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

Rand Paul's Defense of Trump on Corruption Goes Down in Flames During Contentious Interview

More of this!


December 15, 2019 3:27PM ET
Rand Paul’s Defense of Trump on Corruption Goes Down in Flames During Contentious Interview
“You really think President Trump is concerned about rooting out corruption?” CNN’s Jake Tapper asked
By Peter Wade

Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) told CNN’s Jake Tapper that President Donald Trump should not be impeached because Trump is dedicated to rooting out corruption, and his motives for holding up the military funding to Ukraine were centered around those concerns. In his response, however, Tapper schooled the congressman in the facts.

Tapper asked Paul, “So you’re saying that you think that President Trump was actually doing this because he was combating corruption?”

Paul replied, “Well, yes, there are all kinds of accusations that Burisma and Hunter Biden and the company were corrupt and the founder of the company was corrupt.”

Tapper then went in hard on the senator, listing the absurd amount of corrupt former aides and associates that the president seemingly had no problem surrounding himself with.

“But this is a president whose former personal attorney Michael Cohen, former campaign chairman Paul Manafort, former National Security Adviser Mike Flynn, former campaign adviser Roger Stone, former deputy campaign chair Rick Gates, former associate George Papadopoulos, all of them have been convicted of federal crimes,” Tapper said.


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Dec 16, 2019, 10:40 AM (9 replies)

Barack Obama: Women are better leaders than men

Barack Obama: Women are better leaders than men
By Saira Asher BBC News, Singapore

If women ran every country in the world there would be a general improvement in living standards and outcomes, former US President Barack Obama has said.

Speaking in Singapore, he said women aren't perfect, but are "indisputably better" than men.

He said most of the problems in the world came from old people, mostly men, holding onto positions of power.

He also spoke about political polarisation and the use of social media to spread falsehoods.

Speaking at a private event on leadership, Mr Obama said while in office he had mused what a world run by women would look like.

"Now women, I just want you to know; you are not perfect, but what I can say pretty indisputably is that you're better than us [men].

"I'm absolutely confident that for two years if every nation on earth was run by women, you would see a significant improvement across the board on just about everything... living standards and outcomes."


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Dec 16, 2019, 09:49 AM (13 replies)

Charles M. Blow: Trump's Lasting Legacy

Trump’s Lasting Legacy
America has changed under this president.
By Charles M. Blow
Dec. 15, 2019

The impending impeachment of Donald Trump will be a rebuke, but it will not be a restraint.

Indeed, if the Senate votes to acquit Trump, as it is expected to do, the precedent will be set, and the die will be cast: A president can do almost anything to win re-election. And he can do anything at all to avoid accountability.

This is the new America, one in which all the old rules have been wiped away, one in which corruption is tolerated, one in which truth is denigrated, one in which tyrants are venerated.

It is tempting to think of this moment, this presidency, as a blip or an anomaly, as a horrible mistake the country made and will soon redress. But, I think that take is ill considered and overly optimistic.

What has happened in America under Trump is a tectonic shift that is generating an unthinkable realignment. Trump has poked and prodded the limits of acceptability, and he has found them to be not fixed, but flexible. He has continuously stretched the range of acceptable behavior. In fact, a post-impeachment Trump, punished but still in power, is likely to be even more emboldened and unbound.

At the same time, the American people have had their own sense of what is acceptable stretched and reset. The unthinkable seems to be happening daily. Television news is an unending string of “breaking news” banners. Investigations and exposés by the press may dazzle and awe, but the moments they produce are mere blips. Keeping track of all the corruption and grift is exhausting, and maybe that’s the point.

Trump and his administration have so overwhelmed the country with successive outrages that it all begins to flatten out, to smooth out, to become a kind of toxic new normal.


Posted by babylonsister | Mon Dec 16, 2019, 09:37 AM (31 replies)

Remember when Trump promised to back Medicare negotiating drug prices? Now he's the one blocking it

Remember when Trump promised to back Medicare negotiating drug prices? Now he's the one blocking it
Ian Reifowitz for Daily Kos
Sunday December 15, 2019 · 2:20 PM EST

Donald Trump is a liar. Shocking, I know. But I’m not talking about the thousands of lies—actually it’s now well over 10,000—he has told in the course of his time occupying the Oval Office. Today I’m going to focus on one very specific lie: the lie of a broken promise, on a matter of great importance to the pocketbooks and wallets of tens of millions of Americans. This lie, this repudiation of a campaign promise he made in 2016, clearly contrasts The Man Who Lost The Popular Vote’s policies with those of Democrats. This contrast is one that our party must make central to the 2020 campaign.

First, let’s take a look at the promise, made Jan. 25, 2016:

Donald Trump said tonight he could save Medicare billions of dollars by allowing it to negotiate drug prices directly with pharmaceutical companies -- embracing a position Democrats have championed and Republicans have opposed for years.

The Associated Press quotes Trump as telling a crowd in Farmington, N.H., that Medicare, a huge buyer of prescription drugs, could "save $300 billion" a year if it negotiated discounts.

"We don't do it," he said. "Why? Because of the drug companies.”

Hey, look at that. This guy was going to go against Republican orthodoxy and back the people against corporations. A different kind of Republican, he was. A man of the people, even. And if you believed that, well, you probably also believe that Trump’s spectacularly unhealthy orange hue is all the fault of the environmental lobby and their pesky ole’ energy-efficient lightbulbs.


But that was 2016. Since then, the Orange Julius Caesar has revealed his true colors on economic issues—and that’s in addition to having confirmed our worst fears about being a racist demagogue who plays and preys on white anxiety. In 2018, the Trump White House announced, as part of its proposal on drug prices, that it was going to break its promise on supporting legislation to give Medicare the authority to negotiate the price of prescription drugs.

Asked if the plan would include direct negotiations by Medicare, the [senior White House] official said, “No, we are talking about something different.”

“We are not calling for Medicare negotiation in the way that Democrats have called for,” the official said later.

Thanks, but no thanks. Trump still claims he wants to reduce prescription drug costs, but he won’t do the one thing that would have the greatest impact—even though he promised to do it on the campaign trail.


Posted by babylonsister | Sun Dec 15, 2019, 10:03 PM (4 replies)

Judge stymies Trump's border wall by invoking GOP law targeting Obama

Judge stymies Trump's border wall by invoking GOP law targeting Obama

What goes around, Republicans are learning, comes around.
12/14/2019 06:39 AM EST

President Donald Trump’s border wall is facing a surprising new legal hurdle down in Texas: an obscure legislative provision crafted by House Republicans in 2014 when the GOP was targeting then-President Barack Obama’s budget powers.

The amendment, carried forward into current law, has resurfaced with a vengeance in El Paso, Texas. U.S District Court Judge David Briones has been quoting back its words in a series of rulings against Trump’s decision to take $3.6 billion from military construction projects to expedite his wall.

As first adopted, the Republican language specifically prohibited Obama from taking any step to “eliminate or reduce funding for any program, project, or activity as proposed in the President’s budget request” until it's cleared with Congress.

The triggering event was a relatively narrow dispute in 2013 over funding for space exploration. But when they were enacted in Jan. 2014, the restrictions applied government-wide. And a year later, under full Republican control, Congress added the word “increase” alongside “eliminate or reduce” funding.

What goes around, in other words, comes around.

But what’s most remarkable is how much the legislative phrasing — aimed squarely at Obama — applies directly to the current fight involving Trump.


Posted by babylonsister | Sat Dec 14, 2019, 06:47 PM (12 replies)

Watch Trump Tell Same Story Four Times, Each Time Naming a Different Jewish Friend


Watch Trump Tell Same Story Four Times, Each Time Naming a Different Jewish Friend
By Daniel Politi
Dec 14, 20199:27 AM

President Donald Trump regularly references supposed conversations he has with friends and acquaintances to illustrate his points at rallies. Probably the most infamous example is his supposed friend Jim, who no longer visits Paris yearly like he once did because “Paris is no longer Paris.” Recently he started telling a story about a conversation with a Jewish friend, except the Jewish friend in question keeps changing. The Washington Post points out that in recent weeks Trump has told a nearly identical anecdote that serves to celebrate his termination of the Iran nuclear deal at least four times. And each time the person who he refers to is different, including one time when he told the same story twice on the same day.

