Saturday, January 25, 2020

Ursula Faw

Ursula Faw
Ursula Faw is a former radio newscaster and talk show host. She's a law school graduate and did legal writing and trial preparation the last twenty years of her career. Ursula Faw (ursulafaw) is a top recommended writer on the blogging site Daily Kos.

Mike Pompeo Launches Into His Own Enemy Of The People Rant,...

Here we go, more polarization in government, but this story isn’t about the diametric opposition of the Republicans and Democrats, it’s about the ongoing War on Truth waged by the current administration against the press. Here with a gasoline can is Mike Pompeo, to make his contribution to the fray. If you missed the back story, Pompeo was interviewed by NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly, wherein he said to her, “Do you think anybody cares about Ukraine?” and used the F-word. Plus, he insulted her intelligence, saying she couldn’t even find Ukraine on a map. Now, Pompeo is livid that she didn’t keep his abuse off the record, but instead told it to Ari Melber. The Hill: “NPR reporter Mary Louise Kelly lied to me, twice. First, last month, in setting up our interview and, then again yesterday, in agreeing to have our post-interview conversation off the record,” Pompeo said in a statement released by the State Department. “It is shameful that this reporter chose to violate the basic rules of journalism and decency,” he continued, calling the incident “another example of how unhinged the media has become in its quest to hurt President Trump and this Administration.” “It is no wonder that the American people distrust many in the media when they so consistently demonstrate their agenda and their absence of integrity,” he added. Somebody’s unhinged, that much is certain, and I doubt it’s this NPR reporter, who was keeping things on and off the record long before Donald Trump and coterie ever came on the scene. It’s the knee jerk reaction of everybody in Trumpworld these days to excuse their actions by invoking a smoke screen of deep state paranoia, like it was a genie called on to protect them. None of them are doing anything wrong, ever, it’s just that there’s a conspiracy to make everybody associated with Trump look bad, oh no. So much for the party of personal responsibility,

Cipollone Has No Defense of Trump So He Attacks Adam Schiff

Denial is more than a river in Egypt, it is the White House’s defense strategy in the senate impeachment trial of Donald Trump. And that figures, because they have no defense, so denying that anything is wrong, and continuing their witch hunt narrative is the only card that they can play. Pat Cipollone said, “the president did absolutely nothing wrong” and then he went on to support that statement the only way that he could, by attacking Adam Schiff. When facts are absent, the only tools left are innuendo and tangents. This is what you’re going to see the next few days, get used to it. This “trial” is one sided. The Democrats put on a case, and the Republicans are going to sling mud and hope that it looks good on television and that’s that. This isn’t about law, this is Histrionics 101. The Hill: Cipollone began Saturday’s proceedings by reading directly from the transcript of Trump’s July 25 call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky, claiming Democrats misrepresented it, including by ignoring portions that showed Trump cares about burden sharing. The attorneys quickly showed a clip of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif) reading a parody account of the call, claiming it was “fake” – an early indication they would focus on criticizing Democrats in an effort to drive home their claim that the impeachment inquiry was motivated by partisan interests. The use of the clip is likely to satisfy Trump. The president spent the days after Schiff made the comments calling for the congressman’s resignation and suggesting he committed treason. Even months after the September hearing, Trump continues to bring up Schiff’s comments in interviews when railing against the impeachment proceedings. We’ve all heard the adage, “Democrats fall in love, Republicans fall in line,” with respect to how we feel about our candidates. Maybe that should be amended to, Democrats look at what’s real, Republicans don’t care about what’s real, they’ll go along with anything to stay in power. If that’s the case, and it certainly appears from this display Saturday morning that it is the case, then the Republican party is no longer a viable American political party, it’s a fascist cult, currently in the service of a wanna be dictator. Look for the “defense” in the Senate to consist of Sean Hannity-level monologues, because there is no way in hell that Cipollone and Sekulow can mount a factual or legal defense. There’s a legal aphorism, “if the facts are on your side, pound the facts, if the law is on your side, pound the law, if neither are on your side, pound the table.” You saw the pound the table level of legal argumentation in the House inquiry. Look for more of the same. Obfuscation, hyperbole and showmanship are what this defense is about, particularly the last element. It’s got to look good on television. And don’t forget what’s been lied about so far. Cipollone has already said that no Republicans were allowed in the SCIF room. Lie. Republican members of the Intelligence committee were present and they were allowed equal time to question witnesses. Next, Sekulow came up with his “trifecta” of wrongdoing. During the proceedings that took place before the Judiciary Committee, the president was denied the right to cross-examine witnesses, the president was denied the […]

