“Pelosi’s freshmen fracture amid GOP pressure.” Or not at all, if you actually can read

Politico runs with the inevitable DEMOCRATS IN DISARRAY theme. Only…

Freshmen Democrats in swing districts say they have no plan to stop voting with the GOP when they feel the need. They’ve even been given the blessing to do so by House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) and Majority Whip Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.), despite resistance from Pelosi.
— Read on www.politico.com/amp/story/2019/02/14/house-democrats-freshmen-voting-gop-1169554

Yeah, sure. Clyburn and Hoyer are for it but Pelosi isn’t. She’s being outmaneuvered by her deputies and by Republicam leadership at the same time. Makes sense.

In other news, you wanna buy a bridge? I’ve got a really good deal for you if you actually!

For gods sake–this is exactly, precisely the story Pelosi would want told about these members in swing districts. They’re bucking leadership! They’re independent! They’re double-crossing Pelosi! And the worst part of it is, I’d be willing to bet that at least one of the reporters on this story knows that’s what’s going on.

Stop it. Stop. It.

The problem with the outrage over Cohen’s lying liar-ness

Here’s the problem with the feigned outrage over Cohen’s lies:

In his initial testimony before Congress, Cohen’s story perfectly matched that of President Trump. Almost word for word, the two men told the same story about the same set of events. So if they admit that Cohen lied in his testimony the first time around — and they clearly have admitted that — then they are necessarily admitting that Trump was also lying! Because if Cohen’s lies back then we’re so outrageous, then Trump’s lies must also be outrageous!

And that’s the point! Trump and Cohen were engaged in a conspiracy to commit felony violations of numerous laws as part of an effort to keep the public from knowing the full story about Trump! That’s why both of them lied!

Either that or Cohen told the truth back then, and then lied while pleading guilty for those crimes and then lied again while testifying today. Except that theory is so stupid that even the Republicans on the committee didn’t try to advance it.

And since someone is bound to ask, no, “he lied both times” isn’t an option, at least not if you’re trying to exonerate Trump, since Trump was telling the public the same version of events as Cohen back then.

So you see? If Cohen was lying back then, so was Trump. And if Cohen’s lies were outrageous and disqualifying, so we’re Trump’s. And if he was telling the truth back then but lying now, well…you’re off in a la la land that enot even Rep. Clay Higgins was willing to venture into. And if Trump was lying back then, not just to you and to me and to the public but also to Mueller and to the SDNY and in a wide variety of legal and financial filings, then the President has necessarily committed numerous felonies while President!

Forget Russia. Forget collusion. This is, as I’ve said from the beginning, a conspiracy to defraud the United States and a Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organization. Necessarily.

If we can do this with North Korea, then what exactly was wrong with the Iran Deal?!?

Honest question: if we can make these kinds of concessions in advance to the North Koreans, then what exactly is the complaint about the Iran Deal? And if your answer is “Obama did it, so it’s automatically bad,” you’re doing this entirely wrong.

U.S. negotiators are no longer demanding that North Korea agree to disclose a full accounting of its nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs as part of talks this week between President Donald Trump and Kim Jong Un, according to current and former senior U.S. officials.

The decision to drop, for now, a significant component of a potential nuclear deal suggests a reality that U.S. intelligence assessments have stressed for months is shaping talks as they progress: North Korea does not intend to fully denuclearize, which is the goal Trump set for his talks with Kim.

The Trump administration is hoping to get a significant concession from North Korea on Yongbyon, but it’s unclear if the U.S. can offer something in exchange that Kim would accept. North Korea wants sanctions relief, and U.S. officials have advised the president against taking such a step at this stage in negotiations. North Korea has offered to freeze activity at Yongbyon in past rounds of negotiations with previous U.S. administrations.

Current and former U.S. officials note that North Korea has other sites with similar capabilities, however, and they are raising concerns that Pyongyang won’t negotiate on all aspects of its weapons programs if it’s not forced to disclose them.

In recent months researchers have discovered that North Korea has as many as 20 undisclosed ballistic missile sites, according to Beyond Parallel, a project sponsored by the Center for Strategic and International Studies, a defense think tank. One of the sites is the Sino-ri Missile Base about 130 miles north of the demilitarized zone between North Korea and South Korea, where about 28,000 U.S. troops are stationed.

Read More: https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/u-s-drops-demand-full-accounting-n-korea-nuclear-program-n977251

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.

“People want to work for what they get,” says the person given everything. Listen closely: how does this argument not necessitate an estate tax?

This is one of the best arguments I’ve ever heard in favor of the Estate Tax. I realize that’s not how she intended this, but seriously…if the world really is best, and if people really are happiest, when they have to work for everything they get, then no one should ever be allowed to inherit anything, lest doing so diminish their drive to work and be happy.

Just go watch the video. You’ll see what I mean!


Warren makes a bold move, and you should support it even if she isn’t your preferred candidate

This is a seriously bold move from Sen. Warren:

My presidential primary campaign will be run on the principle of equal access for anybody who joins it.

That means no fancy receptions or big money fundraisers only with people who can write the big checks. And when I thank the people giving to my campaign, it will not be based on the size of their donation. It means that wealthy donors won’t be able to purchase better seats or one-on-one time with me at our events. And it means I won’t be doing “call time,” which is when candidates take hours to call wealthy donors to ask for their support. As a candidate for president, the expectation is you make hours of these calls a week and attend dozens of these exclusive events every quarter.

