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dajoki

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Gender: Male
Home country: USA
Current location: PA
Member since: Wed May 11, 2005, 10:48 PM
Number of posts: 9,841

About Me

I love spending time with my grandchildren and gardening.

Journal Archives

Not Impeaching Trump Is Riskier than Impeaching Him

Not Impeaching Trump Is Riskier than Impeaching Him
http://www.smirkingchimp.com/node/84527

<<snip>>

Impeachment proceedings provide the Democrats the opportunity to establish a compelling narrative of Trump’s extraordinary malfeasance. Such hearings undoubtedly would include first-person accounts from the witnesses on whom Mueller relied, such as former White House Counsel Doug McGahn, detailing Trump’s repeated and felonious abuse of office to obstruct the investigation into Russian interference on his behalf in the 2016 Presidential election. (As Mueller’s report explains, obstruction of justice is committed by an obstructive act, such as firing FBI Director Comey, executed with the intention of obstructing an official proceeding, such as the FBI investigation -- regardless of whether act succeeds, e.g., whether it stops the investigation).

Impeachment hearings also would describe Trump’s numerous covert and discrediting links to the Russian government. Those would include his pursuing a real estate project in Russia while he was running for president and his senior campaign staff meeting with a Russian government agent to secure assistance with his Presidential campaign. Trump repeatedly lied in public to conceal these links. Given the numerous ongoing counter-intelligence investigations pertaining to Russia, and criminal prosecutions spun off by Mueller, it is likely additional evidence of such links would be disclosed in impeachment hearings.

The importance of these covert and discrediting links, regardless of whether they are criminal, is that like the “pee tapes” rumored to be held by the Russians, they provide the Russians leverage over Trump, i.e. the Russians could disclose his secrets. Absent some such leverage; it is difficult to explain Trump’s conduct towards Putin and Russia, such as his destruction of notes held by any American present at his meetings with Putin, and his obsequiousness in Putin’s presence. Few Americans will approve of Trump once he is shown to be, in a sense, “Putin’s poodle.”

While impeachment proceedings likely would show even more grounds for impeachment, such as Trump’s violation of the Constitution’s emoluments clause -- an offense akin to bribery -- the bottom line is that impeachment hearings will demonstrate Trump needs to go. The retort that hearings won’t matter, because Trump’s “base,” presumably referring to his typical 40% approval rating, is unshakeable is manifestly wrong. Base is what is solid, and the 40% is not. For example, only 25% of voters strongly approve of Trump’s performance. That suggests a considerable portion of Trump’s supporters, as is typical for those of any president, can be switched.

The Democratic leadership maintains impeachment without removal would mobilize Trump’s base in 2020. Yet, as the political scientist Jeffrey Isaac has observed, Trump’s base is and will remain mobilized by his ceaseless racist and jingoistic incitement, regardless of impeachment. Conversely, impeachment proceedings likely will reduce Trump’s current support, perhaps down to his true base.

Mitch McConnell threatens to block everything if Trump loses in 2020

Mitch McConnell threatens to block everything if Trump loses in 2020
Mitch McConnell is already threatening to bring the country to a screeching halt if voters get rid of Trump.
https://shareblue.com/mitch-mcconnell-threat-obstruction-trump-2020-grim-reaper/

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell is threatening to kill popular legislation and policies if voters elect a Democratic president in the 2020 election.

"If I'm still the majority leader in the Senate [in 2020], think of me as the Grim Reaper," McConnell told voters in Owensboro, Kentucky, on Monday. "None of that stuff is going to pass."

That stuff McConnell is so eager to kill? Popular progressive ideas like the Green New Deal and Medicare for All, which would help to clean up the environment and provide even more access to affordable health care. Even if voters reject Trump and the Republican agenda in 2020, McConnell is determined to do what he wants rather than what the voters want.

"I guarantee you that if I'm the last man standing and I'm still the majority leader, it ain't happening," he said. "I can promise you."

