Monday, April 23, 2018

Last Call For A Claire Winner In Greitens's War

As embattled Missouri GOP Gov. Eric Greitens refuses to resign as Governor, blaming the liberal media for his problems despite felony sexual assault charges for essentially kidnapping his mistress and felony computer tampering charges for stealing his veterans' charity donor list for his own campaign's use, state GOP AG Josh Hawley has his hands full fighting calls for his own resignation for breaking Reagan's 11th Commandment.  The bigger problem for Hawley is that furious Republicans are turning on each other as his race to replace Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill is heating up.

Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill is up for reelection. And, like clockwork, the Republican Party of Missouri is in complete turmoil again. 
McCaskill won a second term term in 2012 when GOP Rep. Todd Akin’s campaign imploded in the wake of his comments about “legitimate rape.” Now, Republicans worry GOP Gov. Eric Greitens’ mounting scandals will inundate McCaskill’s likely Republican opponent, state Attorney General Josh Hawley, and bestow another term on one of the most endangered incumbent senators in the country.

Greitens was indicted in February for allegedly taking a nonconsensual nude photograph of a former lover, and the woman testified under oath that Greitens had a forced sexual encounter with her. As if that weren’t bad enough for the GOP, Greitens is refusing to step down, thrusting two of the most prominent Republican elected officials in the state into open warfare. 
Hawley demanded that Greitens resign and triggered a new investigation into the governor’s fundraising, resulting in a second indictment last week. Greitens has fired back by seeking a restraining order against the attorney general, saying that Hawley’s call for resignation meant he could not conduct an impartial investigation of the governor. 
The scandals are damaging the GOP at the most critical interval of its six-year wait to unseat McCaskill. 
"[Greitens] is jeopardizing the whole Republican Party of Missouri," said Rob Jesmer, a top Republican consultant who was executive director of the National Republican Senatorial Committee when Akin made his infamous comments about rape and abortion during McCaskill’s last campaign.

It's funny here that the victim is the Missouri GOP and not, you know, the woman Grietens allegedly assaulted or the donor list to the vets' charity the Greitens founded whose data Greitens allegedly stole.  We're supposed to feel sorry for the Republicans because they are losing the opportunity to beat Claire McCaskill.

There's an easy solution if the problem is Greitens: impeach and remove him from office.  Republicans control nearly three-quarters of both the state House and Senate and could basically get rid of him without a Democratic vote, not that the Democrats aren't eager to get rid of the guy.

But Missouri Republicans are dragging their feet on impeachment and want to wait until the legislature's investigation is complete despite the felony charges from Hawley's office.  That could mean that the legislature would have to call a special session themselves (not like Greitens will do it) to impeach, and for that they would need some Democratic votes.  Democrats aren't committing to that because there's not a reason to delay the process until after the current legislative session.

Frankly, I hope the Missouri GOP keeps up with the self-inflicted wounds.  Some of the state's biggest GOP donors do want Greitens gone, but others are making it clear that moving against Greitens will close their checkbooks, and Hawley's senate campaign funding is their leverage.  Pulling the plug on Hawley's war chest, or at least not filling it, is a real possible result from this mess.  Meanwhile, Senate Dems are flush with cash.

And the winner?  Justice, of course.  Claire McCaskill having a much easier time in November is a bonus, but the reality is that Greitens needs to be punished for his crimes regardless of the election result in Missouri.

Trump Cards, Con't

I've long said that Trump's ego and fixation on petty revenge against slights both real and perceived drives every action he does.  Chief among his actions is moving to punish the Obama voting coalition in order to tear it apart, specifically moving against the black, Hispanic, and Asian communities.

But there's another group that is often overlooked in this coalition, Native Americans, who overwhelmingly voted Democratic and for Obama in 2012 and 2016.  It's no surprise that Trump is now choosing to go after them as well.

The Trump administration says Native Americans might need to get a job if they want to keep their health care — a policy that tribal leaders say will threaten access to care and reverse centuries-old protections. 
Tribal leaders want an exemption from new Medicaid work rules being introduced in several states, and they say there are precedents for health care exceptions. Native Americans don’t have to pay penalties for not having health coverage under Obamacare’s individual mandate, for instance.

But the Trump administration contends the tribes are a race rather than separate governments, and exempting them from Medicaid work rules — which have been approved in three states and are being sought by at least 10 others — would be illegal preferential treatment. “HHS believes that such an exemption would raise constitutional and federal civil rights law concerns,” according to a review by administration lawyers
The Health and Human Services Department confirmed it rebuffed the tribes’ request on the Medicaid rules several times. Seema Verma, administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, conveyed the decision in January, and officials communicated it most recently at a meeting with the tribes this month. HHS’ ruling was driven by political appointees in the general counsel and civil rights offices, say three individuals with knowledge of the decision. 
Senior HHS officials “have made it clear that HHS is open to considering other suggestions that tribes may have with respect to Medicaid community engagement demonstration projects,” spokeswoman Caitlin Oakley said, using the administration’s term for work requirements that can also be fulfilled with job training, education and similar activities. 
The tribes insist that any claim of “racial preference” is moot because they’re constitutionally protected as separate governments, dating back to treaties hammered out by President George Washington and reaffirmed in recent decades under Republican and Democratic presidents alike, including the Clinton, George W. Bush and Obama administrations. 
“The United States has a legal responsibility to provide health care to Native Americans,” said Mary Smith, who was acting head of the Indian Health Service during the Obama administration and is a member of the Cherokee Nation. “It’s the largest prepaid health system in the world — they’ve paid through land and massacres — and now you’re going to take away health care and add a work requirement?”

