Republicans Fill Court Seat They Denied To Obama For 6 Years

WASHINGTON ― The Senate voted Thursday to confirm Michael Brennan to a lifetime seat on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit ― a vacancy that Republicans prevented President Barack Obama from filling for six years.

The vote, 49 to 46, was entirely partisan.

Until now, the seat was the nation’s longest circuit court vacancy. It was empty since January 2010, and it had been up to Wisconsin’s two senators to work with the White House to fill it. The reason it went unfilled for so long largely came down to one person: Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.).

Obama nominated Victoria Nourse to the seat in July 2010. Johnson denied her a confirmation hearing for all of 2011 by refusing to turn in his so-called blue slip, a Senate tradition whereby home-state senators have the ability to stop or advance a judicial nominee in the Judiciary Committee. Nourse withdrew her nomination in early 2012, calling the system “broken.”

Nourse had been recommended for the court seat by Wisconsin’s judicial nominating commission. But after she withdrew, Johnson said he wanted a new system of picking judicial nominees. He disbanded the state’s nominating panel and worked with Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) to create a new one. That took another year.

Johnson then said the panel couldn’t put forward a 7th Circuit nominee until Obama nominated people to two other district court vacancies in the state. That added another year to the process. By the time the panel was seeking applications for the 7th Circuit, it was July 2014 and the seat had been empty for four years.

The commission had eight candidates to recommend by January 2015, but couldn’t reach a consensus. The process stalled out in May, so Baldwin submitted all of their names to the White House to let the administration pick someone. Johnson fumed that Baldwin’s move was “partisan” and said the nomination process should start all over.

By January 2016, six years after the seat became empty, Obama nominated Donald Schott — one of the eight people chosen by the state panel. Baldwin gave the green light for him to get a hearing by turning in her blue slip, and reluctantly, Johnson did too. Schott got his hearing in June 2016. But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) blocked action on Obama’s court picks for the rest of the year, and Schott’s nomination expired.

That left the seat open for a Republican president, Donald Trump, to fill, which was Johnson’s and McConnell’s goal all along.

Mitch McConnell has been very effective at denying Democrats the ability to fill empty court seats, and then filling up all those seats when Republicans are in power. (Alex Wong via Getty Images)Mitch McConnell has been very effective at denying Democrats the ability to fill empty court seats, and then filling up all those seats when Republicans are in power. (Alex Wong via Getty Images)

After years of denying votes to Obama’s judicial picks, McConnell is now aggressively moving forward with filling those empty court seats with young, conservative, lifetime judges. Trump has been nominating people at record-breaking levels, and many of his picks have records of being anti-LGBTQ rights, anti-abortion rights or anti-voting rights.

“This is my top priority in the Senate,” McConnell told conservative radio show host Hugh Hewitt last week. “By appointing and confirming these strict constructionists to the courts who are in their late 40s or early 50s … I believe we’re making a generational change in the country.”

Brennan’s confirmation is rich with irony. He wrote an editorial endorsing the blue slip process in 2011 after Johnson refused to return his blue slip for Nourse. He didn’t earn the support of Wisconsin’s judicial nominating commission.

And the same Republicans who used blue slips to deny Obama the seat have now ignored the tradition of blue slips to help Trump fill it. Baldwin never turned in her blue slip in for Brennan, but Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), the chairman, gave him a hearing anyway and Republicans sent his nomination to the Senate floor.

Democrats have fumed about the hypocrisy surrounding this court seat. Some already opposed Brennan, a 57-year-old Milwaukee lawyer, on his merits. Among other things, Brennan has discounted the concept of the “the glass ceiling” being real, and raised some eyebrows in his confirmation hearing when he couldn’t say if racial bias exists in the criminal justice system.

“How is Sen. Baldwin’s right to consult on judges for her state any less important than Sen. Johnson’s?” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said Wednesday on the Senate floor. “It’s mind-bending hypocrisy. It’s an appalling double standard.”

Until this year, it had been three decades since the Senate confirmed a judge without positive blue slips from both home-state senators.

Before Brennan, the Senate held a confirmation vote in January for now-U.S. Circuit Judge David Stras of Minnesota. Then-Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) did not turn in a blue slip for Stras, but Grassley gave him a hearing anyway and sent his nomination to the floor.


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Rep. Mo Brooks suggests Republicans retiring because of assassination fears

Rep. Mo Brooks, R-Ala.


Pointed at the large number of GOP members on baseball team who are leaving Congress

Alabama Rep. Mo Brooks suggested in a radio interview that Republicans are retiring en masse because of assassination fears.

Brooks was speaking on “The Dale Jackson Show” about the first Republican practice the Congressional Baseball Game after last year’s shooting that left Majority Whip Steve Scalise severely injured.

“We have multiple rings of security, plainclothes, uniform, Capitol Police, other police,” he said. “There was a medical vehicle nearby just in case there was a copycat.”

But Brooks said while there were multiple factors that contributed to a slew of Republicans leaving the House, he suggested fears of violence was a major one.

“One of the things that’s concerning me is the assassination risk may become a factor,” he said.

Brooks referred to the fact many members of the Republican baseball team are retiring, including Sen. Jeff Flake and Reps. Ryan Costello, Pat Meehan, Dennis Ross and Tom Rooney.

“You have to wonder with that kind of disproportionate retirement number whether what happened in June played a factor,” he said.

Brooks also pointed to the fact that in the past month, a man pled guilty to threatening Arizona Rep. Martha McSally and three different people have been arrested for threatening Reps. Scott Taylor and Tom Garrett of Virginia and Frank LoBiondo of New Jersey.

