Archive | Politics As Usual

2016 recount update – Judge tells Michigan: Start immediately


The Green Party’s push for presidential recounts swung into high gear early Monday as a federal judge in Michigan dismissed GOP objections and ordered that state’s recount to begin immediately, and Jill Stein’s campaign filed a federal suit seeking a statewide recount in Pennsylvania, whose election system they called a “national disgrace.” Michigan Federal Court The… Continue Reading →


Trumplandia, Pennsylvania

Donald Trump accused Hillary Clinton of hypocrisy

Eileen and Richard Sorokas loved Barack Obama. They made calls and even knocked on doors to get him elected president in 2008 and 2012 because they believed he would bring change to their stagnant corner of Northeast Pennsylvania. (The couple even named two of their ducks after the president and his veep, though a coyote killed… Continue Reading →


The best way to stop Trump

Moral Monday rally in Harrisburg 9.12.16

Is at the local level. Joy Reid is exactly right, the important organizing has to happen on the local level, especially with the upcoming state races in 2018.

But those waiting for the Republican-dominated Congress to restore the protections of the Voting Rights Act will wait in vain. Better to get cracking on the 36 governor’s races, in states like Michigan, Wisconsin, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Nevada and Florida; even Arizona and Texas; plus the two contests in 2017, in Virginia and New Jersey, plus the many secretaries of state up for election too. Because the party that holds the governor’s mansion and the office of secretary of state holds the key to elections—to whether provisional ballots are counted or tossed; whether and how voter ID laws are enacted and enforced; and whether polling places and working machines will be fairly distributed or doled out on the basis of partisan advantage.

Republicans have made it clear that wherever they hold the reigns of state power, they will do almost anything to limit the right of Democratic-leaning populations to vote. After January 20, who’s to stop them? Certainly not a Justice Department headed by Jefferson Beauregard Sessions.

Rev. William Barber, president of the North Carolina NAACP, and fellow activists in the state have shown progressives the meaning of hope. They succeeded in 2016 where the Clinton campaign failed—tossing out the governor (though Republican Pat McCrory is still refusing to concede), flipping the attorney generals’ office and putting a black justice on the state’s Supreme Court. This may yet enable Democrats to rescue healthcare and voting rights in the state.

Defeating McCrory also opens to the door to vetoing ugly legislation like HB-2, which not only assaulted the dignity of trans citizens, it cost the state billions of dollars in revenue from the NBA and other businesses and organizations who shunned the state, while also eviscerating the right of municipalities to raise their minimum wage.

Governors and state legislators hold the power to protect and defend public schools from Betsy De Vos-style privatization; state colleges and teachers unions from Scott Walker-style defunding and attacks on their pensions and healthcare; and public and sacred Native American land from the federal, taxpayer-funded giveaways to drillers, frackers and developers that are surely coming under Trump. They will be the first line of defense in fighting climate change and are the decision-makers on whether their state will accept or reject federal funds for building high-speed rail and green energy production, and the jobs that come with them.
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Why Trump would almost certainly be violating the Constitution if he continues to own his businesses

US President-elect Donald Trump has spoken directly with the president of Taiwan - breaking with US policy set in 1979 when formal relations were cut. Washington cut formal diplomatic ties with Taiwan in 1979, expressing its support for Beijing's "One Chi

Far from ending with President-elect Trump’s announcement that he will separate himself from the management of his business empire, the constitutional debate about the meaning of the Emoluments Clause — and whether Trump will be violating it — is likely just beginning. That’s because the Emoluments Clause seems to bar Trump’s ownership of his business. It… Continue Reading →


Checks and balances optional


Who could have guessed that GOP zeal against wrongdoers would so suddenly drop off a cliff?

Darren Samuelsohn asks various republicans about Trump’s massive violations, and gets a series of run-and-hide replies:

Asked if Congress had any oversight role on the potential conflicts connected to Trump’s many businesses, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell smiled and kept walking as he headed off the floor late Wednesday night, declining to say anything at all as he got into a private elevator.

Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) deflected a question about Trump’s potential conflicts to an aide. “Do you have an opinion on that?” the Iowa Republican asked, before he too stepped in an elevator.

Across the Capitol, the response from some of the chamber’s most powerful Republicans was largely one of indifference.

“That’s beyond my jurisdiction,” said Kentucky Rep. Hal Rogers, the chairman of the House Appropriations Committee, which is responsible for dishing out federal funds.

“Not for my committee,” added Texas Rep. Kevin Brady, the chairman of the House Ways and Means that has oversight of the IRS, the controversial agency that Trump famously used as an explanation during the presidential campaign as the reason he couldn’t release his tax returns.

