Daily Archives: July 8, 2018

An ‘ugly American’ abroad: NATO, the Queen, and pal Putin, oh my!

The NATO Summit will be held July 11-12, 2018 in Brussels, Belgium. As Summit Nears, NATO Allies Have One Main Worry: Trump:

[T]here is one wild card: President Trump.

Nobody knows which president will show up — the truculent one railing about inadequate military spending by the allies or the boastful one taking credit for recent spending increases.

Either way, NATO members say they fear that all the preparation and the desire to show solidarity in the face of a new Russian threat will be overshadowed, if not undone, by a divisive encounter followed by Mr. Trump’s prospective summit meeting with the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin.

The European allies are deeply worried that they will confront the Trump who was on display at the meeting in June in Canada of the seven major economies, known as the Group of 7, or G-7. Those in the room described him as angry, mocking, wandering and rude, especially to the host, Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau, and to Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany.

There, Mr. Trump focused on two of his fixed ideas: the unfairness of trade with European allies and their inadequate level of military spending.

The Trump administration regards Western European nations as free-riders on an American-funded, postwar peace that enabled them to build lavish social benefit systems because they spent so little on defending themselves. He has also made clear that he thinks the European Union, as a trading bloc, has taken advantage of American generosity.

European and some American officials say they dread the same pattern — a noisy, divisive NATO summit, damaging deterrence, followed by a chummy meeting with a dictator, in this case Mr. Putin, whose long-term goals are to destabilize the European Union, undermine NATO and restore Russian influence over Eastern Europe, the Baltic States and the Balkans.

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The Lisa Murkowski and Susan Collins gambit – leave the GOP

Democrats have mounted a campaign against Trump’s Supreme Court nominee by targeting two Republican senators, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and the mythical moderate from Maine, Susan Collins.

If our lives depends on Susan Collins, we’re fucked. Remember how she traded her vote on the GOP tax cut for corporations and plutocrats for her bills to secure subsidies for Obamacare health insurance plans in the federal budget? Yeah, she totally got played by Mitch McConnell — or did she? Was it all just a charade to maintain her mythical moderate persona? — her bills were not included in the federal budget.

And on Saturday, the Trump administration halted billions of dollars in annual payments required under the law to even out the cost to insurers whose customers need expensive medical services. Health Insurers Warn of Market Turmoil as Trump Suspends Billions in Payments.  Another epic failure by the mythical moderate from Maine. Thanks for nothing, lady.

Joan McCarter at Daily Kos asks the pointed question, Once again we have to ask: is Susan Collins a liar, or just stupid?

Republican Sen. Susan Collins is steadfastly playing dumb about whether or not she’ll vote for a Supreme Court nominee from the current occupier of the Oval Office. She’s relying, apparently, on the misguided belief that her constituents are stupid.

“I think I’ve made it pretty clear,” she told MSNBC Wednesday, “that if a nominee has demonstrated hostility to Roe v. Wade and has said that they are not going to abide by that long-standing precedent, that I could not support that nominee.” And what everybody is that Trump is working off of a pre-approved list on which every potential nominee has been screened for their adherence to extreme right-wing ideology, including hostility to abortion. Collins is continuing to try to pretend that if the nominee hasn’t said it out loud, they won’t do it.

Here’s the thing: no Supreme Court nominee has ever said out loud that they would not abide by any long-standing precedent, but especially Roe. Because they wouldn’t get confirmed that way. And the far right knows that. They rely upon the stealth of their nominees. Despite past performance, Collins isn’t so stupid that she doesn’t know that very well.

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Trump’s nomination of an associate justice is a conflict of interest

Donald Trump, in a disgusting degradation of our constitutional form of government, has once again turned the selection of an associate justice of the U.S. Supreme Court into a reality TV show version of The Bachelor: to whom will he give his rose? Trump Wants Suspense Before Another Reality-Show Reveal:

Trump is determined to keep the world in suspense about this fateful decision before revealing it Monday night on live TV in an approximation of the reality-show format he mastered long before running for president. It is, after all, what he did in naming his first SCOTUS nominee, Neil Gorsuch, in 2017.

Of course, the media is playing along with this by writing numerous speculative pieces about the judges on “the list” from which Trump committed to using from the far-right Federalist Society and the Heritage Foundation. Enough! Don’t play this fool’s game.

The only thing the media should be focused on is “Should a sitting president under investigation for possibly criminal acts be able to appoint the person who will sit in judgment of those acts?” And possibly be the decisive vote, putting Trump’s thumb on the scales of justice?

The answer clearly is “No.” Especially with a president noted for demanding personal loyalty oaths.

Paul Schiff Berman, a professor at George Washington University Law School, writes A Better Reason to Delay Kennedy’s Replacement:

[T]here is another reason to withhold confirmation that both Republicans and Democrats should be able to agree on: People under the cloud of investigation do not get to pick the judges who may preside over their cases. By this logic, President Trump should not be permitted to appoint a new Supreme Court justice until after the special counsel investigation is over, and we know for sure whether there is evidence of wrongdoing.

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Political Calendar: Week of July 8, 2018

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Political Calendar for the Week of July 8, 2018:

Monday, July 9, Noon: No meeting. Democrats of Greater Tucson luncheon, Dragon’s View Restaurant (400 N. Bonita, South of St. Mary’s Road between the Freeway and Grande Avenue, turn South at Furr’s Cafeteria). New price: buffet lunch is $10.00 cash, $12 credit; just a drink is $3.50. Featured speaker is Adam Ragan, Candidate for TUSD Board. Next Week: Mark Manoil, candidate for State Treasurer.

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Cartoon of The Week

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