Rick Wilson says the Common Rat Has More Courage Than Senate...

Welcome to a political system defined by violence, and no, we’re not talking about Game of Thrones, we’re talking about Trumpworld. As you may have read last night, in Adam Schiff’s final argument he mentioned Trump’s “head on a pike” remark, to the faux outrage of Republicans in the gallery. This was within hours of ABC breaking the story that it had a tape recording of Donald Trump, made by Igor Fruman, wherein Trump says, “Get her [Yovanovich] out tomorrow. I don’t care. Get her out tomorrow. Take her out. Do it.” Take her out. And he doesn’t mean dancing. He means sleep-with-the-fishes take her out. Pure mob speak and it’s not surprising because Donald Trump is not only a Hollywood wanna be, he’s a gangsta wanna be. He loves talking like a tough guy. And this was not the only threat that day. Marsha Blackburn and the right-wing press resumed attacks on Alexander Vindman. Rick Wilson, Daily Beast: Late Friday, news broke of the new Trumpworld threat du jour: that Lt. Col. Alexander Vindman should be arrested and court-martialed. After Tennessee Senator Marsha Blackburn tweeted out an attack on Vindman, Trump’s mighty media Wurlitzer ran with it, led by Fox (natch). Sean Davis of The Federalist (or as I think of it, “Gentry Breitbart”) tweeted, “Vindman deserves to be court-martialed.” This kind of messaging isn’t a coincidence. It’s not a throwaway line. This is the president’s crew showing that their opponents will “go through some things” if they don’t toe the line. (P.S. MAGAts, it’s Mike Flynn who’s going to jail, not Alexander Vindman.) When I saw that the president’s political team had threatened his own allies with the message, “Vote against the President and your head will be on a pike”, my first thought was that Steve Bannon’s latest batch of bathtub meth was a tad too strong, but on a moment’s reflection, I realized this was just where we are now as a nation. The Republicans senators live in cringing terror of a Trump-driven primary and of hostile tweets from his mob of mouth-breathing Yokel Haram followers. …But this is the moment where the inevitable signposts on the grotesque slide into authoritarian nationalism for which MAGA-world so clearly lusts meets the sweet cognitive dissonance of their actual character. If I, for instance, said, “Vote to cover up Donald Trump’s malfeasance and you’ll be eaten by wild dogs and have your skin flensed off while we sell your womenfolk into chattel slavery,” the fuck-your-feelings MAGA set would be weeping and rending their garments, insisting I had irreparably coarsened the political dialogue and affronted the dignity of the sacred position of the Senate and given Donald Trump a sad. This is exactly right. That’s what took place in the Senate Friday night. Adam Schiff dared to repeat a line from a news story and it was far from being the most inflammatory or perverse quote ever attributed to Donald Trump and senate Republicans were in need of a collective fainting couch, to gather their fragmented wits. There is some magic spell that Trump has cast upon them, which enables them to hear his outrageous non-stop insults as mere harmless banter and yet the very same words coming from a normal human being simply frosts them — as well they should. The craven cowards […]

Schiff Repeats ‘Head On A Pike’ Remark, ‘I Could Hear the...

