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A Joint Senate and Assembly public hearing on The New York Health Act will be held in Rochester on October 10. The Senate Mental Health Committee will hold a public meeting on domestic violence and its effect on the community on October 11. The Senate Task Force on Opioid and Drug Abuse will hold a series of public meetings to […]
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Prominent friends and supporters of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., say he should cut back on his relentless campaign pace and speak openly about his recent heart attack when he returns to the campaign trail, urging a shift toward a more personal and less hectic campaign than he has run so far.
The comments reflect what supporters describe as a deeply personal decision with big implications for Sanders’s candidacy: how the 78-year-old democratic socialist, viewed by many of his backers as the leader of a movement, should proceed after a health scare that has sidelined him for days and raised questions about whether he can - or should - maintain the punishing demands of a presidential campaign.
“I would be very open about the experience he had,” said Rep. Ro Khanna, D-Calif., a national co-chair of the Sanders campaign who made his pitch to the senator in a brief telephone conversation last week. “I think it can show a resilience, a sense of empathy and a sense of vulnerability.”
Sanders supporters privately acknowledge concern that the heart attack could give voters second thoughts about the candidate, who would be the oldest president in history if elected. In an effort to move beyond the setback, some hope he can seize on the event to transmit a softer side that’s eluded him.
The goal, said Khanna, would be to “make a very human connection.” He said he texted the senator’s wife, Jane Sanders, last week to tell her that this could be Sanders’s “FDR moment,” referring to President Franklin D. Roosevelt, whose battle with polio is sometimes said to have contributed to his empathy for the less fortunate.
The sensitivity of dealing with the heart attack has been evident since the episode occurred. The campaign did not immediately disclose the heart attack, initially saying only that Sanders had experienced chest pains and had two stents inserted in an artery.
Advisers and friends also say Sanders should consider easing his breakneck campaign pace. Sanders has been sprinting across the country, holding multiple events per day, maintaining a speed that has surpassed his top rivals.
“If I were giving him advice, I would tell him just slack up a little bit,” said former Senate majority leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., who visited Sanders in a Las Vegas hospital last week. “Even if he slacks up a little bit, he’s campaigning more than anybody else.”
Sanders spent Monday recuperating at home in Burlington, Vermont. On a conference call with staff, he reiterated that the movement he has been leading is not about him, a theme he often hits in campaign speeches.
“If there’s anything that this event kind of tells us, it is the importance of what our message is in this campaign. And our message is ‘Us, not me,’ ” Sanders said, according to a person with knowledge of his remarks.
Campaign officials have signaled that he is not expected to return to the trail until the Oct. 15 debate near Columbus, Ohio. That makes the debate a critical event for the campaign, as Sanders will face considerable scrutiny from voters and rivals sizing up his health and vitality.
“Bernie is raring to go, and his campaign staff has been trying to hold him back until the debate,” said Ben Cohen, who co-founded Ben & Jerry’s ice cream and serves as a national co-chair of the campaign. “The plan is for the debate to be his reentry into the race.”
People with knowledge of the situation said there had been a period of uncertainty about the campaign’s future in the immediate aftermath of Sanders’s hospitalization for chest pains last week. The campaign suspended an Iowa ad buy and made reassuring calls to supporters during those first hours.
But in recent days, the campaign has shown determination to move full speed ahead. The Iowa ad touting Sanders will be on the airwaves starting Tuesday.
The campaign rolled out a new policy proposal Monday aimed at curtailing the role of money in politics. It would eliminate big-dollar fundraising for all federal elections, enact a constitutional amendment to declare that campaign contributions are not speech and end corporate contributions to the party conventions.
Surrogates campaigned for Sanders in the key early states over the weekend, a strategy the campaign plans to continue. Cohen said he plans to campaign for Sanders this weekend in New Hampshire.
The campaign is also aggressively calling voters. After establishing a goal of making a million calls in the early primary states over the past 10 days, it beat that goal by 300,000 calls, the campaign said.
Sanders and his allies have also used his heart attack to call attention to his push to enact a Medicare-for-all universal health-care system. They note that while Sanders was fortunate to have access to good doctors and treatment, many Americans do not.
And Sanders has already begun showing a more personal side of himself. When he left the hospital on Friday, he stood shoulder-to-shoulder with his wife, Jane, smiling and waving. When he returned to Burlington, reporters there noted Sanders saying he was “happy to be home” before walking inside where family was waiting.
On Monday, he and Jane took a walk in the rain, and he joked with reporters he said should get paid more for working in the drizzle.
Early this year, when he launched his second campaign for president, advisers encouraged Sanders to speak about his participation in the civil rights movement and his modest upbringing in Brooklyn. He mentioned those things at early campaign stops. But as time went on, they faded from his stump speeches.
“He’s somewhat reticent to talk about his own … life experiences,” said Cohen. “But I think it’s helpful for him to do that and it’s certainly only a decision that he can make, but I do think this is an opportunity for him to talk.”
Sanders has been trailing former vice president Joe Biden and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., in many recent polls, sparing him the pressure that can face the front-runner. His Democratic rivals have either wished Sanders well or brushed aside questions about his physical fitness for office. President Donald Trump and his allies have been preoccupied with the impeachment inquiry.
These external events have led some Sanders allies to conclude that he does not have to rush back onto the national stage.
“The next months are going to be dominated by the impeachment inquiry, not the presidential race,” said Khanna. “His volunteers can do a lot of the work and he just needs to focus on recovering.”
In a sign of how the Sanders movement has charged ahead without him on the trail, a video created by a supporter arguing that he’s been criticized unfairly by the media had received 6 million views as of late Monday.
As Sanders recovers, his campaign has taken steps to reassure staffers and supporters, scheduling calls and other outreach to keep allies focused.
“The campaign reached out to me to let me know that he was doing fine. They gave me the details, which made me feel really comfortable,” said Deb Marlin, an Iowa small-business owner who has endorsed Sanders.
Reid recalled spending 30 to 45 minutes with Sanders on Thursday. They reminisced about their work in the Senate and talked about health care, Reid said. As for the next debate, Reid said Sanders ought to take things slowly before then.
“He should take it easy until then,” said Reid. “As far as I understand, that’s what he’s going to do.”
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WASHINGTON – The Supreme Court began its election-year term Monday by wrestling over whether states must allow criminal defendants to plead insanity.
The one minor surprise when the justices took the bench just after 10 o’clock was the absence of Justice Clarence Thomas. The 71-year-old Thomas was at home, likely with the flu, the court said.
Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was in her customary seat to the left of Chief Justice John Roberts. The 86-year-old Ginsburg asked the first question in the insanity arguments.
Ginsburg was treated this summer for a tumor on her pancreas.
