January 11, 2019

Posted by orrinj at 5:37 PM


Dem Rep: Stop Drunk Driving by Requiring Breathalyzers in Cars (Nic Rowan, January 11, 2019, Free Beacon)

Rep. Debbie Dingell (D., Mich.) has a plan to reduce drunk driving: Put breathalyzers in all vehicles.

Dingell announced Thursday she would introduce legislation to require car manufacturers to install breathalyzers, called ignition interlock devices, to ignition systems of all new cars. Before starting a car, drivers would have to self-submit to a breathalyzer test. If a driver's blood alcohol content is above the legal limit, the car will not start.

The pot breathayzer next.

Posted by orrinj at 5:18 PM


Trump stops short of emergency declaration in border wall fight (Richard Cowan, Steve Holland, 1/11/19, Reuters) 

President Donald Trump said on Friday he would not declare a national emergency "right now" to end a standoff over border security that has idled large swaths of the U.S. government, all but guaranteeing that he will preside over the longest shutdown in U.S. history.

Posted by orrinj at 5:15 PM


Why are Republicans accused of racism? Because we're silent on things like this. (Tim Scott January 11, 2019, Washington Post)

When people with opinions similar to King's open their mouths, they damage not only the Republican Party and the conservative brand but also our nation as a whole. They want to be treated with fairness for some perceived slights but refuse to return the favor to those on the other side.

Some in our party wonder why Republicans are constantly accused of racism -- it is because of our silence when things like this are said. Immigration is the perfect example, in which somehow our affection for the rule of law has become conflated with a perceived racism against brown and black people.

The Purge We Need: It's past time for the GOP to expel the mouth-breathers and bigots who are ruining the party. (CHARLES SYKES  JANUARY 11, 2019, The Bulwark)

[T]he push to oust Shafi was never about his actual positions on issues. The campaign to oust him began in August with a post on the "Protect Texas" Facebook page, denouncing him as "a practicing, Mosque-attending muslim who claims not to follow sharia law or know what it is." "As a practicing muslim that is an overt falsehood." wrote GOP activist  Sara Legvold. "Sharia law is anathema to our Constitution because Islam recognizes no other law but shariah. As the most conservative county in the nation, this is a demoralizing blow to the conservative rank and file of the Republican Party across the nation and in Texas." Levgold warned against what she saw as the Islamization of the GOP.

Those of us who follow this islamisation (sic) issue closely are very concerned at this infiltration of the nation's most conservative county and the ramifications to our continuing to remain a red State. The conservative base of the Republican Party has always been the conscience and moral compass of our Party and the fact that alleged conservatives are enabling this is disconcerting and must surely alarm us. ...The Big Tent with "diversity" and "inclusion" as its cornerstones will continue chipping away at the morale of the rank and file Republicans who vehemently oppose this push.

As the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reported, others also chimed in. "Please explain to me ... why we need a Muslim in the SREC in Tarrant County! There are no Conservative Muslims or Moderate ones!" a woman named Vicky Underhill posted on the "Republican Women of Arlington" Facebook page.

It never got any better. When other Tarrant GOP officials and stepped forward to defend Shafi, the anti-Shafi activists began to call for their removal as well. When Texas's Republican governor, Greg Abbott came to Shafi's defense, Protect Texas lashed out. "Governor Abbott came out in support of the Islamization of our Republican Party of Texas today. How's that for shariah compliance?"

And they doubled down on the ugly.

The "Protect Texas" page provides a glimpse into what the GOP faces. is a cesspool of anti-Muslim memes and white supremacist links. 

Posted by orrinj at 10:32 AM


Progressive Groups Blast Bustos for Tapping Moderate Dems for DCCC Leadership Team (Cameron Cawthorne, January 10, 2019, Free Beacon)

Several progressive organizations blasted the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee, or DCCC, on Wednesday for announcing a leadership team consisting entirely of pro-business Democrats from the New Democrat Coalition.

Rep. Cheri Bustos (D., Ill.), who was recently elected to be the DCCC chairwoman, announced her racially diverse team of two women and four men, but she received backlash for not tapping any members from the Congressional Progressive Caucus, which has over 95 members and is the largest single bloc in the House Democratic Caucus.

Donald too would be too far Left to serve.

Posted by orrinj at 9:54 AM


Posted by orrinj at 3:53 AM


Pompeo's Cairo speech panned as 'tone-deaf,' 'hyper-partisan,' 'offensive' (Laura Rozen, January 10, 2019, Al Monitor)

Pompeo's speech "was a regurgitation of what they have been saying for two years. There was nothing new, and it was offensive," former career US diplomat and ambassador to Yemen Gerald Feierstein told Al-Monitor. "That they think that anyone still wants to hear about Barack Obama's 2009 Cairo speech -- get over it."

"You own the issue now, you own the policy," Feierstein continued. "People want to know what you are going to do, not what you think Barack Obama did wrong. And on that score, there was nothing there, Just a lot of empty rhetoric of all things they are going to do and how wonderful the United States is and it never occupied anybody. So what."

