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Trump on track to dismantle the Office of Personnel Management

Looney tunes!


Marisa Fernandez
1 hour ago
Trump on track to dismantle the Office of Personnel Management

President Trump is planning to use his executive powers to remove a federal agency, in line with his administration's goal of cutting what it sees as wasteful spending and inefficiencies, the Washington Post reports.

The big picture: By the fall, the Office of Personnel Management anticipates an executive order that will break up the agency and, at first, assign its responsibilities to 3 different departments. The administration reportedly does not intend to lay off any of its 5,565 employees, but will eventually shrink its workforce through retirements and unfilled vacancies.

The Defense Department would take over background checks for government job applicants.

The General Services Administration would manage human resources tasks like training, payroll and the inspector general's office.

The Office of Management and Budget would handle "high-level policies governing federal employees," per the Post.

Why it matters: Labor activists say moving federal employees closer to the White House would signal a "dangerous" politicization of the civil service. But the Post notes that both the Obama administration and Hillary Clinton's campaign in 2016 considered doing the same, especially after Chinese hackers stole more than 20 million personnel records in a massive cybersecurity breach in 2015.
Posted by babylonsister | Wed Apr 10, 2019, 11:15 AM (5 replies)

Breaking: Investigators in Trump hush-money probe interviewed Hicks, security chief: report

Investigators in Trump hush-money probe interviewed Hicks, security chief: report
By Michael Burke - 04/10/19 08:21 AM EDT

Federal prosecutors reportedly gathered more evidence than was previously known during their investigation into hush-money payments President Trump is accused of making ahead of the 2016 election.

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that prosecutors in New York interviewed members of Trump's inner circle, including former White House communications director Hope Hicks and Trump's former security chief, Keith Schiller.

Trump is accused of making the payments to adult-film actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who said they had affairs years ago with Trump.

Authorities also reportedly obtained a recording of a phone call between Trump's former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, and a lawyer who represented the two women. Cohen has pleaded guilty to campaign finance charges in connection to the payments.


Posted by babylonsister | Wed Apr 10, 2019, 08:44 AM (2 replies)

Trump Critiques Mt. Vernon: 'If He Was Smart, He Would've Put His Name On It'


Trump Critiques Mt. Vernon: ‘If He Was Smart, He Would’ve Put His Name On It’
By Kate Riga
April 10, 2019 7:47 am

President Donald Trump had some advice for America’s first President, befuddled by George Washington’s decision not to name Mount Vernon after himself.

“If he was smart, he would’ve put his name on it,” Trump said during a tour with French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte last April. “You’ve got to put your name on stuff or no one remembers you.”

According to Politico, tour guide Doug Bradburn pointed out that Washington did snag the U.S. capital. Trump laughed and acknowledged the good point.

Bradburn reportedly later said that the Macrons knew much more about American history than Trump did, and that he struggled to maintain the American President’s interest for the 45-minute tour.

Trump only had eyes for the real estate part of the tour, critiquing the small rooms and narrow staircases. He concluded that he could’ve built the place better and for cheaper.

However, per Politico, he was pleased with the bed where Washington died from a throat infection: “a good bed to die in,” Trump said approvingly.

Posted by babylonsister | Wed Apr 10, 2019, 08:22 AM (15 replies)

Adam Schiff Eviscerates Trump For Systematically Destroying The Rule Of Law

Posted on Tue, Apr 9th, 2019 by Sean Colarossi
Adam Schiff Eviscerates Trump For Systematically Destroying The Rule Of Law

Congressman Adam Schiff, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, tore into Donald Trump for setting a dangerous precedent and essentially destroying the rule of law in America in just two short years.

In an interview with MSNBC’s Chris Hayes, Rep. Schiff explained how, every step of the way, Trump has acted lawlessly to protect his presidency.

“The precedent now is if you are a president under investigation, you can fire the FBI director who is conducting that investigation,” Schiff explained. “If your attorney general will not ignore the advice of ethics lawyers and intervene on your behalf, you can fire the attorney general. You can then hire a new attorney general who has written to you about how he thinks the case against you is bogus.”

Schiff said:

The precedent now is if you are a president under investigation, you can fire the FBI director who is conducting that investigation. If your attorney general will not ignore the advice of ethics lawyers and intervene on your behalf, you can fire the attorney general. You can then hire a new attorney general who has written to you about how he thinks the case against you is bogus and then that person can get confirmed by the Senate of your party even without requiring that that attorney general recuse himself. And then in place, that attorney general can do exactly what he was hired to do and make the obstruction of justice case go away. And also prevent the Congress from seeing the results, the full results of that investigation. That’s what I mean. That’s what Roy Cohen would do and, sadly, this is where we are only two years into this presidency.


