Showing posts with label Common Sense. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Common Sense. Show all posts

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Legal groups move to challenge Trump's Arpaio pardon


Two advocacy groups moved on Monday to challenge Donald Trump’s pardon of controversial former Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio, alleging that the president's move was unconstitutional because it undermined the power of the federal judiciary.

A public interest law firm, the Roderick and Solange MacArthur Justice Center, sought to file an amicus brief in an Arizona district court, where Arpaio is seeking to vacate a conviction after Trump granted him a pardon last month. The brief was initially turned down by a judge on procedural grounds.

A second group, the Protect Democracy Project, also filed an amicus brief on Monday arguing that the pardon is unconstitutional.

Arpaio, the former sheriff of Maricopa County, has been repeatedly accused of employing racist law enforcement tactics and mistreating inmates. A Justice Department civil rights investigation concluded that his department racially profiled Latinos, and Arpaio in 2016 lost a bid for re-election.

In July, he was convicted of criminal contempt of court because he had continued to detain immigrants without sufficient reason after a federal court order told him to stop. Trump pardoned Arpaio in August, pointing to his "selfless public service."

The MacArthur Justice Center moved to file in the case on Monday but was warned by Judge Susan Bolton that the motion would be denied in three days if it is not edited to adhere to court procedure.

The brief contends that Trump’s pardon of Arpaio violated the Constitution because “it has the purpose and effect of eviscerating the judicial power to enforce constitutional rights.” The MacArthur Justice Center lawyers argue that, while broad, presidential pardon power can not be used to undermine the judiciary’s ability to enforce the Bill of Rights or the Fourteenth Amendment.

The Arpaio pardon, the lawyers argue, “eviscerates this Court’s enforcement endorsing Arpaio’s refusal to comply with federal court orders.”

The brief also takes issue with the breadth of Trump’s pardon, noting that the “text of the pardon is so broad that it purports to allow Arpaio to run for Sheriff again...and escape criminal liability for future contempt.”

Protect Democracy’s lawyers similarly contend that the pardon violates the separation of powers “because it unconstitutionally interferes with the inherent powers of the Judicial Branch.”

They also argue that the pardon goes beyond the president’s power — “We are aware of no case in this Court, the Ninth Circuit or the Supreme Court that has upheld a pardon matching the extraordinary circumstances here, where the contempt is used to enforce court orders protecting the rights of private litigants,” the lawyers write — and violates due process.

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Congressional Black Caucus Ready For Impeachment Talk

Posted with permission from Newsweek

The Congressional Black Caucus will hold a meeting next week to discuss whether to call for the impeachment of Donald Trump. Following Trump’s response to deadly violence at a white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, last month, the CBC chairman, Representative Cedric Richmond of Louisiana, said the 49 member caucus would have a discussion on Trump’s possible impeachment when Congress reconvened after the August recess.

Those talks will take place next Wednesday, a CBC staffer confirmed to Newsweek on Thursday. While it was initially anticipated that the discussions would happen at this week’s meeting, relief efforts following Hurricane Harvey and in anticipation of Hurricane Irma took priority. Still, members were given background information on the impeachment process and the details on all the federal officials who have previously been subject to impeachment.

The CBC was among the first parties in Congress to call for the impeachment of President Richard Nixon, when it filed a resolution in the House of Representatives in 1973. The following year, Nixon resigned with his impeachment considered a virtual certainty.

Representative Al Green of Texas became the first Democrat to call for Trump’s removal from office, in May. He later supported California Representative Brad Sherman when he introduced articles of impeachment against the president the following month, alleging obstruction of justice over the firing of FBI Director James Comey.

Representative Maxine Waters, one of Trump’s fiercest critics, has also called to impeach Trump, and Representative Gwen Moore became the most recent member to do so, following Trump’s blaming of “both sides” for the violence in Charlottesville.

