Friday Open Thread | The Man Who Broke America

A broke clock is right twice a day.

From Dana Milbank

Mitch McConnell, the man who broke America

By Dana Milbank Opinion writer
April 7

“No majority leader wants written on his tombstone that he presided over the end of the Senate,” the minority leader said.

He continued: “Breaking the rules to change the rules is un-American. I just hope the majority leader thinks about his legacy, the future of his party, and, most importantly, the future of our country before he acts.”

Are these the words of Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) as the Republican majority changed Senate rules this week to do away with filibusters of Supreme Court nominations?

Actually, they were uttered in 2013, by then-Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), when Democrats pushed through a similar filibuster change for lesser nominations.

That McConnell did a 180 on the topic — going from the institutional defender of the filibuster to the man who destroyed it — is unsurprising. He has frequently shifted his views to suit the needs of the moment. But in this case McConnell was correct in 2013, and what he just did this week was even more ruinous than what he accused the Democrats of doing then.

By rights, McConnell’s tombstone should say that he presided over the end of the Senate. And I’d add a second line: “He broke America.” No man has done more in recent years to undermine the functioning of U.S. government. His has been the epitome of unprincipled leadership, the triumph of tactics in service of short-term power.

After McConnell justified his filibuster-ending “nuclear option” by saying it would be beneficial for the Senate, Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said this: “Whoever says that is a stupid idiot.”

McConnell is no idiot. He is a clever man who does what works for him in the moment, consequences be damned.

McConnell is a vile man. He’s a traitor to this country.
I don’t fault President Obama for much….but, I do fault him for believing in any way, that Mitch McConnell is a patriot, when, in fact, he made the decision, on January 20, 2009, in the midst of the greatest economic downtown since the Great Depression, to commit ECONOMIC TREASON against this country, by refusing to help President Obama bring this country out of that darkness. He didn’t help. He didn’t lift one finger to help this country recover.

And, in the midst of the greatest economic downturn, McConnell said his top priority was to make sure that Barack Obama was a 1-term President. We were losing 750,000 jobs/per month in January 2009, but THAT wasn’t his top priority?

So, since he had already committed ECONOMIC TREASON against this country…

How far would the step be when finding out that a hostile foreign power was trying to undermine the 2016 Presidential Election….to NOT AGREE WITH THE CIA’S FINDINGS AND MAKE A PUBLIC STATEMENT WITH THE OTHER PARTY. Playing politics with the attempt of a hostile foreign power determined to UNDERMINE AMERICAN SOVEREIGNTY.

Instead of choosing country, he did what traitors do.

I don’t want to hear anything about patriotism with regards to McConnell. He doesn’t know the meaning of the word.

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29 Responses to Friday Open Thread | The Man Who Broke America

  1. Liza says:

    Opinion: United is about to hit more turbulence
    By Brett Arends
    Published: Apr 14, 2017 7:46 a.m. ET

    United Continental Holdings UAL, -1.23% , already reeling from the public relations disaster of flight 3341, now has to announce embattled CEO Oscar Munoz’s annual bonus. And according to company documents it’s likely to be around $13 million — his reward for aggressively raising the airline’s short-term profits.

    Two ways United has been fattening profits lately?

    First, sellng more tickets than than there are seats, a practice known as “overbooking.”

    Second, refusing to pay passengers too much to voluntarily give up their seat on an overbooked flight.

    According to the terms of his contract, as disclosed in previous filings, Munoz is due to receive a “target annual bonus not less than 200% of his annual base salary” (which is $1.25 million), plus “an annual long-term incentive award with a date value of at least $10.5 million.”

    Total value: roughly $13 million.

    The bonuses and awards are based on United’s operating margins, cash flow, and the performance of the company stock price compared to a basket of industry peers. And they are tied to the financials over one-, two-, or at most three years.

