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Well, Impeachment Didn't Work – How Else Can Congress Keep President Trump In Check?

Sat, 02/15/2020 - 09:30
House Democrats have more more tools up their sleeves than impeachment alone. J. Scott Applewhite/AP Photo

Kirsten Carlson, Wayne State University

Donald Trump’s removal of impeachment witness Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman from the White House and intervention in his friend Roger Stone’s sentencing have prompted concern that the president’s acquittal in his recent impeachment trial may embolden him to further expand executive power while avoiding accountability.

But the conclusion of the trial in the Senate should by no means end congressional oversight of the executive branch.

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Categories: Politics

Mike's Blog Round Up

Sat, 02/15/2020 - 08:01

It was touch and go there for a moment, but we made it to Saturday! Between the New Hampshire primary --which seems like 100 years ago-- Bill Barr's Kabuki Theater, and our Grifter-in-Chief, we thought this week might never end. On to the bloggers who make sense of it all for us!

Big Bad Bald Bastard reminds us that NYers don't negotiate with terrorists.

Hackwhackers got Bill Barr on their BS Bingo card.

Progressive Eruptions sees a mob boss presidency.

Mike The Mad Biologist says that the Democrats should have gone after emoluments.

Bonus Track: Liberal Memes sees what Trump has in common with the Red Hats in Possum Hollar.

Round-up by Tengrain who blogs at Mock, Paper, Scissors. You can follow Tengrain on the Twitters, too. Send tips, requests, and suggestions to (with For MBRU in the subject line).

Categories: Politics

Trump Unleashed - Does The Press Know How To Handle His Authoritarian Ways?

Sat, 02/15/2020 - 08:00

America's facing a rule-of-law crisis as Trump moves forcefully to complete his mission of turning the Department of Justice into his person legal backstop, designed to protect him at his allies at all costs. But you might not know a crisis was raging based on the week's news coverage.

Make no mistake, when an angry Trump tweet is able to get the DOJ to instantly rip up its sentencing recommendation for convicted felon, and former Trump adviser, Roger Stone, there's a rule-of-law emergency in this country.

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Categories: Politics

AW! Astronaut Reunites With Her Dog After A Year In Space

Fri, 02/14/2020 - 23:30

Astronaut Christine Koch reunites with her dog "LBD" (Little Brown Dog) after a year in space.

Open thread below...

Categories: Politics

C&L's Late Nite Music Club With Stan Getz And J. J. Johnson

Fri, 02/14/2020 - 23:01

If you don't know the story behind the lyrics of "My Funny Valentine", yours truly gave a quick overview of them in the music club some years back. For this Valentine's Day evening though, let's listen to an instrumental take on the melody.

Accompanied by the Oscar Peterson trio and Connie Kay on drums, this live version from Stan Getz and J. J. Johnson from 1957 a quite a stunner.

What are you listening to tonight?

Categories: Politics

Trump Admits He Sent Giuliani To Ukraine, Because He Didn't Trust The FBI

Fri, 02/14/2020 - 22:00

“Win” may be Donald Trump’s favorite word. He likes to win. Win. Win. Winnity win. So much win.

But is it really a win if you don’t get to revel in it? Okay, sure, so Donald Trump already had a celebration in which every network inexplicably stayed with him while he basked in the glow of his hand-selected crew, an event at which he discussed how being shot had made Steve Scalise better-looking, pondered the idea that a wife might show concern about her husband, and wandered away into 1960s baseball. Only … it wasn’t enough. Not nearly enough.

The real win for Trump can only come by spelling out just how he tricked everyone, how he got away with it, how he proved that he’s the smartest guy in the room. So that’s exactly what Trump did on Thursday when he explained how he sent Rudy Giuliani to Ukraine. To extort it. For Trump’s personal political gain.

Trump’s moment of not-at-all-guilty reveling happened, of all places, on a podcast hosted by Geraldo Rivera. (Warning: Do not listen if you’re capable of listening.)

