Lunchtime Flower

Kevin Drum - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 15:30

This is a popcorn flower. Does it look like popcorn? I guess it does, sort of, though it wouldn’t have been my first guess.

April 5, 2019 — Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, Orange County, California
Categories: Politics

Nikki Haley whines that 'outrage culture' won't let her bothsides the Confederate flag

Daily Kos - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 15:27

Former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, just off a stint as Donald Trump's appointed ambassador to the United Nations, thoroughly stepped in it a few days ago in a speech bothsidesing the Confederate battle flag, a Civil War banner that has been used as symbol of violent and institutionalized white nationalism and white supremacy since its inception. She has done this before, and will do it again, largely by pretending to be completely unaware of the flag's role  through American history, no matter how often it is explained to her.

The problem here is that Haley, who just released a similarly whining and self-serving book, wants very much to run for president under a Republican banner. That means catering to the vast swath of racists who themselves pretend that the Confederate flag is not one of the most identifiable symbols of organized American racism, but is instead a symbol of a murky, ill-defined "heritage" of revering white supremacist figures, slaveholders, terrorists, and the "Lost Cause" of states getting to decide to enslave black Americans if they damn well want to.

That’s no reason for The Washington Post to give her space for yet another official do-over, though. It's especially redundant if Haley is going to use the space to issue snowflakian whines about how the problem isn't her attempts to signal to racists that she feels their pain—the problem is that you people, out there, had a reaction against what she said. It is you who should feel ashamed of yourselves, not her. Wrote Haley, "Today’s outrage culture does not allow any gestures to the other side. It demands that we declare winners and losers."

If you're making a gesture to people who think that flying the flag of the slaveholding South, one repurposed by violent white supremacists as symbol of opposition to every civil rights demand for a century, you are going to be critiqued. The nation offers its deepest sympathies to your glass ego, person who insists on being in the national spotlight despite these travails.

But the big claim, the big fat malevolent claim that Haley trots out and shoots in the middle of the road, and one of the most common claims of conservative cretins denying their own racist beliefs, is that it's not the "disturbing" "upsurge in white nationalism" that threatens civil rights, but the rest of you. You, there, with your "outrage culture." And if you take Haley’s claim as a threat, you should, because that is how it is intended every time.

Categories: Politics

Georgia councilman admits interracial marriage makes his 'blood boil' in roundabout defense of mayor

Daily Kos - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 15:25

Here’s where I agree with racist Georgia councilman Jim Cleveland, who rose to infamy after proudly articulating his opposition to interracial marriage: There is a stark difference between Atlanta and the rest of Georgia. While Atlanta may boast a diverse population that's more than 50% black and headed by Mayor Keisha Lance Bottoms, a black woman, larger Georgia seems to defy the bounds of time, with many residents still harboring a fondness for the Confederacy and the white supremacy that is its hallmark. 

That sentiment is so popular that when Mayor Theresa Kenerly of Hoschton, a city about 50 miles northeast of Atlanta, admitted that she snuffed a black job candidate's chances because of his race, the aforementioned councilman defended her by admitting he couldn't stomach seeing blacks with whites together on television, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. "Makes my blood boil because that's just not the way a Christian is supposed to live," Cleveland said.

He went on to explain his beliefs.“I understood where she was coming from,” Cleveland told the AJC. “I understand Theresa saying that, simply because we’re not Atlanta. Things are different here than they are 50 miles down the road.” He’s since resigned, saying Tuesday that he would rather quit on his own terms than face voters in a recall election next month. “I’m not going to give them the pleasure of saying they recalled Mr. Cleveland,” he told the paper.

Categories: Politics

University of Phoenix settles deceptive ad dispute, agrees to cancel $141 million in student debt

Daily Kos - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 15:18

In the largest settlement obtained against a for-profit college, the University of Phoenix and its parent company, the Apollo Education Group, have agreed to cancel $144 million in student debt owed to the university and pay $50 million in cash to settle a dispute with the Federal Trade Commission, in a deal announced Tuesday

The dispute is over the university using deceptive advertising to recruit students. An ad campaign for the university suggested falsely that the university had active partnerships with companies that included Microsoft, Twitter, AT&T, Yahoo, and Adobe, NBC reported. It suggested that the school worked with the companies to create job opportunities for its graduates. 

