Green Eggs and Ham

Balloon Juice - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 12:35

This was good. Here’s another impeachment hearings thread.

The post Green Eggs and Ham appeared first on Balloon Juice.

Categories: Politics

Jayapal on Trump: If we allow presidents to be above the law, we will 'no longer be a democracy'

Daily Kos - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 12:21

Rep. Pramila Jayapal, a Democrat from Washington state, argued for impeachment in a moving opening statement on the first day of the impeachment articles markup on Wednesday night, which has quickly gone viral on Twitter. Among other strong points, Jayapal argues that Trump has abused his power as president by putting pressure on a “fragile foreign ally” (making reference to Ukraine) by threatening to withhold aid if it didn’t try to dig up dirt on 2020 hopeful Joe Biden.

“The facts are clear: Donald Trump abused the power of the office of the presidency to pursue his own personal political gain,” Jayapal states, “and leveraged critically needed, congressionally approved military aid to coerce a fragile foreign ally to interfere in our elections.”

Perhaps most movingly, the congresswoman talked about her own experience of becoming a U.S. citizen, and what citizenship means for naturalized citizens like herself. She describes it as a “conscious choice” and a “dream we chase across deserts and seas to join the larger American story, one of generations overcoming every challenge and every obstacle because America is worth it.”

Jayapal also stressed that if Congress doesn’t act now, it’s basically giving Trump free rein to abuse his power as president again and again.

Here’s the clip from the House Judiciary Committee meeting on Twitter.

Categories: Politics

Democrats argue Trump impeachment offense far graver abuse of power than Clinton 'lying about sex'

Daily Kos - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 12:11

Democrats did not come to play Thursday during the House Judiciary Committee’s review of impeachment articles regarding President Donald Trump. After their Republican counterparts tried to strike down articles of impeachment against Trump, Democratic Reps. Sheila Jackson Lee of Texas and Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California cleared things up with a comparison to impeachment hearings of former President Bill Clinton in 1998. And they’re equally qualified to make the comparison, both having served as legislators during the 1998 hearings, Jackson Lee said.

The point of contention and the very basis for this probe into Trump is a July phone call in which he pressured Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to investigate political rival and former Vice President Joe Biden allegedly in return for security aid. “And let me be very clear. I hold in my hands that unclassified transcript,” Jackson Lee said at one point in the hearing. “I beg to differ with my friends.” The congresswoman then quoted from the transcript. “President Zelensky said these sentences: ‘I would also like to thank you for your great support in the area of defense. We're trying to continue to cooperate for the next steps. Specifically, we also want to be ready to buy javelins. That's equipment, military equipment from the United States for defense purposes.’” 

Jackson Lee interjected with some context explaining that at the time of Zelensky’s request Ukraine was in the midst of a war against a nation that shot down “at least some of those alleged to be separatist” using Russian weapons, a commercial airliner. “This is a serious war where our men and women in the military are on the ground trying to assist,” Jackson Lee said. She said Trump responded in the very next sentence, “not yes let's get with the department of defense.”

“The very next sentence, ‘I would like you to do a favor, though,’” Jackson Lee said. “So, I would just offer to say that it is not frivolous or without facts that we proceed,” she later added. “We proceed with facts, and we take this in a very somber manner.”

Rep. Zoe Lofgren added to that discussion further comparison between the Trump hearings and the Clinton impeachment hearings. The former president was accused of lying under oath regarding an alleged sexual relationship with then-White House intern Monica Lewinsky. 

Categories: Politics

Moscow Mitch's assault on the Constitution continues with plan for sham impeachment hearing

Daily Kos - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 12:01

So Moscow Mitch McConnell has made it all but official: The Republican Senate will acquit Donald Trump in his impeachment trial. He may as well just have the vote to dismiss the charges and not even bother with the trial, since the outcome is already assured.

Republicans have already decided among themselves that it's not worth hearing from witnesses, likely because they can find no witnesses who can effectively defend Trump. The only testimony they would hear would undoubtedly be damning; better to avoid it entirely. And they admit that freely.

