Nel's New Day

May 14, 2020

GOP Goal: Destroy Institutions Upholding the Rule of Law

Last Tuesday was a  busy day for the three branches of government: the Supreme Court heard arguments from Dictator Donald Trump’s  (DDT) lawyers that he is above the rule of law; a Senate committee heard testimony about the dangers of DDT’s reopening the nation despite the prevalence of COVID-19; and a federal judge responded to DDT’s fixer AG Bill Barr about dropping a guilty plea for lying about his attempts to negotiate with Russia without government approval while Barack Obama was president—an illegal action. In all three cases, Republicans have tried to exonerate DDT as his actions break the rule of law.

Supreme Court: 

In an electronic session, SCOTUS justices heard almost four hours of arguments about whether DDT is above the law in his lawsuits against releasing subpoenaed information regarding his financial records. DDT’s lawyer Jay Sekulow asserted DDT is “a branch of the government” and therefore cannot be investigated for the IRS’ handling of his tax returns, allegations of foreign interference in the 2016 election, and his falsification of assets for loans and taxes. 

Sekulow also argued that DDT is so busy he cannot take time to deal with the lawsuits because hey would distract from his presidential duties. DDT supposedly watches seven hours of cable TV each day, not going to the Oval Office until noon for his brief daily briefing instead of early in the morning as his predecessors did. In the afternoon he phones some governors and world leaders before his coronavirus press briefings (aka campaign rallies), but most of those briefings have disappeared. DDT rarely attendings the meetings of the coronavirus task force, ignoring the prepared remarks until immediately before he reads them. When DDT is allowed out of the White House, he plays golf and campaigns for his re-election. In responding to Sekulow’s argument that DDT is busy, Rachel Maddow described DDT’s complete schedule for last Monday.  

President Bill Clinton also argued for the Paula Jones’ 1998 lawsuit to be deferred, but the Supreme Court unanimously agreed Jones could pursue her lawsuit. The only dispensation for Clinton concerned when and where he should respond to demands for dispositions and other information. Justice Neil Gorsuch asked for the difference between the two cases. Sekulow replied that allowing the New York investigation would open the floodgates to up to 2,300 local prosecutors instituting probes.

Sekulow alleged that a “criminal process targeting the president” violates the Constitution. Both Justices Brett Kavanaugh and Samuel Alito seemed to side with Sekulow: Kavanaugh compared financial records to medical ones that probably wouldn’t be given to Congress, and Alito wanted a “limit” on the House’s subpoena power to keep from harassment of a president. DDT’s lawyers frequently used the term “harassment,” ignoring the House’s legitimate purpose to determine DDT’s conflicts of interest for the purpose of strengthening laws.

Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg disagreed with DOJ’s principal deputy solicitor general Jeffrey Wall when he questioned the motives of the Congress and argued that Congress needs to explain what laws it might write in order to substantiate a subpoena. She told Wall:

“To impugn Congress’s motive, even the policeman on the beat, if he stops a car and gives the reason that the car went through a stop sign, we don’t allow an investigation into what the subjective motive really was. So, here, you’re—you’re distrusting Congress more than the cop on the beat.”

Since DDT was inaugurated, he has rejected all subpoenas from the House and told all officials that they should not testify at hearings, the most recently everyone on the coronavirus task force. Justice Elena Kagan said that DDT would “essentially make it impossible for Congress to perform oversight and carry out its functions where the presidency is concerned.” As DDT uses political motivation for all his actions, he accuses others of the same.

DDT has consistently claimed he is above the law because of Article II in the U.S. Constitution, yet the constitution has no language establishing executive immunity. The framers of the document specifically prohibited secret bribes, a directive which requires oversight over the president. In discussing the powers of the presidency, James Madison argued that it be “confined” and warned against the “Evils of Elective Monarchies.” The first Congress in “the decision of 1789” empowered lawmakers as whistleblowers to block an executive’s corruption establishing a “throne on the ruins of your visionary republic” and “secure his election perpetual.” The Judiciary Act of 1789 held executive officials accountable instead of above the law.

Much as I am reluctant to be optimistic about anything connected to DDT, top-notch legal minds think that DDT may lose his crown—and his tax returns. Even conservative justice Clarence Thomas, who spoke during the second case in several years, asked Sekulow if the authors of the Constitution explicitly endorsed total criminal immunity for a president. Sekulow tried the spin that the idea had been “discussed” but finally said “no.” A major theory is that the New York case will be successful but that the House’s subpoenas may fail. The Supreme Court decision is final; DDT will have no higher court for an appeal.

Senate:

At exactly the same time the Supreme Court heard the three cases about DDT’s financial records, the Senate conducted a hearing about COVID-19 with four health experts. Dr. Anthony Fauci made the biggest splash when he testified that the true death toll from the virus is likely higher than reports and that attempts to a return to normal will cause major spikes in infections. Later he contradicted DDT’s assertion of virus being “well contained” by saying, “If you think we have it completely under control, we don’t.” Others testifying were CDC Director Robert Redfield, FDA Commissioner Stephen Hahn, and Assistant Secretary for Health Adm. Brett Giroir.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) attacked Fauci for saying that “the consequences could be really serious” if local economies open too quickly. Paul said, “Dr. Fauci, I don’t think you’re the end-all.” Fauci answered by saying he “never made myself out to be the end-all,” that he’s “a scientist, a physician, and a public health official.” The senator wants all children to go back to school in the fall and accused Fauci of keeping them out of school. Before the hearing, Fauci had said nothing about schools’ reopening, but he answered Paul with a concern about the symptoms of a mysterious inflammatory syndrome now appearing in children and thought to be linked to COVID-19. DDT said that Fauci’s cautionary approach are “not an acceptable answer.”

Justice Department/Federal Judges:

The third major event on Tuesday occurred when a federal judge blocked AG Bill Barr from dropping the case against Michael Flynn who had confessed to lying to the FBI. U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan put the DOJ request on hold until people and organizations can argue about Flynn’s exoneration. Earlier, Flynn repeated that he was guilty of lying, no one had coerced him to plead guilty, and he wouldn’t be taking back his guilty plea. Then he did. Almost 2,000 former DOJ employees representing both political parties who have called for Barr’s resignation may now be involved in the court case, and the proceedings will be public, complete with witnesses and evidence. And just before the November election.

Sullivan also asked John Gleeson, a retired federal judge, to investigate the possibility of Flynn’s perjury. Part of Gleeson’s record is putting John Gotti, a late mob boss, behind bars. Barr, supposedly a prosecutor, will be acting like a defense attorney by claiming that Flynn shouldn’t have been interviewed in an investigation; thousands of former DOJ employees accuse Barr of politicizing the department for DDT’s wishes. Last Monday, Gleeson co-authored a commentary article that states:

“The law provides that the court—not the executive branch—decides whether an indictment may be dismissed. The responsible exercise of that authority is particularly important here, where a defendant’s plea of guilty has already been accepted. Government motions to dismiss at this stage are virtually unheard of.”

The DOJ is part of the Executive branch of government. Former federal prosecutor Randall Eliason said the DOJ “cannot have it both ways.” By saying Flynn didn’t lie to the FBI, it’s saying that he lied to the judge. Perjury is a reason for a new indictment.

Mary McCord, acting assistant AG for national security at the DOJ from 2016 to 2017, wrote a piece for the New York Times titled, “Bill Barr Twisted My Words in Dropping the Flynn Case. Here’s the Truth.” She asserted:

“The F.B.I.’s interview of Mr. Flynn was constitutional, lawful, and for a legitimate counterintelligence purpose.”

The commentary clearly refutes Barr’s spin for his request to drop the Flynn case. She quotes Georgetown law professors Neal K. Katyal and Joshua A. Geltzer’s warning that Barr’s dismissal “embeds into official U.S. policy an extremist view of law enforcement as the enemy of the American people.” McCord points out Barr’s dismissal was far more than protecting Flynn. Instead, DDT “is discrediting the fundamental institutions that establish the rule of law.”

All that in just one day.

World confirmed COVID-19 cases are over 4.5 million and deaths are over 300,000. In the U.S., deaths are 86,912 on May 14, 2020, out of 1,457,593 confirmed cases. Testing is up to 32,000 per one million people in the U.S., an average of under 100,000 tests per day since he CDC developed its test. DDT prefers less testing. 
 
 

January 22, 2020

Dems Begin Impeachment Case

Filed under: Immigration,Uncategorized — trp2011 @ 7:56 PM
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As the impeachment trial started yesterday with an exhausting 13-hour session, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) crowed about the way that his Senate minions also obstructed justice. His most revealing statement—thus far—was when he bragged:

“Honestly, we have all the material. They don’t have the material.”

DDT couldn’t have been talking about the “material” that his legal team had because they had no defense to the evidence presented by the House managers as they passed motions, including requests for “first-hand” documents and witnesses. All ten motions were tabled, nine of them by 53 votes, the number of GOP senators. One motion, the one to have live testimony instead of videotaped depositions, received one GOP vote, that from Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), but was still tabled.

The lack of materials on DDT’s legal team table [top center] compared to the piles of papers in front of House managers [center] indicates the lack of evidence. These are some of the lies told by Pat Cipollone, Jay Sekolow, and minor DDT team members:

False Claim: Republicans didn’t have access to key information during House impeachment inquiry because they weren’t allowed into the secure facility where congressional member review classified information about the impeachment inquiry. Fact: GOP House members not only had access to the area, but many of them also used it. The dozens of House Republicans who stormed the area were among 48 members of one of the three committees taking part in the process of inquiry. 

