Saturday, April 6, 2019

Last Call For The Dog Gets Wagged

Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu, with elections just 48 hours away, is now promising the "annexation of West Bank" if re-elected.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Israel's Channel 12 News on Saturday evening that he will start extending Israeli sovereignty over the West Bank if re-elected prime minister in the election on April 9.

It remains unclear at this point whether Netanyahu was referring to all of the West Bank, or only parts of it.

"A Palestinian state will endanger our existence and I withstood huge pressure over the past eight years, no prime minister has withstood such pressure. We must control our destiny
," the premier said.

After boasting that he was responsible for U.S. President Donald Trump's declaration recognizing Israeli sovereignty over the Golan Heights, Netanyahu told the program "Meet the Press": "Will we move ahead to the next stage? Yes. I will extend sovereignty but I don't distinguish between the settlement blocs and the isolated ones, because each settlement is Israeli and I will not hand it over to Palestinian sovereignty."

"I will not divide Jerusalem, I will not evacuate any community and I will make sure we control the territory west of Jordan," Netanyahu told the show's host, Rina Matzliah.

Asked what will happen to the Bedouin community of Khan al-Ahmar, which Netanyahu has vowed to evacuate but has still not been and which has been at the center of international condemnations against the decision, Netanyahu promised that "it will happen, I promised and it will happen at the soonest opportunity."

The prime minister refused to say whether he would support term limits, saying there is still a lot of work he needs to do. 

So yeah, Bibi will roll tanks into Gaza if re-elected.  And yes, it appears that despite the massive bribery scandal he is currently under indictment for, his Likud party is tied with opposition leader Benny Gantz's Kahol Lavan party in the latest polls.  It's entirely possible that the right-wing bloc will be able to form a government with Netanyahu at its head anyway.

And then the tanks roll in.

Our Little Domestic Terrorism Problem, Con't

A 55-year-old New York man was arrested Friday for allegedly threatening to kill freshman congresswoman Ilhan Omar, the Elmira Star-Gazette reports. 
The man, identified as Patrick W. Carlineo, is said to have called the Democratic lawmaker’s office on March 21 and made threatening comments, according to a criminal complaint filed by the Western District of New York.  
“Do you work for the Muslim Brotherhood? Why are you working for her, she’s a fucking terrorist. I’ll put a bullet in her fucking skull,” Carlineo allegedly said.  
Omar’s office reportedly immediately reported the call to the United States Capitol Police, Threat Assessment Section, which in turn got the FBI involved.  
While questioned by FBI agents over the call late last month, Carlineo reportedly described himself as a patriot who loves President Trump and hates radical Muslims in public office.  
Investigators also reportedly found a shotgun and a .22-caliber rifle at his home.  
The arrest comes just a few weeks after Fox News host Jeanine Pirro suggested on-air that Omar’s wearing of a hijab might be “indicative” of loyalty to Sharia law, a claim which quickly sparked backlash and saw her show temporarily bumped from the air.

We've already had Gabrielle Giffords and Steve Scalise shot in assassination attempts on House lawmakers in the last decade.  We should be horrified that it very nearly happened a third time.

And speaking of happening a third time...

Three historically black churches have burned in less than two weeks in one south Louisiana parish, where officials said they had found “suspicious elements” in each case. The officials have not ruled out the possibility of arson, or the possibility that the fires are related.

“There is clearly something happening in this community,” State Fire Marshal H. Browning said in a statement on Thursday. “That is why it is imperative that the citizens of this community be part of our effort to figure out what it is.”

The three fires occurred on March 26, Tuesday and Thursday in St. Landry Parish, north of Lafayette. A fourth fire, a small blaze that officials said was “intentionally set,” was reported on Sunday at a predominantly black church in Caddo Parish, about a three-hour drive north.

“But just as we haven’t connected the three in St. Landry, we haven’t connected the one in Caddo,” said Ashley Rodrigue, a spokeswoman for the Louisiana Office of State Fire Marshal, on Friday.

Local officials said that they were still investigating the fires, and did not say if they knew of any suspects, a motive, or whether racism was an element.

“There certainly is a commonality, and whether that leads to a person or persons or groups, we just don’t know,” Mr. Browning said at a news conference on Thursday.

The F.B.I. and federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are involved in the investigation, said Jeff Nowakowski, a spokesman for the A.T.F.’s New Orleans field division.

Remember, the Homeland Security task force that looked into white supremacist domestic terrorism like this was disbanded by the Trump regime earlier this year because white supremacist domestic terrorism isn't a priority.

Well, stopping it isn't a priority, anyway.

A Taxing Move By Trump

Despite the law being clear that House Democratic Ways and Means chair Richard Neal can indeed summon Trump's tax returns from the IRS, the Trump regime is signaling it will delay the request for months or years and fight the release all the way to SCOTUS if necessary.

