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Analysis | Lindsey Graham’s remarkably tepid defense of John McCain after Trump’s attacks
It would be one thing to stand up for McCain’s actual conduct or even to rebut specific allegations without mentioning Trump, but Graham does none of that here. It’s about as vanilla a defense as you could imagine. It’s the kind of thing you would expect from basically any senator who is forced into commenting on Trump’s controversies.

And to be clear, this isn’t just inside-baseball politics. This is the kind of thing that could affect McCain’s legacy inside the party whose nomination he won in 2008. Trump is accusing Graham’s friend of truly awful things: betrayal of the party and even a conspiracy to hijack an election. Graham says nothing about McCain’s “service will ever be changed or diminished,” but that’s what’s happening here.

Graham doesn’t seem willing to go there and risk a rift with Trump, given his own political considerations. But Trump is very much forcing him to choose between those two things. And the more Trump continues to attack a recently deceased war hero, the more difficult it would seem for Graham to continue playing this game. What happens when Trump accuses McCain of something even worse than conspiring with Democrats against him? Graham needs to ask how much he’s willing to turn a blind eye to.
LindseyGraham  JohnMcCain  politics  DonaldTrump  republicans  conservatives  from instapaper
yesterday by jtyost2
Secular Democrats Are the New Normal
Today’s white liberals don’t only talk about faith less than their predecessors did. They talk about it in a strikingly different way. Earlier Democrats invoked religion as a source of national unity. Bill Clinton declared in his 1992 convention speech, “There is no them; there’s only us. One nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.” In his 2004 convention keynote address, Obama famously announced, “We worship an awesome God in the blue states.” The implication was that religious observance was something Americans of both parties shared.

Today, by contrast, progressive white candidates more often cite religion as a source of division. In his announcement video, O’Rourke boasted that during his Senate campaign in Texas, “people allowed no difference, however great or however small, to stand between them and divide us. Whether it was religion or gender or geography or income, we put our labels and our differences aside.” The only reference to faith in Warren’s announcement speech was an acknowledgment that “we come from different backgrounds. Different religions.” The lone reference in Sanders’s was a call for “ending religious bigotry.” While white progressives once described religion as something that brought Americans together, they’re now more likely to describe it as something that drives them apart.

It’s not hard to understand why. For starters, the percentage of white Democrats who express no religious affiliation has skyrocketed. According to unpublished data tabulated for me last year by the Public Religion Research Institute (PRRI), 8 percent of white Democrats expressed no religious affiliation in 1990. By 2016, the figure was 33 percent. In 1990, white self-described liberals were 39 points more likely to describe themselves as Protestant than as religiously unaffiliated. By 2016, religiously unaffiliated beat Protestant by nine points.
religion  politics  usa  congress  democrats  republicans  poll 
2 days ago by jtyost2
Senate Republicans revolt against Trump over border - BBC News
Rebel members of President Donald Trump's party have helped pass a vote to reject his declaration of an emergency on the US-Mexico border.

Twelve Republican senators broke party ranks to side with Democrats, approving a proposal to revoke the proclamation by 59-41.

The Democratic-controlled House of Representatives last month backed the measure.

Following Thursday's vote, Mr Trump tweeted: "VETO!"

Congress needs a two-thirds majority of both chambers to override a presidential veto, which is viewed as unlikely in this case.

Nevertheless, the vote will be seen as an embarrassing loss for the president on his signature domestic issue.

On Twitter, Mr Trump slammed the vote, calling it a "Democrat inspired Resolution which would OPEN BORDERS while increasing Crime, Drugs and Trafficking in our Country".
republicans  politics  immigration  DonaldTrump  senate  congress  HouseOfRepresentatives 
3 days ago by jtyost2
House Votes, 420-to-0, to Demand Public Release of Mueller Report
House Republicans joined Democrats on Thursday to overwhelmingly demand the Department of Justice release to Congress and the public the full findings of the special counsel’s investigation into Russia’s interference in the 2016 election and the possible involvement of President Trump’s campaign.

Though the resolution is nonbinding and cannot force the Justice Department to take an particular action, Democrats who put it on the House floor are trying to build public pressure on Attorney General William P. Barr in advance of the investigation’s anticipated conclusion to share what Robert S. Mueller III produces. Far from standing in the way, Republicans joined Democrats en masse. On the 420-0 vote, four Republicans voted present.