<<snip>>

Now McConnell is openly stating he will resort to the same tactics again. If America elects a Democratic president, McConnell will do everything in his power to stop the will of the voters. Again.

Trump Is Not Stable -- and That Should Be a Huge News Story

Trump Is Not Stable — and That Should Be a Huge News Story
http://www.smirkingchimp.com/node/83754

If over the weekend you saw a rambling madman give a frighteningly incoherent, sweaty, two-hour shoutfest of a speech at a right-wing summit, then you viewed a president coming unglued on national television in a way that has probably never been seen before in United States history. And that is extraordinary cause for alarm.

But if, instead, you saw nothing more than a “fiery” Donald Trump give a “zigzagging,” “wide-ranging,” “campaign-like” address where the Republican really “let loose,” then you likely work for the D.C. press, which once again swung and missed when it came to detailing the escalating threat that Trump represents to the country.

Specifically, newsrooms today nearly uniformly refuse to address the mounting, obvious signs that Trump is a deeply unstable man, as the CPAC meltdown so obviously demonstrated. Most reporters simply do not want to mention it. “In most ways, it was just another campaign rally for the president, in flavor, content, and punchlines,” the Daily Beast reported, summing up Trump’s CPAC calamity. In other words: Nothing to see here, folks.

That was typical of CPAC coverage. “Trump derides Mueller probe, mocks Democrats and his former attorney general,” the Washington Post headline announced. The accompanying article didn’t include even the slightest hint that Trump’s speech was a flashing neon-red sign of a man teetering on the edge. That is a bionic-level attempt to normalize Trump and his CPAC disaster, where he referred to 2020 Democratic candidates as “maniacs,” suggested they “hate their country,” and accused the Democratic Party of supporting “extreme late-term abortion.”

That wasn’t just some “long-winded” or “rambling” speech. That was pure insanity, and the fact that a sitting president unleashed such a bizarre performance, punctuated by so many incomprehensible nonsequiturs, means his stability and capacity ought to be questioned—and it ought to be a pressing news story.

<<snip>>

Rigging the vote: how the American right is on the way to permanent minority rule

Rigging the vote: how the American right is on the way to permanent minority rule
Underhand Republican tactics – gerrymandering, voter suppression, more – underpin a vice-like grip on power
https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2018/nov/04/america-minority-rule-voter-suppression-gerrymandering-supreme-court?utm_term=RWRpdG9yaWFsX0d1YXJkaWFuVG9kYXlVUy0xODExMDQ%3D&utm_source=esp&utm_medium=Email&utm_campaign=GuardianTodayUS&CMP=GTUS_email

<<snip>>

The two most recent Republican presidents have entered office despite receiving fewer votes than their opponent in a national election, thanks to the electoral college, which systematically over-represents small states. (California gets one electoral vote per 712,000 people; Wyoming gets one per 195,000.) With the presidency in hand in the run-up to the 2020 census, minority rule will be further entrenched by adding a citizenship question to the census. This will result in systematic undercounting of the population in heavily Democratic areas, which will in turn further reduce their influence as legislatures draw maps based on the data.

Then there’s the Senate. Because of its bias toward smaller, rural states, a resident of Wyoming has 66 times the voting power in Senate elections as one in California. Thus, in 2016, the Democratic party got 51.4 million votes for its Senate candidates. The Republicans got 40 million. And despite losing by more than 11 million votes, the Republicans won a supermajority (22 of 36) of the seats up for election, holding their majority in the chamber.

The hideously malapportioned Senate and electoral college permit the last piece of the minority rule puzzle to snap into place: the supreme court. In 2016, after losing the contest for the presidency and the Senate by millions of votes, the Republicans were able to install two supreme court justices. There may be more.

In fact, when the Senate confirmed Trump’s first nominee, Neil Gorsuch, it was a watershed moment in American history. For the first time, a president who lost the popular vote had a supreme court nominee confirmed by senators who received fewer votes – nearly 22 million fewer – than the senators that voted against him. And by now, it will not surprise you to discover that the senators who voted for the confirmation of Brett Kavanaugh represent 38 million fewer people than the ones who voted no.

