Shiny Objects

By Jace, a Trail Mix Contributor

Trump’s wall is little more than the shiny object that he holds up to distract and comfort his base. As long as they continue to fall for it he will continue to use it.

It is time I think for a new shiny object courtesy of Nancy Pelosi and the House of Representatives. I can think of nothing better to distract Trump from his obsession with the wall than a subpoena for his tax returns.

Trying to reason with Trump has proven pointless. Time to take the gloves off and change the subject. Let’s have a shiny object that actually sheds some light.

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27 thoughts on “Shiny Objects”

  1. aside from fed connected workers not getting paid, how about media reporting more on the life/death services that aren’t being performed because of trump’s shutdown.   such as this one in the guardian yesterday:

    The US government shutdown has stymied environmental testing and inspections, prompting warnings that Americans’ health is being put at increasing risk as the shutdown drags on.
    More than 13,000 employees at the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) are not at work, with just 794 people deemed essential staff currently undertaking the agency’s duties.
    The remaining skeleton staff are able to “respond to emergencies involving the safety of human life or the protection of property”, according to an EPA planning document. But many routine activities such as checks on regulated businesses, clean-ups of toxic superfund sites and the pursuit of criminal polluters have been paused since 28 December.
    [..]
    The situation at the EPA means “communities across the country are forced to stand by while water and soil go untested, air is fouled, science is suspended, and looming threats from climate change grow more perilous,” said Elgie Holstein, a senior director at the Environmental Defense Fund.
    “The shutdown serves as another reminder of the vital, underappreciated role that EPA and public health and environmental agencies play in keeping Americans out of harm’s way. An extended shutdown only increases the risks to the American people.”
    [continues]

    and this one in nytimes today:
    The Food and Drug Administration has stopped routine food safety inspections of seafood, fruits, vegetables and many other foods at high risk of contamination because of the federal government’s shutdown, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the agency’s commissioner, said on Wednesday.
    F.D.A. inspectors normally examine operations at about 160 domestic manufacturing and food processing plants each week. Nearly one-third of them are considered to be at high risk of causing food-borne illnesses. Food-borne diseases in the United States send about 128,000 people to the hospital each year, and kill 3,000, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
    […]
    “These are inspections where they catch issues before people get sick,” said Sarah Sorscher, deputy director of regulatory affairs at the Center for Science in the Public Interest, an advocacy group. “The announcement that they are going to try to start up high-risk inspections is a positive step. But, we’ve had outbreaks from foods that are not high risk — from flour, from packaged foods. So I think that the fact that two-thirds of establishments are not going to be inspected is still a problem.”
    The F.D.A. inspects food companies for bugs, rodents, mishandled food, improper preparation and other hazards.
    […]
    Some public health experts were worried about the impact of the shutdown on inspection of fish. Andrew Rosenberg, director of the Center for Science and Democracy at the Union of Concerned Scientists, said he was concerned about contaminated shellfish ending up on store shelves during the shutdown.
    In particular, he said, consumers should watch out for clams, mussels, oysters and other bivalves that may come from contaminated water. [continues]
     

  2. Colbert reports on the twit’s current shiny object to catch  divert our attention – declare emergency prez power
     

  3. Some States Feel the Shutdown More Than Others
    Number of federal workers at agencies affected
    by the shutdown per 10,000 workers

    Alaska173Ariz.49Colo.59D.C.926Idaho88Md.137Mont.157N.M.127N.D.57Okla.46S.D.100Utah68Vt.47W.Va.81Wyo.131Mo.44Ore.51Va.73

     

     
     
    Over all, federal workers account for about 1.5 percent of the country’s labor force, with a fifth of them in the Washington metro area. But the shutdown has hit some agencies — and states — harder than others.

     

    Outside the capital, states with large numbers of workers for the Departments of Agriculture and the Interior are more likely to feel the shutdown’s effects. And nearly the entire staff of the Environmental Protection Agency is furloughed, including hundreds of workers in North Carolina and Illinois.

    – above from nytimes report 

    The Government Shutdown Is AffectingFederal Workers in Every State

  4. Jace…  I agree… this whole wall and shutdown stuff is the shiny object d’jour.  No… you do not see Russians popping up all over the place.  Look…  over here…  a brown skinned person.  Be afraid… be very afraid.

    Unfortunately… as patd has pointed out… Americans are getting hurt by this.

