Thursday, September 10, 2015

Last Call For Climate Of Backbiting

I'm old enough to remember when the President was able to conduct foreign policy without the opposition party publicly telling foreign allies exactly how they will undermine that policy at every turn.  Of course, that was before the Age of Black Guy in the White House.

Top Republican lawmakers are planning a wide-ranging offensive — including outreach to foreign officials by Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's office — to undermine President Barack Obama's hopes of reaching an international climate change agreement that would cement his environmental legacy.

The GOP strategy, emerging after months of quiet discussions, includes sowing doubts about Obama's climate policies at home and abroad, trying to block key environmental regulations in Congress, and challenging the legitimacy of the president's attempts to craft a global agreement without submitting a treaty to the Senate.

A top policy aide to McConnell (R-Ky.) has had conversations with a select group of representatives from foreign embassies to make it clear that Republicans intend to fight Obama's climate agenda at every turn, sources familiar with the efforts say.

Sources say the aide, Neil Chatterjee, hasn't tried to persuade other countries to oppose a climate deal, though he is informing them about the GOP's options for undercutting it. He has had conversations with officials representing both developed and developing countries. Environment & Energy Publishing first reported on his efforts.

McConnell himself warned foreign leaders last spring to "proceed with caution before entering into a binding, unattainable deal” with Obama, noting that "two-thirds of the U.S. federal government" — Congress and the Supreme Court — hasn't signed off on the president's plans.
It's amazing stuff.  Aides to members of Congress actively and openly conducting foreign policy in opposition to the President. I can't really recall that happening before.

But then again, Obama.

Iran Out Of Orange Julius

John Boehner continues to be the most incompetent House Speaker in decades, as now the House vote on the Iran nuclear has completely collapsed because he can't control his own little monsters in the GOP caucus.

GOP leaders had to change course after hearing an earful from rank-and-file members during a morning conference meeting.

Members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus are demanding that the Obama administration send side deals between Iran and international nuclear inspectors to Congress as part of the Iran deal now under consideration. Opponents of the deal have argued that the clock on congressional consideration of the deal has not even begun until these side deals are submitted.

Under legislation approved earlier this year, Congress has 60 days to review the deal before the White House can begin lifting sanctions on Tehran, as required under the nuclear deal.

Rep. Peter Roskam (R-Ill.) has offered a resolution that would prevent a vote on the Iran deal until all of the documents of the international agreement — including the deals between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) are provided to Congress for review.

“We had a very healthy conversation with our members this morning. There is some interest in the idea offered by Mr. [Mike] Pompeo, Mr. Roskam. We're going to continue to have those conversations,” Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said after a GOP conference meeting.

I don't blame them.  Orange Julius really did sell them out, like he always does, and yet House Republicans continue to let him take the blame because none of the rest of them want the job.

Rep. John Fleming (R-La.) predicted that the procedural vote on the rule would fail if it were held Wednesday. But neither he nor other members of the House Freedom Caucus who believe Congress lacks all the information it needs to vote on the deal would commit to voting against the rule on the floor.

“If we take a vote prematurely, then we’re saying it doesn’t matter. And again, that’s another form of approval. Why do we want to approve anything here when it’s a bad deal and we don’t even know the worst part of it?” Fleming said.

Fleming suggested that allowing lawmakers to review the side agreements between Iran and the IAEA could even flip some Democrats to oppose the deal.

“Let’s say that something comes out that’s so hideous and so egregious that even Democrats wouldn’t dare go along with this deal,” Fleming said. “You don’t know what you don’t know. We didn’t know that the NSA was doing bulk collection of emails until we found about it.”

But other Republicans say it's too late to try to stall the vote when Congress's 60-day review period will close on Sept. 17.

“You know what, I think it’s pretty clear that a month and a half ago we understood that Sept. 17 would be the drop-dead date. And the week we’re doing it is a little bit late to bring up the argument,” said House Rules Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (R-Texas).

It's too late the change the rules of the game, kids. You lost, and there's no way out of this mess.  After the sixty days are up, Republican lose regardless.

And they know it.

Cincy Police Chief Blackwell Fired

It was inevitable that somebody's head had to roll after two Cincinnati police stories made national headlines this summer: first, the death of Officer Sonny Kim in the line of duty, and second, the death of Sam Dubose by a UC campus officer.  On Wednesday the hammer fell on Cincinnati Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell as he was blasted in a 35-page report by City Manager Harry Black in front of City Council and Mayor Cranley, and then summarily dismissed.

Cincinnati's city manager has fired Police Chief Jeffrey Blackwell. 
In a 35 page document, City Manager Harry Black cites "lack of sufficient and proper communication" and "consistent and pervasive disregard for chain of command." 
Morale in the department, Black wrote, "is at an unprecedented low level, and the general sentiment throughout the department is that Mr. Blackwell's leadership has created a work environment of hostility and retaliation."

Assistant Chief Eliot Isaac has been named Interim Chief. 
Documents included in the city’s release outline myriad problems with the chief and his leadership style. He is depicted as unprofessional, uncommunicative, and disrespectful to officers and other staff. There are repeated instances of the chief reportedly berating co-workers. 
In a statement, Captain Paul Broxterman says the chief asked him, on several occasions, to use his contacts with the Cincinnati Reds and Bengals to get free game tickets. 
Broxterman says the chief often made promises he wouldn’t fulfill. He adds the assistant chiefs were frequently frustrated over a lack of communication and direction from the chief. “They clearly felt powerless in the day-to-day operations of the department.” Broxterman does praise the chief for being passionate about community outreach, especially reaching out to the city’s youth. 
Now Interim Chief Eliot Isaac says rank and file officers repeatedly told him they felt unsupported by Chief Blackwell. 
Other complaints include the chief allegedly using profane language and harsh, berating language with co-workers, and taking 'selfies' along the funeral procession route for Officer Sonny Kim.

Blackwell got thrown under the bus by everyone in Cincy: his own officers, Mayor Cranley, the police unions and the press. Harry Black did praise Blackwell for his outreach program ti Cincinnati's black neighborhoods, but that was literally the only nice thing anyone's had to say about Chief Blackwell in months.

His days were numbered since Cranley was elected Mayor and Black appointed City Manager, but the deaths of Officer Kim and Sam Dubose were the final straws.  The Cincy FOP was going to give Blackwell a no confidence vote next week, and everyone couldn't wait to get rid of the guy.

Blackwell did have his supporters, most notably City Council members Chris Seelbach and Yvette Simpson, but that wasn't enough to save his job.  What's clear is that Blackwell was summarily fired because the police union and Cranley wanted him gone, and badly.

At City Hall, the former chief, Jeffrey Blackwell, told reporters he had not seen or read City Manager Harry Black's report. He said, Wednesday morning, he was "escorted out like a criminal."

"I've had the support of the White House, the attorney general, the national media, all the national think tanks, but I could never get the support off John Cranley or Harry Black and because I have never had their support, ever, I could never command the department the way it was supposed to be led."

Last week, Council Member Wendell Young, a former police officer, said he thought it was time for Blackwell to go. But, at Wednesday's council meeting, he said he did not like the way it was done, with no opportunity for Blackwell to respond.

"This has been bad theater here,'' Young said, directing his remarks to Cranley. "Mr. Mayor, you created this atmosphere; this is on you."

And you can't tell me that having an African-American police chief didn't have a role to play in why Blackwell never got the support he needed to run the department responsibly.  His job was to clean up the department that's had race issue for decades.

Instead, the CPD cleaned him out and trashed him.  This whole thing stinks, and there's more to it than Blackwell's behavior or going to Reds games.


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