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Hometown: NY
Home country: US
Current location: Florida
Member since: Mon Sep 6, 2004, 09:54 PM
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Journal Archives

A Federal Court May Soon Do What Congress Could Not: Obliterate Obamacare

A Federal Court May Soon Do What Congress Could Not: Obliterate Obamacare
Thousands organized to save the Affordable Care Act in 2017. Now the entire law may be struck down when no one’s looking.
By Dahlia Lithwick and Mark Joseph Stern
Oct 31, 2019
5:45 AM

The Trump administration is trying to take away health care from millions of Americans. Yet nobody is campaigning on, fundraising off, or publicizing this imminent threat. That’s astounding. But any day now, aided and abetted by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, the Trump administration is poised to stick a knife in the heart of what remains of the Affordable Care Act. At minimum, this president will be throwing 20 million people who obtained insurance under the ACA off of their plans. That should be something we are reminded of daily.

The notoriously conservative appellate court will decide a challenge to a state-led effort to end the ACA once and for all, on the dubious legal theory that, when Congress chose not to kill Obamacare in 2017, it actually intended to kill the law. If the court embraces this theory, it could send the American health care system into a tailspin and affect nearly all Americans’ coverage to varying degrees. A three-judge panel of that court heard arguments in July. A decision is imminent.

Elections rise and fall on guarantees of affordable, efficient health care. But this looming catastrophe hasn’t come up at a single Democratic debate. It has been absent from the daily news cycle for months. Donald Trump’s fiercest critics on the hill rarely mention it. Yes, it’s easy to be distracted. After all, the Trump administration is simultaneously kidnapping children from migrant parents and bilking students to repay loans and facing an impeachment effort. But if the court he packed succeeds in destroying the ACA, it could be the single most consequential event of Trump’s presidency, and can sit right up there with the rescission of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, the travel ban, and the family separation policy as humanitarian catastrophes. And yet almost nobody is talking about it, because it’s happening in the courts, in the dark, and yet also right out in the open.


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Oct 31, 2019, 07:17 PM (8 replies)

Charles Pierce: The Momentum Is All in One Direction Now

The Momentum Is All in One Direction Now
The Republican clowns are lining up, but we know what happens next.
By Charles P. Pierce
Oct 31, 2019

The train, it has left the station.

Thursday morning, after a mercifully brief debate that nonetheless contained its share of crazy, the House of Representatives approved a resolution setting the rules and procedures for the process of impeaching the President* of the United States. The vote was nearly straight party-line, 232-196. Along the way, we learned the following:

1) House Republican leader Kevin McCarthy is such a perfect specimen of the successful mediocre white man that they ought to stuff him and stand him up in the Smithsonian. Remember, this is the guy who once accused the president* of being paid by Vladimir Putin. He's also the guy who pretty much admitted that all the fuss over Benghazi, Benghazi, BENGHAZI! pretty much was designed to ding up Hillary Rodham Clinton's poll numbers. So there are brighter bulbs in the chandelier.

But, with that background—and who knows if McCarthy actually remembers having said this—for him to get up before god and CSPAN and say:

They have predetermined the president's guilt. They have never accepted the voter's choice to make him president. So for 37 days and counting, they have run an unprecedented, undemocratic, and unfair investigation. This resolution today only makes it worse. I've heard members on the other side say they promise rights to the president but only if he does does what they want. That's equivalent of saying in the First Amendment, you have the right to the freedom of speech but you can only say the words I agree with.

He's not only stuffed with talk-radio talking points (How in hell did he wedge an oblique whine about the First Amendment and political correctness in there?), but he's convicted of hypocrisy out of his own mouth. He's also very boring. (Say what you will about Jim Jordan—who showed up in a suitcoat on Thursday, befitting the solemnity of the occasion—but he's never dull.) My guess is that his caucus will remove McCarthy as the face of the president*'s defense in the House pretty quickly.
2) The Democrats are Very Sad that it's come to this. Yeah, I don't believe it, either. There's nothing sorrowful about having to do your constitutional duty. I'm more in line with David Cicilline of Rhode Island, who said:

It is a sad day, but not because Congress has the courage to stand up for our democracy but because the president's conduct has forced this action.

In 2016, the country took a dangerous chance. In 2018, it began the process of correcting that horrific mistake. That process continued on Thursday, and now, it will go forward.


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Oct 31, 2019, 06:53 PM (6 replies)

Judge critical of Trump administration's attempt to control testimony of former official

Judge critical of Trump administration's attempt to control testimony of former official
By Katelyn Polantz and Marshall Cohen, CNN
Updated 6:14 PM ET, Thu October 31, 2019

Washington (CNN)A federal judge in Washington expressed disbelief that the White House could control what its former officials might talk about, when they're subpoenaed by the House of Representatives or otherwise.

