Remember in 2013, when the New York Times wrote this? “The Senate changed its most infuriating rule and effectively ended the filibuster on executive and judicial appointments. From now on, if any senator tries to filibuster a presidential nominee, that filibuster can be stopped with a simple majority, not the 60-vote requirement of the past.”They didn’t merely write it. They celebrated the news. “That means a return to the democratic process of giving nominees an up-or-down vote, allowing them to be either confirmed or rejected by a simple majority,” the Times added.
The corporate media has all but accepted the resounding narrative that Russia hacked the U.S. election. But as outlets like the Washington Post receive harsh criticism for perpetuating these as-of-yet unconfirmed allegations, it appears the media isn’t the only institution that’s failing to practice due diligence.Last week, the FBI released a joint analysis report with the Department of Homeland Security that focused on providing tips to prevent another cyber attack. But the agencies also claimed to have proof Russia hacked the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) servers — acts that resulted in the leaks of private emails that embarrassed the party and Hillary Clinton and arguably helped defeat her presidential campaign. But even as the media has parroted this analysis without question — ignoring valid objections from cyber security experts — the FBI itself reportedly failed to conduct an investigation into the DNC’s email servers.
Sen. Jeff Sessions, R-Ala., spent a considerable amount of his time as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Alabama pressing civil rights lawsuits. He also assisted local prosecutors in a case that helped wipe out the Ku Klux Klan in the state. “All I’ve seen from Jeff Sessions is that he has followed law,” Horace Cooper of @Project21News says.Yet accusations about the Alabama senator’s past on racial issues have become a focal point for those opposing his confirmation to be the next attorney general after President-elect Donald Trump takes office.NAACP President Cornell Brooks, in a written statement, accused Sessions of having “disdain for our nation’s civil rights laws.”
As many as 10 members plan to mount objections when Congress meets Friday, but so far no senator has joined them.A Democratic congresswoman from Texas confirmed late Thursday that she and as many as 10 colleagues will contest the validity of Donald Trump’s election Friday, when lawmakers meet at the Capitol to certify Trump’s Electoral College victory.Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee said in a phone interview that she and her allies plan to challenge the validity of electoral votes in multiple states, where she argued voter suppression tactics may have tainted the outcome. She said a separate batch of challenges will focus on disqualifying electors who may have been ineligible to serve at all.“This is an American question of justice and fairness and the appropriate running of presidential elections,” Jackson Lee said.
As Senate Republicans embark on a flurry of confirmation hearings this week, several of Donald J. Trump’s appointees have yet to complete the background checks and ethics clearances customarily required before the Senate begins to consider cabinet-level nominees.Republicans, who are expected to hold up to five hearings on Wednesday alone, say they simply want to ensure that the new president has a team in place as soon as possible. “I believe all the president-elect’s cabinet appointments will be confirmed,” Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, said.But Democrats are calling for the process to be slowed and for the hearings to be spread out. That, they say, would allow more time to vet the nominees. “Our first overarching focus is getting tax returns and ethics forms,” said Senator Amy Klobuchar, Democrat of Minnesota.
Attorney General Loretta Lynch admitted Thursday at a Politico event that there was no evidence that the Russians compromised U.S. electoral systems.“Fortunately we didn’t see the sort of technical interference that I know people had concerns about, also, in terms of voting machines and the like,” Lynch said, according to a partial transcript of the event by RealClearPolitics.The attorney general spoke about the investigation and the information given to the public.
President-elect Donald Trump “doesn’t know much,” former President Bill Clinton told a local newspaper earlier this month, but “one thing he does know is how to get angry, white men to vote for him.”Clinton spoke to a reporter from The Record-Review, a weekly newspaper serving the towns of Bedford and Pound Ridge, New York, not far from the Clintons’ home in Chappaqua, New York. The former president held court earlier this month in Katonah, New York, where he took questions from the reporter and other customers inside a small bookstore.
President-elect Donald Trump sat down for his first televised interview since the election, telling 60 Minutes that overturning the Supreme Court’s 2014 gay marriage decision was not among his priorities. Asked where he stood on the issue, Trump said it was irrelevant.“It’s law. It was settled in the Supreme Court,” Trump said. “It’s done. These cases have gone to the Supreme Court. They’ve been settled, and I’m fine with that.”Anyone who thought they would hear anything else – from hopeful social conservatives to hysterical LGBT activists – hasn’t been paying attention. Trump has made it abundantly clear throughout the campaign that he is not on the same page as the Republican Party when it comes to gay marriage (to say nothing of many other issues).
House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) on Friday said Republicans will look to undo an offshore drilling plan released by President Obama that blocks oil exploration in the Arctic Ocean.“In its final days, the Obama administration is throwing up more barriers to American energy development. This plan to exclude the resource-rich Arctic from exploration possibilities squanders our ability to harness the abundant, affordable energy sources that power our economy,” Ryan said in a statement. ADVERTISEMENT“Our Better Way agenda outlines a plan to unleash our energy potential and create American jobs. That’s why we will work to overturn this plan, and to open up the Arctic and other offshore areas for development.”Ryan joined much of the oil industry in slamming the drilling plan, a five-year policy that will allow for oil lease sales in the Gulf of Mexico but not the Atlantic or Arctic Oceans. The industry had hoped Obama would allow drilling in the Arctic as part of the plan.
Is 2017 the year when a tax overhaul finally happens?Don’t bet on it.That’s despite the revelation that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump could have avoided paying federal income taxes for almost two decades.And despite Sen. Bernie Sanders’ decision to embrace a tax overhaul as one of his signature issues during his insurgent Democratic primary campaign.And despite the damage done to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign in 2012 when he released tax returns — something that Trump, so far, has refused to do — showing he’d paid 14 percent in taxes on his eight-figure income.Congress has talked about a tax overhaul for almost three decades. Doing something about it, not so much.