"Witnesses would be a double-edged sword," Sen. Mike Braun, an Indiana Republican, told The Washington Post. Calling witnesses would be "mutually assured destruction," McConnell reportedly told his conference in a meeting this week. He's not positive, says the Post, that he's got 51 votes to arrange the hearing so that only Trump's witnesses get to speak, and if he had to get any Democrats to get to 51, then they'd have leverage to call their witnesses. So Trump won't be getting his wish—hauling Rep. Adam Schiff and the Bidens and the anonymous whistleblower before the Senate.

McConnell dismisses the idea of needing to call witnesses because he's sure the majority will decide "they've heard enough and believe they know what would happen." Meaning acquittal. Meaning everyone's minds are made up and he's going to have a sham hearing and none of the witnesses who have firsthand knowledge of what Trump did vis-a-vis Ukraine will have to talk. Acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney, White House counsel Don McGahn, former national security adviser John Bolton, and Vice President Mike Pence won't have to spill the beans or perjure themselves.

All pretense of the Republican Senate under Mitch McConnell doing its constitutional duty is out the window. It’ll have a completely sham hearing with a foregone conclusion, merely because dismissing the impeachment charges without one would be hard for vulnerable Republicans to defend in their reelection bids. Never mind that the outcome is the same: an abdication of their oaths of office and full acquittal for Trump.

And so McConnell's systematic destruction of this 230-year-long experiment with a constitutional republic continues apace.

He must be stopped. Please give $1 to our nominee fund to help Democrats and end McConnell's career as Senate majority leader.

Categories: Politics

House passes bipartisan bill putting undocumented farm workers on pathway to citizenship

Daily Kos - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 11:53

Advocates celebrated as the House of Representatives on Wednesday passed the Farm Workforce Modernization Act—historic legislation that would put hundreds of thousands of farm workers who meet certain requirements onto a path to legalization—by an overwhelming bipartisan vote, 260 to 165. 

Campaign Action

The legislation, introduced by Democratic Rep. Zoe Lofgren of California and Republican Rep. Dan Newhouse of Washington this past fall, marks the first time in decades that the House has passed an agricultural labor immigration bill, said United Farm Workers, one of the 300 groups to support the bill. It implements long overdue protections for undocumented immigrants who are the backbone of the farming industry—and whose work puts food on tables across the U.S.

“The legislation would address labor challenges and establish a program for agricultural workers and their families in the United States to earn legal immigration status through continued employment in the agricultural field,” said the office of Rep. Gil Cisneros. “The process will include requirements for employment in agriculture for at least 180 days over the last two years and at least 100 days per year to renew status as a Certified Agricultural Worker. Long-term workers would be able to pursue a green card. The legislation would also ensure critical protections for workers that are needed to ensure their safety, a stable income, and workers’ rights.”

It’s estimated that at least half of all farm workers are undocumented, and their lack of legal status makes them all the more vulnerable to abuses in an already strenuous job that is in no way “unskilled labor.” But like domestic workers, farm workers remain excluded from vital protections. Yet whether it's buying produce or dining at our favorite restaurant, we've all benefited from their labor. They deserve better.

“Legislators have voted in favor of protecting the people whose hands harvest the fruits and vegetables offered in congressional buildings’ cafeterias and all of American’s kitchen tables,” said UFW Foundation executive director Diana Tellefson Torres. “Whether it is through organizing in congressional districts or walking the halls of Congress, farm workers are a force that deserves recognition during the nine months it took to craft and get the legislation through the House.

Categories: Politics

Rep. Pramila Jayapal: Will 'any one' Republican say it is 'OK' to invite foreign election help?

Daily Kos - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 11:51

In the House Judiciary Committee's continuing impeachment debate, Democratic Rep. Pramila Jayapal asked the question most of America has been wondering about: "Forget about President Trump. Will any one of my colleagues on the other side say that it is an abuse of power to condition aid on official acts?. Forget about President Trump. Forget about President Trump. Is any one of my colleagues willing to say that it is ever OK for a president of the United States of America to invite foreign interference in our elections? Not a single one of you has said that so far."

