Good Morning Sky Dancers!
I went to a meeting last night with neighbors and the mayor who is introducing a number of initiatives to breathe life back into New Orleans Neighborhoods. I came home rather hopeful at the ideas but somewhat skeptical that all of it will be seen to fruition given what usually comes out of City Hall. Maybe our energetic and bright Mayor LaToya will get it done and my skepticism will be misplaced but the City Hall is a slow working bureaucracy and it’s going to take a lot of energy and push to get it moving.
I decided to switch on the TV thinking I’d catch up with some of the Climate Conference presenters including an interview with Al Gore who we haven’t heard on the subject for awhile. I didn’t have long since I was lecturing too. I basically turned the TV on to the story that must wake the Republican party up to reality.
The whistle blower story first reported in the Washington Post is as bad as we thought it would be. I would hope the Republican party finally comes around to seeing that this regime of lawlessness and that its unconstitutional acts cannot go on any longer.
If–as Republican RIck Wilson says–“Everything Trump Touches dies” then Rudy Guilliani is definitely in some state of Zombiehood. I’m not sure why he decided to go do interviews last night but he definitely poured gasoline on the fire that threatens the rule of law in this country. This is from WAPO. “Giuliani admits to asking Ukraine about Joe Biden after denying it 30 seconds earlier”. Chris Cuomo is never on my must see TV watch list but I watched this clip just to see the dawn of realization hit Guilliani’s face that he is seriously and truly fucked. The byline goes to Coby Itkowitz
So, the whistleblower was disturbed about Trump’s conversations with Ukraine that was supposed to be getting a ton of military support from us but which was being withheld by the Trump administration in order to coerce them into doing a politically motivated investigation of what is perceived as the main threat to the Trump Rule of Lawlessness.
It’s at these times I wish I had actually followed through with going to law school. Thankfully, there are plenty of lawyers in the chattering class. As I read these things I can’t help but wonder how many laws and clauses of the US Constitution Trump has breached. Some one needs to keep a list. Some one, like say, Speaker Nancy Pelosi.
Anna Nemtsova writes this for The Daily Beast:”Ukrainian Official: Trump is Looking for Dirt ‘To Discredit Biden’. Ukraine officials see no indication Biden or his son broke their laws. If Trump wants them investigated in Kyiv, his government will need to say why and what for.”
Ukraine is ready to investigate the connections Joe Biden’s son Hunter had with the Ukrainian natural-gas company Burisma Holdings, according to Anton Geraschenko, a senior adviser to the country’s interior minister who would oversee such an inquiry.
Geraschenko told The Daily Beast in an exclusive interview that “as soon as there is an official request” Ukraine will look into the case, but “currently there is no open investigation.”
“Clearly,” said Geraschenko, “Trump is now looking for kompromat to discredit his opponent Biden, to take revenge for his friend Paul Manafort, who is serving seven years in prison.” Among the counts on which Manafort was convicted: tax evasion. “We do not investigate Biden in Ukraine, since we have not received a single official request to do so,” said Geraschenko.
His remarks last week came amid widespread speculation that U.S. President Donald Trump had made vital U.S. military aid for Ukraine contingent on such an inquiry, but had tried to do so informally through unofficial representatives, including his lawyer Rudy Giuliani and Giuliani’s adviser on Ukraine, Sam Kislin.
But Geraschenko spoke before the appearance of a Washington Post story on Thursday that implied that an intelligence-community whistleblower may have reported the untoward quid pro quo was put forth directly by Trump in a phone call with Ukraine’s recently elected president last July.
Geraschenko reconfirmed his statements in a phone call on Friday.
Jared Bernstein reminds us in Bloomberg of just how enabling and complicit the entire Republican Party has been during the Trumpist Rule of Lawlessness. The courts are full trying to deal with it all. My assumption is they’ve bought and paid for several Justices on the Supreme Court and it should eventually pay off for them I suppose. However, most every one I know is pretty horrified by this unless they are completely ignorant of our rule of law and how our government is supposed to work. But,this implies that we have a lot more engaged and well educated people in the country than we currently have. Take Alabama, please.
