US Politics in Trump era
So if we’re going to get much oversight, particularly of the bailout aspects of the CARES Act it’s probably going to come from the Congressional Oversight Commission, which specifically was charged with monitoring the Federal Reserve’s $4.5 trillion money cannon. There are supposed to be five members on the commission; one chosen by each leader in the House and Senate, and a fifth, the chair, chosen by mutual agreement between Nancy Pelosi and Mitch McConnell.
Republican lawmakers and finance industry lobbyists are using the coronavirus pandemic to press regulators into rapidly waiving financial safeguards for community banks. And so far, banking regulators have obliged, lifting rules imposed after the 2008 crisis that limit risk-taking and require banks to undergo more strenuous audits.
More than 80 percent of the benefits of a tax change tucked into the coronavirus relief package Congress passed last month will go to those who earn more than $1 million annually, according to a report by a nonpartisan congressional body expected to be released Tuesday.
The emergency coronavirus legislation that the Senate agreed to on Tuesday can only be described as an outrage. It is not an economic rescue package, but a sentence of unprecedented economic inequality and corporate control over our politics that will resonate for a generation.
In her floor speech in the House today, before the chamber votes on the $2.2 trillion relief bill, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.), a self-described democratic socialist, said the legislation was "shameful" and laced with "greed."
While the president says he wants to help Americans workers through the coronavirus pandemic, behind the scenes his party is crafting legislation that would leave the least fortunate behind.
Senator Richard Burr has called for an ethics investigation into himself and three other senators who sold off stock. Burr—a North Carolina Republican who is chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee—sold up to $1.72 million in stock through Feb. 13, shortly before reassuring the public that the government had a handle on the coronavirus response.
The claims of electoral fraud were false, proved untrue by public data and the state’s top election official. That didn’t stop them from going viral, as right-wing activists took to Twitter over the weekend to spread specious allegations of malfeasance on the eve of Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses. The episode showcased the perils of conducting elections in the age of social media, where volume is more important than veracity.
President Trump told his national security adviser in August that he wanted to continue freezing $391 million in security assistance to Ukraine until officials there helped with investigations into Democrats including the Bidens, according to an unpublished manuscript by the former adviser, John R. Bolton.
If this week is the “Super Bowl” of trade policy—as Republican Senator Rob Portman called it Wednesday—the planet won’t be getting a ring. The United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement, the Nafta replacement that passed 89-10 through the Senate on Thursday, never mentions the climate crisis. It will do plenty to fuel it.
Mr. Trump, after the strike, told associates he was under pressure to deal with Gen. Soleimani from GOP senators he views as important supporters in his coming impeachment trial in the Senate, associates said.
Republican and Democratic U.S. senators introduced legislation on Thursday to provide $3.3 billion in annual aid to Israel, seeking to put into law an aid agreement between the two countries reached in 2016 amid concern over rising Middle East tensions. Republican Senator Marco Rubio and Democratic Senator Chris Coons co-sponsored the bill, a standalone provision of a broader measure that stalled a year ago, according to a text of the bill seen by Reuters.
The skepticism expressed by some leading Democrats and the mainstream media regarding the U.S. assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani has been refreshing, after decades of bipartisan support for disastrous U.S. policies in the region. However, the claim that Soleimani and the Iranian government are somehow responsible for the deaths of “hundreds of Americans” in Iraq—which has been repeated by leading Democrats and the mainstream media—appears to be groundless.
Clark can be heard on tape at the event saying, “Traditionally it’s always been Republicans suppressing votes in places. Let’s start protecting our voters. We know where they are. ... Let’s start playing offense a little bit. That’s what you’re going to see in 2020. It’s going to be a much bigger program, a much more aggressive program, a much better-funded program.”
This week, a federal judge allowed the secretary of state’s office to remove about 4 percent of registered voters from the rolls, a move officials said was aimed at those who have recently died or left Georgia. But there were also more than 120,000 people included in that cull simply because they hadn’t voted since 2012 or responded to mailings from the state, according to a lawsuit filed to halt the purge.
