Tag Archives: Authoritarianism

Latest on the Trump-Putin campaign investigation

On Monday, the New York Times reported that Trump Grows Discontented With Attorney General Jeff Sessions:

Mr. Trump has grown sour on Mr. Sessions, now his attorney general, blaming him for various troubles that have plagued the White House.

The discontent was on display on Monday in a series of stark early-morning postings on Twitter in which the president faulted his own Justice Department for its defense of his travel ban on visitors from certain predominantly Muslim countries. Mr. Trump accused Mr. Sessions’s department of devising a “politically correct” version of the ban — as if the president had nothing to do with it.

In private, the president’s exasperation has been even sharper. He has intermittently fumed for months over Mr. Sessions’s decision to recuse himself from the investigation into Russian meddling in last year’s election, according to people close to Mr. Trump who insisted on anonymity to describe internal conversations. In Mr. Trump’s view, they said, it was that recusal that eventually led to the appointment of a special counsel who took over the investigation.

Let’s be clear, Department of Justice rules required Attorney General Sessions to recuse himself from the Trump-Russia investigation. It is ordinary protocol and was to be expected. Trump is angry at Sessions because he abided by Justice department rules, rather than create a protracted legal dispute over recusal, and he removed himself from the ability to exert influence over the direction of the investigation, which indicates that Trump intended to exert undue influence over the Attorney General to affect the course of the Trump-Russia investigation (otherwise known as obstruction of justice).

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Lies, damned lies, and Trump

The Washington Post provided editorial space to Donald Trump on Sunday for his alternative facts propaganda and egomaniacal self-aggrandizement. President Trump: In my first 100 days, I kept my promise to Americans.

This is no way close to being true.

Aaron Blake of the Washington Post again provides an annotated version of Trump’s op-ed to provide context and a healthy dose of reality. Trump’s glowing op-ed about his first 100 days, with some badly needed context. Click on the yellow highlight’s for Blake’s annotations.

The Washington Post fact checkers write, President Trump’s first 100 days: The fact check tally:

President Trump is the most fact-challenged politician that The Fact Checker has ever encountered. He earned 59 Four-Pinocchio ratings during his campaign as president. Since then, he’s earned 16 more Four-Pinocchio ratings.

But those numbers obscure the fact that the pace and volume of the president’s misstatements means that we cannot possibly keep up. The president’s speeches and interviews are so chock full of false and misleading claims that The Fact Checker often must resort to roundups that offer a brief summary of the facts that the president has gotten wrong.

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(Update) AZ Tea-Publican legislature aids and abets our corporate overlords in restricting your constitutional right to make laws

The Chamber of Commerce organizations got their lickspittle servants in our Tea-Publican controlled legislature and our “Koch-bot” governor to do their bidding in making it damn near impossible for citizens to exercise their constitutional right to make laws by citizens initiative. Buying a legislature and governor to do your bidding is the exclusive provence of our Plutocratic corporate overlords, and you will obey!

The Arizona Capitol Times (subscription required) reports, House passes two more bills tightening citizen-initiative laws:

Republican state lawmakers on Thursday agreed to impose two new sets of restrictions on initiatives that foes said in combination with already-approved measures will effectively deny the ability of voters to ever again propose their own laws.

SB 1236, approved by the House on a 35-23 party-line vote, would make the committee pushing a ballot measure financially responsible for any acts of fraud or forgery committed by anyone who is paid to gather signatures for the initiative. Those fines would be $1,000 for each violation.

That measure still needs final Senate approval.

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Dirty deeds done dirt cheap: GOP kills Senate filibuster rule for SCOTUS justices

Authoritarian Tea-Publicans have gone “nuclear” and blown up the Senate filibuster rules. The New York Times reports, Senate Republicans Deploy ‘Nuclear Option’ to Clear Path for Gorsuch:

Senate Republicans changed longstanding rules on Thursday to clear the way for the confirmation of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch to serve on the Supreme Court, bypassing a precedent-breaking Democratic filibuster by allowing the nomination to go forward on a simple majority vote.