“For the sake of the soul of our country, we must come together to restore our national dignity that has been robbed by Donald Trump’s presence in the White House,” Moore, a Democrat from Wisconsin, said last month. “My Republican friends, I implore you to work with us within our capacity as elected officials to remove this man as our commander-in-chief and help us move forward from this dark period in our nation’s history.”

While Charlottesville may have been the tipping point, the CBC will look at a variety of issues that could be grounds for impeachment, including alleged violations of the emoluments cause and Trump’s fitness to serve. The case against Nixon will be studied closely as a guiding comparison.

Despite three members going on record urging Trump’s removal, a CBC staffer said “we have not made a decision yet” over whether the group would take the step of formally calling for the president’s impeachment. No preliminary discussions have yet taken place.

If there is a sense that the members are moving in the direction of impeachment, a vote could be called for. General policy is that a majority vote is required for a motion to pass, although because of the seriousness of this issue more than a simple majority may be deemed necessary.

For the Congressional Black Caucus, which encompasses 47 members in the House of Representatives and two in the Senate, calling for the removal of the Trump would undeniably be a powerful statement. However, there is little chance that it would bring about Trump’s exit any time soon. A majority vote in the House is required to impeach a president, followed by a two-thirds majority in the Senate in order to convict.

Republicans currently control both chambers and there have only been limited signs thus far of the party publicly abandoning their president. Also, Trump in recent days has reached out to leading Democrats over increasing the debt ceiling, a move that could win him some support.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Trump’s betrayal of the Republican leaders should surprise no one

Donald Trump meets with Republican and Democratic leaders in Congress. (Kevin Lamarque/Reuters)

Opinion writer

Chuck and Nancy and Donald and Ivanka seemed to thoroughly enjoy their meeting at the White House the other day. Mitch and Paul, not so much.

Does it really surprise anyone that President Trump betrayed the Republican leaders who have been trying their best to carry water for him on Capitol Hill — Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) — and is playing footsie with their Democratic rivals? It shouldn’t.

One thing that should be blindingly obvious by now is that political loyalty, for the president, is a one-way street. Yes, McConnell and Ryan embarrassed themselves and squandered precious political capital in a long, fruitless attempt to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Yes, the Republican leaders have held their tongues time and again when Trump has manifested his unfitness for office. Yes, they have pretended not to notice the glaring conflicts of interest between Trump’s private business affairs and his public responsibilities.

Still, there was something brazen about the way events unfolded Wednesday. First, Ryan tells reporters that a short-term, three-month extension on the debt ceiling, tied to relief funds for Hurricane Harvey — an idea supported by Senate Minority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) — was “ridiculous and disgraceful.” Then, in the Oval Office meeting, Trump stuns everyone by endorsing the Schumer-Pelosi plan — and agrees to work with the Democrats on repealing the debt ceiling altogether, according to The Post. Later, on Air Force One, Trump goes on about what a productive meeting he had with “Chuck and Nancy,” not bothering to mention the GOP congressional leaders by name. Ouch.

Some shell-shocked attendees said they believed the meeting went off the rails when the president’s daughter Ivanka, who has an office in the West Wing, cheerily dropped in and disrupted the conversation’s focus. But this sounds to me like nothing more than a search for a scapegoat. Ryan and McConnell have no one to blame but themselves.

Trump is many things, but he is not, nor has he ever been, a committed Republican. He seized control of the party in a hostile takeover. His campaign positions on trade, health care, entitlements and other issues bore no resemblance to GOP orthodoxy. He has instincts — some of them odious, from what we can intuit about his views on race and culture — but his worldview is transactional and situational, not ideological.

Ryan, McConnell and many of their Republican colleagues in Congress convinced themselves that Trump could be a useful instrument — that he would sign whatever legislation they sent him, and therefore they would be able to enact a conventional GOP agenda of tax and entitlement cuts.
Trump might have gone along with this scenario, at least for a while. But Ryan and McConnell utterly failed to hold up their end of the bargain.