  2. Liza says:

    The United pilots speak…

    ‘Infuriated’ United pilots union slams cops for forcibly dragging passenger from plane
    Business Insider April 13, 2017

    Here is the statement from United Airlines’ pilots…

    “The safety and well-being of our passengers is the highest priority for United pilots, and this should not have escalated into a violent encounter. United pilots are infuriated by this event. This occurred on one of our contracted Express carriers, separately owned and operated by Republic Airline, and was ultimately caused by the grossly inappropriate response by the Chicago Department of Aviation.

    It is important to review these baseline facts:
    1. This violent incident should never have happened and was a result of gross excessive force by Chicago Department of Aviation personnel.
    2. No United employees were involved in the physical altercation.
    3. Social media ire should properly be directed at the Chicago Aviation Department.
    4. This occurred on an Express flight operated by Republic Airline, as such, the flight crew and cabin crew of Flight 3411 are employees of Republic Airline, not United Airlines.
    5. United Airlines CEO Oscar Munoz has apologized for United Airlines, the actions of the Chicago Department of Aviation, and the actions of our Express partner, Republic Airline.

    On April 9, 2017, United Express Flight 3411, operated by Republic, was preparing to depart Chicago O’Hare (ORD) to Louisville (SDF). Republic Airline made the decision to assign four of their crewmembers to deadhead on Flight 3411 within minutes of the scheduled departure. Although four passengers would have to be removed from this flight to accommodate the Republic crew, the goal was to get the other 70 passengers on their way to SDF and ensure a flight crew needed the next day would also be in place. By all reports, the Republic flight crew was courteous and calm throughout the event, and three passengers left the flight voluntarily for compensation. After repeatedly asking the fourth passenger to give up his seat to no avail, the gate agent requested the assistance of law enforcement.

    For reasons unknown to us, instead of trained Chicago Police Department officers being dispatched to the scene, Chicago Department of Aviation personnel responded. At this point, without direction and outside the control of United Airlines or the Republic crew, the Chicago Department of Aviation forcibly removed the passenger.

    Members of local airport law enforcement are normally important security partners who assist aircrews in ensuring the safety of everyone on the airplane. This event was an anomaly and is not how United or the police are expected to treat passengers when there is no security threat.”

    • Liza says:

      “The cops did this” is a dog that won’t hunt, but it’s a nice try by the United pilots union.

      If the passenger was not a security threat as they admit, why did they call law enforcement? Law enforcement was called to make the non-threatening passenger vacate his seat either through the threat of force or the actual use of force. Why else would they be called?

      Who decided to call law enforcement rather than increase the incentive to give up a seat from $800 to $1200? Who decided not to intervene in the forceful removal of an injured and bleeding passenger?

      If this were true, “This violent incident should never have happened and was a result of gross excessive force by Chicago Department of Aviation personnel”, then please tell me why the captain did not intervene and put a stop to the assault. If the captain is not responsible for passenger safety, then who is?

    • Liza says:

      Second United Airlines passenger comes forward with damning claims against company
      Apr 12th 2017 2:25PM
      Geoff Fearns, 59, told KCAL he was threatened and eventually removed from his first-class seat on a flight from Kauai, Hawaii to Los Angeles, California, last week.

      A United employee reportedly approached Fearns once he was seated on the plane and demanded he get off the aircraft, saying “we have a priority list, and you’re at the bottom of it.”

      Fearns resisted her request at first, until another passenger warned him that United has a history of mishandling these situations.

      Fearns said that, true to his neighbors warning, the employee got increasingly demanding each time he refused.

      He eventually caved once she threatened to have him put in handcuffs.

      Then, another United employee figured out a “compromise” to get Fearns home on the same plane he spent so much extra money to get a ticket for, he claims.

      The airline reportedly downgraded him to economy class…

  3. rikyrah says:

    Trump-era damage to the EPA appears increasingly brutal
    04/14/17 12:52 PM—UPDATED 04/14/17 12:53 PM
    By Steve Benen

    It’s been a difficult year thus far for the Environmental Protection Agency. Consider the developments from just the last couple of weeks.

    EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt, Donald Trump’s controversial far-right choice to lead the agency, decided two weeks ago to side with Dow Chemical – against the advice of the EPA’s researchers – on the use of an insecticide. The next day, the EPA’s scientific integrity office said it was reviewing whether Pruitt violated agency policies when he publicly questioned the role of carbon pollution in climate change.

    Five days later, EPA officials proposed eliminating “two programs focused on limiting children’s exposure to lead-based paint.” The day after that, Trump’s EPA issued a press statement praising the Energy Star efficiency program that the Trump administration intends to scrap.

    And yesterday, Scott Pruitt traveled to western Pennsylvania to describe his regressive vision for the EPA at a coal mine. The New Republic’s Emily Atkin explained that the EPA chief specifically chose the Harvey Mine, which opened in 2014 as part of the Bailey Mine Complex, owned by the 153-year-old energy company Consol Energy.

    Pruitt might point to the Harvey mine as evidence of coal mining’s bright future. But a closer look at the Bailey complex shows it’s hardly a shining example of profitable, environmentally friendly coal mining. Last year, the EPA and the Department of Justice fined Consol $3 million for discharging contaminated wastewater from the Bailey complex into tributaries of the Ohio River, which provides drinking water for approximately 3 million people. In addition, all three mines in the complex have racked up millions of dollars in Mine Safety and Health Administration violations. […]

    Granted, it would be a challenge to find an American mining operation that hasn’t broken environmental laws or struggled financially over its lifetime. But Harvey Mine is a bad symbolic choice for yet another reason: It’s owned by a company that wants to get out of the coal mining business altogether.


    This comes on the heels of a Washington Post piece on the state of the Environmental Protection Agency itself.

    Twice during an hour of interviews for this column, EPA workers in different parts of the country asked to communicate with me by using encryption software. All who spoke feared retaliation and would not allow their names to be used.

    “It is pretty bleak,” one staffer, an environmental engineer, said about employee morale.

    “It’s in the dumps,” said another.

    “Pretty much everybody is updating their resumes. It’s grim,” added a third.

    They and their colleagues are dedicated to EPA’s mission to “protect human health and the environment.” They fear that Trump administration policies will do the opposite.

  4. rikyrah says:

    The presidential learning curve remains steep for Donald Trump
    04/14/17 09:30 AM—UPDATED 04/14/17 12:08 PM
    By Steve Benen
    One of Donald Trump’s most important early flip-flops came just 11 days into his presidency. As a candidate, Trump broke with Republican Party orthodoxy and endorsed lowering prices on prescription drugs by using Medicare’s negotiating power. That, however, did not last.

    On Jan. 31, after a meeting with executives and lobbyists from the pharmaceutical industry, Trump denounced the idea he used to support, calling it a form of “price fixing” that would hurt “smaller, younger companies.” Trump had one set of beliefs, he heard conflicting information, so he adopted a different set of beliefs.

    The Wall Street Journal noted a similar shift this week on the U.S. Export-Import Bank.

    During the campaign, Mr. Trump was skeptical of Ex-Im Bank, which funds U.S. trade deals, calling it “unnecessary.” The bank has been a target of Republican criticism, which Mr. Trump seized on.

    But that view changed earlier this year after he talked to Boeing Co. CEO Dennis Muilenburg, who explained to him what role the bank plays, according to people familiar with the matter.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Trump faces Chinese mockery following embarrassing reversals
    04/14/17 08:00 AM—UPDATED 04/14/17 08:08 AM
    By Steve Benen

    Donald Trump has spent years complaining about China and its alleged currency manipulation. As a candidate, the Republican not only blasted President Obama on the issue, he publicly vowed to label China a currency manipulator literally on his first day in office.

