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Read Attorney General William Barr’s Summary of the Mueller Report

Does this “summary” dispense with the need for the actual Mueller Report to be read and digested by Congress and the General Public? Not nearly, in my opinion. Give us the real deal, not the Cliff Notes. Keeping us in the dark like this only serves the needs and desires of Trump and those beholden to his unfair, plutocratic and inhumane policies for their current good fortune.

Everything in this summary may well be true. Lack of collusion between the Trump campaign and Russian government does not mean Trump is a good President and is blameless when it comes to exercising (or abusing) the powers of that office. No doubt, there is evidence and information contained in the full report that is glossed over here. That was part of the reason Barr was chosen to replace Sessions. More hearings would be appropriate at this juncture to more fully explore what has transpired.

In the meantime, Trump does need to be checked and balanced by Congress. The American people also deserve a Congress that is willing to legislate and solve the myriad problems that have been neglected by Trump’s Twitter circus, curious foreign policy and anti-immigrant stances. Health care and climate change will not cease to be issues just because Trump doesn’t want to do anything positive about them that would cost his fellow billionaires and business buddies any consternation. The 2020 election is coming with a vengeance, and far more issues are deserving of serious debate than Trump and our media seem to want to discuss of late. – rjc

The Special Counsel’s investigation did not find that the Trump campaign or anyone associated with it conspired or coordinated with Russia

Source: Read Attorney General William Barr’s Summary of the Mueller Report

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It’s Time To Get Trump’s Taxes: The Danger Of Not Pursuing Impeachment

It’s now time for the House of Representatives to get serious about its oversight of the Executive branch. Mueller’s report has been delivered to the Attorney General. President Trump should have released his tax returns prior to the 2016 election. Return of a Democrat majority to the House after the 2018 midterm elections means that there is no longer a good excuse for refusing to carry out their Constitutional oversight of the President and his administration.

As the 2020 Presidential election rapidly approaches, the American public deserves to know the huge amount of information that Trump has steadfastly hidden from us. In all likelihood, this keeping the voters in the dark about his personal and business conduct was instrumental in gaining him access to the Oval Office to begin with. Letting him continue to do so can easily help him become re-elected and continue to aggrandize his own political power and financial fortune to the detriment of the nation and the planet as a whole.

Obtaining those tax returns and enacting legislation requiring all future candidates to provide the same information prior to the conduct of the election is vital in retaining and/or regaining our democracy. Regardless of whether it would result in Trump’s impeachment or removal from office, it would certainly greatly aid us in determining if we will vote him out of office rather than subject ourselves and the rest of humanity to four more years of his twitter tirades and mercurial rule. – rjc

Mike the Mad Biologist

Recently, some asshole with a blog noted:

I seem to be one of the few people beating on the drum of getting Il Trumpe’s taxes–something that could happen if the Democratic head of the Ways and Means committee, Rep. Richard Neal, just wrote a damn letter. It’s not that I think it will DESTROY! Trump (though it might, you never know). But if the notion of resistance means anything, then getting his taxes–which is relatively simple to do–should have been done out of the gate.

Greg Sargent makes a similar point (boldface mine):

An odd disconnect has opened up in the Democratic approach to President Trump. On the one hand, Democrats rhetorically treat his presidency as a rolling national emergency, as an existential threat to our democracy.

Yet on the other hand, in several crucial ways, Democrats are badly muddling that message, by refraining from doing what might…

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Watch ‘the progressive physician’ stun a Fox panel with ‘one of the best cases for single payer I’ve ever seen’ – Alternet.org

Amazingly, this came courtesy of the Fox Business Network. Every once in awhile, Fox surprises. – rjc

 

Amid mounting excitement over new Medicare for All legislation unveiled this week, Dr. Adam Gaffney took on a panel of skeptics at Fox Business Network on Friday, delivering a widely celebrated argument for why U.S. lawmakers need to heed the growing public demands to replace private for-profit heal

Source: Watch ‘the progressive physician’ stun a Fox panel with ‘one of the best cases for single payer I’ve ever seen’ – Alternet.org

Venezuela MUST Sue US in Int’l. Court for Creating Famine by Sanctioning All Oil Sales & Seizing $

The US government has been trying to cause regime change ever since Hugo Chavez was first elected. It has no business doing so. We do not need another coup taking power from an elected government as has been the case so many times throughout the world. – rjc

Journal of People

by Jay Janson

Nuremberg Principles of International Law 6: Crimes against humanity: 

Such as (c) Inhuman acts done against any civilian population. United Nations Convention on Genocide Article II genocide means acts committed with intent to destroy, in whole or in part, a national or other group, as such: (c)deliberately inflicting on the group conditions of life calculated to bring about its physical destruction in whole or in part.