Posted by babylonsister | Wed Apr 10, 2019, 08:03 AM (28 replies)

Inside 12 Days of Chaos at the White House

womp womp


Inside 12 Days of Chaos at the White House
April 10, 2019 at 6:56 am EDT By Taegan Goddard 27 Comments

Washington Post: “Trump’s increasingly erratic behavior over the past 12 days — since he first threatened to seal the border in a series of tweets on March 29 — has alarmed top Republicans, business officials and foreign leaders who fear that his emotional response might exacerbate problems at the border, harm the U.S. economy and degrade national security.”

“The stretch also has revealed that a president who has routinely blamed spiking immigration numbers on others — past presidents, congressional Democrats, Mexican authorities, federal judges, human smugglers — is now coming to the realization that the problems are closer to home. Though his aides have taken the fall, and it is unlikely that Trump will blame himself, the president is facing an existential political crisis ahead of his 2020 reelection bid over the prospect of failure on his top domestic priority.”
Posted by babylonsister | Wed Apr 10, 2019, 07:57 AM (2 replies)

Fox News' Shep Smith and John Roberts Tag-Team to Fact-Check Trump Lies on Family Separation


Fox News’ Shep Smith and John Roberts Tag-Team to Fact-Check Trump Lies on Family Separation
Two of the cable channel’s news-side reporters dismantled the president’s attempts to gaslight about his own border policies.
Justin Baragona
04.09.19 4:07 PM ET

Hours after President Trump falsely claimed his predecessor was the one responsible for separating migrant children from their families, Fox News anchor Shepard Smith and chief White House correspondent John Roberts tag-teamed to deliver a comprehensive fact-check of the president’s lies.


“The Trump administration did separate families,” Smith declared. “The Trump Department of Homeland Security estimates more than 2,300 children had been separated from their families by last spring. And the Trump administration did detain children in cages. An unknown number of those children is still not back with their families.”

Later in the segment, while reporting on Trump insisting that he’s not looking to reinstate family separations, Roberts addressed the president’s claims that “President Obama had the law” and “we changed” it.

“The accurate reporting is that the zero-tolerance policy about prosecuting head of household was enacted under the Trump administration,” Roberts stated.
Posted by babylonsister | Wed Apr 10, 2019, 06:58 AM (10 replies)

Why Democrats Are Quiet on Immigration


Why Democrats Are Quiet on Immigration
April 10, 2019 at 6:41 am EDT By Taegan Goddard

Playbook: “If you are a Democrat, and you’re watching President Trump fumble around with immigration policy, there is only one thing to do that makes sense: nothing. The president and his allies are providing Democrats plenty of fodder as they enter day four of massive upheaval at the Department of Homeland Security with seemingly no plan to deal with asylum-seekers on the U.S.-Mexico border. While some might want Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer to take advantage of the chaos, in reality, sitting on their hands is the only sound political strategy at the moment. As for the 2020 candidates, what’s the upside of weighing in?”

“There’s a political truism that seems to fit quite well here: Never get in the way of your opponent when he’s making a mistake.

Posted by babylonsister | Wed Apr 10, 2019, 06:47 AM (19 replies)

For Agonistic Respect on the Left


For Agonistic Respect on the Left
More than ever, we must embrace the ability to be sharply critical without being destructive and hostile.
By Jeffrey C. Isaac


Buttigieg is no savior. But given the state of things, it strikes me as foolish for people on the left to dis him or what he represents as a new “outsider” with intelligence and integrity.

There will be red-baiting in the coming months. And there will be Democrats who capitulate to it. In some ways, the despicable recent attacks on Ilhan Omar are a kind of red-baiting by proxy. (There will also be many Democrats who, when pressed, will note that they are not socialists; I do not regard this as a form of red-baiting). But there will be very few Democratic leaders who will discuss this with the seriousness and integrity exhibited by Buttigieg.

When asked recently on ABC about Trump’s red-baiting, he declared: “The President is adopting a tactic that takes us back to the darkest days of the ’50s when you could use the word ‘socialist’ to kill somebody’s career, or to kill an idea, but that trick has been tried so many times that I think it’s losing all meaning. The Affordable Care Act was a conservative idea that Democrats borrowed and they called that ‘socialist.’ So it’s kind of like the boy who cried wolf. It’s lost all power I think, especially for my generation of voters.”

