From HuffPo: Senate Democrats just gave a huge gift to President Donald Trump: They agreed to expedite votes on 15 of his nominees to lifetime federal court seats because they wanted to go home.
Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) had lined up votes for all those district court nominees last week. Normally, Senate rules require up to 30 hours of waiting time for each nominee ― something Democrats typically take advantage of to delay action on confirming Trump judges. But Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (N.Y.) cut a deal with McConnell on Tuesday to bypass the wait times and let them all get through.
Why? So Democrats could get back to campaigning and focusing on winning re-election in November. The Senate is now out of session until next Tuesday.
Of the 15 nominees, six were confirmed by voice votes on Tuesday. Another one was confirmed on a recorded vote. The remaining eight will get quick votes next week.
It’s a major win for Trump and McConnell, whose No. 1 priority is filling up federal courts with conservative judges ― many of whom are incredibly anti-abortion, anti–LGBTQ rights and anti–voting rights. Trump has gotten 26 circuit court judges confirmed, more than any other president at this point in his term. Another way of putting it: 1 in 7 U.S. circuit court seats is now filled by a judge nominated by Trump.
Add that Trump put Neil Gorsuch on the Supreme Court and is poised to get another justice through, Brett Kavanaugh, and you’ve got a president drastically reshaping the nation’s courts for generations.
Some progressives are furious that Democrats just handed more judges to Trump, particularly given recent revelations implicating the president in federal crimes. It would have taken only one Democratic senator to say “no” to letting the nominees through this week, but none did.
“Trading this many lifetime positions away for a couple days back home in the dead of August is a metaphor for how myopic the Democrats’ approach has been at this dark moment in history,” said Brian Fallon, who, awkwardly, was previously Schumer’s chief spokesperson. He is now the executive director of Demand Justice, a progressive judicial advocacy group.
“An entire branch of government is being lost for generations, and Senate Democrats are willfully blind to it,” Fallon said. “In the coming months and years, these same Democrats will issue outraged statements about the rulings issued by the very judges that they could not be bothered to try to slow down. It is pathetic.”
Maybe demorats should start by having their precious federal government enforce current laws. Oh wait, we know how much they really care about following the law…
From NY Post: Nearly two dozen Democratic senators, including Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand of New York, introduced a bill on Wednesday to ban the sale of military-style assault weapons and bump stock devices like the one used in the Las Vegas massacre, saying it “will begin removing the weapons of war on our streets.”
“We’re introducing an updated assault weapons ban for one reason: so that after every mass shooting with a military-style assault weapon, the American people will know that a tool to reduce these massacres is sitting in the Senate, ready for a debate and a vote,” said a statement released by Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif). The legislation calls for a ban on the “sale, manufacture, transfer and importation of 205 military-style assault weapons by name,” but allows owners to keep their existing weapons. The measure also proposes to ban “bump-fire stocks and other devices that allow semi-automatic weapons to fire at fully automatic rates.”
The madman who opened fire on an open-air concert in Las Vegas last month outfitted his weapons with a bump-fire stock that allowed him to turn his semi-automatic rifles into rapid-fire weapons and spray thousands of rounds in the span of about 10 minutes. He killed 58 people and wounded hundreds more in the deadliest mass shooting in US history.
Five weeks later, a deranged Air Force veteran opened fire on a church in Sutherland Springs, Texas, using an AR-15-style assault rifle. He emptied 15 magazines and killed 26 congregants.
Democrats called on their Republican counterparts to begin a discussion on gun violence after the killings, but GOP lawmakers and President Trump responded it was “too soon” after the tragedy and would be “disrespectful to the dead.” Trump initially said the church shooting “isn’t a gun situation” it is “a mental health problem” then rejected calls for stepped up background checks.
Asked about “extreme vetting” for gun buyers while on an overseas trip this week in South Korea, he said: “If you did what you’re suggesting, there would have been no difference three days ago and you might not have had that very brave person who happens to have a gun or a rifle in his trunk.” The Democrats’ legislation also calls for a ban of assault weapons that take a “detachable ammunition magazine and has a pistol grip, a forward grip, a barrel shroud, a threaded barrel or a folding or telescoping stock.”
It says 2,200 types of guns used for “hunting, household defense or recreational purposes” will be exempted. “This bill won’t stop every mass shooting, but it will begin removing these weapons of war from our streets,” the statement reads. “Yes, it will be a long process to reduce the massive supply of these assault weapons in our country, but we’ve got to start somewhere.”
Feinstein and the Democrats introduced a bill in 2013 with similar provisions after the killings at Sandy Hook Elementary School in December 2012 but it was defeated in the Senate by a 60-40 vote.
Because corporate mergers are what Americans are truly worried about. Good luck with that platform demorats!
