Category Archives: Congress

What Charlie said

David Gordon of Blog for Arizona summarized succinctly in a post last fall why Mitch McConnell is the real “Enemy of the People”.

Charles Pierce of Esquire similarly makes the case that There Is No More Loathsome Creature Walking Our Political Landscape Than Mitch McConnell (excerpt):

There is simply is no more loathsome creature walking the political landscape than the Majority Leader of the United States Senate. You have to go back to McCarthy or McCarran to find a Senate leader who did so much damage to democratic norms and principles than this yokel from Kentucky. Trump is bad enough, but he’s just a jumped-up real-estate crook who’s in over his head. McConnell is a career politician who knows full well what he’s doing to democratic government and is doing it anyway because it gives him power, and it gives the rest of us a wingnut federal judiciary for the next 30 years. There is nothing that this president* can do that threatens McConnell’s power as much as it threatens the survival of the republic, and that’s where we are.

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Negotiating with yourself does not constitute a ‘compromise’

The White House alerted the media that Trump plans to make ‘major announcement’ on shutdown, and the border on Saturday afternoon.

Trump is given to hyperbole and superlatives, and this speech was no exception. This was an over-hyped PR stunt.

The speech began with Stephen Miller’s highlights of the xenophobic, racist, anti-immigrant talking points of Rush Limbaugh, Ann Coulter, Sean Hannity, Laura Ingraham, et. al., heard almost daily on conservative hate talk radio to gin up white anxiety and white grievances among Trump’s white nationalist base.

It then veered into a rehash of previous proposals (which were rejected by the prior Republican Congress) on DACA and TPS beneficiaries: a temporary stay of Trump’s policies for 3 years in exchange for $5.7 billion for Trump’s “big beautiful wall” on the Mexico border.

This was something Trump negotiated with his white nationalist racist adviser Stephen Miller, and his son-in-law Secretary of Everything, Jared Kushner. There was no effort to negotiate with the Democratic leadership in good faith. Trump’s attempt to call this a “compromise” rings hollow. Negotiating with yourself does not constitute a “compromise.”

This was another lame attempt to reframe the issue solely as a PR stunt. It was an epic failure.

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Obstruction of justice in plain sight: unindicted co-conspirator ‘Individual 1’ instructed Michael Cohen to lie to Congress (updated)

Donald Trump’s longtime attorney and personal “fixer” is going to testify before the House Oversight Committee on Feb. 7, 2019. A source close to Cohen told the Wall Street Journal that in his testimony:

“He’s going to tell the story of what it’s like to work for a madman, and why he did it for so long,” said the person close to Mr. Cohen. “He’s going to say things that will give you chills.”

In a preview of coming attractions, Michael Cohen Acknowledges Payments for Poll Rigging:

Michael D. Cohen, the former personal lawyer and fixer for President Trump, acknowledged on Thursday that he had paid the owner of a technology services company to help doctor results of an online poll to help Mr. Trump as he considered a run for president.

In a post on Twitter about his actions, first reported by The Wall Street Journal, Mr. Cohen said that he had done so at the direction of Mr. Trump, and regretted it.

The Journal reported that in early 2015, before Mr. Trump declared himself a candidate for president, Mr. Cohen gave $12,000 to $13,000 in cash stuffed in a Walmart bag to John Gauger, the owner of RedFinch Solutions, who also works for Liberty University [run by Jerry Falwell, Jr.]. The money was in exchange for help boosting Mr. Trump’s name in two online polls.

Mr. Cohen was supposed to pay Mr. Gauger $50,000 for the work, the man told The Journal, but the full amount was never paid out. However, Mr. Cohen billed the Trump Organization $50,000 for technology services, according to federal prosecutors in Manhattan, who referenced the amount in a charging document.

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William P. Barr should not be confirmed by the Senate for Attorney General

William P. Barr, who faces a Senate Judiciary Committee confirmation hearing this week, should not be confirmed by the Senate due to his past and present sins against the rule of law and constitutional democracy.

Past Sins

William Barr was previously the Attorney General under President George H. W. Bush when he advocated that the president issue a blanket pardon to everyone charged in the Iran-Contra Affair just as independent prosecutor Lawrence Walsh was focused on obstruction of justice by President Bush himself. Barr thus was an architect of the cover-up of the Iran-Contra Affair in which no one was ever brought to justice for their crimes, establishing the perverse precedent that IOKIYAR. See, Bush Pardons 6 in Iran Affair, Aborting a Weinberger Trial; Prosecutor Assails ‘Cover-Up’ (December 24, 1992):

Six years after the arms-for-hostages scandal began to cast a shadow that would darken two Administrations, President Bush today granted full pardons to six former officials in Ronald Reagan’s Administration, including former Defense Secretary Caspar W. Weinberger.

Mr. Weinberger was scheduled to stand trial on Jan. 5 on charges that he lied to Congress about his knowledge of the arms sales to Iran and efforts by other countries to help underwrite the Nicaraguan rebels, a case that was expected to focus on Mr. Weinberger’s private notes that contain references to Mr. Bush’s endorsement of the secret shipments to Iran.

In one remaining facet of the inquiry, the independent prosecutor, Lawrence E. Walsh, plans to review a 1986 campaign diary kept by Mr. Bush. Mr. Walsh has characterized the President’s failure to turn over the diary until now as misconduct.

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‘Collusion’ in plain sight: a compromised president is a national security threat

This past week we learned from Paul Manafort’s attorneys that their client shared closely guarded campaign polling data with Russian (and Ukrainian) oligarchs who have close ties to Vladimir Putin. Paul Manafort shared 2016 polling data with Russian associate, according to court filing.

David Measer explains The real value of Paul Manafort’s polling data:

[I]t’s a mistake to treat polling data as mere briefing material; it’s actionable information. Those of us in advertising use it to decide who to target; to position the brands we represent as distinctive from other brands; to develop messaging and ads; and to knock competitors out of their positions in consumers’ minds. We’ve known since 2017 that the Russian disinformation campaign during the 2016 presidential election did the same thing — aiming different posts at people who indicated that they “liked” patriotism or lived in Ferguson, Mo.

Passing on this kind of information gives a partner the ability to reach audiences in a very personalized way. And if that partner is a foreign country intent on influencing voters, exploiting divisions and disrupting elections, the data is priceless. It gives them the tools to get pretty close to the holy grail of marketing: to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right message.

This would be the Russian troll farm run by Russian intelligence agencies whom the Special Counsel has indicted for interference in the 2016 election.

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