Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Last Call For Goodbye Poppy

Former Presidents, Vice Presidents, First Ladies, lawmakers, and dignitaries both foreign and domestic assembled at the National Cathedral for the funeral of George H.W. Bush on Wednesday.  It was a somber affair, certainly worthy of the funerals of America's great leaders, and then an orange elephant showed up and managed to basically ruin everything.

Fox News anchor Chris Wallace said he was "struck" by the reception of President Trump and first lady Melania Trump upon their arrival at the funeral for George H.W. Bush on Wednesday, saying "a chill had descended" on the front row that included the Clintons, Obamas and Carters.

“I have to say I was struck when President Trump and Melania Trump came to the front row, that it was as if a chill had descended on that front row," Wallace said on Fox's "America's Newsroom" during live coverage of the Bush state funeral at Washington National Cathedral.

"You had seen a lot of chatty talk between the Clintons and the Obamas, the Carters. But when Donald Trump sat down, the greeting that he was given by Barack Obama and Michelle Obama was about as cool as it could have been.”

Trump and the first lady greeted the Obamas and shook hands when sitting down next to them in the front row of the service for Bush, who passed away last Friday at the age of 94. There was no greeting between the Trumps and Clintons, who sat farther down the row.

Hillary Clinton, Trump's rival during the 2016 presidential election, turned when Melania Trump entered the area but did not appear to turn to acknowledge President Trump's arrival. Her husband, former President Clinton, and former President Carter turned their direction when Trump greeted the Obamas.

Trump managed to not soil himself in front of the planet, although it was close.

Dubya said some nice stuff about his dad and then everyone avoided Donald Trump like a family reunion with the drunk racist uncle that just got out of Scientology. 

But in the end, a bunch of men whose decisions helped millions of lives, ruined millions of lives, and took millions of lives over the last 40 years all got together to bury one of their own.

That was really about it.  The rest of us press on, one day at a time.

Sore Losers, Inc. Con't

Democrats won big victories in Wisconsin and Michigan, ousting two of the worst GOP governors in the nation with Scott Walker and Rick Snyder, men who have caused countless damage to millions of working-class folk and done everything they could to hurt people of color in cities like Detroit and Milwaukee, Flint and Madison.  Voters in November also approved a number of measures to help the state's most vulnerable.

Now Republicans, in unprecedented and awful lame duck midnight sessions, have passed bills that would scrap all that and as with North Carolina in 2016, strip much of the power over elections, legal challenges, and regulations from the governors and attorneys general in both states by giving the massively gerrymandered Republican state legislatures a final veto over day-to-day operations of the states' executive branches.

The Republican-led Michigan Legislature on Tuesday passed bills that would delay a minimum wage hike and scale back paid sick leave requirements, an unprecedented lame-duck strategy that was endorsed legally by the state’s conservative attorney general despite criticism that it is unconstitutional.

The fast-tracked legislation, which drew protesters to the Capitol, was pushed through on largely 60-48 and 26-12 party-line votes. Changes were made at the request of Republican Gov. Rick Snyder, who stayed mum on whether he will sign the measures despite Senate leaders saying they expect him to do so.

To prevent minimum wage and paid sick time ballot initiatives from going to the electorate last month, after which they would have been much harder to change if voters had passed them, GOP legislators — at the behest of business groups — preemptively approved them in September so that they could alter them after the election with simple majority votes in each chamber.

One bill would gradually increase the state’s $9.25 minimum wage to $12.05 an hour by 2030 — maybe later in the case of a recession — instead of $12 by 2022. It would also repeal provisions to tie future increases to inflation and bring a lower wage for tipped employees in line with the wage for other workers.

Another bill would exempt employers with fewer than 50 employees from having to provide paid sick time as required under the existing law that is scheduled to take effect in March. It also would limit the amount of annual mandatory leave at larger businesses to 40 hours, instead of 72 hours, and make other changes. About 162,000 small businesses that collectively employ 1 million workers would be exempt from awarding paid sick leave under the legislation, according to the Michigan League for Public Policy.

Democratic Rep. Darrin Camilleri of Wayne County’s Brownstown Township, who voted against the measures, said gutting the minimum wage hike “would not only hurt thousands of workers in Michigan but would also betray the trust of millions more by ignoring the will of the people.”

Wisconsin too saw a midnight session last night stripping power from incoming Gov. Tony Evers.

The Wisconsin Senate voted just before sunrise Wednesday following an all-night session to pass a sweeping bill in a lame-duck session designed to empower the GOP-controlled Legislature and weaken the Democrat replacing Republican Gov. Scott Walker.

Republicans pushed on through protests, internal disagreement and Democratic opposition to the measures designed to reduce the powers of incoming Democratic Gov.-elect Tony Evers and Democratic Attorney General-elect Josh Kaul. Both Evers and Kaul urged Republicans not to do it, warning that lawsuits would bring more gridlock to Wisconsin when the new administration, and the first divided government in 10 years, takes over.

But Republicans forged ahead regardless, passing it 17-16 with all Republicans except one in support. All Democrats voted against it. The Assembly was expected to pass the bill later Wednesday, sending it on to Walker for his consideration. Walker has signaled support.

