GOP Counsel Castor Outlines the Ukrainian 2016 Election Interference Conspiracy, finally

I don’t know about you, but I get tired of Donny Trump’s, “If you take a look at…” after he makes an unsupported statement. He’s basically saying, “I don’t know what I’m talking about, I’m just making an allegation, you go and find the facts to support it.” This fits hand in hand with the equally annoying trend in US politics that a headline= an empirical truth. No one reads anymore. That’s why a “Daily Caller” piece can be used as a proof. THE HEADLINE SAYS SO, ERGO, TRUE FACT BUBBA. Even though, if you read any “Daily Caller” piece, you’ll find the contents either have nothing to do with the headline, don’t support the headline, or sometimes even directly fucking contradict the headline.

In this fashion, some GOP congresspeople have been stating as fact, that Ukraine had undertaken an effort to undermine the 2016 US election, sans proof, outside of some regurgitation of something they heard from somewhere or a Politico headline.

In today’s impeachment inquiry, Steve Castor, the GOP Counsel, has laid out what now is the official GOP narrative about Ukrainian interference in the 2016 US Presidential election. This is on record and used as argument for Donny’s action.

To even the casual reader with average powers of critical analysis, the flaws in this argument are obvious and at points laughable, without doing a single minute of research to fact check any points made…not even necessary. Other points require both factual and/or subjective analysis. Which I promise you, I already started.

The GOP presented- Ukrainian Election Interference 2016:

The prospect that some senior Ukrainian officials worked against President Trump in the run-up to the 2016 election draws an even more visceral reaction from most Democrats. Let me say very, very clearly, that election interference is not binary, I’m not saying that it was Ukraine, and not Russia. I’m saying that both countries can work to influence an election.

A systemic, coordinate Russian interference effort does not mean that some Ukrainian officials, some Ukrainian officials (emphasis), did not work to oppose President Trump’s candidacy. Did not make statements against president Trump during the election.

Ambassador Volker testified in his hearing that it is possible for more than one country to seek influence in US elections. Dr.Hill testified likewise at her public hearing. Contemporaneous news articles in 2016 noted how President Trump’s candidacy lead Kiev’s wider political leadership to do something they never would have attempted before, intervene, however indirectly, in the US election.

In August 2016, the Ukrainian Ambassador to the US, published an Op ed in “The Hill” criticizing candidate Trump. Other senior Ukrainian officials called candidate Trump a clown and other words. They alleged that he challenged the very values of the free world. One prominent Ukrainian parliamentarian explained that the majority of Ukraine’s political figures were on Hillary Clinton’s side.

A January 2017 “Politico” article lays out a more detailed effort by the Ukrainian officials to oppose President Trump’s candidacy. The article notes how Ukraine worked to sabotage the Trump campaign by publicly questioning his fitness for office.

The article detailed how a woman named Alexandra Chalupa, a Ukrainian-American contractor paid by the DNC, and working with the DNC, and Clinton campaign, traded information and leads about the Trump campaign with the staff of the Ukrainian embassy in Washington. Chalupa explained how the Ukrainian Embassy worked directly with reporters to point them in the right direction.

Witnesses in the impeachment inquiry testified that the allegation of Ukrainian influence in the 2016 election was appropriate to examine., Ambassador Volker testified that he thought it was fine to investigate allegations about 2016 influence. Ambassador Taylor said, for example, that the allegations surprised and disappointed him.

On this record I do not believe that one could conclude that President Trump had no legitimate basis to raise a concern about efforts by Ukrainians to influence the 2016 election.

Democrats Are Passing Meaningful Legislation (it just dies in the Senate)

Similar to the GOP pledge to block, obstruct and slow down every effort by the Obama Administration to enact initiatives, The current Mitch McConnell led Senate will not even allow the great majority of laws passed by the Democrat led House to see a vote in the Senate. The same Senate which occupies most of it’s time installing underqualified “conservative” judges or approving of Trump appointees if it does anything at all.

In the Senate, barely a dozen roll-call votes have been held this year on bills, amendments and legislation, and around 20 bills have been signed into law since January. Senator Christopher S. Murphy, Democrat of Connecticut, vented that Mr. McConnell had “effectively turned the United States Senate into a very expensive lunch club that occasionally votes on a judge or two.”

Here is Mitch baby letting us all know any of the “socialist” bills that come out of the House, will not be allowed a vote by the self declared “grim reaper.”