Look at the health-care fiasco from Trump’s point of view. His campaign position was that Obamacare had to be repealed, but that the replacement should be a system offering health care for “everyone.” What Ryan and the House delivered, however, was a plan that would make 23 million people lose health insurance and cut nearly $800 billion from Medicaid.

Trump called that legislation “mean” but was so desperate for a big win that he backed it anyway. In the Senate, however, McConnell wasn’t able to deliver anything at all — not even a stripped-down measure to repeal the ACA now and replace it later. Trump was humiliated and angry. “Mitch M” and “Paul R” became frequent targets of his barbed tweets.

So on Wednesday, Trump dished out a little humiliation of his own. At the White House meeting, the president reportedly cut off Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin — who supported the Ryan-McConnell approach to raising the debt ceiling — in mid-sentence to announce that he was siding with Schumer and Pelosi.

The stunning slap down almost overshadowed a surprise that Trump had delivered Tuesday evening: After sending Attorney General Jeff Sessions out to announce the end of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, Trump tweeted that if Congress did not act within six months, he would “revisit” the question.

What Trump clearly has already revisited is his belief in the ability of the conservative GOP congressional majorities to get anything meaningful done. He seems to be at least flirting with the idea of working instead with Democrats and GOP moderates — working not with but around the House and Senate leadership.

I just hope Schumer and Pelosi know not to trust him the way Ryan and McConnell did.

Read more from Eugene Robinson’s archive, follow him on Twitter or subscribe to his updates on Facebook. You can also join him Tuesdays at 1 p.m. for a live Q&A.

Thursday, September 7, 2017

Republicans Left Reeling After Deal Between Trump And Democrats

WASHINGTON — Republicans were left fuming at a deal struck Wednesday between President Donald Trump and Democratic leaders that combines disaster aid for Hurricane Harvey victims with measures to keep the government open and extend the debt ceiling for three more months.

The agreement occurred during a late-morning Oval Office meeting between Trump, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, House Speaker Paul Ryan, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer and House Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi. During the meeting, Trump sided with the Democrats, agreeing to their demands for a short-term extension of government funding and the debt limit and rejecting Republicans’ efforts to seek a longer-term debt ceiling hike.

It was a blow to GOP plans to avoid a series of politically treacherous votes for their members, or at least provide cover for them by attaching it to the disaster relief bill.

By agreeing to the three-month extensions, the GOP-controlled Congress would be forced to revisit both the debt ceiling and government spending extensions in December. And it increases the pressure on Republicans to pass yet more extensions to both, or face the prospect of the U.S. defaulting on its bills or a government shutdown just weeks before Christmas.

Democrats praised the deal, which was reached just before the House overwhelmingly passed $7.85 billion in disaster relief with nothing else attached.

“It was a really good moment of some bipartisanship and getting things done,” Schumer told reporters.

But it leaves rank-and-file Republicans befuddled and with few good choices. Opposition to increasing the nation's debt ceiling has become a matter of principle for many conservatives who say that this deal is worse than any they could have imagined because it forces them to vote on it twice in three months.

“The Pelosi-Schumer-Trump deal is bad,” said Sen. Ben Sasse, R-Neb., in a short, terse statement.

McConnell told reporters it was the president’s decision and that GOP leadership will move forward with it.

“The President can speak for himself, but his feeling was that we needed to come together to not create a picture of divisiveness at a time of genuine national crisis and that was the rationale,” McConnell told reporters.

Still, it was a stunning turn of events.

Wednesday morning began with Pelosi and Schumer issuing their demand that the debt limit be increased for just three months as part of the hurricane relief bill. Ryan called the idea “ridiculous and disgraceful,” adding that Democrats “want to play politics with the debt ceiling.”

An hour later, the four leaders met with Trump. Republicans entered the meeting proposing an 18 month increase to the debt limit, which would put the issue aside until after the midterm elections.

Trump rejected that and so Republicans floated six months. But Pelosi and Schumer stuck to their three month demand.

