Sen. Richard Blumenthal pointed on Sunday to President Donald Trump's intention to oust another inspector general—this time of a Department of Health and Human...
*Correction* In the article below, I reference the Founding Fathers as having built the 8 year term limit or Presidents into the constitution. It was pointed out to me in a comment that the term limit was not begun as a constitutional amendment until 1947. Since it would be almost impossible to rewrite the first three paragraphs, I’m leaving them as is, but acknowledging the error up front, so readers are aware. My apologies for my error. You know, if I could climb into a time machine, and go back to colonial days, the first thing I would do would be to collect the Founding Fathers all together in one place, and buy them all a Sam Adams while I regaled for hours about their brilliance in the way that they set up the government that has made us the envy of the world for 243 years. And then I’d ask them one simple question. If there was one thing that worried the Founding Fathers more than any other, it was that no matter what kind of a system of government they set up, we’d once again find ourselves struggling under the yoke of an imperial ruler. And so, when it came to the President, like the replicants in Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, they built a fail safe into the system, an eight year life span. The perfect solution to the perfect pain in the ass, pull the plug after eight years. My question to the Founding Fathers would be, Why, if you were so worried about having us live under an imperial ruler after our life and death struggle, and take steps to ensure that we couldn’t end up with just another king by another name, did you not take the logical next step, and spare us from living under the yoke of a permanent class of temporal princes? Sweet Jesus, you lived in a time when monarchies were the coin of the realm as far as governance was concerned. Well did you know that in many cases, it was the close advisers and high level functionaries of government that actually held sway, and set up self serving policies that they then foisted off on a persuadable monarch. How could you not take the steps to eliminate that possibility, by placing limits on the service of our legislators as well? Look, Tom Steyer is not my first choice for the Democratic nomination for President, hell, he isn’t even my 11th. But Tom Steyer is 100% correct about one thing, the time is long past this country having term limits for all serving federal elected officials, and if the only way to do that is through a constitutional amendment, then so be it, and get cracking on it! Public service was never meant to be a lifetime gig. As anybody who has ever volunteered for a worthy cause for an extended period of time well knows, putting the needs of others over your own is hard work, especially when the compensation doesn’t match the frustration and stress level. And elected officials are not lavishly paid. Public service was set up for civic minded people to get in, make a positive difference, and then go back to their lives. But instead, it has morphed into a lifelong ride on the gravy train of power, influence, and wealth. The current […]
This is my favorite time of the year. After spending three years basically sitting around, using their thumbs to conduct self colonoscopies, members of both chambers of congress, the House and the Senate, remove the aforementioned thumbs, wipe them off, and desperately try to get something, anything done, so that they have at least one positive accomplishment to show the voters when they scurry back home net year to beg for another round of suckling at the public teat. It’s official. Both the US House and the US Senate are working separately on drug pricing bills, with Trump keeping an eagle eye on the process from the White House. Yeah, right. I think we all pretty well know by now that the only thing that His Lowness keeps an eagle eye on is the driveway of the White House, waiting for the Grubhub truck to pull up. But this is important. It’s important not only because of the actual subject of the bill, and its importance to millions of Americans, but even more so, it is critically important because of the process that is being used to craft this particular piece of legislation. And as with all things in Washington DC, the devil is in the details. Normally, legislation originates in the House. They write the bill, whine about it, tack all kinds of unnecessary shit onto it, whine about it some more, and then vote to pass it. If it passes, it moves on to the Senate, where, if things are working properly (ha, ha), the Majority leader calls it to the floor for debate and a vote. If it passes, it goes to the President’s desk for his signature. If the Senate tinkers with it and passes it, it goes back to the House for another vote on the amended bill. It’s all a very dignified, slow motion waltz, with all of the attendant pomp and circumstance. But this time is different, because this time, each chamber is working on a separate bill on the same issue. Even the rocket rangers in congress realize that it’s stupid and self defeating to sit there and pass two different bills on the same subject back and forth to each other to vote on, so there’s a completely separate process for handling this kind of congressional kerfuffle. And that process is called reconciliation. Here’s how it works. Each chamber will craft, debate, and pass its own version of the bill. Once both bills are passed in their respective chambers, the majority and minority leaders in both chambers will appoint a team of crack negotiators, usually the ones with the cleanest thumbs, who will then sit down in a conference room, and hammer out a final bill made up of a dogs breakfast of the two original bills. Once the unified bill is completed, it goes to each chamber for debate and an up or down, vote, with no changes allowed by either chamber. Here’s why the process is so critical. Normally, when the House passes a bill, McConnell just wipes his ass with it and sends it to a committee to die, it never comes up for a vote. And f he does call it up for a “show” vote, that requires a “cloture” vote to end debate and have a final vote, which requires 60 votes. This is where a party can filibuster a vote, […]
