The Rachel Maddow Show – The MaddowBlog
Senate GOP confirms highly controversial Trump judicial nominee
It’s not just the quantity of Donald Trump’s judicial nominees who’ve been confirmed by Senate Republicans, it’s also the quality that’s striking.Steven Menashi, one of Donald Trump’s far-right lawyers, has become one of the year’s most controversial judicial nominees for good reason. The New York conservative, nominated for the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals, has a tough-to-defend record of radicalism that includes an argument about democratic countries working better when everyone is of the same ethnicity. Demand Justice’s Brian Fallon described Menashi as “a perfect storm of awful.”
What’s more, as regular readers may recall, his confirmation hearing did not go well. Senate Judiciary Chairman Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) chided Menashi for not being more forthcoming, as did Sen. John Kennedy (R-La.).
As Jennifer Bendery explained, it didn’t matter:
The Senate voted Thursday to make Steven Menashi a lifetime federal judge, despite his inflammatory writings about women’s rights and diversity, his refusal to answer senators’ questions and his role in devising an illegal Education Department effort to deny debt relief to students cheated by for-profit colleges.
Every Democrat present voted against confirming Menashi, who is President Donald Trump’s choice for a lifetime seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 2nd Circuit. Every Republican present but one, Sen. Susan Collins (Maine), voted to confirm him. The final tally was 51-41.
A majority of the judges on the 2nd Circuit Court of Appeals have now been nominated by Republican presidents –a first since the early 1990’s.
That said, Menashi, who’s only 40 years old, is an especially difficult jurist to defend.
To go along with confirming him, Senate Republicans had to overlook Menashi’s ugly record on matters related to race, women, and the LGBTQ community. And then they also had to overlook the fact that Menashi has never tried a case, made oral arguments, or conducted a deposition.
And then they also had to overlook the nominee’s role in devising an illegal scheme at the Department of Education that punished victims of scam for-profit colleges.
For 51 Senate Republicans, none of this was a deal-breaker. Menashi will likely now serve on the federal appellate bench – just one level below the U.S. Supreme Court – for the next several decades.
I’ve long believed the lasting effects of the Trump era can be boiled down to the three C’s: the climate, the nation’s credibility, and the federal courts. Health care benefits can be restored, alliances can be rebuilt, and tax breaks can be scrapped, but the lost years on dealing with the climate crisis are tragic; it’ll be a long while before the world forgets that we’re a country capable of electing someone like Trump; and with Republicans confirming young, far-right ideologues to the bench at a brutal clip, we can expect a generation’s worth of conservative court rulings.
(Permanent Musical Accompaniment To The Last Post Of The Week From The Blog’s Favourite Living Canadian)
Did you notice? This was the week they gave up.
The House Republicans defending the president* against the inquiry into his possible impeachment gave up defending him on the merits, and they gave up on it entirely. All of their complaints centered around the process, even though the process is being conducted according to rules Republicans established when they were hunting snipes over Benghazi. Rep. Elise Stefanik managed, by her constant complaining, to hitch her entire political future to the future of Camp Runamuck. By Friday, confronted by the quiet steel of Marie Yovanovitch, the Republicans on the House Intelligence Committee said more nice things about her than they did about the president*. Even Jim Jordan was polite within his own narrow limits. The lone exception was Rep. Mike Turner, Republican of Texas, who wagged his finger at Yovanovitch and peremptorily told her, “You’re done.”
But let’s talk about how the day ended. Committee chairman Adam Schiff read the riot act to the administration* and gaveled the meeting to a close. Rep. Mike Conaway, Republican of Texas, began to bellow about how he wanted to speak and then, suddenly, as Yovanovitch got up to leave, the entire room burst into loud applause, drowning out Conaway’s objections. The ovation followed Yovanovitch out of the room. The Democrats on the committee, not having arrived on turnip trucks, joined in the applause.
If, somehow, the president* is turned out of office, which seems just a bit less unlikely now than it seemed at the beginning of the week, remember that applause. It was a signifying moment for all concerned. It was a spontaneous outburst of appreciation for honest government and a spontaneous declaration that the country is tired of being used to feed the limitless ego and boundless psychoses of the vulgar talking yam who lucked into the most powerful job in the world. Remember when people cheered Marie Yovanovitch, thanking her for her simple desire to do the job she was hired to do.
November 12, 2019
🔥🔥 BREAKING: WOW!! Fox News’ Judge Napolitano just urged Republicans to impeach Trump in a viral speech. 🔥🔥
🔥🔥 BREAKING: WOW!! Fox News' Judge Napolitano just urged Republicans to impeach Trump in a viral speech. 🔥🔥Video by Occupy Democrats host Brian Tyler Cohen.