“Notice a trend here?” he said. “I have a congressman who is a friend here who has a three-year old daughter whose daughter was threatened with murder.”

He also said the “socialist Bernie Sanders wing of society” was pushing for a revolution that would lead to Maoist level of violence.

“There are a growing number of leftists who believe the way to resolve this is not at the ballot box but through threats and sometimes through violence and assassinations,” he said.

When pressed about his suggestion, Brooks said it was a “possible” factor.

“I don’t think any of these people who are retiring would say that, but just looking at the numbers,” he said. “That’s out of whack.”

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With Paul Ryan’s exit, November just got cloudier for House Republicans

NRCC Chairman Steve Stivers


‘You don’t want the captain leaving the ship,’ ex-NRCC chairman says

House Republicans’ most prolific fundraiser is vowing to continue to do all he can to help them keep the majority in the midterms.

But Speaker Paul D. Ryan‘s announcement Wednesday that he doesn’t want to be a part of that majority next year has only crystalized the perception that the House GOP is in for a drubbing in November.

“It’s over,” one GOP operative who’s worked on House and Senate races said.

Ryan is one of 25 House Republicans not seeking re-election or another office in a cycle when President Donald Trump remains a constant distraction from the legislative agenda GOP lawmakers want to be touting.

The short-term symbolism of Ryan’s retirement is a concern, but for most GOP campaign consultants, the biggest political impact of his departure will be what it does to fundraising for 2018 and beyond.

Calling it quits

Vulnerable Republicans on Wednesday applauded Ryan’s decision to spend more time with his family and mostly shrugged off questions about whether this would cause more of them to retire.

“Actually, after two weeks at home, I feel really positive and encouraged,” said New York Rep. John J. Faso, one of the party’s most vulnerable members.

The filing deadline for New York is Thursday. Filing deadlines for other states, including Michigan, Florida, Kansas, Wisconsin and Minnesota, are coming up later this spring, so more members from those states could choose to call it quits. (Florida Rep. Dennis A. Ross also announced his retirement Wednesday a few hours after Ryan.)

Some Republicans see a certain incongruence in a leader asking imperiled members to run for re-election when he doesn’t even want to stick around.

“It’s reminiscent of the rats leaving the ship, you know?” former Virginia Rep. Thomas M. Davis III said Wednesday. “The model for Gingrich, the model for Hastert, is you run for re-election and then you resign because you’re urging members to run and you run yourself,” he said, referring to former speakers Newt Gingrich and J. Dennis Hastert.

“Paul has certainly earned the right to retire. … But as the team leader – you don’t want the captain leaving the ship,” Davis said.


GOP operatives largely agreed that Ryan’s departure won’t change the politics of 2018, when it comes to what issues are litigated at the ballot box.

Fundraising, on the other hand, is a different matter.

“The timing and execution of this decision is terrible,” one GOP operative who works on House races said in an email.

“There doesn’t appear to be any real transition plan, nor should we expect donors who were committed to helping the Speaker continue to be as engaged as they would have been. It is going to severely impact fundraising for members, candidates, the NRCC and outside groups,” he wrote.

Ohio Rep. Steve Stivers, who chairs the National Republican Congressional Committee, predicted that Ryan will continue to be the House GOP’s biggest fundraiser through the end of the year.

“He tells me he’s going to keep fundraising,” Stivers said off the House floor Wednesday. “And he believes the people he talks to and his supporters will stay with him and help us.”

Team Ryan, the speaker’s political operation, will continue to raise funds for Ryan’s leadership PAC and the NRCC. Ryan has transferred more than $40 million to the NRCC this cycle. He also told GOP lawmakers Wednesday morning that he raised nearly $6 million during the two-week recess, according to three members who attended the conference meeting where he informed them of his decision to retire. His campaign committee will refund general contributions as required by law.

Several Republicans suggested that Ryan’s retirement could actually free him up to do even more campaigning and fundraising on behalf of members and candidates around the country this year.

But even if he continues to rake in the cash for 2018, there are still concerns about what comes after that. The biggest political hit, one GOP strategist said, will be to candidates and campaign committees in 2020.

“Leaders and members are going to have to step up next cycle to fill that void, which is easier said than done,” the strategist said, adding that Ryan had unique appeal across a wide swath of the party.

“His conservative fiscal beliefs play really well to Freedom Caucus donor types but also his pragmatic approach appeals to New York City donors,” the strategist said. “Depending on who takes his place, those are not easy audiences to appease at the same time.”


Democrats had already been making Ryan into a boogeyman this cycle.

Patriot Majority USA has released polling showing the speaker with job performance numbers worse than Trump’s in many districts Democrats are targeting.

“Saying ‘I’m going to vote for Paul Ryan‘ wasn’t necessarily a plus in a swing district,” said Davis, a former NRCC chairman. “Nothing wrong with Paul, it’s just the nature of leaders.”

House Majority PAC, the major super PAC helping Democrats’ efforts to retake the House, has made Ryan the subject of much of its paid communication so far this cycle, releasing a national TV ad attacking him last month and running digital ads in targeted districts around the country tying Republicans to his agenda.

That message isn’t going away. “Even without Ryan on the ballot in Wisconsin this November, make no mistake – Ryan’s agenda is going to be on the ballot in every district in the country,” House Majority PAC executive director Charlie Kelly said in a statement Wednesday.

Republicans, of course, are still banking on House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi being unpopular around the country.

“There’s still that nice contrast: one party cut your taxes while the other party mocked them. Nancy Pelosi called them crumbs,” said Courtney Alexander, communications director for the Congressional Leadership Fund, which supports House GOP candidates.

