Tuesday, February 12, 2019

Last Call For Shutdown Meltdown, Con't

Yesterday I pointed out that California Gov. Gavin Newsom is defying Trump and is pulling National Guard troops from dog-and-pony show border duty, in order to serve other, far more useful purposes.  The Trump regime's retaliation today was lightning-swift: California will now foot the bill for Trump's wall as we head towards another Friday shutdown deadline.

The White House is firming up plans to redirect unspent federal dollars as a way of funding President Donald Trump’s border wall without taking the dramatic step of invoking a national emergency.

Done by executive order, this plan would allow the White House to shift money from different budgetary accounts without congressional approval, circumventing Democrats who refuse to give Trump anything like the $5.7 billion he has demanded. Nor would it require a controversial emergency declaration.

The emerging consensus among acting chief of staff Mick Mulvaney and top budget officials is to shift money from two Army Corps of Engineers’ flood control projects in Northern California, as well as from disaster relief funds intended for California and Puerto Rico. The plan will also tap unspent Department of Defense funds for military construction, like family housing or infrastructure for military bases, according to three sources familiar with the negotiations.

“There are certain sums of money that are available to the president, to any president,” Mulvaney said on “Meet the Press” Sunday. “So you comb through the law at the president's request ... And there's pots of money where presidents, all presidents, have access to without a national emergency.”

But the strategy is far from a cure-all for a president with no good options, and it has already sparked debate within the White House. Moving funds by executive order is virtually certain to draw instant court challenges, with opponents, including some powerful members of Congress, arguing the president is encroaching on the legislative branch’s constitutional power to appropriate funds.

Some Trump officials, including those aligned with senior adviser Stephen Miller, have argued internally that the gambit might be even more vulnerable to court challenges than a national emergency declaration. And in a sign of the political fallout, the top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee has argued that tapping military construction money would hurt the armed forces’ potential readiness.

Until now, Trump officials had focused on the drawbacks of a possible national emergency declaration. But as the alternative option of moving money by executive order has come into clearer relief ahead of a Feb. 15 deadline for a spending deal with Congress that could avert a new government shutdown, so have the risks of that alternative option.

“It will create a firestorm, once you start taking money that congressmen think is in their districts,” said Jim Dyer, a former staff director for the House Appropriations Committee. “You will cause yourself a problem if that money was directed away from any type of project or activity because I guarantee it has some constituency on Capitol Hill.”

It's funny that Republicans in Congress are uneasy about Trump doing this.  He all but promised to make California and Puerto Rico lose federal disaster funding and in fact Trump has threatened California multiple times before when Jerry Brown brought up the subject of removing National Guard troops from the border late last year, and Brown folded his hand.  But Newsom giving Trump the finger this week apparently had made up Trump's mind for him.

Trump's empty threats may not be so empty after all, but the question is will the Roberts Court let him get away with it?

We may find out.

Meat The Press, Con't

Trump's hate rally series kicked off the 2019 edition in El Paso last night, as sure enough,  just minutes after Trump screamed yet again about the "fake news" being "enemies of the people" a BBC cameraman was assaulted by a Trump supporter.

A supporter of US President Donald Trump has attacked a BBC cameraman at a campaign rally in El Paso, Texas.

Sporting a Make America Great Again cap, the man shoved and swore at the BBC's Ron Skeans and other news crews before being pulled away.

Mr Skeans said the "very hard shove" came from his blindside. "I didn't know what was going on."

Mr Trump saw the attack and confirmed Mr Skeans was well with a thumbs up after it happened.

The president has had a fractious relationship with the media from the very start of his time in office.

He has claimed journalists are "the enemy of the people" and slammed the "fake news" for reports he deems unfavourable.

Mr Skeans said the man almost knocked him and his camera over twice before he was wrestled away by a blogger.

President Trump checked they were well with a thumbs up, and continued his speech after Mr Skeans returned the gesture.