Isn’t it fascinating how we have president* pussy-grabber in office, he who disparages people all day every day with sobriquets like “pencil neck” “fat Jerry” [Nadler] “crooked Hillary” and the like, yet Adam Schiff dares to repeat a line from a CBS News story and the gallery full of Republican senators falls out of their chairs? Suddenly, they are the most circumspect and demure people, and so easily shocked, oh my word. If hypocrisy were a radioactive element, the entire Republican party would be glowing in the dark and visible from outer space. The Hill: Though senators are supposed to sit silently during an impeachment trial, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), a crucial swing vote, could be seen looking to her colleagues next to her and shaking her head. – “That’s not true,” she said several times from her seat, loudly enough to be overheard from the Senate gallery. Of course she did. The truth burns Susan Collins like holy water burns Dracula. And she wasn’t alone, of course. Oh no, there was plenty of sanctimony to go around, for everybody to wallow in faux outrage with. Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska), also viewed as a potential swing vote, immediately knocked Schiff for his rhetoric, calling it “unnecessary.” – “That’s where he lost me,” Murkowski told reporters after the trial wrapped, adding that Schiff “overreached.” […] – But Republicans continued to verbally push back, with Sen. John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) overheard saying “no,” and Sen. Jim Risch (R-Idaho) overheard adding “that’s not true.” – Amid the verbal pushback, Schiff paused mid-sentence and turned toward the Republican side of the room, adding, “I hope it’s not true. I hope it’s not true.” And it gets better, still. The Republican caucus found the remark “insulting and demeaning.” They don’t feel insulted and demeaned having a standard bearer who exalts tyrants, on the one hand, while disparaging our allies, calling them everything from “weak” shoe smugglers to deadbeats to rapists and drug dealers, on the other. Oh, no, that’s just fine. But Congressman Schiff repeats a line from a news story that’s been out all day and Katie bar the door, the Republicans’ tender sensibilities are outraged. What a bunch of phonies. Sen. James Lankford (R-Okla.) said the remark was “one of the most remarkable moments.” “That is completely totally false, and all of us were shaking our heads ‘like where did that story come from’ and Adam Schiff just kept saying it,” he said. Lankford that “the whole room was visibly upset on our side of it. …That’s insulting and demeaning.” Where oh where could a story like that have come from? We know that Donald Trump never would say anything like that. He’s too refined and genteel and has too great a regard for the feelings of others to say such a thing. Right. – It’s just one more example, as if one more was needed, that It’s Okay If You’re A Republican. Devin Nunes or Gym Jordan or Doug Collins can rant like madmen and proselytize conspiracy theories all day and that’s just fine. Matt Gaetz can take over the SCIF room and order pizza, no problem. But Adam Schiff repeats a line of a news story and it’s pearl clutching and fainting couch time, because Republicans can operate like the sewer rats that they are, slashing with fangs and claws, but for Democrats it’s […]

Trump’s Only Comment On Impeachment Trial Is To Gripe About His...

This isn’t exactly unexpected, considering it’s coming from Donald Trump. The Democrats put forth a masterful show this week, great arguments, beautiful weaving of the facts with the law, multi media presentations, the works. Great substance, great form. And what does Trump take away from all this? This: After having been treated unbelievably unfairly in the House, and then having to endure hour after hour of lies, fraud & deception by Shifty Schiff, Cryin’ Chuck Schumer & their crew, looks like my lawyers will be forced to start on Saturday, which is called Death Valley in T.V. — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 24, 2020 If you caught Adam Schiff’s closing remarks Thursday night he made the compelling point that Trump should be removed because “he chose Rudy Giuliani over his intelligence agencies, he chose Rudy Giuliani over the head of the FBI…when all these people were telling him this Ukraine 2016 election stuff is kooky, crazy Russian propaganda, he chose to believe Rudy Giuliani over all of them…why would anybody in their right mind believe Rudy Giuliani over Christopher Wray? Because he wanted to and what Rudy was offering him was something that would help him personally. And what Christopher Wray was offering him was merely the truth.” Schiff went on to expound on the damage that Trump could do between now and the election if not removed from office. Schiff also made an obvious statement, but unfortunately one that is overlooked in this madcap era of Trump and that is, if what is right doesn’t matter anymore, then we are lost and the constitution won’t save us. That really is the lay of the land these days. In all events, while the rest of the world watched the impeachment hearings and pondered the facts and evidence, and listened to some very stirring rhetoric as well, all that Trump took away from the events of this week is that he’s getting screwed — again — because his defense team isn’t going to star in prime time. As idiotic as this sounds, this is the truth. Good night nurse. And may God help us in the days ahead, because the GOP is going to most probably vote to bar further witness testimony and to acquit this imbecile.  