Meeting for the first time in public since late June, the court opened a term that could reveal how far to the right and how fast the court’s conservative majority will move, even as Roberts has made clear he wants to keep the court clear of Washington partisan politics. The court is beginning its second term with both of President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court appointees, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, on board.
The justices could be asked to intervene in disputes between congressional Democrats and the White House that might also involve the possible impeachment of the Republican president.
Roberts would preside over a Senate trial of Trump if the House were to impeach him.
Its biggest decisions, in cases involving abortion, protections for young immigrants and LGBT rights, are likely to be handed down in late June, four months before the election.
The case about an insanity defense comes from Kansas, where James Kraig Kahler was sentenced to death for killing his estranged wife, two teenage daughters and his wife’s grandmother.
Kahler wanted to mount an insanity defense, but Kansas is one of four states that eliminated a defendant’s ability to plead not guilty by reason of insanity. Idaho, Montana and Utah are the others. Alaska also limits the insanity defense.
It was unclear how the case would come out. Justice Elena Kagan suggested that even if Kahler were to win at the Supreme Court and could plead insanity, he ultimately would not get a reprieve from his conviction. In no state, she said, “would your client be found insane.”
The justices also were hearing arguments Monday in a challenge to a murder conviction by a non-unanimous jury in Louisiana.
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WASHINGTON – They may have his back on impeachment, but some of President Donald Trump’s most loyal allies are suddenly revolting against his decision to pull back U.S. troops from northern Syria.
On Monday, one chief Trump loyalist in Congress called the move “unnerving to the core.” An influential figure in conservative media condemned it as “a disaster.” And Trump’s former top NATO envoy said it was “a big mistake” that would threaten the lives of Kurdish fighters who had fought alongside American troops for years.
Trump’s surprise move, which came with no advance warning late Sunday and stunned many in his own government, threatened to undermine what has been near lockstep support among Republicans. It also came against the backdrop of a congressional impeachment inquiry in which the backing of Republicans in the Senate is the president’s bulwark against being removed from office.
Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C., who has been among Trump’s most vocal defenders, called the Syria decision “a disaster in the making” that would throw the region into chaos and embolden the Islamic State group.
“I hope I’m making myself clear how short-sighted and irresponsible this decision is,” Graham told Fox News. “I like President Trump. I’ve tried to help him. This, to me, is just unnerving to its core.”
Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., who has shrugged off the key allegation in the impeachment inquiry – that Trump pressured foreign powers to investigate a top Democratic rival – tweeted that Trump’s shift on Syria is “a grave mistake that will have implications far beyond Syria.”
And Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, who has been more willing than many Republicans to condemn Trump’s calls for foreign intervention in the 2020 election, called the Syria move “a terribly unwise decision” that would “abandon our Kurdish allies, who have been our major partner in the fight against the Islamic State.”
A more frequent Republican Trump critic, Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, cast Trump’s announcement as “a betrayal.”
“It says that America is an unreliable ally; it facilitates ISIS resurgence; and it presages another humanitarian disaster,” Romney tweeted.
Nikki Haley, who was Trump’s hand-picked ambassador to the United Nations, also cast the decision to withdraw U.S. troops from northern Iraq as a betrayal of a key ally.
“The Kurds were instrumental in our successful fight against ISIS in Syria. Leaving them to die is a big mistake,” she wrote on Twitter.
Former Rubio aide Alex Conant highlighted the risks ahead for a president whose political future depends on Republican support.
“For Trump to make a very controversial move on Syria at the exact moment when he needs Senate Republicans more than ever is risky politics,” Conant said, noting the significance for many Senate Republicans of the United States’ policy in northern Syria, where Kurds would be particularly vulnerable to a Turkish invasion.
“They’re not just going to send out a couple of tweets and move on,” Conant said. “At the same time, the White House is going to need these guys to carry a lot of water for them.”
While a number of Republicans criticized Trump’s decision, one of their most important leaders, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, was sanguine, offering little concern about Syria or impeachment during an appearance at the University of Kentucky.
“There are a few distractions, as you may have noticed,” McConnell said. “But if you sort of keep your head on straight and remember why you were sent there, there are opportunities to do important things for the country and for the states that we represent.”
After the appearance, McConnell issued a statement warning that Trump’s proposed withdrawal “would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime. And it would increase the risk that ISIS and other terrorist groups regroup.”
“As we learned the hard way during the Obama Administration, American interests are best served by American leadership, not by retreat or withdrawal,” McConnell said.
Outside government, leaders of conservative groups backed Trump.
Liberty University President Jerry Falwell Jr., a prominent evangelical leader, said Trump was simply “keeping his promise to keep America out of endless wars.”
He suggested Trump could easily reengage in the region if the decision backfires.
“The president has got to do what’s best for the country, whether it helps him with this phony impeachment inquiry or not,” Falwell said in an interview.
Former Trump campaign aide Barry Bennett noted that the president has been talking about reducing troop levels in the Middle East since before the 2016 election.
“I understand that they don’t like the policy, but none of them should be shocked by the policy,” Bennett said. “He’s only been talking about this for four or five years now. I think he’s with the vast majority of the public.”
Still, the backlash from other Trump loyalists was intense.
Rep. Elise Stefanik, R-N.Y., a member of the House Armed Services and Intelligence committees, called it a “misguided and catastrophic blow to our national security interests.”
And on Fox News, a network where many rank-and-file Trump supporters get their news, host Brian Kilmeade said it was “a disaster.”
“Abandon our allies? That’s a campaign promise? Abandon the people that got the caliphate destroyed?” Kilmeade said on “Fox & Friends.”
Bulent Aliriza, director of the Turkey Project at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, said the controversy reminds him of former Defense Secretary James Mattis’ decision to resign late last year after Trump announced plans to withdraw troops from Syria.
“Ultimately, Trump reversed himself,” Aliriza said. “The question is whether he will actually reverse himself again in view of the opposition from Capitol Hill led by several of his closest allies.”
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WASHINGTON – The justices are returning to the Supreme Court bench for the start of an election-year term that includes high-profile cases on about abortions, protections for young immigrants and LGBT rights.
The court meets Monday morning for its first public session since late June. First up is a death-penalty case from Kansas about whether states can abolish an insanity defense for criminal defendants.
The justices also will hear arguments Monday in a challenge to a murder conviction by a non-unanimous jury in Louisiana.
The term could reveal how far to the right and how fast the court’s conservative majority will move, even as Chief Justice John Roberts has made clear he wants to keep the court clear of Washington partisan politics. The court is beginning its second term with both of President Donald Trump’s Supreme Court appointees, Justices Neil Gorsuch and Brett Kavanaugh, on board.