We still have only limited information about the emerging whistleblower scandal. But we do know (from what Rudy Giuliani has bragged about) that the president’s lawyer has pressed another country to investigate a Democratic candidate for alleged corruption. That’s on top of the original Trump campaign’s dozens of contacts with a nation attacking U.S. democracy; several documented instances of the president obstructing the investigation of that attack; violations of the emoluments clauses of the Constitution and regular use of government resources to enrich the president’s businesses; and assertions of invented presidential privileges to prevent congressional oversight.
Republicans have been okay with all this, presumably because they’re getting what they want on policy. Or perhaps out of pure partisanship. Or maybe because they’re so deep in the conservative information-feedback loop that they’ve convinced themselves none of it is real. But they should be taking stock now of just how much lawlessness they’re willing to tolerate. At this point, it looks like the whistleblower’s story involves Trump attempting to offer U.S. policy favors to Ukraine in exchange for dirt on former Vice President Joe Biden.
I’ve said all along that there’s a middle ground where the evidence may justify impeachment and removal of the president, but not demand it. Well, the evidence has long since established that impeachment is justified. Now we’re tiptoeing up to the line where it demands removal. At some point, we may wind up clearly over that line by any reasonable definition. If Republicans choose to stick with Trump then, he’ll correctly conclude that he’s above the law.
Democrats can’t do much about this by themselves. Sure, they can attempt to convince the public that Trump’s actions demonstrate that he’s unfit for office, and it’s reasonable to consider every method of doing so, including a partisan impeachment ending in a party-line acquittal in the Senate. They should also continue their investigations, even though much of the case against Trump has been public from the beginning.
Aaron Balke of WAPO argues that “Ukraine being the focus of Trump’s whistleblower complaint is particularly ominous.”. We knew Trump felt that asking other nations for help with his political aspirations was something he was still willing to do. He trusts other spy agencies over our own. He outright announced it in an interview for ABC back in June. Well, instead of putting himself in debt to some one like Putin, he’s blackmailing a struggling democracy into doing it like you would assume a Mafioso Don would do.
That phone call took place July 25, and for a host of reasons — and depending on the substance of the complaint — it could spell real trouble for Trump and his supporters.
So, the military aid package was just okayed by the Trump administration. The UK’s Independent had this information yesterday: “Zelensky defends relationship with US after Trump accused of pushing Ukraine to meddle in 2020 election. Ukraine’s new president insists that relations are ‘very good’ with the US and that there will be a meeting ‘soon’” All I can say at this point is meeting? MEETING?
The former professional comedian insisted his relationship with the former reality TV star was “very good” and that he was “sure we will have a meeting in the White House”.
But the $250m (£280m) of arms for Ukrainian forces, which are confronting Russian backed separatists, has been enmeshed in a bitter battle between the US president and his opponents over accusations that he has tried to manipulate it for underhand political reasons.
The Trump administration had in fact suspended the “Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative”, only agreeing to unblock it after rising bipartisan clamour from congress.
The ostensible reason for the hold-up was to ensure that it tallied with US interests.
The real reason, claim critics, was to pressure the Ukrainian government to target Joe Biden – the possible Democrat candidate for next year’s election – through an investigation into corruption allegations against his son.
Members of the Trump administration have claimed that Mr Biden, then Barack Obama’s vice president, had pressured the Ukrainian authorities to drop an investigation into Burisma, an energy company operating in the country, on which his son Hunter was a board member.
The claims against Mr Biden have been denied to a number of news organisations, including The Independent, by Ukrainian and western European officials.
Three Democrat-controlled house committees – Foreign Affairs, Intelligence and Government Reform – have announced that they would investigate whether a host of ethical and legal rules have been violated
So, yet another hearing that the Trump Rule of Lawlessness will sputter along while the public will likely not view it. We thought it was likely being held up after Congress appropriated because it was to help Ukraine confront Russia and of course Trump’s still Putin’s fuckboi. But, it was even more venal than that and typical of what the head of a mobster family would do. Please, take care of this little problem first and then we’ll be glad to fund your little struggle against invasion dear ally.
So, I really did think I was going home last night to get information on today’s Climate Strike which is going on as planned.