House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler accused Senate Republicans of violating their oath to be impartial jurors in an impeachment trial, as GOP senators defended their right to work for President Trump’s acquittal. Senators take an oath to “do impartial justice” at the start of any impeachment trial — but several Republican senators argued that impartiality doesn’t cover politics.
“The Democrats’ impeachment inquiry is not the organic outgrowth of serious misconduct; it is an orchestrated campaign to upend our political system,” the report states. “The Democrats are trying to impeach a duly elected president based on the accusations and assumptions of unelected bureaucrats who disagreed with President Trump’s policy initiatives and processes.”
The White House’s former top Europe and Russia expert sharply denounced what she called a “fictional narrative” embraced by President Trump and his Republican allies that Ukraine, not Russia, interfered in the 2016 elections, testifying that the claim at the center of the impeachment inquiry was a fabrication by Moscow that had harmed the United States.
Senate Confirms Controversial Judicial Nominee, Flipping Court That Will Decide Trump Subpoena Cases
The Senate confirmed Steven Menashi to the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals on Thursday by a vote of 51–41. Every Republican present except Sen. Susan Collins supported Menashi; every Democrat present opposed him. With this confirmation, Donald Trump has flipped the 2nd Circuit to a majority of Republican appointees—a momentous shift in the balance of power that could help the president shield himself from criminal liability and congressional scrutiny in a jurisdiction, New York, which he previously called home.
House Republicans’ latest plan to shield President Trump from impeachment is to focus on at least three deputies — U.S. Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, Trump’s lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani, and possibly acting White House chief of staff Mick Mulvaney — who they say could have acted on their own to influence Ukraine policy.
When President Trump announced on Sunday morning that Islamic State founder and leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi died during a U.S. military operation in Syria, he thanked the Russians for their help while explaining that he kept Speaker Nancy Pelosi in the dark because he was afraid of leaks.
The House is legally engaged in an impeachment inquiry, a federal judge ruled on Friday, delivering a major victory to House Democrats and undercutting arguments by President Trump and Republicans that the investigation is a sham.
The U.S. government’s budget deficit ballooned to nearly $1 trillion in 2019, the Treasury Department announced Friday, as the United States’ fiscal imbalance widened for a fourth consecutive year despite a sustained run of economic growth. The deficit grew $205 billion, or 26 percent, in the past year. The country’s worsening fiscal picture runs in sharp contrast to President Trump’s campaign promise to eliminate the federal debt within eight years.
It’s strange to see my journalism twisted, perverted, and turned into lies and poisonous propaganda by Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, and their enablers. But that’s what has happened to a news story I wrote four years ago.
GOP Racial Gerrymandering Mastermind Participated in Redistricting in More States Than Previously Known, Files Reveal
The reach of late Republican gerrymandering mastermind Thomas Hofeller may be longer than previously known, according to a review of thousands of documents and emails culled from his hard drives, obtained by The Intercept. While Hofeller was known for drawing maps to give Republicans an advantage and to limit the impact of voters of color in North Carolina, Texas, Missouri, and Virginia, the new documents reveal he also participated in the 2010 redistricting cycle in Alabama, Florida, and West Virginia.
McConnell has been unpopular in his home state for years, but his approval rating plunged in one poll to a rock-bottom 18 percent — with a re-election campaign looming in 2020. In January, he had raised red flags among Republicans and -Democrats alike when he took a key role in lifting sanctions on Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a Putin ally under FBI investigation for his involvement in 2016 election-meddling; three months later, Deripaska’s aluminum company, Rusal, announced a $200 million investment in Kentucky.
Last year, when many GOP candidates across the country turned to vicious anti-immigrant advertisements to turn out voters in the midterm elections, some turned to i360, Koch’s state-of-the-art data analytics company. The company is one of the several appendages of the Koch political machine — one that includes a suite of voter outreach organization, lobbying, and campaign messaging tools.
Tuesday morning, Facebook user Sally Kate Walker posted a video showing what appeared to be a touch-screen machine changing someone's selection from Bill Waller Jr. to Tate Reeves.While officials confirmed the problems with only three machines in two counties, the Waller campaign Tuesday evening said it had received more widespread reports of the same issue.