One Republican strategist suggested the party needs more than just the tax overhaul and Neil Gorsuch’s Supreme Court confirmation to talk about on the trail.

“If Paul Ryan could do something to negate the negative political consequences of his retirement, it would be try to get some other policy agenda through,” the strategist said.

But if that was difficult before Ryan announced his retirement, it may be even harder now as members get caught up in a new leadership race.

“Paul was a tremendous leader, he just didn’t have enough followers,” Davis said.

“The party conference didn’t know how to function as a team, and I think the voters are going to punish them for that,” he said.

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Trump appointed Bolton because Republicans desperately need Adelson’s money

ed note–please keep in mind that Phillip Weiss, being one of those ‘good Jews’ on the left who ‘opposes Zionism,’ is no friend of Trump in the least. This being the case then, he has every reason to ascribe Trump’s latest gamble in appointing Bolton the Barbarian as National Security Advisor to Trump’s wanting to start WWIII rather than to take a more measured, rational approach in deconstructing exactly what it is that Trump is aiming to do.

The bottom line is that a year ago, Trump would not even meet with Bolton. He knew then, just as he knows now–exactly what Bolton represented–more war for Israel–the aversion of which Trump has made into his personal mission as POTUS.

So the obvious question is, what gives? Why the sudden turnaround in appointing a creature like Bolton to such a sensitive post?

As with all things, there are several possibilities–

1. Trump has appointed him with the intention of allowing Bolton to f*** everything up to the point that he is than fired in a very dramatic way, which seems to be a staple with this new administration,

2. That Trump is planning on doing something very soon that he knows is sure to piss off the Jews, most likely his ‘ultimate’ peace deal with the Palestinians, and therefore is throwing the Hyenas in Tel Aviv, New York and elsewhere a bone to gnaw on so that they will not engage in their reflexive and axiomatic screeching of ‘NEW HITLER’ everytime any politician does anything to try and bring some rationality to the situation with the Palestinians, 

3. That–as Mondoweiss notes–Trump is trying to curry the favor of Adelson and his money as a means of helping out the Republicans in the midterm elections that are only half a year away and which could turn a Republican held congress into a Democratic one that would impeach Trump on the very first day of that Congress’ new term, or 

4. That Trump is slowly but surely being broken down, piece by piece, as a result of all the noise and pressure being put upon him, not only by organized Jewish interests, but as well by a group of people who claim to know better and indeed who should know better, and we all know who that ‘group’ is.

In whatever case it happens to be, the one thing we know for sure is that this was not a move Trump wanted to make, because if it were, Bolton would have been in there from the very beginning, and, as we know from Bolton’s own testimony, a year ago he wasn’t even allowed within a mile of the new President.

The simple truth about John Bolton’s appointment to national security adviser is that the Republicans need Sheldon Adelson’s money in order to be competitive in the coming midterms, and John Bolton is a tool of Sheldon Adelson.

The appointment of course is a complete reversal of Donald Trump’s declaration during the campaign that the Iraq war – which Bolton pushed and still thinks is a great idea – was the biggest mistake ever, and he was against it from jump.

But Adelson was Trump’s biggest donor during the 2016 campaign, and Trump needs Sheldon Adelson’s money to keep Congress from flipping and cutting his throat.

It’s little wonder that any Republican with political ambition was quick to extol John Bolton. Politico reported in February that many of those “desperate” Republicans were trekking to Las Vegas and “gushing” over Adelson because they need him “more than ever” to try and hold on to the House this year.

Confronting the potential loss of one or both chambers of Congress in the midterms, and struggling to raise money against an energized Democratic base, the party is desperate for Adelson’s millions….

That Politico article mentioned Israel only once, to say Adelson couldn’t attend the shindig because he was in Israel. It never mentioned Iran, either.

But Israel is all that Adelson cares about. Yes he’s pro-choice and socially-liberal, but Adelson supports rightwing Republicans because he is an extremist on Israel. He has been pushing for One Jerusalem and an end to the peace process for 20 years– and Trump duly rewarded his biggest donor by moving the embassy to Jerusalem. Adelson has pushed for the U.S. to bomb Iran.   Bolton has pushed for the U.S. to bomb Iran.

Michael Wolff said it was all coming back in December 2016. From a dinner party relayed in his book, Fire and Fury

Bannon plunged on with the Trump agenda. “Day one we’re moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem. Netanyahu’s all-in. Sheldon” — Adelson, the casino billionaire and far-right Israel defender — “is all-in. We know where we’re heading on this … Let Jordan take the West Bank, let Egypt take Gaza. Let them deal with it. Or sink trying.”

That’s just what Bolton says too. Give the West Bank to Jordan, Gaza to Egypt.

The mainstream media have whitewashed Adelson’s agenda, and Bolton’s role as ventriloquist’s dummy. It’s not that they like Bolton, but they leave out the obvious connections to other powers.

This analysis of Bolton and Trump’s foreign policy, by David Sanger in the Times, says that it’s now inevitable that Trump will leave the Iran deal, but it says nothing about Adelson or Israel. MSNBC hosts also ignored the Adelson angle, in a long roundtable dsecribing Bolton as a fearful choice. Chris Hayes was strong against Bolton’s Islamophobia, but he will not touch the Israel lobby angle. On Lawrence O’Donnell’s show, Wendy Sherman warns about a possible “nuclear war” with Iran– and she then says the Bolton pick is an effort by Trump “to keep his base, to try to win reelection.” That’s pure disinformation. The base doesn’t want war, Adelson does.

Oh and Rachel Maddow wants to talk about Russia. Russia has corrupted John Bolton.

