Donald Trump’s appalling attacks on the press have been unprecedented and as president-elect he’s continuing down that path. Trump finally gave a press conference and it was bonkers. The president-elect refused to take a CNN reporter’s question and told him, “You are fake news!” After that, his staff of cheerleaders could be heard laughing and clapping.… Continue Reading →
FBI Director James Comey confirmed that state and local voter databases were breached by Russian hackers and data obtained. They stopped short of saying that the data had any effect on the election, claiming they saw no evidence that the databases were used on Election Day. There are a lot of ways to use voter databases,… Continue Reading →
Well, who didn’t see this one coming? It appears that Russia has a blackmail war chest on Donald Trump and the intel community included that information in their briefing last Friday. How will Donnie spin this? No, Russia didn’t hack anyone. No, they don’t have anything on me. Putin is my friend! In the bombshell report… Continue Reading →
(h/t Heather) Ladies and gentlemen, I present you with compelling evidence that turtles possess no moral compass, no sense of ethics or the ability to feel shame for utter hypocrisy. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell appeared on CBS’ Face the Nation to pooh-pooh the Office of General Ethics’ complaint that the Senate was rushing President-elect Trump’s… Continue Reading →
I can’t imagine why they’re puzzled:
The office tasked with overseeing ethics and conflicts in the federal government struggled to gain access to leaders of the Trump transition team, and warned Trump aides about making decisions on nominees or blind trusts without ethics guidance, according to new emails obtained by MSNBC.
Office of Government Ethics Director Walter Shaub emailed Trump aides in November to lament that despite his office’s repeated outreach, “we seem to have lost contact with the Trump-Pence transition since the election.”
Trump aides may also be risking “embarrassment for the President-elect,” Shaub warned, by “announcing cabinet picks” without letting the ethics office review their financial information in advance.
HAHAHAHAHA! As if this president is ever embarrassed. They just haven’t figured it out that Trump is going to ignore all their rules — every single one.
It’s pretty clear that the GOP has made their deal with Trump: They work with him as long as they get to rape and pillage everything they can get their hands on.
I suppose the upside is that we will finally have an example of what happens to a country run on libertarian, free-market principles. And as it collapses, libertarians will complain that it wasn’t libertarian enough, or it would have worked.
House Republicans on Tuesday changed the way Congress calculates the cost of transferring federal lands to the states and other entities, a move that will make it easier for members of the new Congress to cede federal control of public lands.
The provision, included as part as a larger rules package the House approved by a vote of 233 to 190 during its first day in session, highlights the extent to which some congressional Republicans hope to change longstanding rules now that the GOP will control the executive and the legislative branches starting Jan. 20.
Many Republicans, including House Natural Resources Committee Chairman Rob Bishop (R-Utah), have been pushing to hand over large areas of federal land to state and local authorities, on the grounds that they will be more responsive to the concerns of local residents.
— Golden Globe Awards (@goldenglobes) January 9, 2017
UPDATE: Here’s Kelly Anne, whining about it:
And other things you should do to hold Washington accountable this year.
Here are three steps to claiming your power:
STEP 1: #SwitchToCSPAN
The absolute most important thing you can do in the next few weeks is change the channel — not just your television or monitor, but every TV you see: in the doctor’s waiting room, in the hotel lobby, in the office, in the cafeteria.
Remember when it seemed like everyone watched the presidential debates? If the nomination hearings garner even a fraction of that attention, we will have better, more accountable government in the years ahead.
STEP 2: Shout it from the rooftops
Tweet about it. Post about it. Talk about it: whatever you are seeing, whatever you have questions about. The important thing is that you join a chorus of making it known that the American people are paying attention to Congress.
We at POPVOX will be doing our part to spread the word: sharing hearing schedules, live-tweeting hearings, posting clips, and providing a weekly wrap-up in our newsletter, Gavel Down.
STEP 3: Tell your lawmakers what you think
As you spend time listening to the nominees and the questions, some may inspire confidence, some may concern you. Your two senators have a vote on every nomination and they will take your input into account, especially if it’s clear that you have been paying attention to the actual process, not just reacting to the sound byte of the day. Use POPVOX to weigh in on the nominations and tell your friends to do the same.
There is plenty of skepticism about the intelligence community’s conclusions along all sides of the political spectrum. Trump is dismissing it out of hand. Most of the Republicans are keeping their powder dry, although hawkish Sens. John McCain and Lindsey Graham seem convinced, as do most Democrats. And after witnessing the weapons of mass destruction analysis prior to the invasion of Iraq in the past decade, many people on the left are naturally suspicious of the intelligence agencies.
Now is probably a good time to revisit that episode and remind ourselves of how it unfolded. Seymour Hersh’s original New Yorker article, “The Stovepipe,” exploring the way it all went down, still holds up today. The intelligence agencies got it wrong, for sure. But, as he explained, there was a specific reason:
What the Bush people did was dismantle the existing filtering process that for fifty years had been preventing the policymakers from getting bad information. They created stovepipes to get the information they wanted directly to the top leadership. Their position is that the professional bureaucracy is deliberately and maliciously keeping information from them.
This was why members of the left championed truth tellers deeply enmeshed in the Republican establishment and the intelligence community, like former ambassador Joe Wilson and his wife Valerie Plame, when they boldly stepped up.
And we’re not seeing a whole lot of TV coverage.
House Republicans this week reinstated an arcane procedural rule that enables lawmakers to reach deep into the budget and slash the pay of an individual federal worker — down to $1 — a move that threatens to upend the 130-year-old civil service.
The Holman Rule, named after an Indiana congressman who devised it in 1876, empowers any member of Congress to propose amending an appropriations bill to single out a government employee or cut a specific program.
The use of the rule would not be simple; a majority of the House and the Senate would still have to approve any such amendment. At the same time, opponents and supporters agree that the work of 2.1 million civil servants, designed to be insulated from politics, is now vulnerable to the whims of elected officials.
Basically, they want to punish federal employees who tell them anything they don’t want to hear. Handy!