“Students making important decisions about their education need the facts, not fantasy job opportunities that do not exist," the director of the Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Protection, Andrew Smith, said.

Categories: Politics

Julián Castro's perfect response to ICE's tweet 'honoring' Human Rights Day: 'Delete your account'

Daily Kos - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 15:15

There was really only one way to respond to a tweet from the out-of-control Immigration and Customs Enforcement agency supposedly recognizing Human Rights Day—and former HUD secretary and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Julián Castro knew what it was. “Delete your account,” he responded in a tweet that has now racked up more than 400,000 likes.


ICE’s tweet had linked to propaganda from the mass deportation agency claiming that “The women and men of ICE dedicate themselves every day to protecting the dignity and human rights of people around the world,” and that “through our work investigating perpetrators of genocide, torture, war crimes and other violations of human rights, they are committed to seeking the prosecution and removal of human rights violators seeking refuge here.”

From deporting whistleblowers, to allowing detainees to be used as captive labor, to deporting military veterans after they’ve honorably served their country, there’s a horror show of examples explaining why recent polling has found ICE to be the most unpopular federal agency among the American public, viewed even more unfavorably than the IRS. As we said earlier this year, ICE has a bad reputation because it’s earned one.

Categories: Politics

Matt Gaetz Throws Stones At Glass House, Gets Cut By Glass

Crooks and Liars - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 15:05

Oh, my goodness gracious. These Republicans are so divorced from reality, and so very, very dumb. If only those two things didn't spell immense danger, we could enjoy the hilarity thoroughly.

Today, astonishingly, some GOP smarty thought it would be a good strategic move to have Rep. Matt Gaetz -— the idiot who could be that "Florida Man" in every single article that starts "Florida man gets face eaten by scorpions on a dare" — be the one to bring up Hunter Biden's substance abuse problem. One that, mind you, Biden has overcome.

Gaetz, you must understand, has his own colorful history with DUIs. And thus far, he's shown no evidence of rehabilitation, unless you count his ability to call his dad to get him out of trouble. There's a lot of that projection going around Republican circles nowadays, no?

Well, new hero of the Judiciary Committee, the Gentleman from Georgia Rep. Hank Johnson, handed Gaetz his ass so politely, swiftly, poetically, and professionally, the entire audience erupted in loud laughter. Rep. Johnson, of course, did not. He kept right on going, making his point about the fact that impeachment is not about Hunter Biden's brush with the law, but Donald Trump's open contempt of it.

After Gaetz mocked Biden's having had a substance abuse problem, and Burisma's employing him after he'd conquered it, Rep. Johnson threw up this block so powerful, Gaetz is probably calling his dad to get him out of trouble as we speak.

read more

Categories: Politics

Rep. Hank Johnson calls out Matt Gaetz’s hypocrisy after nasty impeachment hearing comment

Daily Kos - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 14:45

The House Judiciary Committee is meeting on Thursday to discuss the impeachment of Donald Trump over his Ukraine bribery and extortion. The Republican Party has decided to use this time not to defend the facts of the case, but to continue doing Donald Trump’s personal dirty work—the same reason he is being impeached as we speak.

Rep. Matt Gaetz, a particularly despicable figure, decided to throw in a reference to Hunter Biden’s previous substance abuse issues—something that has been well-documented and discussed by the Bidens themselves, and something that has absolutely nothing to do with whether or not Donald Trump should or should not be impeached.

Whether Trump used his position of power to withhold earmarked aid to Ukraine in return for the foreign state helping to at least cast doubt about one of Trump’s political opponents, and whether or not one of those political opponents’ children had issues with drugs or alcohol are not related. At all. But, then again, we are talking about Matt Gaetz here. Rep. Matt Gaetz is a man that produces so much manure every time he opens his mouth, it is shocking that our entire country isn’t filled with fertilized soil.