From MSN: Democrats rolled out a new economic platform Monday in hopes of winning over President Donald Trump‘s populist base with promises to take on big businesses, lower the cost of prescription drugs and create jobs. The campaign — “A Better Deal” — is intended as a counterpunch to the president’s frequent criticism of the lackluster recovery and stagnant wages under President Barack Obama and Trump’s vow to restore the economy to 3 percent annual growth. Democrats are also searching for ways to reconnect with working-class voters whose deep frustration with their own economic prospects helped drive their support for Trump.
“It is an ambitious economic agenda that represents a renewed Democratic commitment to the hard-working men and women across the United States who have been left out and left behind for too long,” House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi wrote in a Washington Post op-ed. Among Democrats’ top agenda items is greater scrutiny of corporate mergers, including tougher standards that incorporate consumer privacy, product quality and the impact on wages and jobs. Democrats are also seeking post-merger reviews and greater enforcement authority.
Those responsibilities would be carried out by a new competition advocate that Democrats have nicknamed the “Trust Buster.” One of the deals that could be targeted is AT&T (T)’s $85 billion bid for Time Warner (TWX), which is awaiting regulatory approval. Other sectors that could wind up in the crosshairs include the beer industry, airlines and eyeglasses.
“We will revisit our antitrust laws to ensure that the economic freedom of all Americans — consumers, workers and small businesses — come before big corporations that are getting even bigger,” the document read.
Prescription Drug Prices: The plan would revamp Medicare by allowing the program known as “Part D” to negotiate prices directly with drugmakers.
“It is ridiculous that Big Pharma has controlled Washington for so long and has refused to even budge on the notion that we ought to negotiate for lower prices,” Sen. Claire McCaskill of Missouri said in a YouTube video outlining the platform. The campaign would also expand apprenticeship and vocational programs, as well as establish a tax credit for companies that provide on-the-job training. Additional pieces of the broader proposal will be unveiled in the coming months, such as addressing the cost of higher education, infrastructure investment and creating a national family leave program. In addition to Pelosi, top Democrats Sens. Chuck Schumer and Elizabeth Warren are slated to outline the campaign later Monday, laying the groundwork for the party’s message in the 2018 midterm elections and beyond. The rollout takes place in Clarke County, Virginia, part of a congressional district that Democrats have long fought to turn blue. It is represented in the House by Republican Barbara Comstock and won by Trump in November.
However, Democrats do not directly mention Trump in their strategy documents, though the campaign’s title clearly references the president’s signature book, “The Art of the Deal.” Resistance to the Trump administration has energized the party’s base, but Democrats are hoping to complement that with a more optimistic vision of the nation’s economic potential.
“In the last two elections, Democrats, including in the Senate, failed to articulate a strong, bold economic program for the middle class and those working hard to get there,” Schumer wrote in an op-ed in The New York Times. “We also failed to communicate our values to show that we were on the side of working people, not the special interests. We will not repeat the same mistake.”
The party of obstruction.
From Yahoo: The top Democrat in the U.S. Senate said on Sunday that Democrats would consider refusing to vote on a new FBI director until a special prosecutor is named to investigate President Donald Trump’s potential ties to Russia.
Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said his caucus has not yet made a decision on whether to withhold their votes, but added that the issue is being looked at as a way to ensure there is a thorough investigation of alleged Russian meddling in the 2016 U.S. election.
“To have that special prosecutor, people would breathe a sigh of relief because then there would be a real independent person overlooking the FBI director,” Schumer told CNN’s “State of the Union” program.
Trump sparked a political firestorm when he abruptly fired James Comey, director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation last week. The FBI has been investigating alleged Russian meddling in the U.S. election and possible ties between Moscow and the Trump campaign. Russia has denied the claims and the White House says there was no collusion.
Trump, who has sought better relations with Russia, has continued to question whether Russia was behind the hacking of email accounts belonging to Democrats involved in Hillary Clinton’s 2016 presidential campaign. But Secretary of State Rex Tillerson told NBC’s “Meet the Press” program on Sunday there is no question that “the Russians were playing around in our electoral processes.”
He defended Trump’s decision to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the Oval Office last week. “It’s in the interest of the American people, it’s in the interest of Russia and the rest of the world that we do something to see if we cannot improve the relationship between the two greatest nuclear powers in the world,” Tillerson said. Democrats have accused Trump of attempting to thwart the FBI’s probe and have called for some type of independent inquiry into the matter.
Trump has said he removed Comey because he was not doing a good job and that Comey lost the support of FBI employees.