This article in the Times cites Senators Marco Rubio, Tom Cotton and Lindsey Graham cheering the appointment, but it would never bring up the Israel lobby’s role in Rubio and Cotton’s political careers. Cotton only got into the Senate with help from Adelson, and $1 million from the Emergency Committee for Israel. Rubio’s career was boosted by Norman Braman, whose big worry is that Israel won’t be around in 50 years.

The only place you will hear about Trump’s placating Adelson with the Bolton pick are on Lobelog and the American Conservative and Democracy Now!

At Lobelog, Jim Lobe and Eli Clifton say bluntly, the choice satisfied Trump’s biggest donor. “Adelson, a huge supporter of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, likely played a critical role in Bolton’s ascendancy.”

At The American Conservative, Gareth Porter says that Trump’s biggest donor scripted lines in his militaristic speech to the UN last October, using Bolton as a go-between.

More than anyone else inside or outside the Trump administration, Bolton has already influenced Trump to tear up the Iran nuclear deal. Bolton parlayed his connection with the primary financier behind both Benjamin Netanyahu and Donald Trump himself—the militantly Zionist casino magnate Sheldon Adelson—to get Trump’s ear last October, just as the president was preparing to announce his policy on the Iran nuclear agreement, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). He spoke with Trump by phone from Las Vegas after meeting with Adelson.

It was Bolton who persuaded Trump to commit to specific language pledging to pull out of the JCPOA if Congress and America’s European allies did not go along with demands for major changes that were clearly calculated to ensure the deal would fall apart….

There was a time when The New York Times was frank about the Adelson connection: when Bolton was under consideration for deputy secretary of state in December 2016.

[H]e enjoys a powerful ally in Sheldon Adelson, the casino magnate and Republican megadonor who favors the kind of hard-nosed posture that Mr. Bolton would bring.

Mr. Adelson’s backing has gone an especially long way with Mr. Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner, who is expected to take on an important but still undetermined role in the new administration.

But only leftwing and realist sites want to connect the dots today. The question is Why? Why won’t you see Adelson exposed as a pro-choice Israel firster who has caused Trump to flipflop on his antiwar position of the campaign? Because unlike the NRA, which any liberal Democrat proudly runs against (New Jersey governor Murphy, Jan Schakowsky , John Yarmuth), the Israel lobby is still very bipartisan. Adelson is not so different from Haim Saban on the Democratic side. They both are ardent Zionists; they both hate the boycott movement. Only Adelson buys Republicans and Saban buys Democrats.

The liberal media can’t talk about Israel as a driver of our foreign policy because their own executives love Israel. David Cohen threw fundraisers for the Israeli army. Now he runs Comcast, which owns NBC. Gary Ginsberg wrote speeches for Benjamin Netanyahu. He’s a high executive at Time Warner. If these guys were working for Russians, just think of the outrage. But it’s Israel. So it’s considered impolite, or coarse, or prejudicial, to mention these connections. Though the evidence is staring us in the eyes, just 12 years after The Israel Lobby was published. Remember that Barack Obama was accused of anti-Semitic conspiracy beliefs when in fighting for the Iran deal in 2015, he dared say that only one country in the world was against the Iran deal, Israel, but it would be an abrogation of his constitutional duty to think about Israel’s interest.

Now the deal is about to be rubbished by a party that is beholden to Sheldon Adelson, who has said he would rather have served in the Israeli army than the American one, and that influence can only be discussed in the margins.

The stakes couldn’t be higher. Lobe and Clifton warn about a war with Iran.

Adelson got his wish to move the embassy to Jerusalem, but he still hasn’t succeeded in pushing the U.S. into a military confrontation with Iran. Trump and the GOP’s biggest donor may now have installed their man in what is perhaps the most powerful foreign-policy position in the U.S. government, besides the presidency itself. As a result, the likelihood of a new U.S. war of choice in the Middle East has risen dramatically.

Col. Larry Wilkerson, who regrets his role in paving the way for the Iraq war, warns that Israel and the neocons are trying to suck us into a war with Iran, and that analysis doesn’t get reported. Wilkerson is invited on to MSNBC, but not to talk about Israel’s influence.

When he was running, Trump was sharp about Adelson’s money’s influence. He said that he would make Marco Rubio into “his perfect little puppet.”

But Trump needs Adelson’s money, so who’s the puppet now?

P.S. The neoconservatives are all scrambling, trying to distance themselves from Bolton. David Brooks said he’s not a neoconservative, he’s an American nationalist. Josh Rogin says it. So does Bill Kristol, though he’s a friend of Bolton’s and has been publishing him for years. From a Krisrol podcast:

[Bolton is] less interested [than neoconservatives] in democracy promotion abroad. More of a national interest first kind of guy, a little closer to Trump in that respect… John believes in a strong foreign policy, an internationalist foreign policy to be fair, a strong believer in our alliances, a strong believer in our friendship with Israel….but a little less interested as I say in the moral side, or the human rights side of foreign policy and more in the Let’s be tough for America, let’s not let international law constrain us too much.

There are three reasons neocons are saying this. First, they are moving over to Democrats now, in opposition to Trump, whose nationalism scares them (as it does many Jews). They don’t need Adelson’s money to get ahead, they have other, less-crazed pro-Israel funders. Third, they know Bolton and he genuinely scares them. Even Kristol says Bolton makes him “nervous.” (But as Dylan Williams of J Street says, the difference between neocons and conservative hawks is “a distinction without a difference.”)

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Trump Wall OFFICIALLY Canceled and BANNED by House and Senate Republicans


US President Donald Trump is shown border wall prototypes in San Diego, California on March 13, 2018.