With the supreme court in hand, all those other tactics – partisan gerrymandering, voter ID and the rest – are protected from the only institution that could really threaten them. But it doesn’t stop there. The supreme court can be used to do more than approve the minority rule laws that come before it. It can further the project on its own.

<<snip>>

GOP Rep Describes Pushing 300k Children Off Lunch Program... As "Trimming The Fat"

GOP Rep Describes Pushing 300k Children Off Lunch Program To Protect Military Spending As "Trimming The Fat"
http://www.alternet.org/newsandviews/article/927070/gop_rep_describes_pushing_300k_children_off_lunch_program_to_protect_military_spending_as_%22trimming_the_fat%22/

Yesterday, House Republicans moved legislation forward aimed at preventing any reductions in military spending, even if that means cutting much needed programs for the nation’s poorest. The House Armed Services Committee’s bill provides $554 billion for the Pentagon — $29 billion more than DOD had requested — while the GOP-led Budget Committee packaged six bills that would “slice $261 billion from food stamps, Medicaid, social services and other programs for struggling Americans.”

Last night on Fox News, House Majoriy Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) claimed that the Republicans were just trimming the fat from the budget and getting rid of wasteful spending:

VAN SUSTEREN: But these cuts — I mean, these cuts — I mean, some of the cuts, I mean, just — you know, there are — there’s money sitting in our government. There’s some fat that we can.. some of these cuts. I mean — the fat is incredible!

MCCARTHY: Then you would support what we’re doing. That’s we’re doing committee by committee!

So what does McCarthy and the GOP consider budget fat? The New York Times today offered some details:

The Congressional Budget Office estimated that the bill would push 1.8 million people off food stamps and could cost 280,000 children their school lunch subsidies and 300,000 children their health insurance coverage through the federal and state Children’s Health Insurance Program. Elimination of the social services block grant to state and local governments would hit child abuse prevention programs, Meals on Wheels and child care.

A further 23 million would be affected by the repeal of the Social Services Block Grant, which helps fund child care and disability assistance to low-income Americans.

In fact, eliminating the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans would more than provide the savings the Republicans are seeking, twice over.

<<snip>>

Why is the stunning increase in the levels of poverty so muted during this campaign season?

AlterNet / ByCourtney E. Martin and Noliwe Rooks
The Abstraction of Poverty Is Making Our Policies Poor
Why is the stunning increase in the levels of poverty so muted during this campaign season? Why are the solutions coming out of either party so hard to find?
April 2, 2012
http://www.alternet.org/story/154802/the_abstraction_of_poverty_is_making_our_policies_poor

No ink has been spared and no caricature avoided as columnists and pundits have discussed the wealth stockpiled by GOP presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney.

It got us thinking. Being out of touch with the reality of living below the poverty line is often used as a campaign strategy, but is it really a problem owned by either political party?

So far this election season, Republican candidates have proven themselves, at best, unaware that the number of Americans living on two dollars per day has more than doubled since 1996, and at worst, uncaring that this is so. But it’s not immediately apparent that Democrats are any more engaged. We strongly suspect that the so-called Left spends almost as little time thinking in solution-based ways about eradicating poverty as do wealthy Republicans like Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich, and Rick Santorum who have, at various times and in various ways in the last few months, intimated that the poor would do well to help themselves out of poverty by just getting a job.

The Obama administration, for its part, has pursued a sort of “rising tide” policy premised on the belief that increased economic opportunity for the largest number of American citizens will provide poverty relief by lifting all boats, including those of the poor and struggling. Sure, the unemployment rate has stagnated, but the numbers of American citizens living in poverty far surpasses the numbers of jobs created on a monthly basis.

Plus, the administration’s approach fails to acknowledge that not everyone has a boat that is sea worthy; too many Americans are drowning without the cultural capital—high school and college diplomas, access to professional networks, financial safety nets etc.—that serves as a life vest for so many of us in the middle classes when we struggle. According to a recently released report from the University of Michigan and Harvard University, 1.46 million American families, and 14 percent of all American children, are living in extreme poverty. The numbers are even more bleak if we include high priced urban areas, such as New York City, where almost 25 percent of children are living below the poverty line.

