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Member since: Mon Sep 6, 2004, 08:54 PM
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Ben Carson's first hearing before Maxine Waters's committee was a disaster

Ben Carson’s first hearing before Maxine Waters’s committee was a disaster
Carson confused foreclosures for cookies — and things didn’t improve from there.
By Aaron Rupar@atrupar May 21, 2019, 4:55pm EDT

On Tuesday, Housing and Urban Development (HUD) Secretary Ben Carson testified before Rep. Maxine Waters’s (D-CA) Financial Services Committee for the first time since Waters became the chair in January. His performance did not go well.

Carson — a former brain surgeon and Republican presidential candidate whom President Donald Trump nominated as his HUD secretary in 2017 despite his complete lack of relevant experience — tried to defend a budget proposal that would cut 16.4 percent from HUD’s budget. He was also questioned about a plan HUD announced last year to impose rent increases of as much as 150 percent on people who live in subsidized housing.

But in trying to explain these proposals, Carson demonstrated a shocking level of condescension toward members of Congress, as well as a lack of familiarity with basic housing terminology.

During an exchange with Rep. Katie Porter (D-CA), Carson revealed that he’s unfamiliar with a common acronym used to described foreclosed properties — REO, which stands for real-estate owned.

“Do you know what an REO is?” Porter asked.

“An Oreo?” Carson replied, apparently thinking of cookies.

After Porter patiently set him straight, Carson offered to get her in touch with “people who do that” (deal with foreclosed properties) at HUD, seemingly oblivious to the fact that Porter, before she ran for Congress, was California’s independent monitor of banks in a nationwide $25 billion mortgage settlement.

“Respectfully, that was my day job before I came to Congress,” Porter told him. “I spent a decade working with the people at HUD on this problem.”

Porter later posted video of the exchange on Twitter.


Posted by babylonsister | Tue May 21, 2019, 04:24 PM (67 replies)

Robert Reich: The House Now Has a Constitutional Duty to Impeach Trump


The House Now Has a Constitutional Duty to Impeach Trump
Robert Reich
May 20, 2019
When the framers designed the Constitution to protect against tyranny, they had a moment just like this in mind.


Every child in America is supposed to learn about the Constitution’s basic principles of separation of powers, and checks and balances.

But these days, every child and every adult in America is learning from Donald Trump that these principles are bunk.

By issuing a blanket refusal to respond to any congressional subpoena, Trump is saying Congress has no constitutional authority to oversee the executive branch. He’s telling America that Congress is a subordinate branch of government rather than a co-equal branch. Forget separation of powers.


The core purpose of the U.S. Constitution is to prevent tyranny. That’s why the framers of the Constitution distributed power among the president, Congress, and the judiciary. That’s why each of the three branches was designed to limit the powers of the other two.

In other words, the framers anticipated the possibility of a Donald Trump.

The framers also put in mechanisms to enforce the Constitution against a president who tries to usurp the powers of the other branches of government. Article I, Section 2 gives the House of Representatives the “sole power of impeachment.” Article I, Section 3 gives the Senate the “sole power to try all impeachments.”

Trump surely appears to be usurping the powers of the other branches. Under these circumstances, the Constitution mandates that the House undertake an impeachment inquiry and present evidence to the Senate.

This may not be the practical political thing to do. But it is the right thing to do.

Posted by babylonsister | Tue May 21, 2019, 02:51 PM (3 replies)

Emails show NRA link to U.S. sheriffs who promoted gun 'sanctuaries'

Posted on Tue, May 21st, 2019 by Reuters
Emails show NRA link to U.S. sheriffs who promoted gun ‘sanctuaries’
By Daniel Trotta

(Reuters) – The National Rifle Association was more deeply involved than previously disclosed in the formation of a movement that encouraged county sheriffs not to enforce some gun-control laws, a U.S. gun-control advocacy group said on Monday, based on public records it obtained.

Under the so-called Second Amendment sanctuary movement, county sheriffs in at least four states have vowed to refuse to enforce laws that they consider to be infringements on the U.S. constitutional right to keep and bear arms.

The movement has been widespread in New Mexico, Oregon, Washington and Illinois, where elected sheriffs and county commissioners have taken particular exception to “red flag” laws designed to take guns away from people legally deemed to be a threat to themselves or others.


Brady said it received 1,600 documents under New Mexico’s public records act, including 24 email correspondences between the NRA and Tony Mace, the Cibola County sheriff and chairman of the New Mexico Sheriffs Association (NMSA), a group that both promoted the sanctuary resolutions and lobbied against gun-control bills in the state legislature.

“The documents Brady acquired reveal that the NRA was actively involved in the NMSA’s efforts in drafting the (sanctuary) Declaration; recruiting sheriffs to lobby state and political politicians to oppose the GVP (gun-violence prevention) bills and to adopt so-called Second Amendment Sanctuary Resolutions; and encouraging sheriffs to not enforce state laws,” Brady said.


Posted by babylonsister | Tue May 21, 2019, 07:59 AM (1 replies)

Right-wing media defends Navy SEAL accused of killing Iraqi civilians, posing with corpses


Right-wing media defends Navy SEAL accused of killing Iraqi civilians, posing with corpses
Edward Gallagher allegedly shot at unarmed civilians while deployed, but may be pardoned by Trump this week.
Luke Barnes
May 20, 2019, 4:55 pm


In the immediate aftermath of Gallagher’s arrest last September, Fox News jumped to his defense. Host Sean Hannity has frequently lauded Gallagher on both his radio and TV shows, describing the SEAL in heroic terms, while Gallagher’s family has also repeatedly gone on Fox News to defend his actions. In February, Gallagher’s brother Sean explicitly called for Trump’s help in a Fox News Op-Ed.

On Sunday, after news of Gallagher’s potential pardon broke, Fox & Friends weekend host Pete Hegseth quickly leapt to Gallagher’s aid, describing him as a “war fighter” making “tough calls.”

“These are men who went into the most dangerous place on earth with a job to defend and made tough calls on a moment’s notice,” Hegseth said. “To the people in middle America, who respect the troops and the tough calls they make, they’re going to love this. These are the good guys. These are the war fighters.”

Hegseth neglected to mention some of the “tough calls” Gallagher allegedly made that led to his detention. According to the official charge sheet, these include shooting a teenage girl and unarmed old man from a snipers nest, indiscriminately firing a heavy machine gun into a residential neighborhood, and repeatedly stabbing a teenage ISIS fighter who was wounded and dying. Gallagher is also accused of sharing pictures he took with a deceased ISIS fighter he had killed, along with the phrase, “I got him with my hunting knife.”

Members of SEAL Team Seven, Gallagher’s unit, repeatedly voiced their concerns about him to their commanding officers, but were allegedly ignored.


Gallagher is one of several military members whom Trump is considering for pardons. According to the Times, the others “are believed to include … a former Blackwater security contractor recently found guilty in the deadly 2007 shooting of dozens of unarmed Iraqis,” “… Maj. Mathew L. Golsteyn, the Army Green Beret accused of killing an unarmed Afghan in 2010,” and a group of Marine Corps snipers accused of “urinating on the corpses of dead Taliban fighters.”
Posted by babylonsister | Tue May 21, 2019, 07:18 AM (0 replies)

Adam Schiff Releases Michael Cohen Evidence And Nails Trump For Obstruction Of Justice

Posted on Mon, May 20th, 2019 by Jason Easley
Adam Schiff Releases Michael Cohen Evidence And Nails Trump For Obstruction Of Justice

House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) has released Michael Cohen’s testimony and evidence that nail Trump for obstruction of justice.

In a statement provided to PoliticusUSA, Chairman Schiff said:

With the completion of Special Counsel Mueller’s work and the release of his report, it is critically important that the Committee, and the Congress, make public as much information as possible that bears on Mueller’s findings, explain the evidence he uncovered, and expose the obstructive actions taken by this President and those who surround him.

It is in this light that the Committee today releases the transcripts of two days of interviews of Trump’s former personal lawyer Michael Cohen.

Cohen’s February and March 2019 testimony corroborate information previously received by the Committee, including the Trump Tower Moscow deal under negotiation throughout the 2016 election season by then-candidate Donald Trump. Cohen also presented significant and troubling new detail regarding the false statement that he provided to our Committee in August 2017 and for which, in part, he is now in prison. Since Cohen’s testimony, the Committee has already begun to follow up on information that Cohen provided related to attorneys for others involved in a joint defense agreement – including Jared Kushner and Donald Jr. and Ivanka Trump – to determine whether they aided in Cohen’s obstruction of the Committee’s investigation.

