Senator Sinema, Has Heads Shaking

OPINION:
Senator Sinema, Has Heads Shaking

Kyrsten Sinema is taking lots of money from big pharma

OPINION:

Senator Sinema, Has Heads Shaking

Are There Moles Within The Democratic Party?

By William Jones

A Minority of Two

Senator Kyrsten Sinema has emerged as one of the two biggest roadblocks to President Joe Biden’s Build Back Better plan.  She left D. C.  recently for a fundraising trip to Europe. Sinema’s trip came amid ongoing negotiations over the bill and was a slap in the face to Democrats. Senators Sinema and Joe Manchin, are the lone Democratic senate holdouts blocking the President’s proposal. These two holding out against the majority of their party, is a big deal.

Just Tell Us What You Want

Bernie Sanders, who chairs the Senate Budget Committee, recently criticized Sinema. Sanders just wants to know what she would support. Other senators have similarly accused Sinema of stonewalling her own party, refusing to define a position. President Biden is said to be “exasperated” after hours of talks with her. He and others have complained that Sinema doesn’t “move” from her position in negotiations and show so little respect, she often fails to  “return calls from the White House.”

Looking Across The Pond

Lawmakers are barred from raising money from foreign sources. However,  members of Congress occasionally travel overseas to solicit donations from Americans living abroad. Those overseas donors tend to be affluent and well-connected. Ms. Sinema’s office declined to tell reporters how long she would be abroad. They also declined to disclose what countries she was visiting, or how the trip was being paid for. No further information was provided regarding additional fund-raising for her campaign.

Big Pharma

Aside from looking for off shore money the Arizona senator has been soaking up donations from the pharmaceutical industry and other corporate groups who want to kill key parts of the bill. I am here to report she has continued to make time to meet with those donors.

$5,800 Per Seat

Last month, Sinema held a fundraiser with five business groups that oppose President Biden’s bill, charging attendees up to $5,800 to attend a 45-minute event. Earlier this month, Sinema left Washington to go to Arizona, where she attended a ritzy donor “retreat” at a high-end resort and spa, with no small donors in sight.

Refuses to Meet Constituents

Sinema’s refusal to engage elected members of her own party has extended to her constituents. Numerous constituents have complained that Sinema will not meet with them, either in her office or at a town hall. She has steadfastly refused to hold a single town hall since her election. Multiple groups within the sate of Arizona have already launched efforts to raise money in support of a Democratic primary challenger in 2024.

Hecklers Chase Sinema

Tensions have continued to rise between Sinema and her own constituents.  Arizona protesters repeatedly confronted the senator at several locations this month. Some even heckled her during a class presentation at Arizona State University and  then followed  her into a campus restroom. The Intercept reported that Sinema teaches an ASU class on fundraising, including topics like “how to cultivate large individual donors,” “opportunistic fundraising” and “corporate giving.” The topics alone leave little doubt as to her priorities.

Mounting Pressure Campaign

Senator Kyrsten Sinema, the ‘moderate’ Arizona Democrat who has objected to the size and scope of President Biden’s sweeping legislative agenda, has been trailed all over the country by progressive activists in an effort to intensify public pressure on her.  Besides the bathroom incident, activists have followed her onto an airplane and even to the Boston Marathon.

Deeply Disappointing

The United States Senate is split 50 Democratic senators and 50 Republican senators. V.P. Harris is then available to provide the tie breaking vote. Democrats need every Democrat to stand united to pass any bill. These facts have greatly empowered both Mr. Manchin and Ms. Sinema as the party’s vocal holdouts. Ms. Sinema has pushed for the House to adopt a separate, bipartisan $1 trillion infrastructure bill while the larger budget package is being negotiated. She called the delay in voting on the infrastructure package “inexcusable” and “deeply disappointing” in early October.

Conclusion

Kyrsten Sinema is on rocky ground with her electorate. Angry constituents are confronting her, she is pissing off the crowd in the White House, and she has angered nearly all of her fellow senate Democrats. Sometimes there isn’t enough money to save your reputation.  Sinema was sent to the Senate to work for her constituents not the drug companies. Wake up Senator Sinema. The country is begging for what is in this bill, do your part to make it happen.