Democratic Rep. Hank Johnson of Georgia wasn’t going to allow this ludicrous bit of hypocrisy to go unchallenged. He opened his statement to the committee by saying, “I would say that the pot calling the kettle black is not something we should do.” Rep. Johnson took a long pause here that elicited laughter from the audience. He used pregnant pauses throughout his statement to great effect, but also decided to put Gaetz on notice that if the Congress member wants to be dirty about being full of Trump-branded dung, Johnson was going to be there to call him out.

I don't know what members, if any have, had any problems with substance abuse. Been busted in DUI. I don't know. But if I did I wouldn't raise it against anyone on this committee. I don't think it's proper and, you know, I think we got to get back down to what is most important here.

CSPAN’s cameras knew exactly “what members” shouldn’t be casting their stones in glass houses, and cut to Rep. Gaetz and his strangely frenetic countenance before cutting back to Johnson.
Categories: Politics

House Democrats pass bill to lower prescription drug costs, dramatically improve Medicare

Daily Kos - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 14:40

In a 230-192 vote, the House passed legislation to reduce prescription drug costs, a bill renamed the Elijah E. Cummings Lower Drug Costs Now Act to honor the recently deceased Maryland congressman. The bill received a last-minute and drastic improvement when House Speaker Nancy Pelosi agreed to proposals from the Congressional Progressive Caucus to increase the number of drugs Medicare could negotiate prices for, and to protect employer-sponsored insurance plans from drug price hikes.

The proposal originally allowed for Medicare to negotiate prices on 35 drugs, but thanks to the CPC intervention, it's now a minimum of 50 drugs. Prices would be capped to 120% of what they sell for in other wealthy nations, and those prices can be negotiated down further. The lower prices would also apply to private insurance. And if a drug company refused to negotiate, it could be hit with up to a 95% tax on revenue for the drug in question.

“What I hear most often is not impeachment, it's not what's on the front page of The Washington Post, it's 'What are you going to do about the cost of our prescription drugs?'" said Rep. Kim Schrier, a freshman from Washington state and the only female physician in the House, as well as a type 1 diabetic. "And this bill is an answer to my constituents." Democrats also pointed out that they were fulfilling another key campaign promise from someone else.

”It's exactly what President Trump promised on the campaign trail," Rep. Andy Levin of Michigan said. And it is, but that doesn't mean Trump will support it, and it certainly doesn't mean Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell will allow it to get anywhere near the Senate floor.

That's despite the fact that the Congressional Budget Office says it would lower drug costs by about 50% on the negotiated drugs and would also save Medicare $456 billion over 10 years. The bill would return those savings to expand Medicare benefits to include hearing, dental, and vision care. This would be a massive win for seniors. But McConnell and Trump aren't going to let it happen. That’s one more reason to take the whole shebang of elected government back in 2020.

Categories: Politics

Judiciary Committee resumes hearing to send Articles of Impeachment to full House

Daily Kos - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 14:37

The Thursday hearing to hear and vote on the articles of impeachment against Donald Trump might have been relatively brief. Except, of course, Republicans have dragged out the hearing all day by offering a series of ludicrous amendments—such as striking the whole first article, or inserting an entire conspiracy theory into the text. The hearing has already taken long enough that, right on cue, Republicans moved to making complaints about all the “time wasted that could be spent on other things” … right before Nadler put the committee on hold so they could move to the floor and vote on other things.

Through seemingly endless rounds of parliamentary “move to strike the last word” and “point of order” and insisting for roll calls for clearly defeated amendments, Republicans have stayed on task—which is lying. In particular, Thursday’s hearing has been a day for absolutely lying about Joe Biden and his actions in Ukraine. Rep. John Ratcliffe may have gone the deepest into absolute, knowing, nothing-but-lies statements in claiming that Biden sacked a prosecutor engaged in investigating the company where his son worked. Ratcliffe was also the first Republican to finally go on record saying that sure, it’s fine to solicit foreign interference in a U.S. election. 

But it was Matt Gaetz who, as he so often does, provided the tragicomic relief. Gaetz went out of his way to read into the record an article claiming that Hunter Biden had a drug problem and talked about claims that a car crash was drug-related. Following which Democrat Hank Johnson responded by saying. “The pot calling the kettle black is not something we should do.” Johnson said he didn’t know which of his collegues had drug issues or DUIs, but said that if he knew of such problems, it’s not “something I would bring up.” Matt Gaetz was arrested for a DUI.

