Wednesday, November 21, 2018

Last Call For If You Come At The Queen, You Best Not Miss,Con't

Anyone who actually thought Nancy Pelosi wasn't going to be Speaker of the House after Election Day is a fool who shouldn't be trusted, because she's smarter than all of the pundits put together.

Rep. Brian Higgins of Buffalo got what he really wanted, and so did Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi of California.

Higgins got his two legislative priorities at the top of the Democratic agenda when the party takes control of the House next month. And Pelosi got Higgins' support for what increasingly looks like her inevitable return to the House speakership.

After saying for months that he would not back Pelosi's leadership bid in the next Congress, Higgins reversed course Wednesday, all because she agreed to prioritize Higgins' top two issues: a big infrastructure bill and a measure to open Medicare to people over age 50.

"I have an agreement in principle with the Democratic leader that those are going to be two priorities, and that I will be the lead person on the Medicare buy-in," Higgins said in an interview with The Buffalo News where he announced his turnabout.

Higgins elaborated on his thinking in a statement released later Wednesday.

“Some will ask why I have changed my position," he said. "The answer is simple: I took a principled stand on issues of vital importance not only to my constituents in Western New York but also to more than 300 million Americans whose lives can be improved by progress in these areas. A principled stand, however, often requires a pragmatic outlook in order to meet with success."

Higgins' move comes five months after he first announced that he would not back Pelosi, 78, for the top Democratic position in the next House. Calling her "aloof, frenetic and misguided," Higgins said at the time that his problems with Pelosi stemmed from the fact that she was not pushing infrastructure investment and his Medicare bill as aggressively as he would have liked.

But in a statement, Pelosi indicated she will be happy to do that in the next Congress.

“For years, Congressman Higgins has been an extraordinary leader on the issue of achieving quality, affordable health care for all Americans," she said. “His Medicare buy-in proposal is an central to this debate, as we work to build on the Affordable Care Act."

In other words, the "Stop Pelosi" ploy only worked as long as the anti-Pelosi crew maintained enough votes to block Pelosi from getting to 218.  Whoever the first Democrat to come to Pelosi to break that blockade was going to get paid.  Marcia Fudge of Ohio rolled up as the first contestant and got what she wanted, to be chair of a restored Elections subcommittee.  Higgins is getting what he wanted and looks like a hero to upstate New York for getting it.  He's the one who made Pelosi fold, you see.

Both of them got what they wanted.

The other anti-Pelosi Dems, well...they got nothing and they will continue to get nothing in the future.

It happens when you come for the queen and miss.

Meat The Press, Con't

Donald Trump goes all in on backing the Saudi murder of a US reporter, because oil is more important than anything.

President Donald Trump vowed on Tuesday to remain a “steadfast partner” of Saudi Arabia despite saying that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman may have known about the plan to murder dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi last month.

Defying intense pressure from U.S. lawmakers to impose tougher sanctions on Saudi Arabia, Trump also said he would not cancel military contracts with the kingdom. He said it would be a “foolish” move that would only benefit Russia and China, competitors of the United States in the arms market.

Trump said U.S. intelligence agencies were still studying the evidence around Khashoggi’s killing inside the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2 and who planned it. Since the murder, Trump has taken varying positions on how to react, including possible sanctions.

But on Tuesday, Trump stressed Saudi Arabia’s weapons purchases and its role in keeping world oil prices low as influencing his decision.

“It’s all about, for me, very simple. It’s America first,” Trump said, adding: “I’m not going to destroy the world economy and I’m not going to destroy the economy for our country by being foolish with Saudi Arabia.”

Speaking at the White House to reporters before departing for Florida, Trump said of the possibility that the Saudi crown prince had a hand in the murder: “Maybe he did, maybe he didn’t” and argued that the CIA had not made a definitive determination.

His comments contradicted the CIA, which believes Khashoggi’s death was ordered directly by the crown prince, Saudi Arabia’s de facto ruler widely known by his initials MbS.