 References

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/10/13/us/politics/kyrsten-sinema-fundraising-europe.html

https://www.salon.com/2021/10/14/kyrsten-sinema-ditches-senate-negotiations-for-fundraising-trip-to-europe/

Sensible Joe, or Joe McNaughty?

OPINION:

Sensible Joe, or Joe McNaughty?

OPINION:

Sensible Joe, or Joe McNaughty?

Is it about the interests of West Virginians, fossil fuel, or himself ? 

By William Jones

Hackles are Up

West Virginia lawmaker Joe Manchin has been raising a lot of hackles amongst the Democratic caucus. Joe recently  announced that he wasn’t on board with the Democrats’ $3.5 trillion reconciliation package. In fact, he said he was considering voting no when the package comes up for a vote. He wants everybody to slow it down and delay voting on it until 2022.

Last Best Chance

The Biden spending measure is vital. The opportunity is here to raise millions out of poverty and pass a substantive climate policy. The clock is ticking. The 2022 mid-terms are just around the corner.  Historically, the party out of power will re-take the House of Representatives, in the first two years of a new president’s term. So Manchin’s latest hairpin turn has attracted a lot of negative attention from his Democratic colleagues. As for Manchin, he can’t walk down the halls of congress without a flotilla of reporters following in hot pursuit, desperate to find out if he will continue to thwart his political party’s platform and his party’s president’s personal agenda.

Praise From the Press

Since his declaration, a piece in National Review has praised what it saw as Manchin’s fiscal instincts and willingness to stand up to fellow Democrats. A Brookings blog post argued that “his main concern that additional deficit financed spending adds to inflation risks is not unfounded.” A former adviser suggested to The Washington Post that Manchin is fundamentally mysterious and his vote is, as usual, unpredictable.

Counting the Money

Joe Manchin, though, made half a million dollars last year off his son’s coal company, meaning that coal paid him roughly three times the $174,000 salary he made last year as a public servant. Pundits don’t need to look much beyond that to understand what’s driving him.

And There’s More Money

Manchin has earned more than $4.5 million from Enersystems Inc. and Farmington Resources Inc., two coal industry companies he founded in the 1980s. He probably likes all the attention he’s getting, too. Maybe he fancies himself a champion of the forgotten man. But if on a given day you are trying to understand what Joe Manchin’s priorities are, it’s probably best to look to the priorities of the companies he’s gotten money from.

Lobbyists and Donations

In June, Exxon lobbyist Keith McCoy told the Unearthed, a Greenpeace investigative outlet, that Manchin was among their key targets and that he’s participated in weekly meetings with company operatives. Overall, though, he’s received more donations from coal, oil, and gas companies this campaign cycle than every other senator.  Manchin got $10,000 from Exxon Mobil for his 2018 reelection campaign. His top donor so far for the 2022 cycle is Tellurian Inc., a gas company.

In Compliance 

Manchin’s spokesperson recently said the senator is in full compliance with all Senate ethics and financial disclosure rules. He also stated that Manchin continues to work to find a path forward on important climate legislation that maintains American leadership in energy innovation and critical energy reliability.

Denials All Around

Manchin has also denied the weekly meeting allegations in the Unearthed report. Manchin is working to ensure that the bill’s $150 billion clean electricity measure—the Clean Electricity Performance Program—will “protect and extend the use of coal and natural gas.” The senator has made it clear that he does not support legislation that would eliminate the burning of those fossil fuels — particularly coal and natural gas.

Conclusion

Politics can be ego-driven as well as cash-driven: Many politicians after all, just want to guard their piece of the congressional sandbox and yelp whenever that territory may appear threatened. But money certainly talks in Washington, and the kind coming to Joe Manchin from the fossil fuel industry appears to be screaming out against a progressive and meaningful climate policy.