"We don't live in a world where your status as a former executive branch official somehow shields you or prevents you from giving information," Judge Ketanji Brown Jackson said Thursday during a nearly four-hour hearing to a Justice Department attorney who was defending the White House.

The lawsuit is over whether former White House counsel Don McGahn must appear for testimony in the House. Democrats issued the subpoena in April, though he ignored their demands and didn't show up.

"I see almost every day people who are former executive branch officials giving information to the media. People are out there talking, people are saying things," Jackson said, taking a legally complicated separation-of-powers topic and injecting the real world into it.


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Oct 31, 2019, 06:41 PM (3 replies)

Top Fox News Reporter Catherine Herridge Just Left Fox To Join CBS, Says 'Facts Matter'


Top Fox News Reporter Catherine Herridge Just Left Fox To Join CBS, Says ‘Facts Matter’
by Bruce White
Oct 31, 2019

Catherine Herridge, the chief intelligence correspondent for Fox News, confirmed on Thursday that she will be leaving the network to join CBS News because “facts matter.”

“I have received great personal satisfaction from mentoring the next generation of reporters and producers and sharing my journalistic values — that facts matter and enterprise reporting will always win the day,” the statement released through Fox News said.

“I feel privileged to join a team where facts and storytelling will always matter,” Herridge said in a second statement released by CBS.

According to CNN, who spoke with two sources close to Herridge, the Fox News reporter had been in talks with the network about leaving prior to the departure of daytime anchor Shepard Smith.

Her last day at Fox will be Friday.
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Oct 31, 2019, 02:05 PM (7 replies)

Robert Reich: 6 Ways Trump Has Sold Out America


6 Ways Trump Has Sold Out America
Instead of putting America first, he has put Donald first.
by Robert Reich
October 31, 2019

One of Donald Trump’s main campaign promises was to put “America First” and defend American interests above all else. It was a theme that riled up his base at rallies across the country, but this has turned out to be yet another big lie.

At every turn, he has sold out America for his own personal interest. Instead of putting America first, here are 6 ways Donald Trump has put himself first:

1. He has encouraged foreign powers to interfere in our democracy. Trump is using the power of the presidency to encourage foreign leaders to interfere in our elections—asking the President of Ukraine to investigate Trump’s political opponents in exchange for military aid. He has also publicly called on Russia and China to investigate his political opponents.

2. He receives money from foreign governments through his hotels and real estate business. Since taking office, representatives of at least 22 foreign governments, including Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Russia, have spent money at properties owned by the Trump Organization. These payments are clear violations of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, which forbids the president from accepting anything of value from foreign governments. Trump had even planned to host next year’s G-7 meeting at his Doral golf resort, in Florida, but this brazen corruption was apparently too much even for his supporters in Congress.

3. He is making foreign policy on the basis of where his business is located around the world. The simplest explanation for why he cozies up to Turkey’s dictator Recep Erdogan, even withdrawing U.S. troops from the Syrian border, is the Trump Towers Istanbul is his first and only office and residential building in Europe, and businesses linked to the Turkish government are also major patrons of the Trump Organization.

4. He has called on foreign powers to investigate Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who concluded that Trump’s campaign sought help from Russia during the 2016 election. The Trump administration has encouraged officials in Italy, Australia, and the United Kingdom to investigate details of Mueller’s investigation in an effort to discredit his report.

5. He is favoring authoritarian regimes around the world, turning his back on America’s allies. Beyond Turkey’s Erdogan, Trump has said he’s “in love” with North Korea’s Kim Jong Un, and, of course, praised Vladimir Putin.

6. He has ignored American intelligence agencies, relying instead on foreign governments. He has repeatedly disputed that Russia interfered in the 2016 election, favoring Vladimir Putin’s version of what happened over the findings of our own intelligence community.