Lamar Alexander Expected To Do A John McCain Moment and Vote...

During Watergate Tennessee Senator Howard Baker sided with Democrats against Nixon and now there’s talk of history repeating itself, with Lamar Alexander, 79, who will be retiring at the end of this year, breaking ranks and voting to hear witnesses at the Senate impeachment trial. Politico: Three GOP senators have expressed some level of support for calling witnesses, and if they joined all Democrats, it would result in a 50-50 tie and likely be defeated. Unless Chief Justice John Roberts shocked Washington by wading in with a tie-break, Democrats need one more Republican to break ranks and upend GOP plans for a swift Trump acquittal. That’s got both parties eagerly eyeing Alexander. He’s a retiring defender of the Senate as an institution who’s occasionally bucked his party, but he also counts Majority Leader Mitch McConnell as a longtime ally. He’s more hesitant to criticize Trump than are someother Republicans, but he also has said it was “inappropriate” for Trump to ask foreign governments to investigate his political opponents. […] “Inappropriate” is the least that can be said. Treasonous and corrupt are more like it. But, I do grasp the thinking here. If you’ve got a Republican senator who is even willing to go on record with “inappropriate” that is a ray of sunshine coming through a crack in an otherwise impenetrable wall. Like the drowning man grasping for the straw, we’ll take hope wherever we can find it. Democrats, meanwhile, are holding out hope that Alexander will be their hero in the mold of the late Sen. John McCain, whose extraordinary vote derailed the GOP’s effort to repeal Obamacare. Though Alexander would never blindside McConnell the way McCain did, he is widely believed to be a Republican who could be receptive to Democrats’ message that the Senate needs to hear more evidence. “There is an opportunity here for Sen. Alexander, who has long been a leader in crafting bipartisan resolutions to impasses, to play a significant, even a historic role,” said Sen. Chris Coons (D-Del.), who has spoken with Alexander about witness testimony. “He is so well-respected in his caucus that there are a number of other senators that are also looking to him.” Alexander is unlikely to be the 51st vote for witnesses and throw momentary control of the Senate to the Democrats. More likely, if he’s feeling the need to hear new evidence in the trial, other Republicans would join him and scramble plans on how to handle witnesses and documents. Hope springs eternal. Alexander is a longtime ally of McConnell, but now he’s expected to rise above that and do the right thing. Since he is retiring the end of the year, he may feel more free to vote his conscience than if he was running for reelection. On the other hand, letting Trump walk so that more more stacking of the courts with conservative judges can take place, may be voting his conscience. It’s interesting how this impeachment trial is playing out. Everybody knows that Trump is guilty as hell and that acquittal is in the bag, anyhow, but Democrats are searching in the dark corners to see if there’s a vote that they’ve overlooked, and hoping that maybe the senator in question has some special reason to vote for witnesses and uphold the rule of law […]

Mike Pompeo Heads To Ukraine To Do Damage Control, Nobody Looks...

