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Member since: Mon Sep 6, 2004, 09:54 PM
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Journal Archives

Trump and the Warping of Democratic Governance


Trump and the Warping of Democratic Governance
September 21, 2019 at 10:29 pm EDT By Taegan Goddard

Dan Balz: “America’s democratic system, the world’s oldest, is said to be resilient, with institutions strong enough to defend against runaway actors and with checks and balances designed to prevent too much power from building up in any one place or with any one person. Earlier in Trump’s presidency, that appeared to be the case. Right now, however, that is in question.”

“When the president asserts executive privilege to prevent testimony before Congress by a private citizen who never was on the government payroll — as happened this past week when Corey Lewandowski, Trump’s former campaign manager, appeared before the House Judiciary Committee — it is clear how much Trump is prepared to test his belief that his powers are unlimited. ‘I have the right to do whatever I want as president,’ Trump once said, and that appears to be the basis upon which he is operating.”

“Three years into his presidency, Trump has helped to reveal the weaknesses of the system. In the executive branch, and especially in the White House, there are few if any officials willing to challenge and check the president. To the extent that administration officials could do that, those who tried are gone. He has also demonstrated the degree to which Congress is dependent on a president who operates with some respect for the norms of the system created by the Founding Fathers.”
Posted by babylonsister | Sun Sep 22, 2019, 08:19 AM (3 replies)

AM Joy Guest: Waiting To Impeach 'At The Ballot Box' Is Dangerous


9/21/19 10:56am

AM Joy Guest: Waiting To Impeach ‘At The Ballot Box’ Is Dangerous
Guest Jeff Hauser explained why we need to impeach Donald Trump now or else risk even more dangerous efforts to sabotage our election.
By NewsHound Ellen
Video @ link~

An AM Joy panel discussed the reluctance of moderate and conservative Democrats to support impeachment, even as each day brings new alarming information about Donald Trump’s attempt to strong-arm Ukraine into boosting his re-election chances by digging up dirt on Joe Biden’s son.

Guest Jeff Hauser, executive director of the Revolving Door Project, warned that any continued reluctance to impeach Trump except “at the ballot box” in 2020 gives Trump time to do something even worse than he already has.

“Over the next 15 months or so, Donald Trump has all sorts of opportunities to undermine the fairness of the next election,” Hauser said. He pointed out that before the 2018 midterm elections, Trump sent the military to the southern border, claiming that was needed to protect the United States from a caravan of refugees fleeing violence in Central America.

Given that the refugees “posed literally no national security threat,” Hauser continued, it proved that Trump was "willing to use the military as a prop to try to influence voters.“

If he did that in 2018, "God only knows what he'll do in 2020," Hauser added. "So you need to do impeachment now to prevent even worse behavior than what we are seeing already, which is obviously pretty terrible.”

And that’s just what Trump can do to the election. Between now and 2020, he can also do an awful lot of damage to the environment, the economy, health care and start a war with Iran – all the while lining his pockets with taxpayer money.
Posted by babylonsister | Sat Sep 21, 2019, 08:53 PM (12 replies)

Will Hurricane Maria Defeat Donald Trump?


Will Hurricane Maria Defeat Donald Trump?
By Michael R. Caputo
A former senior campaign adviser to President Trump, Michael Caputo is managing director of Zeppelin Communications.
September 20, 2019


By credible estimates, 100,000 displaced Puerto Ricans have moved to Florida and registered to vote since Hurricane Maria largely destroyed their island. Orlando-area Democrats are accomplishing this with a continuing registration drive along the I-4 corridor, including official government outreach efforts.

By most analyses, the state is a must-win for the president. With a hundred thousand additional Puerto Rican voters enflamed by a smart Democrat strategy, it's an imaginable loss.


The 78 municipalities of Puerto Rico suffered billions of dollars in damage, and they are being abused perhaps the most. Because it looks like less than 10% of damages will be paid by insurers, and since the rest can’t be recovered from FEMA, many cities will likely go bankrupt. Essential services will collapse. This alone will destroy Puerto Rico.

Maria also destroyed hundreds of high-rise apartment buildings, a popular housing option here. Condo boards got "take it or leave it" offers of less than 10% of damages, too, and today countless families are living in terrible conditions. Their buildings may never be repaired, and the value these families built up in their properties will vanish.

Destroying the core savings of Puerto Rico's families can stall the island's already-troubled economy all by itself, but in concert with bankrupted municipalities and a failed electricity grid, this perfect storm can finish off an island decimated by Hurricane Maria -- and may swamp President Trump's re-election effort in its wake.

Posted by babylonsister | Sat Sep 21, 2019, 06:07 PM (2 replies)

Nice try, Moscow Mitch, on the election security head fake. It won't work


Nice try, Moscow Mitch, on the election security head fake. It won't work
Joan McCarter for Daily Kos
Daily Kos Staff
Saturday September 21, 2019 · 4:00 PM EDT

Moscow Mitch McConnell is so desperate to shed that nickname that he actually broke (partially) this week and announced his support for an amendment adding $250 million in election security spending for states.

That's not a victory, warns Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden, who points out "This money can be used for anything relating to elections. Including giving states taxpayer dollars to buy insecure voting machines." He continued "This isn't election security, it's a sham."

And that's why it’s necessary for the legislation in the House to pass, because it actually secures elections. It requires paper ballot backups for federal elections. It also mandates that the states shore up their systems to meet security requirements. To accomplish that, it provides $600 million for states to beef up their security now, and gives states $175 million biannually to help keep their infrastructure secure.

We're smack-dab in the middle of another attempt by Trump to use a foreign power to interfere in elections. That's what we see happening in front of our very eyes: Trump extorting Ukraine n order to damage a potential opponent. What we don't see is what Russia or some other foreign adversary could be doing behind the scenes to taint the 2020 election.

That's what we have to guard against, and until Moscow Mitch brings that legislation to the Senate floor with an up-or-down vote, he will remain Moscow Mitch.
Posted by babylonsister | Sat Sep 21, 2019, 05:34 PM (12 replies)

Ukraine Phone Call Is the Russian Trump Tower Meeting on Steroids

September 21, 2019 10:57AM ET
Ukraine Phone Call Is the Russian Trump Tower Meeting on Steroids
Emboldened by a Congress that refuses to impeach, Trump is taking his dirty tricks to a whole new level
By Tim Dickinson

If the emerging details are accurate, Donald Trump’s efforts to get Ukraine to interfere in the 2020 election are not just a repeat of his overtures toward Russia in 2016 — they’re worse.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that, on a late-July call with Ukraine’s president Volodymyr Zelensky, Trump pressured the Eastern European leader “about eight times” to support Rudy Giuliani’s efforts to dig up dirt that could damage the presidential campaign of Joe Biden.

(A bit of context is helpful here: Biden’s son Hunter was involved in an energy deal in Ukraine. Giuliani, Trump’s personal lawyer, has made unsubstantiated claims that Joe Biden pressured the Ukrainian government, during his term as Vice President, to benefit his son. “Not one single credible outlet has given credibility to these assertions,” candidate Biden told reporters Friday. Ukrainian officials have previously said they have no evidence of wrongdoing by the Bidens.)

At the time of the phone call between Trump and the Ukrainian leader, $250 million in U.S. military aid to Ukraine had been authorized by Congress, but not yet delivered by the Trump administration. The aid was vitally needed: Ukraine is menaced by Russia, which annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. According to the Wall Street Journal report, the status of this funding was not directly mentioned by Trump on the phone call. But it was, inescapably, hanging in the balance.

Trump’s demand of the Ukrainian president resembles the infamous Trump Tower meeting — on steroids. The Trump Tower affair, of Mueller Report fame, took place in June 2016 after Russian interests promised incriminating information about Hillary Clinton. They secured a meeting with Trump’s campaign manager, Paul Manafort, son Don Jr. and son-in-law Jared Kushner. The reunion, while fishy as hell, was not enough for Mueller to establish a criminal conspiracy between the Trump campaign and the Russians, in part, because it was carried out by surrogates. Mueller could not establish that Trump had prior knowledge of, or approved, the meeting — which ultimately delivered little of political value.

If the Wall Street Journal‘s reporting holds up, the Trump phone call with the Ukrainian president is quite different. First, Trump himself is at the center of the action. Second, Trump is using his official powers as president to solicit foreign election interference for his direct political benefit. Third, hundreds of millions of dollars in U.S. military aid were, implicitly, in jeopardy if the Ukrainians didn’t play ball — adding a layer of corruption and coercion to this equation.