Not one Republican has so far answered Jayapal's question. House Republicans present have expressed outrage at the methods by which Trump's actions were discovered. They have lied about the evidence. They have claimed that the witnesses, testifying under oath, are all enemies of Dear Leader. They have claimed that the efforts to obtain evidence from a White House claiming "absolute immunity" to be unfair.

But none are addressing the actual topic of impeachment: whether we are now claiming that those in the office of the presidency are allowed to condition military aid to a nation on that nation's government doing favors of personal benefit to that president. It is transparently corrupt when stated plainly, which is why not one Republican on the committee is willing to state it plainly.

This is not about Trump. If it were, the drive to remove him would be bipartisan and quickly successful. This is about the Republican Party, about its members, from Nunes, Meadows, and Jordan to McCarthy and McConnell, who have devoted themselves steadfastly to allowing Donald Trump, his family, his staff, and his appointed officials to break the law. It is their corruption, not his, that has put the nation into constitutional crisis.

And so Jayapal's question remains unanswered.

Categories: Politics

Greta Slays The Orange Shitgibbon, Part 2

Crooks and Liars - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 11:42

What to make of a 73-year-old man who keeps trying to publicly ridicule and bully a 16-year-old? And that the teen easily bests him at every turn, with humor and class, while the old man does nothing but soil himself and embarrass the entire country that gave him this platform.

Source: The Guardian

Incensed perhaps by her selection – and not his – as Time magazine’s person of the year, Donald Trump opened Twitter fire Thursday morning on the climate activist Greta Thunberg.

Trump, 73, tweeted that Thunberg, 16, who has been diagnosed with Asperger’s syndrome, had an “anger management problem” and should “chill” – no pun apparently intended.

“So ridiculous,” the president wrote. “Greta must work on her Anger Management problem, then go to a good old fashioned movie with a friend! Chill Greta, Chill!”

Thunberg has caught the ire of many US conservatives for helping to spotlight a climate emergency which her critics pretend does not exist. But Trump’s attack on her, in personal terms, from his presidential bully pulpit struck many observers as a marked and hypocritical escalation.

read more

Categories: Politics

Trump's attacks on FBI could have a 'chilling effect' on future investigations, agents warn

Daily Kos - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 11:27

Donald Trump and his pet attorney general, William Barr, have repeatedly attacked the FBI—even following the Justice Department inspector general’s conclusion that the investigation into Trump’s 2016 campaign’s Russia ties was not political—and the attacks could be having the intended effect. Next time there’s good reason to investigate someone powerful, the FBI might think twice, current and former officials told CNN.

“We're constantly told to be agile and use all the legal tools available to us,” an FBI counterintelligence employee told CNN. “But who is going to risk sticking their neck out now only to have DOJ chop it off?”

”These comments will have a chilling effect on the workforce,” a retired agent said.

That, of course, is what Trump wanted—along with delegitimizing the concerns about him, his campaign, and their ties to Russian election interference.

Categories: Politics

Samantha Bee Warns: 'Don't Let GOP Yell You To Sleep'

Crooks and Liars - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 11:23

Samantha Bee observes the impeachment "debate," consisting of somber Democrats, and Republicans who are convinced the "best defense is a loud offense."

Bee called the yellings of Louie Gohmert, Jim Jordan, Matt Gaetz and Kevin McCarthy... “Kava-noise” after Brett Kavanaugh.

Her definition is spot-on: “That’s when white men who’ve done something awful shout into a camera at us until it goes away.”

SAMANTHA BEE: My God, can you imagine if a woman tried that strategy? I get accused of being shrill even when I’m sleeping. And it wouldn’t work for people of color either. If any of them tried to pull a Louie Gohmert, they’d get swatted by the white ladies filming them at all times.

But Bee also noted that the press buys right into their nonsense: "It’s not partisan if it’s pretty much all one side. Believe me, if there were ever a real partisan brawl, Maxine Waters would let you know.”

This isn't a "he said, she said" both sides thing, folks. It's about whether we have free and fair elections from now on.

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Categories: Politics

Zoe Lofgren Goes There: What About Stormy Daniels?

Crooks and Liars - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 10:45

Thank you, Rep. Zoe Lofgren.