Donald Trump claims to be a patriot at the same time as he sells out America. He has brazenly sought private gain from foreign governments at the expense of the American people. Instead of putting “America First,” he has repeatedly put “Donald First.”
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Oct 31, 2019, 10:24 AM (1 replies)

David Corn & Dan Friedman: How Roger Stone's Trial Could Be a Nightmare for Donald Trump


4 hours ago
How Roger Stone’s Trial Could Be a Nightmare for Donald Trump
Will the proceedings reveal the president lied to Robert Mueller?
David Corn, Dan Friedman

Impeachment is in the air, as House Democrats focus on the still-growing Ukraine scandal as the reason to move forward with the ultimate political punishment. But the Trump-Russia scandal is about to make its own comeback. On November 5, Donald Trump’s longtime political adviser Roger Stone—the dirty trickster who had for years encouraged Trump to run for president—will go on trial in a federal court in Washington, DC, facing charges that he lied to Congress about his interactions with WikiLeaks during the 2016 campaign, as the organization was publicly disseminating Democratic material stolen by Russian hackers. Stone also was indicted for allegedly obstructing justice and witness-tampering. Though the trial will determine whether Stone tried to bamboozle a congressional investigation, it could answer two bigger questions about the president: Did Trump use (or try to use) Stone as a conduit to WikiLeaks, and did Trump lie to special counsel Robert Mueller? The former might not be illegal; the latter could be a crime.

In the publicly released version of Mueller’s final report, Stone, the flamboyant provocateur and conspiracy theorist, is conspicuously absent. The Justice Department redacted most of the portions of the report that referenced Stone because his trial was pending. So it’s unclear what Mueller had on Stone. But the report contains clues suggesting that the full story of Stone’s involvement in the Trump-Russia scandal goes beyond what’s publicly known—and that it implicates Trump.

As has been already documented, Stone, during the Russian attack on the 2016 election, repeatedly declared he was in contact with WikiLeaks and its founder, Julian Assange. Throughout that stretch, he sent out tweets predicting WikiLeaks would release material that would torpedo Hillary Clinton’s campaign—tweets that reinforced the impression he was in communication with WikiLeaks while it was part of the Russian operation. Stone—who remained in contact with Trump and his campaign after he was ousted from his official role in the Trump 2016 effort—also privately communicated with Guccifer 2.0, an online persona created by the Russian hackers. And Stone repeatedly claimed in public that Moscow had nothing to do with the hack of the Democratic National Committee servers, echoing Moscow’s propaganda. After the Russia scandal exploded, Stone changed his story and insisted that he had not been in direct touch with WikiLeaks and Assange. That is, he has essentially said he was lying and exaggerating during the 2016 campaign. He maintained it had all been “posture, bluff, hype.”


Will the Stone trial provide answers? A lawyer for Stone did not respond to questions from Mother Jones. But any material presented in the courtroom that fills in the redactions would go far toward resolving all this. The evidence could also reveal whether Trump lied to the special counsel—which would be obstruction of justice and a crime. (Mueller’s final report, however, noted that Justice Department policy prohibits the indictment of a sitting president.) Throughout the Russia scandal, Trump has been caught in assorted lies, as he has continuously denied or dismissed the Russian attack that helped him become president. That scandal may be taking a back seat to the Ukraine controversy fueling the ongoing impeachment inquiry (though, in a way, the Russia affair led to the Ukraine scandal, with Trump pressing the Ukrainian president to investigate—and prove—a nutty conspiracy theory that claimed Moscow did not hack the 2016 election). This trial of a conniving Trump confidante who specializes in the political dark arts will be a reminder of the original scandal of the Trump administration that has tainted and undermined his presidency, and it could add another big lie—and a possible crime—to Trump’s long record of wrongdoing.
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Oct 31, 2019, 10:06 AM (6 replies)

Donald Trump Jr: I Wish I Was Like Hunter Biden So I Could 'Make Millions Off of My Father's Presid

He IS that dumb if he doesn't understand the hypocrisy.

Donald Trump Jr: I Wish I Was Like Hunter Biden So I Could ‘Make Millions Off of My Father’s Presidency’
[The Daily Beast]
Justin Baragona
,The Daily Beast•
October 30, 2019

Donald Trump Jr., a man who shares the same name as the President of the United States and is currently the executive vice president of the Trump Organization, said with a straight face on Wednesday night that he wished his name was Hunter Biden so he could “make millions off my father's presidency.”

During an appearance on Fox News’ Hannity to hawk his upcoming book Triggered, Trump Jr. quickly turned his sights on the impeachment inquiry his father is currently facing.

After Trump Jr. called it a “sham” and claimed “the reasonable people in the middle” support his dad, Sean Hannity asked the presidential scion about former Vice President Joe Biden and his son Hunter. The president is facing impeachment largely due to his efforts to pressure Ukraine to open investigations into the Democratic presidential nominee and his family.

Insisting the media protects Biden and doesn’t report on unsubstantiated claims that the former veep forced Ukrainian leaders to drop investigations into his son, Hannity then wondered aloud what would happen if Trump Jr.’s name was Hunter Biden.