The Democratic presidential campaign playbook has, for decades, included grand promises to reach out to the GOP to solve the nation’s ills. In 2020, some candidates are throwing that playbook out the window.
Critics of a Kremlin-linked industrial giant investing $200 million in a new aluminum plant in Kentucky say it gives Moscow political influence that could undermine national security. Pointing to Moscow’s use of economic leverage to sway European politics, they warn the deal is a stalking horse for a new kind of Russian meddling in America, one that exploits the U.S. free-market system instead of its elections.
House Republican Mass Shooting Strategy Revealed In Leaked Memo: Blame the Left, Minimize White Supremacy Role
A recently leaked memo from House Republicans shows that the GOP is urging its politicians to blame recent mass shootings on the left, while downplaying the role of white supremacy.According to the Tampa Bay Times, who obtained the memo, the document offers talking points in response to common questions Republican representatives may face after the recent mass shootings.
President Trump announced on Sunday that Dan Coats will step down as director of national intelligence after a tenure in which the two were often at odds over Russia, North Korea and the president’s own attacks on the intelligence community.“I am pleased to announce that highly respected Congressman John Ratcliffe of Texas will be nominated by me to be the Director of National Intelligence,” Mr. Trump tweeted.
Mitch McConnell Received Donations from Voting Machine Lobbyists Before Blocking Election Security Bills
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell squashed two bills intended to ensure voting security on Thursday, just one day after former special counsel Robert Mueller warned that Russians were attempting to sabotage the 2020 presidential elections "as we sit here."McConnell said he wouldn't allow a vote on the bills because they were "so partisan," but, as previously reported, earlier this year McConnell received a slew of donations from four of the top voting machine lobbyists in the country.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blocked two election security measures on Thursday, arguing Democrats are trying to give themselves a "political benefit."The move comes a day after former special counsel Robert Mueller warned about election meddling in 2020, saying Russia was laying the groundwork to interfere in the 2020 election "as we sit here."
The Trump administration is reviving another food benefit cut that Republicans couldn’t get through Congress. Under a new proposal from the U.S. Department of Agriculture, states would lose some flexibility to set eligibility standards for the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program ― commonly known as food stamps ― which would push 3 million people out of the program.
Mick Mulvaney’s battles with Alexander Acosta began almost immediately. Weeks after he was named acting White House chief of staff, Mulvaney summoned the labor secretary for a tense January encounter that became known inside the West Wing as “the woodshed meeting.” Mulvaney told Acosta in blunt terms that the White House believed he was dragging his feet on regulation rollbacks desired by business interests and that he was on thin ice as a result, according to advisers and a person close to the White House. Soon after, Acosta proposed a spate of business-friendly rules on overtime pay and other policies
This tax bill was constructed on a foundation of lies. To cite one obvious example, the real U.S. corporate tax rate has never been near the oft-cited 35 percent level. As recently as 2014, the Congressional Research Service estimated that the effective rate (the net rate paid after deductions and credits) was around 27.1 percent, which was well in line with America’s international competitors.
Lawmakers in Pennsylvania have quietly muscled power away from reformist District Attorney Larry Krasner, passing new legislation giving authority to the state’s attorney general to prosecute certain firearms violations in Philadelphia — and nowhere else in the state. The provision will expire in two years, or just after Krasner’s first term ends.
The U.S. government could run out of money to pay all of its bills by early September if Congress doesn’t rush to raise the debt ceiling, a think tank said Monday, a time frame that could force lawmakers to act much sooner than planned. The Bipartisan Policy Center said that the Treasury Department could breach the borrowing limit in two months because the government has brought in far less tax revenue this year than was projected.
Thanks to Donald “I’m the King of Debt” Trump, our federal government’s debt is rising much faster than under President Barack Obama despite Trump’s frequent assertions that the economy is much better now that he is in the White House. And that $300 per month of added debt you owe via our Uncle Sam is scheduled to grow and grow.
