Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Last Call For Emergent Stupidity

Donald Trump is using his favorite minion, GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, to let Republicans senators voting against his emergency declaration know that Trump will do everything in his power to destroy them.

President Donald Trump said Senate Republicans considering opposition to his emergency declaration on the border are "playing with fire," according to Sen. Lindsey Graham, who met with the president on Tuesday morning.

The South Carolina Republican said his meeting with the president focused mostly on the border and the number of illegal crossings as Trump faces certain bipartisan defeat on his emergency declaration in the Senate later this month.

Four Republican senators have said they will join 47 Senate Democrats in voting to block the national emergency declaration, though Trump will veto it and Congress likely won't be able to muster the votes to override it. And though Trump is not waging a massive campaign to convert Republicans to his side, he's acutely aware of the politics of the issue.

"He says he thinks Republicans are playing with fire here because most Republicans, anyway, most people I hope, will see that the border is in a state of crisis," Graham said, adding that Trump believes GOP senators that defy him are likely to face a political backlash. "That's his observation, but he's not out there calling people out or anything."

Not yet, at least.  He saves his racist, childish nicknames for Democrats so far.  Looks like that is about to change.  Sarah Sanders made it a bit more clear what to expect.

“My message to that group is to do your job,” she said during an appearance on Fox News’s “Fox & Friends.” “If you had done what you were elected to do on the front end, the president wouldn’t have to fix this problem on his own through a national emergency.”

Also, Trump wants to know where that infrastructure bill is, apparently.  So would I, especially since Mitch McConnell has no intention of bringing anything up for a vote.

Even though Trump will simply veto the measure however, it represents the first real crack in the GOP foundation, depending on how badly Trump loses this vote.  If it's only Rand Paul and a handful of "mavericks" like Susan Collins and Lisa Murkowski, then it's not really notable.  But if it gets more than 55 votes or so, it'll be something.

Not much, certainly after three years, but something.

Another Hat Does NOT Land In The Ring

Notable this week: the number of people saying they will not enter the 2020 race for the Democratic nomination.  First up not running: former Obama AG Eric Holder.

Holder, who was President Barack Obama’s first attorney general, said he will instead continue his work to end gerrymandering, the practice of redrawing legislative districts for a political advantage.

“Though I will not run for president in 2020, I will continue to fight for the future of our country through the National Democratic Redistricting Committee and its affiliates,” Holder said in an op-ed published Monday in The Washington Post.

“Our fight to end gerrymandering is about electing leaders who actually work for the interests of the people they are supposed to represent. I will do everything I can to ensure that the next Democratic president is not hobbled by a House of Representatives pulled to the extremes by members from gerrymandered districts
,” Holder said.

Good for Holder.  He knows he'll be far more effective fighting GOP voter suppression in the courts than running for 2020, and I applaud his choice.  We'll never get the Voting Rights Act fixed that the Roberts Court gutted a few years ago without winning the Senate and keeping the House, and that means both fixing gerrymandering and keeping Democratic senators in the Senate, bringing us to our next non-contender, Oregon Sen. Jeff Merkley.

In his announcement, Merkley said: "Over the last year I've weighed whether I can contribute more to the battle by running for Senate, or by running for president."

"I've reached the conclusion that the biggest impact I can have is here in the Senate."

The Oregon senator, who is considered a progressive, is a main proponent of banking regulation and has been one of the main forces behind the Wall Street reform bill.

Again, this is the right choice for Merkley.  He didn't have a shot at the White House, but he's been a bedrock-solid liberal senator where he's been needed.

We also need to get the 2020 field straightened out as soon as we can and get to work, and that means Hillary Clinton is making it clear that she will not run in 2020.  And yes, Clinton has said no several times before.

The pool of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates keeps expanding. But one name that won’t be in the mix is 2016 nominee Hillary Clinton.

The former secretary of state and US senator ruled out a 2020 White House bid in an interview with the local New York City television station News 12 on Monday.