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Categories: Politics

Fox 'Serious News' Reporter Whitewashes Trump's Proposed Social Security Cuts

Fri, 02/14/2020 - 21:00

In a report on Democratic grilling of Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin over Donald Trump’s proposed cuts to Social Security, Fox News correspondent Mike Emanuel whitewashed them by referring to Social Security as “a popular entitlement program” instead of the social safety net it actually is.

Fox News anchor Bret Baier introduced the report by saying that Trump’s budget is “a hard sell” to Congressional Democrats. In reality, it’s dead on arrival.

Emanuel then began:

It’s budget season on Capitol Hill which in this political environment means it is a target for attack. A Senate Democrat pressed the Treasury secretary this afternoon on a popular entitlement program.

The clip that followed made it clear that the “popular entitlement program” Emanuel referred to is Social Security. Describing Social Security as an “entitlement program” suggests that it’s some kind of welfare program people feel entitled to. But while the proposed cuts do not affect retirees’ income, they would cut about $45 billion in spending for disabled children and adults, i.e. the neediest among us.

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Categories: Politics

Senate Passes War Powers Resolution Against Trump's Iran War

Fri, 02/14/2020 - 20:00

The Senate on Thursday passed a War Powers Resolution aimed at preventing President Donald Trump from launching military action against Iran without congressional approval.

"The nation should not be at war without a vote of Congress," said Sen. Tim Kaine (D-Va.), the lead sponsor of S.J. Res. 68.

The resolution passed by a vote of 55-45—with the support of eight Republicans—and now heads to the Democrat-controlled House of Representatives, where it is expected to pass.

Categories: Politics

Meltdown On Fox News: 'You Want People Thrown In Jail Because They Like Donald Trump!'

Fri, 02/14/2020 - 16:35

It's been awhile since we've seen an Outnumbered meltdown on Fox News like this one. Boy howdy, this was a doozy.

Everything was sweetness and light this Valentine's Day until Jessica Tarlov dared to say some truth.

"I think we should highlight what has happened now that Republican senators, congresspeople, et cetera are having to spend their time defending Roger Stone and Paul Manafort who are two incredibly unsavory characters to say the least, Tarlov said. "That's what this president has done. He's surrounded himself with criminals."

Oh, the injustice. The terrible injustice of saying aloud the things we all know to be true. Former Bushie and "one lucky guy" Brad Blakeman leapt to Trump's defense, as did Dagen McDowell, creating a free for all.

Blakeman was trying to say their stink didn't rub off on Trump, but Tarlov was not having it.

Of Roger Stone, she reminded everyone that he did criminal things, for which he was convicted, and those things make him a criminal.

"The crew around this president is the swamp," she insisted. "He said he was going to D.C. to clear the swamp. He hired the swamp in full."

That triggered the full-on verbal beating from Dagen McDowell.

"You want people thrown in jail because they like Donald Trump, that's essentially what you're saying," she shouted at Tarlov. "They might be skeevy. Roger Stone might be skeevy and look skeevy but you know what? It's not fair for a first-time offender to--"

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Categories: Politics

Federal Appeals Court Strikes Down Medicaid Work Requirements

Fri, 02/14/2020 - 13:38

A 3-judge panel on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia struck down Arkansas work requirements for Medicaid. In a unanimous opinion, the court laid down a simple principle: Medicaid was established to provide medical assistance to people who can't afford it.

Judge David B. Sentelle, a Reagan appointee known to be quite conservative, wrote the opinion upholding a lower court's decision.

"The district court is indisputably correct that the principal objective of Medicaid is providing health care coverage," he wrote, destroying the idea that health care is something which must be earned.

Putting an exclamation point on that, he adds this, later in the opinion: "In sum, “the intent of Congress is clear” that Medicaid’s objective is to provide health care coverage, and, as a result, the Secretary “must give effect to [that] unambiguously expressed intent of Congress.”