BBC Washington producer Eleanor Montague and Washington correspondent Gary O'Donoghue were sitting in front of the camera.

Ms Montague said the protester had attacked other news crews but Mr Skeans "got the brunt of it".

A campaign official for Mr Trump afterwards suggested the attacker was drunk

"Not our fault your cameraman got hurt, that guy was drunk.  How unfortunate."

Not the Trump regime's fault a newsroom in Maryland was shot up and several reporters killed last year.  And the Trump regime won't claim any responsibility the next time a Trump supporter assaults or kills a journalist either.

And since it's certainly not Donald Trump's fault, why would he change his rhetoric calling journalists enemies of the people?

Silly liberals.  Same rally of course has Trump falsely accuse Virginia Gov. Ralph Northam of supporting infanticide, so if I were one of the few abortion clinics left in America, I'd double security, because they are going to get shot up again and soon.

Trump of course will say it's very sad when it happens.

Nancy Drops The Hammer

Democratic Rep. Ilhan Omar got into serious trouble over the weekend for some poorly done tweets that got pegged as anti-Semitic, resulting in an apology after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi stepped in.

Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) apologized Monday afternoon for what many saw as anti-Semitic comments perpetuating the tired stereotype that Jews control politics with money.

Omar’s mea culpa came shortly after House Democratic leaders called the first-term representative’s comments “deeply offensive” and urged her to apologize.

In a tweet, the Minnesota congresswoman said “anti-Semitism is real and I am grateful for Jewish allies and colleagues who are educating me on this painful history of anti-Semitic tropes.”

In a statement issued Monday, the Democratic leadership said that legitimate criticism of Israel’s policies and its treatment of Palestinians is protected by free speech, but Omar’s use of “anti-Semitic tropes and prejudicial accusations about Israel’s supporters is deeply offensive.” House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said that she and Omar have spoken and that they’ve agreed “to move forward as we reject anti-Semitism in all forms.” 
The statement comes after two Jewish House Democrats, alarmed by what they consider anti-Semitic comments from new Muslim colleagues, urged Pelosi and her top lieutenants to denounce the divisive rhetoric and take action to stop it. On Sunday, Omar, a freshman congresswoman, suggested on Twitter that American politicians are influenced by a powerful pro-Israel lobbying group, setting off a firestorm of criticisms from both sides of the aisle.

Reps. Josh Gottheimer (N.J.) and Elaine Luria (Va.) are gathering signatures on a letter asking Pelosi, House Majority Leader Steny H. Hoyer (Md.) and other senior Democrats to confront Omar and Rep. Rashida Tlaib, also a freshman congresswoman from Michigan, by “reiterating our rejection of anti-Semitism and our continued support for the State of Israel.”

“As Jewish Members of Congress, we are deeply alarmed by recent rhetoric from certain members within our Caucus, including just last night, that has disparaged us and called into question our loyalty to our nation,” the letter reads, according to a draft viewed by The Washington Post. “We urge you to join us in calling on each member of our Caucus to unite against anti-Semitism and hateful tropes and stereotypes.”

This is the kind of garbage we can't have heading into 2020 at all, because it absolutely will be used by Trump and his continually anti-Semitic advisors and base to attack the Democrats.

But that brings us to the point I made earlier in the week that one of the major issues Democrats will have to deal with heading into 2020 is the party's position on Israel and Palestine.  There's enough odious anti-Semitism coming from Trump right now that adding to it will be a disaster for the Democrats, both morally and politically.  However, the two Muslim Congresswomen, Omar and Rashida Tlaib of Michigan, have been rightfully pushing for better Democratic support of the Palestinians.

The problem is, Republicans have picked a side and it's definitely Israel.  The Democrats up until now have been sitting in the middle trying to appeal to both sides and have been doing that since Clinton.  That may not be enough anymore, and working that out needs to be a pretty big priority.


Related Posts with Thumbnails