Posted by Occupy Democrats on Tuesday, November 12, 2019
The Rachel Maddow Show – The MaddowBlog
Donald Trump said more than a few ridiculous things in his remarks today to the Economic Club of New York, but the president’s claim about one of his adult children was especially jarring.
President Trump claimed Tuesday that his daughter Ivanka Trump – who is also a White House senior adviser – has created 14 million jobs, according to Mediaite. “My daughter Ivanka, that’s all she wants to talk about… she wants to make these people have great lives. And when she started this, two and half years ago, her goal was 500,000 jobs,” the president said at the Economic Club of New York while discussing the administration’s “Pledge to America’s Workers.”
“She has now created 14 million jobs and they are being trained by these great companies, the greatest companies in the world, because the government cannot train them. It’s a great thing.”
If you watch the video clip, note that the president repeated the line more than once – and then promoted it on Twitter.
If true, this would be quite an accomplishment for the president’s adult daughter, wouldn’t it? Donald Trump has already tasked Ivanka Trump for playing key roles in international diplomacy, and he’s considered her for powerful positions, including posts at the World Bank and the United Nations.
What we didn’t know is that, in addition to these other areas of her portfolio, the young White House official also managed “create 14 million jobs,” apparently very quickly.
If true, that would be quite an accomplishment. In reality, however, the claim is not to be taken seriously.
According to the latest data from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, Donald Trump has been in office for 33 full months, during which time the economy has created 6.25 million jobs. That’s pretty good, though it’s a significant decline as compared to the final 33 months of Barack Obama’s presidency.
But to hear the Republican tell it, while he wants credit for creating 6.25 million jobs, he wants his daughter to receive credit for creating 14 million jobs – more than double that of his entire presidency.
If this sounds at all familiar, it’s because the president made a similar boast in February, telling the nation’s governors, “My daughter has created millions of jobs. I don’t know if anyone knows that, but she’s created millions of jobs.”
Now, he’s even more specific: “millions of jobs” has become “14 million jobs.” I shudder to think where the made-up number will be next year.
What Ivanka Trump actually did was help launch a “Pledge to America’s Workers” initiative in which many companies pledged to help train workers over the course of several years. That’s a worthwhile thing to do, but evidence of actual training is, at least at this point, rather thin, and none of this has anything to do with millions of jobs having been created by the effort.
What the president doesn’t seem to understand is that implausible lies with no grounding in reality in are literally unbelievable.
To the cowardly republi-cons in congress; this is what courage looks like.
CNN – Politics
The truly frightening thing about Nikki Haley’s big revelation
(CNN)In her forthcoming book about her time in the Trump White House, former US ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley claims that she was recruited by White House chief of staff John Kelly and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson to subvert the wishes of President Donald Trump.
Perry backers secured lucrative Ukraine gas deal after his meeting with new president: report
By John Bowden November 11, 2019
Two political backers of Energy Secretary Rick Perry landed a lucrative oil and gas exploration deal from Ukraine’s government shortly after Perry reportedly included one of the two men in a list of suggested potential advisers to Ukraine’s new president, according to The Associated Press.
The AP reported Monday that Michael Bleyzer was among four names Perry had recommended to Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.
Bleyzer and partner Alex Cranberg later got a contract to drill for oil and gas despite despite offering a bid that was lower than their only other competitor, the AP reported citing internal Ukrainian government documents.
The contract was awarded to Bleyzer and Cranberg because they were deemed as having better technical expertise and stronger financial backing, the AP also reported, citing the documents.
A major GOP donor, Bleyzer supported Perry’s unsuccessful 2012 bid for the Republican presidential nomination. He is based in Perry’s home state of Texas.
He told the AP in a statement that Perry’s conversations with Ukraine’s government “did not play any role in Ukrainian Energy winning its bid” in the country and added that the process “will hopefully serve as an example of how the Ukrainian energy market can be opened for new investments.”
A spokesperson for the Energy Department denied to The Hill that Perry advocated for any specific U.S. figures or business interests during his conversations with Ukraine’s government.
“Throughout his tenure, Secretary Perry has championed the American energy industry all over the world. As previously stated, throughout his engagements with Ukrainian officials Secretary Perry has consistently called for the modernization and reform of Kyiv’s business and energy sector in an effort to create an environment that will incentivize Western companies to do business in Ukraine,” said spokeswoman Shaylyn Hynes.
“He delivered that same message during his visit to Ukraine for the Inauguration of President Zelenskyy [sic]. What he did not do is advocate for the business interests of any one individual or company,” she added.