Ukraine is not high on the list of this administration’s priorities. As a matter of fact, Ukraine would probably be on the list of countries that Donald Trump doesn’t even know the location of, but for the fact that he saw an opportunity to extort them into helping him out with the election. Remember, Trump is all transactional in his dealings with people. What can you do for me is the first, last, and only question. That said, on January 31, Mike Pompeo is going to Ukraine and people are wondering, what indeed can Ukraine do for Trump — this time? BuzzFeed: Ivan Yakovina, a foreign policy columnist for Ukraine’s Novoye Vremya newsmagazine, said one reason for Pompeo’s trip could be to make sure that “no bad surprises would come from Kyiv during the Trump Senate trial.” “I mean no word-to-word transcripts of the relevant phone calls or other documents will leak,” he said. “If I were him I would assure the Ukrainians that they will be rewarded if nothing unexpected happens during the trial. And punished if comrade Trump’s enemies will get some sort of help or comfort from Kyiv.” Bear in mind that career diplomats do not like Pompeo, and they don’t exactly trust him after seeing the way he’s let Marie Yovanovich be done so dirty. The ones who are left in Ukraine are certainly not looking forward to this trip. Several current and former embassy officials said they didn’t want Pompeo to visit the embassy when he had scheduled his previously planned visit, which was canceled because of heightened US–Iran tensions. Media reports at the time quoted State Department officials as saying that Pompeo wanted to avoid the embassy altogether and would hold meetings in his hotel. Some of those embassy officials described to BuzzFeed News a feeling of being demoralized, and said they have been ordered to keep a low profile amid the impeachment saga. The embassy is currently led on an acting basis by charge d’affaires Kristina Kvien, who took the lead after Bill Taylor vacated his temporary position on Jan. 2 — the day before Pompeo was first scheduled to visit Kyiv. Pompeo is expected to stay one night in Kyiv before departing to Minsk, Belarus, the three diplomatic sources said. Russia’s TASS news agency, citing the Belarusian Foreign Ministry, also reported Wednesday that Pompeo plans to visit Minsk on Feb. 1, as did Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty’s Belarusian service. The timing of the Minsk visit is interesting, since it comes as Trump is reportedly considering whether to impose travel restrictions on Belarusians. The timing of the Minsk visit is interesting indeed, and coupled with the impeachment trial in progress, one can only wonder. But then foreign affairs in the era of Trump is nothing is not inscrutable. In all events, it appears that Pompeo is off to spread the kind of sentiment that only members of the Trump administration can carry abroad, namely feelings of distrust, antipathy, and dread, in large measure. Trump and his people are beyond ugly Americans. They are grotesque Americans. And American foreign policy is in tatters. 

Prince Charles Snubs Mike Pence On Camera At World Holocaust Forum

Mike Pence probably should have stayed home with Mother and not gone to the World Holocaust Forum. As you will see from the :25 clip below, Prince Charles walked right past Pence, who had his arm outstretched for a handshake, and instead ignored him and went on to where Emmanuel Macron and others were standing and began speaking to them. Prince Charles appears to snub @VP Mike Pence at the #WorldHolocaustForum.⁰@VPPressSec contacted The Washington Examiner and told us “VP and Prince Charles spoke prior to entering the event floor and after his remarks as well.“ — Washington Examiner (@dcexaminer) January 23, 2020 Now Pence and the Prince may have in fact spoken earlier but that doesn’t negate the public snub. It’s clear that Pence had his hand out and drew it back. What’s intriguing is that the conservative Washington Examiner is publishing this story at all. This is the same conservative outlet that went on record yesterday praising Democratic Congressman Hakeem Jeffries for his speech at the Senate impeachment trial. Maybe the Trump administration has made the Examiner question whether they’re Trump people or conservatives. If that’s the case, it would appear that they’ve chosen the latter. This could get interesting. Trump used to give press releases to the Examiner to republish as news, and only stopped when that became a public embarrassment to the paper. So that Trump ploy didn’t work anymore. Then Kellyanne Conway get into a major set to with an Examiner reporter, and the reporter published a piece,‘Powerful Woman’ Kellyanne Conway Mocks and Threatens Reporter For Mentioning Her Husband. That’s an interesting profile of Conway, if you haven’t read it. Now, it doesn’t look like the Examiner is buying the White House’s whitewash of Pence’s public snub by Prince Charles. It’s interesting to see Trump support peel away, one fleck of paint at a time.  

