Friday Reads: Scoring points with the lives of Federal WorkersPosted: December 28, 2018 Filed under: Afternoon Reads | Tags: emoluments case, Mueller investigation, Scrooged, Trump Government Shutdown 44 Comments
Good Afternoon Sky Dancers!
There’s nothing more despicable in a pol than scoring political points by wrecking the lives of public servants. The Federal Budget discussion by KKKremlin Caligula has increasingly become shows of strength based on wrecking lives. Nothing could be more true than today’s sociopathic display by Cadet Bonespurs on the government shutdown despite agreement within Congress to avoid that outcome. Trump owns this.
Today’s headlines show the abject callousness of the Sociopath-in-Chief. Via Truthout: “Trump Administration Suggests Unpaid Federal Workers Do Odd Jobs to Cover Rent.” Scoring political points from your ever shrinking base by creating stress in peoples’ lives is perhaps the most callous action by a President that only bows to pressure by despots and prefers all others just carry on. The most outrageous things recently have been his inferences that it’s workers that are democrats that have been furloughed and so, who cares? And, that most federal workers support the wall.
With the partial government shutdown expected to extend into January with no funding agreement in sight, the Trump administration suggested on Thursday that the hundreds of thousands of unpaid federal workers who have been furloughed could do odd jobs and chores for their landlords to help cover rent.
In a tweet on Thursday, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM)—led by Margaret Weichert, whom President Donald Trump picked to head the agency in October—offered a Word document featuring sample letters purportedly aimed at helping unpaid federal workers negotiate with landlords, mortgage companies, and creditors amid the government shutdown, which was caused by Trump’s demand for $5 billion in border wall funding.
“I will keep in touch with you to keep you informed about my income status and I would like to discuss with you the possibility of trading my services to perform maintenance (e.g. painting, carpentry work) in exchange for partial rent payments,” reads the sample letter to a landlord.
Thursday that there has been no progress toward reopening the government—meaning the shutdown that has left hundreds of thousands of workers without pay will continue into the new year.
“There are countless stories of families’ holidays being upended by Trump’s obstinance causing the shutdown, as so many of them live paycheck-to-paycheck. Then OPM comes through with this tone-deaf tweet telling them to check with their ‘personal attorney,’” progressive activist Jordan Uhl noted, highlighting the federal workers’ personal accounts of how they have been harmed by the lapse in government funding.
“It’s shameful,” journalist Celeste Pewter wrote of the fact that workers are being forced to “appeal to the goodwill of creditors, landlords, and mortgage companies” to get by.
Yes, Ebeneezer Trump did not get a visitation from any spirits except those from his rumored Adderall abuse. What is the Democratic Party Strategy? This is analysis at Politico by Rachel Bade and John Bresnahan.
House Democrats — increasingly convinced they’re winning the shutdown fight with President Donald Trump — are plotting ways to reopen the government while denying the president even a penny more for his border wall when they take power Jan. 3.
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and her top lieutenants are considering several options that would refuse Trump the $5 billion he’s demanded for the wall and send hundreds of thousands of furloughed federal employees back to work, according to senior Democratic sources.
While the strategy is fluid, House Democrats hope to pass a funding bill shortly after members are sworn in. They believe that would put pressure on Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to follow suit. And they’re confident that their political leverage will only increase the longer the shutdown lasts — a notion that some GOP leaders privately agree with.
Indeed, the specter of a lengthy shutdown could hurt Trump’s already damaged image more than it would Democrats — especially because he claimed ownership of the crisis two weeks ago. Democrats believe the shutdown battle — combined with the volatility in financial markets and special counsel Robert Mueller closing in on Trump — exacerbates the appearance of a cornered president acting out of his own political self-interest instead of the needs of the American public
I kinda got a kick out of this analysis from The Villager. This is from the pen of Max Burbank.
At this festive time of year, I find myself wondering just how certain major power players square their moral values with the widely accepted standards embodied in the Christmas classics.
Does Mitch McConnell figure Mr. Potter’s big mistake in “It’s a Wonderful Life” was not running for Senate and using raw legislative power to crush George Bailey under his boot like a Socialist roach?
Does Paul Ryan role-play King Moonracer from the Rankin/Bass version of “Rudolph,” establishing an Ayn Randian objectivist paradise on the Island of Misfit Toys, furtively pleasuring himself while imagining stripping Charlie in-the-Box and Spotted Elephant of Obamacare?
When the specter of Richard Nixon is standing right behind Trump, doing his best Marley’s Ghost imitation by rattling the chains he forged in life and moaning about how all mankind should have been his business, Trump is all, like, “Where the hell is my Diet Coke? I hadda push the button twice!”
“No, NO!” Nixon wails. “I’m Marley. You’re Scrooge! Metaphorically! Don’t you get it?”
“Not me,” says Trump. “Scrooge might have been rich, but he didn’t live rich. I got my own courses to play golf on every weekend. I get two, maybe three scoops of ice cream on the most beautiful piece of chocolate cake you’ve ever seen in a restaurant with my name in big letters on the door! I don’t need a change of heart.”
It has got be downright hard to be a Republican at Christmas. It must require a mental à la carte menu featuring choice helpings of cognitive dissonance, mental compartmentalization, deep-seated selfishness, evil, and side dish of good old American “I don’t give a crap.”
So, since he’s already basically shut down the Federal Government, he’s moving on to shutting down the Southern Border. Notice, he doesn’t seem to have a problem with those huge number of Visa-overstaying Canadians. But, he does have a problem with the Brown people seeking asylum to the south despite the huge numbers of Americans that don’t feel the border wall is a priority.
Is shutting down a 1,954 mile border even possible? If so, will we start seeing boat lifts into the Gulf South ala the old Cuban days?
This is from The Hill. And, wouldn’t that just blow up his NAFTA thingie? And just what we need, a good boat lift into Brownsville, Texas!
President Trump on Friday threatened to “close the Southern Border entirely” if Democrats do not agree to provide money to “finish” building a wall on the Mexican border.
Trump made the threat as a partial government shutdown enters its seventh day with no end in sight.
The shutdown began on Saturday after Democrats rejected demands from Trump that $5 billion be included for the wall in a measure to keep the government open.
“We will be forced to close the Southern Border entirely if the Obstructionist Democrats do not give us the money to finish the Wall & also change the ridiculous immigration laws that our Country is saddled with,” the president tweeted.
He also criticized past presidents and Congresses over the nation’s current immigration laws.
“Hard to believe there was a Congress & President who would approve!”
Reuters reports in its poll that more Americans blame Trump than the Dems for the current shutdown. That usually doesn’t play well in any political cycle.
More Americans blame President Donald Trump than congressional Democrats for the partial U.S. government shutdown, according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll released on Thursday, as the closure stretched into its sixth day with no end in sight.
Forty-seven percent of adults hold Trump responsible, while 33 percent blame Democrats in Congress, according to the Dec. 21-25 poll, conducted mostly after the shutdown began. Seven percent of Americans blamed congressional Republicans.
The shutdown was triggered by Trump’s demand, largely opposed by Democrats and some lawmakers from his own Republican Party, that taxpayers provide him with $5 billion to help pay for a wall that he wants to build along the U.S.-Mexico border. Its total estimated cost is $23 billion.
Again, we ask in vain, “Wasn’t Mexico supposed to pay for this thing Trumplets?”. And, they want us to pay for it given the tax break that just went to the Richies and the Corps? We’re not doing a great job of living pay check to pay check here in the land of the indebted as it is. We all don’t have rich, slum lord dads and Russian oligarchs to bail us out. This is from Danielle Paquette at WAPO>
What do professors, real estate agents, farmers, business executives, computer programmers and store clerks have in common?
They’re not immune to the harsh reality of living paycheck to paycheck, according to dozens of people who responded to a Washington Post inquiry on Twitter.
They’re millennials, Gen Xers and baby boomers. They work in big cities and rural towns. They’ve tried to save — but rent, child care, student loans and medical bills get in the way.
National data on the paycheck-to-paycheck experience is flimsy, but a recent report from the Federal Reserve spotlights the prevalence of extra-tight budgets: Four in 10 adults say they couldn’t produce $400 in an emergency without sliding into debt or selling something, according to the 2017 figures.
The partial government shutdown, which began last Friday and is temporarily halting pay for some 800,000 federal workers, has touched off a heated discussion on Twitter about what it means to get by in the United States. (President Trump warned this closure could “last a very long time” if Congress doesn’t meet his demands for billions of dollars for a border wall.)
Even brief income lapses can spell disaster for some households.
“My husband is a Park Ranger in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park, and he had to sign his furlough papers,” one woman tweeted. ”We have a 4 yr. old and a 4-month-old, and we don’t know when his next check will come. Mortgage is due, Christmas 2 days away.”
“Broke my lease to accept new fed job for which I have to attend 7 months of training in another state,” another Twitter user said. (He later deleted the tweet). “Training canceled with shutdown. Homeless. Can’t afford short(?)-term housing/have to work full-time for no pay/returning Christmas presents.”
But never fear! There’s always taxpayer money for the ‘right cause’. This is from The Rolling Stone: “Taxpayers Are Subsidizing Mar-a-Lago’s New Year’s Eve Party Despite Trump’s Shutdown. The president doesn’t seem to care about the 800,000 workers who won’t be receiving paychecks during the government shutdown.” Ho Ho Ho! Whose the ho?
Though Trump’s decision to shut down the government may keep him in Washington for the holidays, it won’t keep taxpayers from footing a heavy portion of the bill for Mar-a-Lago’s New Year’s Eve party. As was noted by Quartz this week, government spending data shows that the Secret Service paid Grimes Events & Party Tents Inc. of Delray Beach, Florida, $54,020 on December 19th for “TENT RENTAL FOR MAL.” An employee of the company confirmed to Quartz that it is providing tents for the annual for-profit bash at Trump’s “Winter White House” in Palm Beach.
Americans chipping in to help Trump and the Palm Beach elite turn over their calendars isn’t unique to this year. The Secret Service spent just over $26,000 on an array of accessories for Mar-a-Lago’s New Year’s Eve party in 2017, which was attended by both Trump and Melania. Though it’s never not going to be a conflict of interest when the president has taxpayers subsidize a for-profit party at his private club, $54,000 for tents feels especially egregious given that the government is currently running under a partial shutdown that has deprived approximately 800,000 federal workersof their paychecks.
Ever feel like we get scrooged every day? Which brings me to this.
From Dylan Scott at VOX: “Why the government shutdown is good legal news for Trump. The president’s lawyers cited the government shutdown to win a delay in the emoluments case against him.”
President Donald Trump is using the government shutdown to try to force Democrats to fund his Mexican border wall. But there is another, more personal benefit for the president that he probably won’t be mentioning anytime soon: An important appeal in the lawsuit over foreign payments to his Washington, DC, hotel and other businesses has been put on hold.
Trump is being sued by the District of Columbia and Maryland because they say he is violating the Constitution’s “emoluments” clause, which forbids federal officials from accepting emoluments, a term for gifts or payments for services or labor from foreign governments or US states.
The states have won several important procedural decisions, but federal attorneys have filed a number of appeals to slow them down, most notably seeking a freeze on any further discovery — like subpoenas the states might pursue to get information on foreign officials’ stays at the Trump International Hotel in DC.
Now the Justice Department lawyers representing Trump have secured a delay in the ongoing appeals. They cited — wait for it — the current government shutdown, now in its sixth day.
Grifters gotta grift. Am I right?
So, let’s look forward to the New Year’s and this news from CNN: ‘House Democrats scooping up staff, lawyers to power Trump investigations.”
The House Judiciary Committee is looking for a few good lawyers.
A recent committee job posting reviewed by CNN asked for legislative counsels with a variety of expertise: “criminal law, immigration law, constitutional law, intellectual property law, commercial and administrative law (including antitrust and bankruptcy), or oversight work.”
The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee needs lawyers, too, posting jobs for “executive branch investigative counsel.”
The advertisements give a window into the Democratic recruiting that’s ramped up ahead of the party gaining subpoena power for the first time in eight years when it takes over the House in January.
While Democrats publicly talk up their interest in focusing on legislative priorities like health care and voting rights — not to mention ending the ongoing partial government shutdown — they are quietly preparing for what will likely be the largest congressional investigation of a sitting president in recent memory. Party leaders and committee chairs have spent months ironing out potential targets, from President Donald Trump’s taxes and business dealings to the conduct of current and former Cabinet members.
To handle all this investigative work, House Democrats are expected to double the number of their staffers. Though they can’t officially hire anyone until the new Congress is seated, plans are well underway, with House members saying that candidates — especially those with specific investigative skills, from money laundering to contracting — are coming from all directions.
I don’t know about Santa, but I do believe in Mueller and his lawyers. I also am pretty sure those wise men and women on the horizon are bearing gifts of Congressional subpoenas. Let’s all be merry about that!
So, what’s on your reading and blogging list today?