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, who was also present, argued in favor of a longer-term debt limit extension, but the president cut him off and sided with the Democrats, multiple sources with knowledge of the meeting said.

In an unexpected turn of events, Ivanka Trump, the president's daughter and adviser, came into the room to say hello toward the end of the meeting, which derailed the conversation and left the Republicans visibly annoyed, a Democratic aide briefed on the meeting said.

AshLee Strong, a spokeswoman for Ryan, called that characterization of Republican reaction "false."

And a White House aide said that Trump invited his daughter in to talk about her child-tax credit proposal, that she stayed on-topic and that it was “not an issue.”

Back on Capitol Hill, there was a mixture of resignation and outrage.

At the weekly lunch for Senate Republicans, McConnell, joined by White House budget director Mick Mulvaney and Vice President Mike Pence, laid out the deal reached with Democratic leaders.

When asked if they were surprised at the deal that was made, some senators appeared unfazed.

“Nothing shocks me around here,” said Sen. John Kennedy, R-La.

“Am I surprised? Not really,” said Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn.

Still, senators were left unsure of how they’d vote on the deal, even though it includes nearly $8 billion in immediate relief for Harvey victims.

“We are literally funding this government on 90 day notes. That is not the way to fund the largest, most relevant entity in the world,” said Sen. Dan Sullivan, R-Alaska.

He said that he’s likely to vote for it because of the desperate need of people in Texas, adding, “patience is wearing thin on short-term funding of this government.”

Some Republicans, however, fumed. During a lunch of the conservative Republican Study Committee, members unanimously voiced their opposition to the deal, an aide said.

Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C., said Republican leaders didn’t go into the talks with a good enough proposal.

“You've got to give the president conservative options," Meadows said. "There was not a conservative option on the table. It was either a clean debt ceiling or this deal. And when we look at that you can’t criticize somebody when there’s not a conservative proposal that’s put forth."

Rep. Mark Walker, R-N.C., chairman of the conservative Republican Study Committee, said Mnuchin and Republican leaders have been pushing for a way to find the easiest path to pass a debt ceiling with no reforms attached.

“They’ve been trolling along looking for something to attach it to,” Walker said of Republican leaders. “To use the pain and suffering of the people of Texas to me is offensive."

Trump praised the deal aboard Air Force One on his way to North Dakota for a speech on tax reform. But he said he had a very good meeting with Pelosi and Schumer, and didn’t even mention the leaders of his party — McConnell and Ryan.

He also said that the debt ceiling must always be lifted without question, a position not held by most Republicans, who in recent years have turned it into a lever to achieve their policy goals of budget cuts.

“We had a very good meeting with Nancy Pelosi and Chuck Schumer," Trump said. "We agreed to a three-month extension on debt ceiling, which they consider to be sacred — very important — always we’ll agree on debt ceiling automatically because of the importance of it."

The deal, however, just pushes the threat of a government shutdown to December.

“Merry Christmas,” said Sen. John Thune, R-S.D.
Kasie Hunt
Kasie Hunt
Alex Moe, Garrett Haake, Frank Thorp V and Hallie Jackson

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Is Joel Osteen A Bad Guy For Reasons Beyond Failing To Act During Hurricane Harvey?

In this episode of "The Conversation", Jesse Dollemore discusses Joel Osteen and his bizarre Americanized version of Jesus' Gospel message.

His inaction in the face of the suffering caused by Hurricane Harvey was bad, but are there more reasons his actions should be questioned and scrutinized?

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Trump Cybersecurity Advisors Resign, Citing His ‘Insufficient Attention’ to Threats

By David Z. Morris

A quarter of the members of the National Infrastructure Advisory Council, whose purview includes national cybersecurity, have resigned. In a group resignation letter, they cited both specific shortfalls in the administration’s approach to cybersecurity, and broader concerns that Trump and his administration have undermined the “moral infrastructure” of the U.S.

The resignations came Monday and were acknowledged by the White House on Tuesday. Nextgov has recently published the resignation letter that the departing councilors submitted. According to Roll Call, seven members resigned from the 27 member Council.

