Veteran’s Day Reads and a National Security Threat in the Oval OfficePosted: November 11, 2019
We’ve made it to another Monday, Sky Dancers!
It seems odd that we have to listen to someone who has attacked and disrespected more decorated vets from the Oval Office and other places politicp in front of a parade to honor them. Some Vets are not standing for it.
One of the largest progressive veterans groups in the country is launching a new campaign against President Trump on Monday that seeks to raise pressure on several Republican senators up for reelection next year.
To mark Veterans Day, VoteVets will fly planes over key Senate battleground states like North Carolina, Arizona, Kentucky and Colorado Monday morning, with a banner that reads: “Vets: Trump is a National Security Threat.” The group seeks to specifically target Sen. Thom Tillis (R-N.C.), Sen. Martha McSally (R-Ariz.), Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) and Sen. Cory Gardner (R-Colo.).
“In less than a year, voters will go to the polls. We intend to remind them every day between now and then that Donald Trump is a national security threat and that these key Senate Republicans encourage and enable him at every step of the way,” Jon Soltz, chairman of VoteVets, wrote in a statement announcing the campaign.
In addition to the planes, the group also plans to run digital ads and to launch a website detailing all the ways in which Trump has posed a national security threat to the United States. This includes everything from allegedly “inviting foreign interference in our elections” to “raiding funds for our military families to build his wall.”
Our Foreign Policy is being dictated by personal financial interests and not any interest of our country’s. The AP reports this “After push from Perry, backers got huge gas deal in Ukraine.” The Chicken Hawks appear to be plundering wherever they’ve been able.
Two political supporters of U.S. Energy Secretary Rick Perry secured a potentially lucrative oil and gas exploration deal from the Ukrainian government soon after Perry proposed one of the men as an adviser to the country’s new president.
Perry’s efforts to influence Ukraine’s energy policy came earlier this year, just as President Volodymyr Zelenskiy’s new government was seeking military aid from the United States to defend against Russian aggression and allies of President Donald Trump were ramping up efforts to get the Ukrainians to investigate his Democratic rival Joe Biden.
Ukraine awarded the contract to Perry’s supporters little more than a month after the U.S. energy secretary attended Zelenskiy’s May inauguration. In a meeting during that trip, Perry handed the new president a list of people he recommended as energy advisers. One of the four names was his longtime political backer Michael Bleyzer.
A week later, Bleyzer and his partner Alex Cranberg submitted a bid to drill for oil and gas at a sprawling government-controlled site called Varvynska. They offered millions of dollars less to the Ukrainian government than their only competitor for the drilling rights, according to internal Ukrainian government documents obtained by The Associated Press. But their newly created joint venture, Ukrainian Energy, was awarded the 50-year contract because a government-appointed commission determined they had greater technical expertise and stronger financial backing, the documents show.
Perry likely had outsized influence in Ukraine. Testimony in the impeachment inquiry into Trump shows the energy secretary was one of three key U.S. officials who were negotiating a meeting between Trump and the Ukrainian leader.
I don’t know about you, but I’d say the Three Amigos are going to spend an awful lot of time in Federal Prison. I can’t imagine it’s going to be pretty there for any of them.
Our hopes to end this lawless regime rests in the hands of the other two branches. We’ve been following the impeachment process closely. There will be open hearings shortly as reported by Reuters today: “As Trump fumes, public impeachment hearings set to grab spotlight.”
This week will mark a new and unparalleled chapter in Donald Trump’s tumultuous presidency, as the Democratic-led impeachment probe goes public with televised hearings into allegations about Trump’s dealings with Ukraine.
Beginning on Wednesday, three witnesses will publicly detail their concerns, previously expressed behind closed doors, that the Trump administration sought to tie military aid to Ukraine to an investigation of the Republican president’s potential Democratic rival for the presidency, Joe Biden.
The testimony will be carried by major broadcast and cable networks and is expected to be viewed by millions, who will watch current and former officials from Trump’s own administration begin to outline a case for his potential removal from office.
Trump’s various court attempts to block the process are working there way through the courts. We’ve all worried about the Supreme Court for some time. The New Yorker has an article up suggesting that Elena Kagan may be a key player in the court’s future.
Yet Kagan, who has long been admired by legal scholars for the brilliance of her opinion writing and the incisiveness of her questioning in oral arguments, is emerging as one of the most influential Justices on the Court—and, without question, the most influential of the liberals. That is partly because of her temperament (she is a bridge builder), partly because of her tactics (she has a more acute political instinct than some of her colleagues), and partly because of her age (she is the youngest of the Court’s four liberals, after Ginsburg, Breyer, and Sotomayor). Vladeck told me, “If there’s one Justice on the progressive side who might have some purchase, especially with Roberts, I have to think it’s her. I think they respect the heck out of each other’s intellectual firepower. She seems to understand institutional concerns the Chief Justice has about the Court that might lead the way to compromises that aren’t available to other conservatives. And the Chief Justice probably views her as less extreme on some issues than some of her colleagues.”
Kagan comes from a more worldly and political milieu than the other Justices. She is the only one who didn’t serve as a judge before ascending to the Court. When Obama nominated her, she was his Solicitor General. In the nineties, she had worked in the Clinton White House, as a policy adviser, and had served as a special counsel on the Senate Judiciary Committee, where she helped Joe Biden prepare for Ginsburg’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings. For much of Kagan’s career, though, she was a law professor—first at the University of Chicago and then at Harvard. Between 2003 and 2009, she was the dean of Harvard Law School, where she was known for having broken a deadlock between conservative and left-wing faculty that had slowed hiring, and for having earned the good will of both camps. Einer Elhauge, a Harvard Law professor who worked with her on faculty hiring, said, “She was really good at building consensus, and she did it, in part, by signalling early on that she was going to be an honest broker. If she was for an outstanding person with one methodology or ideology this time, she would be for an outstanding person with a different methodology or ideology the next time.”
