Saturday, February 11, 2017

Meanwhile In Congress

As I keep saying, Trump's not going anywhere until Republicans in Congress decide he's outlived his usefulness as a lightning rod for all the draconian cuts they plan.  Maybe they'll get rid of him at some point, but not until he signs everything the GOP in Congress have been waiting decades to get.

A House Republican is sponsoring legislation to do away with large portions of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), including environmental justice and greenhouse gas programs. 
Rep. Sam Johnson (R-Texas) introduced the Wasteful EPA Programs Elimination Act on Thursday, saying it would save $7.5 billion annually. That would leave the agency with a budget of less than $1 billion. 
Major EPA climate change programs would be eliminated under the measure.

The legislation would also close all of the EPA’s regional offices, halt new regulations on ground-level ozone pollution and require the agency to lease unused property. 
“As a fiscal conservative, I believe Washington should be a good steward of taxpayers’ dollars,” Johnson said in a statement. 
“Part of being a good steward includes reining in unnecessary spending, holding agencies accountable for ‘waste,’ and getting rid of politicians’ ‘pet projects.’ For example, American taxpayers shouldn’t have to pay for the EPA’s many vacant and underutilized properties that the EPA’s own Inspector General identified as wasteful,” he said.

Of course this has nothing to do with money, not when the Trump regime plans trillions in tax cuts for the wealthy that will explode the national debt.  But cutting the EPA by 90%?  That's a victory for GOP corporate greed that will pay off a hundredfold in donations down the road, and they know it.

Panic Mode On The Right

Expect to see a lot more of this as the reality of the Trump regime kicks in: WaPo conservative columnist Kathleen Parker is pretty confident at this point of her prediction of total victory in 2018 -- for the Democrats.

Good news: In two years, we’ll have a new president. Bad news: If we make it that long.

My “good” prediction is based on the Law of the Pendulum. Enough Americans, including most independent voters, will be so ready to shed Donald Trump and his little shop of horrors that the 2018 midterm elections are all but certain to be a landslide — no, make that a mudslide — sweep of the House and Senate. If Republicans took both houses in a groundswell of the people’s rejection of Obamacare, Democrats will take them back in a tsunami of protest.

Once ensconced, it would take a Democratic majority approximately 30 seconds to begin impeachment proceedings selecting from an accumulating pile of lies, overreach and just plain sloppiness. That is, assuming Trump hasn’t already been shown the exit.

Or that he hasn’t declared martial law (all those anarchists, you know) and effectively silenced dissent. We’re already well on our way to the latter via Trump’s incessant attacks on the media — “among the most dishonest human beings on Earth” — and press secretary Sean Spicer’s rabid-chihuahua, daily press briefings. (Note to Sean: Whatever he’s promised you, it’s not worth becoming Melissa McCarthy’s punching bag. But really, don’t stop.)

With luck, and Cabinet-level courage that is not much in evidence, there’s a chance we won’t have to wait two long years, during which, let’s face it, anything could happen. In anticipation of circumstances warranting a speedier presidential replacement, wiser minds added Section 4 to the 25th Amendment, which removes the president if a majority of the Cabinet and the vice president think it necessary, i.e., if the president is injured or falls too ill to serve. Or, by extension, by being so incompetent — or not-quite-right — that he or she poses a threat to the nation and must be removed immediately and replaced by the vice president.

Aren’t we there, yet? 

Of course this is the woman who three months ago wrote this tripe that America would be "fine no matter who wins" so at this point I question her punditry, to put it mildly.

In all seriousness however, Parker's scenario is a dangerous and stupid fantasy.  Trump isn't going anywhere and the odds of the Dems winning back the Senate, let alone the House are next to zero. 

For the Senate, the Dems would have to defend all ten seats in Trump states, and pick off Dean Heller in Nevada and Jeff Flake in Arizona. And then, on top of all that, they would still have to win a blood red Senate seat to get to 51, where their best chance would be Utah.

