Open thread Nov. 16, 2018 Dan Crawford | November 16, 2018 7:18 am Tags: open thread Comments (11) | Digg Facebook Twitter |
Republicans are evil. And people that vote for Republicans(or who do not vote for Democrats) are evil.
“Wednesday, we explored the career timeline of Matthew Whitaker, the man whom Donald Trump, American president, appointed acting attorney general after firing Jeff Sessions the day after the midterms. Trump passed over multiple Senate-confirmed officials in the actual line of succession to pick Whitaker, who’d become Sessions’s chief of staff close to a year earlier after repeatedly going on CNN to defend Trump against the Russia probe with the expressed intent of getting the president’s attention and a job. Even some conservative legal commentators have suggested his appointment was unconstitutional, and the state of Maryland is suing to that effect.
This was about as blatant a move to obstruct the investigation as the president could have made. Whitaker is an obvious Trump loyalist and longtime Republican operative who time after time attacked the special counsel’s investigation, including by promoting a story suggesting Robert Mueller’s team was a “lynch mob.” Whitaker has close ties to Sam Clovis, a grand-jury witness in the probe who advised him to start going on CNN to catch Trump’s eye.
After he got the job as Sessions’s chief of staff, Whitaker was described by Trump Chief of Staff John Kelly as the White House’s “eyes and ears” in the Justice Department—an assault on the department’s independence and the rule of law. And even well before all this, Whitaker allegedly politicized a federal investigation as a U.S. attorney in Iowa, participated in scams and grifts in his business dealings, and once flexed his background in federal law enforcement to run protection for a company—of which he was on the board—that the Federal Trade Commission fined $26 million and shuttered as a criminal enterprise.
Still, no matter how clear something is, it helps to hear it from the horse’s mouth. The President of the United States, who once said on national television he was considering “the Russia thing” when he fired FBI Director James Comey, was happy to oblige in a typically freewheeling interview with The Daily Caller. As first flagged by journalist Brian Beutler, Trump seized on a softball question to spill the beans on Whitaker’s appointment.
THE DAILY CALLER: Sure. Could you tell us where your thinking is currently on the attorney general position? I know you’re happy with Matthew Whitaker, do you have any names? Chris Christie —
POTUS: Matthew Whitaker is a very respected man. He’s — and he’s, very importantly, he’s respected within DOJ. I heard he got a very good decision, I haven’t seen it. Kellyanne, did I hear that?
WHITE HOUSE ADVISER KELLYANNE CONWAY: 20 pages.
POTUS: A 20 page?
THE DAILY CALLER: It just came out right before this, sir.
POTUS: Well, I heard it was a very strong opinion. Uh, which is good. But [Whitaker] is just somebody who’s very respected.
I knew him only as he pertained, you know, as he was with Jeff Sessions. And, um, you know, look, as far as I’m concerned this is an investigation that should have never been brought. It should have never been had.
It’s something that should have never been brought. It’s an illegal investigation. And you know, it’s very interesting because when you talk about not Senate confirmed, well, Mueller’s not Senate confirmed.
THE DAILY CALLER: Right.
The president just admitted, unprompted, that he fired the head of the Justice Department and installed a loyalist over a Justice Department investigation into him and his associates. This is obstruction. This is corrupt. This is an untenable assault on the rule of law in a democratic republic. And the Republican majorities in Congress—to say nothing of his base—will happily let him get away with it.”
Donald Trump bragged he could go out on Fifth Avenue and shoot someone and not lose any supporters. Normal political humans, conversely, often have elections pulled out from under them over some last minute revelations of fairly peripheral interest: Gary Hart having a girlfriend (aah!) to Hillary’s irresponsible email practices (ooh!).
President Trump now talks to the world on an unsecured cell phone – laughs off sex assault allegations. Smoked but did not inhale: not his style. Are these upside down politic outcomes due to differences in candidates – or differences in issues?
According to Ben Bradlee Jr.’s book The Forgotten, the discontented Democrats’ decisive issues are: alienation, alienation, alienation.
Somebody needs to tell “the forgotten” (and everybody else) that even if their Donald were constructed of kind-hearted presidential timber (even if he were another honest Abe) he could not turn their fortunes around as long as America remains denuded of labor unions.
