Thursday Reads: Good, Bad, and Very UglyPosted: September 12, 2019
Some things that made me smile yesterday:
HuffPost: Hillary Clinton Spent An Hour Reading Her Emails At A Mock Resolute Desk For Art.
Hillary Clinton paid a visit to an art exhibition in Venice, Italy, that involved her sitting at a mock Resolute Desk and reading copies of her now-infamous emails.
Images cropped up online Wednesday showing the 2016 Democratic nominee for president in Despar Teatro Italia, which is currently hosting a solo exhibition by the artist and poet Kenneth Goldsmith called “HILLARY: The Hillary Clinton Emails.”
Goldsmith told HuffPost via email that Clinton’s visit “was a surprise,” while curator Francesco Urbano Ragazzi said organizers thought the possibility of her visiting was a joke.
“Someone close to Mrs. Clinton contacted us very informally a few days before her visit. We realized that it wasn’t a joke only when we saw the security service inside the exhibition space at 9 am on Tuesday,” they told HuffPost via email….
Goldsmith’s exhibition makes public “for the first time in printed format” some 60,000 pages of Clinton’s emails, which, per WikiLeaks, “were sent from the domain description from exhibit co-organizer Zuecca Projects….between 2009 and 2013,” according to the
“Everybody was very excited [during Clinton’s visit],” Urbano Ragazzi said. “I think the scene was so extraordinary that many customers believed that she was just a lookalike at first.” [….]
The artist shared on Twitter that Clinton read her emails for an hour and, per a translation from an Italian news outlet, said: “This exhibition is further proof that nothing wrong or controversial can be found on these emails. It makes them accessible to everyone and allows everyone to read them.”
He also recalled Clinton saying, as an aside, to Urbano Ragazzi: “They are just so boring.”
If only so many in the media hadn’t been determined to destroy her, we could have had a competent president with a sense of humor.
Thanks to Dakinikat for alerting me to this important message from NBC’s Katy Tur, who returned from maternity leave yesterday. On her show yesterday, she passionately for paid maternity leave for working mothers and fathers.
Democratic debate tonight
The third Democratic Debate airs tonight from 8-11PM on ABC and Univision. CNN:
The third Democratic presidential debate takes place tonight in Houston, with former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts sharing the debate stage for the first time this cycle, having previously avoided a direct confrontation as a result of the random draw process.
Democratic voters will see the current top three candidates — Biden, Warren and Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont — share the stage together, setting up the ideological battle in the nominating race between the more moderate and progressive wings of the party.
For most of the other seven candidates sharing the stage, who have either failed to break into the top tier or have seen their positions stall in the Democratic race, the debate will be another chance to inject their candidacies with much-needed momentum heading into the fall sprint ahead of the first contests early next year.</
The media have decreed that our choices are between two ancient white men and a 70-year-old woman who agrees with Bernie Sanders and Donald Trump on Trade and on supporting primary challengers to Democratic incumbents.
Former Vice President Joe Biden
Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey
South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg
Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julián Castro
Sen. Kamala Harris of California
Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota
Former Rep. Beto O’Rourke of Texas
Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont
Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts
Businessman Andrew Yang
The House Judiciary Committee took a big step Thursday morning in its ongoing investigation into whether to recommend the filing of articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump, passing a resolution that set procedures and rules for future impeachment investigation hearings.
The resolution passed along party lines, 24-17.
“But let me clear up any remaining doubt: The conduct under investigation poses a threat to our democracy. We have an obligation to respond to this threat. And we are doing so.”
Earlier this week, Nadler told NBC News that the purpose of the resolution was to put into effect “certain procedures to make that investigation more effective,” a necessary move given that “the inquiry is getting more serious.”
Under the resolution, which does not need to be approved by the full House, Nadler can designate hearings run by the full committee and its subcommittees as part of the impeachment investigation. The committee’s lawyers are also able to question witnesses for an additional hour beyond the five minutes that are allotted to each member of Congress on the panel.
“Some call this process an impeachment inquiry. Some call it an impeachment investigation. There is no legal difference between these terms, and I no longer care to argue about the nomenclature,” House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerry Nadler, D-N.Y., said in his opening statement Thursday.
Read more at the link.
At Bloomberg, Jonathan Bernstein critiques the Democrats’ impeachment efforts: Why Are Democrats in Disarray Over Impeachment?
Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee are planning a step Thursday to make their de facto impeachment inquiry into something more formal. They’re doing it, however, in what Greg Sargent describes as a “muddle.” He has it right: This isn’t a messaging failure as much as it is a substantive one.
The basic problem is that House Democrats can’t seem to agree on where their impeachment effort stands. Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler says that “formal impeachment proceedings” are underway. Others, including in the House leadership, have expressed much more ambiguous views of what’s happening.
A few things are contributing to this muddle. One is a push from many party actors who basically judge everything short of impeaching President Donald Trump as a total flop – a position that I still think doesn’t make much sense. Another is that some House Democrats in tough districts are overly cautious about taking on the president. But perhaps the biggest factor is that the Democrats have had a majority in the House for more than nine months now and have at best managed to produce a handful of memorable moments in oversight hearings on Trump’s many scandals and general lawlessness. At best. Maybe.
Some impeachment-or-nothing advocates suspect that this is all part of House Speaker Nancy Pelosi’s secret scheme to avoid impeachment altogether – that she fears effective oversight hearings because they’d inevitably lead to more calls for ousting the president. But a better explanation is simple incompetence. Successful hearings would in fact help resolve Pelosi’s difficult choices. There’s an outside possibility that they could shift some Republicans toward supporting impeachment. But even if they didn’t, the House leadership could explain that continued hearings would actually be more effective than a symbolic impeachment vote. That’s an argument that won’t convince anyone right now because no one thinks the hearings to date have had any effect.
Of course Trump has effectively been stonewalling Democrats’ efforts to obtain evidence and witness testimony.
To be fair: Trump’s stonewalling of legitimate House oversight is unprecedented, and a legitimate reason for impeachment and removal from office. The House has never had to deal with anything this extreme, and is fighting back in court. But there’s simply no excuse for their failure to dramatize Trump’s misconduct in ways that would really catch the attention of voters.
There’s still the problem I’ve discussed before, and that Sargent addresses in his item, that an impeachment inquiry really does imply an eventual next step of either clearing the president or moving to a vote, and Democrats probably don’t want to do either right now. But muddling through sometimes works out in the long run even if it looks like a mess to careful observers. Remember that hardly any voters are paying attention to anything Congress does, including impeachment investigations or inquiries or whatever they want to call it.
Whether there’s a train wreck ahead for Democrats or not, figuring out how to hold effective hearings would help in the meantime. Eventually, it’s really going to take some better results from Nadler and the rest of his party.
Read the rest at Bloomberg Opinion..
Now for the bad (AKA Trump) news, links only
The New York Times: Supreme Court Says Trump Can Bar Asylum Seekers While Legal Fight Continues.
The New York Times: Trump Administration to Finalize Rollback of Clean Water Protections.
The Washington Post: ‘You’re a prop in the back’: Advisers struggle to obey Trump’s Kafkaesque rules.
The Daily Beast: Trump Flirts With $15 Billion Bailout for Iran, Sources Say.
Trump wants to open concentration camps for homeless people:
The New York Times: Trump Eyes Crackdown on Homelessness as Aides Visit California.
What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a nice Thursday!