The Justice Department began interviewing candidates for the FBI director job on Saturday. Some people under consideration include acting FBI Director Andrew McCabe, Republican Senator John Cornyn of Texas, New York Appeals Court Judge Michael Garcia and former Assistant Attorney General Alice Fisher, according to a White House official. If the Senate vote on an FBI director were to break down along strict party lines, Democrats would not have the votes to block a nominee.
Republicans control both chambers of the U.S. Congress. They hold 52 seats in the 100-member Senate, enough to approve a FBI nominee provided that no more than two Republican senators break ranks. In the event of a tie vote, Vice President Mike Pence would cast the deciding vote. “The key is getting some of our Republican colleagues to join us,” Schumer said. Republican leaders in the Senate have rebuffed calls for a special prosecutor, saying it would interfere with ongoing congressional probes.
Republican Senator Lindsey Graham of South Carolina said on Sunday there may come a time when a special prosecutor is needed but not now. “Right now, it is a counterintelligence investigation, not a criminal investigation. So you don’t need a special prosecutor,” Graham said on “Meet the Press.”
The Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 has two principal goals:
First, the bill prohibits the sale, manufacture, transfer and importation of 157 of the most commonly-owned military-style assault weapons. It also bans an additional group of assault weapons that can accept a detachable ammunition magazine and have one or more military characteristics.
Second, the bill bans large-capacity magazines and other ammunition feeding devices that hold more than 10 rounds of ammunition. These devices allow shooters to fire numerous rounds in rapid succession without having to stop and reload.
Other key provisions in the bill:
Requires background checks on all future transfers of assault weapons covered by the legislation, including sale, trade and gift;
Requires that grandfathered assault weapons be stored safely using a secure gun storage or safety device in order to keep them away from prohibited persons; and
Prohibits the sale or transfer of high-capacity ammunition feeding devices currently in existence.
Her bill is co-sponsored by several top Democrats, chief among them being Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY). The other co-sponsors are Dick Durbin (D-Ill.), Sheldon Whitehouse (D-R.I.), Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.), Carl Levin (D-Mich.), John Rockefeller (D-W.Va.), Barbara Mikulski (D-Md.), Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), Jack Reed (D-R.I.), Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), Ben Cardin (D-Md.), Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.), Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii), Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and newly-elected Elizabeth “Pocahontas” Warren (D-Mass.). Both Feinstein and Schumer not only carry concealed weapons, they are also protected by armed police escorts.
This is the handout of the bill’s list of “assault weapons” which was distributed at her press conference today. Charlie Spieringof The Examiner‘s Beltway Confidential transcribed the following lists from the handout: Rifles
AK, AK-47, AK47S, AK-74, AKM, AKS, ARM, MAK90, MISR, NHM90, NHM91, Rock River Arms LAR-47, SA85, SA93, Vector Arms AK-47, VEPR, WASR-10, and WUM, IZHMASH Saiga AK, MAADI AK47, and ARM, Norinco 56S, 56S2, 84S, and 86S, Poly Technologies AK47 and AKS, All AR types, including the following: AR-10, AR-15, Armalite M15 22LR Carbine, ARmalite M15-T, Barett REC7, Beretta AR-70,
Bushmaster ACR, Bushmaster Carbon 15, Bushmaster MOE Series, Bushmaster XM15,Colt Match Target Rifles, DoubleStar AR rifles, DPMS Tactical rifles, Heckler and Koch MR556, Olympic rms, Remington R-15 rifles, Rock River Arms LAR-15, Sig Sauer SIG516 rifles, Smith & Wesson M&P15 Rifles, Stag Arms AR rifles, Sturm, Ruger & Co. SR 556 rifles; Barrett M107A1; Barrett M82A1,
Beretta CX4 STorm; Calico Liberty Series; CETME Sporter; Daewoo K-1, K-2, Max 1, Max 2, AR 100 and AR 110C; Fabrique Nationale/FN Herstal FAL, LAR, 22 FNC, 308 Match, L1A1 Sporter, PS90, SCAR, and FS2000, Feather Industries AT-9, Galil Model AR and Model ARM; High Point Carbine; Hk-91, HK-93, Hk-94, HK-PSG-1 and HK USC; Kel-Tec Sub-200, SU-16, and RFB; SIG AMT, SIG PE-57, Sig Sauer SG 550 and Sig Sauer SG551; Springfield Armory SAR-48; Steyr AUG; Sturm, Ruger Mini-14 Tactical Rife M-14/20CF; All Thompson rifles including the following: Thompson M1SB, Thompson T1100D, Thompson T150D, Thompson T1BSB, Thompson TM1, Tompson TM1C, UMAREX UZI Rifle; UZI Mini Carbine, UZI Model A Carbine, ad UZI Model B Carbine, Valmet M62S, M71S, and M78; Vector Arms UZI Type; Weaver Arms Nighthawk; Wilkinson Arms Linda Carbine. Pistols:
