Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Last Call For Orange Meltdown, Con't

Not that the House Ways and Means Committee will have more than a few weeks to do anything with them, but the Roberts Court, surprisingly, did not completely run out the clock on Trump's tax returns, clearing the committee to have them.
The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected former President Donald Trump's last-ditch plea to block the release of his tax records to House Democrats, paving the way for their possible disclosure to the lawmakers.

The decision by the court in a brief order noting no dissenting votes means the committee can try to access the documents ahead of the Republican take-over of the House in January. The committee, however, has not said how quickly it expects to get the documents. Upon taking control, Republicans are expected to withdraw the request.

Earlier this month, Chief Justice John Roberts temporarily blocked the Ways and Means panel from accessing Trump’s tax records while the court decided how to act on Trump’s request.

Trump, who, unlike other recent presidents, refused to make his tax returns public amid scrutiny of his business affairs, turned to the justices after an appeals court in Washington refused to intervene. The court has recently rejected similar requests from Trump.

The former president's lawyers contested the House Ways and Means Committee’s assertion that it needed the information to probe how the IRS conducts the auditing process for presidents, saying it did not stand up to scrutiny.

House Democrats, as well as the Biden administration, urged the court to reject Trump's request, saying their demand for the tax documents reflected a valid legislative purpose.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit declined last month to reconsider a three-judge panel’s ruling in August that the Ways and Means Committee could obtain the tax returns.


So after nearly four years, SCOTUS punted, but it's irrelevant now. House Republicans will make sure this information is sealed and discarded as soon as they get control in January.

We'll never see this info unless there's a miraculous leak, and anyone involved in that will be exterminated by the GOP.

It was a good fight, but a better legal maneuver by the courts. Running out 98% of the clock is still enough to win.

Getting An Education On Politics In Ohio

I've been telling you about how corrupt Ohio Republicans are ever since they gained a supermajority in the state legislature, and gerrymandered Democrats almost out of existence. Nobody was more surprised than I was when Democrats still managed to flip two US House seats a few weeks ago, despite every effort by the Ohio GOP and Gov. Mike DeWine to put an elephant on the scales in order to tip them towards permanent GOP control. 

So when the GOP's plan to create a permanent supermajority on the State Board of Education actually backfired, the state legislature decided to strip the Board of its power and take it for themselves.
For the first time in years, progressive candidates will control the elected seats on the executive agency, regulating if a resolution is able to pass or not. Candidates are voted on as nonpartisan candidates, however, each leans conservative or progressive and will be endorsed by a party. School board candidates tend to share their beliefs publically.

Three of the five seats up for grabs were taken by liberal candidates. Tom Jackson, of Solon, beat out incumbent Tim Miller by about 50,000 votes. Teresa Fedor, a now-former state senator from Toledo, beat opponent Sarah McGervey by more than 30,000 votes. Katie Hofmann, of Cincinnati, beat out incumbent Jenny Kilgore by around 30,000 votes.

“We’re just looking forward to getting back to Columbus and doing the people’s work,” Jackson told News 5.

Now, seven of the 11 elected seats are held by Democrats. The elected seats ensure that the total board can’t pass all resolutions it wants, since it needs a 2/3 majority. Of the 19 total seats, eight were appointed by Gov. DeWine. Now, with 12 GOP seats, a Democrat would need to switch over for policy to pass. This could change depending on attendance.

This excitement of winning was short-lived for Jackson. Right now, the board is currently responsible for what K-12 public education looks like in the state. But a newly-revived bill would strip the members from developing education policy, establishing financial standards and implementing programs.

“They’re looking for solutions to a problem in the wrong place,” the member-elect said.

Republican state Sen. Bill Reineke (R-Tiffin) says the department of education needs a massive overhaul to improve student success, such as combatting the struggling remediation rate and offering more workforce development opportunities. The lawmaker was unavailable to speak Friday.

“Senate Bill 178 addresses this need by refocusing our system at the state level on what matters most: our children and their future,” Reineke said in his testimony.

The only responsibilities left for the board would be selecting the state superintendent, licensing teachers, handling staff disciplinary issues and making school territory transfer decisions.

If Reineke is really concerned with student achievement, he should talk to his GOP colleagues, since they create the education laws, Jackson argued.

“The Republicans have controlled for years, so they really need to look at their own actions and stop scapegoating the state board,” he said. “The timing is just too curious.”

Senate President Matt Huffman (R-Lima) said this has been an ongoing proposal for years.

