Category Archives: Blogs

Political Roundup for February 15th, 2018…Trump White Federal judge picks…RRH Elections…

Cabinet: David Shulkin, the Department of Veteran Affairs secretary and an Obama hold-over, seems to have gotten in some minor trouble due to taking trips to Wimbledon on the taxpayer dime. On one hand, this seems to be an odd pattern of cabinet officials in the Trump white house, but on the other hand the IG overseeing this case recommended that Shulkin repay the relevant costs as opposed to charging him with a crime, so this will most likely blow over.

Judges: In news that I bet will come as a complete shock, most of Trump’s judicial nominees have been white. This is due to them all basically being picked off a Federalist Society list whose criteria for judicial quality is based on having a pretty strict Conservative legal record, and that’s not exactly conducive to fleshing out diversity numbers. Naturally, the expected actors on the D side are shocked and appalled at this racist display of only nominating people who meet the set qualifications!

Kasich/2020: Buzzfeed has an uncharacteristically insightful look into the tattered remains of Kasich-world, and how the Ohio Governor is looking at his prospects for 2020—both inside the GOP and out. Honest question—does a Kasich Indy run make it more or less likely Trump wins re-election? It’s not like Kasich is particularly popular with the sort of people who voted for Trump in 2016, and could serve as a nice 3rd-party landing spot for anti-Trump forces if the Democrats nominate a true-blue moonbat. I think it would be an amusing end to Kasich’s legacy if his vanity no-chance Presidential campaigns wind up being instrumental in getting Trump elected TWICE.

Politico/MC: In the biggest sign of the recent swing towards the GOP, we have the first poll of the year to show the Republicans actually up on the measure, instead of just less down than they were before. The Politico/Morning Consultant poll has the GOP up 39-38, the best the GOP’s seen in months. This poll does however have a history of being more friendly to the GOP than most of the other polling firms, so don’t go dancing in the streets yet over our imminent 2018 victories, but it’s nice to know that we’ve reached the point where an outlier poll is one with the GOP up instead of “Only down by X”

PPP: Speaking of less favorable polls, PPP is out with their latest that has Trump at an impressive 46/50 approval rating, even if the Democrats are up 49-41 on the GCB. This is a bit odd since the Congressional GOP usually over-performs Trump’s approval numbers in polls, but I think it might have to do with the standard PPP practice of asking a bunch of leading questions in-between the two. Why is the GCB question 38 and following such insightful gems such as “Do you think the Trump administration is actively taking steps that will hurt people’s health care and raise costs, or not?”. If an R-leaning subsection just hung up halfway through, it might explain why Trump is doing so well in a sample that thinks he should be impeached right now 45-44, self-ID’s as 41-31 D, and says they voted for Clinton by 6 points….

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Senator Gillibrand would like to have hearings featuring Trump’s sexual misconduct accusers….There are 19 of them…

Senator-Kirsten-Gillibrand.jpg

…by subir  @ Daily Kos….

The White House sent out Kellyanne Conway to respond to Sen. Gillibrand’s demand:

“Those accusers have had their day on your network and elsewhere,” Conway said to George Stephanopoulos in response to Gillibrand’s tweets. “They were trotted out again late last year.”

“I don’t need a lecture from Kirsten Gillibrand or anybody else who protected and defended and harbored a sitting president who had sexual relations in the Oval Office and was impeached for lying. I don’t need a lecture from her or anybody else.”

— thinkprogress.org/…

As a reminder, there are 19 courageous women who have accused the president of harassment and/or sexual assault. The accusations include rape, groping, forcible kissing, sexual harassment and invasion of privacy (peeping tom). These 19 brave women are…..

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Don’t hold your breath for this….

Forget firing Mueller—Trump wants to prosecute him…

By Mark Sumner  @ Daily Kos….

WASHINGTON, DC - DECEMBER 15:  U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to members of the White House Press Corps prior to his Marine One departure from the South Lawn of the White House December 15, 2017 in Washington, DC. President Trump is heading to FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia, to attend a graduation ceremony and visit the Marine Helicopter Squadron One. Then, he will travel to Camp David for the weekend.  (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)

Donald Trump called the story that he tried to fire special counsel Robert Muller “fake news,” even though it was confirmed by everyone from the New York Times to Fox. But maybe the reason Trump was so dismissive of the idea that he would send the former FBI director packing is because firing him simply wasn’t enough.

