Thursday, March 23, 2017

Scattershooting the abominable GOP and their lame opposition

Hasn't been much going on this week, has there?

-- Trumpcare is, as predicted, DOA, but in the House and not just the Senate.  Ryan's hope, along with whatever is left of his tattered reputation for caucus discipline, cannot let him pronounce it deceased yet.

A frenzied 24 hours filled with hushed deliberations on Capitol Hill, senior-level meetings at the White House and back-to-back phone calls with the President came to an end Wednesday -- quietly and unceremoniously.

Well before midnight, this much was clear: Republicans still had no deal on their health care bill to repeal Obamacare, as a Thursday vote loomed ...

House Speaker Paul Ryan and his top deputies huddled with a group of moderate Republicans in the Speaker's office Wednesday night, as members of the conservative House Freedom Caucus sounded increasingly optimistic that they were close to getting a major concession from the White House.

Hours later, Ryan and his top deputies never came out to speak to the cameras and dozens of reporters waiting outside, and it was clear that leadership had no good news to share. With the exception of a few members who rushed away without speaking to press, all leaders in the room, including Ryan, appeared to have ducked out using side exits.

While this gathering was wrapping up, House leaders had gotten more bad news: GOP Rep. Charlie Dent, the leader of the moderate Tuesday Group, released a statement opposing the current bill spearheaded by Ryan and President Trump.

It would be valuable to remember that the Freedom Caucus is opposed to Trumpcare because it isn't cruel enough to sick people, and that sociopathy goes way beyond higher deductibles and premiums.  So let's make sure dumbass Democrats aren't under the impression they have some allies here, or that they 'won' something.  When the attacking army decides it would rather attack itself ...

-- The Russian thing comes to a full rolling boil, with House Intelligence Committee chair Devin Nunes breaching protocol and maybe something more serious.

Investigators don’t normally brief the people they’re investigating. But on Wednesday afternoon, Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the Republican who’s leading a congressional investigation into whether President Donald Trump’s team colluded with Russia to interfere in the 2016 election, went to the White House to talk to the president. 
The names of Trump associates — and perhaps even Trump’s own name — appeared in surveillance reports compiled by U.S. intelligence agencies in the final months of the Obama administration, Nunes said he told Trump.
Nunes, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee and a close Trump ally, said the intercepted communications didn’t mention Russia and were therefore unrelated to his investigation. 
But Nunes’ briefing with Trump broached the theme of an ongoing FBI investigation ― the president’s and his associate’s connections to foreign powers. And Nunes’ objective appeared political: Deflect attention from Trump and his associates’ ties to Russia, and back up Trump’s claim that he is a victim of “deep state” loyal to former President Barack Obama.

Democrats responded with a strongly worded statements; about the Russian thing itself and about Dunes' tipping off Trump before he mentioned it to his committee members.

“If a Democrat had done this, Republicans would have been asking for him to be investigated both for disclosing classified information and for obstructing justice,” said Matthew Miller, a Department of Justice spokesman during the Obama administration. “It is so far beyond the pale for the person who is conducting an investigation to both brief the subject of that investigation and potentially jeopardize an ongoing criminal investigation being conducted by the FBI.”

Stern.  That ought to really get Dunes in line.

-- This is the closest anyone has come to saying -- with some supporting evidence, that is -- that "the Russians stole the election".  Not hacked, mind you.  But read the last, bolded sentence.

The FBI has information that indicates associates of President Donald Trump communicated with suspected Russian operatives to possibly coordinate the release of information damaging to Hillary Clinton's campaign, US officials told CNN.

This is partly what FBI Director James Comey was referring to when he made a bombshell announcement Monday before Congress that the FBI is investigating the Trump campaign's ties to Russia, according to one source.

The FBI is now reviewing that information, which includes human intelligence, travel, business and phone records and accounts of in-person meetings, according to those U.S. officials. The information is raising the suspicions of FBI counterintelligence investigators that the coordination may have taken place, though officials cautioned that the information was not conclusive and that the investigation is ongoing.

As someone who has scoffed at this notion since it first broke last summer, I'm waiting with bated breath along with the rest of the country for Jim Comey's reveal.

-- It's not just the Republicans in Washington who fight with each other over who is the bigger bunch of assholes; their junior partners in Austin are cranking it up, too.

Speaker Joe Straus on Wednesday accused Senate budget writers of "cooking the books" and using an "Enron-esque" accounting gimmick to achieve their wish to spend more but not incur fiscal hard-liners' wrath by tapping state savings.

Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick swiftly defended Sen. Jane Nelson, the chamber's chief budget writer, and other senators on the Finance Committee. He said the panel's $217.7 billion, two-year budget was "terrific work ... using a very sound fiscal method to do so."

Texas Senate Democrats joined Republicans on the Finance Committee, voting their budget to the full body in a unanimous 15-0 vote.  Resistance!

I could add something about Supreme Court Justice Neil Gorsuch, but the Democrats' weakness in regard to his imminent confirmation has barely been redeemed by Al Franken.  Not going to be enough to stop it or even slow it down.

I'd blog more but I'm too busy spitting.

No comments: