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Name: Don
Gender: Male
Hometown: Cleveland, Ohio
Home country: USA
Current location: Greenfield, MA
Member since: Sat Sep 1, 2012, 03:28 PM
Number of posts: 29,928

Journal Archives

The Crisis Is Upon Us - Josh Marshall

By JOSH MARSHALL Published JULY 22, 2017 11:43 AM

I want to clarify and expand on something I noted yesterday. The President stands accused, now with a mounting of evidence, of conspiring with a hostile foreign power to win the Presidency. He has now made clear that he will not permit any investigation of those accusations.

That may sound on first blush like an extreme formulation. But I think it is incontrovertible. This is not some investigation that has dragged on for years and, either by a strong or a weak argument, is claimed to have crossed some basic lines of fairness or equity. It has actually only just begun. It is just getting started, only just out of the gate. It is led by a man who is at least within the American political class universally well-regarded for his probity and professionalism. He is also a man who is, to the extent these things are relevant, a Republican. The only basis for threatening to shut down such an investigation is the contention that no actual investigation can be permitted. I defy anyone to find a path out of that logic.

I posted this earlier this morning. The text I reference is from Mike Allen’s morning newsletter in Axios.


As is so often the case, the reporting is both a symptom of the broader crisis and also a genuine service. We learn critical new facts, by dint of reporting skills and access. But they are presented in the nonsensical play-by-play speak of the access class. Note the reference to “Bob Mueller signaling that he plans an expansive, exhaustive investigation aimed at Trump, his relatives, and current and former political lieutenants.” This is presented as an escalation when in fact it is simply a statement of the nature of the investigation itself.

Mueller is investigating Russia’s intervention in the 2016 election and whether the Trump campaign colluded or conspired or assisted in that effort. That is the charge and that inevitably requires looking at everyone involved in the Trump campaign (candidate, family, political lieutenants) and their finances, since finances would be the seedbed and playing field on which collusive bargains and deals would take place. This is elementary. The reporting itself is playing into the Trump legal team’s claim that the investigation is already exceeding its mandate and scope.


Democrats are still chasing rural white voters, and it's a strategy doomed to fail

SATURDAY, JUL 22, 2017 12:00 PM EDT

Democrats are still chasing rural white voters, and it’s a strategy doomed to fail

Instead of chasing down white voters who are committed to culture war, Democrats need to energize their base


Left-leaning political Twitter erupted in mockery on Thursday when the Democratic Party unveiled its cringeworthy new slogan: “A Better Deal: Better Skills, Better Jobs, Better Wages”, which was not only bad on its own but painfully reminiscent of the Papa John’s slogan. Despite the rush from many diehard Bernie Sanders acolytes to write off the slogan as neoliberal business-as-usual Democratic nonsense, the reality is that the slogan reflects Democratic efforts to incorporate the criticisms of those who argue that Democrats should abandon the emphasis on “identity politics” and instead try to woo white working-class voters with populist economic policies.

“Democrats jettisoned social and foreign policy issues for this exercise, eschewing the identity politics and box-checking that has plagued Democratic campaigns in the past, most recently Hillary Clinton’s. This will be purely an economic message,” writes Dana Milbank for the Washington Post. “This is meant to be a populist manifesto that doesn’t conform to the left/right debate but instead aims to align Democrats with ordinary, middle-class Americans fighting powerful special interests.”

It’s a tempting idea, of course: Just stop talking so much about racism and sexism so much and instead talk about jobs and wages (never mind that Hillary Clinton actually did focus more on jobs and wages than any other issue) and boom! Watch the white rural voters that handed states like Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan to Donald Trump come into the Democratic fold.

Who doesn’t want to believe liberals have that much control — that Democrats alone could make the cultural struggles tearing apart this country go away by putting the focus on jobs and other economic issues, and watch white voters return to the flock, drawn by all those progressive policies?

The problem is, and continues to be, that there’s no evidence for this. The roller-coaster politics around health care really drive home how much Republican base voters view politics through a culture-war lens. Progressive policy is, however appealing in the abstract, is a secondary concern to the desire of angry white conservatives to exert or reassert their cultural dominance. Which goes a long way towards explaining the loathing of Obamacare: It was the “Obama” part, not the “care” part, that riled up the GOP base. Now that Barack Obama is gone, anger over the health care bill is rapidly receding.


Trump's options on Russia probe: Discredit, pardon, fire

When it comes to responding to the Russia probe Trump and his advisers do not have many options. And the ones they have carry big political risks.

By DARREN SAMUELSOHN 07/21/2017 09:09 PM EDT

President Donald Trump wants the Russia investigation to go away. The problem is, as he has seen firsthand, there’s no easy way to make that happen.

Trump’s attorney general disappointed him by recusing himself from the whole ordeal. The firing of the FBI director, which Trump openly linked to easing the pressure of “this Russia thing,” led to the appointment of a special counsel who has expanded the probe.

Trump moved this week to reshuffle his legal and communications teams in response to the ever-widening Russia investigation. But whether the changes will result in a meaningful shift in strategy remains to be seen.

The harsh reality is that when it comes to responding to the Russia probe that has swallowed the first six months of his administration, Trump and his advisers do not have many options -- and the ones they have carry their own big political risks.

Here’s a rundown of Trump’s no-win options:


Scaramucci praises Breitbart in first interview since communications appointment

Source: Politico

By BRENT GRIFFITHS 07/22/2017 12:04 PM EDT Updated 07/22/2017 12:56 PM EDT

Newly-named White House communications director Anthony Scaramucci on Saturday praised conservative news site Breitbart News and its political editor Matt Boyle during his first interview since being tapped to join the Trump administration.

