Follow the Money: The Trump swamp overflows

I posted the other day, House Oversight and Government Reform Committee: Michael Flynn violated the law. The committee held another press conference today regarding new information provided by the Department of Defense, and it’s not looking good for ol’ Mikey. “Lock him up!”

The Huffington Post reports Pentagon Warned Michael Flynn Against Accepting Foreign Money In 2014; He Didn’t Listen:

President Donald Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael Flynn, failed to heed warnings from the Pentagon about accepting foreign funds for a trip to Russia in 2015, the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee announced Thursday.

The Department of Defense has sent classified documents to committee chairman Rep. Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah), said ranking member Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.) at a news conference on Thursday. One of them, which is being prepared for public release, is a letter from the Defense Intelligence Agency to Flynn.

“This letter explicitly warned General Flynn, as he entered retirement, that the Constitution prohibited him from accepting any foreign government payments without advance permission,” Cummings said. “DIA did not locate any records of Lieutenant General Flynn seeking permission or approval for the receipt of money from a foreign source.”

But Flynn did accept the funds from Kremlin-backed news agency RT and failed to disclose them when he applied for a security clearance last year, Cummings and Chaffetz said Tuesday. He may have broken federal law.

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Shutdown Watch: A stopgap deal to avert a government shutdown?

House Tea-Publicans introduced a stop-gap spending bill late Wednesday night to allow negotiations on a spending agreement to continue through May 5 without the threat of a government shutdown. House Republicans introduce stop-gap spending bill to continue budget talks:

The short-term spending measure, which would extend current funding levels beyond the end of this week, comes as negotiators are nearing an agreement on a budget to increase military spending and border security and keep the government open through the end of September. The decision to begin work on a very short extension comes as no surprise, the final steps of a spending deal could drag on beyond the current April 28 deadline and congressional leaders are eager to minimize the threat of a shutdown, according to aides familiar with the talks.

“I am optimistic that a final funding package will be completed soon,” said House Appropriations Committee Chairman Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-N.J.). “It is time that this essential work is completed so that critical programs and activities — including national defense — are properly and adequately funded for the year.”

White House officials notified lawmakers earlier in the day that President Trump abandoned a threat to end subsidy payments under the Affordable Care Act, a concession to Democrats that is expected to clear the way for a bipartisan budget agreement. Trump had threatened to cut off the subsidies in an attempt to force Democrats to pay for a wall along the U.S. border with Mexico, a fight that became less serious after Republicans withdrew their border wall request this week.

“It is good that once again the president seems to be backing off his threat to hold health care and government funding hostage,” Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) said. “Like the withdrawal of money for the wall, this decision brings us closer to a bipartisan agreement to fund the government and is good news for the American people.”

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Stock in Concrete Companies?

Cross-posted from RestoreReason.com.

As a leader in the military, I learned a long time ago that if something was easy to fix, someone would have already fixed it. President Trump evidently hadn’t learned that prior to his election, but since then, has time and again realized that uh, YEAH, this shit is hard!

Take the border wall for example. It might have been good “red meat” for his supporters, but there are three good reasons why there is not a finished border wall along our southern border: 1) it is a very complicated endeavor, 2) it is really, really expensive, and 3) it won’t solve the problem of illegal immigration. I mean, get real! Trump isn’t the first politician to try to make hay with this issue, but the rhetoric always slams into reality eventually.

I knew for example in 2011, that Arizona Senator Steve Smith wasn’t going to get anywhere with his “www.BuildTheBorderFence.com” initiative and I was right. Smith promised to raise some $50 million to build a 15 foot fence at busy border-crossing points and erect fences where there were no federal fences. After three years however, the project had only raise $265,000, not even one-tenth of the $2.8 million needed to build the first mile of fencing. As for the $265,000, last I could find the advisory committee assigned to do something with the funding were asking sheriffs how they would use it. Continue reading

Illinois Senate takes up the ERA today, whither Arizona?

Back in March, the state of Nevada became the 36th state to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment … 35 Years After The Deadline:

[T]he state Senate approved the long-dormant ERA, which among other things guarantees that “equality of rights under the law shall not be denied or abridged by the United States or by any state on account of sex.” The senators passed a measure sent to them by the state Assembly, which had already approved it earlier this week.