During Thursday's impeachment debate in the House Judiciary Committee, there have been instances of back and forth regarding this impeachment versus Bill Clinton's impeachment, in which he lied (about sex) under oath. Zoe Lofgren, a Democrat from California, takes that on:

REP. ZOE LOFGREN (D-CA): The argument, that somehow, lying about a sexual affair, is an abuse of presidential power, but the mis-use of presidential power to get a benefit, somehow doesn't matter. If it's lying about sex, we could put Stormy Daniels ahead of us. We don't believe that's a high crime or misdemeanor...

REPUBLICAN off screen: Will the gentlewoman yield?

LOFGREN: No. And it is not before us, and it should not be before us, because it's not an abuse of presidential power. I yield back.

Twitter (including my colleague @karoli) has opinions on this, too:

Categories: Politics

Ky. Gov. Bevin rushed to pardon fundraiser's killer brother, child rapist, and guy who hired hitman

Daily Kos - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 10:43

Some true stories these days would never last three minutes as scripts in a Hollywood producer’s office. The author would be shown the door for fiction that is just too implausible for the audience to handle. Like, say, a U.S. president meeting the Russian foreign minister just as a U.S. ally is trying to get the Kremlin to quit killing his people and occupying a chunk of his nation. “Get out of here, even Oliver Stone couldn’t make that believable.”

A couple of investigative reporters wrote just such a story last night about Kentucky’s former governor, Republican Matt Bevin. Andrew Wolfson and Joe Sonka at The Louisville Courier Journal report that in his last days in office after losing the November election, Bevin pardoned a murderer whose brother, Eric Baker, hosted a July 2018 fundraiser to retire the governor’s campaign debt from 2015. Baker and his wife also contributed $4,000 of their own money to Bevin at that fundraiser.

The brother, Patrick Baker, had been sentenced in 2017 to 19 years for reckless homicide, robbery, impersonating a law enforcement officer, and tampering with evidence. Two men convicted with him are still in prison, even though he’s the one who squeezed the trigger in a home invasion robbery.  Commonwealth’s Attorney Jackie Steele, who prosecuted Baker, was outraged about the pardon: "What makes Mr. Baker any different than the other two?" He thinks it’s the Baker family’s money that did the trick.

Bevin said he pardoned Baker because he didn’t think the evidence was convincing. Judge David Williams, a onetime Republican president of the Kentucky Senate, sentenced Baker in 2017. He told the Courier Journal that in his 30 years of practice, he’s “never seen a more compelling or complete case … the evidence was just overwhelming.”

This part of the story would probably get a pass in Hollywood. It is, after all, the kind of corruption we’re all too familiar with. Not just believable, but almost a cliché. Money for a favor.

Categories: Politics

Buck up, House 'moderates,' and stand with the Constitution

Daily Kos - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 10:16

First-term Kansas Democratic Rep. Sharice Davids will vote to impeach Donald Trump. "The evidence uncovered by the House impeachment inquiry is overwhelming," she said. "And the facts are uncontested." So will Pennsylvania's Rep. Conor Lamb, another freshman Democrat who you might remember winning a squeaker of a special election last year. "I think the evidence is strong," he says.

So if they can do it, the Blue Dog Democrats in the House should pull up their big-girl and big-boy pants and do the right thing. Instead, they're whining about their districts and waffling. And that's after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi gave them very narrow—and completely irrefutable—articles of impeachment. A handful of them have even been talking about maybe instead censuring Trump. Censuring him for trying to extort a foreign government to help him fix his reelection.

"I'm still thinking it over," said Rep. Susie Lee, from Nevada’s 3rd Congressional District, which she won by 10 points. "This is a very grave decision. […] I'm hearing all sides of it. […] It's mixed, it's very mixed." It's not at all mixed, and there aren't more than two sides: neither with Trump and his endangering of national security to help Russia help keep him in office nor with the Constitution. Waffler Rep. Josh Gottheimer of NJ-05, which he won in 2016 by almost 5 points, says, "I've said all along, I need to see all the facts. I'm not going to prejudge anything until we get every bit of information." You've gotten the information. The testimony and the report from the House Intelligence Committee could not be more clear.