"This is a heck of a way to run a railroad," Democratic Senate Minority Leader Jennifer Shilling said as debate resumed at 5 a.m. "This is embarrassing we're even here." 
In one concession, Republicans backed away from giving the Legislature the power to sidestep the attorney general and appoint their own attorney when state laws are challenged in court. An amendment to do away with that provision was part of a Republican rewrite of the bill, made public around 4:30 a.m. after all-night negotiations.

Walker, who was booed and heckled during an afternoon Christmas tree lighting ceremony in the Capitol rotunda, has signaled support for the measures that he would have to sign before they take effect. He's in his final five weeks as governor after losing a bid for a third term to Evers, the state schools superintendent.

Despite the victories by Evers, Kaul and every other Democrat running for statewide office, Republicans maintained majority control in the Legislature for the next two years. Democrats blamed partisan gerrymandering by Republicans for stacking the electoral map against them.

But faced with a Democratic governor for the first time in eight years, legislative Republicans came up with a package of lame-duck bills to protect their priorities and make it harder for Evers to enact his.

"Why are we here today?" Democratic Assembly Minority Leader Gordon Hintz said as the debate of more than nine hours began late Tuesday night. "What are we doing? Nothing we're doing here is about helping the people of Wisconsin. It's about helping politicians. It's about power and self-interest."

You have to admit, pushing back a minimum wage hike 12 years is pretty hideous, even for Republicans.  But that's exactly what's ahead for Michigan, and Wisconsin is going to face years of lawsuits, where North Carolina is now.

This is what happens when Republicans come to power.  When you evict them, they still cheat.

It's Mueller Time, Mike Flynn Edition

Last night's Mueller team court sentencing filing on Michael Flynn did not disappoint, as it turns out that the good General has been cooperating with the FBI since before the Mueller probe was even authorized.

Michael T. Flynn, President Trump’s first national security adviser, helped substantially with the special counsel’s investigation and should receive little to no prison time for lying to federal investigators, prosecutors said on Tuesday.

Mr. Flynn was a key cooperator who helped the Justice Department with several investigations, prosecutors for the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, said. He sat for 19 interviews with Mr. Mueller’s office and other prosecutors and handed over documents and communications, they said.

“His early cooperation was particularly valuable because he was one of the few people with long-term and firsthand insight” into the subject of Mr. Mueller’s investigation — Russia’s election interference and whether any Trump associates conspired, prosecutors wrote in a sentencing recommendation memorandum and an addendum that was heavily blacked out.

In particular, they wrote, he might have prompted others to cooperate with the inquiry. “The defendant’s decision to plead guilty and cooperate likely affected the decisions of related firsthand witnesses to be forthcoming,” prosecutors said.

They also indicated that Mr. Flynn helped with other investigations without revealing details about them.

Mr. Flynn, who served briefly as the president’s national security adviser, is the only White House aide and the first person from the president’s inner circle to strike a cooperation deal with the special counsel’s office in exchange for a more lenient penalty. He pleaded guilty a year ago to lying to the F.B.I. about conversations he had with the Russian ambassador to the United States at the time, Sergey I. Kislyak.

“The defendant deserves credit for accepting responsibility in a timely fashion and substantially assisting the government,” prosecutors wrote.

The cases of some other former Trump aides caught up in the special counsel investigation are also nearing resolution, marking an active week for Mr. Mueller’s inquiry. By Friday, Mr. Mueller’s prosecutors are due to enumerate how they believe Paul Manafort, Mr. Trump’s former campaign chairman, violated a plea agreement and separately to outline the extent of cooperation by Michael D. Cohen, Mr. Trump’s longtime lawyer and fixer.

Another longtime Trump associate whom Mr. Mueller is scrutinizing, Roger J. Stone Jr., said on Tuesday that he had invoked his the Fifth Amendment rights in response to a request from Democratic investigators for the Senate Judiciary Committee to hand over documents and testimony relevant to their own Russia inquiry. Mr. Stone’s lawyer, Grant J. Smith, said the committee’s request was “overbroad” and stressed that Mr. Stone was “an innocent citizen who denounces secrecy.”

Basically everything we've suspected about Mike Flynn is true.  All the stuff about him getting rounded up by the FBI nearly immediately after Trump took office, getting caught lying red-handed, and then turning states' evidence, is 100% accurate.

And Flynn's plea deal made it clear to everyone else that Mueller's investigation was for real, and that people should start cutting deals ASAP.  There are only two people that Flynn, Manafort, and Cohen could give up more important than themselves, and that's Mike Pence and Donald Trump.

The two of them should be crapping cinder blocks right now.  We know what role Flynn played, according to the sentencing filing, there are at least three investigations, one involving Flynn's lies, one involving the Trump campaign's relationship with Russia, and a third, completely redacted investigation.  It's that last one that should have Trump and Pence paralyzed with fear.

We'll know what roles Manafort and Cohen played before the end of the week, too.  More is coming, folks.  A lot more.

And then the indictments will come like the cleansing rain of justice.


Related Posts with Thumbnails