Another long time republican congressman is retiring. This time it’s Peter King from New York. They appear to be dropping like flies this year. This is from NBC News.
Longtime Rep. Pete King, R-N.Y., announced Monday he will retire from Congress at the end of his term.
“I have decided not to be a candidate for re-election to Congress in 2020,” King, 75, said in a statement. “I made this decision after much discussion with my wife Rosemary; my son Sean; and my daughter Erin. The prime reason for my decision was that after 28 years of spending 4 days a week in Washington, D.C., it is time to end the weekly commute and be home in Seaford.”
King, who has represented a Long Island district for more than 25 years, added that retirement “was not an easy decision.”
As, I mentioned, the three Amigos look headed for Jail. This is the latest bad news for Giuliani. It popped up late last night from the NYT: “Giuliani Associate Says He Gave Demand for Biden Inquiry to Ukrainians. The claim by the associate, Lev Parnas, is being vigorously disputed. “
Not long before the Ukrainian president was inaugurated in May, an associate of Rudolph W. Giuliani’s journeyed to Kiev to deliver a warning to the country’s new leadership, a lawyer for the associate said.
The associate, Lev Parnas, told a representative of the incoming government that it had to announce an investigation into Mr. Trump’s political rival, Joseph R. Biden Jr., and his son, or else Vice President Mike Pence would not attend the swearing-in of the new president, and the United States would freeze aid, the lawyer said.
The claim by Mr. Parnas, who is preparing to share his account with impeachment investigators, challenges the narrative of events from Mr. Trump and Ukrainian officials that is at the core of the congressional inquiry. It also directly links Mr. Giuliani, the president’s personal lawyer, to threats of repercussions made to the Ukrainians, something he has strenuously denied.
But Mr. Parnas’s account, while potentially significant, is being contradicted on several fronts. None of the people involved dispute that the meeting occurred, but Mr. Parnas stands alone in saying the intention was to present an ultimatum to the Ukrainian leadership.
Yes, Our Country has fought in a lot of wars, but not since the Civil War has there been such a threat from people seeking to overturn the US. Constitution and our rule of law.
As his losses pile up, Donald Trump has made it plain he expects the Supreme Court to serve as his ultimate protector from the overreaching “Deep State” and its allies in Congress.
We’re about to find out if Chief Justice John Roberts and other members of the Supreme Court’s conservative majority will accept Trump’s designation of their institution as his personal guardian. The court would do so at its own peril, as stepping in to protect the president could help elect a Democratic president and Senate, and encourage them to put a quick end to the court’s long-standing conservative majority.
Notably, the court has yet to weigh in as Trump has stonewalled nearly all efforts to gain access to key White House witnesses and documents for months. But it may weigh in soon, now that a federal appeals court in New York upheld a district court ruling ordering Trump’s accounting firm to hand over Trump business and financial records in its files, including the tax returns of the President and his businesses.
The case raises issues going “to the heart of our Republic,” Trump attorney Jay Sekulow said as he declared that Trump will petition the Supreme Court for relief. Under an agreement between the parties, Trump will be asking the court to decide the case during its current term, meaning a reckoning is coming. Trump’s argument that his accountants cannot be subpoenaed for his financial records is quite weak, particularly given that the court upheld a subpoena directly to the president for the White House tapes during Watergate, in its 8-0 United States v. Nixon decision.
Apart from this week’s decision, in the upcoming weeks and months, Trump could well be petitioning the Supreme Court to protect him from lower court rulings requiring a number of other disclosures, as well as testimony from his acolytes.
The list that follows is long. So, if Kagan becomes a voice for reason and Roberts sees fit to protect a legacy and the US Constitution. We may make it through. Stayed tuned for the public hearings to see what Trump and his Three stooges have done to our international standing and any small claim we may have to rule of law.
Oh, and as if we need any more reason to suspect any Trumpist check out this headline from TPM: “National Sec Adviser: Top Impeachment Probe Witness Will Be Removed From WH Council”.
Security Adviser Robert O’Brien said Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman, who gave a bombshell testimony in the House impeachment investigation last month on President Donald Trump’s Ukraine scheme, will be removed from his post at the White House National Security Council.
“Lieutenant Colonel Vindman, who has testified under oath, is serving on the National Security Council currently,” CBS News’s “Face the Nation” host Margaret Brennan said during her interview with O’Brien. “Will he continue to work for you despite testifying against the President?”
“Well look, one of the things that I’ve talked about is that we’re streamlining the National Security Council,” O’Brien replied. “It got bloated to like 236 people up from 100 in the Bush administration under President Obama.”
The national security adviser said Vindman, who currently serves as the council’s Director for European Affairs, will be removed as a part of the White House’s “streamlining” efforts.
“My understanding is he’s–that Colonel Vindman is detailed from the Department of Defense,” O’Brien said. “So everyone who’s detailed at the NSC, people are going to start going back to their own departments and we’ll bring in new folks.”
What’s your reading and blogging list today?
Galveston, oh Galveston
I still hear your sea waves crashing
While I watch the cannon flashing
And I clean my gun
And I dream of Galveston