Trump was accused by Democratic lawmakers of undermining his own intelligence agencies and failing to confront Saudi Arabia over a human rights atrocity.

To recap, holding Saudi Arabia responsible for killing a US resident will never happen, because it might hurt the global economy.  Saudi Arabia apparently is the most powerful economy on Earth and could destroy America and the world at any time.  Also, if you're an autocrat, feel free to kill American citizens because we won't lift a finger.

And America slides ever closer to authoritarian rule, complete with state media defending Dear Leader.

Sean Hannity tonight defended President Donald Trump at length over his statement on Saudi Arabia even as he repeatedly emphasized that the murder of Jamal Khashoggi was “evil.”

Hannity made it clear he has little doubt that the crown prince ordered it before claiming “there’s nobody that’s been tougher on Saudi Arabia” than him.

“I’ve been their loudest critic, for good reason,” he continued, noting Saudi human rights abuses and how women have been treated in Saudi Arabia.

But then he went on to say that the world “is an ugly, dangerous, complicated place” and that “as evil as this kingdom is––as I have said over the years––the President is right.”

He said that America has always had to make “difficult strategic decisions” and deal with “evil international partners.” Hannity brought up Saudi Arabia’s role in the alliance against Iran and argued, “If the mullahs that chant ‘death to America, death to Israel’ want to wipe Israel off the map, if they ever get nuclear weapons, millions and millions of people can die. So we have to make a strategic decision. We can’t take that risk.”

"Iran will nuke us if we dare defy the regime that's killing US residents!" is an odd position, but here we are.  It's too complicated for you, citizen, only Dear Leader has all the information, so stop worrying about it.  Please ignore the Saudi payments to the US.

All hail Trump.

That Whole Saturday Night Massacre Thing, Con't

It's not longer a question of "if" Donald Trump will order the Justice Department to go after his enemies, but when Acting AG Matt Whitaker will do it.

President Trump told the White House counsel in the spring that he wanted to order the Justice Department to prosecute two of his political adversaries: his 2016 challenger, Hillary Clinton, and the former F.B.I. director James B. Comey, according to two people familiar with the conversation.

The lawyer, Donald F. McGahn II, rebuffed the president, saying that he had no authority to order a prosecution. Mr. McGahn said that while he could request an investigation, that too could prompt accusations of abuse of power. To underscore his point, Mr. McGahn had White House lawyers write a memo for Mr. Trump warning that if he asked law enforcement to investigate his rivals, he could face a range of consequences, including possible impeachment.

The encounter was one of the most blatant examples yet of how Mr. Trump views the typically independent Justice Department as a tool to be wielded against his political enemies. It took on additional significance in recent weeks when Mr. McGahn left the White House and Mr. Trump appointed a relatively inexperienced political loyalist, Matthew G. Whitaker, as the acting attorney general.

It is unclear whether Mr. Trump read Mr. McGahn’s memo or whether he pursued the prosecutions further. But the president has continued to privately discuss the matter, including the possible appointment of a second special counsel to investigate both Mrs. Clinton and Mr. Comey, according to two people who have spoken to Mr. Trump about the issue. He has also repeatedly expressed disappointment in the F.B.I. director, Christopher A. Wray, for failing to more aggressively investigate Mrs. Clinton, calling him weak, one of the people said.

A White House spokesman declined to comment. A spokeswoman for the F.B.I. declined to comment on the president’s criticism of Mr. Wray, whom he appointed last year after firing Mr. Comey.

“Mr. McGahn will not comment on his legal advice to the president,” said Mr. McGahn’s lawyer, William A. Burck. “Like any client, the president is entitled to confidentiality. Mr. McGahn would point out, though, that the president never, to his knowledge, ordered that anyone prosecute Hillary Clinton or James Comey.”

But McGahn and Jeff Sessions are no longer there to tell him no, are they?

The closer Mueller gets to his indictments, the closer Trump comes to ordering the DoJ to start going after his enemies.  Again, who will stop him?  Mitch McConnell?  Lindsey Graham?  Please.

It's only a matter of time.


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