The omnibus spending bill passed by the Republican-controlled House and Senate specifically bans President Trump’s Department of Homeland Security (DHS) from building new border walls and fencing with the prototype designs the president most recently visited.

Its over folks! But is this such a big shock? After appeasing the establishment, playing their games, filling his cabinet with globalists and even admitting in doing so on multiple occasions, taking Kushner as a adviser, giving up on Democrat pressure and cucking out on almost everything, is this still such a shock?

Its over, this guy is the world’s biggest fraud ever or just simply totally incompetent. He didn’t do the Muslim ban, he approved DACA and other stuff, he cucked out on Obamacare and now the wall. The only good thing he ever did was the cancellation of TPP and some other tweaks on economy but in the end SCREW MONEY! Life isn’t only about money! I would rather be poor and a true nationalist than rich and invaded by millions of Mexicans! What good does it do if you die rich with money in your purse while being gang raped by a bunch of illegal Mexican gangs??? SCREW MONEY and wake the hell up!

This is the time of the ALT-RIGHT! ENOUGH with the cuckoldry! Subscribe to people such as Richard Spencer, Mike Enoch, Millenial Woes, Andy Warski, Baked Alaska, James Allsup, RedICE Radio, EUTimes, AmRen and so on! Learn the truth and be a true nationalist! SCREW Trump! This is not what we voted for! This is not what he promised during his campaign! When we supported this man, we were hoping he would rule with a iron fist, fill the jails with traitors, pedophiles, satanists, expose secrets such as 9/11 and if necessary even Martial Law to implement his agenda. What we got instead was a total CUCK-OLD. He is literally a cuck and old at the same time. Truly disappointing! It doesn’t matter what this man says anymore, the wall is not going to be built anymore, mark my words!

This month, Trump toured border wall prototypes that his administration is looking to use to seal the U.S.-Mexico southern border.

While visiting the border wall prototypes in San Diego, California, Trump criticized the current fencing barriers on the border, noting that they are easily cut through by human smugglers and illegal aliens.

“You have hundreds of holes cut in, and patched,” Trump said, referring to the current fencing on the southern border.

The omnibus spending bill bans Trump from using any of the new border wall designs his administration has commissioned, instead only allowing for previously-used fencing barriers to be constructed.

US President Donald Trump inspects border wall prototypes in San Diego, California on March 13, 2018.

President Donald Trump speaks during a tour as he reviews border wall prototypes, Tuesday, March 13, 2018, in San Diego, as Rodney Scott, the Border Patrol’s San Diego sector chief, listens at right.

The spending bill includes allowing existing fencing to be used for:

  • 14 miles on the southwest border in the San Diego Sector.
  • 25 miles along the southwest border in the Rio Grande Valley Sector.
  • Primary pedestrian fencing in Rio Grande Valley Sector.
  • Primary pedestrian fencing along the southwest border.

In total, only 33 miles of the southern border will see new, previously-used fencing added, while nearly 50 miles of old fencing will be replaced with new fencing, and 14 miles of current border fencing will get a face-lift.

Budget Director Mick Mulvaney praised the budget deal as a “really, really good immigration package,” despite the spending bill not including any of Trump’s pro-American immigration principles.

Trump has signed the omnibus spending bill despite opposition from conservatives and his base of supporters.

Pro-American immigration reformers have called the omnibus spending bill a “betrayal” to American workers, as it does not authorize construction of a border wall, but does increase the number of foreign workers that will be imported to take blue-collar U.S. jobs every year.

Trump’s populist immigration agenda — wherein he has called on the Republican-controlled Congress to reduce overall immigration levels to raise the wages of American workers — has largely fallen on deaf ears in the GOP leadership.

Despite immigration being the most important issue to Republican voters in the upcoming 2018 midterm elections, Republican lawmakers have refused to take up the issue, as Trump has. Instead, the Republican leadership is planning to tout their tax reform legislation as their biggest achievement, though half of swing voters say the tax cuts will have “no impact” on their vote in the midterms.



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Unbearable HBO Show: Republicans Tell People ‘What to Do With Religion’

Sunday night means spending another hour with the most unbearable show on television – HBO’s Here and Now, a show about a Portland (of course) academic, his wife (who runs an empathy training initiative for high schoolers), and their kids, one biological, the others adopted from countries that they believed had been wronged by America in some way. No, really. The Bayer-Boatwright family is that cliche. 

In the March 4 episode “Hide and Seek,” we get to know the Shokrani family a little better, as well as their thoughts on their Islamic religion, which ranges from not liking Muslims to calling strict Muslims “Republican.”

We know Dr. Farid Shokrani (Peter Macdissi) as Ramon Bayer-Boatwright’s (Daniel Zovatto) therapist. We did know he wasn’t religious, but didn’t really know why. In this episode, he has dinner with his religious wife Layla (Necar Zadegan) and her Imam, Chuck (Michael Weaver). Layla is a lawyer with the ACLU working with refugees, in case you thought there was anyone on this show who was not a liberal cartoon. But Farid has a surprising view of Muslims.



Farid: But I won’t be coming to your mosque. I have a problem with Muslims. 
Chuck: We all have a problem with each other, but there’s plenty of room in Islam for that. But let’s be tolerant and generous. Let’s… let’s talk about everything. Hmm. 
Farid: Muslims like to think they’re special. 
Chuck: We are. That’s part of our charm. 
Layla: Doesn’t everyone?
Farid: Muslims like to self-victimizeWe love to blame outsiders, but… we never take any responsibility for our own immoral acts. 
Chuck: Islam is a mercy. If you see its opposite, cruelty, then you know that is not Islam. 
Farid: I’m not talking about terrorists, and– and ISIS. I’m talking about Sharia law, honor killings. Acid in women’s faces. 
Chuck: I agree with you. 
Farid: Children being forced to take part in Ashura. 
Chuck: And these are all things that we need to face as a community. You could help us with that.
Farid: Mm-mm. Not me.

