Category: Politics

Mutually Assured Destruction: Unable To Block Witnesses, The GOP Moves To “Plan B”

In my recent Washington Post column, I stated that the Bolton leak accomplished its obvious design to throw the White House defense into disarray and to secure the votes for witnesses. However, I noted that the success could come at a price: ” a mutually assured destruction option: allow both sides to lay waste to each other and leave it to the public to pick through the ruins.” That appears to be the “Plan B” being discussed by Republicans in a game of chicken over witnesses.

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Trump Attacks Fox News For Interviewing Democrats

Recently, I criticized Lawrence O’Donnell for proudly proclaiming that MSNBC would not invite Trump defenders on the network because they are liars. O’Donnell’s comment brought a rare joining of voices from across the political spectrum denouncing the knowing bias in such statements. Once again, however, President Donald Trump has supplanted the story with his own equally objectionable statement. On Tuesday, he attacked Fox News for interviewing Democrats like Sen. Chris Van Hollen and declared “this will be the beginning of the end for Fox.” If so, it would mean the end of journalism since Fox News was merely offering both sides of these stories in interviewing one of the senators who will be voting in the upcoming trial.

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Supreme Court Rules That Trump Administration Can Go Forward With Public Charge Rule Of Immigrants

The Supreme Court delivered a major, if temporary, victory for the Trump Administration in the immigration field. The Administration has sought to implement the “public charge rule,” that would allow the denial of immigrants who will rely on public assistance, including most forms of Medicaid, food stamps and housing vouchers. In a brief order, the Supreme Court voted 5-4 to lift a nationwide injunction and allow the rule to be implemented while litigation continues.

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Why Neither Side Is Really Trying To Win This Trump Impeachment Trial

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the adoption of language and theories in the impeachment trial that has alienated key senators. Neither side appears to be tailoring their cases to secure bipartisan votes.

Here is the column:

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Trump: Schiff “Has Not Paid The Price Yet”

We have seen repeated instances where President Donald Trump has stepped on the narrative of his defenders with a single misplaced tweet — often giving opponents precisely what they have been alleging. This weekend is another such example with a tweet saying ominously the House Intelligence Committee Chair Adam Schiff has not paid the price yet” for his role in Trump’s impeachment. The tweet sounded not only threatening but was immediately raised by Democrats as supporting what Schiff said in his closing argument about senators fearing retribution from Trump. One can easily view the tweet at a statement about political accountability, but the insistence on attacking Schiff personally is both improper and counter-productive. Trump was impeached by the House, not Schiff. He is fulfilling a duty under the Constitution. Some of us have criticized his representations, but alluding to personal costs for the House managers is wildly inappropriate in the middle of a Senate trial.

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Trump’s Spiritual Adviser Calls For “Satanic Pregnancies To Miscarry Right Now”

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We have previously discussed President Donald Trump’s personal spiritual adviser, Paula White, and her bizarre sermons denouncing the ‘demonic networks” and stating that Christians who vote against Trump will be called to account before God. She is back in the news with a sermon that calls for opposing the marine and animal kingdoms as well as commanding “any satanic pregnancies to miscarry right now.” President Trump has not only embraced White as a spiritual counselor but made her the head of his Faith and Opportunity Initiative

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Washington State Senator Introduces Bill To Deregulate Lemonade Stands

By Darren Smith, Weekend Contributor

The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the lemonade of Andria & Zoey.

In a welcome departure from Washington State’s penchant to overbearingly tax, regulate, and control every aspect of human existence possible, a state senator recently introduced Senate Bill 6320 titled “AN ACT Relating to the ability of a minor to operate a lemonade business on an occasional basis” as a prophylaxis against the state shutting down another fledgling business and cultural icon: the childhood lemonade stand.

It is, however, a rather sad commentary that such a bill becomes necessary, but given the unholy alliance between the neighborhood busy-bodies who shake their canes at all things enjoyed by children and mindless automatons of local government who put rules above reason, it seems we now have to legislate discretion to protect young entrepreneurs from being thwarted by the ridiculousness sometimes displayed by adults having more power than sense.

Do we have to make laws to protect lemonade stands from government? Unfortunately it seems in today’s society we must.