The justices could be asked to intervene in disputes between congressional Democrats and the White House that might also involve the possible impeachment of the president.
Roberts would preside over a Senate trial of Trump if the House were to impeach him.
Its biggest decisions are likely to be handed down in late June, four months before the election.
The court also could be front and center in the presidential election campaign itself, especially with health concerns surrounding 86-year-old Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.
For now, though, the court has plenty of significant cases to deal with, including whether federal civil rights law that bars workplace discrimination on the basis of sex covers LGBT people. The justices will hear arguments Tuesday in two cases on that topic, their first foray into LGBT rights since the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, who wrote all the court’s major gay-rights rulings.
Next month, the fate of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program is in front of the justices. Lower courts have so far blocked Trump from ending the Obama-era program that has shielded roughly 700,000 people from deportation and provided them with permits to work.
During the winter, the justices will take up a challenge to a Louisiana law that would force abortion providers to have admitting privileges at local hospitals. It’s another test of whether the change in the court’s composition will result in a different outcome. With Kennedy in the majority, the court in 2016 struck down a virtually identical Texas law.
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Will Mary Landrieu's effort to authorize the Keystone Pipeline do anything to help her chances with voters back home in Louisiana? An UP panel weighs in.
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In what is expected to shake up the entire “gig” industry in California, Governor Gavin Newson recently signed into law a bill that rewrote the rules of employment law as it relates to using independent contractors in California. The new law, known as Assembly Bill (AB) 5, is expected to grant hundreds of thousands of workers new job benefits and pay guarantees across numerous industries including ride-hailing companies, trucking, janitorial services, nail salons, adult entertainment, construction, media, and healthcare. Assembly Bill 5, which curbs businesses’ use of “independent contractors,” gained final approval in the state Senate and state Assembly, largely along partisan lines. Independent contractors, some of whom work for multibillion-dollar technology companies, are generally not covered by minimum wage, overtime, sick leave, family leave, or workers’ compensation laws. Nor do businesses pay into Social Security or Medicare for the…
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Did you know that in much of Florida, a person can be fired or not hired simply because they are gay, bisexual or transgender? Yes, blatant discrimination is still perfectly legal even after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled same-sex marriage to be legal more than four years ago. Currently, a bipartisan group of state lawmakers, backed by big business, is yet again trying to change that. Multiple Tampa Bay-area legislators have introduced bills for the 2020 legislative session that would prohibit businesses from discriminating against their employees on the basis of gender identity or sexual orientation. Both Senate Bill 206, sponsored by Sen. Darryl Rouson, D-St. Petersburg, and House Bill 161 would amend the state’s Civil Rights Act of 1992 to prohibit such discrimination. The act already prohibits discrimination on the basis of race, color, religion, sex, pregnancy, national origin, age or handicap. The bills also would prohibit businesses and landlords from…
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Important article at CONSORTIUM NEWS by John Kiriakou. Here's the opening:
The news is dominated by “the whistleblower,” the CIA officer who reported to the CIA Inspector General (IG) that President Donald Trump may have committed a crime during a conversation with the president of Ukraine. I’ve been fascinated by the story for a couple of reasons.
First, as a whistleblower and a former CIA officer, I know what must have been going through the guy’s mind as he was coming to the decision to make a report on the president of the United States. That is, if he is a real whistleblower.
If he’s a whistleblower, and not a CIA plant whose task it is to take down the president, then his career is probably over. Intelligence agencies only pay lip service to whistleblowing. A potential whistleblower is supposed to go through the chain of command as the current whistleblower did. If an employee has evidence of waste, fraud, abuse, illegality, or threats to the public health or public safety, he is supposed to go to the Inspector General. The IG, then is supposed to go to the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI). And when the DNI investigates and finds the complaint credible, he then takes it to the House and Senate Intelligence Committees. That sounds straightforward, but it’s not.
Check out the whole article. Grasp that it's not necessarily as simple and straightforward as the media wants to portray it.
Also read Ava and C.I.'s "TV: Few survive THE POLITICIAN."
"Iraq snapshot" (THE COMMON ILLS):
Wednesday, October 2, 2019. The corruption in the Biden family is a reflection on Joe and in Iraq the security forces attack the protesters.
Starting in the US with the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination and starting with the still fading 'front runner' Joe Biden. War Hawk Joe is the choice of those who would do nothing. The demands and the needs of people in 2019? Ignore them, says Joe. Medicare For All, they don't deserve it. He's not going to a damn thing. I would say "except speak a little better than Donald Trump" but Joe can't speak better as we all know.
He certainly can't 'restore ethics' to the White House. Not with his family. In recent weeks, a great deal has been rightly made about his niece Caroline Biden. A few years after she got to walk on assaulting a police officer (if she were African-American, she'd probably been killed in response), Caroline stole over $100,000 by charging -- to a credit card that she had stolen -- purchases at a drug store. Was the buying drugs? That's the first question the press should be asking. As Marcia noted last night
, it's doubtful she racked up over $100,000 in charges on toothpaste and tampons. The second question the press should be asking is what happened to the two men who found Joe's granddaughter's credit card? When Naomi Biden lost her credit card, two men found it and used it for three purchases. What sentence did they receive because they charged no where near $100,000. At least one of those men were African-American.
Most importantly, the press should be asking about the charges. Caroline was not charged as she should have been. The press needs to ask why? Were favors called in? She was guilty as hell, that's reality. If a plea deal was made on that case, that needs to be explained. As it stands, in the state of New York, she should have additional charges the most pertinent being forgery. There's no way she charged over $100,000 without signing a slip at some point -- a slip with someone else's name since she had stolen the card. She should have been charged with identity fraud as well.
This was never an issue, for the prosecutors, of can we prove it in court? The proof was all there, she would have been convicted in court -- and faced a real sentence. So why did the prosecutors make a deal with her?
People are up in arms over Felicity Huffman and Lori Loughlin, among others, buying their children's way into college. (As disclosed years ago at THIRD, I know Lori.) How is Caroline stealing over $100,000 not more appalling? Don't say, "She's a kid." No, she wasn't.. She was in her late 20s when that happened, she's over thirty now.
She was allowed to enter a guilty please to two charges. Why was that allowed? She'd already assaulted a police officer which, grasp this, is a violent crime. Who called in favors to get Joe Biden's niece a sweetheart deal that let her admit to fewer charges than she should have been charged with and allowed her to serve no time at all after stealing over $100,000.
Theft and corruption is a pattern with the Biden family. And, yes, it does reflect on Joe and it should. Roger Clinton reflected on Bill Clinton, Billy Carter reflected on Jimmy Carter. In what world do the actions of Caroline Biden, her father James Biden (Joe's brother) and Joe's son Hunter Biden not reflect on Joe?
