We have reached the “Cohen has ties to the Russian mob” stage of Team Trump’s defense. Because of course we have.

The fact that this was always inevitable does NOT mean that it isn’t remarkable.

Rudy Giuliani is out with a round of attacks on Michael Cohen. A central one is that Cohen was “connected to Russian organized crime” and that – relatedly – he got his money from his Ukrainian immigrant father-in-law Fima Shusterman…Rudy is not making this up. But in the nature of things, with the current questions before the public, accusing Trump’s former fixer of being tied to Russian organized crime seems like a perilous line of attack.
— Read on talkingpointsmemo.com/edblog/annals-of-curious-defenses

Seems like? LOLOLOL

Look, I get why Rudy is doing this. It’s the last line of defense. And outside politics, it might work. Not here. Not now. Not today.

If we vote to overturn it, he will veto it. If we cannot overturn the veto, we will go to court. And if we lose in court, we will use the powers to advance our goals. That’s both a promise and a threat.

Behind closed doors, Republicans understand they are setting a vast new precedent. Fine. At a minimum, this exposes a vast hypocrisy in their approach to “limiting the size of government and defending the constitution.” That on its own is a major victory for the Democratic Party.

But should all this eventually go sideways…should the courts actually uphold this nonsense, then we as a party need to be crystal clear about how we will use these powers to our own ends. And not later. Now, during the campaign. Make it the direct and explicit consequences of supporting this nonsense, and do so in unambiguous terms.

www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/2019/02/25/i-support-trumps-vision-border-security-i-would-vote-against-emergency/

This right here is what I expected from a Pelosi Speakership, and it’s why all those calls  for an alternative were always so misguided

When I wrote my last post earlier today, I honestly didn’t expect to see it happen so quickly and from the very highest level of the party. Bravo, Madam Speaker. Bravo.

“A Democrat president can declare emergencies as well,” Pelosi said at her weekly press conference, as news broke that Trump would sign a bipartisan spending deal to keep the government open but also take executive action on the border.

Pelosi is playing to some Republicans’ biggest fears around executive power: that a Democratic president would push through policies on everything from health care to gun control through the White House instead of Congress, should Trump lose the presidency in 2020.

“If the president can declare an emergency on something he has created as an emergency — an illusion that he wants to convey — just think what a president with a different set of values can present to the American people,” Pelosi said. “The precedent that the president is setting here is something that should be met with great unease and dismay by the Republicans.”

Source: Trump’s national emergency sets a new precedent for Democrats, Pelosi says – Vox

What James Madison has to say to us about the politics of the shutdown

As you read Fallows’ take on the shutdown from James Fallows and his readers, keep in mind James Madison’s institutional design:

Ambition must be made to counteract ambition. The interest of the man must be connected with the constitutional rights of the place. It may be a reflection on human nature, that such devices should be necessary to control the abuses of government. But what is government itself, but the greatest of all reflections on human nature? If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary. In framing a government which is to be administered by men over men, the great difficulty lies in this: you must first enable the government to control the governed; and in the next place oblige it to control itself.

A dependence on the people is, no doubt, the primary control on the government; but experience has taught mankind the necessity of auxiliary precautions.

And now, to James Fallows’ readers:

Donald Trump became accustomed to Congressional servility over the last two years; and he clearly expected to extort the same attitude going forward, as if the Republican defeat in the 2018 elections never happened….

It was necessary to demonstrate to Trump and his supporters that conditions have changed, and that the governing process is going to be different — including the futility of attacking government itself as a means of achieving political goals.  That lesson will be essential for future issues, including appropriations bills and the debt limit.  

[…]

Mitch definitely doesn’t have Trump’s political survival as his top priority. He has his own political survival as his top priority.

SOURCE: http://www.theatlantic.com/notes/2019/01/the-shutdown-was-the-price-of-trumps-tuition/581398/

“There is no reason to overthink any of this. Trump himself surely is not. He will not fix any of it, of course; that’s not what he does.”

This is some top.quakity snark. Here’s just a small taste of it. Go read the whole thing:

If he appears to be confronting an emerging truth that makes him look bad with a flailing childish insistence that Actually The Opposite Is True, it’s because he is. If it looks like he’s numbly ventriloquizing the rancid words of one of the aspiring genocidaires tasked with writing his more high-flown addresses, it’s because he is. If it appears that he is taking some cruel promise made idly at some point in the past and then spinning stupid stories to justify seeing that promise through, it’s because that is just what he’s doing. Trump repeats the same five or six phrases like a defective Teddy Ruxpin not because he’s trying to brainwash or brand but because he can only hold like 175 words in his head at one time and is just kind of mushing the button that seems most appropriate for the situation over and over again.

SOURCE: https://theconcourse.deadspin.com/you-cant-get-there-from-here-1831622949

For the Record: Only 95 of the 229 Annual Messages/State of the Union Addresses Have Been Delivered In Person.

In case you do not know the full history, some facts, courtesy of your United States House of Representatives:

Origins and Authorization

The formal basis for the State of the Union Address is from the U.S. Constitution:

  • The President “shall from time to time give to the Congress Information of the State of the Union, and recommend to their Consideration such measures as he shall judge necessary and expedient.” Article II, Section 3, Clause 1.

The constitutionally mandated presidential address has gone through a few name changes:

  • It was formally known as the Annual Message from 1790 to 1946.
  • It began to be informally called the “state of the Union” message/address from 1942 to 1946.
  • Since 1947 it has officially been known as the State of the Union Address.

Earlier Annual Messages of the President included agency budget requests and general reports on the health of the economy. During the 20th century, Congress required more-specialized reports on these two aspects, separate from the Annual Message.

  • Budget Message, required by the National Budget and Accounting Act of 1921 (42 Stat. 20) to be delivered to Congress no more than two weeks after Congress convenes in January.
  • Economic Report, required by the Employment Act of 1946 (60 Stat. 23), with a flexible delivery date.

Over time, as the message content changed, the focus of the State of the Union also changed:

  • In the 19th century, the annual message was both a lengthy administrative report on the various departments of the executive branch and a budget and economic message.
  • After 1913, when Woodrow Wilson revived the practice of presenting the message to Congress in person, it became a platform for the President to rally support for his agenda.
  • Technological changes—radio, television, and the Internet—further developed the State of the Union into a forum for the President to speak directly to the American people.

Technological Change

Source: https://history.house.gov/Institution/SOTU/State-of-the-Union/

Also see: Hoyer: ‘The State Of The Union Is Off’ Until Government Reopens – Talking Points Memo

An Emergency Declaration would be an extraordinarily stupid precedent to set.

politi.co/2FdM1DT

Sure, this solves their short-term problem. Trump makes the declaration, attempts to comandeer the resources, and gets tied up in court while regular appropriations get passed. Ok.

But long term? Y’all aren’t paying attention if you don’t think the new generation of Democrats won’t use the same set of powers in the future for their own ends. It’s inevitable.

There’s a really simple rule to live by: never support the use of a set of powers by your pqrty that you arent willing to later recognize as legitimate when your opponents inevitably use them too.

Don’t built a surveillance state you don’t want your opponents running. Don’t start a war you don’t want your opponents managing. Don’t support the use of emergency powers you don’t want your opponents to use. Not now. Not ever. It will always end up a mistake. Always.