“This report must see the light of day, must be available to the American public for a catharsis that will allow us to start with the facts, understand what happened and begin to rebuild the faith of the American people,” said Representative Jim Himes, Democrat of Connecticut and a senior member of the Intelligence Committee, which has undertaken its own Russia investigation.

Republicans called the resolution a waste of time, but they were unwilling to stand in its way. The four “present” votes were two libertarians who routinely oppose such resolutions, Representatives Justin Amash of Michigan and Thomas Massie of Kentucky, and two ardent Trump loyalists, Representatives Matt Gaetz of Florida and Paul Gosar of Arizona.
usa  congress  RobertMueller  politics  legal  DonaldTrump  fbi  republicans  democrats  ethics  scandal  russia 
4 days ago by jtyost2
Congress Has a Breaking Point. This Week, Trump Might Have Found It.
The rejection of Mr. Trump’s national emergency declaration could also give ammunition to a half-dozen legal cases challenging the president’s exercise of that power under the 1976 National Emergencies Act, said Jack L. Goldsmith, a Harvard law professor who led the Justice Department’s Office of Legal Counsel under President George W. Bush.

“Some judges may count that as evidence of congressional intent,” Mr. Goldsmith said, though he added that he disagrees with that view.

Dror Ladin, a staff lawyer for the American Civil Liberties Union, said Congress’s action would help convince federal judges that the president was acting illegally to fund his wall.

“This vote reinforces that the president has no right to that money,” Mr. Ladin said.

But as a political matter, Mr. Trump could use the congressional votes to his advantage on the 2020 campaign trail, portraying himself once again as the outsider candidate battling an unpopular Congress and the establishment in Washington.

Congress has for decades been what Ross K. Baker, a political scientist at Rutgers University, calls a “constitutional weakling” — excessively deferential to the president. But there have been moments in history where the legislative branch seeks to assert its power and relevance, particularly with respect to the military and foreign engagement.

That happened in the 1970s with the passage of the War Powers Act, which gave Congress the ability to compel the removal of military forces absent a formal declaration of war. Congress exerted its authority in 1991 and again in 2002, when it authorized the president to use military force in the run-up to both wars in Iraq.

In 2005, amid a public uproar over the torture of detainees, Congress tightened antitorture laws to ban the infliction of “cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment” on prisoners — including those held overseas by the C.I.A. — over the objections of President Bush.

Now the fight over wall funding may incite yet another round of congressional muscle-flexing. A number of Republicans are pushing legislation to claw back the powers that Congress gave the president in the National Emergencies Act, which Mr. Trump invoked to declare an emergency along the southwestern border.

“The Senate’s waking up a little bit to our responsibilities,” said Senator Lamar Alexander, Republican of Tennessee.
congress  politics  usa  immigration  legal  military  government  democracy  DonaldTrump  republicans  democrats  lawsuit  from instapaper
4 days ago by jtyost2
Senate Rejects Trump’s Border Emergency Declaration, Setting Up First Veto
The Senate on Thursday easily voted to overturn President Trump’s declaration of a national emergency at the southwestern border, delivering a bipartisan rebuke to what lawmakers in both parties deemed executive overreach by a president determined to build his border wall over Congress’s objections.

The 59-41 vote on the House-passed measures set up the first veto of Mr. Trump’s presidency. It was not overwhelming enough to override Mr. Trump’s promised veto, but Congress has now voted to block a presidential emergency declaration for the first time — and on one of the core promises that animated Mr. Trump’s political rise, the vow to build a wall between the United States and Mexico.

In an attempt to limit defections ahead of the vote, Mr. Trump had sought to frame the vote publicly as not only a declaration of support for his border security policies but a sign of personal loyalty.

“It’s pure and simple: it’s a vote for border security, it’s a vote for no crime,” Mr. Trump told reporters ahead of the vote, which he declared on Twitter to be “a vote for Nancy Pelosi, Crime and the Open Border Democrats!”