Cohen also testified that throughout the 2016 election, candidate Trump was actively kept apprised of a potential licensing agreement on a building to be erected in the heart of Moscow — a deal for which Mr. Trump and his family would have personally earned millions and would have required active participation by the Kremlin to get final approval. Cohen testified that while Trump continued to falsely claim that he had no business deals with Russia, Cohen was actively pursuing the deal through summer 2016.

Trump and his associates sought to ensure that false narrative continued. Cohen testified Trump urged him to ‘stay on message, which is there’s no Russia, there’s no collusion, there’s no business deals.’ Cohen also said that the president’s personal attorney, Jay Sekulow, also directed him to ‘stay on message,’ in part by encouraging Mr. Cohen to falsely claim to Congress that the Trump Tower Moscow deal ended in January 2016, before the Iowa caucuses. According to Mr. Cohen, attorneys for Kushner, Trump Jr., Ivanka Trump, and the Trump Organization also reviewed the statement before it was provided to Congress and raised no concerns with its false content.

The obstructive acts did not stop there. After the raid of Cohen’s hotel and office, Trump’s legal team, according to Cohen, again interjected – this time coaxing Cohen not to cooperate with authorities through implicit promises of a future pardon. Cohen testified that he had several conversations with Sekulow through July 2018 about pardons, and with an intermediary for the president’s personal attorney, Rudy Giuliani. When Cohen no longer chose to toe the party line on President Trump’s relationship with Russia, the president and his allies trained their fire on Cohen and his family through a campaign of public intimidation to silence his testimony before several congressional committees – quintessential witness intimidation.

The public should judge for themselves both the evidence released today in conjunction with Cohen’s testimony related to Trump, his troubling relationship with Russia, and the efforts by Trump and those close to him to hide the relationship and potential business deals. The public also deserves the chance to judge Cohen’s credibility for themselves, including by examining some of the evidence he provided to the Committee.

The Committee will continue its investigation, continue to pursue additional evidence related to Cohen’s testimony, and present to the American people what we find.

But make no mistake, any attempt by the President, his associates or Administration to suborn perjury, obstruct our investigation or mislead the public will not be tolerated – and will be exposed.


Posted by babylonsister | Mon May 20, 2019, 06:57 PM (18 replies)

Prosecutors Examining Trump Inauguration Documents


Prosecutors Examining Trump Inauguration Documents
May 20, 2019 at 2:07 pm EDT By Taegan Goddard

“Federal prosecutors in New York are scrutinizing tens of thousands of documents relating to Donald Trump’s inauguration in a sign that the investigation into the committee’s finances is advancing,” CNN reports.

“The end of the document production indicates the investigation is moving into the next stage. Authorities are investigating whether any of the record $107 million in donations for the inaugural was misspent, used to improperly benefit certain individuals, or came from foreign donors in violation of campaign finance laws that prohibit foreign money in US elections.
Posted by babylonsister | Mon May 20, 2019, 06:46 PM (4 replies)

Fox News hosts accidentally forget they are supposed to be against free college

Fox News hosts accidentally forget they are supposed to be against free college
After weeks of mocking Sen. Elizabeth Warren's (D-MA) plan to cancel college debt, Fox is now cheering a philanthropist's move to do so.
Josh Israel
May 20, 2019, 9:23 am

Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) recently unveiled a plan to help give young people and their families a leg up by cancelling much of their college debt. Fox News has aired a series of segments talking down the popular idea as unrealistic and unfair to the privileged who have already paid their tuition in full.

But the hosts of FOX and Friends accidentally contradicted that argument on Monday when they did a jubilant segment cheering a billionaire philanthropist’s announcement that he would pay off the entire student loan debt for Morehouse College’s class of 2019.

Robert F. Smith, a private equity investor and honorary degree recipient at Sunday’s commencement at the all-male historically black college in Atlanta, surprised his fellow graduates with the news that he and his family would personally pay off the student loan debt for the entire graduating class. The gesture is estimated to be in the tens of millions of dollars.