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Categories: Politics

Lou Dobbs Growls That An Independent DOJ Is 'Crap'

Fri, 02/14/2020 - 13:35

Trump's Roy Cohn Attorney General Bill Barr told ABC News that Trump's tweeting has made it impossible to do his job. Now, that might seem kind of difficult to parse if you have more than two synapses to rub together. Was Barr simply saying the quiet part out loud?

Was he trying to make stupid people believe the pretzel-logic of his actual explanation? (That he'd decided to intervene before Trump tweeted, and the tweet put Barr in the uncomfortable position of having to decide between intervening, which would make it seem like he was doing it because Trump made him, or not intervening which would be wrong because he'd already decided it was the right thing to do — are you still with me?)

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Categories: Politics

Womp Womp! Trump Fails To Jail Andrew McCabe

Fri, 02/14/2020 - 13:30

"Wait, shouldn't Trump be allowed to convict anyone he doesn't like?"

That is the sentiment being expressed on Republican Twitter Friday, as the Justice Department, in a conveniently-timed move, told Andrew McCabe they were done prosecuting him.

Andrew McCabe is suing for wrongful termination and ERISA violations for screwing him on his pension. This adds to his case and should guarantee him getting a nice payout. Pension, backpay, etc. It can expand his lawsuit.

Categories: Politics

Hannity The Theologian: Loving The Poor 'Doesn't Mean Re-Distribution'

Fri, 02/14/2020 - 11:57

Sean Hannity wants to talk to us about the Bible.

And I'm down with that. I went to Divinity School and what Sean says about Jesus and his disciples/apostles for the first MINUTE of this clip makes a lot of sense. Jesus hung around with a variety of working-class people, fishermen particularly, and yes they likely swore and drank and lived a life of manual work rather than theological reflection...

Then Father Hannity takes a most un-scriptural turn:

SEAN HANNITY: So I think Jesus understands the forgotten men and women the most. It doesn't mean redistribution! 'Teach a man to fish..."

SEAN! "Teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime" is NOT IN THE BIBLE. It's on a right-wing motivational poster.

Sean is far from alone in making exactly this kind of mistake. Bending greed and white supremacy into Christian axioms that are NOT in the teachings of Jesus Christ is a huge problem in modern-day Christianity. It's so bad, that one pastor has written a book called "Half Truths" that goes into many of these axioms that so-called Christians think is "Biblical Scripture" but it's another kind of BS altogether. I recommend to Sean Hannity the chapter on the utterly not Biblical "God helps those who help themselves."

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Categories: Politics

Friday News Dump: What Do Warren And Howard Dean Have In Common? And Other News

Fri, 02/14/2020 - 11:09

A little history lesson about why Elizabeth Warren seems to have disappeared from the airwaves:

On December 1, 2003, Howard Dean was ahead by twenty points in the polls when he appeared on Hardball with Chris Matthews and said, "We're going to break up the giant media enterprises."

[...] By mid-December, the news divisions of the four major television networks were reporting as fact that Dean was unelectable. The print media echoed the theme; on December 17, the Washington Post printed a front-page story that posited Dean could not win the presidency. The Post quickly followed up with an onslaught of articles and editorials reasserting that claim. Before the month was over, Dean's lack of electability had been highlighted in The New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Boston Globe, the Chicago Tribune, the Los Angeles Times, and every other major paper in the United States.

Fast forward to August 2019. What did Elizabeth Warren say?

Elizabeth Warren Raises ‘Serious Concerns’ Over CBS-Viacom Merger

In December 2019:

Elizabeth Warren’s antitrust bill would dramatically enhance government control over the biggest US companies

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Categories: Politics

BOOM: Chris Hayes Takes Down Jim Jordan In A Clean Finish

Fri, 02/14/2020 - 11:03

Chris Hayes laid it out on Thursday night in this powerful segment, taking Jordan down for his decision to look the other way with regard to the sexual abuse at OSU.

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Categories: Politics

Val Demings Calls Out Barr: 'No Faith Or Confidence' In AG

Fri, 02/14/2020 - 10:52

The Attorney General is corrupt as fark and we all know it.