“I don’t think that’s something that…the public is going to hold him accountable” for, said Rep. John Shimkus, an Illinois Republican running to chair the House Energy and Commerce Committee. “I don’t think people are thinking he ran for president of the United States to line his pockets.”

You’d think the famous straight-talker John McCain, who is now 80 years old and
fresh off reelection to a new six-year term in the Senate, might have some ability to exercise independent judgment. But McCain’s stated policy, as revealed to the Huffington Post’s Laura Barron-Lopez, is, “I will not discuss President-elect Donald Trump.” McCain added, “I’m responsible for the people of Arizona.”

It’s not like he is a member of some branch of government that the founders designed as a check and balance on the executive. As far as Republicans in Congress are concerned, they’re all working for Trump now.


Deja vu all over again


You would think Democratic donors would learn, but they don’t:

These organizations on the broad left are constantly underfunded—everybody scrounging to the same few foundations, which take months to decide things and then fund something for three years and withdraw instead of the 10 years that people need to make their organizations have impact.

Let me give you one telling example. As I wrote more than once during the campaign, Judicial Watch did a lot, in this campaign and over many years, to darken Hillary Clinton’s image in the minds of average Americans. They did this through FOIA request after FOIA request, getting their teams of lawyers to comb through every document, and turning up stuff that could be peddled as dirt and that informed the way the mainstream media wrote about Clinton—the assumptions made, the adjectives used, and so on. Judicial Watch has a $30 million annual budget.

Now: Don’t you think liberalism could use a Judicial Watch of its own to file FOIA after FOIA after FOIA on the Trump administration? It sure could. The group would have a field day with this guy. The revelations that would come out would make for a constant media barrage hitting Trump on ethics. He’d be on the defensive all the time.

Well—there is no such group. No one has funded it. Actually, there is one group in Washington that may be capable of doing this work, the Committee for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW). It’s a good outfit. But CREW’s budget is just $2 million.

You hear a lot about George Soros and rich Hollywood liberals, and you probably just assume that liberals spend more money on this kind of activity than conservatives. Not so. There are far more rich conservatives than liberals for the obvious reason that having pots of money tends to make people conservative—and tends to make them want to invest in the politicians who’ll protect their money.

And so it’s the right that spends more. Rob Stein, the founder of the Democracy Alliance, the group of wealthy liberal donors that tries to coordinate investment in a progressive infrastructure, has studied this question for years. He told me: “The right has been building its infrastructure for more than 40 years. Whereas 10 years ago the right’s independent political apparatus was outspending progressives in electorally relevant state-based political mobilization by over two to one, in this cycle that margin appears to have been in excess of four to one.”

Lots of work to do. The Democrats have the votes in the Senate to block most things from passing, unless Mitch McConnell gets rid of the filibuster, which we’ll see about soon enough. But they’re not going to stop what’s coming with forty-odd votes. That will take millions—of dollars, and people. They’re out there. They need to be directed and led, without fear of Trump or Fox or whatever. If those days aren’t over, the legacy of the Democratic Party may soon be.

And of course, there are Democratic activists who insist in the wake of this election that the solution is … funding presidential elections with small-donor contributions. Head, meet desk.

Voting rights activists urge Clinton to challenge PA, MI and WI vote counts

2016 Election Florida Voting

According to Gabe Sherman, a group of concerned voting-rights advocates and computer scientists are urging the Clinton campaign to challenge the results in Pennsylvania and Michigan. Voting-rights attorney John Bonifaz and director of the University of Michigan Center for Computer Security and Society, J. Alex Halderman, were part of a group which held a conference call… Continue Reading →

Hillary Clinton could win the popular vote in a landslide

Trump desiste de investigar Hillary por e-mails, veja...

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton’s popular vote victory continued to grow Monday as millions of ballots remained uncounted, according to the latest ballot tally published by the Cook Political Report. The first female major-party nominee has secured nearly 2 million more votes than her opponent, billionaire Donald Trump, despite an Electoral College vote in his… Continue Reading →

Republican monkey business in North Carolina

Gov. Mcrory's visit to FEMA office

I know you are deeply shocked:

North Carolina Republican Gov. Pat McCrory, champion of the country’s most notorious anti-LGBTQ law, lost his bid for re-election on Nov. 8—at last count, by 7,448 votes. Yet nearly two weeks later, McCrory still refuses to concede. Instead, he and his legal team are baselessly alleging that the results were tainted by fraud, petitioning election boards to review the results and determine their validity. McCrory is not so obtuse as to think he can actually overtake his opponent, Democratic Attorney General Roy Cooper, in raw votes. His strategy is more insidious: He seems intent on delaying the formal declaration of a winner—and delegitimizing the voting process—in order to let the Republican-dominated legislature ignore the true result and re-install McCrory as governor for another four years.

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