Mitch isn’t stopping “socialist” bills from reaching the floor of the Senate, he’s stopping nearly every bill from reaching the floor despite the fact that most of them are wildly popular with both conservatives and liberals. Mitch’s plan is purely a political one, as all of his plans are. The plan is: to not allow Democrats to pass any meaningful legislation despite how popular they may be, and to not force GOP Senators to have to vote on legislation they find ideologically unpalatable before an election year. Because when you think about it, nothing is more important for our elected officials than keeping their jobs. What could be more important than that?

So despite the cries from all of the cult talking heads that, “Democrats aren’t doing anything but trying to impeach Trump,” the fact is, House Democrats are churning out very meaningful legislation to which Mitch McConnell’s Senate merely refuses to grant attention.

It is true that the first term of the previous GOP controlled House will most likely end up having more legislation passed…

Then the current first term of the Dem controlled House at about the halfway point…

but it won’t be a great margin, and it won’t be due to lack of bills being considered, of which the Dem controlled House is handling, what will most likely be, a much larger portfolio of bills then the previous first term GOP controlled House. The truth is, the House always has a ton of bills to consider every session and this House is no exception to that trend. So when someone yells, “Dems don’t do anything!” you tell them to go fuck themselves and copy/paste the above chart.

What is worth noting is the sweeping changes the House bills propose. Changes which are, by and large, perennially popular with the electorate, but somehow never manage to be crafted into law.

Below are some of the highlights of the bills that died in the Senate this year:

Two nationally popular gun control bills that would increase the time for background checks to ten days and expand background checks as a necessity to loophole sales such as gun shows, were passed at the end of February. There still are no scheduled votes in the Senate.

On January 5th, McConnell blocks two House bills to reopen the government that had been shutdown by Trump’s temper tantrum over his idiot wall. McConnell had also blocked Senate Democrats move to reopen the government on the 10th.

On January 6th, McConnell gets enough support to vote down the passage of a bill disapproving of the Treasury’s actions to lift sanctions on Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska. A bill which 136 GOP House members joined Democrats in drafting and which initially had enough GOP support in the Senate to pass, but was ultimately turned back by just enough GOP Senators as directed by McConnell. Not coincidentally, Deripaska firm, Rusal, announced in May that it would be spending over $2oo Million in investment in McConnell’s home state of Kentucky.

Despite all of the bells, whistles, alarms, and air-raid sirens going off, Mitch McConnell will not allow bipartisan bills to protect the 2020 elections to receive a vote.

HR1: McConnell states he will not allow the expansive and necessary election reform bill to see the light of day. HR1 is a massive anti-corruption, single bill package of individual bills to: bring clarity to the effects of dark money in elections, remove gerrymandering, require tax filings of the President and Vice President be made public, enforce stricter lobbying requirements, make election day a national holiday, and address the many voter fraud/suppression issues of the last election cycle. McConnell stated he will not allow a vote on this bill, “because I get to decide what we vote on.”

ACA (Obamacare): The House creates a bill to protect the ACA and lower costs even as the Trump administration seeks to overturn the bill with nothing to replace it. There will be no vote on this bill in the Senate.

McConnell blocks a vote on the release of the Mueller report twice in the same week.

The House passes the “Equality Act” to extend federal anti-discriminatory protection to LBGQT Americans. Despite the fear mongering from House GOP that it would, of course, mean that women’s sports would be invaded by transgendered women through this protection. No scheduled vote in the Senate…nor shall there be.

According to McConnell, the Senate will “probably not,” vote on the house “Dreamers” bill to create a path to citizenship for them.

HR1: How to Undermine Legislation for the People

HR1 is a massive anti-corruption, single bill package of individual bills to: bring clarity to the effects of dark money in elections, remove gerrymandering, require tax filings of the President and Vice President be made public, enforce stricter lobbying requirements, make election day a national holiday, and address the many voter fraud/suppression issues of the last election cycle. It was passed strictly on party line in the House this week, and shall not even reach the floor of the Senate for a vote, because it represents what is contrary to the ideals of the GOP and what they believe a “democracy” ought to be.

Even if a super-majority of Americans support the concepts within HR1, which they do, the GOP is rolling out the false narratives with support of propaganda media, to describe to their base why they should continue to vote against their own interests or in defense of an honest democracy.