The first time the story seems to have been told was in September, when Trump was much more general and referred to having a conversation with “people,” without naming anyone in particular. “I said to people, what is more important, the Golan Heights or the capital of Jerusalem by moving our embassy there,” Trump said. “He said, neither sir, what you’ve done in Iran is more important,” the president added, seemingly changing his “people” to a man in one breath.
Then the story reappeared on Dec. 7, and this time Trump claimed he had that conversation with Republican financier Sheldon Adelson. “I said to Sheldon, ‘What do you think was bigger? … Israel and the embassy going in, and it became Jerusalem, the capital of Israel? Or the Golan Heights?’ He said, ‘Neither.’ ”

A few days later, Dec. 11, the story got double billing as Trump told it at two White House Hanukkah receptions. First up was New Englands Patriots owner Robert Kraft. “I said, ‘Bob Kraft, which is bigger? Which is more important to the Jewish people?’ He said, ‘Neither.’ I said, ‘What does that mean?’ He said, ‘What you did by terminating the Iran nuclear deal is bigger than both.’ I think that’s true,” Trump said. Four hours later, the commander in chief repeated the same story but this time starring real estate developer Charles Kushner. “I said, ‘Charlie, let me ask you, what’s bigger for the Jewish people: giving the embassy to Jerusalem, it becomes the capital of Israel. What’s bigger? That or the Golan Heights?’ He said, ‘Neither.’ I said, ‘What does that mean?’ He said, ‘The biggest thing of all is what you did by ending the Iran nuclear catastrophe’,” Trump said. He got lots of applause.

Posted by babylonsister | Sat Dec 14, 2019, 02:06 PM (12 replies)

Barr Is Trying to Erase the Truth


Barr Is Trying to Erase the Truth
He’s smearing the Russia investigation and covering up Trump’s guilt.
By William Saletan
Dec 13, 2019
7:25 PM


At first, Barr seemed to be an ordinary liar. But in recent months, he has displayed a fanatical streak that suggests he might sincerely believe his fictions. “People are saying that it’s President Trump that’s shredding our institutions. I really see no evidence of that,” Barr opined in May. The true threat, he argued, came from Americans “resisting a democratically elected president.” In October, Barr accused “so-called progressives” of a “campaign to destroy the traditional moral order.” Last month, he denounced these same “so-called progressives,” along with a “hyper-partisan media,” for waging “a scorched earth, no-holds-barred war of ‘Resistance’ against this Administration.”

This week, Barr pounced on a Justice Department report about the Russia investigation. The report, issued on Monday by the department’s inspector general, faulted the FBI’s surveillance of a marginal Trump adviser, Carter Page, but found no “documentary or testimonial evidence that political bias or improper motivation influenced the decisions” of investigators. A normal attorney general would have welcomed this vindication of his department. But Barr works for Trump, not for law enforcement. Instead of embracing the report, he’s disparaging it, smearing the FBI, and pretending that Trump has been exonerated.

On Tuesday, at a forum hosted by the Wall Street Journal, Barr called the Russia investigation “a travesty.” He asserted that “from day one,” it produced “nothing that substantiated any kind of collusion” between Russia and the Trump campaign. In an interview with NBC News, Barr called the investigation “completely baseless” and claimed that there “never has been any evidence of collusion.”

Barr dismissed the FBI’s portion of the inquiry, which lasted a year. “From the very first day of this investigation, which was July 31, 2016, all the way to its end in September 2017, there was not one incriminatory bit of evidence to come in. It was all exculpatory,” he told NBC. He also dismissed Mueller’s portion of the inquiry, which ran from May 2017 to April 2019, as well as media reports of secret dealings between Russia and the Trump campaign. “Our nation was turned on its head for three years, I think, based on a completely bogus narrative that was largely fanned and hyped by an irresponsible press,” said Barr. He protested that “the entire case collapsed” in January 2017 but that Trump’s persecutors “kept on investigating the president.”

This account bears no resemblance to reality. The FBI had lots of evidence. The investigation began with a forensic analysis that Russia had hacked the Democratic National Committee in early 2016. A Trump adviser privately alluded to a Russian offer to help Trump by releasing dirt on Hillary Clinton. On July 27, Trump openly declared, “Russia, if you’re listening, I hope you’re able to find the 30,000 emails that are missing.” In August, another Trump adviser predicted trouble ahead for Clinton’s campaign chairman, and WikiLeaks soon released the chairman’s hacked emails. The investigation would later confirm a two-way channel between WikiLeaks and the Trump campaign.