Gov. Tom Wolf is weighing whether to sign SB 48, a GOP bill that would ban straight-ticket voting and give Donald Trump an edge in 2020. The ban is a longtime goal of Republican National Committee Chair Ronna McDaniel. In late 2015, Republicans succeeded in banning straight-ticket voting in Michigan, spurring litigation that lasted for a couple of years.
Senate Republicans narrowly defeated an amendment Friday that would have limited President Donald Trump’s ability to attack Iran without congressional approval. The 50-40 vote gave the measure a majority of votes cast, but due to parliamentary maneuvering by Senate leadership, it needed 60 votes to pass.
Congress sent President Trump a $4.6 billion humanitarian aid package on Thursday after Speaker Nancy Pelosi capitulated to Republicans and Democratic moderates and dropped her insistence on stronger protections for migrant children in overcrowded border shelters.
Senate Minority leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) on Tuesday blasted Majority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for stonewalling bipartisan efforts to prevent election interference from foreign governments.
Before they were formally named to President Trump’s now disbanded voter fraud commission, two conservative activists emailed the commission’s vice chair Kris Kobach about “potential Democratic commissioners,” a federal judge revealed Thursday. The revelation came in a legal dispute over whether the Trump administration must turn over a batch of commission-related emails to a Democratic member of the panel, Maine Secretary of State Matt Dunlap.
A House committee voted on Wednesday to recommend that the House hold two cabinet secretaries in contempt of Congress, hours after President Trump invoked executive privilege to block disclosure of crucial documents on the decision to add a citizenship question to the 2020 census.
According to a new report from the Urban Institute, the census is on track to severely undercount people of color — even more so than the past two surveys. This chart looks at how the 2020 census would perform if it was conducted at 2010 levels, then compares it to the actual projections using the census planning documents. The effects of the citizenship question aren’t included.
The Trump administration has devised a fundamentally racist policy: adding a question to the 2020 Census that will suppress participation by nonwhite people and, therefore, artificially increase white (and Republican) power in a new round of gerrymandering. To do this, administration officials falsely told the public, the lower courts and the Supreme Court that the disadvantage to nonwhite Americans was statistically questionable and that the Justice Department needed the change to enforce the Voting Rights Act.
David Whitley, the Texas elections official who questioned the citizenship of almost 100,000 people, resigns
Texas’s acting secretary of state, David Whitley (R), resigned Monday just months after leading the botched voter purge of nearly 100,000 suspected noncitizens that erroneously also targeted U.S. citizens, efforts that drew rebukes from a federal judge and numerous voter rights groups.
At first, it looked to be more of the same: another week, another rash of false accusations of antisemitism launched by Republicans against one of the two new Muslim-American congresswomen. This time it was Rashida Tlaib who found herself under attack for comments she made on a Yahoo News podcast.
President Trump and senior White House officials are working to salvage political support for a revised trade pact with Mexico and Canada, stunned by bipartisan blowback that appeared likely to scuttle a key initiative. Several Democrats said Trump put on a charm offensive Tuesday during a White House meeting, soliciting their feedback on what he would need to do to win their support for an updated version of the North American Free Trade Agreement.
Sanctioned Russian Oligarch’s Company to Invest Millions in New Aluminum Plant in Mitch McConnell’s State
Rusal, the aluminum company partially owned by Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, announced plans to invest around $200 million to build a new aluminum plant in Kentucky just months after the Trump administration removed it from the U.S. sanctions list.
Yesterday, the Maine People’s Alliance called on Sen. Susan Collins to return thousands of dollars she received from Robert Mercer, the billionaire backer of Breitbart, the racist, misogynist and bigoted website proud to position itself as the “platform of the alt-right.” Mainers for Accountable Leadership has launched a petition demanding the same.
The left never had a dog in this race. This was always an in-house squabble between different wings of the establishment. Late-stage capitalism is in terminal crisis, and the biggest problem facing our corporate elites is how to emerge from this crisis with their power intact. One wing wants to make sure the pig’s face remains painted, the other is happy simply getting its snout deeper into the trough while the food lasts.