The tactics to discredit, malign, or misrepresent the contents of HR1, vary from the utterly idiotic to an almost admirable calculated evil.

Trump-style, “I’m rubber, you’re glue” argument:

Rep. Rodney Davis (R): “This bill is nothing but a bill that is for loading billions of billions of dollars into the coffers of members of Congress.”

-Which is clearly the opposite of the effects of this bill in both intent and in practice.

For fear of federal powers encroaching on our states and individual rights:

This bill is a massive federal government takeover that would undermine the integrity of our elections,” House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif .

Mitch 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.

-So, removing the GOP’s ability to undermine or suppress the will of the people through the various measures they have enacted for years, would undermine the will of the people, which is especially nefarious if placed into law by Congress. Worse, as Mitch pointed out, if the majority of people do or would vote for Democrats, then Democrats are clearly acting in bad faith for desiring their votes to be allowed and counted as such. What it should be called is the, “Democratic Protection Act,” Something Mitch’s party cannot abide by.

This little game played by House GOP is really fucking disgusting, and kinda clever- Didn’t you know HR1 is a bill designed to allow illegal immigrants to vote in federal elections?

Right? We all knew that was the plan all along. That’s why liberals are so keen on not disparaging all the gun-totting terrorist gang member drug dealing rapists just pouring in through the border. Because there are literally buses at the border picking up these gang members and driving them to voting booths in California! Voter fraud my friends. IT’S ALL RIGGED! And now they’re trying to legalize it. Oh this narrative fits so nicely into the grand scheme. It’s all coming together, isn’t it?

Yes.

This story was run by the Washington Times and picked up by all of the cult print propaganda outlets for consumption of the true believers, in hopes they keep the GOP in the Senate so nothing in HR1 will ever see the light of day.

Let’s take this apart.

First, I would like to say that the headline does not say, “in Federal elections,” although the word “voting” implies it, and if you think that isn’t the truth, go to that thread’s conversation and read the comments about “Civil war,” and, “They’ve gone too far this time!” Second, related to this, is the certainty that very few people will actually read the story, when the headline already confirms what cult members want to believe.

If you were to read the story, you would discover:

“The measure would have had no practical effect even if it had passed. Illegal immigrants — and indeed noncitizens as a whole — are not legally able to participate in federal elections.

Now you go into that thread and argue facts with the cult, because the bottom line is, liberals want “illegals” to vote, because it’s in HR1.

The thing is, it is NOT in HR1. There is no mention to allow “illegals” to vote. Neither the Democrats or the Republicans voted on a measure to allow the undocumented to vote. that never happened.

What did happen, was that piece of shit Dan Crenshaw, you know, the eyepatch guy that seemed like he might be reasonable, introduced an amendment to “recommit” the bill (sending it back to the committee) to rewrite the bill to include language to express the “sense” of the house that the undocumented ought not be allowed to vote under any circumstances by any States. Which means, he wants the Federal government to declare to the States that what has been their right, should not be their right to decide.

Crenshaw was asking the Democrats to vote to suggest to take away a right of the States. Understand? They were not voting to allow the undocumented to vote in the Fed or States, they were voting to take away that which already exists. The Democrats did not vote for this measure and did not vote to allow “illegals to vote,” and it is not in HR1.

We could go further into the weeds with this- The constitution does not expressly forbid non-citizens to vote, what it does do is outline in amendments how citizens shall vote in federal elections. It wasn’t expressly forbidden in Federal Elections until 1996, Not that any state was allowing non-citizens to vote in Federal elections at that time anyway.

In early US history, there really wasn’t any problem with this lack of clarification. We can imagine how circumstance would arise, especially during expansion, that input by non-citizens wouldn’t only be allowed in some States, it might have been necessary as some jurisdictions might have comprised almost entirely of non-citizens in various forms of naturalization.

We can also imagine how, currently, a locality might find cause to allow non-citizens to vote in referendum, special election, or locally appointed political positions. This was always a decision for the states to make according to their needs and dictate to their localities. Most states, over time have written their own laws to expressly forbid any non-citizen to vote in any matter, but there are eleven states that still allow it in some situations according to their own desires.

Now, we can agree with this or not. That is besides the point and it should be an issue we take up with our states. What Crenshaw was doing, was asking to take away an existing State’s right and creating the opportunity for a false narrative to undermine the entire package of laws that are designed for the benefit of the people.

How do you think this tweet is read by the cult?