The awarding of a contract to a Perry political ally in Ukraine comes as President Trump’s own conversation with Ukraine’s president about opening an investigation into former Vice President Joe Biden has become central to the House’s impeachment inquiry.
Perry has refused to turn over documents related to his interactions with Ukraine as part of the Trump administration’s policies, as requested by a House subpoena.
Veteran journalist Bill Moyers said Sunday that for the first time “in my long life” — including the Depression and World War II — he fears for the nation’s survival.
A “society, a democracy, can die of too many lies — and we’re getting close to that terminal moment unless we reverse the obsession with lies that are being fed around the country,” Moyers told Brian Stelter on CNN.
Hope rests in citizens paying careful attention to the televised impeachment hearings beginning this week on Wednesday and Friday in the House, noted Moyers, who served for two years as President Lyndon Johnson’s press secretary. He has urged PBS to rebroadcast the hearings during prime time so that they more easily be seen by working people.
“Do facts matter anymore?” Moyers asked, referring to the impeachment investigation. “I think they do. I think they mattered in the Watergate hearings, in the Clinton hearings, and I think they’ll matter this time, too.”
He referred to Trump’s “astonishing” response from the crowd at a campaign rally last month in Louisiana.
“They believed everything he said,” Moyers noted. “I’m hoping only 10% of those people watch the hearings … They will see it is not a witch hunt, and they will begin to doubt their master. And they will begin to break off and maybe become a citizen again.”
Moyers believes Trump still has a “pretty good” chance of winning the 2020 election, but that only a “slight shift” in people who “begin to doubt” could make a significant difference.
Check out Moyers’ remarks in the clip above.
The Rachel Maddow Show – The MaddowBlog
Despite crisis, Trump threatens to pull federal aid for California
Nearly a year ago, Donald Trump published a tweet that appeared to include a policy pronouncement. After complaining about California’s approach to forest management – an issue he only pretends to understand – the president wrote that he’d ordered FEMA to send the Golden State “no more money.”
We later learned that the Republican’s rhetoric had no relationship with reality. There was no such order – to FEMA or any other agency – and as we discussed at the time, the president’s bluster was hollow.
All of this came to mind over the weekend, when Trump’s rhetoric took on a familiar tone.
President Donald Trump offered a vague threat to pull California’s federal aid for combating dangerous wildfires on Sunday, sparking a response from Democratic Gov. Gavin Newsom as the pair traded barbs through the day.
“The Governor of California, @GavinNewsom, has done a terrible job of forest management,” Trump tweeted early Sunday. “I told him from the first day we met that he must ‘clean’ his forest floors regardless of what his bosses, the environmentalists, DEMAND of him. Must also do burns and cut fire stoppers. Every year, as the fire’s rage & California burns, it is the same thing-and then he comes to the Federal Government for $$$ help. No more. Get your act together Governor. You don’t see close to the level of burn in other states.”
During a brief Q&A yesterday afternoon, Trump kept the offensive going, telling reporters, in reference to California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D), “The governor doesn’t know – he’s like a child. He doesn’t know what he’s doing.”
I realize projection is a go-to move for the president, but I didn’t really expect him to bring his “no puppet” tactics to wildfire responses.
To the extent that reality has any meaning, Trump’s rhetoric didn’t make any sense. California’s latest wildfires, for example, haven’t burnt down forests. The president’s claims about water distribution were similarly wrong. Even the assertion about the Golden State getting “no more” federal aid is probably not to be taken seriously.
What I find important, however, is the bigger picture: Trump’s hostility toward the nation’s largest state has reached a ridiculous level.
In February, Politico ran a feature on “Trump’s War on California,” and it’s safe to say the problem has intensified in the nine months that followed. The White House has, after all, taken steps to revoke California’s right to set its own emissions standards, which came shortly before the Trump administration threatened to withhold federal highway funds from the state. Trump has also gone after California over homelessness in dubious ways.
The New York Times published this striking tidbit in September:
In recent months, the administration’s broader weakening of nationwide auto-emissions standards has become plagued with delays as staff members struggled to prepare legal, technical or scientific justifications for it. As a result, the White House decided to proceed with just one piece of its plan – the move to strip California of its authority to set tougher standards – while delaying its wider strategy, according to these people. […]
Mr. Trump … according to two people familiar with the matter, wanted to press forward with a policy that would punish California.
I’m just going to repeat that sentence for emphasis: “Trump … wanted to press forward with a policy that would punish California.”
It was 44 years ago this week that the New York Daily News ran its infamous “Ford to City: Drop Dead” headline. Don’t be surprised if California headlines soon reflect a related sentiment from a different Republican president.