References

https://newrepublic.com/article/163723/joe-manchin-vote-fossil-fuel

 

Cori Bush: The Face of Perseverance

Cori Bush: The Face of Perseverance

Tenacity, Perseverance and Determination, all in one woman, Cori Bush

On Friday 7/30/2021  First term Congresswoman Cori Bush sat down on the steps of the U.S. House of Representatives with a camping chair, a sleeping bag, and a commitment to stop the potential eviction of millions of Americans from their homes.

By William Jones and D. S. Mitchell

Those At Risk

When it became clear that neither Congress nor the White House was going to act to stop a pandemic-era federal eviction moratorium from expiring, leaving hundreds of thousands, perhaps millions of low-income Americans at risk for eviction from their homes Cori Bush stepped up.  Ms. Bush — now 45 and a first-term Democratic congresswoman from St. Louis — felt a familiar flood of anxiety and a flash of purpose in the face of the pending crisis.

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OPINION: Retire Justice Breyer

Supreme Court needs term limits

OPINION: Retire Justice Breyer

By William Jones

Consistent Defender

Stephen Breyer was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton in 1994.  Breyer has been a consistent defender of liberal priorities in cases involving abortion, marriage equality, voting rights, and other issues. There’s growing urgency on the left to see Justice Breyer step down from the court to be replaced by a younger liberal justice. This is only possible while Democrats are the majority party in Washington.

A Billboard Truck

In early April, the progressive group Demand Justice ordered a billboard truck to be driven around the Supreme Court building featuring the words “Breyer, retire.” The message was directed at Breyer, one of three remaining Democratic appointees on a court that has become increasingly dominated by conservative justices in recent years.  Much of that anxiety is informed by recent history. Liberal icon Ruth Bader Ginsburg did not retire when Democrats controlled the Senate during the Obama administration. Ruth Bader Ginsburg died from cancer at age 87, shortly before the 2020 presidential race. Republicans moved swiftly to fill her seat with Amy Coney Barrett. This cemented a 6-3 conservative majority on the court that legal experts say may soon undo many rulings that defined Ginsburg’s judicial career.

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What’s Going On With Rudy?

What’s Going On With Rudy?

Rudy Continues His Nosedive

By William Jones and D. S. Mitchell

Confiscated

In recent years, the image of Rudy Giuliani has sunk to lows unimaginable  two decades ago.  His legacy has been severely damaged by his connection to Donald Trump.  In his pursuit of  Trump’s approval, and every cent he could get his hands on, Rudy may have broken the law while trying to help the former president overturn the 2020 election and line his own pockets.  The FBI thinks there is evidence of crimes and they just confiscated Rudy’s personal and business devices.

Rudy’s Bio

Rudolf Giuliani was born on May 28th, 1944, in Brooklyn, New York; U.S.A. He attended Manhattan College as well as New York University. For over 50 years, Rudy Giuliani has served, city, state and national government in multiple capacities. Giuliani has also had a private law practice.

Giuliani’s entry into politics

Giuliani is a long time Republican. In 1993 he was narrowly elected Mayor of New York City.  Giuliani immediately began cracking down hard on petty criminals. He always urged police to take aggressive stances against even minor violations of the law. Giuliani was often referred to as “the Nanny of New York.” He claimed credit for reduced crime rates stating that civilization had found its way into the city.  Critics disregarded Giuliani, stating crime rates had decreased nationwide.  They also added that Giuliani was contributing to police abuse and corruption. Rudy was expected to run for the U.S. Senate in 2000, but due to some negative personal events he decided not to run.

High Point Amidst Disaster

On September 11, 2001, New York was attacked. The attack brought down the twin towers of the World Trade Center leading to the death of over 2800 people. Giuliani received praise for his handling of the situation, and the aftermath. He even was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II for his conduct. In 2007 he announced that he would seek the Republican Party presidential nomination in 2008. However, in late January 2008, Giuliani withdrew from the race after finishing a distant third in Florida.

Tied To Donald Trump

Rudy Giuliani was an early enthusiastic supporter of  Donald Trump in his 2016 run for president. After Trump’s election, Giuliani jostled for several cabinet positions but was overlooked. He was later chosen as an ‘unofficial adviser on cyber security.’ In 2018 Giuliani was part of the legal team that represented President Donald Trump in the Special Counsel’s (Mueller) Investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 U.S. elections.  After the Special Counsel declined to file charges against the then-President Trump Giuliani continued as the president’s ‘personal attorney’.