Posted by babylonsister | Sat Sep 21, 2019, 05:01 PM (1 replies)

Trump: My Crimes Can't Be Investigated While I'm President


Levin Report
Trump: My Crimes Can’t Be Investigated While I’m President
The president’s latest attempt to keep his tax returns hidden is a novel one.
By Bess Levin
September 19, 2019

As you may or may not have heard, Donald Trump refused to release his tax returns while running for president, claiming, falsely, that an audit prevented him from doing so but that the public would see them just as soon as he got the green light. Two years and 242 days after moving into the White House that, of course, has not happened. Instead, Trump has sicced his Treasury secretary, attorney general, and various personal lawyers on anyone attempting to get their hands on the information, in a manner suggesting the details within could make a person look quite bad. Typically, Trump’s attorneys have argued that such requests, like the ones from various House committees, constitute “PRESIDENTIAL HARASSMENT” or supposedly lack “a legitimate legislative purpose.” On Thursday, though, they came up with a novel new argument: It’s illegal to investigate a sitting president for any crimes he may have committed.

In a lawsuit filed today against Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr., who recently subpoenaed eight years of Trump’s tax returns to determine if the Trump Organization falsified business records relating to Stormy Daniels payments, the president’s lawyers claim such a request is unconstitutional because the founding fathers believed sitting presidents should not be subject to the criminal process. “The framers of our Constitution understood that state and local prosecutors would be tempted to criminally investigate the president to advance their own careers and to advance their political agendas,” the suit reads. “And they likewise understood that having to defend against these actions would distract the president from his constitutional duties.”

Strangely, actual legal experts aren’t entirely convinced of this argument. “Even assuming that the president cannot be indicted while in office, it does not follow that his business and associates are likewise immune from investigation,” Harry Sandick, a former federal prosecutor, told Bloomberg. “The complaint makes light of the idea that ruling in their favor would elevate the president above the law, but it certainly seems as if the president views himself as above the law.”

Vance, who agreed not to enforce the subpoena—issued to Trump’s longtime accounting firm Mazars USA—until a scheduled September 25 hearing, is investigating if executives at the Trump Organization filed false business records concerning hush money payments to adult film star Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who both claim to have had affairs with Trump, charges he, naturally, denies. The president’s former fixer, Michael Cohen, admitted to arranging the hush money payments and released audio of him discussing the Daniels payment with Trump.

Thursday’s lawsuit is just one of a handful of attempts by the president to keep his totally legit finances secret. He’s also sued to block House Democrats’ demands for his tax returns and is seeking a court order to stop Congress from obtaining his New York state returns, which a recently passed law allows them to do. Additionally, his legal team is challenging California’s new requirement that any presidential candidate must release their tax returns to get on the primary ballot. And he’s appealing orders by federal judges in Washington and New York that would let three House committees receive his records from Mazars, Capital One Financial, and Deutsche Bank, the latter of which reportedly has seen at least some of his taxes.

It’s almost as though someone has got something to hide!
Posted by babylonsister | Sat Sep 21, 2019, 07:30 AM (18 replies)

The Rude Pundit: Remembering How Trump and the Right Tried to Convince Everyone Obama Was a Traitor


The Rude Pundit

Proudly lowering the level of political discourse
Remembering How Trump and the Right Tried to Convince Everyone Obama Was a Traitor


Donald Trump, of course, was into this degradation of President Obama long before he ran for president in 2016 and went into overdrive while running. In June 2016, after the shooting at the Pulse nightclub in Orlando, Trump said of Obama that "we're led by a man that either is not tough, not smart, or he's got something else in mind." And, because Trump is a cowardly bitch, he hinted rather than stated, "And the something else in mind — you know, people can't believe it. People cannot, they cannot believe that President Obama is acting the way he acts and can't even mention the words 'radical Islamic terrorism.' There's something going on. It's inconceivable. There's something going on."

You gotta think about those last lines - "It's inconceivable. There's something going on" - in light of the whistleblower allegations that Trump did something so alarming that an intelligence official felt compelled to report it to the inspector general of the intelligence community, who found it "urgent" enough that he wanted to tell Congress but was stopped by Trump's Acting Director of National Intelligence. Think about all those attacks on Obama, all those digging into the minute details of his words, his dress, his friends, Michelle, all in a vain attempt to show he was a traitor.

And compare that to Donald Trump, who it now seems was holding up funding to Ukraine, perhaps to try to force the country to find or create dirt on Joe Biden and/or Biden's son. That funding was passed by Congress, so, yeah, maybe they have an interest in this.

Or compare it to Trump's ongoing coddling and support of savage dictators and monarchs, like Kim Jong-un or MBS, or that prick Putin. Compare it to Trump saying he was awaiting word from Saudi Arabia on whether we should go to war for "the Kingdom." Trump always accuses others of being guilty of the very crimes he has committed. And you don't even have to try very hard to find them.

