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Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

Kris Kobach Stuns Kansas Parade Viewers With Machine-Gun Float

Reprinted with permission from Shareblue.com

 

Most people wouldn’t consider using a .50 caliber machine gun to adorn a parade float. But most people are not Kansas Republican Secretary of State Kris Kobach, who apparently thought it was a great idea.

The city of Shawnee didn’t agree, though, issuing a written apology on social media for the shocking scene.

“In no way does this or any parade entry or float directly reflect the views and values of the City, the Old Shawnee Days Board or the Old Shawnee Days Society,” the post read.

Kobach, who is running for governor, was riding in the parade on a Jeep painted with an American flag. And mounted on the vehicle next to the grinning and waving Kobach was “what appeared to be a .50 caliber machine gun.”

His spokesperson Danedri Herbert told the Kansas City Star that the gun was “a replica.” But that was hardly the only concern among the people along the parade route.

“It was pretty shocking,” said Pastor Johnny Lewis of Shawnee Community Christian Church. He added that there were “audible gasps” from the crowd.

And Jo Ella Hoye, leader of the Kansas chapter of gun safety organization Moms Demand Action, noted that “some people might have been afraid to see” the weapon.

And Kobach’s move was especially crass, given that the parade came the day after National Gun Violence Awareness Day. The whole weekend is in fact Wear Orange weekend, during which thousands across the nation were trying to raise awareness of the need for common sense gun safety reforms.

Yet Kobach deemed it the appropriate time to honor firearms rather than victims of gun violence. His spokesperson even trotted out the tired NRA cliché in response to criticism.

“We need to stand up for our Second Amendment rights and recognize the only thing that stops a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun,” she said.

Of course, since Kobach’s gun was a replica, it wasn’t there to stop any potential “bad guys.”

And it’s sadly in character for him to pull such a stunt. Kobach is happily under the NRA’s thumb. And during the National School Walkout, in which thousands of teenagers walked out of class to demand action on gun violence, Kobach had nothing but snide criticism for them.

When students from Topeka High School headed to the state Capitol, they were greeted by Kobach and a crowd of armed protesters. And while the young people spoke and chanted for their rights and their lives, Kobach took to the microphone to attack them.

“I have an idea. Instead of walking out of class, why don’t you stay in class and spend that half hour studying the history of the Second Amendment?” he sneered.

Kobach may have thought the parade would be a nice break from getting humiliated by judges over his “voter fraud” crusade and being forced to shell out to cover the ACLU’s legal fees.

But by toting along a massive firearm — even a “replica” — during what ought to have been a family-friendly parade, Kris Kobach showed the people of Shawnee exactly who he is: An NRA stooge who cares more about making a scene than about making life better for the people he claims to want as his constituents.

Indignant Over Hillary’s Server, Trump Is Still Using Unsecured Cell Phone

Reprinted with permission from Shareblue.com

 

Trump’s professed concern for security in electronic communications conveniently takes a break when it comes to his own cell phone.

Politico reports that Trump uses a White House cell phone that lacks “sophisticated security features designed to shield his communications.” And senior administration officials say that he has specifically spurned his staff’s efforts to change that.

Trump actually uses two separate White House-issued iPhones, one that only makes calls and another that carries a few news apps as well as his favorite hangout spot, Twitter. But neither phone is apparently fully secured, and they have gone months without being checked by security experts.

Further, he doesn’t even want to occasionally swap out the Twitter-capable phone as a security measure, because it would be “too inconvenient.”

And that’s an interesting choice of words for Trump to use.

Part of Hillary Clinton’s explanation for using a private email server as secretary of state was that it was a matter of “convenience.” Trump, of course, had precisely zero benefit of the doubt to extend to her on this issue. Even though her email server was never actually hacked, Trump to this day still cannot stop talking about it.

And he’s apparently often doing so from his decidedly vulnerable cell phone.

A West Wing official insisted to Politico Trump’s Twitter-capable phone “does not necessitate regular change-out.” The official also claimed that Trump’s call-capable phones “are seamlessly swapped out on a regular basis.”

But those call-capable phones also contain cameras and microphones, making them even more vulnerable to hackers. The official refuted that notion, even taking into account Trump’s reluctance to have the phones checked by experts.

And considering just how much Trump uses his phone, anyone — especially those inside the White House — ought to be supremely worried about even the merest chance of it being vulnerable to hackers.