Lawmakers convened late Thursday morning to decide whether to end debate and advance to a final vote on Judge Gorsuch. Republicans needed 60 votes — at least eight Democrats and independents joining the 52-seat majority — to end debate on the nomination and proceed to a final vote.

Only a handful of Democrats defected, and the vote failed, 55-45, leaving Republicans to choose between allowing the president’s nominee to fail or bulldozing long-held Senate practice.

[The chamber then voted] on a party-line vote, with all 52 Republicans voting to overrule Senate precedent and all 48 Democrats and liberal-leaning independents voting to keep it.

The Senate then voted 55-45 to cut off debate — four votes more than needed under the new rules — and move to a final vote on Judge Gorsuch’s confirmation Friday evening, with a simple majority needed for approval.

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Democrats have the votes to filibuster Judge Gorsuch – Tea-Publicans to go ‘nuclear’

I recently posted that Democrats will filibuster the stolen seat on the U.S. Supreme Court. Our Trumpster blog troll, state Sen.John Kavanagh, commented “Stop dreaming. Gorsuch will be confirmed without the nuclear option.”

He is, of course, WRONG (as always).

This is now confirmed by both the New York Times, Senate Democrats Appear Poised to Filibuster Gorsuch Nomination:

Senate Democrats on Monday appeared to secure the votes necessary to filibuster the Supreme Court nomination of Judge Neil M. Gorsuch, sending the body hurtling toward a bitter partisan confrontation later this week.

With an announcement from Senator Chris Coons, Democrat of Delaware, during the Senate Judiciary Committee’s hearing to vote on Judge Gorsuch’s nomination, Democrats found their 41st vote in support of a filibuster.

Later in the hearing, the Senate Judiciary Committee moved to approved the nomination in a party-line vote, 11 to 9, to move President Trump’s selection to the Senate floor.

If the filibuster holds, Republicans have hinted strongly that they will pursue the so-called nuclear option, changing longstanding practices to elevate Judge Gorsuch on a simple majority vote.

The nomination fight has been shadowed, in large measure, by the treatment of Judge Merrick B. Garland, whom President Barack Obama nominated in March 2016 after the death of Justice Antonin Scalia the month before. Republicans refused to even consider Judge Garland during a presidential election year.

But Democrats insist that their opposition to Judge Gorsuch stems from more than a thirst for payback. They have cited Judge Gorsuch’s record on workers’ rights and his degree of independence from Mr. Trump and conservative groups like the Federalist Society, among other concerns.

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AZ Supreme Court hears oral argument on punitive local government preemption law

I posted on the background of this case last year. Authoritarian Tea-Publicans impose ‘Big Brother’ control over local governments:

TheBorgGovernor Doug Ducey, the ice cream man hired by Koch Industries to run their Southwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Arizona, got what he wanted from our lawless Tea-Publican legislature this week.

They are like the Borg on Star Trek: “Resistance to our authoritarian GOP rule is futile, you will be assimilated.” Ducey gets bill penalizing cities for countering state policies:

State lawmakers late Wednesday sent Gov. Doug Ducey a bill that will allow him to enforce his demand that local governments fall into line with state policies.

SB 1487 (.pdf) allows any legislator to ask the attorney general’s office to investigate whether a local ordinance or policy is contrary to state law. If the attorney general finds the state statute is being violated, the local government would be given 30 days to bring their local practices into compliance.

But what really gives the measure some teeth is that the failure of a city, town or county to comply would require the state treasurer to stop providing state aid and redistribute those dollars to every other community.

And if a local government disagreed, the case would go directly to the state Supreme Court for a final word.

Yeah, you see the problem with this bill is that it empowers the Attorney General, not a court of competent jurisdiction, to sit as judge and jury without a trial, and whoever heard of an Arizona Attorney General being an impartial arbiter of the evidence and not politicizing the AG office with an eye towards running for governor or another office? Have we so readily forgotten Tom Horne?

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