False Claim: Rep. Adam Schiff “manufactured” DDT’s comments during the July 25 call to Zelensky. Fact: For dramatic effect, Schiff was clearly paraphrasing the call transcript that had already been made public and said that his summary was “shorn of its rambling character and in not so many words.”

False Claim: House Democrats delayed the delivery of articles of impeachment longer than they did. Fact: McConnell postponed the trial until January.

False Claim: DDT “was denied the right to cross-examine witnesses” during the House inquiry. Fact: DDT was invited to himself or assign lawyers question witnesses during the open hearing of the impeachment inquiry. The person who made this false claim was invited to question House witnesses.

False Claim: DDT denied all subpoenas because of executive privilege, his right that he can keep his sensitive conversations with staff secret. Fact: DDT has never invoked executive privilege. 

False Claim: The transcript for DDT’s phone call to Zelensky was released. Fact: DDT’s version of the transcript was released; the real transcript is hidden in a highly secure computer server.

False Claim: Security assistance funds were not mentioned in the July 25 call between DDT and President Zelensky. Fact: Zelensky thanked DDT for the Javelin antitank weapons and wants to order more. DDT responded, “I have a favor to ask, though.”

False Claim: House Democrats have done nothing but attack DDT. Fact: The House has sent over 400 bills, 275 of them bipartisan, to the Senate, bills that Majority Leader McConnell refused to forward to the floor of the Senate. It has also passed a budget and a trade deal with Mexico and Canada.

False Claim: House Democrats started trying to impeach DDT from the day that they came to Congress in 2018. Fact: A few Democrats talked about impeachment last year, but the impeachment inquiry did not start until a whistleblower reported that people reported DDT was trying to extort Ukraine for his personal election gain.

False Claim: Other presidents have withheld aid for foreign countries just as DDT did. Fact: DDT withheld aid for his personal political benefit not for the good of the country.

As Schiff pointed out, DDT’s legal team has no argument on the merits so they “attack the House managers” for distraction. Regarding the GOP vote against demanding that DDT comply with subpoenas, Schiff pointed out that a vote for DDT means that Congress can never again demand subpoenas from any president for any issue.

Even the lawyer called by Republicans to defend their case in the House Judiciary Committee won’t support DDT’s current legal team’s statements. Jonathan Turley refused to swallow the myth that “abuse of power” is not actually an impeachable offense. He said that DDT and his defenders are making a “mistake by reducing the definition of impeachable conduct to the criminal code. It is an argument that is as politically unwise as it is constitutionally shortsighted.”

Despite her accusation that impeachment is a conflict of interest for senators running for president, Sen. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) illegally left the Senate trial to appear on the Fox network. One of the rules, set by Republicans, is that “Senators should plan to be in attendance at all times during the proceedings.” Breaking the rules is “punishable by imprisonment.” Blackburn said that the House should have heard from more witnesses in its proceedings if they wanted, ignoring the fact that DDT blocked their appearances even when some of them were subpoenaed.

To show how warped Blackburn’s reasoning is, DDT refuses to release 20 emails between Mick Mulvaney’s top aide Robert Blair and member of the OMB Michael Duffey about the freeze on the Ukrainian military aid package despite a court order that he do so. Blair and Duffey are two key witnesses with first-hand knowledge of the extortion along with chief-of-staff Mulvaney and former national security adviser John Bolton.

Today, even more GOP Senators broke McConnell’s rules: about 21, one-third of the total, wandered in and out walked out of the chamber during Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA) presented arguments, and others chatted during Rep. Jason Crow’s (D-CO) arguments. Some GOP senators, all jurors, said they left because they were bored. Sen. John Kennedy (R-LA) disagreed with how much his colleague know, saying that they are “hearing the prosecution’s case for the first time.” Not only can they not “do impartial justice,” they can’t even be courteous enough to stay to hear the information. Meanwhile 11 million people in the U.S. are watching the trial. 

Adding to the GOP arguments against impeachment such as “no crime,” so what, and “things happen,” law professors Richard W. Painter and Bandy X. Lee listed a fourth reason in an op-ed for Law & Crime:

“We believe that Donald John Trump should not, and cannot, be tried for impeachable offenses, as set forth by the House of Representatives, because of his apparent mental incapacities.” 

Lee is a Yale University professor in law and forensic psychiatry; Painter, who teaches law at the University of Minnesota, was the chief White House ethics counsel for George W. Bush. They cited DDT’s saying he didn’t know Lev Parnas when “mountains of evidence” show that he does and “Sharpiegate,” in which invented erroneous information on the path of Hurricane Dorian instead of admitting he made a mistake.

According to the authors, DDT’s “Twitter storms” demonstrate a “serious level of dysfunction.” The data shows that DDT’s state of mind makes it “unfathomably dangerous” for him to be “authorized to order the use of nuclear weapons.” In that mental state, he should be “temporarily removed from office under the 25th Amendment”—not subjected to an impeachment trial, “unless he is found to be mentally competent to stand trial under the principles of justice well established in the United States…. Until there is an evaluation, the determination that he is competent to stand trial cannot be made nor assumed.”

A CNN survey shows that 69 percent of respondents want witnesses who did not testify before the House impeachment inquiry in the Senate trial. A plurality of Republicans, 48 percent, agree. Seventy percent think that DDT acted unethically, and 63 percent believe he probably broke the law. Of voters, 58 percent say DDT abused the powers of his office to benefit himself politically, and 57 percent say he obstructed the House impeachment inquiry. And 22 GOP senators are up for re-election this year.

DDT’s anxiety ratcheted up as he left the cocoon at Davos (Switzerland) and returned to non-stop media attention on his impeachment trial. His reason for preventing John Bolton from testifying is fear. Before he flew home, DDT said, “You don’t like people testifying when they didn’t leave on good terms.” Trump said at a news conference before departing from the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland. “And that was due to me, not him.” DDT’s 140 tweets today was a record for one day. The Republicans will acquit the man who Schiff compared to a “despot,” meaning the mentally-imbalanced George III, but the impeachment process has already damaged DDT’s legacy.

December 18, 2019

Day 1063: Impeachment

Eleven years ago, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) “impressive,” defended Bill Clinton, and expressed surprise that Pelosi didn’t aim for George W. Bush’s impeachment after he misled people about Iraq’s non-existent weapons of mass destruction. This week he ridiculed Pelosi’s teeth and sent her a six-page letter filled with lies and vile accusations of “declaring open war on American democracy.” That accusation and others were identical to his own actions: abuse of power, violation of the Constitution, and violations of oaths of office. The six pages were a synthesis of his tweets and speeches for the past few months—lies about Pelosi’s statements, attacks on Joe Biden, whining about no due process, calling the impeachment a “coup,” and extolling his excellent economy which may be headed downhill.  

Today, on the 1063rd day of DDT’s first term and one day short of the 21st anniversary of Bill Clinton’s impeachment, the U.S. House of Representatives voted to impeach DDT for abusing his power and obstructing congressional investigations. The vote labeled him a threat to national security and recommended his removal from office. Article I, Abuse of Power, was adopted 230-197, with one member voting present and three not voting. Article II, Obstruction of Congress, was adopted 229-198, with one member voting present and three not voting. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), a Democratic presidential candidate, was the only representative to vote “present.” According to the U.S. Constitution, the Senate is now required to have a trial, in which a two-thirds vote would remove DDT from office.

The Senate cannot begin its process until it receives the articles of impeachment. When that will be is not known because the House has not made that determination. McConnell said that he will speak on the Senate floor tomorrow at 9:30 am (EST).

The Judiciary Committee began the week with a report describing DDT’s “multiple federal crimes” including bribery and wire fraud for attempting to leverage military aid to Ukraine and a White House meeting with its president. In exchange, DDT demanded a Ukrainian investigation into Joe and Hunter Biden and another one into DDT’s unfounded conspiracy theory that Ukraine conspired with Democrats to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

The House Rules Committee then met on the resolution to impeach DDT to determine the parameters–six hours floor time evenly divided between the two parties and led by the House Judiciary Committee leaders followed by another hour of debate before a vote on the two articles of impeachment.

Both the debates in the Rules Committee and on the floor were consumed by GOP common complaints of “shame,” “sham,” “flawed,” etc. Republicans presented no defence of DDT or his actions, instead angrily smearing Democrats with lies. With no evidence for DDT’s innocence, Republicans use these and many more defenses:

  • You can’t impeach a president when the economy is good. (Not that it is!)
  • Impeachment will tear the country apart. (Not that the country is together.)
  • Impeachment is just like foreign election “interference.
  • People elected DDT president so he must stay. (No matter how much he violates the Constitution and his oath of office.)
  • An election is coming soon. (But the U.S. is in international danger.)
  • An impeachment should be nonpartisan. (Yet the GOP impeached Clinton on a partisan basis.)
  • DDT is too incompetent to shake down Ukraine.
  • DDT is only investigating “corruption.” (He said he wanted the Bidens investigated after Joe Biden appeared to be a viable political candidate, and DDT has never investigated any other “corruption.”)

A real investigation into corruption would be into his fake university, fraudulent charity, shady business affairs, prejudiced renting practices, undocumented immigrants’ employment, money laundering through real estate sales, lawsuits with no justification, violation of campaign financing, fraudulent tax evasion, concealment of legal documents, constant lying (including working with mobsters), etc. Many of those, however, are already in court. 

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) spent the week refusing to call “fact witnesses” from the White House, a category they were so desperate to use in the inquiry. He repeated that, as the jury foreman, he was working closely with the defendant, DDT, to guarantee that he won’t be convicted. Along with other senators, he proclaimed that he would violate his legal oath to “do impartial justice” in order to exonerate DDT in the impeachment trial.