His nightly calls to Fox News host Sean Hannity alone could provide plenty of sensitive material to anyone listening in. And Republicans like Florida Rep. Matt Gaetz often get calls from Trump “late at night or early in the morning.”

Trump used Clinton’s self-professed ill-conceived use of a private email server to attack her competency and her character, and to paint her as wholly unfit to be president. Yet his own administration used private email accounts for months, seemingly oblivious to the blatant hypocrisy, let alone the danger it posed that Trump himself was so gung-ho about on the campaign trail.

Trump, of course, likely didn’t care a whit about any potential security concerns regarding Clinton’s use of technology. He only wanted it as an attack line to rile up his base, relishing their chants of “Lock her up!”

But security experts are definitely concerned about Trump’s total disregard, now that he’s in office, for hacking vulnerability.

“Foreign adversaries seeking intelligence about the U.S. are relentless in their pursuit of vulnerabilities in our government’s communications networks, and there is no more sought-after intelligence target than the president of the United States,” Nate Jones, former director of counterterrorism on the National Security Council under President Obama, told Politico.

And Trump’s refusal to listen to the concerns of his aides on this matter, while within the scope of his authority, “could pose significant risks to the country,” Jones added.

Trump repeatedly slammed Clinton for her handling of classified material, hypocritically dubbing her “Crooked Hillary.” He once seemed to care very deeply about the idea of electronic security.

But when it comes to his own phone, and his ability to tweet whenever the mood strikes him, suddenly security takes a backseat to convenience.

Pence Lauds Convicted Arpaio As ‘Champion’ Of ‘Rule Of Law’

Reprinted with permission from Shareblue.com.

Criminally racist former Maricopa County sheriff Joe Arpaio already knew he had a friend in Trump. But Mike Pence is apparently a big — albeit confused — fan of his, too.

Speaking at a tax policy event in Tempe, Arizona, Pence was gleeful to have Arpaio in the room with him. And he not only called him a “favorite” — he gave the convicted criminal a specific shout-out for being a “champion” of the “rule of law.”

The cognitive dissonance of such a statement seemed to go unnoticed by Pence and the enthusiastic crowd.

“And I just found out when I was walking through the door that we were also going to be joined today by another favorite,” Pence declared. “A great friend of this president. A tireless champion of strong borders and the rule of law.”

Grinning at the applauding audience, Pence told Arpaio, “I’m honored to have you here.”

Even for this administration, praising an actual criminal for supporting the “rule of law” is baffling.

Arpaio is infamous for his utterly racist behavior and policies as sheriff before he was voted out in 2016. The most notorious examples include his now-shuttered Tent City — an open-air detention center where pre-trial inmates were subjected to horrific human rights abuses — and his abhorrent anti-immigration tactics such as using a volunteer “posse” to round up undocumented people and demand papers from anyone who looked too brown.

Arpaio refused to abide by a judge’s order that he cease such racial profiling, and he was found guilty of criminal contempt.

But perhaps seeing a kindred racist spirit in Arpaio, Trump pardoned him just a month later. And Arpaio himself thinks his repugnant history is a perfect resume for U.S. Senate.

Now, Pence has joined both men in their bizarre version of reality, where an actual convicted criminal is lauded for upholding the law. And where terrorizing innocent people is seen as a badge of patriotic honor.

For most people, Arpaio is Exhibit A in total disregard for proper systems of justice and basic human decency. For Trump and Pence, he’s a “favorite” who “exemplifies selfless public service.

Pastors Rebuke Ryan Over Firing Of Catholic Chaplain

Paul Ryan’s ostensible support for religious liberty was exposed as a façade when he forced the House chaplain to resign. Now, Christian pastors are reproaching him for trying “to silence the Word of God.”

Ryan reportedly threatened Father Patrick Conroy with firing if he didn’t step down on his own. The impetus appeared to be Conroy’s denouncement of the GOP tax bill during a daily prayer last November.

Indeed, as one senior Democratic aide told Shareblue Media, “We believe he was pushed out because he was praying for justice and fairness.”

Such an act would seem to be in direct opposition of the religious ideals Ryan touts. And two Christian pastors are taking him to task for it.