Justin Amash Says ‘Senate Republicans Are Hearing Facts Of Case For...

This is beyond sobering. For a normal American to have ignored the facts of Donald Trump’s impeachment inquiry in the House, and all of the news stories that went before it, would be shocking. We would label such a person a complete dunce. But for a United States Senator to not know the facts of Trump and his machinations in Ukraine is beyond egregious. It is complete dereliction of duty. Nevertheless, that is apparently exactly what has been going on, as originally predicted by Justin Amash. Based on my experience with Republican colleagues in the House, I suspect that many Senate Republicans are hearing the facts of this case for the first time. — Justin Amash (@justinamash) January 23, 2020 How do we know this is true? Why, Louisiana’s John Kennedy just admitted it, that’s how. Kennedy adds: "Those of you who have sat through a trial before know that there are peaks and valleys. A trial is a narrative. It's a story and to really evaluate the consequences of the story you have to get the story." — Nicholas Fandos (@npfandos) January 23, 2020 “Senators didn’t know the case. They really didn’t.” Now that would be bad enough on it’s face, but for the fact that various senators, Kennedy foremost among them, have taken to the airwaves to defend Trump. Sanctimony and unctuousness are bad enough, but laid on with a trowel by people who don’t even know the facts of the case? The mind reels, it truly does. Every time I think I have pegged out the mind set of the Republican party, I find out that I am wrong, and that they are even yet more despicable, still.
Guardian News / YouTube John Bolton  s hawkish credentials...

Trump Can Forget About Blocking John Bolton’s Testimony, per 1974 Nixon...

Donald Trump is sweating John Bolton’s testimony and he’s going to sweat even more when he learns that a 1974 Supreme Court case destroys his executive privilege claim, and the claim of his defense team that to have Bolton testify would endanger national security. Trump, comically and true to form, can’t distinguish between national security concerns and gossip. Reuters: Trump, speaking in Davos, Switzerland on Wednesday, said Bolton’s testimony would pose national security concerns. “He knows some of my thoughts. He knows what I think about leaders. What happens if he reveals what I think about a certain leader, and it’s not very positive and I have to deal on behalf of the country?” the president asked. Trump, of course, has framed his concerns in noble terms on Fox News, telling Laura Ingraham on January 10 that he would invoke executive privilege, “I think you have to — for the sake of the office.” Too bad that the notion won’t hold water when put to the legal challenge. The U.S. Supreme Court ruled in a 1974 case involving a judicial subpoena to then-President Richard Nixon that a president’s need for confidentiality must be balanced against Congress’s need for testimony or documents. Nixon that year resigned as president in the Watergate corruption scandal. Legal experts said the Senate’s right to evidence is particularly strong when it is considering whether to remove a president as opposed to conducting routine executive branch oversight. […] Bolton’s testimony is “clearly critical to issues before the Senate, and that outweighs any privilege that applies,” said Michael Stern, a former lawyer for the House when the chamber was controlled by Republicans. Mark Rozell, a constitutional scholar who wrote a book about executive privilege, said he believes Bolton could be questioned without revealing sensitive national security information. “To me, it looks like the president is just trying to protect himself,” said Rozell, dean of George Mason University’s Schar School of Policy and Government in Virginia. Let’s see Alan Dershowitz argue his way out of this one. What it pretty much comes down to, is Senators will have the right to decide if they want to hear from Bolton, or Mick Mulvaney for that matter, after arguments have been heard. With Americans polling at well over 50% to hear from witnesses, that may force the hands of certain Republican senators to allow the testimony — or let the impeachment trial look like even more of a sham than it is. We’ll know when we get there whether politically vulnerable senators will choose to save themselves or go into the abyss protecting Donald Trump. And we’re not going to have to wait too much longer to find this out. It’s time for America to hear about “whatever drug deal Sondland and Mulvaney are cooking up” first hand.  

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