And let's grasp too that Hunter turns fifty in a few months. Fifty. And he's currently got a woman suing him for paternity. How's Joe going to reassure American families when the reality is that Hunter Biden's not providing for the child that's supposed to be his own? Even staffers on Joe's campaign have told me it's obvious Hunter's the father of that child.
Family values? Deadbeat Dad who won't step up to the plate and that's family values? And Hunter's not a 20-year-old gas pump jockey. By unethical means, he's earned millions. And he won't pay child support.
Hunter is unethical and he is the poster boy for "as a Biden" -- remember Joe lying about an incident that didn't happen the way he said it did and swearing that it was true, giving his word "as a Biden." Hunter's actions (and James and Caroline's actions) say a lot more about what happens "as a Biden." Patrick Martin (WSWS) notes
:The younger Biden has always been the black sheep of the family, even according to various sympathetic accounts, most of them appearing in publications—The New Yorker, the New York Times, the Washington Post—favorable to the Democrats. The New Yorker piece, at more than 10,000 words by far the longest, published in July, was obviously planted by the Biden campaign for the purpose of venting all the bad news about Hunter Biden as a preemptive measure against anticipated stink bombs from the Trump campaign. It was prepared through lengthy interviews by reporter Adam Entous with Hunter Biden. And it delivers a lot of bad news about a career devoted apparently to influence-peddling and drug abuse, both on a scale that matches or exceeds that of any dubious relative of any previous president, at least until Donald Trump. Hunter Biden was hired by MBNA bank in Delaware, fresh out of Yale Law School, and paid a six-figure salary at the age of 26 because his father was a senator from that state and a fervent defender of the bank and credit card industries. MBNA was then the largest US issuer of credit cards. He then moved to Washington to take a position in the last years of the Clinton administration. Once the Republicans came to power with the George W. Bush administration, in 2001, he became a lobbyist, helping Jesuit Catholic colleges insert earmarks into congressional appropriations bills. When earmarks became more difficult to obtain, and after losing money in a speculative venture on the eve of the 2007-2008 financial crash, Biden formed a “consulting” group with Christopher Heinz, stepson of Senator John Kerry and an heir to the Heinz fortune, and a Yale friend of Heinz’s, Devon Archer. Inevitably, after his father’s election as vice president, given a prominent international role in the Obama-Biden administration, Hunter Biden’s consulting firm branched out into global deal-making, focusing on countries where influence-peddling would be most lucrative and actual business credentials least necessary, among others, China and Ukraine. In China, the younger Biden traveled on Air Force Two in 2013 with his father, who was making an official trip to Beijing. In the course of this, Hunter Biden introduced a Chinese business partner, Jonathan Li, to the vice president. He left China with promises of future investments, although not with the $1.5 billion that Trump now falsely claims. According to Hunter Biden’s attorney, no money has yet flowed from that particular connection. Another Chinese business prospect gave Hunter Biden a diamond worth either $80,000 (according to his ex-wife’s divorce suit) or $10,000, according to Biden’s response to the suit, but in any case, much beyond the normal range of business gratuities. But Ukraine is where Hunter Biden has apparently cashed in most extensively, trading on his father’s name and position. In 2013-2014, a right-wing populist movement backed by the CIA and the German government gained the upper hand in an internal power struggle within the Ukraine capitalist class. The Maidan “revolution” was actually a right-wing coup, spearheaded by outright fascist forces, some of whom marched under Nazi insignias, against the elected president, Viktor Yanukovych, who was aligned with the Russian government of Vladimir Putin. Ukraine has been a “wild west” for the operations of foreign intelligence services and capitalist oligarchs at least since the so-called Orange Revolution of 2004, the first successful effort by Washington to bring to power a US-backed regime in one of the major countries emerging from the breakup of the Soviet Union.
Joe Biden trots out his dead family members every chance he gets. He's been married to Jill, for example, for decades. But he can't stop trying to get sympathy for losing his first wife. Apparently, he also trots the dead members out constantly becuase the living ones are so damn corrupt.
I believe it was Elizabeth Edwards, in the fall of 2007, who suggested to the press that if Hillary couldn't even handle her family how was she up to the job of president? At best, Joe has just looked the other way as unethical deals have been made by his family members who used access to him to rake in millions. At worst? Joe may have been an active participant.
He's stated he never spoke to Hunter about the Ukraine deal. Hunter told THE NEW YORKER that they had one conversation. But let's again note this Tweet about a photo that was unearthed this week.
Senator Bernie Sanders is also seeking the party's presidential nomination.
Yesterday's snapshot noted the protest that were just starting to take place in Baghdad (and elsewhere in Iraq). Last night, Margaret Griffis (ANTIWAR.COM) noted:
Protests across Iraq have left at least 10 dead and 286 wounded. The injured included 40 security personnel. The fatalities occurred in Baghdad and Nasariya. At least 11 people were arrested in Basra. The Iraqi government blamed “groups of riot inciters” for the violence. At least 1,000 people gathered in Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, where much of the violence took place; the trigger may have been an attempt to enter the Green Zone. This is largest gathering since Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi took power last year. Security personnel at some point had turned to live ammunition to disperse the crowds. Demonstrations were also reported in Basra, Dhi Qar, Diwaniya, Karbala, Najaf, Nasariya and Wasit. Use of live ammo to clear protesters was also reported in Nasariya, where a fatality occurred. Among the complaints are lack of basic services, rampant corruption, and unequal treatment within the Iraqi Army. Many of the protesters are unemployable college graduates. Riots during the summer of 2018 turned deadly as well. Today, however, the recent removal Iraq’s counterterrorism chief, Lt. Gen. Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi from his post was an added motive to demonstrate; many marchers carried his photo with them.
When it comes to protests, I always have to question Margaret's wording. The headline, for example, "protest turn violent." Really? Now Margaret can rightly question me back (that I'm too sympathetic to protesters) but the protests didn't turn violent, the security response was violent. For me, her voice is always too passive when Iraqi security attacks the Iraqi people.
Here are some Tweets
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Promises to stand up to Senate GOP Leadership in Washington
Contact: Duane Sand, 701-333-9223; www.sand2012.com
MEDIA ADVISORY, August 8, 2011 /Standard Newswire/ -- Today Navy Commander Duane Sand made the following announcement:
"For several months I have weighed entering the United States Senate race. Last week's debt ceiling abomination sealed it for me when Mitch McConnell and Rick Berg misled us with the debt ceiling deal. They could have helped Amer Source: CCN
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The House passed the "Generations Invigorating Volunteerism and Education Act" -- or the GIVE Act -- last week. The Senate took up the companion SERVE Act Tuesday afternoon. According to a Congressional Budget Office analysis of the Senate bill (S.277), it would cost "$418 million in 2010 and about $5.7 billion over the 2010-2014 period."