Just as neglect of the poor turns out to be non-partisan, poverty itself knows no boundaries. According to the National Poverty Center, 22 percent of America’s poor are Latino, 25 percent are black, and 45 percent are white.

<<snip>>

Supreme Court: Strip searches, even for minor offenses

Supreme Court: Strip searches, even for minor offenses
By Pete Williams, NBC News chief justice correspondent
http://usnews.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/04/02/10982324-supreme-court-strip-searches-even-for-minor-offenses

Siding with security needs over privacy rights, the Supreme Court ruled Monday that jailers may subject people arrested for minor offenses to invasive strip searches.

By a 5-4 vote, the court rejected a challenge from a New Jersey man who argued it's unconstitutional to force everyone to strip down for inspection. Albert Florence was arrested by a state trooper because of an error in the state's records that mistakenly said he was wanted on an outstanding warrant for an unpaid fine. Even if the warrant had been valid, failure to pay a fine is not a crime in New Jersey.

Florence was held for a week in two different jails before the charges were dropped. But at each jail, he was required to shower with delousing soap and undergo a strip search.

Florence's lawyers argued such seaches are unconstitutional unless police have reason to believe the subject is carrying a weapon or drugs.

But the court's majority said it's difficult for jail officials to know who's dangerous and who isn't among the 13 million prisoners they process each year because criminal records are often not available at the time of intake. The majority opinion was written by Justice Anthony Kennedy.

A New Energy Third World in North America?

Michael T. Klare.
Author and Professor of Peace and World-Security Studies, Hampshire College
A New Energy Third World in North America?
Posted: 04/ 1/2012 10:30 pm
How the Big Energy Companies Plan to Turn the United States into a Third-World Petro-State
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/michael-t-klare/oil-lobby-us-_b_1395440.html

The “curse” of oil wealth is a well-known phenomenon in Third World petro-states where millions of lives are wasted in poverty and the environment is ravaged, while tiny elites rake in the energy dollars and corruption rules the land. Recently, North America has been repeatedly hailed as the planet’s twenty-first-century “new Saudi Arabia” for “tough energy” -- deep-sea oil, Canadian tar sands, and fracked oil and natural gas. But here’s a question no one considers: Will the oil curse become as familiar on this continent in the wake of a new American energy rush as it is in Africa and elsewhere? Will North America, that is, become not just the next boom continent for energy bonanzas, but a new energy Third World?

Once upon a time, the giant U.S. oil companies -- Chevron, Exxon, Mobil, and Texaco -- got their start in North America, launching an oil boom that lasted a century and made the U.S. the planet’s dominant energy producer. But most of those companies have long since turned elsewhere for new sources of oil.

Eager to escape ever-stronger environmental restrictions and dying oil fields at home, the energy giants were naturally drawn to the economically and environmentally wide-open producing areas of the Middle East, Africa, and Latin America -- the Third World -- where oil deposits were plentiful, governments compliant, and environmental regulations few or nonexistent.

Here, then, is the energy surprise of the twenty-first century: with operating conditions growing increasingly difficult in the global South, the major firms are now flocking back to North America. To exploit previously neglected reserves on this continent, however, Big Oil will have to overcome a host of regulatory and environmental obstacles. It will, in other words, have to use its version of deep-pocket persuasion to convert the United States into the functional equivalent of a Third World petro-state.

Knowledgeable observers are already noting the first telltale signs of the oil industry’s “Third-Worldification” of the United States. Wilderness areas from which the oil companies were once barred are being opened to energy exploitation and other restraints on invasive drilling operations are being dismantled. Expectations are that, in the wake of the 2012 election season, environmental regulations will be rolled back even further and other protected areas made available for development. In the process, as has so often been the case with Third World petro-states, the rights and wellbeing of local citizens will be trampled underfoot.

