The Credibility Gap

US bars entry of International Criminal Court investigators | WTOP

The United States will revoke or deny visas to International Criminal Court personnel who try to investigate or prosecute alleged abuses committed by U.S. forces in Afghanistan or elsewhere, and may do the same with those who seeking action against Israel, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Friday.

The next time the US cries about an international war criminal running free – Julian Assange, Edward Snowden – and asking why they are not being held to account, I am going to point back at this decision.

Words Have Consequences

The white supremacist who livestreamed his Friday rampage at a New Zealand mosque posted a manifesto online that said the attack was partly inspired by Dylann Roof’s 2015 massacre of nine black churchgoers in South Carolina, police said. Washington Post

It is easy to say that these individuals have a screw loose. Or a at least a warped sense of community, but as we continue to suffer under the vitriol spewing forth from arguably one of the most important people on the planet, we continue to see this sort of self-enforcement of views. There are two ways to solve this problem. The first is to realize that the world is changing and that means everything you hold dear (yes, I am being sarcastic) will change with it. The second thing is that using a gun to solve the problem does not actually accomplish anything.

If you are not willing to talk civilly with the person next to you, then say nothing. Just because you disagree does not mean you have to shoot them.

Barn Door, Meet Horse

Trump Organization to use E-Verify for worker status checks | WTOP

“We are actively engaged in uniforming this process across our properties and will institute E-verify at any property not currently utilizing this system,” Eric Trump, executive vice president of the Trump Organization, said in a statement provided to The Associated Press. “As a company we take this obligation very seriously and when faced with a situation in which an employee has presented false and fraudulent documentation, we will take appropriate action.”

One has to wonder, once the Trump Organization has resolved the situation if they will return to hiring falsely documented personnel or actually hire properly documented personnel. If there is another round of bankruptcies, we will know what they chose. And then how they returned to the old way of doing things.

And The Stupidity Keeps Coming.

Trump says solution to shutdown impasse ‘so simple’ | WTOP

“I’m not looking to call a national emergency,” Trump said Monday. “This is so simple we shouldn’t have to.”

The President is correct. The solution is quite simple. The Senate needs to vote on the bills already passed by the house. That means the Majority Leader needs to man up and bring them to the floor. Let them stand or fall on their own merit and let the President sign or veto them as he wishes. This will show the country who is really causing 800,000 Federal workers to miss paycheques, put their credit history at risk, and, according to the Bureau of Revenue of Maryland:

The state’s Bureau of Revenue Estimates said Monday in a report that each biweekly payroll those residents are not paid results in about $778 million in lost wages. That results in roughly $57.5 million less in combined state and local income tax withholding and $2.1 million less in sales tax collections. WTOP

And that is just one state’s lost taxes.

Yes, Mr. President, the solution is so simple.

Pot, Meet Kettle

GOP Rep. King loses committee posts over racial remarks | WTOP

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell denounced King earlier Monday, saying, “There is no place in the Republican Party, the Congress or the country for an ideology of racial supremacy of any kind.”

Let us recall statements by the sitting GOP President following the riots in Charlottesville, Virginia in August of 2017:

Mr. Trump defended those gathered in a Charlottesville park to protest the removal of a statue of Robert E. Lee. “I’ve condemned neo-Nazis. I’ve condemned many different groups,” he said. “Not all of those people were neo-Nazis, believe me. Not all of those people were white supremacists by any stretch.” NY Times

Now, you can argue that 45 is not supporting racial supremacy, but I can argue even more that he sure is not, by his actions so far, saying there is no place for this sort of ideology. So Mitch, when you are digging a whole, the best way to save yourself is to stop digging.

Say What?

Exclusive: Trump team should be allowed to ‘correct’ final Mueller report, says Giuliani | TheHill

Rudy Giuliani says President Trump’s legal team should be allowed to “correct” special counsel Robert Mueller’s final report before Congress or the American people get the chance to read it.

Just when you think you have heard the most ludicrous statement come out of 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue, someone comes along and says something even more jaw droppingly stupid.

