take charge and eliminate concerns about a conflict of interest.

In order to foster voter confidence in the upcoming election, which will be especially important if the race ends up very close, I urge you to step aside and hand over to a neutral authority the responsibility of overseeing the governor’s election. This would not address every concern, but it would be a sign that you recognize the importance of this key democratic principle and want to ensure the confidence of our citizens in the outcome.

Sincerely,

Jimmy Carter

Emphasis added. The full text of the letter is here

In case you forgot, before he monitored elections across the world, before he served as president, Jimmy Carter was Governor of Georgia, the position Brian Kemp is attempting to procure by questionable means.

More:

“Jimmy Carter Calls For Georgia Secretary Of State’s Resignation In Personal Plea,” Colin Dwyer, NPR News

“Watch the Georgia Minority Vote Disappear Before Your Eyes,” Jamil Smith, Rolling Stone

“Stealing an election in Georgia: everything you need to know about voter suppression,” Sophie McBain, New Statesman

“Where Voter Suppression Hits Hardest in Georgia,” Brentin Mock, CityLab

Updates:

“Judge orders Georgia to allow new U.S. citizens to vote,” Shannon Vavra, Axios

“How Voting Became a Central Issue in the Georgia Governor’s Race,” Richard Fausset, New York Times

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Mitch McConnell Says He’s Coming For Your Health Care

October 22, 2018

Mitch McConnell Says He's Coming For Your Health Care

“Republicans could try again to repeal Obamacare if they win enough seats in U.S. elections next month, Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell said on Wednesday, calling a failed 2017 push to repeal the healthcare law a ‘disappointment.’

In a forecast of 2019 policy goals tempered by uncertainty about who would win the congressional elections, McConnell blamed social programs, such as Social Security and Medicare, for the fast-rising national debt.”

— “McConnell says Senate Republicans might revisit Obamacare repeal,” David Morgan, Reuters

More:

“Mitch McConnell blames the soaring deficit on Medicare and Social Security, not the GOP tax cuts,” Peter Weber, The Week

“Republican Doublespeak on Health Care Starts at the Top,” Max Nisen, Bloomberg

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Trump Endorsed a Literal Attack on the Press

October 19, 2018

Trump Endorsed a Literal Attack on the Press

“Donald Trump has praised Greg Gianforte, the Congress member from Montana, for violently attacking a Guardian reporter, saying that someone who performs a body slam is ‘my guy.’

Trump described in glowing terms the physical assault that occurred on 24 May 2017 when Ben Jacobs, the Guardian’s political correspondent, was asking Gianforte a question about health care policy in the course of a special congressional election in Bozeman, Montana. The US president incited cheers and chants from a crowd of about 8,000 supporters on Thursday night when he said: ‘Greg is smart. And by the way, never wrestle him. You understand. Never.’

As the cheers rang out across an aircraft hangar in Missoula, Trump went on to say: ‘Any guy that can do a body slam … he’s my guy.’

Trump’s comments mark the first time the president has openly and directly praised a violent act against a journalist on American soil.”

— “Trump praises Gianforte for assault on Guardian reporter: ‘He’s my guy,'” Ed Pilkington, The Guardian

In related news, PEN America is suing Mr.Trump in New York district court, claiming he “violated the First Amendment and his oath to uphold the Constitution,” a document which doesn’t consider the press to be the Enemy of the People.

More:

“Trump’s Attacks on the Press Are Illegal. We’re Suing.” Suzanne Nossel, Politico

“Suing Trump for endangering the First Amendment,” Jennifer Rubin, Washington Post

“Yale Law clinic helps writers group file First Amendment suit against Trump,” Debra Cassens Weiss, ABA Journal

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Trickle-Down Economics Is Trickling Away

October 11, 2018

Trickle-Down Economics Is Trickling Away

That old voodoo economics has the president in its spell, but where’s the magic?

Noah Smith: “If Trump’s corporate tax cuts end up having no observable effect on workers’ pay, it will be the final blow to the supply-side worldview.”

— “Trump Puts Supply-Side Economics to Its Final Test,” Noah Smith, Bloomberg

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Fraternity Pledge Inducted Into the Supreme Court

October 6, 2018
Fraternity Pledge Inducted Into the Supreme Court

Judicial Temperament Tantrum

The shouting is over. Brett Kavanaugh (of Georgetown Prep, Yale legacy admissionsDelta Kappa Epsilon member, and the Federalist Society) was secretly sworn in as Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. If you’re keeping score at home, Mr. Kavanaugh is the first justice nominated by a president who lost the popular vote and confirmed by senators representing less than half of the country while a majority of Americans opposed his nomination. God Save the Republic.

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