Corporate America brought $664.9 billion of offshore profits back to the U.S. last year, falling short of the $4 trillion President Donald Trump said would return as a result of the 2017 tax overhaul. Companies kept much of their overseas profit offshore because a 35 percent tax kicked in only if they brought the cash back to the U.S. But the Republican tax law set a one-time 15.5 percent tax rate on cash and 8 percent on non-cash or illiquid assets, regardless of the country where the profits sat.
Adam Milstein, a real estate millionaire and prolific donor to right-wing, pro-Israel causes, had a busy few days on Twitter this month. In one tweet, he accused Rep. Ilhan Omar of being a “terrorist.” In another, he questioned Omar’s and Rep. Rashida Tlaib’s loyalty to the United States. He also accused Tlaib and Omar, the first two Muslim-American women elected to Congress, of having links to the Muslim Brotherhood, indulging a tired trope popular among anti-Muslim bigots.
President Trump and his Republican allies went on the offensive on Monday, vowing to pursue and even punish those responsible for the Russia investigation now that the special counsel has wrapped up without implicating him or his campaign in a criminal conspiracy to influence the 2016 election.
Special counsel Robert Mueller has submitted his report on the Russia investigation, and Republicans are gloating. They claim a four-page letter from Attorney General William Barr, purporting to summarize the report, exonerates President Donald Trump. They’re wrong. The letter says the Justice Department won’t prosecute Trump, but it reaches that conclusion by tailoring legal standards to protect the president. Here’s a list of Barr’s weasel words and what they’re hiding.
Democrats hoped to put their wrenching intraparty debate over anti-Semitism to rest when they passed a catchall antibigotry resolution in the House this month, but Senate Republicans, eager to court American Jews outraged by the rise of anti-Semitism, have other plans.
A Harvard study found that executives donate more heavily to Republicans. For the study, to be released Tuesday, they tracked personal political contributions for more than 3,500 chief executives that occupied the corner office anytime from 2000 to 2017. Just 18.4 percent of the executives studied were designated as Democrats. The clear majority — 57.7 percent — demonstrated their affiliation through donations to the Republican Party. Indeed, 75 percent of donations from the median chief executive were directed to Republicans.
Republicans on the House antitrust panel laughed off Democrats’ questions over T-Mobile’s spending at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C. immediately after the company announced a mega-merger with Sprint. One day after the merger announcement, nine T-Mobile executives checked in to Trump’s D.C. hotel, The Washington Post reported in January. The company ultimately spent $195,000 on 38 nights at the hotel as T-Mobile executives descended on Washington to meet with regulators about the proposed merger.
It is illegal for foreign nationals to contribute money in connection with U.S. elections. However, APIC and Right to Rise USA attempted to use an odd loophole created by the Supreme Court’s 2010 Citizens United decision to funnel overseas cash into American politics.
When Brett Kavanaugh was named a Supreme Court justice last fall, a world in which access to abortions would be significantly limited, if not downright illegal, became more likely. Late last month, Georgia joined a handful of Republican-led states positioning themselves to lead the charge if Roe v. Wade, the seminal Supreme Court decision that legalized abortion, were to be overturned.
There’s more bad news for taxpayers. A government report has revealed that 11 million taxpayers are losing out on $323 billion worth of deductions due to a punishing change in President Donald Trump’s tax law. The hard news comes after early filers were stunned by shrinking — to vanishing — tax refunds.
President Trump derided the Green New Deal as a “high school term paper that got a low mark.” Congressional Republicans mocked it as “zany.” Even Nancy Pelosi, the Democratic House speaker, called the proposal a “green dream,” and some of the party’s 2020 candidates are starting to describe it as merely aspirational. Yet, despite that disdain, the goals of the far-reaching plan to tackle climate change and economic inequality are within the realm of technological possibility, several energy experts and economists said in recent interviews.
Let’s start this column off with a bold assertion. Paying lawmakers good salaries is one of our country’s most important progressive reforms because it means that they don’t have to be wealthy to serve. High congressional pay is a safeguard against corruption, not a sign of it.
The tax preparers at H&R Block had a new class before their busy season started this year: empathy training.They listened to a mock exchange between an employee and a customer whose refund would not just shrink but disappear. The ficticious client had received a $1,500 refund last year, but this year would owe $575.