Pretty shocking for a show this over-the-top politically correct to face some ugly realities about any religion other than Christianity, isn’t it? I thought so. Never fear, though, a later scene made up for it.

Kristen Bayer-Boatwright (Sosie Bacon) has been paired up with Farid and Layla’s son, Navid (Marwan Salama), for a school project. Well, I say “son,” but he’s “gender-fluid,” and has, shockingly, not supplied us with the correct pronouns, so I’m just guessing that that’s the correct term to use. Anyway, when Kristen gets to Navid’s house, he’s wearing makeup and a hijab, which is very different from how his parents have him dress in public. She asks him about it, he says he is “gender fluid,” and she replies, “Oh my God, I wish I was.” Kristen has previously thought she wasn’t interesting enough because she’s white, and now she wants to be gender-queer. Maybe Kristen needs to schedule some time with Dr. Shokrani like her brother, because she is clearly a deeply unhappy person.

Navid’s identification as “gender-fluid” leads Kristen to ask him about his religion.



Kristen: Um, so, are you, like, a real Muslim? 
Navid: What does that mean? 
Kristen: You know how, like, some people go to church, but they don’t believe in anything? 
Navid: Uh, I believe. I’m a real one. Yeah, but not like a Republican Muslim. I don’t tell anybody what to do with their religion. Nouman Ali Khan says, “Don’t force Islam on anyone. Show them its beauty through your own practice.” 
Kristen: But aren’t you scared? I mean, they burned down that mosque in Seattle last month. 
Navid: Not too scared. Some men came to our mosque once. They were drunk, and shouting and waving signs. Confederate flags. 
Kristen: Dumbshits. Oregon wasn’t even a state during the Civil War. 

What does “Republican Muslim” mean? A Muslim who is a Republican, or is Republican supposed to mean telling people “what to do with their religion? I highly suspect he means the latter, which is ridiculous, considering how hard conservatives have been fighting for the Constitutional right to exercise freedom of religion. The left wants freedom from religion. It only gets complicated when the government has far too much involvement in a person’s life, so much that it can conflict with a person’s religious beliefs. 

I can’t find any evidence that a Mosque was attacked in Seattle, but kudos to the writing team for adding in the boogeyman Confederate flag as a detail. Maybe it was actually a Norwegian flag and they got confused – people in Seattle seem to have a hard time telling the difference

When Here and Now was honest about some of the ugly things that happen in the name of Islam, I thought it was too good to be true. Having the next conversation about Islam have a couple of random digs at conservatives and the confederacy made a lot more sense when it comes to this insane show.

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Trump Breaks With Republicans Over Gun-Control Plan


“We’re not ditching any Constitutional protections simply because the last person the President talked to today doesn’t like them.”

US Senator (((Ben Sasse))) (R-NE). a member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, issued the following statement regarding President Trump’s comments today on due process and the Second Amendment:

“Strong leaders don’t automatically agree with the last thing that was said to them. We have the Second and due process of low for a reason.

We’re not ditching any Constitutional protections simply because the last person the President talked to today doesn’t like them.“

* * *

President Trump told a group of lawmakers that they must do something to keep guns away from mentally ill individuals – even if that means raising the minimum age for rifle ownership to 21, Bloomberg reports.

His remarks appeared to contradict a CNN report from earlier in the week, which quoted anonymous White House aides saying Trump would soon walk back his support for raising the age limit.

But on Wednesday, in what the New York Times characterized as a “shocking” break with his Republican Congressional allies, Trump told lawmakers during a televised meeting in the Cabinet Room that easing gun owners’ ability to carry concealed weapons across state lines, a provision of the House-passed gun bill and the NRA’s top legislative priority, should be part of a separate bill, a strategy favored by Democrats. The House bill combining background check provisions with the loosening of concealed carry rules has stalled in the Senate after passing the House. Instead, Trump said he supports the proposal from Sens. Joe Manchin, D-W.Va., and Pat Toomey, R-Pa., which he says is best positioned to pass. Sen. Amy Klobuchar agreed that the Manchin-Toomey bill is a “good place to start.”

“It would be so beautiful to have one bill that everyone could support,” Mr. Trump said as Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, sat smiling to his left. “It’s time that a president stepped up.”

Per the Times, Trump repeatedly suggested that the dynamics surrounding the gun control debate had shifted, in part, because of his presence in the Oval Office – a remark that earned him cheers from Democrats.

Trump predicted his plan would pass with broad support, suggesting that he plans to win over a sizable chunk of the Democratic caucus.

Trump told his audience that raising the ownership age is “something you have to think about,” Trump said. He added that “people don’t bring it up” because the NRA opposes the policy. Trump had initially claimed that he would convince the NRA to go along with it.

As the Hill pointed out, he also said he supports confiscating guns from mentally ill individuals, a position vociferously opposed by Republicans.

“I like taking the guns early like in this crazy man’s case that just took place in Florida … to go to court would have taken a long time,” Trump said at a meeting with lawmakers on school safety and gun violence.

“Take the guns first, go through due process second,” Trump said.

He also said mentally ill people shouldn’t have guns.

“A lot of people are saying ‘oh you shouldn’t be saying that’,” Trump said. “But I don’t want mentally ill people having guns.”

To be sure, states don’t need to enact the exact same restrictions, Trump said. But “what does have to be the same is the background checks and all of the data.”