“One of the things Breitbart has done is you've captured the spirit of what's actually going on in the country,” Scaramucci told Boyle during an interview on "Breitbart News Saturday" on SiriusXM.

Scaramucci further joked with Boyle that he was surprised the editor had not sent in his resume for West Wing consideration yet.

Scaramucci said he is aiming to get Trump's unfiltered message through to his supporters via the president's Twitter feed, bypassing mainstream outlets that Trump often calls "fake news" while hoping to de-escalate what Scaramucci sees as unfairness and bias in the media.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/07/22/scaramucci-praises-breitbart-first-interview-240848

McConnell's Last Ditch Strategy on Health Care

July 22, 2017 at 8:29 am EDT By Taegan Goddard

Politico: “Senior Senate Republicans believe the high-profile vote expected Tuesday — followed by conservative backlash over the GOP’s failure to fulfill its seven-year campaign pledge — might provoke enough heat from the base to bring senators back to the negotiating table.”

“It seems like a long shot. But McConnell may be playing the long game — making his members walk the plank not as an act of desperation but as part of a strategy that just might work. He’s used it before to get what he wants.”



Democrats to Unveil New Economic Agenda

July 22, 2017 at 8:47 am EDT By Taegan Goddard

“Senate and House Dems, after an intensive process spanning seven months, on Monday will unveil a new economic agenda, Axios has exclusively learned, meant to counter the perception that Democrats are only the anti-Trump party, with no message of their own.”

“Top Dems see the new message as the key to turning things around after their losses in the presidential race and this year’s House special elections.”

A memo from pollster Geoff Garin explains the new messaging.



Dems Post List Of GOP OCare Provisions Said To Break Senate Rules

By TIERNEY SNEED Published JULY 21, 2017 6:46 PM

Democrats on the Senate Budget Committee posted a document Friday that they say reflects the various provisions in the GOP Obamacare replacement bill that the Senate parliamentarian has ruled to be not eligible for reconciliation, the process by which Republicans can avoid a Democratic filibuster. The Senate parliamentarian’s office did not immediately respond to attempts to confirm the parliamentarian’s rulings on the bill, which were expected Friday.

The document, according to Democrats, is the result of the so-called “Byrd Bath” — referring to Senate rule known as the Byrd rule, that imposes limits on when reconciliation can be used. The parliamentarian is tasked with making the call on which provisions comply with the rule. If they do not, they need 60 votes to pass, and Republicans only have 52 senators.

A Republican aide on the Budget Committee told TPM that the list was guidance for a prior draft and not a formal ruling from the parliamentarian. Senate Republicans also have the option of overruling the parliamentarian, but that comes at a risk of gutting a Senate norm in a way that may come back to haunt them when Democrats are back in power.

A spokesman for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) on Twitter resurfaced a quote from McConnell in March suggesting he would not be inclined to overrule the parliamentarian.



The document may be read here:

REVEALED: Secret Clinton-era Ken Starr memo provides blueprint for indicting President Trump

Source: RawStory

22 JUL 2017 AT 12:08 ET

A Pulitzer Prize New York Times journalist used the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) to obtain a 56-page legal memo which concludes a sitting President can be indicted.

The Times reports that the legal memo, “amounts to the most thorough government-commissioned analysis rejecting a generally held view that presidents are immune from prosecution while in office.”

Independent Counsel Ken Starr commissioned the 1998 memo, which was written by prominent conservative legal mind Ronald Rotunda.

“It is proper, constitutional, and legal for a federal grand jury to indict a sitting president for serious criminal acts that are not part of, and are contrary to, the president’s official duties,” the memo concludes. “In this country, no one, even President Clinton, is above the law.”

Read more: http://www.rawstory.com/2017/07/revealed-secret-clinton-era-ken-starr-memo-provides-blueprint-for-indicting-president-trump/

Report: Ivanka Trump And Jared Kushner Have Raked In $212 Million Since 2016

By CRISTINA CABRERA Published JULY 22, 2017 12:01 PM

Top White House advisors and married couple Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner have reported earnings as much as $212 million since early last year, according to the New York Times.

Late Friday night, Trump publicly released her first ethics disclosure form that showed she received at least $12.6 million dollars from her businesses since early 2016, along with an arrangement guaranteeing her at least $1.5 million a year.

The Times also reported that Kushner, who remains heavily invested in his family’s multibillion dollar real estate businesses, filed an updated form along with his wife. His investments make up the majority of the $212 million figure.

Together, the couple’s business networks show an empire worth $761 million. And there could be more.


Republicans Embrace Tax Hikes Targeting Democratic States

Source: Associated Press

By STEPHEN OHLEMACHER Published JULY 22, 2017 10:20 AM

WASHINGTON (AP) — Republicans aren’t usually big on raising taxes, but they’re really eager to eliminate the federal deduction for state and local taxes.

Why? A look at the states that benefit the most from the tax break helps explain it – they are all Democratic strongholds. New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and California top the list of states where taxpayers get the biggest deductions. Not a single Republican-leaning state ranks in the top 10.

“Although Republicans usually recoil at any type of tax increase, cutting this tax break would almost be fun for them,” said Martin Sullivan, chief economist for Tax Analysts. “It provides massively disproportionate deductions to high-tax states controlled by Democrats.”

Proposals by House Republican leaders and President Donald Trump would repeal the tax break as part of their packages to overhaul the American tax code. But they are getting a lot of pushback from Republican lawmakers in Democratic-controlled states.

Read more: http://talkingpointsmemo.com/news/republicans-tax-increase-democratic-states
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