A debate about the power in Washington of the pro-Israel lobby is underway, after Rep. Ilhan Omar, D-Minn., responded sharply to reports that Republican leader Kevin McCarthy was targeting both Omar and fellow Muslim Rep. Rashida Tlaib, a Democrat from Michigan. Omar quoted rap lyrics — “It’s all about the Benjamins baby” — to suggest McCarthy’s move was driven by the lobby’s prolific spending. Asked specifically who she was referring to, Omar responded, “AIPAC!”
lhan Omar (D-MN) has stirred controversy by replying to scurrilous statements of her Republican opponents in Congress by suggesting that they are shilling for anti-Palestinian and anti-Muslim lobbies that back the right wing Likud government of Israel to the hilt because they receive campaign contributions from the Israel lobbies.
At 3:45 p.m. on October 6th, 2017, an unassuming man in his early sixties with a low, raspy voice and a thin, wide smile arrived at the White House. He had been here before, in the George W. Bush years, when he was one of the most sought-after fundraisers in the Republican Party. But a scandal had derailed his life, and afterward he had disappeared from politics. In early 2016, the opportunity arose to make his return. The man had helped Donald J. Trump’s long-shot campaign raise millions of dollars, and he could rightly say he played a role in the most improbable presidential victory in American history.
Whether you get a refund or owe extra to the IRS at filing time is a function not just of your total taxes owed, but also of how much tax is withheld from your paycheck by your employer on paydays. And the big story here is that as a result of the new tax law, the Treasury Department tweaked things so that on average taxpayers’ withholdings fell by more than their actual taxes owed.
Right before Congress passed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act in December 2017, President Trump proclaimed: “It’ll be fantastic for the middle-income people and for jobs, most of all ... I think we could go to 4%, 5% or even 6% [GDP growth], ultimately. We are back. We are really going to start to rock.” A year later, it’s very clear that the tax cuts boosted gross domestic product and jobs a bit — and just for one year.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Wednesday that a Democratic bill that would make Election Day a federal holiday is a “power grab,” sparking a fierce backlash online. McConnell was speaking about H.R. 1, legislation that Democrats have made a centerpiece of their agenda since retaking the House earlier this month.
On December 11, 1981 in El Salvador, a Salvadoran military unit created and trained by the U.S. Army began slaughtering everyone they could find in a remote village called El Mozote. Before murdering the women and girls, the soldiers raped them repeatedly, including some as young as 10 years old, and joked that their favorites were the 12-year-olds. One witness described a soldier tossing a 3-year-old child into the air and impaling him with his bayonet. The final death toll was over 800 people.
In the latest example of Russian officials rubbing elbows with members of the American right, a newly emerged photo shows Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson standing alongside a key employee of sanctioned Russian oligarch Konstantin Malofeev.
The U.S. Treasury Department is set to maintain elevated sales of long-term debt to finance the government’s widening budget deficit, with new issuance projected to top $1 trillion for a second-straight year. A heightened supply of Treasury securities follows tax cuts and government spending increases implemented under the current administration. That’s darkening a fiscal outlook already made worrisome by rising entitlement-program expenses and higher costs to service America’s nearly $16 trillion in debt.
Senators rejected two competing bills to end the government shutdown on Thursday. There were signs of bipartisanship: Six Republicans supported the Democratic bill for two weeks of funding. One Democrat voted for President Trump’s proposal for a border wall.
Net Neutrality Repeal, Evidence Shows, Is Doing None of the Good Stuff Ajit Pai and Telecom Industry Promised
The telecom industry and Federal Communications Commission (FCC) Chairman Ajit Pai justified the Republican repeal of net neutrality protections in December of 2017 with promises that a "light-touch framework" would spur investment, giving broadband providers "stronger incentives to build networks, especially in unserved areas, and to upgrade networks."
President Trump said on Monday that he has rejected a proposal by Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina to temporarily reopen the government in an effort to jump-start talks with Democratic lawmakers on funding a border wall. Mr. Trump, advisers said, has refused to allow his acting chief of staff, Mick Mulvaney, or anyone else negotiating on his behalf to compromise on his demand for $5.7 billion in border wall funding. That has led to awkward moments in front of congressional leaders.