All AK-47 Types including the following: Centurion 39AK pistol, Draco AK-47 pistol, HCR AK-47 pistol, IO Inc. Hellpup AK-47 pistol, Krinkov pistol, Mini Draco AK-47 pistol, Yugo Krebs Krink postol; All AR-15 types including the following: American Spirit AR-15 pistol, Bushmaster Carbon 15 pistol, Rock River Arms LAR 15 pistol; Calico Liberty pistols; DSA SA58 PKP FAL pistol; Encom MP5 and MP-45; Heckler and Kock model SP-89 pistol; The following MAC types: MAC-10, MAC-11; Masterpiece Arms MPA A930 mini pistol, MPA460 pistol, MPA Tactical Pistol, and Mini Tactical Pistol; Military Armament Corp. Ingram M-11, Velocity Arms VMAC; Sig Sauer p556 pistol; Sites Spectre; All thomspon types including the following: Thompson TA510D, Thompson TA5; All UZI types including Micro-UZI Shotguns:
Franchi LAW-12 and SPAS 12; All IZHMASH Saiga 12 types, including the following: IZHMASH Saiga 12, IZHMASH Saiga 12S, IZHMASH Saiga 12S EXP-01, IZHMASH Saiga12K, IZHMASH Saiga12K-030, IZHMASH Saiga 12K-040 Taktika; Streetsweeper; Striker 12
The full text of the Assault Weapons Ban of 2013 as well as additional background information is available on Feinstein’s website at feinstein.senate.gov/assaultweapons.
UPDATE (Jan. 28, 2013):
It is also now confirmed — SURPRISE! [snark] — that government officials (including Congress, of course), law enforcement and retired law enforcement personnel are exempted from Feinstein’s assault weapons gun ban bill, by far the most ambitious of the number of gun-control bills introduced in the wake of the massacre. ~Eowyn
Want to know who are the enemies of liberty in Congress? Here’s a list of 19 Senators who just voted to censor the Internet.
On November 18, 2010, the lame duck Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously voted to move forward with censoring the Internet via the COICA bill, S. 3804, although the bill is a clear violation of the First Amendment.
Here’s what the Electronic Frontier Foundation, an international non-profit digital rights advocacy and legal organization based in the United States, says about S. 3804:
The “Combating Online Infringements and Counterfeits Act” (COICA) is an Internet censorship bill which is rapidly making its way through the Senate. Although it is ostensibly focused on copyright infringement, an enormous amount of noninfringing content, including political and other speech, could disappear off the Web if it passes.
The main mechanism of the bill is to interfere with the Internet’s domain name system (DNS), which translates names like “www.eff.org” or “www.nytimes.com” into the IP addresses that computers use to communicate. The bill creates a blacklist of censored domains; the Attorney General can ask a court to place any website on the blacklist if infringement is “central” to the purpose of the site.
If this bill passes, the list of targets could conceivably include hosting websites such as Dropbox, MediaFire and Rapidshare; MP3 blogs and mashup/remix music sites like SoundCloud, MashupTown and Hype Machine ; and sites that discuss and make the controversial political and intellectual case for piracy, like pirate-party.us, p2pnet, InfoAnarchy, Slyck and ZeroPaid . Indeed, had this bill been passed five or ten years ago, YouTube might not exist today. In other words, the collateral damage from this legislation would be enormous. (Why would all these sites be targets?) There are already laws and procedures in place for taking down sites that violate the law. This act would allow the Attorney General to censor sites even when no court has found they have infringed copyright or any other law.
Although countless experts have said S. 3814 would be ineffective, unconstitutional, bad for innovation and the tech economy, the Senate Judiciary Committee approved of the bill anyway. Hypocrites that they are, many of the same senators who voted in favor of net censorship have been speaking out against internet censorship in other countries. Here are the Dirty 19 (12 Demonrats, 7 RINOs):
Benjamin L. Cardin (D-Maryland)
Tom Coburn (R-Oklahoma)
Chris Coons (D-Delaware)
John Cornyn (R-Texas)
Dick Durbin (D-Illinois)
Russ Feingold (D-Wisconsin)
Dianne Feinstein (D-California)
Al Franken (D-Minnesota)
Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina)
Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa)
Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah)
Amy Klobuchar (D-Minnesota)
Herb Kohl (D-Wisconsin)
Jon Kyl (R-Arizona)
Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vermont)
Chuck Schumer (D-New York)
Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama)
Arlen Specter (D-Pennsylvania)
Sheldon Whitehouse (D-Rhode Island)
[Source: Aletho News]
H/t beloved fellow Joseph Fasciani. ~Eowyn