That didn’t stop what might have been Gaetz’ absolutely best moment. Still eager to get more salacious information about Hunter Biden into the public record, Gaetz read from his divorce proceedings. As he did so, Gaetz tried to make gifts received by Hunter Biden seem extravagant and capped it by saying, “Corrupt people, they don't just steal once. They get into the habit of corruption." This statement came a day after Donald Trump was forced to pay a $2 million fine for his fake charity. Which followed the $25 million fine he paid over his fake university. Which followed his $10 million fine for money laundering at his casino. Spot on, Mr. Gaetz, spot on.

Sometime this afternoon, assuming Republicans tire of throwing up pointless amendments, we should finally get to the vote.

Thursday, Dec 12, 2019 · 7:45:00 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner Republican Rep. Buck starts off the afternoon saying that Republicans were sent there to “obstruct” Congress. Because Congress had such a low rating and ran up such high deficits.  That would have been the Republican Congress. The one Democrats were sent to replace in 2018. Buck also notes that Republicans were sent there to stop things like a provision giving federal employees family leave. Which was included in the bill Republicans already signed off on without noticing. So ... good job, guys. Thursday, Dec 12, 2019 · 7:46:36 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Lesko continues the claims against Biden. I’d be happy if someone took just a moment to point out again that Shokin was not, Not, NOT investigating Burisma when Biden asked for his removal.

It also wouldn’t hurt to mention that a collection of Republican Senators wrote a letter to Obama to request his removal, specifically attaching that action to Ukraine aid.

Thursday, Dec 12, 2019 · 7:47:57 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Nadler: “When I hear colleagues arguing that Congress is unpopular, and therefore obstruction of Congress is a good thing, it shows terrible ignorance.” 

Cool beans, Jerry.

Thursday, Dec 12, 2019 · 7:51:13 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Here’s what Trump actually says in his phone call:

Trump: “There's a lot of talk about Biden's son. That Biden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great. Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you ·can look into it ... It sounds horrible to me.”

Gaetz amendment requires that Joe Biden isn’t the target of the Trump’s demand. Which is ludicrous on its face.

Thursday, Dec 12, 2019 · 7:58:01 PM +00:00 · Mark Sumner

Why is C-SPAN’s camera stuck looking at Louie Gohmert? Are we not being tortured enough already?

Categories: Politics

Fox News' Wallace says Trump has done damage with his historic 'assault on freedom of the press'

Daily Kos - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 14:37

In a speech before an audience at the Newseum in Washington, D.C., Fox News’ Chris Wallace said that, as president, Donald Trump is “engaged in the most direct, sustained assault on freedom of the press in our history,” Mediaite reports. He said that Trump’s attacks “have done some damage.”

The Fox News anchor’s comments come after years of Trump’s relentless attacks on everyone not completely lying about his corruption and policies and racism and anti-Semitism and xenophobia and authoritarian behavior and abuses of power.

Wallace has made headlines outside of his normal right-wing fascistic propaganda sphere of late because he has had the gall to try and simply point out factual information in the face of dime-store science-fiction-level Republican propaganda. When you tell someone as ridiculous as Rep. Steve Scalise that he needs to stop straight-up lying about verifiable facts, you are bound to find yourself considered something of a rebel in conservative circles.

Categories: Politics

House Democrats slam Trump admin attempt to skyrocket immigration-related fees by as much as 83%

Daily Kos - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 13:47

More than 80 House Democrats are calling on the Trump administration to abandon proposed changes needlessly skyrocketing U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services fees for applications ranging from green cards to Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals renewals, some by amounts that will make already burdensome fees a near impossibility for many low-income immigrants.

Applications to naturalize, for example, will increase 83%, from $640 to $1,170, said faith-based immigrant rights advocacy group CLINIC. DACA recipients—who have to renew their protections every two years or lose the ability to work legally—will see their fees go from $495 to $765, a 55% increase. In one unprecedented proposal, the administration also wants asylum-seekers to pay a $50 fee, which would make the U.S. one of the few countries to charge applicants to seek protection. In their letter, legislators led by Rep. Grace Meng said increases would “undermine fair and equitable access to our immigration system.”