In a letter to Ryan posted at Medium, Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II of Repairers of the Breach and Minister Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove of School for Conversion labeled Ryan’s forced ouster of Conroy as nothing less than a “true attack on religious liberty.”

Conroy told The New York Times Ryan admonished him after his prayer for the poor, telling him, “Padre, you just got to stay out of politics.”

But Barber and Wilson-Hartgrove say it’s difficult to see “how you can read the Bible and stay out of politics.”

They quote Isaiah 10: “Woe unto you who legislate evil and rob the poor, making widows and orphans your prey.” The men also remind Ryan of Jeremiah 22, when God told him, “Do what is just and right. Rescue from the hand of the oppressor the one who has been robbed.”

They highlight Jesus’ questions from the gospel of Matthew: “When I was hungry, did you feed me? When I was thirsty, did you give me something to drink?” And the epistle of James is even clearer: “The wages you failed to pay the workers who mowed your fields are crying out against you.”

Indeed, Barber and Wilson-Hartgrove point to “over 2,000 verses in the Bible” demanding justice for the poor. And they note the long history of religious involvement in social justice movements.

“If preachers had stayed out of politics, we wouldn’t have had the abolition movement to end slavery and win the 13th, 14th and 15th amendments. We wouldn’t have women’s suffrage, civil rights protections, Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid.”

But today, Ryan and his Republican colleagues — who blocked an investigation into Conroy’s firing — have shunted that history to the side in favor of cruel partisanship.

“Speaker Ryan, who claims to champion religious liberty, has acted to silence the moral truth of Scripture,” the pastors declare. And if Conroy had to go, so too would “Moses and Isaiah, Deborah and Jesus, Frederick Douglass and Francis Perkins, Dorothy Day and Martin Luther King.”

But Ryan’s attempt to silence Conroy didn’t work on Barber and Wilson-Hartgrove, nor on their organizations.

“As preachers we cannot remain silent while those with political power try to silence the Word of God.”

It’s not the first time Ryan’s antagonism to the values he claims to uphold has been challenged by religious authorities. And the condemnation is well deserved, considering the dearth of compassionand empathy evident in his politics.

Perhaps in retirement, Ryan will have some time to review the Scripture that Barber and Wilson-Hartgrove put forth — since he seems to have forgotten it.

Trump’s Vote Suppressor Hit With Contempt, Legal Fees

Reprinted with permission from Shareblue.com

Trump’s voter suppression czar Kris Kobach just got hit with a double whammy in federal court. Republican U.S. District Judge Julie Robinson found the Kansas secretary of state in contempt of court for failing to comply with her 2016 preliminary injunction against his voter ID scheme.

And on top of that, she directed him to pay the ACLU’s legal fees stemming from the organization’s motion filing.

Kobach has worked for years to push burdensome ID requirements on voters. His scheme has led to more than 36,000 Kansans being shunted from the voter rolls, often without realizing it until they went to the polls.

The Kansas law implemented far stricter requirements for proof of citizenship than most states require. And voters were often not told that they were missing required documentation at the time of registering. They would show up at the polls, only to be told they were not on the rolls and could only vote with a provisional ballot.

Robinson had already reprimanded Kobach for “a number of procedural missteps” in the landmark voting rights case. In March, she slammed him for failing to properly comply with the injunction and to ensure that people knew they were eligible to vote. Kobach had assured her that the affected voters would receive the usual postcard letting them know where and when to cast their ballots.

But apparently, all he did was have his office give oral instructions to county clerks to send the postcards. He claimed he couldn’t force them to do so.

Robinson wasn’t having it. She handed down the contempt finding, citing Kobach’s “history of noncompliance and disrespect for the court’s decisions.”

And because the ACLU had been forced by his inaction to file the motion, Robinson also ordered Kobach to pay the group’s attorney fees.

Kobach’s behavior and his total disregard for the rule of law are atrocious. But they also make it clear why Trump wanted him on the so-called “Election Integrity Commission” with Mike Pence.

Both Kobach and Trump continue to chase the fever dream of rampant voter fraud. Kobach’s Interstate Crosscheck System erroneously purged millions from voter rolls in multiple states. And Trump, of course, still clings to his fantasy that “millions and millions” of people voted illegally in 2016.

Neither man let the fact that Trump was forced to dissolve the commission because states refused to go along with its nonsense sway them from their beliefs.