Davids is there. Lamb is there. Rep. Susan Wild in PA-07, another who won a very tight special election in 2018, will vote for both articles. "I know from my own inbox that there's plenty of antagonism out there, but on the other hand I've also gotten enormous numbers of people texting me, emailing me, private messaging me with supportive messages," Wild said. "I don't really know how it plays back home at this point, so ultimately, for me, it comes down to doing the right thing, and I think this is the right thing to do."

The right thing to do. The thing you were elected to do. The thing you swore to do: defend and protect the Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Step up, snowflakes.

Categories: Politics

73-year-old Trump bullies 16-year-old Thunberg on Twitter. She once again makes a fool of him

Daily Kos - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 10:14

Sixteen-year-old Greta Thunberg was named TIME magazine’s 2019 Person of the Year for her work as an environmental activist and advocate. Thunberg is the youngest person to receive this recognition. Donald Trump, who was a finalist for the position, and who himself was dubbed Person of the Year in 2016, responded to Thunberg’s cover in a manner suggesting that he, not Greta, is the teenager in this equation. After TIME’s cover was revealed, Trump took to Twitter to mock Thunberg and suggest that she seek anger management and watch a movie with a friend.


This isn’t the first time Trump has bullied Thunberg on Twitter. In September, Thunberg gave a speech urging adults to act on climate change. "I shouldn't be up here," the teenager said in her U.N. climate action speech. "I should be back at school on the other side of the ocean. Yet you all come to us young people for hope. How dare you! You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.”

Moving, for sure, but not particularly happy. Trump, who has described climate change as a hoax and whose administration continues to attack the environment, made haste on Twitter to diminish her as a “very happy young girl” as her speech went viral.

Categories: Politics

New data from November election shows Mississippi's Jim Crow constitution still harms black voters

Daily Kos - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 10:00

Last month, Republican Tate Reeves defeated Democrat Jim Hood by a modest 52-47 margin to become the next governor of Mississippi, but thanks to a unique relic of Jim Crow that’s still very much alive today, Reeves could have lost the popular vote by double digits yet still won the election.

How could this be possible?

The state's 1890 constitution, which was officially enacted "to secure to the State of Mississippi 'white supremacy,'" is still in effect today, and among its provisions is an “electoral college” for statewide elections that deliberately penalizes black voters and the Democrats they support.

The provision in question requires candidates for offices such as governor or attorney general to win not only a majority of the vote but also a majority of the state House’s 122 districts. If no candidate surpasses both thresholds, the members of the House choose the winner, and there’s nothing to stop them from picking the person who lost the popular vote.

Republicans have controlled the state legislature since 2011, and as soon as they took charge, they redrew their own districts to guarantee they’d never lose their grip on power. They did so by making sure a majority of districts would be heavily white, and therefore heavily Republican. As a result, they not only gerrymandered the state House, they gerrymandered every statewide election, too.

Just how big of a penalty does this system impose on Mississippi Democrats, who overwhelmingly rely on the support of black voters? We compiled the results of every contested statewide election in 2019 broken down by state House district to find out. Even though Reeves won the popular vote by just 5 points, that victory translated into a crushing 74-48 win at the district level, meaning he won 61% of the state’s "electoral votes." But even that doesn’t tell the whole story.

We can also ask ourselves what it would have taken for Hood to have carried a majority of House districts. One way we can answer that question is by ranking every district from most Republican to most Democratic, ranging from Reeves' largest margin of victory to Hood's largest margin, and finding the district in the middle. Reeves won that median district 60-39, 15 points to the right of his 5-point statewide win.

Categories: Politics

Impeachment Hearings Open Thread

Balloon Juice - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 09:57

For your watching pleasure –

Categories seem to be broken…

The post Impeachment Hearings Open Thread appeared first on Balloon Juice.

Categories: Politics

Defense Department watchdog will audit $400 million border wall contract to Trump-favored company

Daily Kos - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 09:50

The Defense Department’s inspector general will review the $400 million border wall contract awarded to a North Dakota company Donald Trump had personally promoted. The move comes after Rep. Bennie Thompson, the chair of the House Homeland Security Committee, called for an investigation because the company’s “proposals reportedly did not meet the operational requirements of U.S. Customs and Border Protection” and due to “concerns about the possibility of inappropriate influence.”