“As currently drafted, the proposal would inevitably price out hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of people from obtaining citizenship and other immigration benefits for which they qualify, based solely on their ability to afford these unreasonably high fees,” they said. Of course, that’s also the point of these fee increases: where the administration can’t physically block asylum-seekers or separate families or deport whistleblowers who barely survived a workplace disaster, it hopes changes like this can be enough to wall them off from a future in America.

Of course, the administration has claimed that the proposed increases for USCIS (which is nearly entirely funded by fees) “accounts for increased costs to adjudicate immigration benefit requests, detect and deter immigration fraud, and thoroughly vet applicants, petitioners, and beneficiaries.” But as the legislators note in their letter, the administration has had no issue in the past swindling cash from other government agencies in order to fund his out-of-control mass deportation agents and detention camps.

“We respectfully urge you to withdraw this rule and work with Congress to address any demonstrated funding shortfalls USCIS may have,” the legislators continue. “The American dream should be available to all those who aspire to it, regardless of wealth or income.” The public comment period for this proposed rule is open through December 30—click here today to leave your comment opposing these harmful fee increases.

Categories: Politics

House Republican: Yes, Trump is allowed to directly solicit foreign election interference

Daily Kos - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 13:26

Republican Rep. John Ratcliffe, a fervent Trump supporter, was the Republican to finally take up Rep. Pramila Jayapal's challenge for someone to defend the specific principle of a United States president being in the right to ask a foreign government to interfere in a U.S. election. Ratcliffe says yes, presidents are allowed to do it. He also made the false claim that it happens all the time.

As he has throughout these hearings, Ratcliffe is lying. Ratcliffe pins his theory on the notion that it was the Obama administration that sought foreign interference by investigating Trump—but intelligence officials were basing their concerns about members of the Trump campaign not on administration requests for a probe, but after alarms were raised about numerous suspicious foreign contacts by individuals who had connected themselves to the campaign. Australian intelligence warned its American counterpart of George Papadopoulos' brag of Russian ties; Paul Manafort's dealings with pro-Russian Ukrainian oligarchs were cause for alarm apart from his for-free work on the Trump campaign, and the revelation of that work would quickly cause Trump to cut him loose.

As he has throughout his Trump defense, Ratcliffe is ignoring evidence to spin whichever overt lie would best advantage Trump. He is insisting that any law enforcement investigation of a campaign or candidate—which, despite his own amnesia, happened to both presidential candidates, and only one of those investigations was leaked incessantly by federal authorities during the last months of the election—is exactly equivalent to a president directly withholding military aid to an ally unless it grants a list of specific personal favors. He claims to be unable to tell the difference between everyday acts and criminal ones, and that we should take him, and his allies, at their word.

This is the answer Rep. Jayapal was fishing for, and the answer that should alarm every voter: Yes, a House Republican is asserting that using the tools of government to extort foreign countries into granting personal favors is not just defensible behavior, but commonplace. From this we can assume with near certainty that Ratcliffe—and, presumably, Devin Nunes, and each member whose campaign may have been a beneficiary of Lev Parnas' Russian cash—considers it acceptable to break those laws himself.

In a time of rampant administration and congressional corruption (see: Duncan Hunter), the blanket assertion by House and Senate Republicans that their candidates are allowed to break U.S. law to advantage themselves in their elections is a crisis of democracy. Ratcliffe, and more critically senators such as Mitch McConnell and Lindsey Graham, are attempting to institutionalize that lawbreaking as legitimate, if that lawbreaking works to their advantage. It is, indisputably, a fascist moment.

Rep. Jayapal has her answer. No House Republican was willing to say that demanding foreign election interference was improper. House Republicans instead make it clear that the Republican Party will do exactly that.

Categories: Politics

Democratic dark money groups spending big, early to soften up vulnerable Republicans

Daily Kos - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 13:25

If you can't beat 'em, join 'em: That’s what a range Democratic dark money groups have determined, and they're outspending Republican groups massively in six states to hit the Republicans most vulnerable in 2020.