  5. something to think about from carl pope at salon: “Is the shutdown an impeachable offense? Time for McConnell to call Trump’s bluff”
     
    One of Washington’s favorite parlor games of late has been debating what constitutes an “impeachable” offense, and whether President Trump has committed one. An obvious candidate has gone unnoticed: the government shutdown itself.
     
    Unlike previous presidents during shutdowns, Trump is not vetoing bills he objects to — an action clearly within his purview. He is promising to veto bills he does not object to because Congress has not given him an appropriation he seeks — $5.7 billion for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border. He wants to shut down parts of the government — for “months or years” — until he gets his wall money.
    Under the Constitution, he has no right to demand such an appropriation — much less to hold vital government functions hostage to obtain it. The president is not coequal with Congress when it comes to appropriations — the power of the purse belongs to the legislative branch, not the executive.
     
    James Madison makes this clear in Federalist 58: “the legislative department alone has access to the pockets of the people.”  Trump’s claim that he can build the wall anyway is even more flagrantly unconstitutional. Article I of the Constitution is clear that “No Money shall be drawn from the Treasury, but in Consequence of Appropriations made by Law.”
     
    Trump’s demand for an appropriation from Congress because of a security crisis on the border was anticipated by the drafters of the Constitution; they specifically refused to combine the power of the purse with the role of commander in chief. (This after all, was the specific grievance against the king of England that sparked the American Revolution itself.)
     
    Worse, in shutting down the government to extort an appropriation he is not entitled to, Trump is violating his oath of office and breaching one of his core fiduciary duties: to “take care that the laws be faithfully executed
    .” (Emphasis added.) Obviously, a shutdown of one-third of the government for “months or even years” will make the execution of many laws utterly impossible – particularly since the Department of Justice is one of the shuttered agencies. Trump cannot assert that he must shut down the DOJ. The Democrats have passed an appropriation for that department, to which he concedes he has no objection. He is merely trying to use the shutdown as blackmail to force Congress to fund the wall (or at least however much of it can be built for $5 billion).
     
     
    Taking as our source the very Federalist Society from which Trump gets his judicial appointee punch list, breach of fiduciary duty is the key standard for the “misdemeanors” the Constitution cites, along with criminal acts, as grounds for impeachment.
    [..]
    So we are faced with a president who is seeking to overturn the congressional power of the purse. To achieve this unconstitutional end, he says he is ready to shut down the Justice Department — perhaps even for years. He is also willing to shut down the very agency that, since 9/11, has successfully protected the United States from terrorists entering the country – the Department of Homeland Security. This is abuse of power and fiduciary breach at its most definitive — with one important caveat.
    Were the House to move articles of impeachment against Trump based on a prolonged shutdown, the president has, as of today, one powerful defense. He has not actually vetoed any bill to reopen the government, because the Senate has failed to place one before him. Since government can be funded only by legislation passed by both Houses and then signed by the president (or passed over his veto) Trump actually lacks the power to reopen the government – as long as Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell persists in not allowing the Senate to vote on any bill Trump says he won’t sign.
     
    This collusion by the Senate majority with Trump is fundamental, since the heart of Trump’s fiduciary breach lies in his usurpation of the congressional power of the purse.  McConnell, the leader of one chamber of Congress, is thus far fully complicit in this effort.
     
    So solving the shutdown – without having to impeach the president – is quite simple. Enough senators – of both parties – must compel McConnell to bring bills to reopen the government before the Senate for a vote. Then, if President Trump holds the government hostage by vetoing those bills after they pass, those who wish to impeach him will have their ironclad impeachable offense. Meanwhile Congress can override the veto and restore law enforcement and other vital federal funding.
     
    If McConnell calls Trump’s bluff, he could not only end the shutdown but also make a prolonged impeachment crisis much less likely.
     

  6. the guardian :
    9:44  
    President Trump spoke to reporters at the White House before leaving for his trip to the border.
     
    He insisted ““I don’t have temper tantrums” and further pushed back at claims from Democrats that he slammed the table in the White House Situation Room before storming out of the meeting (or, as Trump has put it, saying “bye bye.”) “I didn’t pound the table. I didn’t pound the table. That is a lie,” said Trump.
     
    He also yet again insisted that “Mexico paying for wall indirectly, many, many times over” and that without a barrier on the border, MS-13 would enter the United States.
     
