Tag Archives: Politico

Censure the loony bird

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

Marjorie Taylor Greene certainly has made a name for herself in just a few days in public office.

Her name is, well, mud. She is a Republican congresswoman from Georgia who is aligned with the QAnon comprising conspiracy nut jobs and lunatics.

What does the House of Representatives do about this moron in its midst? Jack Shafer, senior media writer for Politico, has an interesting idea: censure her and then let the voters in her congressional district decide whether to keep her in 2022.

Not a bad idea. As Shafer writes in Politico: Nowhere in the Constitution—and this is excellent news for freshly sworn-in Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.)—does it stipulate that a House member must have the mental capacity to cook on all four burners.

This is in keeping with the Framers’ general idea that only the lowest bars should be set for officeholders. They declined to cordon off Congress with credential and qualification roadblocks, stating in Article I, section 2, clause 2 that House members need only be 25 years old or older and a U.S. citizen for at least seven years. This left plenty of room for the daft, the moonstruck, the brainsick, the rabble-rousing and the witless to run for the seats. And they have, often gaining office, as Rep. Greene recently did, to the horror of many.

Opinion | Expelling Marjorie Taylor Greene Is Just Crazy Talk – POLITICO

The House has punished members for making untoward statements. Former Rep. Steve King, the Iowa Republican who repeatedly spoke fondly of white supremacy, was stripped of his committee assignments. All he could do for the remainder of his term was cast recorded votes on the floor of the House. The voters in his House district took care of King’s political career … by voting him out of office.

That well could happen to Marjorie Taylor Greene, if the House has the gumption at the very least to censure her.

Unify Congress? Hah! Good luck

By JOHN KANELIS / johnkanelis_92@hotmail.com

President Biden’s stated intention to “unify” the nation is facing a major hurdle very close to the president’s new home.

Just down the street from the White house sits Congress. Its members are at each others’ throats. Democrats are angry and some are frightened of their Republican colleagues. Why? Because many of them have given tacit approval of the insurrection that could have produced casualties among members of Congress.

Meanwhile, GOP members are continuing their harangue against the election that President Biden won over Donald Trump.

Some members of Congress don’t want to work with their colleagues. Many of them want their offices relocated because of actual fear of how their colleagues might treat them.

Yes, there is a serious rift opening wide among members of Congress. As Politico has reported: Some House lawmakers are privately refusing to work with each other. Others are afraid to be in the same room. Two members almost got into a fist fight on the floor. And the speaker of the House is warning that “the enemy is within.”

Forget Joe Biden’s calls for unity. Members of Congress couldn’t be further divided.

‘I’m just furious’: Relations in Congress crack after attack – POLITICO

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi has declared that the “enemy is within” the halls of Congress. She is specifically pointedly of some House members who adhere to the QAnon lunacy that school shootings are hoaxes and that Muslims cannot serve in public office. Pressure is building to a full boil among Democrats to expel Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor-Greene of Georgia, who said during the 2020 campaign that it is time to “shed blood” to reverse trends she opposes.

I want Joe Biden to succeed in unifying the country. I do not have an idea on how he should do so, other than for him to call on senior Republicans in the House and Senate — men and women he knows well — to persuade them to close the yawning divide between the parties.

It’s just that the president has to start seeking unity in the other co-equal government branch.

Let’s not get ahead of ourselves

Stories like the one published today by Politico give me the heebie-jeebies.

It talks about how Democratic presidential nominee Joe Biden already is forming a “government” and speculates on who might fill key Cabinet posts.

Read the story here.

Why the nervous jerks? Why am I sweating bullets? It’s easy to answer.

Donald Trump is capable of doing damn near anything to pilfer this election, to do whatever it takes to win.

I get that Politico is merely reporting what it learns, which is that former VP Biden is beginning to look beyond the election coming up in 70-some days. I just dread the prospect of Trump finding a way to win a second term and effectively destroying the nation that we have come to know, revere and cherish.

