Tag Archives: democracy

GOP continues to hide the ball on Brett Kavanaugh and rush his confirmation (Updated)

The confirmation hearings for Brett Kavanaugh last week raised more questions than were answered. Democrats want the confirmation slowed down so there is time to receive documents not yet produced by the National Archives — only 10 percent of documents have been made available so far — But Republican leaders continue to reject their reasonable requests by labeling documents that have been produced “committee confidential” and rushing to a Judiciary Committee vote next week.

This is not normal. This is what GOP authoritarianism looks like. Joan McCarter at Daily Kos sounds the alarm, Grassley and fellow Republicans continue slow murder of democracy in Kavanaugh hearing:

Democrats on the Senate Judiciary Committee tried and failed to slow down the confirmation process on Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court in Thursday morning’s meeting. At the outset, Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) moved to adjourn, pointing out the total farce this nomination and committee process has been. “There’s no way to seek justice. I am hear under protest. There is fundamental injustice here.” Grassley proceeded with the meeting, setting a vote on the nomination for next week.

Sen. Feinstein then moved to subpoena the hundreds of thousands of documents from Kavanaugh’s Bush White House service that have been withheld, and was voted down by 11-10, all Republicans voting to keep the nation in the dark. A second motion “to subpoena 100,000 documents denied to the committee through a bogus assertion of ‘constitutional privilege'” followed, also defeated 11-10. Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-HI) moved to subpoena documents from Kavanaugh’s Bush White House service related native Hawaiians and indigenous people, and was defeated 11-10.

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Putin’s fifth column of fellow travelers in the personality cult of Donald Trump

I have castigated the craven cowards in the Congress who will not defend America against Russian asset Donald Trump’s traitorous act of betrayal of the United States at the Surrender Summit.

These craven cowards are more afraid of upsetting the sycophant supporters in the personality cult of Donald Trump than in performing their constitutional and patriotic duty to defend the national security of the United States.

Max Boot makes a critical observation at the Washington Post. The stench from Trump’s execrable performance grows ever more putrid:

Even Russian state television admits that Trump “really smells like an agent of the Kremlin.” The only question is whether he is a witting or unwitting agent. But if Trump is, at best, a “useful idiot” for the Kremlin, what does that make Trump’s useful idiots? All of the “conservatives” (I use the word loosely) who serve as the president’s enablers should understand the price of their partisanship: They are weakening U.S. security and facilitating foreign aggression.

The most useful and idiotic enablers are at Fox “News” Channel [aka Trump TV]. The propagandists (a category that excludes genuine journalists such as Chris Wallace) were in fine fettle after Helsinki. Tucker Carlson, seemingly intent on making America a safe space for xenophobes, claimed that Mexico is guilty of far worse election meddling than Russia “by packing our electorate.” Sean Hannity praised his idol for being “very strong,” thereby raising the epistemological question of whether strength in supinity is possible. Jeanine Pirro rebutted Trump’s critics by demanding: “What was he supposed to do, take a gun out and shoot Putin?” (Was that the only alternative?) And Lou Dobbs, with elementary-school eloquence, dismissed all naysaying as “stupid stuff.”

This brainwashing is as effective as it is preposterous. In a recent Economist/YouGov survey, only 40 percent of Republicans said the United States should stay in NATO and 56 percent said that Trump’s (borderline treasonous) relationship with Putin is a good thing. In the course of my lifetime, Republicans have gone from denouncing useful idiots to becoming useful idiots.

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The death of democracy is in our demographics, and our antiquated Constitution

Ezra Klein at Vox.com made several important observations about our democracy in a recent post about President Trump’s nomination of an associate justice to the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court vs. democracy:

Such appointments are becoming the norm. With Justice Kennedy’s replacement, four out of the Supreme Court’s nine justices — all of whom have lifetime tenure — will have been nominated by presidents who won the White House, at least initially, despite losing the popular vote.

There’s nothing necessarily wrong with that. America, for all its proud democratic rhetoric, is not actually a democracy. Until and unless the country chooses to abolish the Electoral College, it will remain not-quite-a-democracy, with all the strange outcomes that entails. Liberals may complain, but the rules are the rules, and both sides know what they are.

But the Supreme Court’s conservative bloc doesn’t just reflect the outcomes of America’s undemocratic electoral rules; it is writing and, in some cases, rewriting them, to favor the Republican Party — making it easier to suppress votes, simpler for corporations and billionaires to buy elections, and legal for incumbents to gerrymander districts to protect and enhance their majorities.

The Supreme Court has always been undemocratic. What it’s becoming is something more dangerous: anti-democratic.

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GOP collaborators in Congress aid and abet Trump’s obstruction of justice in the Russia investigation

While the news media was fixated on yet another mass shooting yesterday (“If it bleeds it leads“),  a more significant act of terrorism was occurring just miles away in the House Judiciary Committee, where Trumpkins in the ironically named House GOP Freedom Caucus (they are actually authoritarians who want an autocracy), were collaborating with the Trump legal defense team to defame the Department of Justice and the FBI, and aiding and abetting  Trump’s conspiracy to obstruct justice in the Russia investigation.

These authoritarian Trumpkins are requesting to see the prosecutor’s evidence in an active ongoing criminal investigation of  the president and his associates, information they are not entitled to receive in the oversight function, so they can then turn that evidence over to Trump’s legal team and to selectively leak it to the GOPropagandists at FAUX News aka “Trump TV,” as they have already done with information the DOJ has previously inappropriately turned over to the committee under unprecedented threats from these authoritarian Trumpkins.

If the DOJ appropriately and lawfully refuses to turn over prosecutorial evidence in response to this improper subpoena, these authoritarian Trumpkins have set in motion a scenario in which Rod Rosenstein can be removed as Deputy AG, to allow Trump to appoint a loyalist stooge as Deputy AG, who will then terminate the Special Counsel’s Russia investigation.

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Sen. Jeff Flake could save America, but will he demonstrate a ‘Profiles in Courage’ moment? (Update: No)

It has always been my experience that Senator Jeff Flake (R-AZ) is all talk and no action. He has received undeserved credit for his speeches warning against the crypto-fascism of Trumpism, because he fails to take any concrete actions to actually do anything to stop it. He consistently votes with Trumpkin positions out of GOP tribalism.

Senator Flake has been completely ineffectual as a senator, in my opinion.

Nevertheless, if Senator Flake is ready for his “Profiles in Courage” moment, he is now in a position to demonstrate true courage, and that actions speak louder than words in the waning days of his Senate career by saving America from the crypto-fascist Trumpism that he decries.

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) confirmed Tuesday that he plans to block President Donald Trump’s judicial nominees until Senate Republican leaders allow a vote on legislation aimed at restricting the president’s authority to impose tariffs. Jeff Flake: I Will Block Trump Judicial Nominees Until GOP Votes on Tariffs.

Tariffs?! That’s what gets your panties in a bunch? How about the good of the country and the preservation of our constitutional democracy? Big picture, senator.

“We need to vote on tariffs,” Flake told The Daily Beast. “I’m committed to getting a vote on tariffs. That’s all I’ll say.”

Flake sits on the Senate Judiciary Committee, which has jurisdiction over the president’s judicial nominees. But Republicans only have an 11 to 10 majority on that panel, meaning that if Flake votes with Democrats to block nominations, the Senate’s calendar would essentially grind to a halt. It would also present a political headache for Senate GOP leaders, who have touted the record pace of judicial confirmations under Trump.

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Justice Kennedy announces his retirement: this means war

Justice Anthony Kennedy surprisingly announced his retirement at the end of the term for the Supreme Court — he had already hired his judicial clerks for next term — playing into the narrative of right-wingers who have been pressuring him all year to retire in order to put another young ideological conservative on the Court like junior associate justice Neil Gorsuch.

The New York Times reports, Justice Anthony Kennedy to Retire From Supreme Court:

Justice Anthony M. Kennedy announced on Wednesday that he will retire this summer, setting in motion a furious fight over the future of the Supreme Court and giving President Trump the chance to cement a conservative judicial philosophy on the American legal system for generations.

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Justice Kennedy delivered a letter of resignation to Mr. Trump Wednesday afternoon, shortly after a half-hour meeting at the White House, where the president called him a jurist with “tremendous vision and tremendous heart.”

“Please permit me by this letter to express my profound gratitude for having had the privilege to seek in each case how best to know, interpret and defend the Constitution and the laws that must always conform to its mandates and promises,” Justice Kennedy wrote to Mr. Trump.

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