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homersapien last won the day on August 21 2016

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  1. Well, we know that Cohen lied to Congress about the Trump Russian project. If there's evidence of Trump telling him to do so, we'll eventually see it (as if there's any doubt he did. ) This (the Mueller investigation statement) sounds a lot to me like Mueller reacting to the leak in a way to squelch future leaks and publication thereof.
  2. More like a "tear".
  3. Is the public finally learning that Trump's "art of the deal" was always hot air? Right now he's trapped and alone If you look at polling during the Trump era, it becomes clear that researchers have discovered that many voters are misinformed about the president. Many actually believe that Donald Trump is a massively successful self-made billionaire. His lifelong penchant for hype and the exposure he got from the scripted reality show "The Apprentice" convinced many people that he was a tremendously gifted businessman. As the New York Times reported in its massive exposé of the Trump family business going back to the 1960s, Trump was a millionaire before he was out of diapers -- and his repeated failures in business were all because of his lack of business acumen. Researchers discovered that had voters known about this, it would have changed the minds of a meaningful percentage of those who voted for Trump. He gets a 5 percent boost in public approval when people believe he came from humble roots because they conclude he must have empathy toward people like them. When people learn that isn't true, there's a big shift: [A]ttitudes toward Trump may be polarized along party lines, but this information does have noticeable and statistically significant effects on evaluations of Trump’s character. For Democrats, who already see Trump as lacking empathy, this information makes them think of him as even less empathetic. But among Republicans, the information is even more damning, reducing perceptions of empathy by more than 10 percentage points. Perceptions of Trump's business acumen, which are fairly high among voters of both parties, are also subject to a significant shift. When they find out that his daddy bailed him out his whole life, Republicans reduce their admiration for his skills by 9 points and Democrats by 6. These are small differences, but considering how close the election was in 2016, it's something worth thinking about for 2020. I suppose it's not fair to blame people for the false impression. Trump claimed to be the best negotiator in the world. He must have said it a thousand times. He even paid a ghostwriter to write his original book, "The Art of the Deal" and all the subsequent ghosted books about his alleged negotiating prowess. Just before he announced his presidential candidacy, he put it this way: Deals are my art form. Other people paint beautifully or write poetry. I like making deals, preferably big deals. That’s how I get my kicks. I'm sure he preferred "big deals," but in the end all of them were massive duds. Trump was reduced to getting his kicks making dozens and dozens of small deals, slapping his name on dicey condo developments and cheap consumer products to keep the cash flowing. He was smart enough to get his money up front and when the products failed to sell, as they usually did, he and the family had already pocketed their profit. Americans shouldn't have to refer to any of that in making a judgment about Trump's abilities today. We've seen him in action for two years now and, unsurprisingly, his particular expertise has turned out to be completely useless for the presidency. (He may have put it to use collecting illegal emoluments from businessmen seeking favors, but that's not actually in the job description.) Despite his incessant bragging about nonexistent accomplishments, so far we are seeing failure in the negotiating department of epic proportions. Trump said it would be "easy" to end Obamacare and create a new and better health care plan virtually overnight. Clearly, that didn't happen. That negotiation was a train wreck. He promised to end the nuclear threat in North Korea and staged a big, phony pageant that showed the world what a fool he is, producing an empty agreement which he didn't seem to understand. He insisted that he could end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He did "renegotiate" NAFTA, which most experts say was a waste of time that resulted in very little change for no good reason. His trade war has produced nothing but bad feelings and rotting crops. And needless to say, his big promise to make Mexico pay for his wall is turning out to have been his Waterloo. Even Trump's immigration muse, Ann Coulter, said this week that it turns out his negotiating skill was "exaggerated." Trump doesn't seem to realize that demanding what he wants and then getting up and saying "bye-bye" when the other side doesn't immediately agree isn't actually negotiating. He's shown more than once that his word is no good so nobody can trust him. Last year he agreed to a complex and difficult immigration deal in which both sides were able to win some priorities. He not only backed out after having agreed, he did it in a rude and dismissive fashion. This year he signed off on a Republican continuing resolution to avoid a shutdown and then cowered in the face of right-wing media commentators like