When I say “destroy” the nation, I am not suggesting he is going to torch the White House, burn down the Capitol, throw out the Supreme Court. I do intend to suggest that Trump will leave a virtually indelible imprint on the institutional framework of the government crafted by the framers. And I don’t like what I have seen so far.

I don’t like the massive rush toward environmental deregulation; I don’t like his federal court appointments; I detest his effort to dismantle the Affordable Care Act; I hate the manner in which he has isolated this nation from the rest of the shrinking world; and I damn sure hate the way he makes out with dictators and disparages our intelligence network.

Accordingly, I want him defeated as much as the next guy. Maybe more than the next guy. Which makes me nervous as hell when I read about Joe Biden forming a “government.”

The former vice president has to pour every bit of energy he has into defeating Donald Trump. Then he can take the next step, which is to form a government that can repair the damage that Trump has inflicted on our republic.

Sen. McConnell is a jokester supreme

Mitch McConnell just slays me. He knocks me out. He throws out jokes when he’s trying to be serious.

Such as when he writes an essay on Politico.com and urges Democrats to stop obstructing Donald Trump’s myriad appointments.

Yep, the Senate’s chief obstructionist masquerading as its majority leader, is scolding Democrats for playing politics.

You can read Sen. McConnell’s essay here.

I want to have my say for just a moment.

Majority Leader McConnell has set a new standard for obstruction. He rolled it out in early 2016 when U.S. Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia died suddenly. The president at the time, Barack Obama, was empowered — by the U.S. Constitution — to nominate someone to replace Justice Scalia.

President Obama sought to do so. He nominated federal judge Merrick Garland — a superb jurist, a centrist — to join the SCOTUS.

McConnell’s response? He would not allow Garland to have so much as a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing. He wouldn’t meet with the nominee. He instructed his GOP colleagues to stiff Garland.

In fact, McConnell made clear his intention within hours of Justice Scalia’s death. He said a “lame duck” president shouldn’t be allowed to fulfill his duty. We were going to have an election that year, McConnell said, and we should let the next president fill that vacancy.

It was a tremendous gamble on McConnell’s part. He was hoping for a Republican to be elected president. It turned out to be Donald Trump, who then won the election that November.

So, for McConnell today to excoriate Democrats for “playing politics” with these appointments — in the words of a former boss of mine — is like the Happy Hooker, Xaviera Hollander, lecturing someone on the virtues of chastity.

Whether to tweet or be ‘presidential’

I’ll concede the obvious, which is that Donald John Trump has redefined the presidency of the United States.

He issues policy pronouncements via Twitter. He tweets his brains out, firing off messages conveyed normally through more, um, diplomatic channels. Part of me still wishes he would cease and desist.

However, another part of me — perhaps it’s the major part — actually wants him to keep it up. Keep using the medium to say things, to outrage us, to fire up your base, to give the rest of us reason to detest you.

A lengthy article in Politico talks about how Trump has overused Twitter. Remember when he promised (imagine that!) to cut off the tweets once he became president? That pledge had as much value as his promise to make Mexico pay for The Wall, that he wouldn’t have time to play golf and his pledge to be the “unity president.”

Read the Politico article here.

Trump has been unleashed on Twitter.

It’s given bloggers such as yours truly plenty of grist on which to comment. Keep it coming, Mr. President.

I’ll just add one caveat: Do not tweet out the nuclear codes or otherwise endanger national security any worse than you already have done through your careless remarks to Russians and other adversaries who visit you in the Oval Office.

The new year promises to be chock full of news, as if the year that just passed wasn’t full enough as it was.

With the “Stable Genius” at the helm, there’s never a dull moment.

Don’t keep the findings secret, Mr. Special Counsel

There’s some chatter developing about the conclusions that special counsel Robert Mueller might reach at the end of his investigation into what Donald Trump referred to as “the Russia thing.”

It goes something like this: There might not be an explosive finding that spells the end of Donald Trump’s administration; moreover, Mueller might not allow the findings to be made public.