Ukrainian Mischief

In search of “dirt” on Trump’s anticipated rival in the 20220 election, Joe Biden, Giuliani became  involved in what was referred to as a backchannel between President Donald Trump and some not so kosher former Ukrainian officials. The allegations indicate that Giuliani engaged in efforts meant to pressure current Ukraine officials into launching multiple investigations into corruption by Joe Biden’s son, Hunter Biden. The quid pro quo allegations and the firing of Ukrainian Ambassador Marie Yovanovich brought Trump and his associates, including Giuliani, under intense scrutiny.

The First Impeachment

An impeachment was launched by the House of Representatives against President Trump. Giuliani was portrayed as a key player in the scandal during the House proceedings. In December 2019, after being impeached, the door of hope opened for Trump in February 2020 when the Senate acquitted him. Time was not in his favor as Joe Biden defeated him by 7 million votes in November.

2020 Election Challenges

Following Trump’s defeat in the 2020 presidential election, Trump picked Giuliani to head his legal team  challenging the election results. Giuliani’s failure was notable, losing every case in every jurisdiction. The process was a total failure.

Giuliani’s Raided by the Feds

On Wednesday, April 28th, 2021, under the authority of a duly authorized search warrant Federal Agents raided Giuliani’s Manhattan home and office. Various gadgets were seized, including computers and cell phones.  It looks like the business dealings of Rudy Giuliani are under investigation. The Feds look serious. The FBI doesn’t execute search warrants on high profile individuals, especially lawyers, unless they are confident they will find incriminating evidence. Leaks indicate Giuliani may be under scrutiny for illegal money transfers, campaign finance fraud, and acting on the behalf of a foreign government, etc, etc, etc.  According to the prosecutors, the warrant, which required approval from the top levels of the judicial Department, and a federal judge, signifies that the government is convinced Giuliani has committed a federal crime(s).

Look Over There

Mr. Giuliani, in a statement after the seizure, denied any wrongdoing and argued that the search warrants demonstrated a “corrupt double standard” on the part of the Justice Department. Giuliani said he was being persecuted while the DOJ/FBI are ignoring  “blatant crimes” by Democrats, including Hillary Clinton and President Biden. He even stated the Feds refused to take evidence of crimes by Hunter Biden that Giuliani has in his possession.

Victoria Toensing
There was a third search warrant issued at the same time for the cell phone of  Washington lawyer Victoria Toensing.  Toensing is a former federal prosecutor and a close associate of Rudy Giuliani and former President Donald Trump. Her law firm issued a statement saying Toensing is not a target of the federal investigation.
The Evolving Situation
The full scope of the investigation is still  not clear.  On Thursday 29th April 2021, Donald Trump told Fox business that Giuliani was “the greatest mayor in the history of New York and a great patriot”. The White House press secretary said on CNN that the White House was given no heads up about the raid prior to its execution.
Orange Jumpsuits

Many of Trump’s allies have been trapped in federal investigations, and there are likely to be more on the horizon.  The big question becomes will Giuliani pull a Michael Cohen and ensnare the former president in criminal charges. Time will tell. Of course, these guys are all as old as dirt. Any could drop dead at any moment. Hopefully the AG gets them sentenced first.

https://www.calamitypolitics.com/2019/05/11/rudy-guilliani-moments-great-small/

Speaking To History Not Re-Election

OPINION:

Liz Cheney: Speaking To History Not Re-Election

OPINION:

Liz Cheney: Speaking To History Not Re-Election

Liz Takes a Stand as Republicans Move to Force Her Out

By D. S. Mitchell

Deep Trouble

Elizabeth Lynne Cheney 7/28/66 is an American attorney and Republican politician.  Liz Cheney is the House Republican Conference chair, the third-highest position in the House Republican leadership.  Cheney is the daughter of former Vice-President Dick Cheney. She is the sole (at-large) Representative from Wyoming and she is in serious political trouble.

