2020/02/02 is fun.
Nothing below is.
The landmine story is particularly interesting because I suspect it's a precursor to mining the boarder with Mexico. There are massive logistical problems with that, but since when does this fucker care? He'd probably find video of refugee children being blown up absolutely hilarious, so why not?
Connelly: Senate Republicans could hide in a field of stubblehttps://www.seattlepi.com/local/politics/article/Senate-Republicans-cower-under-Trump-tweets-15021187.php
Even as the day's new John Bolton revelations flashed on TV screens, 51 Senate Republicans voted Friday to block President Donald Trump's impeachment trial from hearing witnesses and new evidence. How to describe their attitude? Return to the final days of Richard Nixon, and immortal words spoken by Indiana Rep. Earl Landgrebe:
"Don't confuse me with the facts. I've got a closed mind. I will not vote for impeachment."
The full picture 46 years later is of both mind and body. The Senate Republicans were cowering. Lips pressed together in fear of what a vindictive, vengeance-prone president will say and do. Knees trembled over Trump tweets. Any display of independence would yield cries of treason on Fox News, and warnings from big donors.
So much for an independent branch of government performing its constitutional duty.
If you missed the movie "Twister," language fromf Sen. Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., can serve as substitute: Democrats arguing the case for conviction presented such a "mountain of evidence" that no witnesses were needed. The President acted inappropriately in withholding aid to Ukraine, but Trump should not be convicted "simply for actions that are inappropriate."
Joe Biden Could Be Impeached by GOP Over Ukraine if He Wins, Iowa Senator Sayshttps://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2020-02-02/ernst-warns-of-gop-push-to-impeach-biden-over-ukraine-if-he-wins
Iowa Senator Joni Ernst warned Sunday that Republicans could immediately push to impeach Joe Biden over his work in Ukraine as vice president if he win the White House.
“I think this door of impeachable whatever has been opened,” Ernst said in an interview with Bloomberg News. “Joe Biden should be very careful what he’s asking for because, you know, we can have a situation where if it should ever be President Biden, that immediately, people, right the day after he would be elected would be saying, ‘Well, we’re going to impeach him.’”
The grounds for impeachment, the first-term Republican said, would be “for being assigned to take on Ukrainian corruption yet turning a blind eye to Burisma because his son was on the board making over a million dollars a year.”
President Barack Obama sent Biden to Ukraine on his behalf to fight corruption, including leading the push from the U.S. and western European powers to remove prosecutor general Viktor Shokin from office. When Shokin was fired in 2016, no congressional Republicans expressed concern about the move. Eventually, though, Shokin began to argue that he was fired because he was investigating Burisma and Biden wanted to protect his son, Hunter, who was on the company’s board. The claim has been debunked.
Trump authorizes shift to wider U.S. military use of land mineshttps://www.pbs.org/newshour/politics/trump-authorizes-shift-to-wider-u-s-military-use-of-land-mines
WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump on Friday canceled an Obama-era prohibition on the use of anti-personnel land mines outside of the Korean peninsula. With potential future conflict with China and Russia in mind, the new policy specified no geographic limits on land mine use, declaring that the weapons offer an important war-fighting capability.
The policy change drew swift condemnation from groups that have advocated a global ban on land mines, which have been widely condemned for their history of killing and maiming childrenand other civilians long after wars are over.
“There are acts in war that are simply out of bounds,” said Jeff Meer, U.S. executive director of Humanity & Inclusion, an international aid organization. “Nations, even superpowers, must never use certain weapons because of the superfluous injury and unnecessary suffering they cause. Land mines fall directly into this category.”
E.P.A. Is Letting Cities Dump More Raw Sewage Into Rivers for Years to Come
Washington, D.C., is digging a miles-long tunnel to contain the city’s untreated sewage during heavy rains.https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/24/climate/epa-sewage-rivers.html
The Environmental Protection Agency has made it easier for cities to keep dumping raw sewage into rivers by letting them delay or otherwise change federally imposed fixes to their sewer systems, according to interviews with local officials, water utilities and their lobbyists.
Cities have long complained about the cost of meeting federal requirements to upgrade aging sewer systems, many of which release untreated waste directly into waterways during heavy rains — a problem that climate change worsens as rainstorms intensify. These complaints have gained new traction with the Trump administration, which has been more willing to renegotiate the agreements.