The right, especially the GOP in Congress, won't say a fucking word about the traitor whose traitorous acts are staring them right in their dumb faces. And that makes them accessories to Trump's crimes.
But they'll go right ahead calling for investigations of Obama and Clinton and whoever else they can throw up as a smoke screen to their genuine destruction of our democracy.
Posted by babylonsister | Sat Sep 21, 2019, 07:07 AM (4 replies)

Congressman Lays It Out: Trump Can No Longer Be President


Posted on Fri, Sep 20th, 2019 by Jason Easley
Congressman Lays It Out: Trump Can No Longer Be President

Rep. Gregory Meeks warned Republicans that Donald Trump can no longer be the President Of The United States.


Meeks said on MSNBC’s The Beat with Ari Melber, “This is getting to be absolutely horrendous. We have a president of the United States of America. We’ve been urging Ukraine to clean up its act and he’s going to the newly elected president of Ukraine asking him to conspire with him to get involved in the next 2020 election. If that does not reach out to people to say that this guy can no longer be or should no longer be the President Of The United States because it is now making a joke of our institutions. I’m saying it’s time for my Republican colleagues to step up. Stop making excuses for this guy that’s now in the White House.”

Rep. Meeks also had a warning for Republicans that more impeachable offenses are coming, “I think they are lining up several. I think there will be several more. As folks are focused on the judiciary committee, remember the ways and means committee, the forign affairs committee, which I sit on, the financial services committee, which I sit on are still doing investigations. It’s going to be even more that will come out. It’s going to compel, at some point, it should compel our Republican colleagues as it did back in the Nixon time to say enough is enough. If not their seats will be in jeopardy in 2020 also.”

The Republican calculus is that they if they abandon Trump, they will be primaried. The problem is, as Rep. Meeks pointed out, if they stand with Trump, they are just as likely to be crushed in the general election. The American people have already tossed out a Republican House majority for refusing to stand up to Trump. If the GOP continues to refuse to do the right thing, voters will hand Democrats the White House and the Senate along with the House in 2020.
Posted by babylonsister | Sat Sep 21, 2019, 07:01 AM (0 replies)

"... there is a cancer on the presidency, and cancers, if not removed, only grow."


Trump Has Done Plenty to Warrant Impeachment
September 20, 2019 at 8:50 pm EDT By Taegan Goddard

George Conway and Neil Katyal: “It is high time for Congress to do its duty, in the manner the framers intended. Given how Trump seems ever bent on putting himself above the law, something like what might have happened between him and Ukraine — abusing presidential authority for personal benefit — was almost inevitable. Yet if that is what occurred, part of the responsibility lies with Congress, which has failed to act on the blatant obstruction that Mueller detailed months ago.”

“Congressional procrastination has probably emboldened Trump, and it risks emboldening future presidents who might turn out to be of his sorry ilk. To borrow John Dean’s haunting Watergate-era metaphor once again, there is a cancer on the presidency, and cancers, if not removed, only grow. Congress bears the duty to use the tools provided by the Constitution to remove that cancer now, before it’s too late. As Elbridge Gerry put it at the 1787 Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia, “A good magistrate will not fear [impeachments]. A bad one ought to be kept in fear of them.” By now, Congress should know which one Trump is.”
Posted by babylonsister | Sat Sep 21, 2019, 06:17 AM (14 replies)

The Pentagon will deploy US forces to the Middle East after Iranian attack on Saudi Arabian oil faci

The Pentagon will deploy US forces to the Middle East after Iranian attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities
Published 19 min agoUpdated Moments Ago
Amanda Macias

WASHINGTON — The Pentagon will deploy U.S. forces to the Middle East on the heels of the Iranian attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities, U.S. Secretary of Defense Mark Esper announced Friday.

“The United States has a responsibility to protect our citizens and our interests in the region,” Esper said.

The strikes on the world’s largest crude-processing plant and oil field forced the kingdom to shut down half of its production operations. What’s more, the event triggered the largest spike in crude prices in decades and renewed concerns of a budding conflict in the Middle East. All the while, Iran maintains that it was not behind the attacks.

On Wednesday, Saudi Arabia’s defense ministry said that drone and missile debris recovered by investigators shows Iranian culpability. Saudi coalition spokesman Col. Turki al-Maliki said during a press briefing in Riyadh that all military components retrieved from the oil facilities “point to Iran.”

The latest confrontation follows a string of attacks in the Persian Gulf in recent months.


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Sep 20, 2019, 07:03 PM (9 replies)
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