Instead, as is now becoming plain, the Trump strategy is to discredit the investigation and the FBI without officially removing the leadership. Trump is even talking to friends about the possibility of asking Attorney General Jeff Sessions to consider prosecuting Mueller and his team.

“Here’s how it would work: ‘We’re sorry, Mr. Mueller, you won’t be able to run the federal grand jury today because he has to go testify to another federal grand jury,'” said one Trump adviser.

That’s the entire purpose of the many investigations into the nine-year-old Uranium One matter launched by top congressional sycophant Devin Nunes. While most of the news reporting on these investigations has focused on the ill-defined relationship to Hillary Clinton, the real objective is to say that Mueller—who was FBI director at the time of the deal—failed to properly vet the deal and could be guilty of corruption. Not that Republicans have any evidence. But as Nunes demonstrated with his #ReleaseTheMemo memo, evidence is no longer a concern. Republicans can make up any story they want, refuse to release the supporting documents, stifle any Democratic opposition, and count on the support of talk radio, conservative websites, Fox News, and thousands of Russian bots to make the sale.

The usual crew of Trump supporters in Congress were already on the indict Mueller bandwagon last year.

“It’s time for Attorney General Sessions to start leading and appoint a second special counsel so that the American people can get the truth and the answers they deserve.”

image..Getty

Maine Republicans want to cut the minimum wage passed by voters in 2016

..by Laura Clawson  @ Daily Kos….

MIAMI, FL - APRIL 25:  McDonald's crew member Samantha Medina prepares french fries as the McDonald's restaurant stock price reached record territory on April 25, 2017 in Miami, Florida.  The company continues to beat expectations and credits changes to its menu and other new initiatives it has launched.  (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Maine’s minimum wage was set by its voters, who in 2016 passed a bill raising the minimum wage a little at a time until reaching $12 an hour in 2020. The current minimum wage is $10 an hour … but instead of allowing it to go up as the voters intended, Republican legislators are looking to drag it back down.

Republicans and some business groups have pushed to reverse a law they argue will harm Maine’s economy in the long-term. Lawmakers last year agreed to remove the voter-approved minimum wage hike for tipped employees. […]

Republican Rep. Joel Stetkis’ bill would cut Maine’s minimum wage from $10 per hour to $9.50 per hour.

This bill undoes another part of the voter-approved minimum wage, as well, by eliminating cost of living increases.

Maine’s state legislature has already repealed or amended a slew of other ballot measures passed by voters in 2016, moves for which legislators may pay come November of this year. But actually cutting people’s pay is something special…..

Political Roundup for Jan. 18, 2018…Trump a Racist?…RRH Elections…

President/National

Roberts County, Texas:  ABC News ventured out to the Texas panhandle to Roberts County, which gave President Trump his highest margin in the country and attempt to find Hillary supporters.  They had a difficult time to say the least based on the guesses they made.

Senate Democrats:  Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D) is having issues controlling Senate Democrats who are forming 2020 rivalries.  Schumer, an egomaniac himself, is dealing with a bunch of budding egomaniacs who are trying to prove they are more Boldly Progressive than the next guy or gal.

Oprah:  A new poll shows that voters are not that eager for an Oprah candidacy.  This does not matter though because President Trump has already pledged to nominate Oprah as his vice presidential nominee in 2020 to form a super MAGA ticket.

Trump-Racist:  44% of Americans believe President Trump is racist.  This breaks down largely along partisan lines.  What does not break down along partisan lines is that 4 out of 5 Americans think Trump does not think before he speaks…..

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Arizona Sen: Rep. Martha McSally (R) will Run for Senate..

We already Know that ex-Maricopa Sheriff Joe Arpaio (R) has stolen all the media attention in this race for now…

image…Rep. Martha McSally, R-Ariz., is running for Senate. (Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call file photo)

Rep. Martha McSally (R) will announce a bid for the Senate seat of Sen. Jeff Flake (R) today. McSally, a former fighter pilot who won and then held down her purple seat in two competitive elections, will be a strong establishment choice in the race. So far she faces two much more antiestablishment contenders, ex-Maricopa Sheriff Joe Arpaio (R) and ex-State Sen. and 2016 Senate candidate Kelli Ward (R). McSally would likely be a much stronger general election candidate for the tough race against Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D) relative to Arpaio or Ward.