None of us can control the first part. The second part, about secrecy, we can. I want to urge the special counsel to make damn sure the public gets to see the conclusions he draws.

My goodness! The Department of Justice charged Mueller with determining whether there was any “collusion” between Trump’s presidential campaign and Russian operatives who hacked into our electoral system and sought to influence the outcome of the 2016 presidential election. The DOJ is our agency. It runs on our tax money. We are the bosses. We have a right — if not a need — to know the investigation’s outcome and how Mueller and his legal team reached it.

As Politico reports: “That’s just the way this works,” said John Q. Barrett, a former associate counsel who worked under independent counsel Lawrence Walsh during the Reagan-era investigation into secret U.S. arms sales to Iran. “Mueller is a criminal investigator. He’s not government oversight and he’s not a historian.”

But he is operating on the public’s time and on its dime.

To my way of thinking, that entitles the public to know the outcome and how Mueller’s team reached its conclusion.

Mueller’s ratings take a dive? Imagine that

Special counsel Robert Mueller’s negative ratings have spiked to an all-time high. What a revoltin’ development that is … even though it shouldn’t surprise anyone at all.

Mueller is now in his second year investigating whether Donald J. Trump’s campaign for president “colluded” with Russians seeking to influence the election outcome in 2016; he’s also looking into other matters relating to the Trump campaign.

Let me offer a brief suggestion as to why I believe Mueller’s standing has taken a header.

Trump has assailed Mueller from the get-go. Sure, he says “there is no collusion.” He keeps harping on his innocence, meanwhile labeling Mueller’s investigation as a “witch hunt” masterminded by the “13 Democrats” who are working on Mueller’s team of legal eagles.

The president’s criticism has been relentless, unending and persistent.

Politico has an extensive story on the poll results. Read it here.

Mueller’s response? He’s been quiet. You hear the term “crickets” when talking about political response. All we hear from Mueller are the proverbial “crickets.” Why is that? Because unlike the president, Mueller is careful and is dedicated to preserving the integrity of his probe.

Put another way: Mueller isn’t going to say a word in public until he is finished with his investigation. He is a former FBI director and lawyer known for meticulous evidence-gathering. He is not going to upset that effort by responding to every ridiculous assertion that comes from the Trump camp.

Trump is winning the shouting match so far but only because he and his minions are the only ones doing the shouting.

I’m waiting for the final report to come out.

As for the president’s constant yammering about witch hunts, “fake news” and bogus allegations, if there’s no “there” there, let Mueller’s probe reach that conclusion — without interference.

Something suggests to me — I cannot quite tell what it is — that Mueller is likely to reach a different conclusion.

Oh, that POTUS is such a comedian

Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin has mounted a curious defense of Donald Trump’s penchant for profane name-calling.

He said the president “likes making funny names.”

Hey, Trump’s latest funny-name tirade this week included these two knee-slappers. He referred to “Meet the Press” moderator Chuck Todd a “sleeping son of a bitch.” Oh, and then — at the same political rally in Pennsylvania — he described Democratic U.S. Rep. Maxine Waters as a “low-IQ individual.”

I cannot stop laughing. The president just cracks me up. What a card, a comedian. He needs to take his act on the road. Oh, wait! That’s what he did when he hurled those insults at (a) a prominent broadcast journalist and (b) a leader of the congressional Democratic caucus.

Mnuchin’s defense of Trump came, interestingly, on “Meet the Press,” the program Todd has moderated for the past several years. I didn’t watch it in real time. I’m quite sure that Todd didn’t crack up at Mnuchin’s defense of the president. Oh, no. Todd is too much of a pro to do something so stupid.

As Politico reports: “I’ve been with the president and at campaigns. You know, he likes to put names on people,” the Treasury secretary said. “He did that through the entire presidential election, including all of the Republicans that he beat. … These are campaign rally issues.” 