Trump won't stop at that.  If the regime's position is that tribes have no separate governmental authority, then that destroys centuries' worth of legal protections, something Republicans have long wanted to accomplish.

It looks like Trump is moving to make that happen, as if the federal government of this country hadn't already caused tribes enough grief and sorrow.

The Bernie Sanders Show

Don't look now, but while people in both parties seem to be too busy screaming at Hillary Clinton to just go away and die or something because nobody likes a political loser while simultaneously running against her in November, it seems that political loser Bernie Sanders is getting accolades for pulling a Trump TV.

The Vermont senator, who’s been comparing corporate television programming to drugs and accusing it of creating a “nation of morons” since at least 1979 — and musing to friends about creating an alternative news outlet for at least as long — has spent the last year and a half building something close to a small network out of his office in the Dirksen Senate Office Building on Capitol Hill.

He understands, but resents, the comparison to the man who’s described the news media as the “enemy of the people.” His take is different, and he has his own plans. “[Am I concerned] that people might see me and Trump saying the same thing? Yes, I am,” Sanders conceded, leaning back in a leather chair in a conference room in his office on a recent Tuesday, as footage of Mark Zuckerberg’s testimony one building over played on TVs throughout his office. Wearing his standard uniform — long tie, jacket in need of a few swipes with a lint roller — he launched into the critique now familiar to anyone who’s watched one of his rallies. “My point of view is a very, very different one. My point of view is the corporate media, by definition, is owned by large multinational corporations: their bottom line is to make as much money as they can. They are part of the Establishment. There are issues, there are conflicts of interest in terms of fossil fuel advertising — how they have been very, very weak, in terms of climate change.” Needless to say, the content he produces is not sponsored by advertisers.

Sanders hosts an interview show (“The Bernie Sanders Show”) that he started streaming over Facebook Live on a semi-regular basis after his staff got the idea in February of 2017 to film the senator chatting with the activist Rev. Dr. William Barber. After they posted that simple clip and it earned hundreds of thousands of views with no promotion, they experimented with more seriously producing Sanders’s conversation days later with Bill Nye.

The chat with the Science Guy ended up with 4.5 million views. Sensing an opportunity, the next day Sanders’s aides turned down multiple network TV requests and took his response to Trump’s first address to Congress directly to his Facebook page.

Things escalated. Audio recordings of his conversations, repackaged as a podcast, have since occasionally reached near the top of iTunes’ list of popular programs. Sanders’s press staff — three aides, including Armand Aviram, a former producer at NowThis News, and three paid interns — published 550 original short, policy-focused videos on Facebook and Twitter in 2017 alone. And, this year, he has begun experimenting with streaming town-hall-style programs on Facebook. Each of those live events has outdrawn CNN on the night it aired.

“The idea that we can do a town meeting which would get a significantly larger viewing audience than CNN at that time is something I would not have dreamed of in a million years, a few years ago,” Sanders says.

The result is a growing venue for Sanders’s legions of backers, and other curious progressives, to take in tightly curated lefty takes on policy news — one that, increasingly, competes directly with more traditional news outlets for eyeballs. There’s little room for minute-by-minute analysis of White House drama or Robert Mueller’s probe — and no panels full of opining “strategists” — but also little room for dissent
. The scale is unmatched by any other politician, inviting obvious questions about whether Sanders plans to pivot it into a massive primary campaign-mobilization machine come 2020. But the mainstream media criticism implicit in the venture also invites obvious comparisons — if equally stark contrasts — to the man crying “Fake news” at the other end of Pennsylvania Avenue.

It's weird how Sanders is not only allowed to do this but encouraged to do it, something that if Hillary Clinton had tried would be trashed by approximately 90% of America as "fascist propaganda" and "hate speech" by 60% of America.  If Hillary went online to do this, we'd have GOP legislation regulating political speech on the internet by the end of the month.

And yes, there's the problem where Sanders freely admits that American media should be viewed as the untrustworthy enemy "establishment" and bypassed completely in favor of Sanders getting his "direct message" out to the people. 

There's a fair number of people who want to hear Bernie's message, but it seems that on the Left, only he's allowed to have a message.  Everyone in the Democratic party is already automatically suspect, and that's his real message.  You can't trust the party, you can't trust the media, you can only trust me.

That's also Donald Trump's current message.

I do not care for it.


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