Per Reuters, Trump urged lawmakers to pass a comprehensive gun control bill as the national conversation surrounding gun control – a conversation that was triggered by a shooting at Marjory Douglas Tillman High School in Parkland Fla. The shooting left 14 students and 3 faculty dead, and more than a dozen injured.

Rebutting accusations that he is beholden to the NRA, Trump added that gun lovers have less power over him than lawmakers.

Earlier today, Dick’s Sporting Goods said it is “going to take a stand” and announced it would permanently ban sales of the AR-15 – the rifle used by Parkland shooter Nikolas Cruz and several other mass shooters – from its stores.

The meeting with lawmakers was his fourth “free-flowing gun policy discussion” since the Valentine’s Day massacre in Florida, according to Reuters.

“We’re going to come up with some ideas,” Trump said.

“Hopefully we can put those ideas in a very bipartisan bill. It would be so beautiful to have one bill that everybody can support, as opposed to – you know – 15 bills, everybody’s got their own bill.”

Seven senators and representatives were invited to Wednesday’s session. The group included Democrats and Republicans who, according to Reuters, have diverse views on gun control.

Republican Senators John Cornyn of Texas and Pat Toomey of Pennsylvania, who have proposed legislation to fix holes in the background check system for gun buyers, and their Democratic co-sponsors.

Trump also said he back Cornyn’s bill while urging senators to add more items to the bill to make it more comprehensive.



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Republicans Pushing National Biometric ID Bill

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The two major parties in Washington, D.C., have been playing “good cop, bad cop” with the American people for decades, and the charade is still working. The vast majority of voters seem totally oblivious to the fact that both parties are little more than puppets for the “man behind the curtain” (to borrow a line from “The Wizard Of Oz”). After all is said and done, both parties are destroying constitutional government and liberty in America. They merely approach their duplicity from different directions. But both parties are taking the country down the same slippery slope to serfdom.

Democrats are the out-front bad guys on domestic/social issues such as abortion, gay rights, and gun control. Unfortunately, these are about the only issues conservative Christians pay much attention to. So, to them, Democrats are big bad sinners and Republicans are spotless saints. But what Christians and most conservatives never seem to notice is that when it comes to the advancement of the Warfare State and the promotion of the Police State, Republicans are far and away the baddest of the bad. So, depending on what the “man behind the curtain” wants to push at the time, he knows he has both parties in his pocket to do his bidding.

When pushing a pro-abortion, pro-sodomy, pro-gun control agenda is on tap, the game is rigged for Democrats. And when pushing a perpetual war, police state agenda is on tap, the game is rigged for Republicans. No matter who wins, the “man behind the curtain” is always able to successfully push one part of his agenda or the other. So, now that Republicans are in power in Washington, D.C., perpetual war and a burgeoning Police State is on tap. And, again, most conservatives and Christians will not even notice.

But for those who are interested in preserving whatever is left of America’s individual liberty, they need to be aware that the Republicans in D.C. are in the process of pushing a bill through Congress (Donald Trump would sign it in a heartbeat) that creates a biometric National ID card for every American.

Couched in anti-immigration language, Republican House members—the main sponsor of the bill is Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA-6)—have proposed H.R. 4760. The bill already has 82 cosponsors. The bill was introduced on January 10.

H.R. 4760 forces a new biometric National ID on every American citizen. One would not be able to get a job, get a loan, open a bank account, or board a plane without this National ID. And as is always the case, there is a total blackout in reporting on this bill by the mainstream media—including FOX News.

Writing for The New American, Alex Newman writes, “Republican leaders in Congress are once again plotting with Democrats to stab the American people and the U.S. Constitution in the back, on multiple key issues. Under the guise of getting ‘something’ in exchange for providing amnesty to millions of illegal immigrants (and future Democrat voters) in Obama’s illegal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program, the establishment wing of the GOP is pushing a radical longtime goal of the bipartisan Deep State: mandatory national biometric ID cards for all Americans. Privacy and liberty are under serious threat, critics warned.  

“The Orwellian national ID scheme, known as ‘E-Verify,’ is ostensibly aimed at making it harder for illegal immigrants to find work in the United States. Basically, as part of the program, which would become mandatory under the bill, every employer would be forced to buy a scanner and use it to check the legal work status of potential employees. On top of that, every worker would be forced to have a biometric ID issued by the federal government in order to be able to legally work. Without this national ID, employers would not legally be able to hire somebody.   

“But in reality, illegal immigrants are typically paid under the table anyway — many of them simply work as day laborers and get paid in cash at the end of the day. In light of that fact, the unconstitutional plot to mandate national ID will do little to prevent unscrupulous employers from continuing to hire illegal immigrants, off the books. What the scheme will do, though, is force all law-abiding Americans to carry an unconstitutional national ID with all their information on it, including sensitive biometric data, just to be allowed to work. It will also give the feds a key new tool to monitor and control people.

“There is a reason the leadership of both parties have supported the effort for many years. Indeed, even Obama, who did his best to help the United Nations flood America with Third World immigration under various guises, firmly supported the national ID plan, calling for a package containing it to be sent to him so he could sign it as quickly as possible. But now, instead of a Big Government liberal program to track Americans, the plot is being marketed as an ostensibly ‘conservative’ measure to supposedly boost ‘border security’ and limit illegal immigration.  

“A previous version of the scheme was actually sponsored by ultra-leftist open-borders advocate Senator Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.). But with the GOP in firm control now, the controversial national ID provision most recently surfaced in the Republican-backed ‘Securing America’s Future’ Act (H.R. 4760). Sponsored by Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), the chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, the bill has some 70 cosponsors less than two weeks after being introduced. And already, organizations such as NumbersUSA that portray themselves as pro-America, anti-amnesty are expressing a willingness to cave on amnesty as long as the national ID and E-Verify become law.”