I could go on about NY Mayor Bill DiBlasio who finally threw in the towel on his lifeless presidential campaign today. I did enjoy hearing him speak when I saw him in July but it took him this long to realize he was’t going anywhere.
But, I’ll end with a NYT op ed by the two Political Scientists who wrote the book “How Democracies Die”. It’s called “Why Republicans Play Dirty. They fear that if they stick to the rules, they will lose everything. Their behavior is a threat to democratic stability.”
The greatest threat to our democracy today is a Republican Party that plays dirty to win.
The party’s abandonment of fair play was showcased spectacularly in 2016, when the United States Senate refused to allow President Barack Obama to fill the Supreme Court vacancy created by Justice Antonin Scalia’s death in February. While technically constitutional, the act — in effect, stealing a Court seat — hadn’t been tried since the 19th century. It would be bad enough on its own, but the Merrick Garland affair is part of a broader pattern.
Republicans across the country seem to have embraced an “any means necessary” strategy to preserve their power. After losing the governorship in North Carolina in 2016 and Wisconsin in 2018, Republicans used lame duck legislative sessions to push through a flurry of bills stripping power from incoming Democratic governors. Last year, when the Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down a Republican gerrymandering initiative, conservative legislators attempted to impeach the justices. And back in North Carolina, Republican legislators used a surprise vote last week to ram through an override of Gov. Roy Cooper’s budget — while most Democrats were told no vote would be held and so attended a 9/11 commemoration. This is classic “constitutional hardball,” behavior that, while technically legal, uses the letter of the law to subvert its spirit.
Constitutional hardball has accelerated under the Trump administration. President Trump’s declaration of a “national emergency” to divert public money toward a border wall — openly flouting Congress, which voted against building a wall — is a clear example. And the Supreme Court’s conservative majority, manufactured by an earlier act of hardball, may uphold the constitutionality of the president’s autocratic behavior.
Constitutional hardball can damage and even destroy a democracy. Democratic institutions only function when power is exercised with restraint. When parties abandon the spirit of the law and seek to win “by any means necessary,” politics often descends into institutional warfare. Governments in Hungary and Turkey have used court packing and other “legal” maneuvers to lock in power and ensure that subsequent abuse is ruled “constitutional.” And when one party engages in constitutional hardball, its rivals often feel compelled to respond in a tit-for-tat fashion, triggering an escalating conflict that is difficult to undo. As the collapse of democracy in Germany and Spain in the 1930s and Chile in the 1970s makes clear, these escalating conflicts can end in tragedy.
Go read the rest. It’s worth your time.
So, I’m going to drink more coffee and try to figure out why about 1/3 of the US population has lost any sense of patriotism and loyalty to the Constitution. While Colin Kapernick kneeled during singing a song that not one Founding Father ever heard they got upset. While Donald Trump pisses away articles and clauses of the Constitution they wrote, this group of people acts like it’s no big deal.
I’m now at a loss for words.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Outrageous and untrue conspiracy theories have followed wherever Hillary Clinton has ventured. This week appears to be one major attack of the killer gossip for nearly all our usual suspects. For once, Hillary is not the center of any of them. I’m just going to go with all of this even though my better wisdom beings tell me that it’s a lot of idle chatter.
So who doesn’t like a good scandal every once and a while?
The National Enquirer which is well known for breaking the seal on famous extra marital adventures of pols like John Edwards started following the adventures of lying–and possibly cheating–Ted. Yesterday’s headlines spun stories of five women who could actually hold their noses long enough to have sex with this really sorry excuse for a human being. The most self-righteous “family values” pols are frequently the biggest hypocrites when it comes to adventurous sex lives. So, while Cruz is so vile it’s hard to believe he could get one woman let alone a number of them, I’m going to go with the story here. Now, the author of this is like 1 degree of separation from a Trump crony but still, the intrepid Enquirer usually brings home the bacon and Ted Cruz is a pig among men. How much money does it take to get a lady to bed this dud?
“Private detectives are digging into at least five affairs Ted Cruz supposedly had,” claimed a Washington insider.
“The leaked details are an attempt to destroy what’s left of his White House campaign!”
The ENQUIRER reports that Cruz’s claimed mistresses include a foxy political consultant and a high-placed D.C. attorney!