The groups have spent $9.3 million so far in television advertising in those states, about three times as much as Republicans have spent to date. A group called Advancing AZ has spent $1.8 million against Republican Sen. Martha McSally in Arizona. In Colorado, Rocky Mountain Values, Conservation Colorado, and Giffords PAC have spent about $2 million combined against Sen. Cory Gardner. Iowa Forward has aired more than $1.4 million worth of ads against Sen. Joni Ernst. But the winner in earning progressive ire is, you guessed it, Sen. Susan Collins. Maine Momentum and Majority Forward have combined to spend nearly $2.3 million in advertising against the incumbent senator.

And guess who Republicans have spent the most so far in shoring up? You got it: Collins. The U.S. Chamber of Commerce has spent $531,000 for her. Mitch McConnell's dark money PAC, One Nation, has spent in the six figures in ad buys for her. The newly formed 1820 PAC had raised more than three-quarters of a million by this summer for her and spent about half of it so far.

Republicans are doing their best not to show their panic about the Democratic spending. "Any outside group is free to burn through its cash before voters actually tune in, and you won't hear us complaining when Democrats do it," Jack Pandol, a spokesman for the Senate Leadership Fund, the top Republican outside group, told The Hill. "We're focused on deploying resources effectively when we can actually make a difference, not chasing headlines." As if voters weren't tuned in. As if there won't be more Democratic money next year. As if they have a prayer of matching the grassroots  small-dollar contributions Democrats are going to get.

Keep it flowing! Please give $1 to our nominee fund to help Democrats.

Categories: Politics

Prosecutors seek to revoke bail of GOP insider Lev Parnas after $1M payment from Russia discovered

Daily Kos - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 13:24

U.S. attorneys have asked that bail be revoked for Rudy Giuliani associate and Republican fundraiser Lev Parnas after learning that he received over $1 million from Russia. That money, which was paid into an account controlled by Parnas’ wife shortly before his arrest, was not revealed to prosecutors when Parnas’ bail was granted following his October arrest.

As The Wall Street Journal reports, prosecutors filed a letter in federal court on Wednesday evening asking that Parnas’ bail be revoked. The $1 million lump sum from Russia is listed as part of more than $1.5 million from unlisted sources in Russia and Ukraine. Parnas’ attorneys have asked for time to respond.

Parnas and frequent partner Igor Fruman were indicted on a raft of charges, including the use of a front company to disguise illegal foreign campaign payments that were funneled to Republican candidates across the country at both state and federal levels. Those who benefited from money coming from these illegal funds—funds that appear to tie back to an oligarch who is part of Vladimir Putin’s inner circle—include Kevin McCarthy, Devin Nunes, and other Republicans taking part in the impeachment proceedings against Donald Trump.

Since that initial indictment, it has been made clear that the case is still wide open, with additional charges—and additional individuals—likely to join the case. Multiple sources have indicated that those under scrutiny include Giuliani. Giuliani himself received at least $500,000 that was directed through an LLC controlled by Parnas. It’s unclear just how much money Giuliani has taken through his involvement in Ukraine, or who is funding his ongoing efforts to find Ukrainians willing to help out with Trump’s corrupt investigations into his political opponents.

Parnas has provided some documents to the House Intelligence Committee in response to a subpoena after a court ruling freed his attorneys to release information. Fruman has refused to produce any material.

Categories: Politics

Please Enjoy A Video Of Pramila Jayapal Shutting Down Jim Jordan

Crooks and Liars - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 13:19

Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) stood her ground at an impeachment hearing on Thursday after Republicans tried to derail her arguments in favor of removing President Donald Trump.

Jayapal began her remarks by pointing out that Florida Republican Matt Gaetz was wrong to suggest that President Donald Trump was invested in Ukraine’s fight against Russia.

“Why then did he decide he was so concerned about ‘corruption’ that he was not going to release military aid?” Jayapal said, prompting Republican Rep. Jim Jordan of Ohio to demand that she yield the floor.

“I am not yielding!” Jayapal exclaimed. “I am not yielding. I am not yielding.”

“They got a new president!” Jordan shouted, referring to Ukraine.

“The gentlelady has the time!” Chairman Jerry Nadler said, bringing down the gavel. “People will not interrupt.”