Indeed, Kobach likely won’t give up his voter suppression crusade even after the contempt finding and having to cut a check to the ACLU. But his efforts will continue to be beaten down by judges who see through his charade.

300,000 Americans Vow To Protest In Every State If Trump Fires Mueller

Reprinted with permission from Shareblue.com

Trump’s admiration for dictators may have led him to think he can get away with behaving like one. But his attacks on special counsel Robert Mueller are likely to backfire resoundingly.

Because if he tries to fire Mueller, Americans across all 50 states are vowing to protest.

After the FBI executed a raid on the office of Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen, Trump launched another unhinged rant. He called the raid “an attack on our country” and “a whole new level of unfairness.”

And when asked if he planned to fire Mueller, he responded cryptically with “We’ll see what happens.”

As CNN reports, “A source close to the White House warned that Mueller’s decision could push Trump in the direction of taking action against the special counsel’s office.”

It’s part of a pattern from Trump, even as he’s been warned by some in his own party that firing Mueller would be “the beginning of the end of his presidency.”

And in the latest sign of massive resistance to Trump — from the Women’s Marches to the March For Our Lives — thousands of Americans are ready to make that warning a reality.

300,000 people across the country have signed up to protest if Trump makes good on his apparent wish. Protests are planned at more than 800 locations in all 50 states.

Republican leaders have stubbornly refused to even accept the idea that Mueller needs to be protected from Trump’s recklessness. But Mueller’s aggressive new approach — and now the raid on Trump’s lawyer and hush-money man — has clearly gotten even further under Trump’s skin. His near-constant meltdowns seem directly tied to the progress of the investigations.

Trump cares little for the norms of the office he occupies. But that doesn’t mean the rest of the country has forgotten about them.

And hundreds of thousands of citizens are ready to give Trump a very loud reminder should he cross the line from bluster into dangerous action.

Major Donors Turning Away From GOP Over Guns

Reprinted with permission from Shareblue.com

Even in the wake of tragedy upon tragedy, Republicans have governed under the thumb of the NRA. But more funders are joining mega-donor Al Hoffman Jr. to demand action on gun safety. Consequently, the GOP may finally realize the need to make a change.

Days after the mass shooting at a high school in Florida, Hoffman made his stance clear to the party.

“I will not write another check unless they all support a ban on assault weapons,” Hoffman wrote to GOP leaders. “Enough is enough!”

Hoffman isn’t just a donor; he previously served as the National Finance Chairman for the Republican National Committee.

And he warned that he would “email every single donor I know in the Republican Party and try to get them on board.” Two days later, he reiterated that mission. “There’s a movement coming,” Hoffman declared.

And he has made good on that declaration.

Hoffman officially launched his group, Americans for Gun Safety Now, on Saturday. Notably, it was the same day massive crowds turned out for March for Our Lives across the country.

The group has 21 supporters, including Republican congressmen Carlos Curbelo and Brian Mast and former Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair. The list also includes many other major donors like Hoffman.

These supporters have given hundreds of thousands of dollars to Republican candidates this election cycle. And Hoffman plans to use this influence to lobby party leaders like House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

“The federal government better pass legislation … and get it done now, before November,” Hoffman told TIME Magazine. “If they don’t do this, my guess is that they will lose big in November.”

Because he isn’t letting inertia of some congressional Republicans stop him.

“We’re in deep limbo with a number of congressmen and Senators right now, but we’ve got to kick them in the butt and get it going on this,” Hoffman said. He added that he would “encourage [donors] not to give money to these candidates that will not endorse this plan.”

The massacre in Parkland was the 18th school shooting of the year at the time. And it’s the third-deadliest in modern U.S. history.

Yet even faced with those horrifying statistics, and the pleas of survivors, Republicans have largely remained unmoved.

Children begging for their lives ought to be enough for the GOP to join Americans in abandoning the NRA.

If Republicans are immune to such cries, perhaps rapidly emptying campaign bank accounts will ring loud and clear.

Teen Survivor To NRA-Owned GOP: ‘You Have Chosen Death. We Choose Life’

Reprinted with permission from Shareblue.com

17-year-old Alex Wind survived the mass shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. And at the March for Our Lives on Saturday, he drew a bright line between NRA-backed lawmakers and the students who escaped with their lives.

“You have chosen death,” Wind declared. “We choose life!”