“I wish my name was Hunter Biden,” the president’s eldest son said without a hint of irony. “I could go abroad, make millions off of my father’s presidency—I’d be a really rich guy! It would be incredible!”


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Oct 31, 2019, 08:49 AM (16 replies)

GOP Anxiety Deepens


GOP Anxiety Deepens

October 31, 2019 at 8:30 am EDT By Taegan Goddard

“Republican concerns are mounting about President Trump as damaging information piles up regarding his dealings with Ukraine,” The Hill reports.

“The dam is not yet at the bursting point, but anxiety — fueled by the sense that more revelations could emerge at any moment — is rippling through the GOP.”

“More discord could burst into public view soon. There are tensions about the White House’s strategy, with the most fervent Trump allies favoring a hard-line approach and others expressing misgivings.”
Posted by babylonsister | Thu Oct 31, 2019, 08:44 AM (8 replies)

Trump lures GOP senators on impeachment with cold cash

Trump lures GOP senators on impeachment with cold cash
The president is tapping his vast donor network to buck up lawmakers whose support he badly needs — but who also need him.
10/31/2019 05:00 AM EDT

President Donald Trump is rewarding senators who have his back on impeachment — and sending a message to those who don't to get on board.

Trump is tapping his vast fundraising network for a handful of loyal senators facing tough reelection bids in 2020. Each of them has signed onto a Republican-backed resolution condemning the inquiry as “unprecedented and undemocratic.”

Conspicuously absent from the group is Maine Sen. Susan Collins, a politically vulnerable Republican who’s refused to support the resolution and avoided taking a stance on impeachment. With his new push, Trump is exerting leverage over a group he badly needs in his corner with an impeachment trial likely coming soon to the Senate — but that also needs him.

Republican senators on the ballot next year are lagging in fundraising, stoking uncertainty about the GOP’s hold on the chamber, and could use the fundraising might of the president. Trump’s political operation has raked in over $300 million this year.

On Wednesday, the Trump reelection campaign sent a fundraising appeal to its massive email list urging donors to provide a contribution that would be divided between the president and Colorado Sen. Cory Gardner, Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst, and North Carolina Sen. Thom Tillis. Each of the senators are supporting the anti-impeachment resolution despite being endangered in 2020.

“If we don’t post strong fundraising numbers,” the message warned, “we won't be able to defend the President from this baseless Impeachment WITCH HUNT.”


Posted by babylonsister | Thu Oct 31, 2019, 08:41 AM (5 replies)

Separated Families Were Allowed to Hug on the Riverbed of the Rio Grande--for 3 Minutes

Separated Families Were Allowed to Hug on the Riverbed of the Rio Grande—for 3 Minutes
“Every time we do this, it could be the last one.”
Julia Lurie and Fernanda Echavarri

Last week, Miriam Pallares boarded a bus in Oklahoma City with her six-year-old daughter and rode through the night to El Paso, Texas for a three-minute hug with family she hadn’t seen in years.

The mother and daughter were among 2,500 people participating in a rare event in which US Customs and Border Protection opens a gate in the fence separating El Paso from Ciudad Juárez, Mexico, allowing families to briefly reunify. Hugs Not Walls, or Abrazos No Muros, was started in the spring of 2016 by non-profit Border Network for Human Rights. It takes place roughly twice a year, when the water flow of the Rio Grande is cut to a trickle. Families on either side of the border wait in line for hours to embrace for three minutes in the dry riverbed.

For many, the event marks the first—and last—time they will have physical contact with family members for years.

By 7:00 a.m., hundreds of participants had formed a line that curled around El Paso’s unassuming Chihuahuita Park. Over blue shirts required for participation, they bundled in coats and blankets, some toting folding chairs and coolers of lunch. Kids ran around the playground, blue shirts reaching their knees. 800 feet away—across train tracks, the soaring border fence and the shallow Rio Grande—corresponding families gathered at an intersection in Juárez, wearing white shirts.

Miriam, a 27-year-old with bright pink lipstick and an impeccable ponytail, had been anticipating this day ever since she learned about the event on Facebook a couple years ago. “I really want to see my sister—it’s been four years since I saw her,” she explained in Spanish. “She can’t come here because she hasn’t been able to get her visa, and I still haven’t gotten my asylum. I’m fighting to get it.”

At 8:00, the line in the park began to move. Some pushed wheelchairs or strollers as they made their way towards a dirt opening next to the border fence. There, participants waited for hours on plastic chairs: Only 20 families could enter through the gate at a time. Miriam was number 82.


Posted by babylonsister | Wed Oct 30, 2019, 09:26 PM (4 replies)
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