Pompeo's speech is unlikely to reassure American allies and partners frustrated by constantly shifting Donald Trump administration positions on the region that they are not properly consulted about, said former FBI and Treasury Department official Matthew Levitt.

"I do not think they [the Trump administration] fully appreciate the level of anxiety among our allies and potential allies in the region and beyond in Europe in terms of how reliable we are as a partner," Levitt, now with the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, told Al-Monitor.

"It is not just the decision to withdraw US forces in Syria," Levitt continued. "Much more than that, it is the way the decision was arrived at and announced. [US Syria envoy Jim] Jeffrey said one thing one day, Trump says the opposite the next day. ... People can't keep up with the pace of the back and forth, ping pong. The lack of clarity, the lack of procedure in the policy making process -- the allies see that."

"While it is great to go to the region in a time of anxiety to reassure people you mean to have a reinvigorated role in the Middle East, it is not enough to say it," Levitt said.

The extensive swipes in the speech at the previous administration were also discomfiting, Levitt said.

Whether it is done by Republicans or Democrats, "I always felt uncomfortable when Americans travel abroad and hang out dirty laundry," he said.

"Embarrassing and shameful speech by the small, hyper-partisan Trump suck-up Pompeo," Ellen Tauscher, a former undersecretary of state for arms control in the Obama administration and a former member of Congress, wrote on Twitter. "There's not a 'non-partisan statesman' pore in his body."

"Seriously. A joke. They really are struggling along with the C team only two years in," a former US diplomat, speaking not for attribution, told Al-Monitor of Pompeo's speech. "Honestly, it'll be forgotten in about five minutes."

Posted by orrinj at 12:10 AM



The imminent Financial Services Committee announcement would take some sting out of several disappointments for the Congressional Progressive Caucus's high-profile rising stars, who on Wednesday were largely shut out of new assignments to three critical committees where they sought expanded representation.

The Progressive Caucus had cut a deal with Pelosi for increased representation on the so-called money committees that handle most domestic legislation. They sought membership on the Ways and Means, Energy and Commerce, Appropriations, and Financial Services committees equal to their roughly 40 percent membership in the Democratic caucus.

Progressive Caucus members did receive several new assignments announced Wednesday night, but only hit 40 percent on Ways and Means, on which progressives had already achieved a 40 percent threshold in the previous Congress. As of now, the total averages out to 38.3 percent across all three, but those numbers will rise to 41.8 percent if three committee members join the CPC as expected.

According to numbers provided by the Progressive Caucus, membership increased on Ways and Means from 42 percent to 54 percent. Energy and Commerce moved from 29 percent to 31 percent, and Appropriations held steady at 36 percent.

Progressives have also asked for increased representation on the Financial Services Committee, with jurisdiction over Wall Street, whose makeup is still to be determined. So far, though, the caucus's most prominent figures have not been given new committee assignments on the three major committees. Ocasio-Cortez; Tlaib; CPC co-chair Pramila Jayapal, D-Wash.; and vice chair Ro Khanna, D-Calif., all vocally pushed for inclusion on the money committees. Justice Democrats waged an outside campaign on their behalf, and other organizations engaged in petition drives and marched on Pelosi's office. None of that was successful, showing the limits of an outside campaign on an insider issue like committee assignments.

The party is neo-liberal, not Progressive.

Posted by orrinj at 12:01 AM


Prosecutors Examining Ukrainians Who Flocked to Trump Inaugural (Kenneth P. Vogel, Scott Shane, Mark Mazzetti and Iuliia Mendel, Jan. 10, 2019, NY Times)

Serhiy Kivalov, a Ukrainian lawmaker known for pro-Russian initiatives, took photos of the dance, as well as of his coveted tickets and passes to the soiree where it took place, the Liberty Ball at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center, posting them on Facebook and declaring that "it was an honor" to attend.

He was one of at least a dozen Ukrainian political and business figures who made their way to Washington for the inauguration, several of whom attended the Liberty Ball. Most had more on their dance cards than just parties.

They attended meetings and orchestrated encounters at Trump International Hotel with influential Republican members of Congress and close allies of President Trump. Representing a range of views, including a contingent seen as sympathetic to Moscow, they positioned themselves as brokers who could help solve one of the thorniest foreign policy problems facing the new administration -- the ugly military stalemate between Russia and Ukraine and the tough sanctions imposed on Moscow following its seizure of Crimea. [...]

Evidence of the Ukrainians' presence eventually prompted interest from the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, as he investigated Russian interference in the 2016 election, and has spawned a number of related inquiries by federal prosecutors. The investigations are playing out against growing indications that some of the Ukrainians who came to Washington for the inaugural, or their allies, were promoting grand bargains, or "peace" plans, that aligned with Russia's interests, including by lifting sanctions.

Posted by orrinj at 12:00 AM


More and more states are seeing job openings outnumbering jobless (Reuters, 1/09/19)

In October, there were 7.1 million job openings nationwide, about 1 million more than the number of unemployed workers. The spread was widest in the Midwest, where there were 463,000 more openings than jobless workers, and in the South, where the spread was 317,000. The spread was 77,000 in the West and 51,000 in the Northeast.