Wind is a founding member of the #NeverAgain movement, front and center of student-led activism against gun violence. He started demanding action from the federal government the very day of the shooting at his school.

Now, over one month later, his call has only gotten stronger alongside thousands of other studentsacross the country.

“In the wake of the tragedy on February 14th, we as students, as youths, decided that if adults weren’t going to take action, we would,” Wind declared.

He noted years of intransigence in Washington on gun safety, even as mass shootings have occurred at a horrifying rate.

Wind noted that “people believe the youth of this country are insignificant.” But he pointed out that both history and the present prove that claim flat wrong.

“When Joan of Arc fought back English forces, she was 17 years old,” Wind reminded the crowd. Rather, he declared, teenagers “were the only people that could have made this movement possible.”

And he easily smacked down the absurd notion of arming teachers and school officials.

“If teachers start packing heat, are they gonna arm our pastors, ministers, and rabbis?” Wind asked. “Are they gonna arm the guy scanning tickets at the movie theater? Are they gonna arm the person wearing the Mickey Mouse costume at Disney?”

“This is what the National Rifle Association wants, and we will not stand for it!” he added. And he made it clear that much of the blame rests with the politicians in Congress that are backed by the NRA. While that used to be a more evenly-split group, it has now become starkly partisan.

“In raw numbers, the NRA gave to 115 Democratic House candidates in 1992, to 65 in 2010 and to only four in 2016,” CNN noted.

And for Wind and his fellow student activists, the whole issue comes down to one simple thing: “Life or death.”

“To all the politicans out there: If you take money from the NRA, you have chosen death! … If you do not stand with us by saying ‘We need to pass common sense gun legislation,’ you have chosen death! And none of the millions of people marching in this country today will stop until we see those against us out of office, because we choose life!”

Teenagers should not have the monumental task of fighting Congress and the NRA to save people’s lives on their shoulders.

But the GOP’s callous inertia has passed the buck on protecting citizens to some of the youngest among us. As a result, teens like Alex Wind have taken up the challenge like never before.

Come November, many of those NRA-owned Republicans may pay the price for their spineless dereliction of duty to the nation.

Trump Shames America With School Safety Cuts As Students Defiantly March

Reprinted with permission from Shareblue.com

Confronted by thousands of students demanding safer schools, Trump’s callous response was to announce cuts to school safety programs.

The omnibus spending bill Trump eventually signed on Friday cut funding for two safety initiatives implemented after the Sandy Hook massacre in 2012.

Both the Comprehensive School Safety Initiative (CSSI) and Research and Evaluation of Technologies to Improve School Safety have been canceled due to the funding cuts. A terse notice posted on the Department of Justice’s agency charged with administering the programs made the reason clear.

“With the enactment of the Consolidated Appropriations Act of 2018, the funding planned for these solicitations is no longer available for research and evaluation,” the message on the National Institute of Justice (NIJ) website read.

The NIJ noted that the funding would be “used for other purposes under the Stop School Violence Act of 2018.”

Unsurprisingly for this administration, that act’s title is a troubling misnomer.

It doesn’t even have any provisions related specifically to guns. Instead, it focuses on training students, teachers, and law enforcement to respond to mental health issues. And it provides funding for measures meant to “harden” schools, like metal detectors.

The Trump administration made the initial request to Congress for the funding cancelation on February 12. Two days later, a gunman killed 17 people at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, giving rise to this new student-led movement against gun violence.

But it did nothing to sway Trump and his DOJ from their dangerous plan. Nor did it keep the White House from issuing a hypocritical statement on the March for Our Lives. The administration claimed to “applaud” the students and insisted that “keeping our children safe is a top priority” for Trump.

Coming from an administration that thinks arming teachers is a great idea, this move to redirect funding from worthwhile programs to a tissue-thin replacement is par for the course.

But that doesn’t make it acceptable.

As David Hogg, who survived the Parkland shooting, put it bluntly, “We’re children. You guys are the adults. You need to take some action.”

But the Trump administration and the Republican-led Congress have shown their blatant unwillingness to commit to real action.

And the thousands of students taking to the streets to demand safety deserve more than this meager effort.

Only Three GOP Senators Speak Out Against Firing Mueller

Reprinted with permission from Shareblue.com

Trump unleashed his most unhinged and troubling attack yet on special counsel Robert Mueller this weekend. Yet the vast majority of Republican senators have nothing to say on the matter.

After the abrupt firing of FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe late Friday, Trump began digging himself in even deeper as far a potential obstruction case. His lawyer John Dowd explicitly connected McCabe’s firing to the Russia investigation — a statement Dowd tried to walk back.

On Saturday, Trump tweeted that “The Mueller probe should never have been started” — the first time he has mentioned Mueller by name on Twitter.

Then Sunday morning, he rattled off more tweets, lashing out at Mueller, McCabe, and former FBI Director James Comey.

“Why does the Mueller team have 13 hardened Democrats, some big Crooked Hillary supporters, and Zero Republicans?” Trump ranted. “Does anyone think this is fair?”

The increasingly rabid shots at Mueller’s credibility seem to indicate that Trump is getting closer to firing the special counsel. And that would be nothing short of a constitutional crisis.

But very few Republican senators have thus far shown the courage or the patriotism to stand up to Trump’s demagoguery.

In fact, as of Sunday afternoon, only Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Marco Rubio of Florida, and Jeff Flake of Arizona have done so.

CNN’s Jake Tapper asked Graham if he was “worried that the president is preparing to order the firing of Mueller.”

“If he tried to do that, that would be the beginning of the end of his presidency,” Graham replied.

Also on CNN, Flake noted that “all along, it was … once he goes after Mueller, then we will take action.”

“I think that people see that as a massive red line that can’t be crossed,” he continued. “And I would just hope that enough people would prevail on the president now: ‘Don’t go there.’”

And on NBC’s “Meet the Press,” Rubio flatly dissented from Trump’s undermining of the investigation. “I remain confident that the special counsel is going to conduct a probe that is fair and thorough and is going to arrive at the truth,” he declared.

Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul came close to taking a stand. But he only offered the weak response that he wouldn’t “advocate” for Mueller’s firing.

And thus out of 51 Republican senators, only 3 seem to evince any real concern that their president is ready to throw the Constitution out the window in order to save his own skin.

Their colleague in the House, Trey Gowdy, had this advice for Trump’s lawyer: “If you have an innocent client, act like it.”

And if the client acts as guilty as Trump has this weekend, that demands loud condemnation from everyone in government.

Yet 48 Republican senators have suddenly lost their voices.

Highest-Ranking Soldier In Congress Offers McCabe Pension-Saving Job

Reprinted with permission from Shareblue.com

The Trump administration fired FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe late Friday, two days before he was set to retire. That craven move put McCabe’s pension in jeopardy. But Minnesota Democratic Rep. Tim Walz quickly stepped up to protect it.

Saturday morning, Walz tweeted an offer to McCabe of a temporary — very temporary — job in his office.

Walz does indeed understand the value of leadership. He’s a retired Command Sergeant Major in the Army National Guard, a position he held when he was first sworn in to Congress in January 2007.

That made him the highest-ranking enlisted soldier ever to serve in Congress. He also serves as the Ranking Member on the Veterans’ Affairs Committee.

And Walz very clearly cares more about the lives and livelihoods of government officials like McCabe than Trump or his surrogates do.

Wisconsin Democratic Rep. Mark Pocan also made an offer of employment to McCabe, one he confirmed was serious. “My offer of employment to Mr. McCabe is a legitimate offer to work on election security,” Pocan noted in a statement.

Trump and his Republican allies targeted McCabe with a concentrated smear campaign. And Trump had even demanded to know how McCabe had voted in the 2016 election — something Democratic Sen. Richard Blumenthal called “powerful evidence of obstruction of justice” by Trump.

Even the facts surrounding McCabe’s planned resignation were in question. Attorney General Jeff Sessions had been pushing for McCabe’s firing for months beforehand. And FBI staffers reacted to the news of McCabe’s pending resignation with shock, wondering “what the hell is going on” at their agency.

Donald Trump Jr. appeared to confirm in February 2018 that McCabe’s planned resignation was no such thing by calling it a firing in a tweet.

But however the initial resignation actually came about, what happened Friday was a firing, plain and simple. And it was a callous decision to punish a dedicated FBI official for doing his job by attempting to keep him from receiving his earned pension.

But thanks to the generosity of people like Walz and Pocan, McCabe now has a way to get what his years of service have earned him. And Trump and Sessions can’t do anything about it.

No Republicans, Wife-Beating Isn’t ‘Complicated’

Reprinted with permission from Shareblue.com

The cognitive dissonance on display from the Trump administration regarding the domestic abuse scandals surrounding two now-former White House aides was bizarrely crystallized in one statement by Kentucky Republican Sen. Rand Paul.

Trump has gone out of his way to defend Rob Porter — despite photographic evidence of the violent abuse Porter inflicted on one of his ex-wives and testimony from another, as well as an ex-girlfriend — as well as former speechwriter David Sorensen.

Indeed, the White House has mostly seemed to go all in on supporting abusers and ignoring or demeaning their alleged victims. But that message didn’t seem to make it to Mike Pence’s desk, who insisted that “there is no tolerance in this White House” for domestic abuse.

Putting aside the obvious problem with that statement, it seems that the administration can’t figure out what message they want to send about domestic violence.

And neither can Rand Paul.

During an interview Sunday morning with CBS News chief White House correspondent Major Garrett, Paul offered a meandering and convoluted response to the question of how well the Trump administration has responded to the allegations.

Garrett asked Paul if Trump had been “served well” by his chief of staff John Kelly, whose statements regarding Porter have been widely condemned and who knew about Porter’s record for months.

Paul deflected the question by saying that he doesn’t know the “ins and outs” of personnel decisions, which he repeated when Garrett asked if the White House had clearly communicated that domestic violence should not be tolerated.

Garrett pressed further, asking Paul if he could “reconcile” the differing statements coming from the White House, and how he would respond if someone in Kentucky asked Paul to explain the administration’s position.

Paul made sure to declare that there is “absolutely no place for domestic violence in our world.” But his very next words undermined that purported belief.

“And then beyond that, I will say that there is complicated things, and somebody has to — I mean, if you’ve ever been to family court with ‘he said’ and ‘she said,’ and I’m not saying that I’m denying what these women are saying. I’m just saying that these things are very, very complicated. If you go to family court and you’re a family court judge, you talk about a very, very difficult job.”

Paul ended his rambling by insisting that he doesn’t “want anyone to believe I’m making excuses” for domestic violence.

If Paul doesn’t want anyone to think he’s “making excuses” for domestic abuse, perhaps he shouldn’t reference things like “he said, she said” and fret about how “complicated” it is to determine if giving your wife a black eye is a bad thing for which one should lose their government job.

It’s depressingly expected for Trump to be unwilling and unable to fully and unequivocally condemn abuse and violence against women.

But it is disturbing to hear such mealy-mouthed responses from other men, and for them to deem it appropriate to even spend a moment playing some kind of devil’s advocate on a subject like wife beating.

It’s actually not “complicated” at all — unless you’re a Republican in the Trump era.

 

Broken Promise: Trump Must Borrow 84 Percent More To Finance Debt

Donald Trump didn’t mention the national debt or budget deficits in his first State of the Union address, possibly because his own policies have left him with nothing good to say on the matter.

Thanks to lower tax receipts resulting from the tax scam pushed on the American people by Trump and the GOP, the administration is set to borrow nearly $1 trillion in fiscal year 2018, during Trump’s first full year in charge of the budget.

It was already clear just months into his presidency that such a promise was absurd and unachievable. Trump’s own budget director, Mick Mulvaney, refuted his boss’s absurd pledge in April 2017, telling CNBC that it was “safe to assume [it] was hyperbole.”

Indeed, his debt reduction plan was shown in September 2017 to potentially increase the debt by $5.3 trillion, and the tax scam is estimated to balloon the deficit by as much as $1.5 trillion.

That’s even before any money is allotted to crucial areas like infrastructure, disaster relief, or the military.

And recent history may already be about to repeat itself.

“Some of my Wall Street clients are starting to talk recession in 2019 because of these issues,” noted Peter Davis, a former tax economist in Congress.

“Fiscal policy is just out of control,” he added bluntly.

And as Marc Goldwein, senior policy director at Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget, put it plainly, “We’re addicted to debt.”

“Every time you feed your addiction, you grow your addiction,” he warned.

And despite Trump’s promises on the campaign trail, the self-proclaimed “king of debt” appears ready to do just that.

Alison R. Parker is a reproductive justice and LGBTQ rights activist; freelance writer. Follow her on Twitter @alisonrose711.

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