But he could not overcome concerns among Republican senators about the legality of redirecting $3.6 billion from military construction projects toward the border wall even after Congress explicitly rejected the funding request.

“I believe the use of emergency powers in this circumstance violates the Constitution,” said Senator Jerry Moran, Republican of Kansas, in a statement written on lined paper. “This continues our country down the path of all powerful executive — something those who wrote the Constitution were fearful of.”

Ultimately, about a dozen Republicans joined Senate Democrats in supporting the House-passed resolution of disapproval: Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, Roy Blunt of Missouri, Susan Collins of Maine, Mike Lee of Utah, Lisa Murkowski of Alaska, Rob Portman of Ohio, Mitt Romney of Utah, Marco Rubio of Florida, Patrick J. Toomey of Pennsylvania, Rand Paul of Kentucky, Roger Wicker of Mississippi, and Mr. Moran.

The vote marks an explicit rebuke of Mr. Trump’s effort to end-run the constitutional power of the purse given to Congress, and although supporters will not be able to overcome a veto, the action could bolster a number of lawsuits contesting the emergency declaration as a flagrant violation of the Constitution’s separation of powers.
legal  government  politics  senate  congress  HouseOfRepresentatives  republicans  democrats  DonaldTrump  immigration  lawsuit  from instapaper
5 days ago by jtyost2
Beto is playing to liberal fears about running a woman against Trump
The debate around how to defeat Trump has been largely about whether it’s better to run a man or a woman. But there’s more to it than gender. The question is about what Democrats expect from leaders.

O’Rourke can’t single-handedly change how Americans think about women and ambition. But he also doesn’t have to amplify the status quo in how he runs his campaign. He doesn’t have to talk about ambition as his right. Instead of making a slightly self-deprecating joke about leaving the parenting to his wife (while still being seen as a likable and decent person), he could try to address the underlying topic in an earnest and real way.

And as he gets into the race, he’ll have to decide how he challenges his female peers. Will he perpetuate stereotypes that hold women back? Or will he face them on issues and policy?

Even before several female Democratic candidates got into the race, they were the target of the same attack Clinton endured for years — that she’s only out for herself. And the attacks were coming from inside their own tent. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has been accused of pressuring Sen. Al Franken to resign over allegations of sexual misconduct as a personal play. Sen. Kamala Harris was targeted by a Twitter campaign that started as a policy critique but took personal turns into her supposed secret motivations. Sen. Amy Klobuchar has faced criticism for how she supposedly treats her staff. While some of it was truly bad boss behavior, the critiques were rooted in the idea that she put herself and her ambition first.

If these old sexist lines continue, Democrats could leave a mark on their field of female stars heading into 2020. What does O’Rourke plan to do?
BetoORourke  politics  feminism  gender  democrats  republicans  DonaldTrump  election  from instapaper
5 days ago by jtyost2
12 Senate Republicans just helped Democrats block Trump’s border wall national emergency
A staggering 12 Senate Republicans have officially voted to block President Donald Trump’s declaration of national emergency, highlighting a marked split between GOP lawmakers and the White House on the president’s attempt to obtain more funding for his border wall.

Sens. Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski, Rand Paul, Mitt Romney, Mike Lee, Lamar Alexander, Jerry Moran, Pat Toomey, Rob Portman, Roger Wicker, Roy Blunt, and Marco Rubio ultimately joined with Democrats to vote for a resolution terminating the president’s national emergency. As many as 10 Republicans were reportedly considering breaking with Trump on the subject, and even more wound up actually doing so, leading to a final 59-41 vote.

It’s the second time in as many days that Senate Republicans have directly confronted the president: On Wednesday, seven Republican senators voted in favor of a resolution to end US involvement in Saudi Arabia’s war in Yemen, a measure that Trump is also expected to veto.

Both chambers of Congress have now passed the national emergency resolution, which would end the emergency if the president decides to sign it. But Trump has said he won’t, and though a number of Republicans opposed the resolution, not enough did to get to a veto-proof threshold. It’s the first time in US history that Congress has voted to terminate a president’s national emergency, and Trump is very much set to shoot down the measure.

