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

Trump’s Confession On Obamacare Bolsters Biden

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Trying to figure out what is going on in Donald Trump's head is truly an exercise in futility, and today it's just downright bonkers. Apparently Trump believes that sharing snippets of Leslie Stahl's attempt to interview him for 60 Minutes is going to show that ... she's mean and he's brilliant? Is there really no one in the White House who is willing to tell him when he has a really, really bad idea?

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Sen. Mike Lee -- Unmasked And Covid-Positive -- Turns Barrett Hearing Into 'Superspreader Event'

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

Utah Republican Sen. Mike Lee, who tested positive for coronavirus 10 days ago, and who infected Rep. Salud Carbajal (D-CA) last week, is participating in person in the Amy Coney Barrett confirmation hearings. Maskless.

He said that he's gotten a "sign-off" from the Office of the Attending Physician that he's no longer contagious. A reporter in the room noted that he took the mask off several minutes before he started speaking. He eventually put it back on after his statement, possibly realizing he was making this shambles of a process even more horrifying by potentially infecting everyone in the vicinity.

And here he is earlier in the hearing, breathing over his 87-year old colleague … with his nose out.


Sen. Mike Lee, left, with Sens. Chuck Grassley (seated) and Lindsey Graham

Trump And DeJoy Lose Again In Sweeping Decision By Federal Judge

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

A federal district judge in New York ruled Monday that the U.S. Postal Service has to treat election mail as a priority, another loss for Postmaster General Louis DeJoy in the courts. The judge, Victor Marrero, also ordered that overtime and extra deliveries had to be permitted by the USPS as election mail demands. This came in a suit brought by several candidates for office and New York voters against Donald Trump and DeJoy.

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How Many Republicans Would Oppose A Lame Duck Supreme Court Nominee?

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

Remarkably, Sen. Lisa Murkowski told Alaska Public Media on Friday afternoon that she would not confirm a new Supreme Court justice before next year's inauguration. "Fair is fair," she said speaking hypothetically before the announcement of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg's passing.

She was talking, of course, about the precedent Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell set for confirming justices before a presidential election when he refused to even consider President Barack Obama's nomination of Merrick Garland to replace Antonin Scalia. Scalia died a full nine months before that year's election. McConnell, pulling a Senate procedure out of his ass, said that the Senate could not possibly confirm a nominee before an election, and that the voters should be allowed to have their say on the direction of the court. And clearly, with McConnell being the destroyer of everything good in this world, he will push a nominee—in a total reversal of his previous doctrine.

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Federal Judge Orders DeJoy To Halt ‘Politically Motivated Attack’ On Postal Service

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

One of the suits brought by states attempting to prevent Postmaster General Louis DeJoy and Donald Trump from continuing sabotaging the agency's operation has resulted in an injunction. Judge Stanley A. Bastion, chief judge of the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Washington, has temporarily blocked DeJoy's operational changes from continuing.

Ruling from the bench directly after a two-and-a-half hour hearing Thursday, Bastion said that Trump and DeJoy are "involved in a politically motivated attack on the efficiency of the Postal Service" that could disrupt the 2020 election and that harm to the public "has already taken place" by DeJoy's operational changes. "The states have demonstrated that the defendants are involved in a politically motivated attack on the efficiency of the Postal Service. They have also demonstrated that this attack on the Postal Service is likely to irreparably harm the states' ability to administer the 2020 general election," he said.

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Suspicious Timeline Shows DeJoy’s Massive Donations Just Before Trump Made Him Postmaster

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

How did Louis DeJoy, the first Postmaster General to have never worked in the Postal Service to ever serve in the job, get that plum position? Could it have been, oh, I don't know, buying his way in? DeJoy donated more than $600,000 to the Trump campaign and to the Republican National Committee from the time the job opened up and getting the nod. Lisa Graves, executive director of True North Research, which investigates the influence of money on public policy, testified to Congress Monday detailing the depth of DeJoy's spending with the GOP.

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Georgia’s QAnon Candidate Posts Threat To Democratic Legislators On Facebook

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

Donald Trump's "future Republican star," QAnon adherent Marjorie Taylor Greene, who got a special invitation, posted a direct threat to sitting members of Congress on Facebook. She posted a photo of herself on Thursday, holding a rifle next to a composite picture of Reps. Rashida Tlaib, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, and Ilhan Omar captioned: "Squad's Worst Nightmare."

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Trump Deprives Congress Of Intelligence On Russian Election Interference

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

The squatter in the Oval Office, and all of the people intent on keeping him there, are at this point not even bothering to conceal that they will do literally anything to make that happen. That includes going back to the well of foreign interference -- and hog-tying Congress to keep the American public in the dark about it.

This chapter of the story starts in February, a lifetime ago when coronavirus was lurking in our side vision. Trump purged everyone in intelligence services working to hold Russia at bay by keeping Congress and the public informed on election interference. Trump's Office of the Director of National Intelligence has closed that circle now, CNN has learned, by announcing that it will not be holding in-person briefings with the House and Senate intelligence committees, but will instead provide information in writing.

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Pelosi Blasts DeJoy For Refusing To Restore Postal Service

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi spoke with Postmaster General Louis DeJoy on Wednesday, a conversation in which he "frankly admitted that he had no intention of replacing the sorting machines, blue mailboxes, and other key mail infrastructure," she said in a statement. She says she spoke with him to let him know that his announcement Tuesday that he was suspending certain policy changes that have crippled mail service "is not a solution and is misleading."

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Sen. Johnson Seeks To Upstage House Hearings On Postal Service

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos

Senate Republicans are getting in on the "protect the Postal Service" game, but their latest move definitely calls into question their intentions in doing so. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI) of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee has scheduled a hearing for Friday with Postmaster General Louis DeJoy before the House votes on the Postal Service on Saturday and grills DeJoy on Monday. What Johnson wants him to testify about, according to Washington Post sources, is the Postal Service's "vote-by-mail financial requirements."

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New DNC ‘Descent’ Ad Hits Trump’s ‘Four Years Of Failure’

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Say this for the impeached popular-vote losing, white supremacist, wanna-be dictator, grifting demagogue squatting in the Oval Office—he makes for good opposition ad fodder. Like this one produced by the Democratic National Committee for Joe Biden called Descent.

"Five years ago Donald Trump descended to the basement of Trump Tower," the narrator says over video of that gross golden escalator ride he took to announce his candidacy. "For the last five years," it continues, "he's brought America down with him." Then the ad launches into a litany of what Trump has managed to destroy in just three-and-a-half years: "attacking health care for people with preexisting conditions; giving massive tax cuts to billionaires, not working families; praising white supremacists, stoking racial division; losing 300,000 jobs in a failed trade war with China; locking children in cages."

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Watch: Biden Warns That Trump Will 'Try To Steal This Election'

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos.

Former Vice President Joe Biden is prepared both to win the presidency and for Donald Trump to refuse to accept the results of election. In a Wednesday interview with Biden on The Daily Show, host Trevor Noah asked whether Biden had considered what would happen if Trump refused to leave.

"Yes, I have," he quickly responded.

Biden is also concerned about his campaign being "moot," as Noah suggested, if voter suppression keeps Democratic voters out of the polls. "It's my greatest concern. My single greatest concern," Biden said. "This president is going to try to steal this election," he continued. "This is a guy who said that all mail-in ballots are fraudulent, voting by mail, while he sits behind the desk in the Oval Office and writes his mail-in ballot to vote in the primary." The Biden campaign is preparing for that, he said. "We're putting together a major initiative of lawyers to go out and make sure that we're in every single district in the country to patrol this."

That was Biden acknowledging the challenge Election Day is going to pose. The two discussed the debacle in Georgia on Tuesday in which voters in communities of color waited for hours and hours to vote in polling places that weren't prepared, with new machines and untrained and diminished staff because of the pandemic. The Trump campaign is promising to make Election Day even more fraught, recruiting tens of thousands of volunteers to serve as "poll watchers." Up until 2018, the Republican Party had been banned by federal courts from intervening in polling because they had been repeatedly—in 1982, 1986, 1990, and again in 2004—intimidating and interfering with would-be voters. With the Sen. McConnell and President Trump-appointed courts at the helm, they've been unleashed.

As for what happens when the vote is allowed to proceed and Trump is defeated, but refuses to leave, Biden says he's also thought about that. "Yes, I have, and I was so damn proud," he said, of the "four chiefs of staff coming out and ripping the skin off of Trump," apparently referring to the high-ranking former military officers who spoke out against Trump's militarized response to the Black Lives Matter protests. "And you have so many rank and file military personnel saying, 'Whoa. We're not a military state. This is not who we are,'" Biden continued. "I promise you, I am absolutely convinced they will escort him from the White House with great dispatch."

The fact that the current chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark Milley, has now said that he regrets having been a part of Trump's infamous protest photo op at St. John's Church in Lafayette Square suggests that Biden is probably right. Chances are Milley has heard from plenty of his current and former colleagues that, as he said: "My presence in that moment and in that environment created a perception of the military involved in domestic politics."


Enraged By Briefing On 2020 Russian Meddling, Trump Fired DNI

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

There’s a bit more clarity now to the story of the briefing to the House Intelligence Committee that may or may not have contributed to acting director of national intelligence Joseph Maguire’s departure from the Trump administration. According to The New York Times, the mysterious briefing that Republicans and impeached President Donald Trump so objected to was about Russia interfering in this election, the 2020 one.

Five people familiar with the matter told the Times that the Feb. 13 briefing included a warning to lawmakers that Russia was interfering to get Trump reelected, a “disclosure that angered Mr. Trump, who complained that Democrats would use it against him,” as opposed to using it to try to secure the election and prevent Russia from mucking about in it again. The Times reports that the next day, Trump “berated Joseph Maguire, the outgoing acting director of national intelligence, for allowing it to take place” and the fact that Rep. Adam Schiff, the committee chairman, was present to hear it was “a particular irritant.”

It’s not too much of stretch to figure out who filled Trump in on all the details of the briefing, as a committee official said that ” members of both parties attended, including Representative Devin Nunes of California, the top Republican on the committee” and that it was indeed about the “integrity of our upcoming elections.” In what’s really not good news for the upcoming election, the Times reports that “Some intelligence officials viewed the briefing as a tactical error, saying that had the official who delivered the conclusion spoken less pointedly or left it out, they would have avoided angering the Republicans.”

Not angering Republicans should not be the intelligence community’s concern at all. Not when they have credible information saying that this election is in jeopardy of Russian interference on behalf of the man who has already been impeached for trying to get another country to do the same.

Collins Mocked For Saying She ‘Wishes’ Senate Trial Had Called Witnesses

Reprinted with permission from DailyKos.

Congratulations, Sen. Susan Collins! You’ve become a national figure! Unfortunately for you, it’s as a laughingstock.

First she appeared in a Saturday Night Live skit and then in a Stephen Colbert monologue, in which he described her as “the senator who has most successfully talked herself into believing that she believes in something.”

Proving Colbert’s point, Collins went on WMTW, Portland’s ABC affiliate, to say she “did what I felt was right” in her votes in the impeachment trial of Donald Trump, and that this was an even more consequential vote than the one on putting Brett Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court because “removing a president from office” is “overturning an election and preventing the president from appearing in the ballot this fall.” About this fall, and if she’ll vote for Trump this time around? “You know, I’m not going to discuss presidential politics at a time like this.” A time like this being before the filing deadline for Maine’s primary. She already made her decision clear, however, in the only vote that really counts—on Trump’s impeachment.

She’s still trying to convince Mainers that she’ll vote to “curb the president’s powers.” She left out the part about needing to have Mitch McConnell’s permission to cast those votes. She also said that she would disapprove of retribution by Trump against anyone who testified. She will tell every reporter she can talk to that she is very concerned when Trump fires Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman from the National Security Council after he testified in House impeachment hearings, or when Attorney General Bill Barr starts investigating House Democratic leadership.

She told Maine reporters after a Friday meeting of the Maine Chiefs of Police Association that she wished there had been witnesses in the Senate trial, proving that her wishes are about as effective as her hopes.

Sen. Booker Ends Presidential Bid ‘With Full Heart’

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Sen. Cory Booker is leaving the 2020 presidential race. “It’s with a full heart that I share this news—I’m suspending my campaign for president,” he tweeted. “To my team, supporters, and everyone who gave me a shot—thank you. I am so proud of what we built, and I feel nothing but faith in what we can accomplish together.”

His announcement video is as classy and upbeat as his campaign was. “It is my faith in us, my faith in us together as a nation, that we share common pain and common problems that can only be solved with a common purpose and a sense of common cause,” he said. “So I recommit myself to the work. I can’t wait to get back on the campaign trail and campaign as hard as I can for whoever is the eventual nominee and for candidates up and down the ballot.”

“But for now,” he concludes, “I want to say thank you.”

His departure leaves one person of color on the ballot, the one with independent wealth, Andrew Yang. It remains populated with random white men including Sen. Michael Bennet (yeah, him, he’s still there) and the two who can keep spending their way onto the stage, Tom Steyer and Michael Bloomberg. That’s an issue this party is going to have to reckon with. But for now, let’s thank Sen. Cory Booker for bringing his enthusiasm, his integrity, and his heart to this race.

UPDATE Monday, Jan 13, 2020 · 10:47:45 AM Central Standard Time

Forgot that Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick is still “in” the race. For whatever that’s worth.

Sen. Collins Feeling Pressure From Anti-Trump Groups On Impeachment

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Sen. Susan Collins, Republican from Maine, is one of the targets of pressure from two new Republican groups opposed to Donald Trump, and it has her fretting. Republicans for the Rule of Law and the new Lincoln Project are both targeting so-called moderate Republicans and pressuring them to secure a fair trial of Trump in the Senate.

“Call Sen. Collins and tell her these witnesses must testify,” says a new ad from Republicans for the Rule of Law, which will be running in Maine on both Fox & Friends and Hannity. Jennifer Horn, a co-founder of the Lincoln Project, told the Portland Press Herald, “We will be watching very closely what Sen. Collins and everyone else does. […] Where she falls on impeachment will have a significant influence on—I don’t want to say target because I don’t like that word—but it will have an influence on whether she is on the list of Republican senators whose seats we’re looking at.”

Now that her close friend Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) has publicly criticized Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for telling the world that he has no intention of conducting a fair trial, Collins has to be feeling even more pressure. But that doesn’t mean she’s going to get off the fence or be taking any stand.

“My hope is that the Senate leaders will negotiate the rules for the trial, just as Republican Senator Trent Lott and Democratic Senator Tom Daschle did for the trial of President Clinton,” she said in a statement released Thursday. Because Collins’ “hopes” for her party doing the right thing always work out so well. “I take seriously the oath I will swear to render ‘impartial justice’ in the impeachment trial,” she said, before once again playing the victim. “Threats from both the left and the right will have zero influence on my decisions.” Right. As if she doesn’t have Trump’s endorsement, because she’s so independent. As if she didn’t secure an endorsement from former Gov. Paul LePage by promising she’d be as Trumpy as she needed to be.

Such a profile in courage she is, with her hopes and her sternly worded letters. She’s so courageous that she still hasn’t even thanked Donald Trump for his ringing endorsement of her.


Photo Credit: Gage Skidmore

Sen. Collins’ ‘Bipartisan’ Campaign Tainted By Trump Endorsement

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Well, this is going to furrow Sen. Susan Collins’ brow for the holiday!

That generated some fun headlines back home in Maine. Like this one: “Donald Trump backs reelection of Susan Collins,” with the subhead, “In a tweet Monday, President Donald Trump said he agrees 100% that Collins is needed to ensure Republicans keep control of the U.S. Senate next year.” Just a little bit inconvenient for her after she announced last week that she will be seeking reelection, touting her “bipartisan commonsense approach” in an email to supporters.

Right. Bipartisan.

So bipartisan that Trump BFF Lindsey Graham and Trump himself are talking about how essential she is to the “GOP majority.” Nothing screams “bipartisan” like that. It’s not doing Collins much of a favor as she tries to pull the wool over the eyes of Mainers for one last election. But sort of kudos to Graham and Trump for once again exposing her for the total fraud she is.