    That didn’t happen, of course, though as recently as last week, the president continued to posture, calling China the “world champion” of currency manipulation. This week, however, Trump dramatically changed direction, declaring that China isn’t actually manipulating its currency at all.

    The reversal hasn’t gone unnoticed in Beijing, where the American president is now the subject of mockery.

    Te-Ping Chen, a Beijing-based reporter for the Wall Street Journal, notes that Chinese media are gleefully mocking Trump for doing such an abrupt 180 on an issue that was one of the staples of his 2016 presidential campaign – in fact, Trump had originally vowed to officially label China a currency manipulator on the first day of his presidency.

    “Eating his words!” reads one headline, as translated by Chen.

    “Trump slaps self in face, again,” reads another.

  6. rikyrah says:

    Evidence Is Building That the Trump Campaign Colluded With Russia
    by Nancy LeTourneau April 14, 2017 11:25 AM

    Yesterday Martin led his piece about the current status of the Trump/Russia probe with news from the Guardian about European intelligence services sharing information on disturbing contacts between Russians and Trump’s people. Most of the response to that article has been to examine the time table of how this FBI investigation was triggered.

    But it is very possible that the Guardian buried the lead. At the very end of their article they report this little bombshell:

    There are now multiple investigations going on in Washington into Trump campaign officials and Russia. They include the FBI-led counter-espionage investigation and probes by both the House and Senate intelligence committees…

    One source suggested the official investigation was making progress. “They now have specific concrete and corroborative evidence of collusion,” the source said. “This is between people in the Trump campaign and agents of [Russian] influence relating to the use of hacked material.”

    It could be that they de-emphasized this news because it came from “one source” and wasn’t verified elsewhere. But if there is “concrete and corroborative evidence of collusion,” that’s the ballgame right there.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Arkansas plans blitz of eight prisoner executions over ten days
    Rachel Maddow reports on a plan in Arkansas to perform four pairs of back-to-back executions in the span of 10 days with a drug they’ve never used before that is set to expire at the end of the month.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Remember…it was CRIMINALS that they were going to target…….

    Uh huh
    Uh huh

    ICE targets mother with no criminal record for deportation
    Rachel Maddow reports on the outpouring of support for Maribel Trujillo, an undocumented mother of four American citizens, including a 3-year-old girl with special needs, who has no criminal record but faces deportation under Donald Trump’s anti-immigrant policies.

  9. rikyrah says:

    British intel agency reported Trump campaign Russia ties: Report
    Rachel Maddow reports on the latest developments in the investigation into connections between the Donald Trump campaign and Russia, including a report by The Guardian that British intelligence agency GCHQ first raised concerns as far back as late 2015.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Asked about privacy changes, GOP rep says internet usage is optional
    04/14/17 08:40 AM
    By Steve Benen
    Despite Republican dominance of federal power, GOP policymakers haven’t had any major legislative successes so far this year, though they have had some lower-profile victories. Take online privacy, for example.

    As regular readers know, the Obama administration approved privacy protections last year to stop internet service providers from selling information about their consumers’ browsing history without their knowledge or consent. Congressional Republicans and Donald Trump’s White House undid those rules.

    The Washington Post recently reported that service providers, including online giants such Verizon and Comcast (MSNBC’s parent company), will now be able to “monitor their customers’ behavior online and, without their permission, use their personal and financial information to sell highly targeted ads…. The providers could also sell their users’ information directly to marketers, financial firms and other companies that mine personal data – all of whom could use the data without consumers’ consent.”

    I’ve been eager to hear how GOP lawmakers will respond to concerns about their policy, and American Bridge, a Democratic super PAC, posted a video yesterday of Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner (R-Wis.) answering a constituent’s question about this. The Wisconsin Republican said:

    “You know, nobody’s got to use the internet…. I don’t think it’s my job to tell you that you cannot get advertising through your information being sold. My job, I think, is to tell you that you have the opportunity to do it and then you take it upon yourself to make the choice….”