The big question now is how Republicans will vote in the (probably abbreviated) trial. Although the assumption that they will all protect DDT, nothing is ever sure. In addition, Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) has been personally involved in the Ukrainian scandal which should legally force him to recuse himself from any legal trial.

The Constitution requires the Supreme Court Chief Justice to “preside” over an impeachment trial. McConnell, who announced that DDT will be exonerated, might want to check with John Roberts about whether he wants his legacy to be that he would “preside” over a sham trial. McConnell, a juror for the trial, declared, “I’m not impartial about this at all.” He made that statement although the Constitution requires that he swear under oath that to “do impartial justice.”

McConnell thinks that all Republicans support his blind loyalty to DDT despite his crimes. GOP State Sen. John McCollister’s tweet disagrees:

“There are Republicans ALL OVER the country who want you impeached. We don’t fall for some cult of personality. We’ve read the constitution. #RepublicansForImpeachment.” 

DDT may now know how bad the impeachment poll numbers are for him after Brian Kilmeade talked about them on Fox & Friends:

“The Fox poll came out — and I was stunned by this. This says 50 percent of the country want the president impeached. I was stunned to see that that’s the number, because I thought that things were trending away.”

The 50 percent was for people who wanted to see DDT removed from office after impeachment; another four percent wanted him impeached but not removed. In case DDT missed the information on his favorite TV show, Joe Biden tweeted it to him.

DDT’s private lawyer Rudy Giuliani is still searching for “dirt” on the Bidens, one of the actions listed in the article describing DDT’s abuse of power. Giuliani said to The New Yorker:

“I believed that I needed [U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie] Yovanovitch out of the way. She was going to make the investigations difficult for everybody.”

On Monday night, Giuliani told Laura Ingraham, “I forced her out because she’s corrupt.” Since then, he told CNN that DDT is “very supportive” of his continued efforts to dig up dirt on Democrats in Ukraine. “We’re on the same page,” Giuliani said about DDT.

Giuliani had to get rid of Yovanovitch because she told Naftogaz CEO Andriy Kobolyev to resist natural gas projects like the corruption before Ukraine cleaned house of corrupt officials. U.S. businessmen Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman worked with Giuliani and then-prosecutor general Yuri Lutsenko to negotiate licensing rights for oil and gas blocks, import LNG from the U.S., and build a gas pipeline from Poland. Yovanovitch, Kobolyev, and the Naftogaz supervisory board blocked the sole-source contract that Parnas and Fruman wanted for supplying LNG to Ukraine. Giuliani’s clients Parnas and Fruman not only lobbied not only DDT but also then-Rep. Pete Sessions (R-TX) in May 2018 by promising him campaign donations from illegal foreign money. Sessions lost his 2018 election and is denying any connection with foreign campaign funds. Now Parnas and Fruman have been indicted, Giuliani is being investigated, DDT has been impeached, and Sessions’ name is throughout the scandal.

A judge let Parnas walk out of court today and back to home detention despite the discovery that Parnas’ concealed $1 million transferred into his account from a Russian bank account belonging to Dmytro Firtash and another $200,000 of “payment” for work. Firtash is fighting extradition to the U.S. in a bribery case. Prosecutors had argued that Parnas is a flight risk. When he was picked up, he had a one-way plane ticket to Vienna, but the judge said that Parnas probably forgot about the $1 million. Earlier, Parnas pled for a lower bond bail of $200,000, saying that he and his wife had only $450,000 in assets. He has been charged with violating campaign finance laws and additional charges from helping Giuliani find damaging information on Joe and Hunter Biden.

DDT now plans to be even more secretive about his dealings with foreign leaders—fewer people listening and fewer people having access to transcripts of the calls. One official called the change “The Vindman Rule.”

Although conservatives blame Democrats’ “hatred” of DDT for the impeachment, DDT held an even more virulent hate-fest in Michigan tonight, complete with “lock her up” chants about Hillary Clinton and Pelosi, references to the “electric chair” when falsely talking about Hunter Biden, and hitting a new low by saying that Michigan’s former representative John Dingell, a World War II veteran, is in hell because her widow, elected to her husband’s seat, voted for impeachment. DDT won Michigan in 2016 by about 10,000 votes.

December 13, 2019

Impeachment Heads to House Floor

The House Judiciary Committee approved the two articles of impeachment in a partisan vote of 23-17, Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) unleashed more fury, and the vote goes to the full House next week. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), who will swear “under God” that he will be impartial in the impeachment trial, said that there is “no chance” his chamber will vote to remove Trump from office. He’s undoubtedly right because this action would require 67 votes in a Senate with 52 Republicans, but deciding the outcome before the process shows an illegal public rigging of the system.

In his position as jury foreman, McConnell said, “I’m going to take my cues from the president’s lawyers.” At the same time, McConnell bragged and laughed about blocking confirmation of judges for two years until DDT was elected. The White House director of legislative affairs, Eric Ueland, said that he and the White House counsel, theoretically working for the people of the U.S., “are having a lot of good conversations with Senate Republicans.” The White House has been meeting frequently with the GOP senators, who will also be complicit in not following their sworn oaths when they become a jury for the proceedings. This approach to the trial may mean acquittal for DDT but not exoneration.

House Republicans stalled yesterday for over 15 hours of shouting and lying on television during the Judiciary Committee hearing after agreeing with Democrats to hold the hearing to five hours. GOP committee members cared nothing for the U.S. Constitution. For example, Rep. Ken Buck (R-CO) justified opposition to impeachment by saying that  Republican lawmakers were “sent here to obstruct this Congress.”

At the hearing’s 12th hour, Rep. Tom McClintock (R-CA) called on GOP representatives to quit, saying, “I have not heard a new point or an original thought from either side in the last three hours.”  He described the hearing as an “institutional embarrassment.” At almost midnight last night, Committee chair Jerry Nadler (D-NY) gaveled the session in adjournment and infuriated ranking member Doug Colling (R-GA) by announcing the vote on the next day. Stunned by not immediately voting, Collins bellowed about how wanted to leave Washington, but Nadler said that he wanted the vote during the light of day.

DDT showed his disregard for protecting the constitution by entertaining Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov while the impeachment articles were published. Although DDT claimed he told Lavrov not to interfere in U.S. elections and resolve Russia’s conflict with Ukraine, Lavrov said they didn’t talk about any interference. Lavrov did deny any Russian interference in the 2016 election when he talked with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. DDT tweeted a photograph of him and Lavrov in the Oval Office.  

Today, DDT met with his private lawyer Rudy Giuliani in the White House in their plotting to “prove” the false conspiracies about Ukraine instead of Russia interfered in the 2016 election and the Bidens’ corruption. Fresh from his trip to Ukraine, Giuliani supposedly said that he found “more than you can imagine,” a meaningless statement like the ones DDT made when he claimed to have proof that President Obama was not born in the United States. DDT continues to use a foreign government to get “dirt” on a political opponent while he may be impeached for the same reason. He also asked Giuliani to tell lawmakers and AG Bill Barr when he found in Ukraine. Leaving DDT in the White House also allows him to continue his illegal approach to smear his political opponents for the 2020 election.

After DDT froze aid to Ukraine, and the OMB scrambled to find a justification. Then they said that it was legal to freeze aid on a “temporary” basis—eight times in August and September to look legal. Now a new memo claims the aid was frozen to study whether the spending complied with U.S. policy. Congress passed the aid, and DDT signed it. No one made a “study” until DDT withheld the aid for his personal benefit. The memo cited times that Congress had withheld aid, but not the executive branch. Jim Jordan (R-OH) tried to defend DDT by saying that the money was released to Ukraine which takes away any problems, but at least $20 million legally owed Ukraine is still sitting in the United States. The biggest irony of Thursday’s “debate” was the desire of GOP House swamp creatures calling for draining the swamp. Where will GOP members of Congress go without a swamp?

DDT claims not to be watching the impeachment hearings, but his 123 tweets yesterday say differently. That number tops his former record of 105 last Sunday.

U.S. prosecutors may investigate corruption in Ukraine by focusing on associates of DDT’s private lawyer Rudy Giuliani and their relationship to Ukrainian state-owned Naftogaz natural gas company that may have violated a law prohibiting paying bribes to foreign officials. Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman offered to make a senior official at Naftogaz the CEO to get business for their own liquified natural gas operation. The two men used ties to Giuliani to try to get U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch fired because she might oppose their plans. The scheme fits a foreign bribery charge that doesn’t require consummation to be a violation. Parnas and Fruman have already been indicted for funneling foreign money into U.S. elections and hiding the source of other donations. Prosecutors are pursuing Giuliani’s involvement, and Ukrainians complained about his trying to change the Naftogaz board while seeking investigations of the Bidens.   

In the midst of impeachment publicity, DDT seems to be trying to put on his best face for his being in the midst of a maelstrom. He claims that he “wouldn’t mind the long process” and that yesterday’s approval of the articles of impeachment has politically benefited him. Before the Senate trial, however, the House must finish its business.

Tomorrow, the House holds a brief pro-forma session; on Sunday, the House Judiciary Committee releases its report to the Rules Committee. Jim McGovern (D-MA), chair of the House Rules Committee, said that the panel would meet Tuesday to debate the rules for the floor debate such as the length of the debate and the number of amendments. The process might be shorter than other committee debates because it has only 13 members, nine Democrats and four Republicans. A hot topic could be no Judiciary Committee hearing with GOP-chosen witnesses. Listeners can expect more repetition of the word “unfair.” Although the House rules require such a hearing, it could be held after the Judiciary Committee votes.