Trump’s anticipated vetoes on the national emergency resolution and the Yemen resolution would be the first of his presidency. The Senate’s votes on both highlight a Republican Party that’s suddenly more open to breaking with the Oval Office.
senate  HouseOfRepresentatives  congress  republicans  politics  DonaldTrump  immigration  military  democracy  usa  government  democrats  from instapaper
5 days ago by jtyost2
Senate votes to end US support of Saudi-led Yemen war - BBC News
The US Republican-led Senate has approved a bill to end US support for the Saudi-led coalition war in Yemen.

The bipartisan vote was 54 to 46, and is a rebuke to President Donald Trump's support of Saudi Arabia and its leader despite recent tensions.

Mr Trump has vowed to veto the resolution should it pass through the Democrat-led Congress.

The war in Yemen started in 2015 and has left thousands of Yemenis dead and millions more starving.

The US sells weapons used by the Saudis and its military provides logistical and intelligence support to the coalition for drone strikes.
saudiarabia  usa  government  congress  republicans  military  diplomacy  DonaldTrump  MohammedBinSalman 
6 days ago by jtyost2
Bubba the Love Sponge, the shock radio host on the Tucker Carlson tapes, explained
Between the Gawker episode, his various controversies, firings, and lawsuits over the years, Clem’s financial situation seems to have declined rapidly. Recent profiles have painted him as having fallen from national prominence, focusing on his dwindling finances and his difficulties staying on the air.

In 2011, Clem reportedly walked away from his Sirius hosting gig due to salary cuts by the network. Though he moved to another internet streaming site, he seems to have siloed himself from more mainstream radio hosting opportunities in the years since.

But it’s possible that staying out of the mainstream is paradoxically keeping him relevant to conservative America. Despite the profiles chronicling his decline, what’s remarkable about Clem is just how high-profile he still seems to be among certain listeners. He still has a daily radio show in Tampa, which also streams live on Twitch, where he has a respectable 2.2 million total views. Moreover, his particular blend of shock humor, reportedly licentious lifestyle, and a certain flavor of white American culture still seems to generate a striking collection of moments that intertwine with national American politics.

For instance, in 2007, Clem interviewed porn actress Stormy Daniels and openly spoke to her about her alleged sexual liaisons with Donald Trump. The details of that interview resurfaced last year. Clem’s on-air phone calls with Carlson may have ended years ago, but his friendship with the pundit hasn’t. And last month, he had a different guest caller who represents yet another facet of the interplay between conservative politics, white Americana, and the media: powerful, shadowy political consultant Roger Stone, days before special counsel Robert Mueller indicted Stone and arrested him on charges pertaining to Mueller’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

That Clem has managed to keep his fingers in so many political pies while drifting further afield of mainstream radio suggests that he is perhaps more in lockstep with a certain sort of national politics than with mainstream culture itself.

At this point, it’s possible we shouldn’t be asking who Bubba the Love Sponge is, but who and what else Bubba the Love Sponge knows.
culture  politics  conservatives  republicans  radio 
6 days ago by jtyost2
The GOP’s deeply flawed paid family leave plan, explained
Republicans in Congress are trying to revive a flawed plan to give working parents paid maternity and paternity leave.

Sens. Joni Ernst (R-IA) and Mike Lee (R-UT) announced details of their proposal Tuesday, called the Cradle Act, which they describe as the best option for paid leave because it doesn’t create “a massive mandated government program.”

But the truth is, it’s not paid leave at all. It’s another version of unpaid leave that working parents in the United States would have to fund themselves.

Here’s how it would work: The Cradle Act would let workers access some of their Social Security retirement income in advance to make up for some of the wages they would lose when taking parental leave. Workers would still bear the cost of taking time off — by delaying their retirement by twice as many months as they took off for parental leave. Someone who takes the maximum three months off, for example, would need to delay their Social Security retirement by six months.

The bill is nearly identical to a bill Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) proposed last year, called the Economic Security Act for New Parents, with support from White House adviser Ivanka Trump. They didn’t get enough bipartisan support for it, so it went nowhere.

Now the GOP is trying to resurrect a slightly different version of the same plan, hoping it will satisfy the growing public demand for a federal paid leave program.

The United States is the only industrialized country that doesn’t guarantee paid parental leave to working parents, and Republicans and Democratic voters overwhelmingly support the creation of such a program. The problem is that no one seems to agree on how to pay for it, and Republicans don’t want to make businesses chip in.

