House of Representatives

Disaster, Dreaming

#trumpswindle | #WhatTheyVotedFor

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY; left), walks with President-elect Donald Trump at the U.S. Capitol for a meeting, 10 November 2016, in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Steve Benen, on the obvious:

As I understand it, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has agreed to a vote on an immigration bill, and unlike before, he won’t wait for Donald Trump’s guidance on the subject. If a comprehensive proposal isn’t ready by Feb. 8, today’s agreement says a DACA bill will get a vote on the Senate floor (though we don’t know precisely which DACA bill).

If you’re thinking, “Won’t McConnell just betray Democrats and refuse to bring up the bill?” that’s certainly possible, though that would practically guarantee another shutdown, for which the Kentucky Republican would be solely responsible.

Alternatively, if you’re thinking, “There’s no reason to assume a Senate-passed bill to protect Dreamers will pass the House,” you’re right to be concerned. But Democrats aren’t exactly negotiating from a position of strength right now, and they feel like they have no choice but to pursue incremental steps.

In the meantime, they’re taking CHIP off the table for the next six years, securing a key progressive priority. If there’s another shutdown on the horizon—a distinct possibility—Republicans won’t be able to hold children’s health care hostage.

Heads: McConnell backs out entirely, just walking away for his own reasons. Tails: The DACA vote is to table whatever DACA bill comes to hand.

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The Conservative Lesson

David Daleiden, of Center for Medical Progress.  Detail of photo by Charles Ommanney, ca. 2015.

A question arises: Is self-harm ever funny?

Certes, there are complications to the question; obviously, it is harder to justify self-harm if one also hurts others along the way, but here we’re not talking about going on a slashing spree amid a cutting habit. This one falls more under inspiring terrorists while wrecking your life for the sake of your own stupid masculinity.

Never mind.

Yesterday morning, via USA Today:

The videos show Planned Parenthood’s senior leadership partaking in a widespread and organized violation of state and federal laws forbidding partial-birth abortions and profiteering from the sale of fetal organs and tissues, which is why multiple state and federal investigations, including a select committee in Congress, continue to investigate Planned Parenthood’s abortion practice and financial interests in harvesting body parts. Contrary to the liberal shibboleth that the videos were “edited” (by which they mean to insinuate, “doctored”), the Center for Medical Progress has been far more transparent than any major news network in making the unedited conversations available to the public, and forensic analysis verifies their utility as evidence.

David Daleiden penned an op-ed in defense of his Center for Medical Progress, which is perhaps more familiar as the right-wing operation that doctored up some videos that succeeded in causing a ruckus. Congress held hearings, then slated some more because the first round was such a disaster. A terrorist murdered three people, wounded several more. Eleven states have investigated the infamous claims against Planned Parenthood, and all eleven have cleared the organization. In Texas, officials even convened a grand jury.

So Daleiden decided to … what? Pitch his case one last time? Rub it in? Set up for his victory lap?

That was Monday morning. A few hours later, Daleiden and co-conspirator Sandra Merritt got the news:

A Houston jury investigating alleged misconduct by Planned Parenthood declined to charge the women’s health provider, announcing instead felony charges for the leaders of the anti-abortion organization that targeted Planned Parenthood with it’s widely debunked series of “sting” videos in 2015.

The grand jury said they did not find evidence of illegal activity on the part of Planned Parenthood after reviewing the covert videos meant to misleadingly implicate the women’s health provider in the illegal trafficking of fetal tissue ....

.... David Daleiden, the 26-year old president of The Center for Medical Progress, and Sandra Merritt, founder and CEO of the fake tissue procurement company created to misleadingly gain entry into abortion clinics, were indicted for “tampering with a governmental record,” while Daleiden received an additional indictment for “the purchase and sale of human organs.” The first charge is a second degree felony and the second is a Class A misdemeanor. As the Houston Chronicle notes, a second-degree felony carries a punishment of up to 20 years in prison.

(Tesfaye)

They did this to themselves.

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What It Comes To (Bibi-Boehner Mix)

Detail of cartoon by Cameron Cardow (Ottowa Citizen) via Cagle Post, 22 January 2015.

Sometimes we pass on a story not simply for basic matters of will―Do I really want to do this now?―but also because we doubt ourselves in the moment. Never mind. A paragraph from Jodi Rudoren of The New York Times:

The invitation to address a joint meeting of Congress to make the case for new sanctions on Iran came from the House speaker, John A. Boehner, a Republican. Mr. Boehner did not consult either the Obama administration or his Democratic counterparts, something several veteran diplomats described as unprecedented. The White House responded with its own snub, announcing that President Obama, who has promised to veto any new sanctions, would not meet with Mr. Netanyahu while he was in town.

And that, in truth, is where we dropped the story last week, mostly not bothering with it because while this is a fascinating chapter in the continuing Republican denigration of the American political system, it really did seem the sort of obscure thing that would have our neighbors wondering where we got this stuff and why we bother with such minutiae.

To borrow from a great American statesmanα: Oops.

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Your Republican Congress

Worst ... speaker ... ever.

Earlier today, Emmarie Huetteman of The New York Times posted this tidbit:

House Republicans are not off to a strong start, Speaker John A. Boehner acknowledged on Tuesday.

Asked about the 11th-hour withdrawal of bills related to abortion and, most recently, border security — both of which were initially considered easy lifts for the emboldened Republican majority before intraparty divisions emerged — Mr. Boehner attributed it to attempts to fast-track the legislation without committee consideration to work out the disagreements.

“There have been a couple of stumbles,” he said.

To the one, we might expect such (cough!) “stumbles” from, say, new leadership. For instance, in the Senate, where new Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has much leadership practice, but not in governance or legislating, but doing everything he can to duck those obligations.

Oh. Right.

Still, though, it is not as if pulling bills because he does not actually know the whip count is anything new for Speaker Boehner; he’s done it twice before.

Then again, he’s got nothing on McConnell, who once filibustered his own bill.

Do be certain, please, to thank the next Republican you encounter for causing this.

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Huetteman, Emmarie. “Republicans Are Stumbling Out of the Gate, Boehner Admits”. The New York Times. 27 January 2015.