“That argument has no weight whatsoever!” Jayapal fired back at Jordan. “No where between the time that Donald Trump withheld aid and the time that he released that aid was there an additional assessment [on Ukraine corruption] required or done.”

“Forget about President Trump,” she said. “Will any one of my colleagues on the other side say that it is an abuse of power to condition aid on official acts?”

“Not a single one of you has said that so far,” Jayapal noted.

Categories: Politics

Trump's Trade Guy Forwards 'Memos' By Imaginary 'Expert'

Crooks and Liars - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 13:00

You really cannot make up stuff like this:

“President Trump must decide within days whether to proceed with the next round of tariffs on $160 billion of Chinese goods, which are slated to go into effect on Sunday. [Peter] Navarro, a senior trade adviser to Mr. Trump and a China skeptic, has cast doubt on the willingness of Beijing to meaningfully overhaul its trade practices and has advocated the tariffs as a tool to force China to change its behavior. He’s not the only one making that point. To illustrate those concerns, Mr. Navarro harnessed his literary muse, Ron Vara, in a memo that is circulating in Washington. Sent from an email address purportedly belonging to Ron Vara, the memo highlights public commentary in favor of keeping the pressure on China with more tariffs. “Much debate going on,” Ron Vara wrote, referring to the decision about whether to roll back or double down on China tariffs. “Here’s one side that has not been in focus. Thoughts?”

Ron Vara is the fictional character that Mr. Navarro created and cited as an expert more than a dozen times in five of his 13 books, where he offered searing critiques of China. Mr. Navarro’s use of the fabricated source emerged in October after an Australian scholar reviewed all of Mr. Navarro’s writing and discovered that one of his sources was imaginary.”

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Categories: Politics

Mitch McConnell Tries To Talk Trump Out Of A Media Show Trial

Crooks and Liars - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 13:00

As the impeachment hearings move toward a close, CNN reporter Suzanne Malveaux reports.

"With the House entering its final stretch in impeachment proceedings, CNN has learned that Mitch McConnell is looking to make the Senate trial a quick one, without any witnesses. That would go against what sources have said President Trump wants. Behind closed doors, impeachment is weighing heavily on the president despite constantly downplaying it."

This is the lightest, weakest impeachment.

"People familiar with President Trump's thinking say he's privately agitated and worried it will ruin his legacy. (Editor's note: "Legacy?" Say what?) And while Trump has been calling for what he prefers as a long, drawn-out process, a real show, a chance to defend himself with witnesses like Hunter Biden, Adam Schiff, a senior administration official is saying he might be warming to the possibility of what Mitch McConnell is talking about. Something quick and speedy and efficient because as this administration official put it, 'It's his chamber.' "

Personally, I think John Dean, famed Watergate witness, has the absolute best suggestion:

Categories: Politics

It’s Still Joe Biden’s Race to Lose

Kevin Drum - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 12:50

My brain seems empty today, so here’s a look at the current Democratic primary race polling as aggregated by RealClear Politics:

Biden and Sanders continue to be rock steady. The Warren boom is over, and she’s now tied with Sanders at around 15 percent. The Buttigieg boomlet also appears to have lost steam, though he’s still at 10 percent. And Mike Bloomberg has climbed to 5 percent on the strength of a gazillion dollars worth of TV ads.

Progressives don’t want to hear this, but it’s still Biden’s race to lose as long as the lefty vote is split between Sanders and Warren.


Categories: Politics

BOOM: Hakeem Jeffries Steamrolls GOP Framing On Impeachment

Crooks and Liars - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 12:41

The Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee are doing democracy proud in their five-minute arguments during the debate on impeachment. While the GOP reps yell and speed-lie their way through this, throwing their arms and spittle about in faux outrage over "division" and "fairness" (HA), Democrats are making their arguments with facts, somberness, and care.

One of the absolute stars that shone in yesterday's debate was New York's Rep. Hakeem Jeffries, who crafted an oratory both historical and relatable, and managed to bring the issues into focus with, dare I say it? At risk of plagiarizing, clarity.

Here are some of the highlights from the transcript:

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Categories: Politics

CBS News Airs Infowars Guy As 'Random Trump Voter'

Crooks and Liars - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 12:38

A media #fail tale in three tweets:

Categories: Politics