It has been a long, twisty path for the ERA, which was first passed by Congress in 1972 and last approved by a state (Indiana) in 1977. The amendment teetered just three states short of the threshold necessary to see it adopted into law nationwide — a threshold it failed to achieve by the time Congress’ deadline came and went.

But for ERA supporters such as Democratic state Sen. Pat Spearman, that deadline is little more than a paper tiger.

It was in the resolving clause, but it wasn’t a part of the amendment that was proposed by Congress,” she tells KNPR. “That’s why the time limit is irrelevant.”

After all, Spearman and others argue, Congress’ original ratification deadline was 1979, and national lawmakers already bumped that forward to 1982 — so what’s stopping them from bumping it forward again?

“The Equal Rights Amendment is about equality, period,” says Spearman, the Nevada bill’s chief sponsor.

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This afternoon, SJRCA4, the Equal Rights Amendment, is scheduled for a hearing in the Senate Executive Committee of the Illinois General Assembly. In 2014, the Illinois Senate voted 39-11 – by more than the necessary three-fifths margin of elected senators, as required by state law – to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment, but it was not put to a vote in the House, where there was not sufficient support.

UPDATE: SJRCA4 was approved by the Senate Executive Committee on a a 12-3 vote (2 voting present).

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People’s Climate March on April 29

Saturday, April 29, 2017, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at El Presidio Park, 175 W. Alameda St. Tucson, Arizona.

“We need to stand together to protect our climate, our health, and our communities. Part of that is resisting the current political agenda of denial and obstruction — but it’s also crucial that we build a vision of the world we want, and rise together to make it possible. To change everything, we need everyone. On April 29, let’s march for jobs, justice, and the climate: peoplesclimate.org#ClimateMarch #TucsonClimateMarch

The route, speakers, venues, and logistics of the Tucson People’s Climate March is currently being organized by several notable non-profit groups — including the Center for Biological Diversity, the Sierra Club Rincon Group, andSky Island Alliance. If you or your organization is interested in organizing with us, please email climatemarch2017@skyislandalliance.org. We need your help!

We are looking for interested and experienced people to help lead and/or volunteer for the following committees:
– Logistics
– Safety & Accessibility
– Outreach & Media
– Fundraising & Finances
– Speakers & Entertainment

We will meet-up at 10am in El Presidio Park with guest speakers to launch on a march through downtown departing at 11am. We’ll loop back to the park for more speakers, music, a volunteer fair with local organizations, and other activities until 2pm (or later). More details to come soon!”

(from FB page: https://www.facebook.com/events/384421951933357/)

Info on the National DC march: https://peoplesclimate.org/

Zombie ‘Trumpcare’ is even more unpopular than ‘Trumpcare’ 2.0

Donald Trump really, really bigly wants to claim that he is living up to his campaign pledges (he is not) by pursuing his promise to repeal and replace “Obamacare” in his first “100 days,” after he made the mistake of conceding defeat without even a vote a few weeks ago and moving on to tax cuts, which he is kinda (but not really) getting around to this week.

Trump’s problem is that he is negotiating with the wrong people, the far-right radical fringe GOP House Freedom Caucus that wants to return to the “good old days” of pre-Obamacare, and kick millions of Americans off of health care insurance for “state’s rights!”

Remember, for every vote that Trump adds from the GOP House Freedom Caucus he is subtracting votes from the mythical moderate Republicans, especially in the Senate, where he has no margin for error. House Freedom Caucus leaders back new health-care plan:

White House officials and several Republican lawmakers claimed Tuesday they were nearing a deal on health-care legislation with the House Freedom Caucus, with at least three leading figures in the hard-line group ready to support an overhaul after the dramatic collapse of talks last month.

Reps. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.), Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), and Raúl R. Labrador (R-Idaho) — all leaders of the Freedom Caucus and central figures in the latest discussions — signaled Tuesday they are ready to support a new plan, according to two White House officials who were not authorized to speak publicly. A lawmaker close to the Freedom Caucus later confirmed that those members were close to or ready to support the tweaked bill.

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