President Donald Trump continues to hold his ground against Democratic efforts to obtain his tax returns, with one administration official telling CNN that the President and his team are willing to fight the House Democratic request all the way to the Supreme Court. 
"This is a hill and people would be willing to die on it," the official said. 
House Ways and Means Committee Chairman Richard Neal formally requested six years of Trump's personal tax returns from the Internal Revenue Service in a letter Wednesday. 
The official added that the administration is "not going to set the precedent" of turning over tax returns for future occupants of the Oval Office, slamming the House Democrat request from Neal as "abuse and overreach by Congress" and asked what's stopping Senate Republicans from seeking House Speaker Nancy Pelosi's returns. 
"They have zero right to it," the official said, who added Trump has also made it clear he's not releasing his tax returns. 
Trump has retained Arlington, Virginia-based law firm Consovoy McCarthy Park PLLC to represent him on the matter. 
Lawyer William Consovoy argued in a statement on Friday that the requests for Trump's tax information "are not consistent with governing law, do not advance any proper legislative purpose, and threaten to interfere with the ordinary conduct of audits." 
In the Wednesday request, Neal cited a little-known IRS code. Under IRS code 6103, only the Joint Committee on Taxation, the House Ways and Means chairman and the Senate Finance Committee chairman have the authority to request the tax information of an individual. 
But in a detailed letter to the general counsel of the Treasury Department on Friday, Consovoy said that "the committee's authority is subject to important constraints," which, he said, citing the tax code, "extend to the ordinary taxpayer and the President alike." 
Consovoy said that Neal does not have a "legitimate committee purpose" for obtaining the tax returns, adding that Neal's request "is a transparent effort by one political party to harass an official from the other party because they dislike his politics and speech."

America will never see Trump's tax returns for the same reason we'll never see the Mueller report: the information contained within it becoming public would mean the immediate end of the Trump regime.   Trump will fight both until 2021, if not 2023 or more in order to save himself from being forced out of office and then facing enough NY state charges for him and his family to spend a very long time in prison. For Trump himself it would be a life sentence.

Ask not why Trump wants to fight the release.  Ask why he has to stop it using any means necessary...and he will.

He doesn't have a choice.

The War In Yemen, Con't

A bipartisan vote in the House has approved a Senate bill ending materiel support for the US military presence in Yemen, something that will run into a guaranteed Trump veto, but an important vote nonetheless.

The House on Thursday voted to end American involvement in the Yemen war, rebuffing the Trump administration’s support for the military campaign led by Saudi Arabia.

The bill now heads to President Donald Trump, who is expected to veto it. The White House says the measure raises “serious constitutional concerns,” and Congress lacks the votes to override him.

By a 247-175 vote, Congress for the first time invoked the decades-old War Powers Resolution to try and stop a foreign conflict. The Senate vote was 54-46 on March 13.

“The president will have to face the reality that Congress is no longer going to ignore its constitutional obligations when it comes to foreign policy,” said Democratic Rep. Eliot Engel of New York, chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Committee. He said the humanitarian crisis in Yemen triggered by the war “demands moral leadership.”

The war in Yemen is in its fifth year. Thousands of people have been killed and millions are on the brink of starvation. The United Nations has called the situation in Yemen the world’s worst humanitarian crisis.

The top Republican on the committee, Rep. Michael McCaul of Texas, acknowledged the dire situation in Yemen for civilians, but spoke out in opposition to the bill, saying it was an abuse of the War Powers Resolution.

“This radical interpretation has implications far beyond Saudi Arabia,” McCaul said. He warned that the measure could “disrupt U.S. security cooperation agreements with more than 100 counties.”

Democrats overcame a GOP attempt to divide the majority party through a procedural motion involving Israel just minutes before the Yemen vote. Republicans wanted to amend the Yemen bill with language condemning the international boycott movement and efforts to delegitimize Israel. Democrats argued the amendment would kill the Yemen resolution, and most of them voted against the Israel measure.

“This is about politics, this is about trying to drive a wedge into this caucus where it does not belong,” said Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla., said to applause from Democrats. Deutch described the boycott movement as “economic warfare,” but called on lawmakers to vote against the amendment.

“The Jewish community also has a history of standing up against atrocities like the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. My colleagues are trying to block us from standing in support of human rights,” he said.

Democrats saw the trap coming and disarmed it, and now Trump has to veto a bill and break one of his major promises of pulling US troops home.  The reality though is that the Saudis own the Trump family, specifically Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner.  If Trump doesn't veto the bill and support for the Saudi-led war in Yemen dries up, the Kingdom would immediately retaliate, possibly in a fashion fatal to Trump's 2020 chances.

Trump knows this.  Everyone knows this.

Now Trump has to explain to his base why American dollars have to go to the Saudis, whom they hate.

Should be fun.
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