”In your letter, you raised concerns about the possibility of inappropriate influence on USACE's contracting decision, and questioned whether the bid submitted by Fisher Sand and Gravel Co. met solicitation standards. You also questioned whether USACE made the award in accordance with federal procurement law and regulations,” the principal deputy inspector general wrote in a letter to Thompson, NBC News reports. “In response to your request, we have decided to initiate an audit of the solicitation and award of this contract.”

The company, Fisher Sand & Gravel, has been promoted by North Dakota Republican Sen. Kevin Cramer and has built a privately funded border wall on private property. Fisher promised to deliver its wall segments at a much lower cost than other companies, but it was also proposing a concrete wall, a design that border agents have pushed back against because they want to be able to see through any border barrier. 

Trump has been pushing for Fisher to get border contracts since 2018, and at one point, a person “familiar with the conversations” told NBC News, “We had to explain the rules of federal procurement. You can't just pick a winner.” But after more than a year of pressure from Trump, it appears he did manage to just pick a winner—which is why the inspector general needs to look into whether Trump exerted inappropriate influence on the Army Corps of Engineers. Once again, Trump’s wish to be a dictator is exposing just how fragile American democratic norms and institutions are.

Categories: Politics

House Judiciary Committee debates articles of impeachment

Daily Kos - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 09:49

The House Judiciary Committee is currently debating the articles of impeachment brought against Donald Trump … though from the coverage it’s getting in the media, it might as well not be happening. Though networks could be bothered to pause briefly on Wednesday morning for the actual announcement of the articles, that appears to be the extent to which they’re willing to pull themselves away from celebrity gossip and holiday shopping tips.

The hearing opened this morning with a full reading of the nine-page resolution. Following the reading, the committee moved to a series of statements, using a—still bizarre after all this time—series of representatives moving to “strike the last word” as an excuse to stand up and talk about absolutely anything except striking the last word.

So far, Republicans have moved to strike the entire first article, after Jim Jordan reduced every witness statement to hearsay. And Debbie Lesko engaged in some prolonged screaming about the need for a “minority hearing” day in which they could bring in those witnesses they want—such as the whistleblower, Hunter Biden, and the Loch Ness monster, with a lot of claims about how corrupt Democrats are. Following that, Democrat Joe Neguse did an admirable job of both defending the process of the impeachment and comparing it favorably to past impeachment actions.

This is genuinely the last opportunity for Judiciary Committee members to have a say on the articles, to offer proposed changes, and eventually to cast their roll call vote to move these articles to the floor of the House. 

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Categories: Politics

Vote Actually: British Election Day Open Thread

Balloon Juice - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 09:28

Photo of actor Hugh GrantImage from Variety, 2018 — photo credit: Brad Trent

Who gets to visit the Queen on Friday to ask permission to form a government? If Hugh Grant has anything to say about it, it won’t be Boris Johnson. From The New Yorker:

The actor, who is best known for rendering exquisitely the many stages of a diffident British person in the process of making up his mind and then, fuck it all, following his heart, has decided to get involved. Grant is fifty-nine years old and turning silver. Since the election was called, in late October, Grant has been lively on social media—he’s a mite over half a million Twitter followers—tweeting about the National Health Service and describing Johnson as a “weak little Narcissus.” For the past few weeks, Grant has lent his support to campaigns in a half-dozen tight parliamentary races, hoping to prevent the Conservatives from winning a majority and finally delivering Brexit…

It hasn’t taken long—at all—for Grant’s presence to have an influence on the election. Politicians seem to have decided that a sprinkle of abashed romance wouldn’t hurt the British electorate. A few weeks ago, Rosena Allin-Khan, a Labour M.P. running in Tooting, in South London, made an election video in the style of “Love Actually,” in which she knocked on a voter’s door and enacted a version of the scene in which Andrew Lincoln, playing the lovelorn friend of Keira Knightley, silently declares his feelings to her on a series of large, hand-drawn signs.