    9:48   
    Trump also continued to express his openness to declaring a national emergency to use the military to construct a border wall without congressional approval.
     
    “If this doesn’t work out, I’ll probably will do it, maybe definitely,” he said.
     
    10:00      
    Trump just insisted that he never meant Mexico would directly pay for a border wall when he pledged Mexico would pay for it on the campaign trail.
     
    “Obviously I never meant Mexico would write a check.”

  7. I found Max Boot’s article about SFB’s eroded relationships with his generals to be particularly interesting.  

    Like many a loveless marriage of convenience, the union between President Trump and “his” generals has ended in recrimination and heartbreak.
     
    After Trump impetuously announced a troop withdrawal from Syria last month, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, a retired Marine four-star general, resigned on Dec. 20 — with a letter blasting the president for not “treating allies with respect” and not “being clear-eyed about both malign actors and strategic competitors.” Trump characteristically insultedhim in return, demanding, “What’s he done for me?” and claiming that “President [Barack] Obama fired him and essentially so did I.” No, Mattis quit. Trump did fire White House Chief of Staff John F. Kelly, another former Marine general. During a post-firing interview , Kelly did not praise his boss’s achievements but rather his own success in averting disasters — including preventing Trump from breaking the law.
     
    By then, two other generals were long gone. Michael Flynn, a retired Army three-star general, was forced out as national security adviser after just 24 daysand is now a felon. His successor, H.R. McMaster, an active-duty Army three-star general, lasted just more than a year and left lamentingTrump’s failure to impose “sufficient costs” against Russia for its aggression.
     
    Trump has been engaged in a war of words with two other retired general officers — Special Operations superstars William H. McRaven and Stanley A. McChrystal. Retired Navy Adm. McRaven, a SEAL who oversaw the raid that killed Osama bin Laden, said of Trump: “Through your actions, you have embarrassed us in the eyes of our children, humiliated us on the world stage and, worst of all, divided us as a nation.” Trump lamely shot back: “Wouldn’t it have been nice if we got Osama bin Laden a lot sooner,” as if it was McRaven’s fault the intelligence community had trouble tracking the leader of al-Qaeda.
     
    McChrystal, a retired Army four-star general, described Trump as untruthful and immoral, leading Trump to retort with his characteristic crudity: “ ‘General’ McChrystal got fired like a dog by Obama. Last assignment a total bust. Known for big, dumb mouth. Hillary lover!” Note the quotation marks: Trump seems to be suggesting that anyone who criticizes him isn’t a real general.
     
    Why was this marriage doomed from the start? Let us count the ways:
     
    [… continues with list]
     
    With his insufferable boastfulness, Trump claimed, “I think I would have been a good general.” Actually, he would never have made it to first lieutenant, because his me-first ethos is so at odds with the military’s stress on service and sacrifice. All that Trump knows about the military seems to come from movies such as “Patton” and “Bloodsport.” His exposure to real-life generals revealed an unbridgeable chasm between the commander in chief and those under his command. The generals tried to shield the armed forces, and the world, from an out-of-control chief executive — and, in the process, they were themselves sullied to varying degrees. It was a well-intentioned enterprise but one doomed to defeat. Trump cannot stand being told what to do by those more competent and qualified than himself — or being disdained when he falls short of their exacting standards.

    There – a different shiny object (that he would not want held up to be seen.

     

     

  8. “probably will do it, maybe definitely”
    curious syntax… any shrinks out there willing to interpret it?

  9. nbc news:
    The White House has beefed up its legal team in recent weeks, hiring 17 additional lawyers to help prevent President Donald Trump’s discussions with top advisers from being obtained House Democrats or revealed to special counsel Robert Mueller, The Washington Post reported.
    The White House plan is to assert Trump’s executive privilege on both fronts. That strategy is being led by new White House Counsel Pat Cipollone, and aides said the goal is to preserve a legal protection that past presidents have invoked.
     
    But with Democrats planning to go as far as subpoenaing the administration for information, such a strategy could quickly inflame tensions between the two sides and may lead to lengthy legal battles.
    Some Democrats have already pledged to subpoena a copy of Mueller’s full report should the White House seek to to block any portions of it from being made public.
    If the White House moves to use executive privilege to keep parts of the report private, the special counsel’s rules allow for the attorney general to make a final determination on what can be shared with Congress and the public.
    […]
    … 
    Democrats are concerned about the possibility of the White House invoking executive privilege to block portions of the Mueller report dealing with obstruction from being made public.
    Though little is known about Mueller’s report, what it will encompass, and how lengthy it will be, NBC News reported last month that it could be submitted as soon as February, legal sources said. However, unforeseen developments could lengthen the timeline.
    The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment. NBC has not independently confirmed the hiring of additional lawyers.