    The congressman’s press office added yesterday afternoon that Sensenbrenner made the case “that nobody has to use the internet. They have a choice.”

  11. rikyrah says:

    Legislating: What Underlies the West Wing Split
    by Martin Longman April 14, 2017 10:24 AM

    I’ve written extensively in recent weeks (for example, here) about a structural political problem that Donald Trump has that is going to prevent him from successfully getting legislation passed through this Congress. A simple formulation of the problem is that Trump ran against the current iteration of the Republican Party but adopted a strategy even before his inauguration that depends on his ability to move his agenda with 100 percent Republican votes. I don’t want to reiterate that argument here, at least not fully, but it now appears that he and many of the people closest to him are beginning to realize their error.

    This is why we’re seeing a lot of stories come out about a split between a populist nationalist wing led by Steve Bannon and a more pragmatic wing that is led by Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner, his daughter Ivanka, and his director of the National Economic Council, Gary Cohn.

    One simple way of understanding this is that Kushner, Ivanka and Cohn are realizing that they’re going to need Democrats to do much of what Trump promised he would do. To the Bannon wing, such an assertion is nonsensical. He made promises the Democrats have no interest in helping him keep, and he should stick to the agenda that attracted his base to him in the first place. Running to the Democrats is a betrayal.


    Democrats, from the ivory towers of think tanks down to the union halls, all agree on the urgent need for infrastructure spending. The knowledgable among them know that going another four or eight years without major investments in roads and bridges and health and education and technology is a recipe for further wealth disparity and disenchantment among their previous supporters in the hollowed out non-urban parts of the country. They want a big infrastructure bill not to help Trump but to help themselves and the American people. But they have no interest in passing an infrastructure bill that takes the form of what Trump initially proposed, and they won’t help pass that kind of bill. What Gary Cohn, for example, understands is that the Republicans won’t pass the infrastructure bill that Trump proposed, either, so the only way anything is going to get done is to make an approach to the Democrats.

    I’ve argued that it’s too late to do this, and that Trump has essentially screwed the pooch in two ways. The first is that he took what was already a toxic campaign (and campaign result) and ramped it up once he came into office. The Democrats can’t afford to work with him now even if they wanted to, and they don’t. The second is that Trump is now vulnerable to congressional oversight to such a degree that he can’t afford to split his own party or turn a significant portion of them against him. He needs a united and enthusiastic Republican Congress to run interference on investigations that threaten to take down his presidency.

  12. rikyrah says:

    We Need to Know What the Intelligence Community Knows
    by Martin Longman April 13, 2017 12:40 PM

    I am getting a little frustrated with how elements of the #TrumpRussia story are continually confirmed and expanded upon without giving us much more clarity. For example, today’s Guardian story provides more insight into which countries were observing disturbing and suspicious contacts between Trump figures and known or suspected Russian spies, but it doesn’t do anything to help us understand why these contacts were so concerning.

    For example, we now know that Australia, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Poland, Estonia, and the British were all bothered enough by observed Trump/Russia meetings and communications that they separately shared information about it with our intelligence community. But we’re left in the dark about what any of these countries learned.

    All these countries are continually tracking Russians who they suspect or know to be covert operators. All of them noticed people of this type coming into contact with folks in Trump’s orbit. All of them found these contacts to be suspicious enough to warrant sharing the information with the Americans. And, of course, Christopher Steele discovered the same thing even though he was retired from MI6 and working in the private sector without the benefit of the signals intelligence or satellite technology, etc., that the national agencies could employ.

    In Steele’s case, we have some of his so-called dodgy dossier, which is mostly un-redacted. But we don’t have the transcripts of intercepted electronic communications or geo-positioning data or other travel records. We don’t have the results of any forensic financial investigations.

  13. rikyrah says:

    Certain liberals. Folks like me, knew that ‘ economic anxiety’ was nothing but bullshyt.