Like most federal programs, these would be sure to grow over time. The bills reauthorize the Clinton-era AmeriCorps boondoggle program and the Domestic Volunteer Service Act of 1973.
The programs have already been allocated $1.1 billion for fiscal year 2009, including $200 million from the porkulus package signed into law last month. In addition to recruiting up to 250,000 enrollees in AmeriCorps, the GIVE/SERVE bills would create new little armies of government volunteers, including a Clean Energy Corps, Education Corps, Healthy Futures Corps, Veterans Service Corps, and an expanded National Civilian Community Corps for disaster relief and energy conservation.
But that's not all. Spending would include new funds for:
-- Foster Grandparent Program ($115 million);
-- Learn and Serve America ($97 million);
-- Retired and Senior Volunteer Program ($70 million);
-- Senior Companion Program ($55 million);
-- $12 million for each of fiscal years 2010 through 2014 for "the Silver Scholarships and Encore Fellowships programs";
-- $10 million a year from 2010 through 2014 for a new "Volunteers for Prosperity" program at USAID to "award grants to fund opportunities for volunteering internationally in coordination with eligible organizations"; and
-- Social Innovation Fund and Volunteer Generation Fund -- $50 million in 2010; $60 million in 2011; $70 million in 2012; $80 million in 2013; and $100 million in 2014.
Social Innovation Fund? If that sounds familiar, it should. I reported last fall on the Democratic Party platform's push to fund a "Social Investment Fund Network" that would reward "social entrepreneurs and leading nonprofit organizations" and "support results-oriented innovators." It is essentially a special taxpayer-funded pipeline for radical liberal groups backed by billionaire George Soros that masquerade as public-interest do-gooders.
Especially troublesome to parents' groups concerned about compulsory volunteerism requirements is a provision in the House version directing Congress to explore "whether a workable, fair and reasonable mandatory service requirement for all able young people could be developed, and how such a requirement could be implemented in a manner that would strengthen the social fabric of the Nation and overcome civic challenges by bringing together people from diverse economic, ethnic and educational backgrounds."
Those who have watched AmeriCorps from its inception are all too familiar with how government volunteerism programs have been used for propaganda and political purposes. AmeriCorps "volunteers" have been put to work lobbying against the voter-approved three-strikes anti-crime initiative in California and protesting Republican political events while working for the already heavily tax-subsidized liberal advocacy group ACORN.
D.C. watchdog group Citizens Against Government Waste also documented national service volunteers lobbying for rent control, expanded federal housing subsidies and enrollment of more women in the Women, Infants and Children welfare program. AmeriCorps volunteers have also been paid to shuffle paper at the Department of Justice, the Department of Interior, the Environmental Protection Agency, the Legal Services Corporation and the National Endowment for the Arts.
(Now, imagine Obama's troops being sent overseas -- out of sight and unaccountable -- as part of that $10 million a year USAID/Volunteers for Prosperity program. Egad.)
One vigilant House member, GOP Rep. Virginia Foxx, successfully attached an amendment to the GIVE Act to bar National Service participants from engaging in political lobbying; endorsing or opposing legislation; organizing petitions, protests, boycotts or strikes; providing or promoting abortions or referrals; or influencing union organizing.
Supporters of GIVE/SERVE are now fighting those restrictions tooth and nail, screaming censorship and demanding the provisions be dropped -- which tells you everything you need to know about the true nature of this boondoggle. Taxpayers GIVE their money to SERVE a big government agenda under the guise of helping their fellow man. It's charity at the point of a gun.
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Taxpayers might be less skeptical of the born-again guardians of fiscal responsibility if these evangelists were actually practicing what they preached. While the Obama administration now issues impassioned calls to stop rewarding failure, they moved Thursday to dump another $5 billion into the failing auto industry. That's on top of Thursday's announcement by the Federal Reserve to print $1 trillion to buy Treasury bonds and mortgage securities sold by the government -- which no one else wants to buy.
Financial blogger Barry Ritholtz tallied up $8.5 trillion in bailout costs by December 2008 between Federal Reserve, FDIC, Treasury and Federal Housing Administration rescues (not including the $5.2 trillion in Fannie and Freddie portfolios that the U.S. taxpayer is now explicitly responsible for). Then there's the (at least) $50 billion proposed by Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner in February to bail out home owners and lenders who made bad home loan decisions, which would be just a small sliver of the $2.5 trillion he wants to spend on the next big banking bailout, which would draw on the second $350 billion of the TARP package over which an increasing number of Chicken Little lawmakers are having buyer's remorse.
Phew. We're not done yet: As AIG-bashing lawmakers inveighed against wasted taxpayer funds and lamented the lack of accountability and rush to judgment that led to passage of the porkulus bill that mysteriously protected the bonuses, the Senate quietly passed a $10 billion lands bill stuffed with earmarks and immunized from amendments. GOP Sen. Tom Coburn, fiscal conservative loner, pointed out that none of the provisions for special-interest pork projects -- including $3.5 million in spending for a birthday bash celebrating the city of St. Augustine, Fla. -- was subject to public hearings. That's on top of the pork-stuffed $410 billion spending bill passed two weeks ago.
Oh, and did I mention that the House passed a $6 billion volunteerism bill (the "GIVE Act") on Wednesday to provide yet another pipeline to left-wing advocacy groups under the guise of encouraging national service?
Also coming down the pike: the Obama administration's "cap-and-trade" global warming plan, which Hill staffers learned this week could cost close to $2 trillion (nearly three times the White House's initial estimate) and the administration's universal health care scheme, which health policy experts reported this week could cost about $1.5 trillion over the next decade.
It is no wonder that when earlier this week Vice President Joe Biden told local officials in Washington that he was "serious, absolutely serious" about policing wasteful spending in Washington, he was met with the only rational response his audience could muster: laughter.
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The checks were mailed Friday, but the March 15 bonus deadline had been on the Capitol Hill radar screen since December -- when Maryland Democratic Rep. Elijah Cummings released a letter to AIG CEO Edward Liddy that noted: "Without taxpayer intervention, AIG would have ceased to exist and, to be blunt, all of its employees would have lost their jobs. Against this background -- and given the massive layoffs occurring at other major financial entities, such as Citibank -- the American taxpayers have a right to know why senior executives at AIG, who are frankly lucky to still have jobs, need to receive additional bonus payments of any kind to retain them at AIG."
But it wasn't until last week that the hapless court jester of the Obama administration, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, scrambled to rein in the payments. Liddy basically told him to buzz off. Geithner, the primary architect of the original $85 billion AIG bailout last fall, "reluctantly" approved the bonuses anyway. And now his outraged boss has ordered him to scour every legal nook and cranny possible to get the money back.
Spare me President Obama's finger wag. He's "outraged"? Meh. Two weeks ago, Team Obama forked over another $30 billion for the basket-case company after it reported $61.7 billion in fourth-quarter losses. That's on top of the first $85 billion round and the second $38 billion round under Bush -- both of which Obama supported. (Obama, by the way, collected more than $101,000 in AIG campaign contributions.) Don't talk to me about how the Obama administration opposes rewarding failure.
And don't talk to me about all the politicians stampeding to tax AIG's bonuses. Democratic Sen. Chris Dodd, the corporate crony who is the largest recipient of AIG donations, is now leading the charge to tax the retention payments in order to recoup the $450 million the company is paying to employees in its financial products unit.
But Dodd, it turns out, was for protecting AIG's bonuses before he was against them.
Fox Business reporter Rich Edson pointed out that during the Senate porkulus negotiations last month, Dodd successfully inserted a teeny-tiny amendment that provided for an "'exception for contractually obligated bonuses agreed on before Feb. 11, 2009,' which exempts the very AIG bonuses Dodd and others are seeking to tax." Pay no attention to what his left hand was doing. Dodd's right fist is pounding mightily, mightily for the sake of the taxpayers.
The hypocritical indignation on the Hill is bipartisan. On his Twitter page last night, GOP Sen. John McCain huffed: "If we hadn't bailed out AIG = no bonuses for greedy execs." Well, if the GOP presidential candidate had held fast to his opposition to such doomed corporate bailouts in the first place, maybe bailout-palooza wouldn't have spiraled into the gazillion-dollar mess it inevitably became. McCain asserted in a Twitter interview with ABC's George Stephanopoulos Tuesday morning that he "would have never bailed out AIG."
But on Sept. 18, 2008, McCain performed a 24-hour flip-flop and abandoned his principled opposition to the $85 billion AIG bailout, lamenting that the "government was forced" to do it. Soon after, McCain joined Obama in supporting the $25 billion auto bailout, the first $350 billion banking bailout (TARP I) and his own massive $300 billion mortgage bailout.
If Washington's newfound opponents of rewarding failure want to do taxpayers a favor, how about giving back their automatic pay raises? How about returning all their AIG donations? How about taking back all the bailout money to all the failed enterprises, from Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to AIG, the automakers and the big banks? Barry? Harry? Nancy? John? Chris? Bueller? Bueller?
Exit stage left. The curtain falls.
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Some wore pig noses. Others waved Old Glory and "Don't Tread on Me" flags. Their handmade signs read: "Say No to Generational Theft"; "Obama'$ Porkulu$ Wear$ Lip$tick"; and "I don't want to pay for the SwindleUs! I'm only 10 years old!" The event was peaceful, save for an unhinged city-dweller who showed his tolerance by barging onto the speakers' stage and giving a Nazi salute.
Carender, a newcomer to political activism, shared advice for other first-timers: "Basically, everyone, you just have to do it. Call up your police station or parks department and ask how you can obtain a permit, and then just start advertising. The word will spread. I am only one person, but with a little hard work this protest has become the efforts of a lot of people."
Why bother? It's for posterity's sake. For the historical record. And hopefully it will spur others to move from the phones and computers to the streets. For Carender, it's just the beginning. She gathered all the attendees' e-mail addresses and will keep up the pressure.
"We need to show that we exist. Second, we need to show support for the Republicans and Democrats that voted against the porkulus. If they think, for one second, that they made a bad choice, we have no chance to fight. Third, it sends a message to Obama and Pelosi that we are awake and we know what's happening and we are not going to take it lying down. It is a message saying, 'Expect more opposition because we're out here.'"
The anti-pork activists turned out in Denver, too. On Tuesday, while Obama cocooned himself at the city's Museum of Nature and Science for the stimulus signing, a crowd of nearly 300 gathered on the Capitol steps on their lunch hour to flame-broil the spending bill and feast on roasted pig (also donated by yours truly). Jim Pfaff of Colorado's fiscal conservative citizens group Americans for Prosperity condemned the "Ponzi scheme, Madoff style" stimulus and led the crowd in chants of "No more pork!" Free-market think-tank head Jon Caldara of the Independence Institute brought oversized checks representing the $30,000 stimulus debt load for American families.
On Wednesday in Mesa, local conservative talk station KFYI spearheaded a third large protest to welcome Obama as he unveiled a $100 billion to $200 billion program to bail out banks and beleaguered borrowers having trouble paying their mortgages. The entitlement theme played well last week in Florida, where Obama played Santa Claus to enraptured supporters shamelessly seeking government presents. But nearly 500 protesters in Mesa came to reject the savior-based economy with signs mocking gimme-mania.
Their posters jeered: "Give me Pelosi's Plane"; "Annual Passes to Disneyland"; "Fund Bikini Wax Now"; "Stimulate the Economy: Give Me a Tummy Tuck"; "Free Beer for My Horses."
And my favorite: "Give me liberty or at least a big-screen TV."
Plans are underway for anti-stimulus-palooza protests in Overland Park, Kan., Nashville and New York -- home of smug Democratic Sen. Chuck Schumer. Schumer's derisive comment on the Senate floor about the "chattering classes" who oppose reckless spending has not been forgotten or forgiven. The insult spurred central Kentucky talk show host Leland Conway to organize a pork rind drive. Angry taxpayers bombarded the senator's office with 1,500 bags of cracklins.
Disgraced Democratic Sen. John Edwards was right about one thing: There are two Americas. One America is full of moochers, big and small, corporate and individual, trampling over themselves with their hands out demanding endless bailouts. The other America is full of disgusted, hardworking citizens getting sick of being played for chumps and punished for practicing personal responsibility.
Now is the time for all good taxpayers to turn the tables on free-lunching countrymen and their enablers in Washington. Community organizing helped propel Barack Obama to the White House. It can work for fiscal conservatism, too.
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If the stimulus plan were a Thanksgiving dinner entree, it would be a Turbaconducken -- the heart attack-inducing dish of roasted chicken stuffed inside a duck stuffed inside a turkey, all wrapped in endless slabs of bacon. But according to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's fantasyland "fact sheet" released early Thursday afternoon, "there are no earmarks or pet projects" in the final package.
Trust her no further than you could throw a pot-bellied pig. Despite the self-delusional declarations of Pelosi and President Obama that no pet projects exist, Hill staffers spilled the beans on several new set-asides tacked onto the bill.
Thanks to Michigan's Democratic Sens. Debbie Stabenow and Carl Levin, General Motors will receive a special tax break worth an estimated $7 billion to cover liabilities incurred when it accepted its $13.4 billion bailout from the Bush administration. The failing automaker has lined up for an addition $4 billion in bailout funds -- at which time they'll no doubt ask for another mega-tax liability waiver. The moochers' cycle never ends.
Then there's Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid's Railway to Sin City. Appointing yourself a Senate conferee has its perks. Roughly $8 billion in perks.
Reid, you see, needs to stimulate his re-election bid, so he haggled with President Obama to tuck in a teeny, tiny, yes, porky amendment for high-speed rail lines. Reid has his eyes -- and paws -- on a proposed Los Angeles-to-Las Vegas magnetic levitation train. He has already sunk $45 million in previous earmarks into his, yes, pet project. Wasn't it earlier this week that Obama was lecturing companies not to travel to Las Vegas on the taxpayers' dime?
But I digress. Along with these not-earmarks, not-pet projects, there's $2 billion for impeached Illinois Gov. Rod Blagojevich's pet FutureGen near-zero emissions power plant project, $300 million for souped-up "green" golf carts for government workers, $30 million for "smart appliances" and $65 million for digital TV coupons. According to Hill Republicans, money for basic highways and bridges was cut by $1 billion from the House-passed level, but:
-- $9 billion for school construction was added back in (originally cut by the Nelson-Collins "compromise");
-- $5 billion was added to the state fiscal stabilization fund (originally cut by Nelson-Collins), making it a grand total of $53.6 billion;
-- $1 billion was added back for Prevention & Wellness Programs, including STD education; and
-- $2 billion for neighborhood stabilization programs.
As I've reported previously, that "neighborhood stabilization" slush fund money will end up in the pockets of left-wing shakedown artists such as ACORN and the Massachusetts-based Neighborhood Assistance Corporation of America (NACA), led by self-proclaimed "bank terrorist" Bruce Marks. There's an additional $3.25 billion in HUD grants and Community Development Block Grants in the bill that will also inevitably find its way into the coffers of these housing-entitlement lobbying groups.
Another egregious not-earmark earmark that survived untouched: $2 billion for the National Parks Service championed by House Democratic conferee and Appropriations Chairman Rep. David Obey. A report by the GOP minority on the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee revealed that Obey's son, Craig, lobbied the panel and advocated for the stimulus plan on behalf of the National Parks Conservation Association.
All told -- and safely assuming the major spending provisions become permanently enshrined -- the final price tag of this government hogzilla of all hogzillas over the next 10 years will be a whopping $3.27 trillion with a capital "T."
Not, ahem, that you care.
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The event turned into a full-blown revival meeting when Obama announced that the Senate had passed his massive stimulus plan. Audience members erupted into applause. Tongues of fire descended from the sky. Loaves and fishes (or rather, pork and Kool-Aid) multiplied miraculously into trillions for all. GOP Gov. Mark Sanford of South Carolina didn't know how right he was when he warned over the weekend: "We're moving precipitously close to what I would call a savior-based economy."
Like Mighty Mouse, President Obama is here to save the day. The government is here to help -- and it is your patriotic duty to pay for it all without preconditions. Hughes didn't explain the cause of her financial turmoil. Obama didn't ask. And if we conservatives dare to question the circumstances -- and the underlying assumption that it is government's (that is, taxpayers') role to bail her out -- we'll be lambasted as cruel haters of the downtrodden.
Woe unto ye unbelievers in Big Government who cling to what Obama derided as "ideological rigidity."
Well, pardon my unbending belief in fairness and personal responsibility, but why should my tax dollars go to feed the housing entitlement beast? At his fear-mongering press conference Monday night, Obama lamented that homeowners "are seeing their property values decline." Countrywide crony Sen. Chris Dodd successfully stuffed $50 billion into the just-passed stimulus package for Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner to spend on "mandatory loan modifications" for homeowners deep underwater on their mortgages. That's in addition to the $20 billion already allocated by the House last month for the same purposes.
Banks have been engaged in these "Mo Mod" programs over the past year. Democrats want to accelerate the pace and use the power of government to essentially provide a blanket amnesty for borrowers and lenders who made bad financial decisions. Yes, there are many responsible borrowers out there having trouble negotiating loan modifications. But this $50 billion giveaway to the banks -- on top of the upward of $2 trillion more from the Treasury department, on top of the $700 billion in original "TARP" funding -- is throwing more bad money after bad.
This massive expansion of government meddling in the housing market -- yet another attempt to get federal bureaucrats in the business of rewriting loan contracts and reducing principal -- will just delay the inevitable. A report released by the Comptroller of the Currency in December showed that more than half of loans modified in the first quarter of 2008 fell 30 days delinquent within six months. And after six months, 35 percent of people were 60 or more days behind on their payments.
Where's the fairness in forcing prudent homeowners and renters to subsidize people who bought overpriced houses and rescue the banks that lent to them?
Tellingly, Obama chose Ft. Myers to drum up support for his wealth redistributionism. The area has been one of the hardest hit by foreclosures, as the president was quick to point out. But many of those homes are second or third homes and investment properties. And low housing prices are not a catastrophe for everyone. They've created opportunities for Americans who haven't been able to buy in an artificially inflated market. The median sales price of a home in the Ft. Myers area fell 50 percent to $106,900, from $215,200 in December 2007. Bargain-priced home sales are up 146 percent from a year ago.
It's sacrilegious to say it in the Age of Obama, but it needs to be said: Home ownership is not an entitlement. Credit is not a civil right. Your property-value preservation is not my problem. Can I get an "Amen!"?
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Health and Human Services Secretary-designee Tom Daschle finally bowed out after aggressive rehabilitative efforts failed. His chummy Senate pals on both sides of the aisle may have been willing to forgive his failure to pay longstanding back taxes owed on limo services, undisclosed consulting fees and dubious charitable donations worth an estimated $146,000, including interest and penalties. But the American people were not. (And an interesting postscript: He may have apologized and dropped out of the administration, but Daschle still owes Medicare taxes equal to 2.9 percent of the personal value of the car service he received from Democratic donor and crony Leo Hindery Jr.)
Just before the Daschle announcement came the withdrawal of Nancy Killefer. She was tapped to be President Obama's "Chief Performance Officer," overseeing compliance, organizational effectiveness and waste management across every federal agency. But the former Clinton Treasury official and head of the prestigious Washington office of the management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, Inc., couldn't be bothered to manage her own household help effectively. She failed for a year and a half to pay employment taxes and had an outstanding tax lien on her home. The lien was worth less than $1,000 -- far less than the tax liability Geithner owed.