There are also whispers of other intimate late-night sessions Ted has had in Washington — and even a wild sex worker makes the cut!
Despite being partially-obscured, three of the five women alleged to have been involved with Cruz have already been identified: Katrina Pierson, Sarah Isgur Flores and Amanda Carpenter. This story was already in the works at Breitbart, as Allum Bokhari had it back in February but was not permitted to run with it. The current timing strikes me as intriguing given the fact that Donald Trump already warned the Cruz campaign that there would be reprisals for their advertised attack on his wife Melania.
It also looks as if the Rubio campaign had the dirt on Cruz, but sat on it in order to keep him viable against Donald Trump.
So, what would this kind of story be without a link to a right wing conspiracy site? Uh, you can go there if you want because it’s rather interesting actually.
Interestingly Sarah Isgur Flores, in addition to being a well known political operative, was also the campaign manager for Carly Fiorina. And that little factoid brings an earlier discovery into question; where the Super-PAC for Ted Cruz (Keep the Promise) actually sent the Super-PAC for Carly Fiorina (Carly for America “CfA”) $500,000 (link).
Alabama’s governor has also be caught up in a sex scandal. More-Pious-than-Thou Republican Governor Robert Bentley’s wife has filed for divorce over the release of a some what juicy but not as juicy as Anthony Wiener’s sexting audio tape. Ah, a Republican, their dick, and their mistress! What could be more apropos during the election season!
A day after shocking audio tapes revealed Gov. Robert Bentley made inappropriate comments of a sexual nature to his chief political advisor, questions over the future of the Alabama governor remain.
In the wake of accusations by former Alabama Law Enforcement Agency chief Spencer Collier, who Bentley fired Tuesday, the governor apologized for comments made to advisor Rebekah Caldwell Mason but denied having a physical affair with the married mother and his former communications director.
On Tuesday, Bentley announced the firing of ALEA chief Collier, who said he learned of his dismissal on social media. Collier later announced he had seen and heard evidence of an affair between the married governor and Mason. Collier’s statements were the first on-the-record comments regarding the governor’s relationship with his advisor. Rumors of the affair began circulating shortly after Dianne, Gov. Bentley’s wife of 50 years, filed for divorce in the summer of 2015.
Bentley held a Wednesday press conference to deny a sexual relationship with Mason but apologized for what he described as “inappropriate comments.”
“I am truly sorry and I accept full responsibility,” Bentley said, adding, however, he had broken no laws.
Donald Trump continues his absolute scandalous behavior with women. He can’t stop saying sexist and misogynist things. His Twitter account is a trifecta of terror against women. He’s said horrid things about Hillary Clinton already. It can only get worse as the election wears on and wears on all of us.
The altercation underscores the striking nastiness of the GOP primary race and the uncomfortable gender politics surrounding Trump, who has a long history of making incendiary remarks about women and their appearance. Trump has shown little reluctance in attacking his female rivals — or some of his rivals’ spouses — in ways that strike many as sexist or demeaning, and many fear that the insults are a harbinger of the gutter rhetoric to come if he faces Clinton in November.
Trump has called Clinton “very shrill,” belittles her for a lack of stamina and energy, and late last year jabbed her and husband, Bill Clinton, for the latter’s marital indiscretions while he was president. In another instance, Trump said Hillary Clinton “got schlonged” in her 2008 primary fight against then-Sen. Barack Obama.
“I have some very real concerns should he become the nominee. I think it would be catastrophic for our party,” said GOP strategist Katie Packer, who leads the Our Principles PAC, an anti-Trump super PAC. “Half of the reason why I’m fighting so hard to stop Donald Trump is because I think he’s a walking, talking stereotype of a sexist misogynistic pig.”
Polling shows Trump sliding among women in recent months, hurting the GOP’s already shaky position with that demographic. Trump’s favorability numbers have decreased 10 points among women nationwide since November, to 23 percent, while his unfavorable number among women has jumped to 75 percent from 64 percent, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll taken this month.
Ben Carson continues to amaze his with statements that seem to come from a parallel universe. He’s taking credit now for Trump “seeming more presidential”. I’m not sure what’s the bigger lie. Is it his characterization of his role or Trump?