  10. Ezra Klein said last night on O’Donnell’s show his theory is that trump doesn’t really want a wall or to declare a national emergency.  He wants the issue to be there for him and his 2020 campaign.  If he declares a national emergency now and the courts slap him down (as most are predicting), then the issue goes away.
     
    I liken it to the abortion issue.  If the SC actually declared it illegal… than what could the republicans tie around the neck of us immoral baby killing liberals.  “The Wall” is just another wedge issue.

  11. For those who did not study, at any grade level, anthropology and inventions, SFB has come up with a lesson for the ages.  The wheel was invented before the wall.  I guess it will be a surprise to the Incas (for one people).  The guy is off his rocker.  25 45.

  12. A cheese wedge?  No, that’s not right.  A Cheeto wedge?  Again, not exactly right, but you get the idea, right?

  13. Just gave the SCDP a contribution to find a candidate to opposes Lindsey Graham. Col Graham has had every opportunity to earn my support–all he needed  do was retrieve John McCain’s sword and march on; he didn’t. He has chosen to support the current C-in-C in virtually each of his incredibly evil decisions. I urge my fellow career service members, active and retired, to use the ballot box to signal their rejection of this pair.
    Flatus
    Chief Master Sgt, USAF (Ret)

  14. Chief – I am working hard in my world to oppose anyone who supports the gop and especially their leader, the non-lustrious and much disliked, SFB.  A man I would never consider to be C-in-C.

  15. The most difficult issue for me is knowing fed and contractor employees who are going to lose their homes because of SFB infantile issues.  The low intelligence fool has no concept of this and has no compassion due to his mental issues.  You would think McConnell would, but apparently he has the same mental issues as SFB.

  16. Mitch is in over his head and he knows it. He is probably praying for an emergency declaration because it will take him off the hook. Since the shutdown began he has been the most irrelevant man in DC.

  17. Well, Poobah, you called this one.

    The White House has begun laying the groundwork for a declaration of national emergency to build President Trump’s border wall, a move certain to set off a firestorm of opposition in Congress and the courts but one that could pave the way for an end to the three-week-old government shutdown.
     
    The administration is eyeing unused money in the Army Corps of Engineers budget, specifically a disaster spending bill passed by Congress last year that includes $13.9 billion that has been allocated but not actually spent for a variety of civil works projects, two people with knowledge of the developments said Thursday.
     
    Trump has urged the Army Corps to determine how fast contracts could be signed and whether construction could begin within 45 days, according to one of the people who spoke on condition of anonymity to describe the preparations.
     
    The list includes dozens of flood control projects in areas affected by recent natural disasters, including the Texas coastline inundated by Hurricane Harvey and parts of Puerto Rico battered by Hurricane Maria. The military construction budget is also being eyed as a potential source for unspent funds, with billions more potentially available there.
    The preparations are taking place with talks at an impasse over Trump’s demands for $5.7 billion to construct more than 200 miles of wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Democrats are staunchly opposed, leading to a partial government shutdown that on Saturday will become the longest ever in U.S. history.
     
    Some 800,000 federal workers are about to miss their first paycheck since the shutdown began Dec. 22, and problems plaguing shuttered national parks, food inspection processes and other federal services are multiplying.
     
    The Senate unanimously passed legislation Thursday that would guarantee back pay to furloughed federal workers once the shutdown ends, although thousands of government contractors who have been furloughed may never recoup their losses.
    Trump, who walked out of a White House negotiating session on Wednesday after House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) refused to agree to pay for his wall, reiterated Thursday that he may well declare a national emergency if Democrats don’t give him what he wants.
     
    “We can declare a national emergency. We shouldn’t have to because this is common sense,” Trump told reporters as he visited the border in Texas, accompanied by the commanding general of the Army Corps of Engineers. Trump repeatedly has said Mexico would pay for the wall.

    It continues….

  18. General Bonespur can’t take money already allocated. The Court will slap him. The House will impeach him. 

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