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The Johnson Fallacy: Why Dershowitz Is Wrong About The Prevailing Argument In the Johnson Trial

Below is my column in The Hill newspaper on the Andrew Johnson impeachment trial and its reliance by Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz to support the argument that impeachable offenses must be based on criminal conduct.

Here is the column:

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Nadler and The Johnson Fallacy

It seems that the Andrew Johnson trial is finally back in vogue. It just shows that, like ties, if you wait long enough everything comes back into style.

I have written about my disagreement with Harvard Professor Alan Dershowitz‘s reliance on the trial of Andrew Johnson for support of his theory that impeachable offenses must involve criminal acts. Now, I have to raise similar objections to the other side in its reliance on the trial, specifically the comments of House manager and House Judiciary Committee Chairman Jerrold Nadler.

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“No One Has Suggested My Son Did Anything Wrong”: Joe Biden Doubles Down On Denial

We have previously discussed the denials of former Vice President Joe Biden that his son did anything wrong in Ukraine. As I have written, not only did Hunter Biden clearly enter into a corrupt (but arguably lawful) contract but Joe Biden did not do enough to confirm that his son was not engaging in influence peddling. Nevertheless, this week, Joe Biden continued this indefensible position and declared bizarrely that “no one has suggested my son did anything wrong.”

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Biden Ordered To Appear In Paternity Action On Threat Of Contempt

We have been following the case of Hunter Biden in Arkansas as he continues to resist efforts to confirm his wealth and establish child support for his child with Lunden Alexis Roberts. Her lawyers have been trying unsuccessfully to get access to financial records and other information and now Independence County Circuit Court Judge Holly Meyer has ordered him to appear on January 29th to “show cause, if any exists, as to why he should not be held in contempt for any of the alleged violations of this Court’s orders.”

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“It Depends”: Trump Casts Doubt On White House Legal Theory As Republican Senators Declare It Invalid

As I discussed yesterday in the Washington Post, the White House defense in the Senate impeachment trial is built again the dubious constitutional argument that a president cannot be impeached without an alleged criminal case. That argument will be presented by Harvard Law Professor Alan Dershowitz but it is based, in my view, on a flawed reading of both impeachment and specifically the trial if Andrew Johnson. It was a mistake that will make it more difficult for Republican senators to sign on to a defense tied so closely to an untenable constitutional argument. Today, more Republican senators, including Sen. Lindsay Graham, came forward to say that they categorically reject the interpretation. Even more concerning was the response of President Donald Trump when asked if abuse of power can be an impeachable offense. He responded that “it depends.” That is actually the correct answer but it is not the position being taken by the White House on the Senate floor.

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No Pettifogging: Roberts Admonishes Both Legal Teams After Late Night Outburst

Near midnight, the House managers and White House legal team erupted into name calling and recriminations. The confrontation led to Chief Justice John Roberts to admonish both sides and remind them that this is supposed to be the “world’s most deliberative body” and that “those addressing the Senate should remember where they are.” He also repeated a ruling from the 1905 trial of Judge Charles Swayne that there should be no accusations of “pettifogging.” With those words, the pettifog (bickering over trifles and petty disputes) dissipated from the chambers.

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A Nation Divided: A New Poll Shows Deep And Widening Split Over Trump

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A new Gallup poll shows just how deeply and irreconcilably divided we remain over President Donald Trump.  Some 89 percent of Republicans approve of Trump. That is not just reaching the record levels of Dwight D. Eisenhower, but outpaces Jesus Christ who polls only a 68 percent share and he has two holidays.  However, among Democrats, the rate falls to 7% percent — a difference of 82 percent.

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The New York Times Triggers Widespread Ridicule Over Endorsing Both Warren and Klobuchar

It might be easier for the New York Times to simply say who it is not endorsing. I have long been a critic of media endorsements which I view as self-obsessed as well as inimical to journalistic values of neutrality. For decades I have argued that media should end endorsements of political candidates. The Times however seems to be literally doubling down with its much ridiculed endorsement of both Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren. I can certainly understand endorsing either candidate given their achievements and leadership but endorsing both is rather bizarre since they present sharply different policies and approaches. While the editorial board wrote that in choosing these two candidates was “radical” but “realist,” many of us view it as just ridiculous.

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