    What Can We Do About the Politics of Resentment?
    by Nancy LeTourneau April 14, 2017 8:07 AM

    For months now, this is the way Josh Marshall has been describing Trump’s appeal to his supporters:

    People continue to marvel how a city-bred, godless libertine who was born to great wealth could become and remain the political avatar of small town and rural voters of middling means. The answer is simple. Despite all their differences, Trump meets his voters in a common perception (real or not) of being shunned, ignored and disrespected by ‘elites’. In short, his politics and his connection with his core voters is based on grievance. This is a profound and enduring connection.

    I have found that to be a helpful way of understanding what is happening that avoids the divisive back-and-forth about whether this election was about identity politics or economic insecurity. Trump has lived his life feeling aggrieved by the Manhattanites. He was able to use that to appeal to the grievances of enough white people in small town and rural America to win the election.

    That is basically the case Jay Bookman makes.

    Policy differences, ideology and even narrow-minded self-interest cannot explain the deep and growing divide in American politics. Nor can it explain the popularity of Donald Trump in some quarters. The only way to explain or understand these phenomena is to attribute it to a bone-deep cultural resentment that probably does not originate in politics, but that finds its outlet and expression in politics.

    As Bookman goes on to point out, the problem with this is that there is no government policy that can “fix” resentment or grievance, which is probably what draws so many liberals to the idea that this is all about economic anxiety. At least that formulation gives you policy solutions to apply as a remedy.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Mick Mulvaney Seems Complacent About a Government Shutdown
    by Martin Longman April 13, 2017 3:48 PM

    President Trump’s budget director Mick Mulvaney is displaying a pre-Katrina level of complacency about whether his boss’s hundredth day in office will coincide with a shutdown of the government due to lack of congressionally-approved funding.

    Lawmakers are on recess for Easter, set to return four days before current funding runs out at the end of the month.

    Despite the short timeline and the disparate positions of the White House and Congress, Mulvaney does not anticipate a shutdown, recently telling CNBC’s John Harwood that chances of a shutdown are “very low” and that he has not yet instructed federal agencies to make preparations for one.

    “I don’t see the need to, to be honest with you,” he said. “So we’ve gone to the appropriators and said, ‘Look, if you all can figure out a way to do this, let’s do it together.’ Shutdown is never a desired end.”

    Even if lawmakers don’t reach a deal in time, Mulvaney said he does not foresee significant problems in the event of a temporary lapse.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Does Donald Trump Have Any Core Principles?
    by Nancy LeTourneau April 13, 2017 2:02 PM

    Following a series of flip-flops by Trump, some in the media have once again engaged in their never-ending search for a “pivot” from the president to the center. But I’m much more inclined to agree with how Steve Benen described what’s going on.

    I’ve seen some suggestions that the president is pivoting, changing his positions as part of some kind of White House reboot. I’m afraid that’s probably wishful thinking. Trump isn’t adapting to changing circumstances or shift his agenda to become more popular. He’s just swinging wildly in the dark, making up a haphazard agenda as he goes along.

    Chalking this up to some kind of new strategy probably gives Trump and his team too much credit. What we’re witnessing is governing chaos, driven by longstanding ignorance and confusion, led by a clumsy president with few core beliefs to help him navigate.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Low Energy Voter Suppression>> Iowa Gov: Polls Should Close Early So We Don’t Have To Stay Up To Watch Results

    — Josh Marshall (@joshtpm) April 14, 2017

  17. rikyrah says:

    First round is from Comey’s investigation. But NY AG is hard at it with a separate follow on investigation-expect RICO indictments.— Claude Taylor (@TrueFactsStated) April 14, 2017

  18. rikyrah says:

    German intelligence say Trump’s Baku business partner launders money for Iranian military. Ivanka oversaw this deal. #Trumprussia #maddow— Polly Sigh (@dcpoll) March 7, 2017

  19. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone 😄😄😄

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