Instead, the Cradle Act would raid the Social Security Trust Fund, which is already at risk of being depleted. Ernst and Lee say their plan will address that by moving money from other parts of the budget to cover the borrowed Social Security funds until they are repaid — a move that would likely expand the already ballooning budget deficit.
politics  republicans  government  usa  budget  socialsecurity  familyplanning  economics  from instapaper
6 days ago by jtyost2
Trump said he wouldn’t cut Medicaid, Social Security, and Medicare. His 2020 budget cuts all 3.
President Donald Trump’s 2020 budget breaks one of his biggest campaign promises to voters: that he would leave Medicaid, Social Security, and Medicare untouched.

“I’m not going to cut Social Security like every other Republican and I’m not going to cut Medicare or Medicaid,” Trump told the Daily Signal, a conservative publication affiliated with the Heritage Foundation, in 2015.

Over the next 10 years, Trump’s 2020 budget proposal aims to spend $1.5 trillion less on Medicaid — instead allocating $1.2 trillion in a block-grant program to states — $25 billion less on Social Security, and $845 billion less on Medicare (some of that is reclassified to a different department). Their intentions are to cut benefits under Medicaid and Social Security. The impact on Medicare is more complicated, which I’ll get into a bit later.

Over time, the Trump administration tried to whittle down the president’s promise to just Social Security and Medicare. Office of Management and Budget Deputy Director Russ Vought said Monday, March 11, that Trump is “keeping his commitment to Americans by not making changes to Medicare and Social Security.” But even that is not true.

Like “every other Republican,” Trump has repeatedly proposed and supported cutting these programs. The White House did not respond to a request for comment.
republicans  DonaldTrump  socialsecurity  medicaid  medicare  usa  government  budget  from instapaper
7 days ago by jtyost2
Defying Congress, Trump Plans to Renew Fight for Border Wall Funding
President Trump will ask Congress on Monday for additional funding to build a wall along the United States border with Mexico, a top administration official said on Sunday.

The request, which will come as part of Mr. Trump’s fiscal 2020 budget proposal, is certain to reignite a conflict with Democrats that led to a record-long government shutdown this year. Mr. Trump had previously requested $5.7 billion to build a wall but was rebuffed by both Democrats and Republicans, who approved a spending bill that did not include the funding.

That resulted in Mr. Trump declaring a national emergency on the border with Mexico to access billions of dollars that Congress refused to give him to build a wall there.
DonaldTrump  immigration  budget  government  usa  politics  republicans  from instapaper
8 days ago by jtyost2
Shuja Haider: Eli Valley is Not Sorry (Popula)
ideally she could have phrased things to avoid any unintentional or momentary overlap with the historic vernacular of antisemitism. But what she said doesn’t make her an antisemite. People are making it a big deal because they’re pretending Israel equals Jews, and antisemitism is now defined as criticism of AIPAC and Likud. When talking about fealty to Israel, by, let’s be honest, mostly fucking Evangelicals, okay, the language can unfortunately overlap, or be confused with, this mythology. And if we were operating in good faith—and I’m thinking especially of Democrats here—we could have her back and help her understand these nuances instead of appeasing right-wing creeps with show trials.
comics  antisemitism  nazis  republicans 
8 days ago by matthewmcvickar
The bogus number at the center of the GOP’s Green New Deal attacks
Republicans claim the Green New Deal would cost $93 trillion — a number that would dwarf the economic output of every nation on Earth.

The figure is bogus.

But that isn’t stopping the eye-popping total from turning up on the Senate floor, the Conservative Political Action Conference and even “Saturday Night Live” as the progressive Democrats’ sweeping-yet-vague vision statement amps up the political conversation around climate change.

The number originated with a report by a conservative think tank, American Action Forum, that made huge assumptions about how exactly Democrats would go about implementing their plan. But the $93 trillion figure does not appear anywhere in the think tank’s report — and AAF President Douglas Holtz-Eakin confessed he has no idea how much exactly the Green New Deal would cost.
republicans  politics  democrats  climatechange  from instapaper
8 days ago by jtyost2

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