Barr’s propaganda is completely false. Mueller, the FBI, and the press found considerable evidence that Trump and his campaign sought to collaborate with Russia to win the election. They also found that Trump obstructed the investigation. The only reason Trump remains unindicted is that Barr declared the evidence insufficient. Now Barr is saying the evidence never existed. If he’s not delusional, he’s a liar.
Posted by babylonsister | Sat Dec 14, 2019, 01:43 PM (15 replies)

Trump scramble to rack up accomplishments gives conservatives heartburn

Trump scramble to rack up accomplishments gives conservatives heartburn
By Alexander Bolton - 12/14/19 06:00 AM EST

President Trump’s race to rack up accomplishments heading into an election year is giving conservatives heartburn, with some worried he is striking deals that include giveaways to Democrats.

Several Senate Republicans this week vented their frustration with Trump’s trade deal with Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) during meetings with the administration’s top trade official, Robert Lighthizer.

There’s also grumbling among conservative lawmakers over an agreement to expand benefits for federal workers, in exchange for a costly Space Force military branch, and a spending deal that is projected to add nearly $2 trillion to the deficit.

The year-end deal-making isn’t necessarily over. Negotiators are circling around a tax deal that would include an extension of earned income tax credits for low-income families who don’t pay federal taxes, a benefit typically unpopular with conservatives.


Posted by babylonsister | Sat Dec 14, 2019, 08:16 AM (0 replies)

Mitch McConnell Doesn't Have The Votes For His Sham Trump Impeachment Trial


Posted on Fri, Dec 13th, 2019 by Jason Easley
Mitch McConnell Doesn’t Have The Votes For His Sham Trump Impeachment Trial

Mitch McConnell promised Sean Hannity that he was going to work with Trump to hold a sham impeachment trial, but he doesn’t have the votes yet to do it.

Here is McConnell laying out his plan for a sham trial:
There is only one problem. McConnell doesn’t have the 51 votes that he needs to implement his plan.

According to The Plum Line:

McConnell could of course refuse, and instead call a full Senate vote on a process that precludes witness testimony and the soliciting of documents — which McConnell reportedly favors, because he wants a quick trial with no circuslike calls for Hunter Biden’s head — and no damning new revelations. If that passed by simple majority, that would become the process.

Of course, McConnell might not have 51 votes for such a process — because a handful of vulnerable GOP senators might balk at voting for something so obviously rigged to protect Trump. Indeed, reporting indicates he doesn’t have those votes yet — which means he can’t yet do what he promised Hannity he’d do.

Mitch McConnell doesn’t have the votes to blow off Trump’s impeachment trial. There is still a chance that a few Republican Senators will come together and demand a full trial. If this happens, everything that Mitch McConnell promised relating to the structure of the trial will go up in smoke.

The sham trial is not a done deal yet, and if the American people push hard enough, it may never become a reality.
Posted by babylonsister | Sat Dec 14, 2019, 08:08 AM (61 replies)

There's A Gay Guy Dressing Up As Mike Pence Collecting Money For Planned Parenthood

There's A Gay Guy Dressing Up As Mike Pence Collecting Money For Planned Parenthood
Kassy Cho BuzzFeed News Reporter
Posted on December 13, 2016, at 7:07 a.m. ET
Pix @ link~

Howard Sherman, an arts administrator who lives in Manhattan, was walking through Times Square earlier this month when he noticed a man bearing a striking resemblance to Vice President-elect Mike Pence dressed in short shorts.

Sherman, whose hobby is photographing the various characters in Times Square, told BuzzFeed News he then started taking photos of the man but did not engage with him in any way.

Sherman posted the photos to his Facebook page, where people soon helped him to identify the Pence lookalike as Glen Pannell, who Sherman then interviewed on his own website.

Pannell, a 51-year-old graphic designer and occasional actor, told BuzzFeed News that he decided to dress up as Pence and collect money for various causes because he was feeling very down after the election.

“The depression kept feeding on itself so I finally decided I had to do something, and it had to be bold and immediate, something I could point to at the end of the day and say, ‘Here’s what I did to make change,'" he said.

Pannell, who came out in his twenties, has so far collected money for Planned Parenthood, the Natural Resources Defense Council, and the Trevor Project — a national suicide hotline for gay and questioning youth — and hopes to collect for the International Refugee Assistance Project.


Posted by babylonsister | Fri Dec 13, 2019, 08:32 PM (12 replies)
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