Trump For Elise Stefanik

Cheney serves on two powerful House committees, the Armed Services Committee and Natural Resources. It is believed Ms. Cheney will be removed as the 3rd ranking Republican  sometime within the next week when the House reconvenes. Donald Trump has come out against Cheney and has thrown his support behind New York Representative Elise Stefanik. Since Trump’s announced support, both Minority Leader, Kevin McCarthy (CA) and Minority Whip Steve Scalise (LA) have come out to publicly support the Stefanik for Cheney swap.

Naughty Girl
McCarthy claims the reason Cheney is losing her leadership role is because, “she isn’t the best policy messenger for the party. ” I see it as strange, considering Cheney is one of the most consistent conservative voices on everything. In fact, she has voted more with Trump than Stefanik has, by nearly 20% of the time. What is going on here is that Liz  has a conscience and she is willing and seemingly eager to speak out against former President Donald J. Trump. And of course there was her vote to impeach Trump over his part in the capitol riot on January 6, 2021.
Rising Star
The move to replace Cheney is proof that Stefanik, who was elected to a fourth term from New York state, has seen an ascendancy in her career since she began her ardent public defense of Trump.  Sources say that Trump first noticed Stefanik during her interrogation of witnesses during the House Intelligence Committee hearings on the alleged Ukraine quid pro quo. That performance gave Stefanik a place in Trump’s PR efforts during the Senate trial. In February 2020 Trump praised Stefanik in a speech celebrating his acquittal in the Senate, “she looks good, she looks like good talent.”
The Message
Stefanik opposed the second impeachment of Trump earlier this year for his role in the January 6 insurrection.  She claimed the House action was a “partisan ploy with no basis in the Constitution.. ..The Democrats’ decision to impeach the President with one week remaining in his term further fuels the divisions in the country during this very trying time.” Total B.S. I say.
McCarthy Kisses Trump Ring
Trump and McCarthy are keeping in regular contact over the Cheney issue.  “They’ve definitely spoken recently” said Trump aide Jason Miller. Master puppeteer has McCarthy and Scalise singing his song. The Heritage Group confirmed Cheney’s lifetime vote score is 80%. Stefanik’s is 48%. And even when it comes to votes in support of Trump  Cheney voted 92.9% of the time while Stefanik backed him 77.7% of the time.
GOP Faces Divide Over Trump’s Big Lie
This battle has nothing to do with conservatism. Or, according to the data, about supporting Trump’s agenda while in office. Sadly, Scalise, McCarthy, Stefanik and others have higher ambitions. Each hoping to rise in a GOP that is controlled by former President Trump despite his two impeachments, lawless abuse of power, alleged sexual assaults, failed re-election bid, false claims of voter fraud,  failure to effectively handle the pandemic, with more than 441,000 deaths during his tenure in office.  I’m sure a lot of GOP politicians wish the Orange One would just go quietly into retirement, but why should he, the Republicans keep feeding him red meat, and kissing the ring.
 They  Spoke Up Once
Kevin McCarthy, Liz Cheney, and Mitch McConnell have each harshly criticized Trump’s role in the capitol insurrection. McConnell and McCarthy made the bet that criticizing Trump’s reaction to the insurrection once would allow them a quick return to the Trump umbrella in a party that still embraces Trump. But Liz Cheney, Adam Kinzinger, and Mitt Romney all  said, “hell no,” and drew a line in the sand over the 1/6/2021 riot at the U.S. Capitol, as well as the run up to that day and its aftermath, all centered on Trump claiming, despite all evidence, that the 2020 election was “stolen”.
Ideology

The once holy Republican foundational creed has been thrown overboard as the Republicans have moved to a cult of personality around Donald Trump. The version of the GOP that Romney, Kinzinger, and Cheney embraced  no longer exists. The Republicans have replaced the old party with a Trump dominated party focused on populist, autocratic, anti-free trade, and deficit blind budgets. Trump appears to be the Republican favorite for the 2024 presidential nomination.  Hopefully, the country has had enough of Donald J. Trump. If we haven’t had enough we need to prepare ourselves for a totalitarian future if  Trump’s increasingly radical authoritarian behavior is sent back to the White House.