Ben Carson says he’s rubbing off on Donald Trump and has convinced him — at least in flashes — to act more presidential.
“I’ve had talks about being presidential, about toning it down a bit, appealing to a broader group of people,” Carson said in a phone interview on Friday morning. “You did notice that he wasn’t nearly as caustic in the last debate. People appreciated that. It’s a matter of cultivating and capitalizing on that.”
But Carson acknowledged he couldn’t hold back Trump’s instincts forever. Trump provoked another food fight this week when he accused Ted Cruz of disseminating a racy magazine photo of Trump’s wife, Melania, and threatened to “spill the beans” on Cruz’s wife, Heidi. He went further, retweeting a supporter’s unflattering photo of Heidi Cruz, prompting Cruz to lash out and call Trump a “sniveling coward.”
Carson said the moment is part of a broader craving by the public for gladiatorial combat among politicians.
“You know, when I was in the race, that was what I complained about constantly, the fact that it was getting into personalities,” he said. “We have all these serious things. Nobody wanted to hear that. We want to hear juicy stuff … Maybe it’s just human nature.”
This is the same pious dude that’s under suspicion of a quid pro quo for throwing his support behind STrump. STrump also appears to have plagiarized an Op Ed of Carson. I guess cheating is all in the Republican Family.
After Ben Carson on Monday said that he discussed with Donald Trump a possible role in his administration, Carson on Wednesday said that the two “did not discuss any quid pro quo.”
CNN’s Erin Burnett asked Carson on Wednesday about his discussions with Trump and what kind of role he would expect in the administration if Trump were elected president.
“First of all, we did not discuss any quid pro quo. There seems to be a great desire by many people to try and make it seem that way,” Carson said in response. “But we did agree that we’re both extremely interested in saving America — particularly for the next generations, and that we will continue to work together in the process of doing that.”
During a Monday interview with Newsmax’s Steve Malzberg, Carson said he would be involved in an “advisory capacity” when Malzberg asked if he would be part of Trump’s administration. When pressed for details, Carson said he could not share more since nothing was final.
Burnett also asked Carson about a report showing that Trump appeared to plagiarize parts of an op-ed written by Carson. The retired neurosurgeon seemed unfazed by the potential plagiarism.
“I would say that many of the people who worked for me previously are now working for Donald Trump, so that doesn’t surprise me at all,” Carson said. “Let me put it this way: it doesn’t bother me at all.”
Well, at least it gets our minds off Benghazi!!!! and Email!!!!
So, let’s look at a scandal here of the Bernmeister. He’s not to be left off our hypocrite of the day list.
Dozens of veterans died while waiting for medical care at Phoenix Veterans Health Administration facilities, a scandal CNN broke in the spring of 2014. The imbroglio spread with reports of secret waiting lists at other VA hospitals, possibly leading to dozens more preventable deaths.
He held one-sixth of the hearings on oversight that his House of Representatives counterpart held. Republicans griped that they had made multiple requests for more oversight hearings, but received no response. A news host even challenged Sanders as the scandal erupted, saying he sounded more like a lawyer for the VA than the man responsible for overseeing it.
“We feel that he did not live up to his responsibilities as SVAC chairman to provide oversight into this. He keeps hiding behind the mantle [of the title]. And yes, he did pass the $15 billion piece of legislation, but that’s… akin to closing the barn door after the chickens have escaped,” said Matthew Miller, the chief policy officer of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America.
By the time the scandal broke, Sanders had been chairman for more than a year. While the House VA committee held 42 hearings on VA oversight, the Senate VA committee chaired by Sanders held only about seven hearings on the matter.
“The House needed a partner in the Senate to help flesh out the problems at the VA, and unfortunately Bernie Sanders was not that partner. Jeff Miller and his committee were the ones who pursued this and ultimately uncovered [the VA scandal]… only when the VA scandal broke was when [Sanders] ultimately decided to do oversight hearings,” said Dan Caldwell, the vice president for political and legislative action of Concerned Veterans for America.
Ah, Saint Bernie! We know ye far too well!
Well, that’s something completely different from me!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?