Monday, February 4, 2019

Last Call For Shutdown Meltdown, Con't

GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham is warning fellow Republicans that they will either get behind Trump's ludicrous wall, or be crushed by it in 2020.

Senator Lindsey Graham, one of Donald Trump’s closest allies on Capitol Hill, warned his fellow Republicans to back the president if he declares an emergency to build a wall on the southern border.

"To every Republican, if you don’t stand behind this president, we’re not going to stand behind you, when it comes to the wall," Graham said in a speech in Greenville, South Carolina, of the political fight with Democrats over a border barrier. "This is the defining moment of his presidency. It’s not just about a wall, it’s about him being treated different than every other president."

Graham said he doesn’t expect Congress to come up with a deal that would provide money for a wall in spending negotiations to avert another government shutdown after Feb. 15. He said he fears a "war within the Republican Party over the wall."

"This is about more than a barrier. This is about us as a party," he said.

At this point, I firmly believe Graham's warning is coming out ahead of a Trump move to declare a national emergency and assume powers over Congress, and Graham is expecting full backing when Nancy Pelosi moves to put the GOP on record to vote for Trump's autocracy.  Greg Sargent:

Senate Republicans appear to be in a panic about President Trump’s threat to declare a national emergency to realize his unquenchable fantasy of a big, beautiful wall on the southern border. Republicans are reportedly worried that such a move could divide them, and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has delivered that warning to Trump in private conversations.

Republicans have good reason to be deeply nervous. Here’s why: According to one of the country’s leading experts on national emergencies, it appears that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) can trigger a process that could require the GOP-controlled Senate to hold a vote on such a declaration by Trump — which would put Senate Republicans in a horrible political position.

Trump reiterated his threat to declare a national emergency in an interview with CBS News that aired over the weekend. “I don’t take anything off the table,” Trump said, adding in a typically mangled construction that he still retains the “alternative” of “national emergency.”

But Pelosi has recourse against such a declaration — and if she exercises it, Senate Republicans may have to vote on where they stand on it.

Trump does have the power to declare such an emergency under the post-Watergate National Emergencies Act, which also requires him to identify which other specific statutedelegating emergency powers he’s invoking. Trump is expected to rely on one of several statutes that authorize military officials, in a presidentially declared emergency, to redirect funds for purposes that are either “essential to the national defense” or support “use of the armed forces.”

The Post reports that acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney has privately told Trump that a national emergency is “viable,” and officials at the Army Corps of Engineers are searching for ways to build the wall. This would be challenged in the courts, which would have to decide whether the statute Trump invoked actually does authorize this type of spending
But Pelosi has a much more immediate way to challenge Trump’s declaration. Under the National Emergencies Act, or NEA, both chambers of Congress can pass a resolution terminating any presidentially declared national emergency.

And there's a very good chance that Pelosi wins both votes and cancels Trump's emergency declaration.

Now, that could be exactly what Trump wants.  He can blame somebody else for the wall mess.  But that risks alienating the GOP Senate support Trump will need to survive the Mueller report later this year.

Having said that, Lindsey Graham is absolutely behind Trump.  It makes me wonder what Trump's leverage is...or Russia's.

You Wrecked It, Ralph, Con't

The picture of Democratic Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam in blackface that surfaced on Friday was indeed a right-wing anti-abortion hitjob, as the Washington Post's story on the source of the scoop finds the conservative site that broke the story was tipped off by one of Northam's medical school classmates furious at the Governor's comments on a proposed abortion access expansion bill.

The reporter who exposed the racist photo on Gov. Ralph Northam’s yearbook page said a “concerned citizen” led him to the story that has prompted widespread outrage and calls for the Democrat’s resignation.

Patrick Howley, editor in chief of the website Big League Politics, first reported Friday the existence of a photo on Northam’s page of his medical school yearbook depicting a figure in blackface standing next to another person in a Ku Klux Klan hood.

“It’s very easy to explain,” Howley, 29, said in an interview Saturday. “A concerned citizen, not a political opponent, came to us and pointed this out. I was very offended [by the photo] because I don’t like racism.”

The tip came after Northam’s comments on Wednesday about late-term abortions, he said. Howley declined to give any further information about his source, citing a confidentiality agreement. But he said it took him just a few hours to confirm that the photo was authentic.

The source of the tip appears to have been a medical school classmate or classmates of Northam who acted as a direct result of the abortion controversy that erupted earlier in the week, according to two people at Big League Politics, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter publicly.

“The revelations about Ralph Northam’s racist past were absolutely driven by his medical school classmate’s anger over his recent very public support for infanticide,” one of the two said.

So does this mean that Democrats should rescind their calls for Northam's resignation, given that this is very obviously Republicans taking revenge as Howley is an ex-Breitbart and Daily Caller writer?

The answer to that is absolutely not.  Northam still needs to resign and hopefully he does so today.  The fact remains he did it, then lied about, then tried to pass it off as nothing, and that's not how it works.

But now the issue has gotten far more complicated as the same Big League Politics site is reporting that Virginia's Democratic Lt. Govenor, Justin Fairfax, committed sexual assault at the Democratic National Convention in 2004.

Lt. Gov. Justin Fairfax issued a statement early Monday after an online article hinted at sexual assault allegations against him in 2004.

The site “Big League Politics” shared a private post from a woman who said an office holder who assaulted her at the the Democratic National Convention was about to get “a very big promotion.” She says her attacker won a statewide office in 2017.

On Monday morning, Fairfax released a tweet that said “the person reported to be making this false allegation first approached the Washington Post ... after being presented with facts consistent with the Lt. Governor’s denial of the allegation, the absence of any evidence corroborating the allegation, and significant red flags and inconsistencies with the allegation, the Post made the considered decision to not publish the story.”

Fairfax says he will take legal action at anyone “attempting to spread this defamatory and false allegation.”

If this is true, Fairfax will need to resign as well.

It's not a good look, Democrats.

Not at all.

The Kids Are Not Alright, Con't

Meanwhile back here in Bevinstan, lawyers for Covington MAGA-hat smirking asshole Nicolas Sandmann are preparing to sue everyone in sight for "slander and defamation" with visions of multiple seven-figure court settlements dancing in their heads.

The lawyers representing Covington Catholic High School student Nick Sandmann and his family said Friday they have sent letters to media outlets, individual journalists, celebrities and Catholic organizations as the first step in possible libel and defamation lawsuits.

The list includes 50-plus names of organizations or individuals: from presidential hopeful Elizabeth Warren to actress Alyssa Milano; individual journalists including Maggie Haberman, Ana Cabrera and David Brooks; national media outlets like the The New York Times, CNN, GQ and TMZ; and the dioceses of Covington and Lexington as well as the archdioceses of Louisville and Baltimore.

Nick, as well as his school, faced threats from those angered by video showing him, his classmates and Native Americans engaged in a much-debated confrontation. Some of the students wore "Make America Great Again" hats. Some students chanted and performed the tomahawk chop.

The legal counsel representing Nick and his family, Todd McMurtry and experienced libel and defamation lawyer L. Lin Wood of Atlanta, have said they will seek justice for the harm allegedly done to the teen.

McMurtry said an example of false reports were those saying Nick got into the face of Phillips.

McMurtry added his belief that some in the aftermath of the incident "permanently stained (Nick's) reputation."

Odds are very good that some of the parties are going to settle, the lawyers will make bank, and Sandmann and his family will have a pretty good year financially   But let's not forget this is all about the GOP feeding fresh white resentment into the Perpetual Outrage Machine that powers their party platform, so it's going to be win-win for everyone involved as we head into 2020.

There's always a method to the madness.


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