Several of those resigning were Obama-era appointees, including former U.S. Chief Data Scientist DJ Patil and former Office of Science and Technology Policy Chief of Staff Cristin Dorgelo. Not surprisingly, then, the issues outlined in the resignation letter were broad, faulting both Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Paris climate accords and his inflammatory statements after the Charlottesville attacks, some of which came during what was intended to be an infrastructure-focused event.

“The moral infrastructure of our Nation is the foundation on which our physical infrastructure is built,” reads the letter in part. “The Administration’s actions undermine that foundation.”
But the resigning advisors also said the Administration was not “adequately attentive to the pressing national security matters within the NIAC’s purview, or responsive to sound advice received from experts and advisors.” The letter also zeroed in on “insufficient attention to the growing threats to the cybersecurity of the critical systems upon which all Americans depend,” including election systems.

While he has ordered better security for government networks, Trump has shown little understanding or seriousness when it comes to the broader issues surrounding, in his words, “the cyber.” Most notably, he has refused to accept the U.S. intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia engineered a hacking and propaganda campaign meant to subvert the 2016 presidential election, and even floated the idea of forming a cyber-security task force with Russia. The administration also missed a self-imposed deadline for presenting a comprehensive cyber-security plan.

In a report issued just after the mass resignations, the NIAC issued a report saying that dramatic steps were required to prevent a possible "9/11-level cyberattack."

Sunday, August 27, 2017

There's a 'mountain of evidence' that Trump is unstable

  • Congresswoman calls for Trump's removal from office through the 25th Amendment
  • Democrat Jackie Speier is "concerned about him having his finger on the button that could send nuclear warheads around the world."

Saturday, August 26, 2017

‘Remedy is impeachment’: Harvard Law prof blasts Trump pardoning Joe Arpaio

By Bob Brigham

Donald Trump committed an impeachable offense with his late Friday pardon of former Sheriff Joe Arpaio, according to a prominent Harvard Law Professor.

“This is the crime that Trump is suggesting he might pardon: willful defiance of a federal judge’s lawful order to enforce the Constitution,” explained Prof. Noah Feldman. “Such a pardon would reflect outright contempt for the judiciary, which convicted Arpaio for his resistance to its authority.

Trump has questioned judges’ motives and decisions, but this would be a further, more radical step in his attack on the independent constitutional authority of Article III judges.”

“An Arpaio pardon would express presidential contempt for the Constitution,” Prof. Feldman continued. “From this analysis it follows directly that pardoning Arpaio would be a wrongful act under the Constitution.”

Professor Feldman worried of a “a crisis in enforcement of the rule of law” if Republican congressional leaders refused to hold Trump to account.

“The Constitution isn’t perfect. It offers only one remedy for a president who abuses the pardon power to break the system itself. That remedy is impeachment,” Prof. Feldman concluded. “James Madison noted at the Virginia ratifying convention that abuse of the pardon power could be grounds for impeachment. He was correct then — and it’s still true now.”

All Administration Personnel Need To Align Their Loyalties - America, Or Trump?

In this ‘Dollemore Daily’ Jesse Dollemore addresses the mass resignations of many CEO's who were members of Donald Trump's individual Economic Advisory Councils. He also calls on all other personnel, working in an agenda support capacity, to resign and choose country over hate.

People dumping Ivanka Trump products at Goodwill

Social media users proudly confess to dumping Ivanka Trump fashion items at Goodwill - many with the tags STILL ON - as one staff member reveals huge surge in donated items from her brand.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Roland Martin To Paula White: Be A Prophetic Voice And Don't Just Be A Profitable Voice

Roland Martin rips Pastor Paula White for her partisan comments about Donald Trump: Be a prophetic voice and don't just be a profitable voice.

Trump is acting like he is running out of time

Former Watergate prosecutor Nick Akerman said Thursday that Donald Trump is acting in regards to the Russia collusion investigation as if he knows "time is running out."