When asked on CNN whether he supported the Green New Deal, he registered unequivocal support for the idea, on the basis of an explanation that could well have been offered by AOC; he then proceeded again to contest Trump’s red-baiting:

I think he [Trump] is clinging to a rhetorical strategy that was very powerful when he was coming of age, fifty years ago. But it’s just a little bit different now …[in the 50’s] the word socialism could be used to end an argument. Today I think a word like that is the beginning of the debate, not the end of the debate. Look, America is a democracy, and it’s a market-based economy. But you can no longer kill off a policy idea by saying that it’s socialist …If someone my age or younger is weighing a policy idea, and somebody comes along and says, ‘you can’t do that, it’s socialist,’ I think our answer is going to be, ‘OK, is it a good idea or is it not?’

Of course this is not an ideological endorsement of “socialism.” But Buttigieg—like most Americans—is not a socialist. What he is, though, is a Democratic mayor of a Midwestern city who publicly and unabashedly declares that he deplores red-baiting and regards the idea of socialism as “the beginning of the debate, not the end of the debate.”

Such a declaration should be welcomed.

We need serious debate. About ideas, policies, and strategies. Those who consider themselves socialists will surely have disagreements with those who consider themselves liberals or progressives or feminists. Such disagreements can bridged through coalition-building around commonalities. But such bridgework is often difficult. For ideological differences involve emotional investments and styles of communicating and ways of being. There will be misstatements and overstatements, fights and hurt feelings and the reopening of old wounds and the creation of new ones. Hopefully there will also be mutual understanding and mutual learning. Otherwise, it is hard to see how we can effectively come together to defeat Trumpism and to advance the values of freedom, justice, and environmental sustainability. And too much is at stake to risk failure.
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Apr 9, 2019, 09:59 PM (4 replies)

Trump's 2020 strategy: double down on 2016's racism and fearmongering


Trump's 2020 strategy: double down on 2016’s racism and fearmongering
Joan McCarter
Daily Kos Staff
Tuesday April 09, 2019 · 4:30 PM EDT

Hordes of brown people invading. Socialist medicine. China. Fear. All the things Donald Trump ran on in 2016 got him to the White House (with an assist from Russia, James Comey, the traditional media, and Mitch McConnell), so Trump seems to think a repeat will get him back. Never mind that he hasn't fixed any of those things he told America to be so scared of.

It's as if 2018 never happened. Some Republican strategists recognize the danger in that. “The bet that they’re making is still the same one—that this is going to be a base election, not an election on persuasion, and so he’s hitting his key issues,” former spokesman for the Republican House leadership and the Republican National Committee Doug Heye told the Washington Post. “The challenge they face is it was, and will be, a very fine needle to thread. There’s not much margin for error.” All the same, Republicans tried their damnedest to make 2018 about immigration for their base, and look what happened there.

Now Trump is throwing health care back into the mix, telling a federal court to abolish the Affordable Care Act and promising once again that Republicans will come up with "a plan that is far better than Obamacare." After 10 years of hearing that from Republicans, you'd think even their base is going to have a hard time swallowing that one. The Trump team, however, believes otherwise. “What we also see quite often with Trump is talk that he’s going to do something that he doesn’t ultimately follow through on,” Heye said. “But the base still gives him credit for starting that conversation.”

Read: As long as he's being a racist, his team will be there, even if they lose their health care. That's what appears to be the crux of Trump's 2020 campaign: as much cruelty, as much racism, as much authoritarianism as the Republican Party will bear. By all appearances, that comes to as much as he'll dish out.
Posted by babylonsister | Tue Apr 9, 2019, 04:33 PM (1 replies)

The religious right is claiming Pete Buttigieg isn't a 'real' Christian because he's gay


The religious right is claiming Pete Buttigieg isn’t a ‘real’ Christian because he’s gay
By Bil Browning ·
Tuesday, April 9, 2019

The religious right is upset that out presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg has taken the nation by storm. Evangelical leaders are claiming the small town Indiana mayor isn’t actually a Christian because he is gay.

They’re particularly perturbed he’s had the temerity to challenge holier-than-thou Vice President Pence’s conservative brand of evangelical Christianity and President Donald Trump’s lack of “Christian values” despite being embraced by the religious right.


Pence, like others who oppose equal rights for LGBTQ people, often frames his political opinions as religious ones. Buttigieg is Christian and said that his marriage is good on those terms.

“It has made me more compassionate, more understanding, more self-aware, more decent,” Buttigieg said. “My marriage to Chasten has made me a better man. And yes, Mr. Vice President, it has moved me closer to God.”

“The idea that the only way a religious person could enter politics is through the religious right — I just don’t think that makes sense. What could be more different than the message I take from my faith and what we’re being shown in Washington right now?” Buttigieg said last month on Morning Joe.


Posted by babylonsister | Tue Apr 9, 2019, 03:16 PM (36 replies)
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