I’m saying no to that. I am grateful for every donation we get — and we need every single one! — but what matters more, much more, is that everybody who supports my campaign is treated equally, regardless of how much they can afford to give. And doing things this way will give me hundreds and hundreds of hours of time back to spend with more voters, grassroots donors, and volunteers.

It’s been estimated that up to 70% of a congressional candidate’s time is spent with potential wealthy donors — trying to get them to give, or as a reward for doing so. It’s safe to assume that goes for presidential campaigns too, and presidential donors are disproportionately white, male, and wealthy. Look at the 2016 election: The electorate was more diverse than ever, and yet 91% of donors were white. Only three percent of Americans were millionaires, but 17% of donors were. The wealthy and well-connected have been taught by politicians to expect that more money buys more access — they’ve done it for generations, and it too often closes out women and communities of color. We have to do things differently.

No doubt about it, there will be a cost to our approach. In fact, making this decision will ensure that I will be outraised by other candidates in this race.


Everyone knows that money buys access, whatever else they might say. This is the first serious proposal that I’ve ever seen that gets to the problem at one of its roots. At this point, it doesn’t even matter if she eventually wins; if she demonstrates that it’s still possible to even come close to winning while running under these rules, it could create a new standard among Democratic candidates. And that would be HUGE.

Money, like water, will always find a new path of least resistance. If that doesn’t mean we stop building dams on our rivers, then there’s no reason to think it should stop us from making improvements here too.

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.


House Democrats moving to force Senate Vote on Emergency Declaration

Speaker Nancy Pelosi is throwing her muscle behind a legislative effort to block President Donald Trump’s national emergency declaration, the first formal step to counter Trump and squeeze Republicans on the border wall.

Democrats will introduce legislation Friday to terminate the emergency proclamation and Pelosi is urging House colleagues on both sides of the aisle to support the resolution, according to a letter obtained by POLITICO on Wednesday.

Politico: https://politi.co/2Ng9FRg

Once this passes the House, the Senate will be forced to vote on it. There are thirty-four seats up for grabs in 2020, so this will be the first truly consequential vote for each of the following Senators: https://ballotpedia.org/United_States_Senate_elections,_2020

Alabama Democratic Party Doug Jones
Alaska Republican Party Dan Sullivan
Arizona Republican Party Martha McSally
Arkansas Republican Party Tom Cotton
Colorado Republican Party Cory Gardner
Delaware Democratic Party Chris Coons
Georgia Republican Party David Perdue
Idaho Republican Party Jim Risch
Illinois Democratic Party Dick Durbin
Iowa Republican Party Joni Ernst
Kansas Republican Party Pat Roberts
Kentucky Republican Party Mitch McConnell
Louisiana Republican Party Bill Cassidy
Maine Republican Party Susan Collins
Massachusetts Democratic Party Ed Markey
Michigan Democratic Party Gary Peters
Minnesota Democratic Party Tina Smith
Mississippi Republican Party Cindy Hyde-Smith
Montana Republican Party Steve Daines
Nebraska Republican Party Ben Sasse
New Hampshire Democratic Party Jeanne Shaheen
New Jersey Democratic Party Cory Booker
New Mexico Democratic Party Tom Udall
North Carolina Republican Party Thom Tillis
Oklahoma Republican Party Jim Inhofe
Oregon Democratic Party Jeff Merkley
Rhode Island Democratic Party Jack Reed
South Carolina Republican Party Lindsey Graham
South Dakota Republican Party Mike Rounds
Tennessee Republican Party Lamar Alexander
Texas Republican Party John Cornyn
Virginia Democratic Party Mark Warner
West Virginia Republican Party Shelley Moore Capito
Wyoming Republican Party Mike Enzi

Space Force? There is no Space Force. There is only the Air Force, now as before

Bowing to bipartisan concerns in Congress, President Trump retreated Tuesday from his plan to create an independent “space force” in the Pentagon, proposing instead to consolidate the military’s space operations and personnel in the Air Force.

The scaled-down plan would still establish a new military service focused on war-fighting in outer space — the first new branch since 1947 — with a four-star commander who would become a member of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to an executive order that Trump signed Tuesday.


This is a pretty big walk back, except that it’s not back far enough. Congress will never approve this either. The Air Force already has a Space Command, and it does all the things this new “Space Force” is supposed to do. And although inter-service rivalry prevents the leaders of the branches of our armed services from agreeing on much, one thing they will all agree on and lobby Congress on is their opposition to a new co-equal competitor for resources.

So no. Even aside from the dumb name, this was never gonna happen.

Marcy says this is happening when Mueller wants it to happen? That’s good enough for me, and we’ll all know soon enough

I’ve long believed that Mueller would be allowed to finish the work necessary for Congress to take this thing the final mile, and I see nothing that would suggest I should change my mind now. Plus, Marcy Wheeler has reason to believe the same, so I’m in the very best of company!

I’m fairly certain the concerns about Barr coming in and forcing Mueller to finish this are misplaced. I say that, in part, because Mueller seemed to be preparing for this timing. I say it, too, because Barr is too close to Mueller to do that to him.

That says that Mueller is choosing this timing (and choosing not to wait for the appeals to be done). Whatever reason dictates this timing, by doing it in this window, Mueller can ensure the legitimacy of what happens, both legally (because Barr will be in place) and politically (because it will be clear Rosenstein presided over it).

So whatever comes next week, people on both sides should accept that it is the outcome of the investigation that Mueller deemed appropriate.

SOURCE: feedproxy.google.com/~r/emptywheel/cAUy/~3/-wVsL8754Rg/