An unnamed “senior official in the Trump administration” wrote in an anonymous Daily Caller op-ed Monday that the record-breaking 24-day partial government shutdown “is an opportunity to strip wasteful government agencies for good.”
For years, the National Rifle Association has insisted that they are no more than a group of private citizens who support the Second Amendment’s guarantees of the right to bear arms. As many have suspected for some time, what they really are is an unregistered lobbyist organization. What’s more, they appear to be committing federal crimes in order to support candidates willing to back their political views in exchange for cash.
The National Rifle Association appears to have illegally coordinated its political advertising with Republican candidates in at least three recent high-profile US Senate races, according to Federal Communications Commission records. In Senate races in Missouri and Montana in 2018 and North Carolina in 2016, the gun group’s advertising blitzes on behalf of GOP candidates Josh Hawley, Matt Rosendale, and Richard Burr were authorized by the very same media consultant that the candidates themselves used—an apparent violation of laws designed to prevent independent groups from synchronizing their efforts with political campaigns.
Voted Down on Tuesday Night, McConnell Raises Alarm by Forcing Second Vote on ‘Unconstitutional’ Anti-Boycott Bill
Less than 24 hours after Senate Democrats successfully voted down a motion to proceed to legislation that would give states and localities more power to punish pro-Palestinian boycotts of Israel, rights groups raised alarm and urged Americans to call their senators immediately on Wednesday as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) moved to bring the bill up for yet another procedural vote.
U.S. Senate’s First Bill, in Midst of Shutdown, is a Bipartisan Defense of the Israeli Government from Boycotts
In the 2019 GOP-controlled Senate, the first bill to be considered – S.1 – is not designed to protect American workers, bolster U.S. companies, or address the various debates over border security and immigration. It’s not a bill to open the government. Instead, according to multiple sources involved in the legislative process, S.1 will be a compendium containing a handful of foreign-policy related measures, a main one of which is a provision, with Florida’s GOP Sen. Marco Rubio as a lead sponsor, to defend the Israeli government. The bill is a top legislative priority for AIPAC.
For two years, they tried to tutor and confine him. They taught him history, explained nuances and gamed out reverberations. They urged careful deliberation, counseled restraint and prepared talking points to try to sell mainstream actions to a restive conservative base hungry for disruption. But in the end, they failed.
A revised version of legislation that would set significant restrictions on citizen-led ballot initiatives cleared the Michigan Senate Friday over opposition from Democrats.The most significant change in House Bill 6595 would prevent organizers of a citizen-led ballot initiative from getting more than 15 percent of their signatures required for ballot from any one congressional district.
President Trump has ordered a rapid withdrawal of all 2,000 United States ground troops from Syria within 30 days, declaring the four-year American-led war against the Islamic State as largely won, officials said Wednesday.“We have defeated ISIS in Syria, my only reason for being there during the Trump Presidency,” the president said in a Twitter post on Wednesday morning.
Republican Senator Marco Rubio broke with his party by blasting last year’s tax overhaul for benefiting corporations rather than workers. “When corporation uses profits for stock buy back it’s deciding that returning capital to shareholders is better for business than investing in their products or workers,” Rubio said in a tweet Thursday. “Tax code encourages this. No surprise we have work life that is unstable & low paying.”
House Speaker Paul Ryan’s legacy can be summed up in just one number: $343 billion. That’s the increase between the deficit for fiscal year 2015 and fiscal year 2018 — that is, the difference between the fiscal year before Ryan became speaker of the House and the fiscal year in which he retired. If the economy had fallen into recession between 2015 and 2018, Ryan’s record would be understandable. But it didn’t. I
In a piece titled “Why America needs low-yield nuclear warheads now,” Michael Morell and Jon Kyl argued that Russian and Chinese nuclear modernization programs demanded a response. “Russia is intent on exploiting what it perceives as a U.S. nuclear capability gap,” they write. “We must change that calculation” by adding submarine and sea-launched missiles with nuclear warheads. This would increase deterrence and prevent nuclear war, they claim; otherwise Russia will strike first.