Another decision from the Rules Committee is whether to vote on GOP amendments to the articles of impeachment. Democrats could block them, but Republicans presented five amendments in the Judiciary Committee, including attempts to remove the articles. DDT and House Republicans are still protesting the allegation that DDT withheld a White House meeting and $391 million in military aid until Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelensky announced investigations into Joe Biden and his son Hunter along with admission of a false debunked allegation Ukraine meddled in the 2016 election. Republicans say that DDT met with Zelensky and released the aid without the announcement; Democrats say DDT released the aid only because his threats became public. About $20 million has also not been released yet.

The second article, obstruction of justice, is based on DDT’s direction for aides and agencies to not comply with congressional subpoenas. Republicans claim that the articles detailed no specific crimes and still maintain, falsely, that impeachment cannot exist without crimes.

Democrats comprise 233 members in the House to the 197 Republicans and independent Justin Amash, who demanded impeachment when he shifted from his earlier GOP registration. Four seats are vacant—two Democratic and two Republican. Several “blue dog” Republicans who earlier said they preferred censure and might not vote for impeachment are moving toward votes for impeachment. If the House approves impeachment, it will pick lawmakers, called managers, to present the case against DDT for the Senate trial.  

The House is expected to impeach DDT on Wednesday, December 18, just one day shy of the 21st anniversary of Bill Clinton’s impeachment. U.S. Chief Justice John Roberts would preside over the trial, and DDT’s legal team could respond to the House managers. Unless the Senate votes on the articles of impeachment immediately after the opening arguments, according to McConnell’s suggestion. He would avoid the trial if the law did not require him to at least vote—after all the senators swear “under God” that they will render “impartial justice.”

Former Florida AG Pam Bondi, who received a questionable donation from DDT’s now-defunct charitable foundation in exchange for quashing an investigation into DDT’s university, is senior legal adviser for DDT’s Senate trial defense. To get this job, she had to quit her job for Ballard Partners, a lobbying firm connected to both DDT and part of the investigation into Giuliani’s associates including Lev Parnas. The company paid Parnas, who referred a client, the Turkish government, to Ballard Partners which is cooperating with New York prosecutors. Bondi, Parnas, DDT, conspiracy theories about Ukraine, extorted investigations into the Bidens, frozen military aid to Ukraine, impeachment, the Senate trial—they’re all tied together, even the Turkish government.

The winner of the DDT’s polarization of U.S. politics? Russia.

March 15, 2019

DDT Promises Violence If Investigations Continue

During Michael Cohen’s testimony before the House Oversight Committee, the former fixer for Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) warned of violent consequences if DDT doesn’t get elected president. He said:

“I fear that if he loses the election in 2020 that there will never be a peaceful transition of power.”

DDT may be moving up the timeline. He began promoting violence at an August 2016 rally in North Carolina when he said that “the Second Amendment people” might have a way to stop Hillary Clinton “if she gets to pick her judges.” He continued his call for violence since he was inaugurated with his statement about “tough people” like “law enforcement, military, construction workers, Bikers for Trump,” adding that he hopes they stay peaceful. Since then he has used the same subtle statement, but he was much stronger in calling for violence in an interview with the far-right Breitbart website. Referring to the same “tough people” in talking about investigations into him, DDT added, “They don’t play it tough until they go to a certain point, and then it would be very bad, very bad.” [Photo from a Bikers for Trump event at his Bedminster (NJ) golf resort on August 11, 2018; image by Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images.]

The calls for violence go beyond promising to pay for his audience’s lawyers if they initiate violence against protesters to the point of claiming that he will order violence from armed military and allies to physically defend himself against “Democrats” who investigate him.

As the investigations accelerate, especially after the Democratic control of the House, DDT’s terror about investigations become more manifest, for example this morning’s tweet that “there should be no Mueller report.” DDT may also have made Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin afraid of him. In the past, Mnuchin has said that he will comply with the law if members of Congress legally request DDT’s tax returns. During a hearing before the House Ways and Means Committee, Mnuchin added that “we will protect the president” to his earlier claim that he will “follow the law.” The two statements are opposite because the law states he will “furnish” the returns upon request of the committee’s chair.

Current White House Counsel Pat Cipollone has told Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-MD) that two of DDT-associated attorneys, former White House Deputy Counsel Stefan Passantino and his personal attorney Sheri Dillon, won’t be available to the House Oversight Committee. Cummings said that the two attorneys “may have provided false information” about hush money payments to Stormy Daniels.

Cohen has given the House Intelligence Committee documents about DDT’s secret deal-making with Russia over a proposed Trump Tower in Moscow and returned to testify. The documents show edits to the false written statement he submitted to Congress in 2017 made by DDT’s lawyer Jay Sekulow, who encouraged Cohen to lie under oath. Cohen also claims that attorney Abbe Lowell, representing Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, had also reviewed his 2017 statements to Congress. Sekulow denied that DDT’s lawyers had either reviewed or changed Cohen’s earlier testimony. Cohen’s earlier testimony already implicated DDT in at least 11 separate felonies:

Russia Conspiracy Case: Links to hacked Democratic emails stolen by Russian spies.

Lying to Mueller: Falsehoods in writing from DDT about his conversation with Roger Stone regarding the hacked emails.

Suborning Perjury: Orders to Cohen that he lie to Congress under oath about trying to build a Trump Tower in Moscow during the 2016 presidential campaign and DDT’s personal lawyers who “reviewed and edited” Cohen’s congressional statement before submission, including the “length of time that the Trump Tower Moscow project stayed and remained alive.”

Campaign Finance Violations: DDT’s directive to organize hush-money payments during the campaign with evidence from a check signed by DDT for reimbursement of payout to Stormy Daniels.

Election Fraud: Hush-money payments to silence women and conceal DDT’s affairs from the voters that thwarted a fair election.

Insurance Fraud: DDT’s false claims to insurance companies that inflated the size of his assets in a ploy to reduce his premiums. [Visual on desktop]

Witness Tampering: DDT’s threatening intimidation of Cohen to “persuade” him from testifying against DDT.

Bank Fraud: DDT’s inflation of personal wealth while trying to borrow money from Deutsche Bank in a failed attempt to buy the Buffalo Bills in 2014. (Cohen said that DDT almost doubled his statement of finances by claiming that putting his name on anything is worth $4 billion.)

Tax Fraud: DDT’s deflation of “assets to reduce his real estate taxes,” for example claiming that he claimed, for tax purposes, that the National Golf Club Jupiter in Florida was worth “no more than $5 million” when he valued it at over $50 million on his financial disclosure forms. (The New York Times’ investigation found DDT “participated in dubious tax schemes during the 1990s, including instances of outright fraud.”

Financial Disclosure: The conspiracy of false accounting entries of the Trump Organization by DDT’s failure to disclose his debt to Cohen for making the hush-money payment to Stormy Daniels, probably to conceal the reimbursement.

Misusing Charitable Funds: DDT’s use of his charity’s money to buy a painting of himself after driving up the bid and then keeping the painting.

And More Undisclosed Crimes: Criminal allegations from prosecutors for the Southern District of New York about additional lines of investigation.

The New York attorney general’s office subpoenaed Deutsche Bank and Investors Bank for financing records connected to four of DDT’s business projects in Washington, DC, Chicago, and outside as well as failure to buy the NFL Buffalo Bills in 2014. Michael Cohen, DDT’s former fixer, has suggested that DDT illegally inflated and deflated his personal wealth for gain. In 2011 and 2012, for example, DDT’s debt load may have seemed smaller on his Statements of Financial Condition because he omitted a Chicago hotel with a high debt. Fraud against financial institutions is fraudulent and one of the convictions for Paul Manafort and part of Cohen’s prison term.

Democrats in the House continued to terrify DDT, recently with the hire of a former Manhattan prosecutor who specialized in Russian organized crime. Daniel Goldman will be working for House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-CA) who is coordinating with House Financial Services Committee Chairwoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) to investigate DDT’s relationship with Deutsche Bank which has paid multimillion-dollar penalties for working with Russian money launderers.

Some current House inquiries and requested sources for testimonies:

Campaign finance from illegal donations: Michael Cohen

Russian interference in the 2016 election and collusion with DDT’s campaign: Felix Sater (DDT’s Russian born business partner the mafia ties)

Family separation of migrants on the southern border from DHS’s “zero tolerance” policy: Kirstjen Nielsen (DHS Secretary), Bill Barr (AG), and Alex Azar (HHS)

Obstruction of justice: Donald Trump Jr. and 80 others

Security clearances: White House

Shutdown and its affect on the Coast Guard, Indian Country, damage to public lands, and delayed back pay

DDT’s tax returns: Steve Mnuchin (Treasury Secretary)

Trump Organization, including possible money laundering, mismanagement of charitable funds, and revenue from its DC hotel violating the Constitution

Ethics violations such as activities by former EPA director Scott Pruitt, HHS Tom Price, and Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke as well as current expenditures

Census attempt to add a citizen question: Wilbur Ross, who committed perjury but no Republican called him a liar

Reps. Ted Lieu (D-CA) and Don Beyer Jr. (D-VA) have also referred Jared Kushner to the DOJ for investigation because of his false statements on security clearance applications and in public interviews.

The Senate is also looking into DDT’s security clearances. After discovering that DDT overruled security clearances about 30 times, Sens. Mark Warner (D-VA) and Susan Collins (R-ME) are introducing the Integrity in Security Clearance Determinations Act to stop this abuse. Among the 30 are the clearances DDT gave to daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner after they failed FBI checks but politically retaliated against former CIA John Brennan by removing his clearance because Brennan criticized him.

The House must be doing the right things. Fox network, the same one that squashed the story about the Stormy Daniels affair before the 2016 election, is pushing to get rid of five of these investigations.

As Rafi Schwartz wrote, “It says a lot about the state of the country when the President of the United States can make a laudatory, if oblique, reference to having fascist goon squads commit violence on his behalf, and it’s not the biggest headline of the day.”

July 14, 2018

DDT: Week 77 – Attacks on Europe

Immigration was the subject of yesterday’s blog post, but a new, egregious government action has been revealed since then. The government is keeping children from parents until they undergo a DNA test—and some parents have been told that they must pay for the procedure. People who come to the U.S. with little more than the clothes on their back may be denied their children without paying up to $800. HHS has hired a private contractor to administer tests but refuses to name the company, possibly a legal violation. Three women who reported the demand are children’s parents, and the fourth is the sister of a three-year-old boy. Federal officials say that adults may not have paperwork to prove their relationship with children because ICE or border agents took the documentation. HHS process: the U.S. removes documents, the government then demands the documents that were taken, and parents are ordered to take a DNA test because they don’t have the documents. Even if the parents eventually get their children returned, they are subjected to this delaying tactic.

Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) has spent the bulk of the week embarrassing people in the United States with his bully behavior toward allies and sycophancy toward Russia. His schedule for the past five days:

NATO Summit (Wednesday/Thursday):

Before DDT left to meet with the 28 members of NATO, formerly U.S. allies, on Monday, he said about his week:

“I have NATO, I have the UK, which is in somewhat turmoil, and I have Putin. Frankly, Putin may be the easiest of them all. Who would think?”

Concerned about DDT’s alienation of U.S. allies, the Senate approved a motion of support for NATO while DDT traveled to NATO. Only two senators—Mike Lee (R-UT) and Rand Paul (R-KY) dissented. The next day, Senate, lacking the courage to pass a bill to stop DDT, voted 88-11 to politely request that DDT get their approval before imposing tariffs on other nations in the name of national security. The 11 Republicans who want to turn their legislative responsibilities guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution over to DDT are John Barrasso (WY), Shelly Capito (WV), Mike Crapo (ID), Mike Enzi (WY), Lindsey Graham (SC), Dean Heller (NV), Cindy Hyde-Smith (MS), Jim Inhofe (OK), David Perdue (GA), James Risch (ID), and Tim Scott (SC). Barrasso, Hyde-Smith, and Heller are running for re-election; DDT is known for his vengeful nature. DDT’s threat to add $200 billion to tariffs on imports from China resulted in a 200-plus drop in the Dow Jones.

DDT’s continued performance at NATO leaders as a spoiled, out-of-control child:

  • He first demanded that every member country pay 2 percent of the GDP immediately instead of on the time line.
  • He then lied about how much the U.S. pays and demanded 4 percent of GDP. (According to the Pentagon, the U.S. pays 3.3 percent, not 4.2 percent.)
  • He called some of the media fake.
  • He accused Germany of being under the control of Russia about German’s private business increasing its natural gas purchases to eight percent of the nation’s energy consumption. (DDT constantly panders to the Russian leader, even after proof that Russia meddled in the U.S. election.)
  • Chief of Staff John Kelly demonstrated great concern during DDT’s attack on Germany, but the White House explained that he was distraught because he expected a full breakfast instead of pastries and cheese. (No, I’m not joking!)

Fact Check about DDT’s NATO performance:

  • Countries do not owe the U.S. or NATO for any debts because NATO countries spend their funding on their own defense. Any “owed” money would be to their own military.
  • Under pressure from DDT, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg politely gave DDT’s tough talk credit for increased NATO defense spending, but that increase began under President Obama as shown by this chart.

  • NATO member defense spending is not “going down … very substantially.” In 2014, NATO members agreed to stop cutting their military budgets, and European spending rose from about $254 billion in 2014 with President Obama to $275 billion in 2017—an 8 percent rise in three years.
  • The U.S. pays $5 billion, 22 percent of NATO’s common fund, not the 70 to 90 percent that DDT claims.
  • Germany is not “captive” to Russia in natural gas imports. In 2017, Germany received more than one-third of its energy for electricity from coal and nearly 12 percent from nuclear plants. One-third came from renewable energy. Only 13 percent came from natural gas, with Russia as the major supplier.
  • NATO allies have not committed to increased spending, contrary to DDT’s claim, according to other NATO members.

DDT creates a crisis and then lies about having solving it.

Great Britain (Friday):

Shortly before meeting with UK Prime Minister Theresa May on her home turf, DDT gave a press conference to Rupert Murdoch’s tabloid bragging how he told May “how she should negotiate” Brexit but that “she didn’t agree, she didn’t listen to me.” He insinuated that he prefers Boris Johnson, who just quit May’s cabinet, as a “great prime minister.” DDT followed his criticism by threatening to “end a major relationship” between the two countries and withdraw U.S. trade with the UK. The tabloid published DDT’s statements during the stately gala dinner at Blenheim Palace, Winston Churchill’s birthplace, that was hosted by May where DDT’s late arrival left May and her husband standing alone in front of the palace. The Daily Mirror wrote, “The ego has landed.”

Other DDT statements:

  • Accused EU leaders of destroying its culture and identity by allowing in millions of migrants.
  • Tore into London Mayor Sadiq Khan for not standing up to terrorists.
  • Blamed Khan for spiralling crime in the capital.
  • Denied once branding Theresa May a “bossy schoolteacher.”
  • Maintained he would keep ties with Russian tyrant Vladimir Putin despite the Salisbury Novichok poisonings.
  • Spoke of his sadness at feeling unwelcome in the capital by anti-Trump protesters.
  • Claimed millions of Brits backed his policies.
  • Complained about not hearing the name “England” any more although England has been subsumed into the United Kingdom.
  • Bragged about polling better than Abraham Lincoln—although there were no polls 150 years ago.

Later DDT claimed that he “didn’t criticize the [British] prime minister,” that the “fake news” was to blame and that a recording of the interview would prove that the Sun published falsehoods. Unfortunately for DDT, the Sun taped the interview and released the audio with all the statements that DDT denied. In his later interview, he also reiterated his racist remarks about immigrants to Great Britain, accusing them of stripping Europe of culture.

In criticizing immigration, DDT didn’t use the word “illegal.” His earlier comments about how immigrants “infest” a nation are reminiscent of neo-Nazi white supremacist terms such as “invaders” who attack white culture. Less than 100 years ago, Nazi propaganda described Jews as a biological threat with terms such as “alien” and “parasitic” who were responsible for Germany’s “degeneration.” More than representing the U.S. on his trip in his anti-immigration position, DDT claimed to “represent a lot of people in Europe,” taking the position of EU’s white supremacist movement.

DDT struggled with protocol when he was 12 minutes late to having tea with Queen Elizabeth II at Windsor Castle and then briefly walked in front of the Queen when they were inspecting the Guard of Honor. At least he didn’t grab her hand the way he does with Theresa May.

 

Flying Trump Baby, a 20-feet inflated satiric blimp of DDT, wasn’t the only visual protest by the 250,000 people in London. Others visuals included walls and cages. [Workers tend to The Baby Trump Balloon while the U.S. President is visiting Trump Turnberry Luxury Collection Resort in Scotland. Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images]

A British tabloid shows that DDT’s ego knows no end: on its cover, The Daily Mirror summarized DDT’s assault on Great Britain:

“You insult our country, attack our [National Health Service], embarrass our Queen, undermine our ‘special relationship,’ humiliate our [prime minister]…and then smugly pose in Winston Churchill’s armchair. How dare you ….”

The late leader’s grandson Nicholas Soames called Trump a “daft twerp” last year for connecting the United Kingdom’s rise in crime to “radical Islamic terror.”

Trump Baby traveled north to greet DDT in Edinburgh before DDT moved to promote one of his two Scottish golf courses and play golf while he was booed. People on the beach shouted, “No Trump, no K.K.K., no racist U.S.A.”

Russian state TV is delighted with DDT’s work to create chaos within the free world. Tatyana Parkhalina, president of the Association for Euro-Atlantic Cooperation, said:

“Neither the USSR nor Russia, who tried many times to drive the wedge between transatlantic allies, but the main player, Washington, and President Trump himself is doing everything to break down the foundations of transatlantic alliance and unity.”

DDT meets—alone—with Vladimir Putin in Helsinki on Monday. Maybe he wants to talk about a Trump Tower in Moscow.

June 23, 2018

DDT: Week 74 – War instead of Nobel Prize

The one thing that Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) wanted more than to destroy everything that President Obama had accomplished was to get the Nobel Peace Prize because President Obama did. That chance may be gone after he decided to tear children from their parents. Following global outrage, Thorbjorn Jagland, secretary general of the Council of Europe, declared that DDT is “no longer the moral leader of his country or the world.” (I’m not sure when he was.)  The influential Jagland is one of five members on the committee selecting the recipient of the Nobel Peace Prize. DDT’s withdrawal from the UN Civil Rights Council was also not helpful to”peace.”

That might be why DDT released a warning about North Korea that could lead up to declaring war on NK. On his return from fawning all over Kim Jong-Un, DDT tweeted that “There is no longer a Nuclear Threat from North Korea.” Yesterday he signed a declaration continuing a state of emergency with North Korea:

“The existence and risk of proliferation of weapons-usable fissile material on the Korean Peninsula and the actions and policies of the Government of North Korea continue to pose an unusual and extraordinary threat to the national security, foreign policy, and economy of the United States. Therefore… I am continuing for 1 year the national emergency with respect to North Korea declared in Executive Order 13466.”

Defense Secretary James Mattis said that he knows nothing about any North Korean actions to dismantle its nuclear weapons, doesn’t expect to hear anything, and has no information about any future meetings. Yet the Pentagon has stopped planning the August military training exercises. Meanwhile, Kim Jong-Un met with Chinese President Xi Jinping to tell him that they are friends.

DDT’s threats of tariffs moving a world trade “skirmish” toward “war” includes an addition of tariffs on more solar products in the 25-percent category after adding ten percent to another $200 billion worth of goods. China called his threats “blackmail” and counter threatened tariffs on most imports, including smartphones, computers, toys, television, and household goods. Soybean futures for July delivery dropped over 7 percent to $8.415 a bushel, the lowest level since March 2009. A ten-percent tariff by China could make another 18 percent decrease; a 40-percent tariff could cause a fall of 40 percent. Over half of the U.S. soybeans are sold to China, the world’s largest consumer of the product.

China’s retaliatory tariffs could cost Iowa farmers $624 million, and Sen. John Thune (R-SD) said that DDT’s trade policies are causing “market price declines” in “corn, wheat, beef, and pork.” Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH) said his state is “hit harder than any other state by the Canadian retaliatory tariffs,” and Sen. Patrick J. Toomey (R-PA) warned that Kraft-Heinz may move its ketchup production to Canada. Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) worries about Coca-Cola’s increase in aluminum can costs, and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) stated that his state’s steel fabricator has lost its contracts. DDT said that these people will deal with the “pain” because “they understand that they’re doing this for the country.” Many of the people with “pain” voted for DDT because he said he was a competent.

DDT tweeted that he would impose a 20-percent tariff on cars from Europe in response to its tariffs on goods worth $3.2 billion and the existing 10-percent tariff on European car imports from the U.S. Cars from Europe already have a 2.5-percent tariff coming into the U.S., and 25 percent on light-truck and van imports. According to the U.S. Constitution, Congress controls tariffs so DDT must use only the tactic of “national security” to declare them. His recent threats are ignoring that legal issue. People will pay far more from DDT’s tariffs and rising oil prices will cost consumers than the pittance that most of them receive from his tax cuts. DDT declares tariffs, exempts some countries, and then re-imposes them and others, all according to whim. Nomi Prins wrote, “If trust were a coveted commodity [in] the present White House, it would now be trading at zero.”

https://www.theverge.com/2018/6/18/17477170/zte-ban-senate-vote-reinstate   The Senate voted 85-10 to reinstate a ban on ZTE that prevents the Chinese telecom company from buying U.S. components and using U.S. software, citing ZTE as a national security risk, after DDT lifted the ban to “save jobs in China.” The new ban is an amendment to the must-pass National Defense Authorization Act, a must-pass piece of legislation that has passed the House, requiring reconciliation between the two chambers.

The executive order indefinitely imprisoning immigrant families wasn’t the only one that DDT signed this past week. He also repealed protections for oceans and Great Lakes to give priority to “ocean industry … particularly oil and natural gas drilling.” This order follows other destructive ones such as permitting coal mines to dump waste into streams and rivers, removing funding to protect the Great Lakes and Chesapeake Bay, and boosting fossil fuels with taxpayer money.

The Senate voted 48-50 against DDT’s demand to “claw back” about $15 billion in spending that Congress approved earlier this year. GOP Sens. Richard Burr (NC) and Susan Collins (ME) joined 48 Democrats/Independents to sink the bill. White House Budget Chief Mick Mulvaney expressed disappointment that they couldn’t “recapture unnecessary funds” such as ones allotted for federal highway funding and $7 billion in health insurance for children in poverty.

To avoid the problem of violating the emolument clause of the U.S. Constitution, DDT promised that his company will donate all profits from foreign governments to the government. Now he won’t bother figuring out profits because it’s is too much trouble. Legally, DDT must submit a request to Congress to avoid his responsibilities, but I’m not holding my breath until he carries through. DDT’s lawyers are using the same argument against his not carrying through with his promise—he’s above the law.

DDT wants to merge the departments of Education and Labor into one agency to reduce education to vocational training. The plan also shrinks the Office of Personnel Management (OPM), responsible for vetting employees, retirement claims, benefits, and federal workforce policy, an agency that doesn’t seem to be doing any vetting. Other plans to combine assistance for the poor from several different agencies such as housing, food, and energy appear to provide less support for those in poverty.

At the same time, DDT wants to create a sixth military branch by adding the Space Force. None of these ideas can happen without congressional approval. [VP Mike Pence looks on as DDT signs the Space Policy Directive; Elaine Chao, Secretary of Transportation and wife of Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), watches from the background.)

Doing away with the Department of Education might not be a problem because Secretary Betsy DeVos does more damage than good. Her push to change all schools in the United States to private charters with no oversight through the voucher program is designed to make all “public” schools religious, and she dropped 1,200 probes into public school policies of physical abuse, primarily against black students, as discipline for ditching classes, tardiness, dress code violations, and other similar misbehavior. These complaints as well as those of sexual violence in schools and colleges have been closed with no corrective action. The increased leniency of the department’s Office for Civil Rights regards less investigation into discrimination complaints about students with limited English, education needs for disabled students, and racial harassment. DeVos maintains that her agency has consistent legal standards but gave different regions the latitude to drop cases. The NAACP is suing the education department, accusing it of unlawfully dismissing complaints without a full investigation.

Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders and seven members of her family were asked to leave the Red Hen restaurant in Lexington (VA) after her support in separating migrant children and parents. When she reported what had happened on her official Twitter, Walter Schaub, former director of the United States Office of Government Ethics, pointed out that her use of her “official account for this is a clear violation of 5 CFR 2635.702(a).” The owner explains her reasoning for refusing service to Sanders and describes the occurrence.

Huckabee Sanders was more civil than her religious father, Mike Huckabee, who tweeted a photograph of MS-13 gang members with the message that they are part of Rep. Nancy Pelosi’s (D-CA) campaign committee.

The number of DDT’s lies is growing. In the first four days of the last week, he tweeted false information seven times about immigration and six times on the IG report about the FBI handling Hillary Clinton’s email server. The baker’s dozen doesn’t include his falsehoods on other issues in tweets and public remarks that reinforce his alternate reality about the G-7 summit, the North Korea situation, crime in Germany, and Democrats in general. Repeated lies become believable when people want these lies to be their personal truth. They even ignore the lies about Mexico paying the wall and his inability to stop separation of children and parents that his Wednesday executive order may have halted. Steve Bannon says that DDT doesn’t lie although an interviewer pointed out that DDT admitted he lied about the Trump Tower meeting. In response, Bannon said that he did not know whether Trump’s comments qualified as a lie.

DDT’s fear of the Russian investigation is accelerating. He tweeted “witch hunt” 72 times in the past year—20 uses in May after the FBI raided Michael Cohen’s offices and home with another 22 in the first three weeks of June. This morning, DDT tweeted that poll numbers have “plummeted” about the “witch hunt,” but Fox polls show that the percentage has increased ten percent to 44 percent who believe that DDT’s campaign colluded with the Russians from a year ago. Sixty percent think he should agree to be interviewed by Mueller. And that’s Fox!

November 20, 2017

Tax cuts: The GOP Has to Do Something!

Filed under: Legislation — trp2011 @ 11:16 PM
Tags: , ,

The U.S. public can give thanks this week because Congress can’t do any damage to us; they’ve all gone home for thanksgiving.  They’ll be back next week, however, when the Senate takes up the House bill that raises taxes on everyone except the wealthy and corporations. Even the conservative publication Forbes thinks that congressional tax “reform” is crazy: it has published a piece called “GOP Tax Bill Is the End Of All Economic Sanity In Washington.”

“There’s no economic justification whatsoever for a tax cut at this time. U.S. GDP is growing, unemployment is close to 4 percent (below what is commonly considered “full employment”), corporate profits are at record levels and stock markets are soaring. It makes no sense to add any federal government-induced stimulus to all this private sector-caused economic activity, let alone a tax cut as big as this one. This is actually the ideal time for Washington to be doing the opposite….

“The GOP’s insanity is compounded by its moving ahead without having any idea of what this policy will actually do to the economy. The debates in the Ways and Means and Senate Finance Committees and on the House floor all took place before the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis and, if it really exists, the constantly-promised-but-never-seen report from the Treasury on the economics of this tax bill.”

On CNN, Budget Director Mick Mulvaney promised that “the president is not going to sign a bill that raises taxes on the middle class, period.” Yet this is what the Senate tax bill does.

 

Information about tax cuts keeps trickling out with these disasters after this post on Nels New Day. Gone are tax credits for plug-in motor vehicles, deductions for medical expenses and moving expenses, write-offs for tax preparation, most tax benefits for college in student loans and tuition waivers for graduate students, deductions for theft or loss of valuables—even in wildfires. Although low-income housing keeps its small subsidy, the bill ends the tax-free status of bonds for financing and repair, which has the same affect as dropping the subsidy. Affected by this loss are all private enterprises serving the public interest such as airports and waste disposal facilities.

A huge drawback to the GOP tax bill is that it continues to move manufacturing offshore. The bill allows manufacturers to pay nothing to the U.S. for its products. CEOs won’t bring foreign profits into the U.S. when their taxes are based on the country where factories are located. The GOP fantasy is that these companies will invest in U.S. jobs. They have not done this in the past, and they have blatantly said they won’t do it with the proposed tax bill. The 15 corporations benefitting most from the 2004 tax holiday cut over 20,000 jobs and reduced their research spending.