In the House, the Dems would need something like a +10 or +12 generic congressional ballot to overcome massive GOP gerrymandering to win it back.

Yeah, anything's possible in a midterm, where the President's party usually loses a bunch of seats.  But the last two midterms were complete disasters for the Dems, and the turnout vastly favors the GOP.

Now if Trump tanks the economy by then, yes, this is a possibility. But the 25th Amendment solution is a farce.  What's far more likely to happen is that Trump gets us into a war, and the GOP's crackdown on civil liberties, voting rights, and the free press goes into full effect.

We're in for dark days ahead, and childish fantasies of us easily disposing of Trump must be put aside.  It's going to take sweat, work and most likely a lot of blood to free America from this regime.

New tag, as we need to get started: 2018 Elections.

Russian To Judgment, Con't

And the Flynn/Russia traitor story continues to grow, as CNN is now reporting from its sources that the "Trump dossier" details on conversations by the Trump team with foreign nationals is now being taken far more seriously by the FBI.

For the first time, US investigators say they have corroborated some of the communications detailed in a 35-page dossier compiled by a former British intelligence agent, multiple current and former US law enforcement and intelligence officials tell CNN. As CNN first reported, then-President-elect Donald Trump and President Barack Obama were briefed on the existence of the dossier prior to Trump's inauguration. 
None of the newly learned information relates to the salacious allegations in the dossier. Rather it relates to conversations between foreign nationals. The dossier details about a dozen conversations between senior Russian officials and other Russian individuals. 
Sources would not confirm which specific conversations were intercepted or the content of those discussions due to the classified nature of US intelligence collection programs.
But the intercepts do confirm that some of the conversations described in the dossier took place between the same individuals on the same days and from the same locations as detailed in the dossier, according to the officials. CNN has not confirmed whether any content relates to then-candidate Trump. 
The corroboration, based on intercepted communications, has given US intelligence and law enforcement "greater confidence" in the credibility of some aspects of the dossier as they continue to actively investigate its contents, these sources say.

In other words, the meat of the dossier is looking more and more true.  Russian nationals were talking about being in contact with the Trump team multiple times, and the bigger realization here is that it wasn't just Mike Flynn doing the talking. The regime's reaction?

Reached for comment this afternoon, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said, "We continue to be disgusted by CNN's fake news reporting." 
Spicer later called back and said, "This is more fake news. It is about time CNN focused on the success the President has had bringing back jobs, protecting the nation, and strengthening relationships with Japan and other nations. The President won the election because of his vision and message for the nation." 
Spokespeople for the FBI, Department of Justice, CIA and Office of the Director of National Intelligence declined to comment.
US intelligence officials emphasize the conversations were solely between foreign nationals, including those in or tied to the Russian government, intercepted during routine intelligence gathering. 

"It's fake news, shut up" isn't the measured reaction of an innocent group here, guys.

Now, normally this kind of stuff would be classified and wouldn't see the light of day.  It's the NSA's job to record conversations between foreign nationals, because NSA.  But this is the US Intelligence Community basically admitting that "We've got these guys on tape talking about what they did and it backs up what this dossier says."

As much as the Trump regime and Putin want to make this story go away (and the Russians today are now offering up Edward Snowden as a prize to make sure it does) I'm thinking there's real, real damage here.

An NBC News report citing U.S. intelligence sources says Russia may consider handing over Edward Snowden, the National Security Agency contractor turned whistle-blower, to the United States as a favor to President Trump.

NBC News, the only major news outlet to report the development at this point, wrote that "highly sensitive intelligence reports detailing Russian deliberations" suggest Russia is mulling over sending Snowden back to the U.S. as a favor to Trump. NBC News reported it is one of several tactics Russia could use to cozy up to the president.

Snowden called the report "irrefutable evidence" that he wasn't colluding with Russians, despite allegations from U.S. House members.

The Russians are offering up Eddie boy to the IC to make this go away.  That's a very valuable card to play.

Stay tuned.

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