Coulter, reversing himself at the last minute. How do you make a deal with someone like this? I too gave him more credit for savvy than he has shown in this latest standoff. I thought for sure he would take the available off-ramp and declare a national emergency to build the wall, thereby throwing the issue to the courts. His base would see him as a big hero taking matters into his own hands and the rest of the government could reopen. Sure, that would have set a bad precedent but since when does Donald Trump care about such things? It's obvious that at this point, for Trump, it's as much about beating Nancy Pelosi as it is building the wall. He is outmatched there, I'm afraid. Pundits have taken to referring to her rescinding the invitation to give the State of the Union Address as some kind of PR move. But she knew Trump was looking forward to it, and denying him his platform until he agrees to reopen the government is a pressure point. Trump's response was just petty retaliation with no other purpose. The New York Times reported this week that Trump has taken to whining to Mick Mulvaney, his acting chief of staff, "We are getting crushed! Why can't we get a deal?" It's obvious he has no plan, no strategy and no idea how to get out of this mess. The Democrats can't give in or this will be the only way he "negotiates" for the rest of his term. That would be a disaster. So, if he refuses to declare his bogus emergency and save face with Ann Coulter, it's going to be up to Mitch McConnell to bring him the bad news. Ultimately McConnell can call a vote and override Trump's veto if necessary to get the government open again. So far, McConnell's been AWOL on the whole thing, but he may have to step up to get the Greatest Negotiator the World Has Ever Known out of his jam -- just like Trump's daddy always did. Heather Digby Parton
  4. Logically, that implies Republicans depending on corruption to hold power. McConnell just outlined his opposition to HR 1 in scathing detail. By Ella Jan 18, 2019, 2:20pm EST Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell took square aim at the sweeping anti-corruption and voting rights bill House Democrats are pushing as their first of the year. McConnell wrote a scathing op-ed in the Washington Post on Thursday, characterizing the bill as a Democratic attempt to “grow the federal government’s power over Americans’ political speech and elections.” “It should be called the Democrat Politician Protection Act,” he wrote. The legislative package, known as HR 1, has three main ideas at its core: reforming campaign finance, strengthening the government’s ethics laws, and expanding voting rights. The aim is to get more information on how lobbyists and Super PACs are spending their money, make it easier to vote, and restructure the current campaign finance system to allow for public financing of elections. The ideas behind the bill are extremely popular. A vast majority of Americans want to get the influence of money out of politics, and want Congress to pass laws to do so. Recent polling from the PAC End Citizens United found that 82 percent of all voters and 84 percent of independents said they support a bill of reforms to tackle corruption. But McConnell painted a far different picture, characterizing HR 1 as a nefarious attempt to silence free speech and turn US democracy into one-party rule. “House Democrats won’t come to the table and negotiate to reopen government, but they’ve been hard at work angling for more control over what you can say about them and how they get reelected,” he wrote. “They’re trying to clothe this power grab with cliches about ‘restoring democracy’ ... but their proposal is simply a naked attempt to change the rules of American politics to benefit one party.” Read another way: McConnell could be nervous. Americans of both parties have been clamoring to get money out of politics for years; Donald Trump ran on a message of “draining the swamp” in 2016, and House Democrats rode to a wave election in 2018 on an anti-corruption message. Democrats wanted to follow up that win by taking concrete action to reform elections, especially after multiple allegations of voter suppression in states like Florida, Georgia, and North Dakota. “I’m not surprised that he would be attacking the bill and all of its various pieces because I think it presents a threat to the kind of system he’s built,” said Rep. John Sarbanes (D-MD), who is spearheading the legislation. “The fact that McConnell would pen something like that validates that we’re doing the right thing.” Here’s what HR 1 actually does HR 1 has a lot in it, but here are some of the key points (for more, read the bill explainer😞 The bill would require Super PACs and “dark money” political organizations to make their donors public. It would set up a voluntary option to publicly finance campaigns, powered by small donations. The federal government would provide a voluntary 6-1 match for candidates for president and Congress, which means for every dollar a candidate raises from small donations, the federal government would match it six times over. The maximum small donation that could be matched would be capped at $200. The president and vice president and presidential/vice presidential candidates would be required to disclose 10 years of their tax returns. It would put in stricter lobbying registration requirements, with more oversight of foreign agents. It would set up nonpartisan