A Lonely Defense

Liz Cheney has been on a lonely defense of the truth, (1.)last year’s election was not stolen, (2) that Donald Trump incited a riot at the Capitol in an effort to overthrow the 2020 election, (3) a bipartisan commission should be convened to understand the insurrection, (4) continuing the big lie is an ongoing threat to democracy.  In a 5/6/2021 Washington Post Op-Ed Liz Cheney made the case that the GOP may be irrevocably harming itself in the eyes of Americans by ignoring Trump’s offenses against the basic democratic principles that underpin the country. She made it clear that the GOP is “at a turning point.” The party must choose truth and fidelity to the Constitution, or blind fidelity to the Trump scam.

The Future? 

The message is clear, Liz Cheney is about to be voted out of her leadership position, Mitt Romney the Republican presidential candidate in 2012 was booed at a recent GOP function, and Adam Kinzinger is being primaried.  Donald Trump will continue as a driving force in the Republican Party for an unknown period of time. Traditional conservatives like Liz Cheney, Mitt Romney, and Adam Kinzinger’s are defending a vision of the Republican Party that is gone, if it ever did exist.  These few crusaders have put principle over personal loyalty to an ex-president, but I personally think they will be left to wander in the wilderness until Donald Trump’s hold on the party is broken.

David Shadrick “Ponders The Future Of The GOP”

David Shadrick “Ponders The Future Of The GOP”

Dave is ba-a-a-c-c-k-k! In this week’s videocast Dave takes a look at the GOP. The GOP has over the last several years identified itself with white supremacists, big money, voter suppression,  and an anti-government movement. How much longer can a political party supporting such an offensive platform continue as a viable force in U.S. politics.

OPINION: Equal Opportunity Offense

We spend a lot of time arguing about conservative vs liberal

OPINION: Equal Opportunity Offense

By I. B. Freely 

“To learn who rules over you, simply find out who you are not allowed to criticize.” Voltaire

Changing Definitions

Things aren’t always as they seem, particularly with definitions changing over time. Nowhere is this truer than in politics. Hardly a week goes by without a ‘no true Scotsman’ fallacy being hurled at one side of the aisle or the other. At least part of the problem is one of definition.

Descriptors

The modern understandings of ‘liberal’ and ‘conservative’ are, slightly bastardized, adaptations of neutral descriptors, as in a ‘conservative wager’ and a ‘liberal sprinkling.’ The former generally used to denote restraint and the latter excess. Whether it is positive or a negative depends on the situation, an excess of freedom generally considered a good thing. An irony coming into play when one considers that those calling themselves ‘conservative’ advocate for the excesses of a free market economy and those labeling themselves ‘liberals’ support restraint in terms of access to firearms.

Us and Them

Another example of conflict comes in the forms of identity politics and who it is ‘okay’ to criticize. My fellow liberals aren’t going to like to hear this but the idea of ‘protected classes’ shows restraint as reflected in functional conservatism. What we are saying in terms of merging social equality with protected classes is “we are all equal, except for them, don’t dare even criticize them.” An attitude very much in line with the most staunch monarchists who, at least historically, have been in stark opposition to those calling themselves liberals.

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It Is More Than Just Politics In 2020

It Is More Than Just Politics In 2020

D. S. Mitchell

The Blogosphere

Writing for Calamity News and Politics gives me a platform to discuss headline events and political policy. It also provides me a place to vent and fume. If somebody doesn’t like the drum I’m beating, they are fully able, and encouraged to move on; to a site that better satisfies their social view of the world.

My Son

“Don’t get so wound up, it’s just politics”, my son recently told me.  Well, whether I’m saying it to my son, or to a potential reader, or to a neighbor, that is the wrong attitude. In the end, politics is policy, and policy effects everything in our lives. Schools, hospitals, parks, highways, airports, waterways, international trade, health care, military defense and social justice to name just a few.  Nearly every part of our daily life is effected in someway by the policies that our elected officials enact in Washington, D.C., or our state capitols. Got it?

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