******

There are some problems with HR1, particularly as outlined by the ACLU in regards to 1st amendment rights. In reading their concerns, I think they have raised legitimate issues that would indeed be very difficult to correct. I would suggest splitting this bill into it’s disparate parts and deal with these issues one at a time in 2020.

What is very, very sad, is no one is even talking about this very important bill that would go a long way to correcting the sickness in our democracy. It’s considered dead.

What HR1 is:

  • H.R. 1 is a sweeping package of pro-democracy and anticorruption reforms to put power back in the hands of the American people by ending the dominance of big money in politics; making it easier, not harder, to vote; and ensuring that politicians actually serve the public interest.
  • H.R. 1 offers the most transformational and comprehensive democracy reforms in more than four decades, following through on Democrats’ election promise to clean up the chaos and corruption in Washington.
  • Oversight of federal elections is one of the chief tasks of the Committee on House Administration. Historically, the committee has had a hand in shaping legislation that touches on any and all aspects of federal elections. Issues concerning corrupt practices, contested congressional elections, campaign finance disclosures, and credentials and qualifications of House Members also fall under its purview.

H.R. 1 makes critical reforms across three key areas:

Voting Rights

  • Improve Access – H.R. 1 expands access to the ballot box by taking aim at key institutional barriers to voting, such as burdensome registration systems, limited voting hours and many other roadblocks. H.R. 1 creates automatic voter registration across the country, ensures that individuals who have completed felony sentences have their full rights restored, expands voting by mail and early voting and modernizes the U.S. voting system.
  • Promote Integrity – H.R. 1 fights back against Republicans’ assault on voting rights by committing Congress to restore the Voting Rights Act; prohibiting voter roll purges like those seen in Ohio, Georgia and elsewhere; and ensuring that discriminatory voter ID laws do not prevent Americans citizens from exercising their rights. H.R. 1 also ends partisan gerrymandering to prevent politicians from picking their voters and lets American voters instead choose their elected officials.
  • Ensure Security – H.R. 1 promises that American elections to be decided by American voters without interference from foreign entities. The bill enhances federal support for voting system security, particularly paper ballots, and increases oversight over election vendors.

Campaign Finance

  • Guarantee Disclosure – H.R. 1 shines a light on dark money in politics by requiring any organization involved in political activity to disclose its large donors, which will break the nesting-doll system that allows big-money contributors and special interests to hide their spending in networks of socalled “social welfare” organizations.
  • Empower Citizens – H.R. 1 levels the political playing field for everyday Americans, empowering individuals with a multiple matching system for small donations and allowing the American people to exercise their due influence in a post-Citizens United world, while reaffirming that Congress should have the authority to regulate money in politics. The new system of citizen-owned elections will break special interests’ stranglehold on politics and enable Congress to advance an agenda that serves the American people.

Ethics and Accountability

  • Fortify Ethics Law – H.R. 1 breaks the influence economy in Washington and increases accountability by expanding conflict of interest law and divestment requirements, slowing the revolving door, preventing Members of Congress from serving on corporate boards and requiring presidential candidates to disclose their tax returns.
  • Impose Greater Ethics Enforcement – H.R. 1 gives teeth to federal ethics oversight by overhauling the Office of Government Ethics, closing registration loopholes for lobbyists and foreign agents, ensuring watchdogs have sufficient resources to enforce the law and creating a code of ethics for the Supreme Court.

Will We See Trump’s Tax Returns? Yes…mostly

I have been hearing some wishy-washy reports on the likelihood that we shall be made aware of Trump’s tax returns…so I went ahead and did a deep dive into the laws pertaining to this event. I am certain we will be made aware of the contents of Donny’s tax returns for the most part.

I had heard that the House Ways and Means Committee could request tax returns from the Secretary of the Treasury only in regards to the operation or observation of the tax law, tax collection or otherwise the mechanics of the IRS and taxation. That is not correct. The committee may request any return from the Secretary without any qualifications (except that they be in closed session), including anyone in the administration up to the President.

Then, why is the administration resisting? Because they can. How long they want to resist is up to them. So they can wait for subpoenas and then force a court date if they like. They will lose. But, if stringing this along is their only interest, I doubt they care.

I would also point out, the reason this statue and tax code exists at all is because Congress wanted to address corruption in the executive branch. That’s why we have this law. The fact that this was never challenged in court before, doesn’t represent legal standing so much as legal adventurism.