I’ve been yelling lately for federally mandated union certification elections at every private (non-gov) workplace – one, three or five year cycles; local plurality rules. (not my idea)
Been hollering that once routine labor organizing efforts are dead – forever – in the only modern economy I know of where employers are capable of (illegally) squashing every unionizing effort. And have been pursuing that wholeheartedly for two generations — to the point only the most militant or naturally robust 6% of American private employees remain union members.
Blockading labor union formation has become an inseparable part of our labor market DNA (our economic retrovirus). Even if US law got around to making union busting a felony (not required in any other modern economy) and even if we hired (tens of) thousands of enforcement agents, anti-union employers could just laugh it all off. What is the government going to do, lock up millions of owners and managers – the entrepreneurial heart of our economy?
I thought I had the killer economic argument for mandated union elections there. I thought the killer political lock was that any proposal that tries to so deeply re-shape politics and economics could not be bumped aside by the latest over blown episode (think “George W. Bush regrets driving under the influence of alcohol 24 years ago.” WashPost; Nov. 3, 2000).
The (hopefully) killer insight of this essay is that Donald Trump got there first – on alienation, alienation, alienation – but Democrats can get there bestest, with the genuine mostest.
According to NY Times Nate Cohn: “[Mr. Obama] would have won Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin each time even if Detroit, Cleveland and Milwaukee had been severed from their states and cast adrift into the Great Lakes.” Talking 2012 election v. Wall Street Romney — same story 2008, v. blue collar McCain. Mssrs Gephart and Dukakis took a nosedive in 1988 MIchigan to Jesse Jackson’s 54%.
Offer “the forgotten” (and everybody else) non-subliminal, consciously directed relief to the specific roots of their powerlessness and Elizabeth Warren can water balloon folks on Fifth Avenue all day long and not lose a single vote. :-O
Democrats are evil. And people that vote for Democrats(or who do not vote for Sanders) are evil.
Opinions everyone has one!
So, employers are “capable of squashing every unionizing effort” are they? Tell that to the men (and women) who formed the unions to begin with. Tell that to Norma Rae. Tell that the the men who I stood with in front of the gates of a steel plant in 1964 holding axe handles and facing a phalanx of armed police telling us to disband. We told them to go ahead and start shooting, that they would get some of us, but that we would get all of them. They did not fire and we did not disband.
Today’s workers can do the same thing we did, but they have to have courage and determination. They have to be willing to take risks. They have to be willing to endure hardship. We were all of those things. Today’s workers are none of those things. They want the benefits of a union but they want the government to do the heavy lifting for them.
Yes, and some people never display any proof of their opinions. Like you.
To quote Jimmy Hoffa (tough enough for you?): “A union is a business.” There should be no more heroics retired to form a union than to open a candy store. There isn’t in any other modern economy — no expert here, but from whatever examples I’ve seen over the years. In Denmark, for instance, a single contract is negotiated between fast food workers and all all fast food outlets (sector wide labor agreements, a.k.a., centralized bargaining). No law requires it; they are just civilized.
Centralize bargaining is often (mostly?) legally required in Germany — forcing Walmart to close 88 big boxes when they could not compete paying the same wages and benefits.
No Norma Rae stories in Western Europe (nor Canada I think) — no need arises. (Centralize bargaining practiced in Argentina and even Indonesia.)
It’s all about money and how to get it. If McDonald’s can pay $15/hr with 33% labor costs — then — Walgreen’s and Target can pay $20/hr with 10-15% labor costs — and — Walmart can pay $25/hr with 7% labor costs. Right now all these employees’ union voting is being (illegally remember — hard to remember since the penalties are zilch) suppressed.
The ultimate squeeze should be between the employee and the consumer — not between the employee and employer. The consumer is who the contract should be ultimately negotiated with — which is the purpose of a union. It’s about supply and demand, not manning the barricades . There’s a testosterone premium there, true.
I remember a contract meeting called in 1970 for all the members by Teamsters 804 local president (later national president) Roe Carey. He told us Gimble’s (furniture warehouse) offered $17 a week over three years ($114 today) but called a strike to hold out for $18: “I’m not saying there’s a dollar there.” I was pretty sure there was a dollar there (there was) and that he was just giving these strike happy guys a chance to act out. You can still have your fight but it should come in a balanced power bargaining situation — not just a losing fight in this country to bargain at all.
you need to disprove my opinions.