A Dishonorable Senate
Republican legislators abdicated their duty by refusing to seek the truth.https://www.nytimes.com/2020/01/31/opinion/republicans-impeachment-congress.html
Alas, no one ever lost money betting on the cynicism of today’s congressional Republicans. On Friday evening, Republican senators voted in near lock step to block testimony from any new witnesses or the production of any new documents, a vote that was tantamount to an acquittal of the impeachment charges against President Trump. The move can only embolden the president to cheat in the 2020 election.
The vote also brings the nation face to face with the reality that the Senate has become nothing more than an arena for the most base and brutal — and stupid — power politics. Faced with credible evidence that a president was abusing his powers, it would not muster the institutional self-respect to even investigate.
The week began with such promise, or at least with the possibility the Senate might not abdicate its constitutional duty. Leaks from John Bolton’s forthcoming book about his time in the White House appeared to confirm the core of the impeachment case against Mr. Trump: his extortion of Ukraine by explicitly conditioning hundreds of millions of dollars in military aid on the announcement of investigations into his political rival.
Crumbling US senate echoes Roman collapse
In failing to hear witnesses in the trial of Donald Trump, the Senate joins other historic bodies that paved the way for despotism. https://chicago.suntimes.com/columnists/2020/2/2/21119032/crumbling-us-senate-echoes-roman-collapse-trump
Don’t be glum, chum. It isn’t as if the United States Senate is the first legislative body to dissolve into an impotent puddle at the feet of a domineering leader. History’s full of ’em. The most glaring example, alas, is the senate in the ancient Roman Republic.
If it’s been a while since you reached for your Edward Gibbon, save yourself the back strain. I’ve spent the weekend thumbing through “The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” and, buddy, as bad as the news is today, by consulting history we are reminded that it can get worse.
[NOTE: THIS IS FROM SEPTEMBER, 2019, NOT NEW - but close enough]
Refusal of Interracial Couple Shows How Slippery the Slope of LGBTQ Refusal Really Is
After the owner of a wedding hall was caught on tape refusing an interracial couple "because of our Christian race," questions are resurfacing about the possibility that anti-LGBTQ "religious exemptions" might be paving the way for legalized racial discrimination. https://rewire.news/religion-dispatches/2019/09/11/refusal-of-interracial-couple-shows-how-slippery-the-slope-of-lgbtq-refusal-really-is/
The owner of a Mississippi wedding hall, Donna Russell, made news last week for refusing to provide space for an interracial marriage due to her religious beliefs. Russell was caught on film stating that “First of all, we don’t do gay weddings or mixed race, because of our Christian race—I mean, our Christian belief. . . .” A Facebook post allegedly written by Russell on behalf of the venue, read:
* “after searching . . . and sitting down with my pastor Sunday night after church I have come to the conclusion my decision which was based on what I had thought was correct to be supported by The Bible [sic] was incorrect!”
It took twenty years after the Supreme Court decision in Loving v. Virginia, banning state laws against interracial marriage, for Mississippi to amend its constitution and remove the amendment prohibiting miscegenation. Loving nullified all state laws in 1967, but Mississippi clerks and courts refused to perform or honor interracial marriages for years after. Even in 1987, a bare majority of 52% of Mississippians voted to remove the language from the state constitution.
The Simple Reason Trump Does What He Does
Because he can.https://www.nytimes.com/2020/02/02/opinion/trump-impeachment-trial.html
It wasn’t the most notorious part of the “Access Hollywood” tape, but it was the most revealing: “And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything.”
Donald Trump was talking in 2005 to Billy Bush, then a host of the celebrity-news program “Access Hollywood.” It was hardly a private moment. They were wearing microphones and surrounded by a camera crew. Before their interview began, Trump explained how he liked to “move” on women, kissing them without their permission and grabbing their genitalia.
In the more than three years since the tape emerged, it’s become clear that the you-can-do-anything line wasn’t only describing Trump’s attitude toward women. It was describing his attitude toward everything: If you’re rich, famous or powerful, you can get away with much more than most people understand. You just do it. You don’t need to worry about ethical niceties or even, sometimes, the law. You use your advantages to bulldoze any obstacles.
For anyone trying to make sense of the impeachment trial, this attitude is central. It’s why Trump pressured Ukraine to conduct a smear campaign in the first place: Because he could. And it’s how Trump organized his defense in the Senate. His lawyers offered a brazenly inconsistent series of arguments, from “He did nothing wrong” to “There was no quid prod quo” to “There were no witnesses to the quid pro quo” to, finally, “If a president does it, it’s O.K.”
You could almost hear the echo of the “Access Hollywood” tape in the Senate last week: When you’re president, you can do anything.
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