Reporting Ongoing Crime Against Humanity Being Openly Committed

Venezuelan oil exports plunge on ‘harsher’ US sanctions

On 12 Feb. 2019, as reported by RT News:

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Thirty-One Actual National Emergencies by Paul Street

The National Emergency recently declared by President Trump is largely a figment of his imagination and something that he has done nothing but exacerbate through his own rhetoric and policy decisions since taking office in January 2017. Paul Street has compiled a list of 31 actual problems more urgently in need of our attention. While not necessarily all-inclusive, it supplies a good starting point for real discussion and actions to improve the lives of our fellow human beings in the future that don’t include twitter tirades and escape to golf resorts to fix. – rjc

 

via Thirty-One Actual National Emergencies by Paul Street

National Mobilization Against Trump’s Illegal Fake Emergency Announced for Presidents’ Day—Actions at Noon Local Time Monday

Trying to get the word out about these protest actions on President’s Day, Monday, February 18, 2019. Noon local time. Show disapproval and outrage concerning Trump’s move to circumvent Congress’s refusal to cave in to his demands for funding for his Great Wall. – rjc

Grassroots activists, immigrants and allies, and concerned people nationwide will make Monday, Feb. 18 (Presidents’ Day) a National Mobilization Against Trump’s Illegal Power Grab, protesting at locations across the United States in response to Trump declaring a national emergency in an attempt to further his racist agenda and ramp up his deportation force. | MoveOn.org

Source: National Mobilization Against Trump’s Illegal Fake Emergency Announced for Presidents’ Day—Actions at Noon Local Time Monday

Baker’s Dozen: 13 Policy Areas that Require Congressional Action

Sounds like a good to-do list. How far they get and how fast remains to be seen. Making reforms and conducting real Congressional oversight is long overdue. – rjc

As the 116th Congress gets underway, the Project On Government Oversight has carefully compiled a list based on our investigative work of 13 policy areas ripe for reform.

Source: Baker’s Dozen: 13 Policy Areas that Require Congressional Action

What Should and Should Not Be in Any Homeland Security Funding Deal – Center for American Progress

Proposal for what Congress should pass to avoid another partial Federal Government shutdown on February 15th, published by the Center for American Progress. Fairly straight forward. This proposal should be able to pass the House. However, as long as there remain too few GOP Senators willing to stand up to President Trump on this issue, achieving 60 votes in that body is problematic, as would be getting the 2/3 of each legislative body required to override a Presidential veto.

More than likely, nothing makes it through Congress by the deadline (again). After that, Trump may either try his threatened fraudulent National Emergency to force through his beloved Wall (or whatever other name he chooses to give it), allow the deadline to trigger another shutdown or pass another stopgap temporary funding resolution to repeat the process over again. Naturally, some new plan may be announced at next week’s State of the Union address to solve the problem, but I won’t be holding my breath. We need to build on the progress made in the 2018 midterm election to achieve real, comprehensive immigration reform and end the exaggerated fear mongering the President has been using all along to justify the draconian and inhumane policies his administration has been pursuing since he first took office. rjc

 

Meaningful discussions about the border and U.S. Department of Homeland Security funding cannot come at the expense of immigrant communities and humanitarian protections.

Source: What Should and Should Not Be in Any Homeland Security Funding Deal – Center for American Progress

Trump: A National Emergency

President Trump finally ended (at least for three weeks) the partial government shutdown created when he would not agree to continuing spending legislation which did not allocate funds dedicated to building his long-promised wall to prevent illegal entry of immigrants via the US/Mexico border. For 35 days, about 800,000 federal employees were either furloughed or expected to work without pay because a deal could not be worked out that included $5.7B for building such a wall, which Trump had promised Mexico would pay for throughout his 2016 campaign.

Government services for many, including Food Stamp recipients, maintenance for National Parks, Transportation Security (TSA airport personnel plus Air Traffic Controllers), along with significant portions of border security currently in place, were also negatively affected by the shutdown. A general lack of empathy from the President himself down the ranks of his cabinet for the plight of people who were either temporarily left off the government payroll through no fault of their own. The Administration honchos seemed to go all out to say that it was no big deal. This time off was a great vacation. They didn’t seem to realize how many people in this country – including even Federal Government employees – genuinely do live paycheck to paycheck and cannot easily skip any of those paychecks and still meet their financial obligations. Rent, mortgage payments, credit card bills, food, clothing, health care and all the rest of the stuff that people like Donald Trump, Wilbur Ross and the rest of the millionaire boys club that dominates the upper echelons of the DC power elite have never had to worry about (or at least not in recent memory) got short-shrift in public conversation of the issues.

Trump was easily the worst in terms of downplaying the burdens being taken on by the working and middle class people who he was using as pawns and hostages in his attempt at forcing the Congress (primarily the Congressional Democrats) to capitulate to his demand for funding his wall. 35 days of no work and no pay for some or continued work for no pay for other workers deemed more essential. Public pressure and a lack of ability of the President to sell his case of National Security and public safety interests in building the wall ultimately caused Trump to capitulate to the initial desires of the Congressional Democrats to separate the negotiations over border security from the everyday livelihoods of so many American workers. 35 days that showed how little regard Trump really has for the wellbeing of hard working public servants.

This exercise in futility (more for affected workers and the prospective immigrants and asylum seekers than for Trump and his enablers in the administration and Congress) was pretty much a continuation of the rhetoric Trump was spewing throughout the 2018 midterm election campaign railing against the hordes of invading terrorists headed for our border with Mexico. Trump’s (and the GOP’s) drubbing in those elections was in no way mitigated by these antics, which seemed more like Trump 2020 campaign rallies than events to retain a majority in the US House of Representatives. His initial political battles with Speaker Pelosi have not gone well for him. In the end, he wasted all that time, gave up three additional weeks for the general public to worry about another potential shutdown on February 15 while gaining absolutely nothing of what he had hoped to game by his strategy.

What will happen between now and February 15th? Shutting down the government again would most likely be counterproductive from his standpoint. He lost the PR battle by publicly owning the shutdown in a highly televised meeting with the incoming House and Senate leadership just prior to the shutdown. Much as he’d like to believe he can sell his “fake news” balderdash ad infinitum, he can’t. He says all this stuff for the cameras. The videos don’t disappear.

Will the President attempt to bypass Congress entirely by declaring the border situation a national emergency? He has threatened to do so on more than one occasion. From day one in his Administration, he has shown a marked preference for getting things done via Executive Orders, with mixed results – often after lengthy court battles, not all of which were decided in his favor. What is needed is comprehensive immigration reform. The sorts of policies that have been used by Trump, DHS and DOJ to this point have proven problematic in terms of domestic public opinion, Constitutionality and perhaps most importantly in regard to human rights and humane treatment of individuals and families seeking asylum from horrendous conditions in their home countries.

Donald Trump seems at times to be flailing in trying to press his own personal agenda in both domestic and international affairs. Investigations that may ultimately cost him his job seem to be wearing heavily on him. His willingness to create confusion and distractions seems endless, perhaps exceeded only by his tendency to overly embellish situations and events to totally blur all sense of reality from whatever topic is on his mind at any given time. He has set a new record for length of a federal government shutdown and appears ready, willing and able to set new records for false statements, half-truths and downright lies to the American people and the world at large.

Congress, at least the House of Representatives since last year’s elections, seems somewhat more willing to stand up to Trump’s bullying and authoritarian tendencies of late. Perhaps more GOP members of Congress will begin to show a willingness to do likewise, if only in hopes of retaining their seats. We the people must do our part in holding them to their sworn duty to represent each and every one of us without favoring moneyed interests and non-democratic policies and procedures. We need to make Trump a one term President at worst, and ensure that we never have another President like him or worse in our future.

Further Suggested Readings:

Trump threatens to declare national emergency in order to get his wall built

This is how Trump’s border wall shutdown threatens U.S. security

Bernie Sanders slams Trump for stoking ‘fear and hatred’ with lie-filled national address

Waiting for the National Emergency

Trump wants disaster funds for the wall The president directs the Army Corps of Engineers to find money in its budget that could be used to fund a border wall under a national emergency declaration, sources say. Money set aside for relief projects

Fox’s Shep Smith comes through with immediate fact-check of Trump’s lie-a-thon

Top Republicans oppose border ’emergency’ as shutdown  drags on

Article: "There is No Crisis at the Border"

Marco Rubio: Declaring National Emergency for Border Wall Is a ‘Terrible Idea’

“I Have a Dream” Speech | Teaching American History

As the national holiday celebrating the birth and life of MLK approaches, find below the text of what is one of his most famous speeches. -rjc

Source: “I Have a Dream” Speech | Teaching American History

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