The debate ref just tossed you.
Yeah, I’m gonna spend a lot of time proving your negatives for you. A guy whose biggest issue is military spending and rants on and on about the % of Dems that voted for it while ignoring the % of Reps that voted it for it.
You are so fen transparent. And a waste of protoplasm.
So, in order to be “non negative” you need to refrain from calling a theft a theft.
“But we’re reviving it just this once because of this interesting moment that occurred on Meet The Press between Chuck Todd and the recently re-elected Senator Sherrod Brown of Ohio. Under discussion was the manner in which Georgia Secretary of State Brian Kemp used the power of his office to help him finagle his way to the governorship over Democratic candidate Stacey Abrams.
TODD: Let me start with you were out this week, talking about another race in 2018. And it was in Georgia and Stacey Abrams. It was before she had acknowledged her defeat. She has now admitted defeat, didn’t call it a concession. But I want to ask you about something you said this week about Georgia. Let me play it.
SEN. SHERROD BROWN: If Stacey Abrams doesn’t win in Georgia, they stole it. It’s clear. It’s clear. And I would say, I say that publicly. It’s clear.
TODD: Strong language to throw that out there. You believe, today, that this is a stolen race, that basically, Brian Kemp is, is somebody who’s illegally governor right — or governor-elect of Georgia.”
It is here where Sunday Showz protocol demands that the politician cavil, hedge, or otherwise walk his argument back over his own feet. However, Senator Brown wasn’t playing that.
BROWN: Well, I think you look at the lead-up to this election as secretary of state — and I was the secretary of state in Ohio 30 years ago. I know what you do, as secretary of state. You encourage people to vote. You don’t purge millions of voters. You don’t close down polling places in rural areas where voters have difficulty getting to the polls, which were mostly low-income areas. You don’t do what Republicans are doing all over the country.
And you’ve seen it, Chuck. You’ve seen the kind of voter suppression that, all over this country. And you end with the secretary of state of Georgia should have recused himself from running that election, as Jimmy — as former — Georgia resident, former-President Jimmy Carter said he should. And clearly, he did everything he could to put his thumb on the scale and won that election, quote unquote, “won” that election by only about a point.””
Chuck Todd was appropriately dismayed. But Senator Brown wasn’t playing that, either.
TODD: I guess I would ask this. Couldn’t you bring up all of those, all of those issues, lay all of that out, without using the word, stolen? And I throw that out there, because we have enough distrust in our institutions as it is…Does that add to it?
BROWN: Okay, Chuck. Don’t do the false equivalency of, of, of, the, you know, the lack of respect in institutions. I mean, we have a president that attacks your profession day after day after day. You, if you saw the earlier part of my election-night speech, you would’ve heard me thank the media. And you would’ve seen hundreds of people in Ohio, on the Democratic — at this election-night gathering, turn around and clap for the media. We see a president that goes after the courts, that goes after the judicial system, a president that says, as the votes were counted, that something’s been wrong with the elections. He criticizes the elections that way. So don’t play this false equivalency. Because a former secretary of state, like me, said that about this election, which clearly is an effort to suppress the vote, not of people that look like you and me, Chuck–
CHUCK TODD: Right.
BROWN: –but people of color especially. And it’s happened. Now spend your air time– I don’t mean to lecture–”
[Ed. Note: Feel free to lecture, senator. I’m just making some more popcorn over here.]
TODD: No, no, no, I, look —
BROWN: — but spend your airtime critical of those people who are trying to suppress the vote.”
This is not to single out Chuck Todd. His interplay with Brown was merely the most obvious public manifestation of dismay over the senator’s quite accurate assessment of what happened in Georgia. More than a few pearls were clutched over Brown’s choice of language.
Rick Hasen, the election-law guru, writing in Slate, made the same argument at greater length. I confess I don’t follow Hasen’s line of thought at all. He seems to be arguing that calling the election in Georgia “stolen,” as Brown clearly did, undermines the fight against suppressing the vote, as Kemp clearly did. I’m unclear how this is the case.