It's good to see Rep. Val Demings, who rocked at the Impeachment trial, come out swinging at AG Barr and his violations against justice and law. And his nonsense about the tweeting as some sort of "new distancing from the president?" Please.

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Categories: Politics

Every Time Jim Jordan Opens His Mouth, Remember This

Fri, 02/14/2020 - 09:12

Chris Hayes reminded us of the content of Jim Jordan's character last night.

"Ohio republican congressman Jim Jordan is one of the president's fiercest allies. You've probably seen him a million times on TV, this show and others. He talks fast. Rarely wears a jacket. During Trump's impeachment, he was actually put on the House Intelligence Committee temporarily just so he could stick it to Democrats. Trump loves Jim Jordan, of course. Lately, the president's been shouting Jordan out pretty much anywhere he goes," Hayes said.

Then he talked about Jordan position as an assistant wrestling coach at Ohio State University from 1986 to 1994.

"While he was on that coaching staff, the team doctor, a guy named Richard Strauss, sexually abused at least 177 male students, according to an independent investigation conducted by law firm, Perkins Coie. The investigation was commissioned after a whistle-blower came forward to say he was victimized. Former Ohio State wrestler named Mike DiSabato. Other former students have joined him. And 350 students have now filed suit against university.

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Categories: Politics

Nobody Knows The Troubles Don Jr. Has Seen

Fri, 02/14/2020 - 09:05

Bread lines? Really?

Don Jr in the middle wearing his communist kids tuxedo

Ivana and Donald Trump relax in the living room of their Manhattan apartment on March 12, 1979.

She didn’t exactly grow up in a gulag:

When Ivana Trump was growing up, the family lived in one of the city’s distinctive, cube-shaped “Bata houses,” designed in the 1920s as futuristic experiments in family housing by architects from the modernist school of Le Corbusier, thousands of which still dot the hillsides around the factory.

Ivana Trump came of age during the 1960s, when the desire to leave Czechoslovakia was overwhelming for young people who had seen what existed beyond the country’s borders. As the decade wore on, Czechs became more aware of what was available in the West—a mere four hour drive—yet far away for people without hard currency. But only those favored by the regime got to travel abroad. Sports was one way to gain that favor.

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Categories: Politics

UPDATE: 15th U.S. Coronavirus Case Identified In Texas

Fri, 02/14/2020 - 09:04

The 15th case of U.S. coronavirus was confirmed this week, according to the CDC. Via The Hill:

The CDC says the patient was among a group of people under a federal quarantine order at San Antonio’s Lackland Air Force Base in Texas. The patient was put under quarantine after arriving to the U.S. on a State Department-chartered flight on Feb. 7, the CDC said in a statement Thursday.

Health officials say the individual has been isolated and is receiving treatment at a nearby hospital.

This is the first person under quarantine at the airbase among a group of people that arrived from China on that date who had symptoms and tested positive for the disease.

Here's a roundup of related news:

Would The U.S. Health System Be Ready For A Surge In Coronavirus Cases? (NPR)

US health officials are seeking 'close contacts' of coronavirus. Here's what that means

A coronavirus ward? How U.S. hospitals are preparing for this new threat

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Categories: Politics

The Fat Lady Ain’t Singing Yet, But She Is Getting Her Costume On

Fri, 02/14/2020 - 09:01

Read All About It!

Attorney General William Barr has agreed to give testimony before the House Judiciary Committee next month amid growing questions over the administration’s alleged interference in the criminal case of a close ally of President Trump.

The Judiciary Committee has become concerned about Trump’s interference in the Stone case and why the hell Rudy Giuliani reports directly to Barr about Giuliani’s own private investigations.

Oh Lord, it’s Jim Jordan, Louie Gohmert, and Matt Gaetz – we’re all gonna die.

Democrats need to let Zoe Lofgren take over as chairman of the committee. Jerry Nadler is a nice guy but he has way too much on his plate right now.

Published with permission of

Categories: Politics