If I were a left-wing feminist, I'd be sorely tempted to whip out the gender card and give the Good Old Boys Club a few whacks. Killefer gets thrown under the bus, but Geithner gets to drive? No justice, no peace!
Now, compare President Bush's transition track record in 2001. Remember that the traditional 100-day period was shortened as a result of the election lawsuit. Wrote Paul Light of the left-leaning Brookings Institution at the time: "Bush gets an A on the transition into office. He survived his truncated 40-day transition with only one major mistake -- Linda Chavez, who withdrew her nomination for Labor Secretary after the flap over allowing an illegal immigrant to stay in her house. ... Bush also deserves an A-plus for the timely assembly of his White House team. Building around Vice President Dick Cheney, the Bush White House is an MBA's dream: efficient, predictable, well controlled, on time, under budget."
During Tuesday's press briefing, glib White House spokesman Robert Gibbs did his best to bat down a rising chorus of questions about his boss's judgment -- not only on the nomination "glitches," but also on an ever-growing list of exemptions to Obama's no-lobbyists pledge. Echoing Bill Clinton's "most ethical administration ever" and Nancy Pelosi's "most ethical House ever" mantras, Gibbs defensively asserted: "The bar that we set is the highest that any administration in the country has ever set."
Then how, pray tell, did all the president's tax cheats make it past the front door? And where is Vice President Joe Biden to wag his finger at their lack of patriotism? Team Obama embraced these damaged candidates despite advanced knowledge of their lapses. Killefer's tax lien was four years old. Questions about Daschle's judgment have lingered for years. Ask GOP Sen. John Thune, who defeated Daschle the Dodger in 2004 after news broke of his bogus property-tax homestead exemption claim on his $1.9 million D.C. mansion -- which he listed as his primary residence despite voting in South Dakota and claiming it as his primary residence in order to run for re-election.
The buck stops at the desk of Barack Obama. A little of that humility and personal responsibility he spoke so much about during his inaugural address is now in order.
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Close shares her thoughts on Lindsay Gottlieb to NBA, Senate Bill 206 and more.
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Awaiting a Senate trial might curtail Trump's worst behaviors.
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"A precipitous withdrawal of U.S. forces from Syria would only benefit Russia, Iran, and the Assad regime," Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said.
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Standing in front of a picture of an elephant, the Kentucky Republican said impeachment efforts will stop in the Senate with him as majority leader.
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Source: www.mediaite.com - Monday, October 07, 2019
Republican strategist Mike Murphy slammed as a “toddler-level geopolitical mistake” President Donald Trump’s abrupt decision to withdraw US military forces from northern Syria, potentially exposing Kurdish allies to an invasion from neighboring Turkey. Speaking with Steve Kornacki on MSNBC’s Hardball , Murphy, a longtime Trump critic, echoed many of the criticisms made by fellow Republicans, who railed against the president’s move , which reportedly caught even Pentagon officials by surprise. Murphy condemned the move as part of a larger discussion about Senate Republicans and their willingness to defend Trump in a possible upcoming impeachment trial. “It’s all about the primary politics. You know, the new logo of the RNC isn’t just an elephant, it’s an elephant running for the tall grass to hide,” Murphy said. “A lot of these politicians, in their heart, they know that Trump is unfit and privately they’ll talk about it, but they’re very afraid of their primary voters.” “A ‘defend Trump’ vote by the time [impeachment] hits the Senate, if it does, which I think is more likely than not, could be real political poison,” Murphy added. “I think the one new factor, today , is the case that Trump should not be there. Not the impeachment case, but the private opinion of Republican Senators’ case, exploded today, because of what Trump did abandoning the Kurds and making a toddler-level geopolitical mistake in northern Syria, which is why
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While Trump Congratulates Communist China on Its 70th Anniversary, Senate Republicans Condemn It
President Donald Trump marked the 70th anniversary of the “People’s Republic” with the following congratulatory tweet: “Congratulations to President Xi and the Chinese people on the 70th Anniversary of the People’s Republic of China!”
But Senate Republicans have marked the anniversary with condemnation of the regime.
Missouri senator Josh Hawley: “Seventy years ago, the Chinese Community Party seized power from the Chinese people. Since then, its ruthless rule has resulted in the deaths of millions of its own citizens.”
Arkansas senator Tom Cotton: “To see the price of the PRC’s anniversary celebration, look no further than what’s happening in Hong Kong: a ceaseless war against those who wish to live in freedom. From the Great Leap Forward to the Cultural Revolution to the camps in Xinjiang today, it has been a ghoulish 70 years of Chinese Communist Party control.”
Nebraska senator Ben Sasse: “Today Chinese tyrants celebrated 70 years of communist oppression with their typically brutal symbolism: by sending a police officer to shoot a pro-democracy protester at point-blank range. The freedom-seekers in Hong Kong mourn this anniversary, and the American people stand with them against those who deny their God-given dignity.”Rod's Comment: I understand that the government of China is not as bad as they were during the Great Leap Forward when they caused massive starvation that killed millions as they implemented a fantasy of entering the modern industrial age by requiring farmers to smelt their farm implements.
They are not as bad as they were during the Cultural Revolution in which thousands were murdered and many more were abused and sent to reeducation camps for wearing reading glasses or owning Classical records or books.
I understand that they are not now following an orthodox Communist economic model but have adopted elements of a market economy. I understand that the Chinese people have more freedom of expression than they did when everyone wore drab Mao suits. I understand we have to work with them. I understand Trump wants a better trade policy.
While they may not be as bad as in the past, they are still evil. They are a one-party authoritarian regime, trampling liberty in Hong Kong and expanding their boundaries and turning much of Africa into client states.
It is unfortunate that Trump has a soft spot for tyrants. I long for the age of Ronald Reagan when we had a president with the courage and convictions to call a despotic regime, "the evil empire."
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If leaving Pence in place is an option, the Democrats might be wise to do so. For one thing, as things seem to be going, there will be more votes in the Senate to remove Trump and leave Pence in place than to remove both. And once Trump is gone, Pence would be a weak candidate for 2020--he was never very well thought of among Republicans--and he'll be weaker with his fellow Indianan Buttigieg speaking out in opposition. Granted, Buttigieg is unlikely to be the nominee, but he will certainly be involved on behalf of the eventual nominee.
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My opinion could change, but I don't favor the laundry list approach, which will require a long drawn out investigation that will create a backlash and/or lead to (more) damage from Trump's scorched-earth defense. I'd say focus on the Ukraine abuse, for which an article of impeachment could almost be drawn up today, plus perhaps a few other major items if they can be pulled together in the next few weeks. The sooner the Republican Senate is put on the spot, the better, unless they show further signs of capitulation in the meantime.