“We have an isolated bureaucracy with no oversight, that’s the problem,” Huffman told reporters. “It’s not who’s on the board.”

Huffman and fellow lawmakers have been frustrated by the board of years now. This isn’t the first attempt to take power away. For the senate president, the board either takes too long to implement new laws or just ignores lawmakers.

“That system as it has grown through the decades in the state of Ohio essentially has an isolated Ohio Department of Education, who has no responsibility to the state legislature,” he said. “They don’t have any responsibility to the governor either because they’re not his employees.”

Ohio was left without a state superintendent of public instruction following Steve Dackin’s tumultuous hiring-then-resigning by the board in June.

Still, what this bill is proposing is clearly government overreach, Jackson said.

“It doesn’t address the needs of the students today, but it is in lockstep with not only the state legislature, but the state’s attorney general’s office,” he said.

The bill was introduced close to two years ago, so Jackson wants to know why it only got its first hearing once the Democrats took over.

“When you ask the people of the state of Ohio to vote for school board members, they’ve chosen majority of school board members that are affiliated with the Democratic Party,” Jackson said. “I absolutely think that that’s part of their calculus


Of course there was no effort to strip the Board of power in a one-party rule state until that power was threatened by Democrats. You'd have to be out of your gourd to believe otherwise. And now, Ohio Republicans will take that power for themsleves.

All the talk about independent councils and board above political influence, a state Supreme Court that's impartial and just, fair bipartisan redistricting, and hearing from the people on ballot measures were all lies by the most corrupt state party in the nation.

That's how the Buckeye State works now.

Klain Up At The White House

Both President Biden and lefty folks want White House Chief of Staff Ron Klain to stay on, a big signal that Biden's midterm shakeup may not be as dramatic as the pundits warned us. It also means that left-wing groups understand just how important Klain was to the major progressive steps Biden took on student loan debt, marijuana legalization, and climate change. 

President Joe Biden is enjoying an extended period of peacetime with the progressive wing of his party. But keeping it that way may depend on whether he can keep hold of his chief of staff.

Energized by the White House’s actions on key priorities such as climate, student debt and marijuana, progressives are openly rooting for Ron Klain to stay on as Biden’s top aide. And they view better-than-expected midterms as vindication of the president’s decision to pursue an expansive agenda.

“A lot of people see him as one of the few avenues they have to have a glimpse into the dynamics and considerations of what’s happening in the White House,” Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) said of Klain. “When I think about some of the conversations that build trust, build the sense of open communication, he’s usually part of that.”

An around-the-clock communicator who courted Democrats’ grassroots groups even before Biden took office, Klain has become a critical conduit between liberal leaders and the administration’s upper echelon, according to interviews with more than a dozen leaders and lawmakers on the left. He offers a level of access the left has rarely enjoyed — and that progressives now say will be crucial to maintaining a united Democratic front in the face of divided government.

The outpouring of support comes amid growing speculation over whether Klain will exit the White House, triggering a West Wing shakeup that could reshape the remainder of Biden’s presidency and reverberate through the Democratic Party. Biden has asked Klain to stay, a person familiar with the matter told POLITICO.

Progressives credit Klain with helping inject their proposals into the White House policy debate and building out an apparatus that’s put liberal allies in positions of power across government. Perhaps just as importantly, they said, he’s served as a high-level sounding board for the wing traditionally treated by the Democratic establishment with suspicion or outright derision — and won over liberals who once perceived Biden as out of touch with the progressive base.

“He was not my first or second choice for president, but I am a convert,” Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-Wash.), who heads the Congressional Progressive Caucus, said of Biden. “I never thought I would say this, but I believe he should run for another term and finish this agenda we laid out.”

Klain, who is in frequent touch with Jayapal, has served as lead ambassador to a wide array of progressive groups and lawmakers, with many saying they can count on him returning their emails and texts within 15 minutes — no matter the time of day. He often solicits feedback and ideas, readily walking advocates through Biden’s policy stances.

Of course, not all Democrats want Klain to stay.

That relentless engagement has at times unsettled more moderate Democrats, who question if Klain should focus more on broadening Biden’s appeal with swing voters — and boosting his approval ratings. In particular, Klain and Sen. Joe Manchin have found themselves at loggerheads on occasion, including when the West Virginia Democrat said he could not support Biden’s more ambitious domestic policy agenda, Build Back Better. The White House released a scorching statement about Manchin shortly thereafter, which set back talks on a scaled down bill and colored relations between the senator and the chief of staff.
So other than Joe Manchin and the GOP, yeah, Klain should stay. I think he should too.


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