redistricting commissions to end partisan gerrymandering, and create new national automatic voter registration asking voters to opt out, rather than opt in. It would make Election Day a holiday for federal employees and encourage private sector businesses to do the same. McConnell’s main gripes with HR 1, outlined in his op-ed, are these: He objects to the bill’s aim of making the Federal Elections Commission be governed by five commissioners instead of six, saying that would make the commission partisan. Democrats say their intention of making it an odd number would be to reduce gridlock (a complaint that has surfaced from former FEC commissioners of both parties). McConnell writes that disclosing who is spending money in elections, and a constitutional amendment overturning Citizens United, would be a blow to free speech and free association. The 2010 Supreme Court decision on Citizens United in effect was a ruling giving corporations the same powers as citizens when it came to political spending. “Under this bill, you’d keep your right to free association as long as your private associations were broadcast to everyone,” McConnell said. Not surprisingly, he is vigorously opposed to the idea of the federal government getting involved in public campaign financing reform. “They’d rather use your money to enrich campaign consultants,” he writes. He’s not a fan of proposed reforms to stop states from purging voters from the rolls. The bill would stop the use of non-forwardable mail being used as a way to remove voters from rolls. McConnell characterizes this as making it “harder for states to fix inaccurate data in their voter rolls.” “From the First Amendment to your ballot box, Democrats want to rewrite the rules to favor themselves and their friends,” McConnell concluded. “Upending the FEC, squeezing taxpayers, attacking privacy and jeopardizing our elections are a price they’ll happily pay for this partisan power grab.” The Senate leader had already said he had no plans to take up anything like the Democrats’ bill in the Senate. But this op-ed outlines the conservative thinking about the reforms Democrats are proposing. “I think what jumped out at me was he thought he had to go through the whole menu,” Sarbanes said. “The fact he’s attacking the whole package and every piece of it shows he has absolutely no interest in any kind of reform ... this is not the guy you would want waxing eloquent on the pages of any newspaper about how much he cares about democracy in America.” Democrats took a big step by making HR 1 their first bill of the year; they are prioritizing this issue, and they want to pass it if they manage to win back the Senate or the White House in 2020. But Democrats are also interpreting McConnell speaking out against HR 1 so publicly and forcefully as a sign that they are winning the public debate. “I think he and others perceive that if we get this passed in the House and make this strong declaration to the public ... that begins to create momentum and pressure on him,” Sarbanes said.
  5. Trump repeatedly talked up Russian President Vladimir Putin to American voters during this period. The BuzzFeed report tells us this: If true, it seems plausible or even likely that Trump knew the Kremlin was being consulted about his Trump Tower deal, and he wanted to make a trip to see Putin, likely about this very topic. Let’s not forget that, during the period in question, Republican primary voters were choosing their party’s presidential candidate, and again and again, Trump talked up the need for better relations with Russia and Putin, and publicly absolved Putin of various nefarious charges against him. He presented this as a good-faith description of what he saw to be in the national interest. But if the BuzzFeed report is correct, he understood that he had a direct financial stake in making this argument to a far greater degree than we thought. The new story suggests Donald Trump Jr. may have committed perjury. The BuzzFeed report says: “If there’s contemporaneous physical evidence backing up this reporting,” Vladeck told me, “that evidence could be proof that Junior perjured himself when he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee in 2017.”
  6. homersapien

    He's certainly trying to hide SOMETHING

    Giuliani says Trump didn’t collude, but people on his campaign might have “I never said there was no collusion between the campaign, or people in the campaign,” Giuliani said during an interview with CNN anchor Chris Cuomo on his “Cuomo Prime Time” show.
  7. homersapien

    The Beginning of the End?

    All it takes is a PM from you. But you can't do that, can you?
  8. homersapien

    One Real Concern with the Shutdown

    There's a reason the Israelis have a policy of not paying ransoms. Extortion is no way to run our country. Best to nip it in the bud.
  9. homersapien

    He's certainly trying to hide SOMETHING

    Yeah, God forbid we have a "non-productive argument".
  10. homersapien

    Men vs. Texas A&M game thread

    Needed that.
  11. homersapien

    One Real Concern with the Shutdown

    Mitch will be right up there in the histories with Trump. (Assuming "histories" are still allowed.)
  12. My point was they are being "mean" to "homos" regardless of what other restrictions they are imposing. IMO, this is a classical case of choosing biblical-based authoritarian perspectives over what Jesus actually represented.