A basic GOP premise of tax cuts is to punish blue states and reward red states that already get back more than they pay in federal taxes. The punitive measures come from curtailing or eliminating the deductibility of state and local taxes and dropping the home mortgage interest deduction. Congress also refuses to provide any assistance for the billions of dollars lost to wildfires in the West while giving tens of billions to Texas and Florida for help after hurricane damage. Puerto Rico, which can’t help Republicans win a presidency, will get funding but only through loans.

Republicans claim that dropping health insurance mandates from the Senate bill, but people who get subsidies will continue to buy the insurance. There will be no savings for the government.

Other losses in deductions:

  • Alimony: No longer deductible for decrees after 2017.
  • College boosters: No longer deductible if for eligibility in buying seats at games or preferences such as prime parking places.
  • Employee achievement awards.
  • Employer-provided housing: A cap of $50,000 salary.
  • Home sale gains: Qualification requires the home to be the primary home for five of the past eight years instead of two of the past five years.
  • Office day care center.
  • Rare disease research.
  • Stadium bonds (DDT promised to do this to the NFL).

Winners:

REUTERS/Mike Segar TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY – RTSO7UI

  • Businesses because they receive three-fourths of the benefits.
  • Owners of jets and golf coursesThe savings on each of these are minimal compared to lost benefits, but it should keep Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) satisfied.
  • Churches that can campaign for political candidates.
  • Anti-abortion activists because people can name fetuses as beneficiaries of 529 college savings plans. The tax bill defines “child in utero” in personhood terms as “a member of the species of homo sapiens at any state of development, who is carried in the womb.” Law already covers the 529 accounts, but the bill throws the door open to making all abortion illegal.
  • Inheritors for 5,500 estates that drops not only tax on the estate but also on any capital gains on inherited taxes until they are sold.

House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-WI) tries to convince the people that the new plan is “fair” and “simple” because taxes can be filed on a postcard. Yet the card has no instructions on the card to explain what should be put in a line—i.e., what is a savings plan?—and even asks for the Social Security number to be put on the back of a card that gets put into the mail, available for anyone to see it. And people pay more taxes.

VP Mike Pence sounded sincere when he lied to a Wall Street CEO gathering. He claimed that workers could keep more of their money (false) and companies are incentivized to bring jobs back to the United States (false). Instead of eliminating loopholes, the tax bill leaves them only for the wealthy. According to Ivanka Trump, people can use their tax cuts to hire a tutor to teach their children the Mandarin Chinese language. Gary Cohn, DDT’s multi-millionaire economic advisor, cheerfully claimed that people can use their $1,000 in tax cuts for remodeling the kitchen or buying a new car.

Bruce Bartlett, an expert in supply-side economics serving under Presidents Reagan and George H.W. Bush, said, “There has never been a tax cut in American history in which taxes were raised on the poor to benefit the wealthy. I don’t know of any other country that has done anything remotely like this.” After 1986 tax cuts, wages fell for ten years. Most Republicans have no answer for the failure of tax cuts although Mulvaney tried to explain that the world is different now.

When Bill Clinton raised taxes on top earners from 31 percent to 39.6 percent in 1993, the economy boomed. It created 23 million jobs and grew the economy for 32 straight quarters, at that time the longest expansion in history.

According to a Quinnipiac poll, only 25 percent of people like the GOP tax plan, and only 16 percent think it will reduce their taxes. Thirty-five percent expect their taxes to increase. Only 24 percent say it will help the middle class the most, while 61 percent think that the wealthy benefits most.

This photo shows the GOP position toward tax cuts that take money away from most of the people to benefit the wealthy. The “King of Foreclosure” Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin and his ultra-wealthy wife admire new bills with his name emblazoned on it.

The Republicans have only one reason to destroy the U.S. economy with their tax cuts: get their donors back. If they don’t pass something, nobody will fund their campaigns. In their reality, better to pander to donors than help the hundreds of millions of people in the United States.

The Senate tax bill has differences from the House bill that may cause trouble when Congress returns next week. Three defectors to the tax bill will sink it. Here’s a partial score card of concerned senators:

  • Susan Collins (ME): She opposes dropping the health care mandate, the “biggest mistake,” because it causes insurance premiums to drastically rise.
  • Ron Johnson (WI): A conservative, he owns a small business and wants more perks for it. His demand will increase the deficit and take the amount into an area 60 instead of 50 votes.
  • Bob Corker (TN) and Jeff Flake (AZ): They don’t like the $1.5 trillion—or more—deficit.
  • Lisa Murkowski (AK): She also doesn’t like dropping the individual mandate but said that “one should not assume this is a precondition for my support for the tax bill.” She likes the Arctic oil drilling in the bill.
  • Rand Paul (KY): He might back out without the repeal of the individual mandate.

It’s all a crap shoot; in the meantime we have Thanksgiving.

July 26, 2017

GOP Can’t Create

Filed under: Health Care — trp2011 @ 11:31 PM
Tags: , , ,

Debate started today on Trumpcare in the senate after 50 GOP senators voted yesterday to move forward with the process. That motion passed because Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) returned after surgery last week for a brain tumor. George Zornick laid out the process. The Senate will have several votes on different bills—with those voting not knowing what is in them. Understanding of the bills is not important for Republicans; their goal is to get anything passed. Any success will continue the secrecy as Senate leaders hide with House leaders to get anything to Dictator Donald Trump (DDT) before his 200th day.

Under consideration are the House health care bill (the AHCA); some version of the Senate health care bill (the BCRA) with changes pushed by Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX); a straight repeal vote pushed by Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY); and one called a “skinny repeal” bill. The first failure was the Better Care Reconciliation Act with Sen. Ted Cruz’s provision was the first to lose in a vote by 43 to 57. This one needed 60 votes because it didn’t meet the requirements for the reconciliation process. Nine GOP senators opposed the bill. The next bill to fail was the amendment from Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) similar to the 2015 bill to completely repeal the Affordable Care Act. Paul’s amendment lost by 45-52 as seven GOP senators joined Democrats in opposition.

This chart shows the divergence of GOP senators between the first two options.

The most popular bill among Republicans may be what’s called the “skinny repeal.” Measures of this include repeal of the mandates for individual insurance and requirements for larger employers providing insurance for their workers. It would also end some taxes, including on medical device makers.  The CBO has issued its score that the bill will eradicate insurance for 16 million people and increase premiums by 20 percent. Earlier the CBO concluded that loss of the individual mandate negatively impacts the insurance market. Most Republicans don’t care: they just want to get something passed so that they can meet in secret with the House to have a bill that they can get through Congress. The content doesn’t matter. As VP Mike Pence said, “Inaction is not an option.”

McCain filed amendments today about Medicaid in support for Arizona, one of 31 states that expanded Medicaid under the ACA. He wants the phase out to extend ten years and increase the growth rate for payments to reflect health care inflation. Later this week, senators will endure a “vote-a-rama” with rapid-fire votes on all amendments. Democrats have stopped putting up amendments because no one knows what is in any of the bills. As Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) pointed out, how can anyone prepare amendments to legislation without knowing what’s being amended?

One amendment planned by Sen. Steve Daines (R-MT) is for a single-payer plan. He doesn’t want the plan; he just wants to play off the split among Democrats for this type of health care. Although Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) supports “Medicare for All,” he has said that he will not be voting in favor of this amendment because “the Democratic caucus will not participate in the Republicans’ sham process.” He added that “no amendment will get a vote until we see the final legislation and know what bill we are amending.”

Blue Cross/Blue Shield told senators that a repeal of the ACA insurance mandate would be a serious problem if it doesn’t have a replacement that ensures people get and maintain insurance coverage. That puts the giant insurance company against the “skinny repeal.”

Some GOP governors also virulently oppose the “skinny” approach, and their opinion could sway at least one senator toward no. Earlier Rep. Dean Heller (R-NV) had said that he would support a bill that didn’t cut Medicaid although he’s smart enough to worry about cuts in Medicaid after the bill goes to conference. He also said that he will support his GOP governor, Brian Sandoval, who opposes the bill. That could make him the third no, if Sens. Susan Collins (R-ME) and Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) stick to their no votes to even proceed. Heller is up for re-election next year, and DDT had pushed his buddies, billionaire casino moguls and GOP donors Sheldon Adleson and Steve Wynn, to twist Heller’s arm. The question is which side Heller picks.

Before he lost his election to a Tea Partier, former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) led the charge to repeal “Obamacare.” He promised voters that Republicans would eliminate the Affordable Care Act if they were elected. Not being in Congress has given Cantor the freedom to tell the truth: he said that the GOP used “that anger working for you,” that they never intended to follow through. About the ACA repeal, Cantor said:

“To give the impression that if Republicans were in control of the House and Senate, that we could do that when Obama was still in office — I never believed it.”

Cantor feels partially responsible for the current mess surrounding the health care debate and the negative part of his party “that says if it’s not everything, then it can’t be conservative.” He prefers working in the private sector because of “the deliberateness and the thoughtfulness.” Too bad that Congress now chooses an opposite path. The fight has turned vicious. Rep. Buddy Carter (R-GA) said somebody needs to go to the Senate and “snatch a knot in their ass,” referring to Murkowski. The folksy statement means to beat up or badly injure. Rep. Blake Farenthold (R-TX) said that he would “settle this Aaron-Burr style” if they were men, referring to Murkowski and Collins (ME) who voted against proceeding with Trumpcare. Vice President Burr mortally wounded Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton in a duel.