McSally’s decision opens up AZ-2, an R+1 seat covering most of the Tucson area, except the Hispanic-heavy central and southern portions of Tucson and some of the city’s northern suburbs, as well as Cochise County in the rural southeast corner of the state. The Mathismander actually probably made this seat very slightly more Republican than a fair map by stretching it east out of the Tucson area. However, it is still likely to be one of Republicans’ toughest holds this year as an open seat with a large white liberal base in urban Tucson. One Republican, businesswoman Lea Marquez-Peterson (R), is already in the race anticipating a McSally Senate run; however, the field may grow significantly from there. State Sen. Gail Griffin (R) and State Reps. Becky Nutt (R), Drew John (R), and Todd Clodfelter (R) all live in the district, as does ex-State House Speaker David Gowan (R), who considered and aborted a run for AZ-1 in 2014. From local office, there is Pima County Sheriff Mark Napier (R), Pima County commissioners Ally Miller (R) and Steve Christy (R), and Douglas City Councilman DJ Morales (R). Miller and Morales have been pegged as being interested in a run already.

Democrats’ major candidate in the race so far is ex-Rep. Ann Kirkpatrick (D), who carpetbagged here from Flagstaff to take on McSally….

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Political Roundup for January 10th, 2018…The National Look…RRH Elections

National

The GOP’s Death Wish: Parallels between 2010 and 2018 have inspired The Economist to look into a scenario in which blue state and suburban Republicans were to be wiped out. What did they find? 1) The Republican caucus would be even more beholden to the Freedom Caucus, and 2) Should the Democrats take control, the 111th Congress would look like a CPAC meeting in comparison. Sad!

Putting the Bully Back in Bully Pulpit: In the past two years, many Republican voters’ political opinions have changed at an astoundingly rapid rate. Accordingly, The Economist analyzed how the president’s screeds tweets and rhetorical pushes have affeted public opinions. Unsurprisingly, many Republicans simply adopted whatever position POTUS advocated at the time, including conspiracy theories (for example: miyins and miyins of illegals who cast ballots cost Trump the popular vote).

Doom!: In light of the cascade of recent GOP House retirements, the failing New York Times looked at whether the increasing talks of a coming Democratic wave have any merit. Its findings? Yes, the Donald’s approval numbers are low, and a large number of Republican retirements point in that direction. Yet, the Democrats may underpform because, unlike the Republicans of 1994, team blue presents no coherent agenda to offer voters other than the #resistance to the Donald.

Ideological Diversity: Alarmed at the possibility of Republicans becoming the Breitbart Party, the Governator has allied with some prominent moderate Republicans to keep the big tent, uh, big.

Oprah 2020: Longtime Oprah friend and CBS This Morning anchor Gayle King told colleagues yesterday that Oprah is “intrigued” by the idea of a presidential campaign. King did, however, hedge; she claimed she was merely “expressing a hunch.”

Super Zips: According to Dallas’ PBS affiliate (it has one of those?), suburbs in the Metroplex are among the nation’s most prosperous. What makes this worthy of mentioning in a roundup, however, is the inclusion of a map that shows the relative prosperity of each ZIP code. You might recognize a pattern; the Donald struggled in places that know of America’s greatness.

Trading Places: Despite some theses to the contrary, we have a sign that the urban revival in America has not reversed. For the first time ever, Chicago has a higher percentage of college grads than its suburbs.

It’s the Voters, Stupid: Harry Enten looked at the partisan turnout disparity in each midterm cycle going back to 1978. What did he find? Overall, Republicans have averaged a three-point turnout advantage (and even led during Republican administrations). This shouldn’t be cause for celebration, however; Enten found that, during the 2006 cycle, there was essentially no turnout advantage for either party…

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Lawmakers got a two-day briefing in December from a psychiatrist about Trump’s mental state—TWO DAYS

By Kerry Eleveld  @ Daily Kos…..