That is supposed to excuse the kind of hideous language that Trump spews? Give me a break.

“Campaign rally issues” often produce free-form rhetoric. However, we are talking here about the president of the United States of America. Isn’t this individual supposed to elevate the quality of political discourse?

What’s with the GOP war against the FBI?

Up is down, black is white and Republicans who used to revere the FBI have declared war on the agency.

What in the world has become of us, of our political dynamic and of the natural order of things?

The conservative media are sounding the battle cry against the FBI, referring to something called a “secret society,” not to mention the “deep state.”

Here’s the genesis, as I understand it.

Conservative media personalities are so enamored of Donald J. Trump that they simply cannot tolerate the idea that the FBI and other agencies would be examining such things as “collusion with Russians,” or “money laundering” or any conduct that might be construed as “treasonous.”

So, to protect the president’s flank, these media types are attacking the FBI, a once-sacred agency in the eyes of the Republican Party.

The command and control of this attack appears to be inside the Fox News Channel, with its bevy of conservative media personalities. The New York Times reported this week that Trump actually ordered the firing of special counsel Robert Mueller, but backed off when White House counsel Donald McGahn threatened to quit; other media outlets have corroborated the Times’ account.

Fox News blowhard Sean Hannity is dismissing the report out of hand. He just won’t accept what reputable professional journalists are reporting.

Politico reports that there’s something even wider going on: But Hannity’s coverage was just part of a wider trend, observers say. For the past week, Fox News opinion hosts have seized on claims by some Republican lawmakers about a “secret society” at the FBI and “deep state actors” to fashion unproven narratives designed to protect Trump and delegitimize Mueller.

Secret society and deep state actors? What in the world is that all about?

I am afraid to admit that even some of my very own Republican friends have bought into that “deep state” crap. One of them told me this week that the FBI has been “crooked” for far longer than anyone has known.

I am happy to tell you that not all GOP operatives have swallowed the Fox News swill. Again, according to Politico: “The network is increasingly engaged in a misinformation campaign aimed directly at the American people for the purposes of sowing confusing and spinning a web of protective armor around the president, who is being investigated,” said Steve Schmidt, the Republican political strategist who ran John McCain’s 2008 presidential campaign.

What is normal has become abnormal in just about any context imaginable.

I’ll just posit the notion that this is a consequence of electing Donald Trump as president of the United States. A man who thrives on chaos and who revels in being the center of controversy — if not outright scandal — is fomenting this hysteria among his most fervent supporters.

He isn’t “telling it like it is.” He is stoking, in the words of conservative Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin, a “whole new level of crazy.”

By all means, it’s the ‘Trump Shutdown’

A headline on Politico.com sought to say how media outlets are “struggling” to assign blame for the current shutdown of the federal government.

Are you kidding me? I know who’s to blame. Someone just needed to ask me.

It’s Donald John “Deal Maker in Chief” Trump Sr.! He’s the man. He’s the one. He’s the guy who’s got to shoulder the blame.

How do I know that? Because the president of the United States laid the previous shutdown, which occurred in 2013, at the feet of Barack H. Obama, his presidential predecessor.

He said the president has to lead. He’s the one elected by the entire country. The president has to step up, take charge, bring members of Congress to the White House, clunk their heads together and tell ’em shape up, settle their differences and get the government running again.

Trump said all that. He was right.

But now that Trump is the man in charge, he has retreated into the background. Trump is pointing fingers at Democrats. He says they are to blame solely for the shutdown.

Give me a break!

A president is supposed to lead. We elect presidents to run the government. They stand head and shoulders above the 100 senators and 435 House members. When the government shudders and then closes its doors, we turn to the president to show us the way back to normal government functionality.

Donald Trump hasn’t yet shown up to lead the government out of its darkness.

Who’s to blame? It’s the guy who called it in 2013.

This is Trump’s Shutdown. Pure and simple.

If only he’d kept his trap shut when he was a mere commercial real estate mogul and reality TV host …