As a prosecutor, how many times did Mr. Giuliani let the defendant correct his indictment before he presented it to the courts? Because that is exactly what the Mueller report will be, an indictment of the current President of the United States. Whether it leads to additional legal or Constitutional charges should be the decision of the bodies best qualified to make them. The President’s lawyer is not one of them.

I certainly hope that the adults in the room prevail.

The Party of No

House passes bill that would end shutdown, but Senate unlikely to take up

By a vote of 240-188 along mostly partisan lines, the House passed the bill and sent it to the Republican-controlled Senate as part of Democrats’ latest strategy to end partial government shutdowns at many federal agencies that began on Dec. 22. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has not indicated a willingness to bring the bill up for a vote.

For the last two years, the House, Senate, and Executive have been controlled by the Republicans. For the past two years, the party of No has had control of all aspects of the government. During that time, they have not passed any significant bills related to border security. Now, suddenly, at the eleventh hour, the party of No suddenly needs to pass a bill containing $5bn for a wall. It no longer matters what this wall is made of anymore. $5bn is just the entry, like a gateway drug. And this is such an important issue, that the party of No has decided to shut down the government and not reopen it.

Let me be clear. The bills that are being passed are identical to the proposals the Republican-controlled Senate passed which did not have the $5bn in it anyway. Now, suddenly, the House bills are not good enough, and the Party of No in the Senate is refusing to bring them to the floor. Why?

The answer is pretty simple. The Republican-controlled Senate is afraid that if they bring these bills to the floor, the Senate will pass them, at a veto-proof level, and Majority Leader McConnell will look like an ass. This is now beyond the temper tantrums the President is throwing. This is a full-blown ass-covering exercise. And 800,000 federal workers are being held over a barrel because of it.

Is the Love In Over at Fox?

Fox News Legal Analyst Warns Trump Off New Wall Plan: ‘He’s In Dangerous Waters’

“The president may be biting off more than he can chew here ― legally and financially,” Fox News senior judicial analyst Andrew Napolitano told Martha MacCallum on Monday. “He is clearly in dangerous waters constitutionally.”

When the legal analysts at Fox News are saying the President is in Constitutionally dangerous waters, one has to wonder if perhaps the roof might be about to collapse on the whole stand-off. Of course, that is just guess work right now.

All and all…

In June, 1987, another Republican President said:

We welcome change and openness; for we believe that freedom and security go together, that the advance of human liberty can only strengthen the cause of world peace. There is one sign the Soviets can make that would be unmistakable, that would advance dramatically the cause of freedom and peace. General Secretary Gorbachev, if you seek peace, if you seek prosperity for the Soviet Union and Eastern Europe, if you seek liberalization, come here to this gate. Mr. Gorbachev, open this gate. Mr. Gorbachev…Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall!

This morning, while the fact checkers are busy mocking the current Republican President is getting ready to go on television to try to convince the United States that what was not needed in Germany, is needed on the US border. The irony is thick.

I do not have time to fact check the President. He lies so often that you just assume he is lying. The Washington Post has a few people that can do fact checking and they have. This includes sources like State Department report which says:

Despite their portrayal of Mexico as a teeming portal for terrorists the State Department issued a report in September finding ‘no credible evidence indicating that international terrorist groups have established bases in Mexico, worked with Mexican drug cartels or sent operatives via Mexico into the United States.

So while there might be a crisis, and there is an immigration problem, the real problem is eight hundred thousand federal employees and contractors are 1) Not getting paid, 2) Working without pay (for those who are essentials), 3) Forcing employees not considered essential back to work to improve optics.

It is time to forget about a drop in the bucket five billion dollars and get the government back to doing the people’s business.

National Emergency?

The Latest: Pence says national emergency being considered | WTOP

Vice President Mike Pence says the White House is looking into the legality of declaring a national emergency to circumvent Congress and begin construction on President Donald Trump’s long-promised Southern border wall.

Let me see if I understand this. There are 800,000 people not getting a paycheque because the President of the United States wants to build a wall, that even his own experts (and the Cato Institute and a half-a-dozen other firms) believe will solve nothing. Especially when there are bridges falling down, courts backed up, and, um, 800,000 people not currently drawing a paycheque.

The National Emergency is the unfunded nature of several agencies critical to the operation of the country. At this point, even ISIL is laughing at us.