Capitol Hill lawmakers are reportedly harboring a “growing obsession” with the 25th Amendment following Donald Trump’s “nuclear button” meltdown this week. The renewed interest comes after a bipartisan cohort sought out advice last month from a Yale psychiatrist, Dr. Bandy X. Lee, who has been sounding the alarm bells about Donald Trump’s mental state for months. Politico’s Annie Karni writes:

In private meetings with more than a dozen members of Congress held on Dec. 5 and 6, Lee briefed lawmakers – all Democrats except for one Republican senator, who Lee declined to identify. Her professional warning to Capitol Hill: “He’s going to unravel, and we are seeing the signs.”….

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Political Roundup for January 3rd, 2018…RRH Elections…“fiscal conservative”?

Will the real Mitt Romney please stand up?

National

2020 Reapportionment: It’s beginning to feel a lot like Redistmas. The Houston Chronicletook a look at what Census projections would mean for Texas and the country in redistricting.

It Depends on What Your Definition of is is: In preparation for the 2018 midterms, it seems that “fiscal conservative” has reverted to its pre-2006 definition.

Donald’s Sack of Coal: Inspired by the president’s incessant pledges to “bring back coal,” The Economist looked into whether this electoral strategy represented sound economics. The results will just shock you!

The West Wing: Unlike Aaron Sorkin’s fictional West Wing, the real one seems to be juggling with three very serious matters: 1) an impending sense of doom in the upcoming midterms, 2) a brain drain (and this White House struggled to attract serious conservative intellectuals to boot), and 3) trying to convince a headstrong septuagenarian to alter half a century of willfully unbridled behavior patterns when in the public eye….

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Oligarch Callista Gingrich and the Pope

by  @ The Oligarch Kings….

VATICAN-POPE-USA

Gosh I’m so gauche…

Browsing round the papers this morning I was struck by two connected items.  First the entrenched quality of Oligarchy with its attendant cronyism in the United States, and the sclerotic reactionary conservatism of the Holy Catholic Church.

It combined with Callista Gingrich the third wife of Newt Gingrich taking up her appointment as Ambassador to the Holy See or Vatican as most of us call it..  The picture above is from her delivering her credentials on 22ndDecember.

In America people who give money to winning campaigns get to be Ambassadors. In this America is all but unique.  It is a practice only used by her, and a few burned-out basket cases of countries also riddled with debt and corruption.  In this America is right up there with such luminaries as Kazakhstan.

And not surprisingly they are not necessarily good at what they do.  Who can forget the cringe-making Christmas Cards from Bruce Oreck’s time in Finland?  Bruce seemed only interested in showing off his body building prowess to the bemused Finns rather than knuckling down to promoting the interests of the country that had sent him there (and which paid him sweetly as well).  Or how about the toe-curling embarrassment of Cynthia Stroum, one-time Ambassador to Luxembourg who required to be withdrawn following a damaging internal report about the wreckage of her office.  If Wikileaks showed us anything positive it was the complex and intricate nature of the work of the US Diplomatic corps. But hey these gauche newbies get a whole two week “How-To-Be-An-Ambassador” course at the State Department Foreign Service institute – whether they need it or not….

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Alabama Republicans…Stay home if ya want to…don’t vote for Roy Moore or Doug Jones…Red State

…by Carl Arbogast @ Red State…

Whatever the case may be, no reason exists to vote for Doug Jones. The notion that staying home “is not good enough” comes only from Democrats who want to shame you into voting for their guy. But why on earth would people vote for the person who upholds ideals and supports policies that are a 180-degree departure from their own? That’s crazy talk.

Doug Jones is a liberal. And yes, a Democrat winning in Alabama would be a significant setback for the GOP in advancing a legislative agenda in Congress.

Well, that’s too bad. 

Too many Republicans have made their bed, and now they have to lie in it. Of course, Moore could still win which means Republicans would have the votes they need but would also have to answer for every goofball thing Moore ever said and will have to answer questions regarding the accusations over Moore’s dark past.

That said, don’t allow yourself to be bullied into a voting for a liberal Democrat. It’s not necessary. Stay home if you have to. But don’t sacrifice your ideals for political expediency…..

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