Ummm, I’ll have to get back to you on that Every Boss In History For the last two hundred years or so, there has been one debate that has rages unabated in this country. And that debate is the question of whether the United States constitution is a rigid blueprint for democracy, meant by the founding fathers to keep us a bunch of rustic, backwoods boobs in perpetuity, allowing for no change in external conditions, or whether the constitution is a flexible framework, adaptable to the current moment.Personally, while I don’t believe the founding fathers envisioned landing on the moon, I also don’t think they envisioned 20+ being slaughtered in a classroom in under 5 minutes either. Actually, despite the premature obituaries, democracy is doing just fine, it’s functioning properly, and ticking right along. What isn’t functioning properly is the 535 mental midgets in the marble building wearing cheap suits with shiny bottoms, They’re the ones pissing in the punch bowl. Democratic institutions and procedures can lead these stupid horses to the trough, but it can’t shove their snouts into the water. And that’s what will have to change. The real problem isn’t so much the laws we currently have, it’s the concept of law itself. The concept of law is actually pretty simple. Once laws are written, people will obey them. And if they don’t obey them, then they will be punished. We already have plenty of laws. What’s lacking in the current morass of the Trump administration is the proper mechanism to enforce compliance on a lawless and out of control executive branch. And that is what will have to change once the Orangutan in Chief is finally shown the gate. People are going to demand reform, simply because this situation is just plain ridiculous. Going forward, there are only going to be two options, either nobody will have to follow the law anymore, because the President doesn’t have to, so why should they, or proper enforcement mechanism will be written into place to enforce the laws we already have. This current kerfuffle over the whistle blowers complaint is a perfect example. The law itself is crystal clear. It says that once the Inspector General sends the complaint to the Director or National Intelligence, having found it both credible and urgent, within 7 calendar days the DNI shall turn the complaint over to the Intelligence committees in congress. That’s it, cut and dry. But what happens when the DBI tells the Intelligence committees to go fuck themselves? Well, how about a proviso to the law that states, failure to comply shall entitle the House Sergeant at Arms to appear with the Capitol Hill tactical team to enforce delivery of said complaint, or to remand the DNI into custody until such time as the law is complied with. That ought to do it. A DNI who is facing time in the pokey covering for a criminal President has a powerful incentive to comply, termination be damned. Laws regarding the enforcement of, and compliance with subpoenas will have to be strengthened as well. When it comes to enforcement of congressional committee subpoenas for the purpose of congressional investigations, Failure to comply with a duly issued subpoena will result in the detention of the subject, said confinement to be ended only upon either compliance with the subpoena, or upon final relief from a court based […]
Now this is not the end. This is not the beginning of the end. This is the end of the beginning. Winston Churchill No Winnie, actually this is the beginning of the end. One way or the other. July 17, 2019. 9:00 AM sharp. Be there or be square. Robert Mueller started it, and now, 26 months […]
I’m getting too old for this shit. When i began obsessing on politics, back in my teens, following the game the way other guys followed box scores, and housewives followed soap operas, there were two kinds of politicians. There were the corrupt horn dogs, heading to Washington to stuff their pockets and get laid, and […]
When things go good, they go very, very good, but when they go bad, they go horrid Traditional Well, well, well. It took the Democrats a while, but they’ve finally figured it out. Trump’s nonstop claims of “executive privilege” have stymied congressional attempts to obtain any information at all regarding the multiple investigations and hearings into everything […]
A CONSTITUTIONAL CRISIS! Oh, my God! Pack up the babies, grab the old ladies! Hide the sheep, and break out the likker, the end is nigh! You gotta admit, those three words sound like nothing other than Orson Welles frantically describing the end of civilization in his iconic “War of the Worlds” radio broadcast. Politicians actually love the “sound of a constitutional crisis, for the simple reason that they can fund raise off of it. Also, it makes their political egos swell like watching them pump helium into the Trump Baby Blimp, they can scare the shit out of us, while looking just solemn enough to portray the kind of calm steely leadership required to get us out of this mess. Democratic congress critters and most media pundits have been proclaiming that we’ve been in a constitutional crisis ever since Willie “The Ewok” Barr took his Mueller report ball and went home. But the simple fact of the matter is that we aren’t in one, at least, not yet anyway. By definition, a constitutional crisis only occurs when we stumble into an issue that the constitution itself has no remedy for. This ain’t it. Barr has refused to honor subpoenas issued by House committees to turn over unredacted copies of the Mueller report, and Steve Munchkin Mnuchin is refusing to turn over Trump’s felonious tax returns. That isn’t a constitutional crisis, because there’s a constitutional remedy for it, and the Democrats in congress are following that remedy. Mainly, you go to court and get a judge to force The-Hole-In-The-Head-Gang to comply with the law. But mark you calendars for May 31st, because, that’s the day when we could finally find ourselves in what our duly elected members of congress have been predicting, and drooling over the possibility of, for months, a flat out, full bore, accept no substitutes constitutional crisis. Because apparently Judge Emmett Sullivan, currently overseeing the Michael Flynn case, has had enough of Barr’s piddly ass attempts to play hide-the-sausage. Sullivan is the judge that shocked Flynn into a bout of incontinence by blowing up his sentencing hearing, bluntly telling him that his “ci-operation” with Mueller did little to offset his treasonous behavior, and if he didn’t pony up some more, Sullivan had a hammer and a pile of rocks with his name on it. Well, yesterday Sullivan set the table for a true constitutional crisis. He gave Barr and the DOJ until May 31st to provide a transcript of an audio recording turned over by Flynn with a conversation between a Trump personal lawyer, and Flynn’s lawyer, regarding Flynn’s dropping out of his joint defense agreement with team Trump, and threatening retaliation. Not only that, but he has ordered that all redactions regarding the Flynn case be removed, and giving the DOJ until May 31st to have an unredacted, public facing copy of the report posted on the court docket by then. There’s your constitutional crisis right there. Up to this moment, the Trump administration answer to every congressional request, demand, order, and subpoena for anything related to Trump or Mueller has been to stonewall it, flip it off. But how do you blow off a judicial order? If judge orders you to pay child support and you flip him double barrel birds, a couple of cops haul you off to durance vile until […]
So the winner of the Kentucky Derby is a “junky” now, according to our clammy, languorous yam-in-exile. (I won’t...