“I’m not running,” she said, “but I’m going to keep working on and speaking and standing up for what I believe.”

Now watch, Clinton will say anything at all after this and it will be "Could Hillary be preparing a 2020 run?"

But finally, it means we have to put a stop to the dangerous, ego-driven third party nonsense of America's billionaires, and thankfully that now means Michael Bloomberg is out too as he laid out the case for why he won't run on Monday.

I know what it takes to run a winning campaign, and every day when I read the news, I grow more frustrated by the incompetence in the Oval Office. I know we can do better as a country. And I believe I would defeat Donald Trump in a general election. But I am clear-eyed about the difficulty of winning the Democratic nomination in such a crowded field.
There is another factor that has weighed heavily on my mind: the likelihood that our biggest national problems will worsen over the next two years. With a leader in the White House who refuses to bring the parties together, it will be nearly impossible for Congress to address the major challenges we face, including climate change, gun violence, the opioid crisis, failing public schools, and college affordability. All are likely to grow more severe, and many of the president’s executive actions will only compound matters.

I love our country too much to sit back and hope for the best as national problems get worse. But I also recognize that until 2021, and possibly longer, our only real hope for progress lies outside of Washington. And unlike most who are running or thinking of it, I’m fortunate enough to be in a position to devote the resources needed to bring people together and make a big difference.

That just leaves one big question mark as to entering the race..and his name is Joe Biden.

We need to hear from him ASAP...

No Vaccination For Stupidity

In the process of Kentucky's Republican senators causing arguably the most damage to the country from any single state between Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul, let's not forget that Rand Paul is an anti-vaxxer dimwit on top of everything else.

During a Senate Health Committee hearing on Tuesday, Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) criticized the idea that parents should be required to vaccinate their children and perpetuated the notion that vaccines themselves could cause harm.

The speech, which came during the opening moments of the hearing, was framed as an argument in favor of personal liberty, a posture that Paul routinely adopts. But in offering his thoughts, the Kentucky Republican furthered the argument that it is socially reasonable not to vaccinate your kids—a mindset that the scientific community says is already worsening communal health crises.

As we contemplate forcing parents to choose this or that vaccine, I think it’s important to remember that force is not consistent with the American story, nor is force consistent with the liberty our forefathers sought when they came to America,” said Paul, reading off a paper. “I don't think you have to have one or the other, though. I'm not here to say don’t vaccinate your kids. If this hearing is for persuasion I’m all for the persuasion. I’ve vaccinated myself and I’ve vaccinated my kids. For myself and my children I believe that the benefits of vaccines greatly outweighing the risks, but I still don’t favor giving up on liberty for a false sense of security.”

Paul didn’t just make the case that vaccines should be voluntary, however. He used his platform at the hearing to affirmatively push the perception that they are potentially problematic.

It is wrong to say that there are no risks to vaccines,” said Paul. “Even the government admits that children are sometimes injured by vaccines.”

To recap, Paul thinks the government compelling people to vaccinate children (something he himself has done for his own children because he understands the benefits to it both personally and for society as a whole) is worse than not vaccinating your kids.  He believes it is akin to martial law.

Paul told Alex Jones’s InfoWars that vaccines for illnesses such as swine flu have long histories of perilous side effects. “The first sort of thing you see with martial law is mandates, and they’re talking about making it mandatory,” Paul said. “I worry because the first flu vaccine we had in the 1970s, more people died from the vaccine than died from the swine flu.” (Paul is wrong: 450 people out of 45 million developed paralyzing Guillain-BarrĂ© syndrome.) “The whole problem is not necessarily good versus bad on vaccines; it’s whether it should be mandatory or the individual makes the decision. And sometimes you want to not be the first one to get a new procedure; you want to see if it works well before you choose.”

As I keep telling people, growing up I had to apologize to people for my senator at the time, NC's Jesse Helms.  Now I have to do it again for Rand and Mitch.

I'm tired of it.



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