<<snip>>

Supreme Court Might Decide Their Second Election

Supreme Court Might Decide Their Second Election
by Cenk Uygur | March 30, 2012 - 9:19am
http://www.smirkingchimp.com/node/42284

It was a similar crew of conservative justices on the Supreme Court that decided that their long-held beliefs on states' rights were irrelevant and made George W. Bush our next president in 2000. Now, they're back!!! And they might decide yet another presidential election.

Imagine the damage it does to President Obama to strip him of his signature accomplishment right before the election. It would also allow the Republicans to say -- "See, we told you so! It was unconstitutional all along. It was a wild, socialist over-reach of big government." It creates a permanent stain on the law -- as if there was something horribly wrong with it all along. And it takes it off the books at a moment when it is still relatively unpopular. So, before any of the popular provisions are put into effect it would go in the record books as a complete disaster.

Why don't you just hand the Republicans the election? Which is, of course, exactly what the conservatives of this court would love to do. These conservative justices are given far too much deference in the media. They are largely partisan hacks.

Antonin Scalia is a complete fraud. He will bend any so-called principle to get to the political result he wants. If it's upholding anti-gay legislation or striking down federal laws he doesn't like, he is a huge advocate for states' rights. But if it's marijuana legalization or euthanasia or Bush v. Gore, then he hates states' rights. So, which one is it? Here's how you can tell -- which side is the Republican Party on?

Remember, this is a guy who goes duck hunting with Dick Cheney and attends political fundraisers with the Koch brothers. Of course, he doesn't recuse himself from any cases that involve those people. In fact, he votes on their side nearly 100% of the time.

We've been hearing for at least thirty years about the dangers of activist judges. That it is so wrong for unelected officials, like judges, to invalidate laws made by the people's representatives. Now, all of a sudden, the Republicans love that idea! They want to interpret the Commerce Clause in a way that it has not been interpreted since 1937. They want to invalidate a sitting president's signature piece of legislation for the first time in 75 years. And their hack, partisan justices on the Supreme Court can't wait to do their bidding.

<<snip>>

Ryan’s plan: Take from the poor, give to the rich

Ryan’s plan: Take from the poor, give to the rich
Appeared in print: Thursday, March 22, 2012, page A7
http://special.registerguard.com/web/opinion/27801233-47/ryan-budget-poor-programs-cuts.html.csp

Paul Ryan, outlining his latest budget proposal in the House TV studio Tuesday morning, said the policies of the Republican presidential nominees “perfectly jibe” with his plan, which slashes the safety net to pay for tax cuts mostly for wealthy Americans.

“Do you wholeheartedly believe they will accept your budget?” NBC’s Luke Russert called from the audience.

“Absolutely,” the House Budget Committee chairman replied without hesitation. “I’m confident.”

Makes perfect sense, in a way. Mitt Romney, the likely Republican nominee, is on record as saying, “I’m not concerned about the very poor.” And Ryan has just written a budget that supports Romney’s boast.

Ryan would cut $770 billion over 10 years from Medicaid and other health programs for the poor, compared with President Obama’s budget. He takes an additional $205 billion from Medicare, $1.6 trillion from the Obama health care legislation and $1.9 trillion from a category simply labeled “other mandatory.”

Pressed to explain this magic asterisk, Ryan allowed that the bulk of those “other mandatory” cuts come from food stamps, welfare, federal employee pensions and support for farmers.

Taken together, Ryan would cut spending on such programs by $5.3 trillion, much of which currently goes to the have-nots. He would then give that money to America’s haves: some $4.3 trillion in tax cuts, compared with current policies, according to Citizens for Tax Justice.

Ryan’s justification was straight out of Charles Dickens. He wants to improve the moral fiber of the poor. There is, he told the audience at the conservative American Enterprise Institute later Tuesday, an “insidious moral tipping point, and I think the president is accelerating this.” Too many Americans, he said, are receiving more from the government than they pay in taxes.

<<snip>>
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