In IRS Code:

…and original 1924 Statute:

any tax return.

The original statute also outlines how this information could become public if the committee so chooses, by release to the House at large. It is noted that information should be, “…any relevant or useful information.” Which might seem like it could be made a sticking point except, you’ll be excited to know that this verbiage was entirely eliminated in 1976, while the remainder of the statue was not. So, according to the way it is now written, The committee can examine any tax return and release to the House any information they feel necessary, which would put it on the record and open for the public to read.

…But…according to this expert dude, that would not preclude privacy issues if the Committee did not have just cause to release information and acted in an abundance of caution. Emm, wouldn’t be the first time a congressperson forcibly entered information into the record that they shouldn’t have, however, if there would be a time to do everything with as much deliberate procedure and caution, that shall be the time. That could mean that whatever information they release shall be edited to include only that which is relative to a delineated concern of the House regarding tax returns that the committee needs to address…and that probably will eventually be soooo many topics we could eventually see it all piecemeal over an unknown length of time.

I would also caution that Trump’s tax return information isn’t going to be a treasure trove of info, in and of itself. Really, we would need to see all of Trump’s accountant’s information; take the income statements and balance sheets and match that up with Trump’s tax declarations to really know what the fuck is going on. More likely than not, some of the tax return info is garbage.

Do you think the returns reflect the truth? Nah. That being the likely case, it would take a shit-ton of subpoenas and probably multiple court cases to obtain enough pieces of the puzzle to construct something resembling reality.

April 13, 2018

Resignation.  Not Trump’s.  Our resignation to an unstoppable constitutional crisis.

Trump pardons Scooter Libby for his part in the Bush Administration’s smear campaign against anyone who dare stand between them and their holy war against Iraq.  The Trump administration paints the special counsel who had charged Libby as being “out of control.”  Never mind an “out of control” special counsel would have fought to get the true source of the smear campaign, Dick Cheney, as the architect of the outing of Valerie Plame; this sudden need to pardon Libby is a message to both the FBI and potential witnesses against Trump, that he’s going to “fix” everything.

This administration is in as disgusting a situation as the Bush Administration was and fighting with equal passion to preserve their perverse desires with the pretense they are serving the nation’s interests.  Neither administration was, and both suffer from the obvious truth of their motivations.  In the current case, we have at least the potential to right the wrongs before they happen, instead of wringing our hands after the fact.

The idiot battlefield is set as nearly all parties involved prefer to head to a constitutional crisis as the ideal way to string along a battle between the administration’s self interests and the Country’s needs.  Mitch McConnell has not signaled he is interested as of yet, in protecting the Mueller investigation, and even if the bipartisan bill to protect Mueller gets to the floor of the Senate, it would never pass the gauntlet of the cult members in the House.  Mueller himself is constrained by what he may or may not do and what little time he has left in which to do it.  The FBI will have it’s own legal battles with the administration’s efforts to suppress information gathered in the warrants served on Michael Cohen.

There’s nothing much left, but to wait for the first domino now.  It’s all ridiculous and we saw this day coming from a long time ago.  It speaks to the ideological weakness of the GOP that they are so easily manipulated by their selfish interests for power; it does so now as it did in Bush’s tenure.  Were it not for the Supreme Court weighing in with their idiot ruling on the Florida recounts of Bush v Gore, we’d be living in a different world right now.  Were it not (probably) for idiot Comey deciding it was his duty to throw a monkey wrench in the Clinton v Trump election, again…we’d be living in a different world.

I’m not going to pretend a Clinton presidency wouldn’t be one Congressional investigation after another (because it would have been), but at least we’d have a fully functioning and non-batshit crazy administration and all arms of government working as they should.  The economy would have been in exactly the same place and the world wouldn’t be sick of us.  Tax reform could have still passed in Clinton’s second year, but sans the free corporate handjob.  The ACA would have been fixed.  The DACA situation wouldn’t exist.  TPP probably would have been revisited, but it would have been with a plan.  Oh hell we could go on forever about what would be.

This is where we are.  Everyone is just waiting for the first domino.  We all want utter destruction now.  Just go ahead and fucking do it.  Let’s take our fucking cues and get out on the idiot stage.  Everyone that should have power to do anything is feigning powerlessness.  So let’s go.

The midterms can’t come fast enough.  Let’s just hope the Twitterer-in-Chief doesn’t kill us all before then.