On Fox News on Monday morning, the hosts celebrated this as “good news.”


Posted by babylonsister | Mon May 20, 2019, 09:05 AM (3 replies)

Pete Buttigieg at Fox News Town Hall: Trump Tweets Are 'Grotesque Things'


Pete Buttigieg at Fox News Town Hall: Trump Tweets Are ‘Grotesque Things’
Barbie Latza Nadeau

Democratic presidential candidate hopeful Pete Buttigieg did not mince words Sunday on a Fox News town hall, calling for a return to moral authority in America and chiding President Donald Trump’s tweets as a distraction. “The tweets are—I don’t care,” he said. “It’s the nature of grotesque things that you can’t look away.”The crowd erupted into raucous applause several times during the South Bend, Indiana mayor’s appearance, especially when he called for greater attention to reproductive rights and when he lambasted Trump for considering pardoning service members accused of war crimes. Trump tweeted that his favorite news network was “wasting time” by hosting Buttigieg. “They forgot the people who got them there,” Trump tweeted, then added: “Alfred E. Newman will never be President!”
Posted by babylonsister | Mon May 20, 2019, 07:10 AM (3 replies)

Buttigieg responds to Trump supporting his marriage...

Buttigieg responds to Trump supporting his marriage: 'I'm more interested in policies that affect LGBTQ people'
By Justin Wise - 05/19/19 12:37 PM EDT

South Bend, Ind., mayor and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg said in an interview on Sunday he's more interested in White House policies that affect LGBTQ people than anything President Trump has to say about his marriage.

"That's nice," Buttigieg, who is openly gay, said of Trump's comment while speaking with the NPR Politics Podcast and Iowa Public Radio. "I'm more interested in policies that affect LGBTQ people."


Buttigieg on Sunday was critical of the idea that Trump's comments even amounted to news, saying that the "the expectations are so low that he made" headlines "by saying something that wasn't viciously insulting."

"What somebody says in an interview is one thing. How they govern is another," Buttigieg said. "So much attention is given to whatever remarkably outrageous and vicious and insulting thing that the president said."

He called on Trump to support a measure that extends civil rights protections to LGBTQ people.

The Trump administration has said that the measure, The Equality Act, is problematic, NPR reported. Buttigieg said it was a "shame" that Trump likely wouldn't support the bill.


Posted by babylonsister | Sun May 19, 2019, 02:52 PM (3 replies)

Adam Schiff Says Trump Is Pushing Democrats Toward Impeachment


Posted on Sun, May 19th, 2019 by Jason Easley
Adam Schiff Says Trump Is Pushing Democrats Toward Impeachment

Transcript via CBS’s Face The Nation:

MARGARET BRENNAN: You do think there is more of a movement–


MARGARET BRENNAN: –towards impeachment?

REP. SCHIFF: I think that we are seeing more members that recognize that the administration is acting in a lawless fashion, essentially having obstructed justice, is now obstructing Congress and our lawful function. And if we conclude that there’s no other way to do our jobs, no other way to do the oversight, no other way to show the American people what this president has done, his- his unethical and illegal acts as outlined in the Mueller Report, then we may get there.

MARGARET BRENNAN: You’re- what- what you’re suggesting just to clarify, is that by opening up an inquiry into impeachment- proceedings into impeachment, it would allow you to get the information even- and evidence you’ve been asking for?

REP. SCHIFF: It may–

MARGARET BRENNAN: But it provides a tool even if it fails?

REP. SCHIFF: It- it- it does, it provides an additional tool. And what we have been doing is we have been gradually escalating the- the tactics we need to use to get information for the American people. So we began by asking for voluntary cooperation and that was not forthcoming. We followed with subpoenas, we followed with contempt, we may follow with inherent contempt, and we may have to follow with impeachment. There may be an odd confluence of interest here between the Trump Administration and people around the president who want him impeached because they think it’s politically advantageous. And an increasing number of Democrats and maybe Republicans who feel this president’s conduct is so incompatible with office, incompatible with our system of checks and balances that if the only way that we can do our oversight is through an impeachment proceeding then maybe we have to go down that road. But I think it’ll be important to show the American people this was a decision made reluctantly.

more/video at link~

Posted by babylonsister | Sun May 19, 2019, 01:41 PM (8 replies)
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