“First, rhetoric about stolen elections feeds a growing cycle of mistrust and delegitimization of the election process’……
I mean, holy hell. Because Kemp used the power of the office he held to help himself gain the office to which he was aspiring, this means that he could not be said to have “stolen” the election, even as a shorthand designation for his clearly corrupt conduct?
And as for the growing cycle of distrust and delegitimization, that’s already been underway for some time, as Rick Hasen’s previous work has demonstrated. In our current historical moment, it began with the Supreme Court’s decision in Bush v. Gore. Do the people making the tone-police argument on this issue really believe that the Georgia voters who showed up at their polling place only to find that it had been closed, and who then went out of their way to the nearest one only to find that they couldn’t vote because the hyphen in their last name really was a dash, wouldn’t say their votes were “stolen,” and that, therefore, the election was, too? They don’t need Sherrod Brown to believe that, I assure you.
Hasen also seems to misunderstand the nature of El Caudillo Del Mar-A-Lago, too. If the Democratic Party tries to temper its rhetoric based on whatever the most recent egregious lie has emerged from the presidential* gob, the Democratic Party is going to have a nervous breakdown. The president, because he is both corrupt and something of a dunce, will say what he’s going to say regardless of how temperate the Democratic response is. Sometimes, blunt instruments have to be met with blunt instruments.
Yeah, I’ll pay attention to people who think I should be nice and not call a theft a theft. Just like I’ll pay attention to racists and people who vote for racists getting upset if I call them racists.
As Pierce says, sometimes you need blunt instruments. At least my instruments are words, not closed polls, missing registrations, and missing extension cords. Those are far, far worse.
This: “Couldn’t you bring up all of those, all of those issues, lay all of that out, without using the word, stolen? And I throw that out there, because we have enough distrust in our institutions as it is…Does that add to it?” should have applied to Kemp and Todd more so than Brown. What is the reasoning for a secretary of state still administering an election and checking voter roles while running for governor? Layout the reasoning why Kemp would be the man other than he was Secretary of State. Kemp did steal the election.
Yes, MBS is guilty. And so is ……
“Most of the public fascination surrounding the legal ordeal of President Trump has attached itself to whether (or, more accurately, how successfully) his campaign colluded with Russia. Much less attention has fixated on the question of Trump committing obstruction of justice in office.
This isn’t because obstruction is less serious an offense. Quite the opposite: It’s the very crime that drove President Nixon from office. Rather, it’s paradoxically because the obstruction is so public and naked that it’s been robbed of its mystery. The collusion question has enough hidden tangents to create some compelling drama about the outcome, even if the basic contours are clear. Collusion is more interesting than obstruction for the same reason that the romantic travails of Ross and Rachel are more compelling than those of two people in a porno.
But obstruction is still sitting right there. The latest reminder comes in the form of an analysis in the legal blog Lawfare co-authored by James Baker, who until late 2017 served as general counsel of the FBI. The putative subject of the piece is the Watergate “road map,” which detailed Special Prosecutor Leon Jaworski’s grounds for impeaching Nixon. But the real subject of the analysis is Trump, whose offenses appear strikingly similar….
Obviously, those of us on the outside can’t know what Trump may have done in secret. But we do know that he is rather fond of obstructing justice. Trump fired James Comey after, according to Comey, telling him to go easy on the first target in the Russia investigation and attempting to secure Comey’s personal loyalty. He then casually confessed on television that he did this over the Russia investigation. He then repeatedly demanded his Attorney General stop the investigation (again, in public!).
Then Trump replaced Sessions with Matt Whitaker, a hack who had proclaimed Trump’s innocence. Despite reports showing Trump had met with Whitaker more than a dozen times (and discussed the Russia investigation with him), Trump rather suspiciously told reporters that he does not know Whitaker. Even more suspiciously, he claimed to have knowledge of the “inner workings” of the Mueller investigation.
In the context of all of the above, it’s fairly striking that somebody who worked at the FBI during some of this period is writing historical essays about a president who used his contacts with a Department of Justice staffer to interfere in an investigation into his own conduct. It is also striking that this person highlights the role of the president dangling a possible promotion to the official he was working, given that Trump has given a huge promotion to Whitaker. At minimum, the sorts of crimes committed by Nixon and described by Jaworski in his memo seem like the kind of thing Trump would do.
For all the obstruction that’s lying around in plain sight, there may be more to be revealed by Robert Mueller.”