On Monday, with the election three days off, the fourth wall—or maybe the last supporting wall—of British politics collapsed, when Johnson and the Conservatives decided to rip off the idea for their final election broadcast. You can watch the scene, if you have the strength, here… On Tuesday morning, Grant was asked about the ad on “Today,” the BBC’s flagship political show. He praised the production values but noted that one of the more affecting cards from “Love Actually” was missing from Johnson’s hands. It reads “Because at Christmas you tell the truth.”

My attention, consternation and horror have been focused closer to home as the American version of a ridiculously thatched, lying shit-goblin and his mendacious, moronic, shrieking enablers swing hammers and pickaxes at democracy. The few snippets of British election news and commentary I’ve seen recently all suggest the Tories have this in the bag.

Here’s hoping the pollsters and pundits are wrong. Even though my ancestors fled the British Isles centuries ago, I feel like I have a personal stake. The Brexit vote was a precursor to the Trump catastrophuck, and it was driven by the same malign international, domestic and cyber forces.

May this day herald the retreat of Putin-adjacent xenophobia, plutocracy and thuggery in the Old Country, to be followed by its complete and utter obliteration next year in the former colonies. Open thread!




The post Vote Actually: British Election Day Open Thread appeared first on Balloon Juice.

Categories: Politics

Scarborough Summarizes GOP Trump Defense: 'Loud Noises! That's All They Have'

Crooks and Liars - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 09:26

Joe Scarborough chided Jim Jordan for being one of the people "turning their heads" while someone was "doing bad things to wrestlers he shouldn't have done." He talked about the tactic with former Republican staffer Kurt Bardella, who wrote an op-ed today about the yelling strategy.

"It is fascinating, though, that all the yelling and screaming, they never get to the fact, do they, Kurt -- they never get to the fact that they didn't even in a more extreme way against Barack Obama. And you were there. You were on the oversight committee. You know what the oversight committee did to Barack Obama," Scarborough said.

"Everything that they're acting shocked and saying that the government has been weaponized, that's number one. Number two, they never really addressed the underlying issue, and that is, if Donald Trump as commander in chief used his position to extort support from a foreign country to interfere in an election, and held up about $400 million worth of military defense weapons that Congress had already approved that was supposed to stop whom? It was to stop Vladimir Putin from invading the country.

"You will love this, Willie. The House Republicans have adopted the Brick Tamlin (Anchorman) 'loud noises' defense. Loud noises! That's all they have. They're making loud noises."

read more

Categories: Politics

New memo claims Trump didn't delay Ukraine funds: It was the OMB all along

Daily Kos - Thu, 12/12/2019 - 09:25

Donald Trump withheld military assistance to Ukraine because he doesn’t like foreign aid. Donald Trump withheld military assistance to Ukraine because he didn’t think Europe was sending it enough. Donald Trump withheld military assistance to Ukraine because he was concerned about corruption.

Considering the amount of testimony to the fact that Trump withheld military assistance from Ukraine because he was extorting that nation to announce “investigations” into a pair of conspiracy theories designed to give him a personal political advantage, the litany of excuses—most of which seem to have appeared ex nihilo as Republicans representatives scrambled to provide some reason, any reason, for Trump’s action—has been a bit hilarious. Especially considering that the universal statement from everyone involved in the House, Senate, State Department, Defense Department, and Office of Management and Budget was that when they tried to get an answer on why Trump was holding back the support, all they got was silence.

Throughout the House impeachment hearings, Republicans asserted one or all of the theories above, even though doing so meant drawing a ludicrous set of inferences. Now, as it turns out, they needn’t have bothered.

Because the real reason Donald Trump withheld military assistance to Ukraine was because … he didn’t. He never withheld it at all. Instead the delay on the assistance to Ukraine was entirely the idea of the Office of Management and Budget. As The Washington Post reports a new legal memo maintains that the whole thing was just a “programmatic delay” generated when leadership at the OMB took it on themselves to conduct a double-check to make sure the assistance was in compliance with its own rules. And they’re just getting around to explaining that … now.

Sorry about that whole impeachment thing, nation. But now that it’s clear this was all done inside the OMB, Democrats can pack away the whole process and Republicans can stop trying to think of excuses. 

Categories: Politics