"What we're finding is, as time goes on, we keep learning new, additional facts. But we don't know what [special counsel Robert] Mueller's staff knows. For all we know, we may just have the tip of the iceberg on this," Akerman told MSNBC's Ari Melber.

Akerman referenced a The Washington Post report that Trump had pushed back on legislation proposed in July that would block him from firing the special counsel investigating his campaign's ties to Russia without a federal judge's approval.

"Now it appears he's directly lobbying congress to try and ensure that he has a way to get rid of this investigation," Akerman said.

CNN reported this week that congressional investigators had unearthed an email from now-White House aide Rick Dearborn to campaign officials last year relaying information about a person who was trying to connect top Trump officials with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

Federal and congressional investigators had already shown an interest in a meeting that Trump's eldest son Donald Jr. set up last summer between campaign officials and a Russian lawyer promising damaging information on his presidential rival Hillary Clinton.

"At the same time that we keep getting more evidence, we also learn that Donald Trump has consistently, from day one, tried to stop this Russia investigation," Akerman said.

Trump harshly criticized and later fired James Comey as FBI director amid the escalating Russia probe, and slammed Attorney General Jeff Sessions for recusing himself from the ongoing investigation.

"All of this comes down to one simple fact," said Akerman. "You have someone who is acting extremely guilty, someone who is acting in a way that he realizes that time is running out, and he's taking all kinds of desperate moves to try and stop this investigation."

Millions Willing To Work For Mueller For Free If That Would Speed Things Up

Sunday, August 20, 2017

Fleeing Trump, Charities Cancel Events At Mar-A-Lago

Three different charities have cancelled scheduled events at Mar-A-Lago after Trump’s refusal to denounce the attacks that took place over the weekend and by aligning himself with the alt right. This is a lot of money lost for Trump, but importantly, shows that these charities understand that some money just isn’t worth it, and they’ll find new venues to host their events. Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins discusses this.

Link –

Friday, August 18, 2017

Fox News Admits They Can’t Find Republicans Willing To Defend Trump On The Air Anymore

After a string of disastrous press conferences – and an overall tanking of his presidency – Fox News host Shepard Smith admitted Wednesday that his team of producers were unable to find a single Republican willing to come on the air and defend Donald Trump’s disaster of a week.

When Fox News can’t find a pro-Trump Republican, you know things are getting bad in Trumpland.

Ring of Fire’s Farron Cousins discusses this.

Link –

Thursday, August 17, 2017

PREDICTION: Trump Will Resign In Disgrace...Soon

Trump’s days in office are numbered. Cenk Uygur, the host of The Young Turks, breaks it down.

Moment Of Truth Coming For Trump

Trump’s response to the Charlottesville aftermath is earning him scorn from even his own party. Cenk Uygur, the host of The Young Turks, tells you how the moment of truth is coming.

“(CNN)Republican lawmakers and administration aides found themselves again Wednesday weighing the costs and benefits of remaining loyal to President Donald Trump, whose equivocal statements about neo-Nazis and white supremacists marked a dramatic shift in presidential rhetoric.

By Wednesday afternoon, most appeared to have made their calculation: deserting Trump now could only harm — and not help — their agendas or political fortunes.

Republican leaders in Congress, including House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, released statements affirming their disavowal of white supremacist groups and neo-Nazis — but not explicitly condemning Trump, who said Tuesday there were "very fine people" protesting in Charlottesville amid the torch-bearing marchers.

Within the White House, Trump's aides privately expressed indignation at the derailed news conference, which unraveled on cable television Tuesday afternoon and has been replayed endlessly since.

But they, too, stopped short of declaring their consternation publicly, determined instead to remain focused on their agenda and keep the President occupied.

Trump himself has remained largely silent on the matter. But inside the glassed-in confines of Trump Tower — where he remained inside for nearly two days straight — the President was defiant in the wake of the ensuing backlash, according to two people who visited the building on Wednesday.”

Read more here: