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Sunday, July 30, 2017

Hypocrisy, vengeance, impeachment and indiscipline

Talk about hypocrisy!
Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach (R) continued to fight releasing documents from a meeting with President Donald Trump in November, saying that the public did not need to see them and that disclosing them would impede his ability to serve on Trump’s commission to investigate voter fraud.
The public release of the documents would be significant because Kobach is the de facto leader of the Presidential Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, a probe Trump convened in May to investigate election confidence. Trump and Kobach have promised a neutral investigation, but critics say the panel is an effort to substantiate Trump’s claims of widespread voter fraud and lay the groundwork for restrictive voting laws. Documents that show Kobach attempting to change federal law to impose more restrictive voting policies could substantially undermine the perception of impartiality.
This same commission demanded ridiculously detailed voter data from the states -- birth dates, party affiliation, SSNs, the works.

Team Trump demands privacy. You don't get any.

The delicious vengeance of John McCain. For a while, I was wondering: Why did John McCain, who has serious health issues, bother to go to DC? He dramatically showed up and voted to make the vote possible -- then he voted no. Wouldn't the end result have been the same if he had stayed home?

This DU post opened my eyes.
I'm not sure if it's really being appreciated just how comprehensively the Republicans were just fucked over.

See, the Republicans have been trying to pass these godawful healthcare bills through a process called budget reconciliation, which, among other things, protects the bill from being filibustered in the Senate and only requires a simple majority of 50 votes (rather than 60, which the Republicans don't have).

The thing is, the Senate can only consider one budget reconciliation bill per topic per year. Of course, if the bill dies in committee and never comes to an official vote, it doesn't count- which is why they've been able to keep hammering away at the issue.

This bill, though, was allowed to come to the Senate floor, because the Republicans thought they'd secured the votes. Collins, Murkowski and the Democrats would vote no, everyone else would vote yes, and Pence would break the tie. And then McCain completely fucked them. And it was almost certainly a calculated move; he voted to allow the bill to come to the floor. Had McCain allowed it to die in committee, McConnell could have come back with yet another repeal bill; but he let it come to a vote, and now they can't consider another budget reconciliation bill for the rest of the fiscal year. The Senate needs 60 votes to pass any kind of healthcare reform now.

So now they're caught between a rock and a hard place. Either they concede defeat on the issue and try again later (causing a big, unpopular stink that could damage elections if they try it before the midterms, or risking losing the slim majority they already have if they wait) or they actually sit down with the democrats like adults and write a halfway decent healthcare bill.
Remember when we all wrote off Donald Trump after he needlessly denigrated John McCain's war hero status? That otiose insult came from a rich guy who got a deferment based on a medical condition that seems to have disappeared the moment the danger of being drafted went away.

One can only imagine how John McCain simmered and seethed.

Vengeance is a dish best served with a knife -- in the back. I hope John McCain provides the final vote needed to remove Trump from office. Remember, two-thirds of the Senate must vote for removal. Normally, that percentage would seem impossibly high -- but now that Trump has decided to untether himself from the GOP, the impossible seems possible.

A lesson in class.
The NY Post -- hardly unfriendly territory for the Trumpers -- has revealed some sordid details about Anthony Scaramucci's divorce. Those details don't interest me. What interests me is this response from the Mooch:
Family does not need to be drawn into this. Soon we will learn who in the media has class and who doesn't. No further comments on this.
Lovely. A presidential spokesperson who refers to the Chief of Staff as a "fucking paranoiac" and who described Steve Bannon as a man who likes to "suck his own cock" has decided to lecture the world on the topic of class. As David Corn replied: "You do realize the man you love attacked a Gold Star family, don't you?"

Someone should sew Scaramucci's lips to his own anus, thereby turning him into a one-man bipedal human centipede.

Was that an un-classy thing to say? Oops. My bad. I apologize.

Is failure to fulfill the oath of office grounds for impeachment? Donald Trump has made it clear that he will let Obamacare "implode." Translation: He will intentionally sabotage it.

When Donald Trump took the oath, he said "I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States." The Constitution states that the President must execute the laws passed by Congress. The Affordable Care Act is the law. If Trump chooses to uphold some laws and to undermine others, he has broken his vow. You might say that he has committed a breach of contract.

Does such a breach constitute a high crime or misdemeanor?

Can Kelly create order? While reading this NYT piece on the fractures within the Trump White House -- and within the GOP -- I wondered: Can General John Kelly transform chaos into order? At first glance, he would seem to be just what the situation demands: A tough, gruff hard-ass Marine. The problem is that he needs to work with Donald Trump.

Marines like discipline. Trump is the Emperor of Indiscipline.

Unless Kelly is driven by an agenda that I don't yet know about, I suspect that there may come a point when the General decides that there is only so much shit he can take from a petulant, impulsive, egomaniacal tangerine man-boy with increasingly obvious mental health issues.

The Trump effect. This tweet from California House member Eric Swalwell is startling:
Was struck at mental health forum to hear of @realDonaldTrump effect in schools, making more bullies. "Remarkable how abrupt difference is."
The responses to that tweet are disturbing. Apparently, the Trump effect is a real thing happening right now in schoolyards.

We've become a nation of bloodthirsty fascist thugs, countered only by a convocation of creampuffs who demand trigger warnings. When did decency become a synonym for weakness? When did savagery become a synonym for manliness?

Yeats foresaw it all:

The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.
This post about McCain has been making the rounds, but I've heard it's not true. The vote was just an amendment to the House bill and not the final reconciliation bill. So the Senate can still try again. And, of course, the indications are that they will try again. Obamacare repeal is a zombie bill that will never die.
Does such a breach constitute a high crime or misdemeanor?

Alas, no. Breach of contract is a civil matter, IIRC, not a criminal one.

As has been discussed many times in many places, "high crimes and misdemeanors" does not depend on the criminal law. It is a political decision made by the requisite number of representatives and senators. Whatever enough of them consider heinous enough to merit removal from office works, and there is no appeal.
Aw, man, the Mooch is gone already! Our classy Pwesident did not approve of anybody one-upping his own salty language!!!

The Mooch seems to be unlucky in love.
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