DDT has been very clear that he has no idea how health care works. He even talked to the NYT about how young people could buy coverage for $12 a year. Before his interview, DDT also said that Trumpcare would offer “better coverage for low-income Americans” than the ACA, a complete fantasy, and that the GOP plan is “more generous than Obamacare.” He promised that “premiums will be down 60 and 70 percent” when they would skyrocket. Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) may be echoing many GOP legislators when he claims that DDT is “about broad principles,” not specifics. All DDT needs to understand, according to Cassidy, is “the principle … that there would be a replace associated with repeal. In one week, DDT tweeted support for a bipartisan repeal and replace plan, failure of Obamacare, and a senate sales pitch for Trumpcare that strips coverage from over 20 million people. DDT’s sole principle is passing a bill, any bill.

The senators accompany DDT in ignorance. Asked last week which bill will be up for a vote, Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) replied, “I suspect it will be anything senators want to vote on. If a senator wants to offer an amendment that’s the 2015 [Obamacare repeal] bill, they can do that.” And indeed Paul did. In answer to a question about whether senators should know the content of the bill before the vote, Cornyn said, “That’s a luxury we don’t have.”

The CBO scoring for the “repeal and replace” plan indicates that a deductible for a standard insurance plan in 2026 would be $13,000. Under current law, an individual making $56,800 would have a deductible of $5,000, while someone making $26,500 would have an $800 deductible. The GOP plan tries to have lower premiums which equates much high deductibles.

Polls oppose the GOP drive to not provide health care for people. A recent poll shows that 62 percent think that the federal government is responsible for healthcare for all, a number up from 52 percent just three months ago. Only 13 percent want the ACA repealed without a replacement. And 80 percent of people think that Republicans should work with Democrats, something that the GOP has stalwartly refused to do. Patrick Murphy is one example of this majority. He said, “Everybody needs some sort of health insurance. They’re trying to repeal Obamacare but they don’t have anything in place. I can’t remember why I opposed it.”

Everyone agrees that the Affordable Care Act needs fixing. That was a consensus when it became law. The Democrats weakened the plan when they catered to the Republicans to get their support, and the Republicans turned tail and refused to vote for the ideas that they provided. But something that needs fixing should be fixed. A house that needs a new roof doesn’t need to be burned down, but that’s what the GOP wants to do with the ACA. The party that has spent decades saying no can’t figure out how to create something—it just wants to burn everything down.

The GOP is the only major party in any advanced democracy on the planet to oppose health care as a core benefit of citizenship, and people are terrified that Republicans will be successful in achieving their goal.

April 6, 2017

GOP Senators ‘Break’ an Institution

The Republicans loved the filibuster. They used it to create an unprecedented blockade of President Obama’s nominees for judge and executive branch positions, leaving key positions unfilled. But that was four years ago with a Democratic president. Today, GOP Senators voted to get rid of the filibuster for the Supreme Court so that lying plagiarist 49-year-old Neil Gorsuch could be confirmed as a life-time justice. No longer does a permanent member of the Supreme Court need at least 60 bona fide votes to make law for the United States. Fifty-one votes are just fine, according to Republicans.

The decision to erase the filibuster for the Supreme Court was made less than a year since the Republicans, the majority of the 115th Congress, refused to even give a hearing to President Obama’s justice nominee, Merrick Garland. [The above cartoon is thanks to Robert Hulshof-Schmidt, husband of blogger Michael Hulshof-Schmidt.] In the past, Republicans maintained that a rule change, such as doing away with the filibuster for judges, requires a two-thirds super-majority, and that former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) decided to “break the rules to change the rules.” Over 60 percent of these senators who made these protests are still in the 115th Congress. The comments below from their opposition four years ago show that rules are in the eye of the beholder—in this case Republicans.

Sen. Lamar Alexander (R-TN) used an example of a football game to whine that the Democratic majority just changes the rules if they don’t allow the result that they want.

Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) claimed that ditching the filibuster would be “irreparably damaging the Senate.”

Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) called the change four years ago a “power grab” that allows Democrats “to make decisions all on their own about every federal judge.” [Change Democrats to Republicans to show that the GOP senators did today.]

Sen. John Boozman (R-AR) described the “Senate Majority” change as “an act of desperation.”

Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) cited the removal of the filibuster as “unchecked power by the Executive Branch” and accused the removal of the filibuster as a “way to pack the courts with judges who agree with them” with “lasting damage to bipartisanship, the Senate, and the nation.”

Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) complained about “embarking on a path that would circumvent the rights of the minority to exercise its advice and consent responsibilities provided in the Constitution.”

Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME) talked about her opposition to the 2005 GOP plan in erasing the filibuster, giving the majority part “unprecedented power to limit debate and block Senators from offering amendments” and opposed the Democrats taking the same action with a Democratic majority.

Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) described the change four years ago as “brute, raw force.”

Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) referred to the change four years ago as “breaking the rules of the Senate in a raw exercise of partisan political power.”

Sen. Mike Crapo (R-ID) said that the change would “break the rules to change the rules and force through a number of executive nominations” and demanded 67 votes to change the rule

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) talked about how losing the filibuster “damaged the Senate” with “President Obama’s lawless disregard of our statutes and Constitution.”

Sen. Mike Enzi (R-WY) claimed that weakening the filibuster will “weaken the Senate itself,” making it “more susceptible to the demands of a smaller majority.” He also called the action “incredibly short-sighted,” which could be very true in 2017.

Sen. Deb Fischer (R-NE) said that destroying the filibuster would “destroy the very character of the [Senate] by citing a story from Thomas Jefferson and George Washington to design the Senate  “as a deliberative body to produce thoughtful policy. The solution to Senate gridlock is not changing the rules.”

Sen. Jeff Flake (R-AZ) called the earlier change “a sad day in the Senate when Democrats are willing to ignore 225 years of precedent.”

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) reiterated the term “raw power grab” that “washed away” the “advise and consent clause” for executive and judicial branch nominations. [Actually, Republicans buried that clause last year by refusing to consider Garland.]

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) also repeated the “naked power grab” and asked why this moment was chosen “to hand the keys to the kingdom over to the President, a President with less check on his authority.”

Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) lamented the “pre-scripted parliamentary hit-and-run, over in a flash and leaving Senate tradition and practice behind like so much confirmation roadkill.”

Sen. Dean Heller (R-NV) asked whether this decision would “apply to future legislation.” [McConnell claims it won’t, but he is unreliable in the truth sector.] Heller expressed his concern about protecting his state from a majority decision to move nuclear waste to Yucca Mountain. He should remain concerned.

Sen. John Hoeven (R-ND) wanted to take a measured approach because “to break the rules means you have no rules.”

Sen. Jim Inhofe (R-OK) commented that overturning the filibuster “made the Senate’s constitutional role to advise and consent on nominations merely ceremonial.”

Sen. Johnny Isakson (R-GA) declared that the result would be “a runaway Senate” much like “a runaway House” and “that’s not good for the country.”

Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) decried that “the rules are being changed in the middle of the game” in “a partisan political grab.” Republicans are specialists in doing this.

Mike Lee (R-UT) said that changing the filibuster “serves no other purpose than to stymie the rights of the American people to have their voices heard.”

Sen John McCain (R-AZ) declaimed:

“I feel this is a dark day for the Senate. I don’t know how we can get out of it. It is the biggest rules change — certainly since I have been in the Senate, maybe my lifetime, and maybe in the history of the Senate — where it has changed by a simple majority by overruling the Chair…. Senator Reid says: I appeal the ruling of the Chair. I ask my colleagues in the Senate to overrule the rules of the Senate, by a simple majority vote, to overrule the Parliamentarian and the Presiding Officer of the Senate. This is what happened. When our rules say to change the rules of the Senate, it takes a two-thirds vote.”

Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) said that without the filibuster that “advice and consent” means “nothing.”

Jerry Moran (R-KS) complained about breaking Senate rules.

Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) was “saddened” more than angered because the “change will fundamentally alter our operations and lead us to being a less tempered body.”

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) called the action bullying and breaking the rules and hundreds of years of precedent, “causing ore discord and disharmony.”

Jim Risch (R-ID) predicted that “the rule changes will have far ranging implications for the United States Senate and our democracy. “

Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) claimed that “our rules have always ensured a voice for the minority in this body” and “cannot be changed without their consent — unless, of course, the majority decides it wants to break the rules to change the rules.”

Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC) said that the change will “carry implications.”

Sen. Richard Shelby (R-AL) said, “If Democrats think that they deserve more power, they should earn it from voters at the polls in 2014, not swipe it with a drastic rule change in the Senate today.”

Sen.  John Thune (R-SD) also complained about breaking the rules of the Senate.

Sen. Roger Wicker (R-MS) described the change as “raw abuse of power” and “purely partisan efforts” that tarnished the integrity of the institution by ignoring 225 years of precedent and trampling the rights of the minority party and the millions of Americans we represent.”

In addition, a former senator called the change a “sad day” when the majority caused “the greatest alteration of the rules without proper procedure that we have probably seen in the history of the Republic.” That former senator is now Donald Trump’s Attorney General.

By removing the filibuster for Supreme Court justices, the Senate has encouraged presidents to pick ideologically extreme nominees, further politicizing the highest court in the nation. For many people, the Senate decision may be a blip on the disastrous media coming from the new rule of Dictator Donald Trump, including possible war with North Korea and Syria, but 55 Senators have voted to allow an unethical judge to make decisions for everyone in the United States for a possible up-coming 40 years. According to their own words, the Republicans have “broken” the Senate.

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