See The New American report here:

GOP Leaders Plot Amnesty In Exchange For National ID

Former Congressman Ron Paul is also trying to sound the alarm about this Orwellian bill. Writing to his supporters at Campaign For Liberty, Dr. Paul warns: “This bill would give DACA recipients a 3-year renewable legal status while forcing a biometric National ID card on virtually everyone else.

“That’s right — the statists want to control you.

“Just think about it. . .  

“Gun ownership.  Employment history.  Family and friends.

“Purchasing habits.  Health records.  Travel.  Religious beliefs.  Past political contributions. . .

“Just imagine all these records and more on EVERY American citizen stored in a massive national database right at a federal government bureaucrat’s finger tips.

“But that’s not all.

“Under the statists’ National ID scheme, you’d be forced to carry around your National ID card, tied to this massive database, chockfull of biometric identifiers like fingerprints and retina scans.

“Without this ID, you won’t be able to legally hold a job — or likely even open a bank account or even board a plane!”

“You see, this National ID scheme is a key component of H.R. 4760.

“If passed, this dangerous scheme would require all Americans to carry an ID card that would:

“***    Allow federal bureaucrats to include biometric identification information on the card, potentially even including fingerprints, retinal scans, or scans of veins on the back of hands, which could easily be used as a tracking device;

“***    Be required for all U.S. workers regardless of place of birth, making it illegal for anyone to hold a job in the United States who doesn’t obtain an ID card;

“***    Require all employers to purchase an ‘ID scanner’ to verify the ID cards with the federal government.  Every time any citizen applies for a job, the government would know — and you can bet its [sic] only a matter of time until ‘ID scans’ will be required to make even routine purchases, as well.

“Of course, you and I have seen this before. . .

“For years now, statists in BOTH parties have been fighting to RAM their radical National ID-database scheme into law.

“In fact, this scheme was a key portion of the infamous failed ‘Comprehensive Immigration Reform’ bills BOTH parties tried to ram through during the Obama administration.

“Now, using the momentum behind Trump’s tough talk on immigration and border security, I’m afraid the statists believe the best way to finally enact their National ID scheme is by promoting their bill on Capitol Hill as a ‘DACA fix’ while they sell it to the GOP base as a border ‘security’ measure.

“Of course, that’s nothing more than a buzzword meant to trick Americans from all over the country into thinking that Congress is going to seal our southern border.

“But in reality, it means something far different.

“[What] the ‘security’ members of BOTH parties in the U.S. House want doesn’t target any U.S. border.  Instead, it’s meant to create an all-out police state within them.

See Ron Paul’s letter here:

Papers, Please

So, what Donald Trump and his fellow Republicans in Congress want to do is provide amnesty for illegals (1.8 million vs the 800,000 proposed under Barack Obama—meaning another Trump campaign promise goes down the toilet), while strapping the American citizenry with a biometric national ID card, so WE can be tracked by Big Brother.

And, again, the national news media is hiding the bill from public scrutiny by completely ignoring it (which is what they always do to help an anti-freedom bill become law), and since Republicans are the ones promoting this bill, so-called conservatives and Christians are ignoring it also. More than that: many so-called conservatives and Christians are actively supporting the bill.

It’s the “good cop, bad cop” façade working to perfection.

If conservatives, constitutionalists, Christians, and civil libertarians do not awaken to this phony left/right, conservative/liberal, Republican/Democrat dog and pony show that plays nonstop in Washington, D.C., freedom is not long for this country of ours.

H.R. 4760 doesn’t secure America’s borders; it puts the people who live inside America’s borders in a cage—a Big Brother, Orwellian, Police State cage. It makes illegals legal and liberty illegal.

If you want to protect your children and grandchildren’s prospects of inheriting even a modicum of freedom, you will do everything you can to dissuade your congressman from supporting and voting for this horrific bill. A good place to start is finding out if your congressman is a cosponsor.

I shudder to think what America will look like a year after this bill passes.


P.S. Since both parties in Washington, D.C. (including and especially Donald Trump) seem determined to turn America into a Police State, it is urgent that every freedom-minded citizen educate themselves as to constitutional principles relating to police contacts.

Not long ago, my constitutional attorney son brought an outstanding lecture to help people know how to act constitutionally and safely when they are stopped, pulled over, or brought into contact with police officers. The address is simply entitled “Police Contact: How To Respond.”

Americans are more and more frequently falling victim to bad arrests and even physical harm at the hands of eager—but reckless—police officers. If a policeman believes you are guilty, being innocent may not be enough to keep you protected. There are many innocent people incarcerated in America’s prisons—or worse, killed by trigger-happy police officers. And oftentimes, citizens themselves help bring on this improper conduct through their own ignorance of the law or through their egregious misunderstanding of the proper way to interact with police officers.

This presentation focuses directly on the “Dos and Don’ts” of dealing with police contacts. Tim discusses how to—and how not to—react to police traffic stops and other contacts. He clearly and simply shows citizens their rights and duties under the Constitution and why it is so important that citizens understand these rights. This material will help citizens preserve liberty in their communities, and it will help policemen be better peace officers. It also might keep you out of jail—or out of the morgue.

To order “Police Contact: How To Respond,” go here:

Police Contact: How To Respond

© Chuck Baldwin

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House Republicans Vote To Release Classified Memo They Wrote Attacking Russia Probe

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump’s Republican allies in Congress advanced their monthslong assault on special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 election on Monday, voting along partisan lines to release a classified memo slamming officials from the Justice Department and Federal Bureau of Investigation who have investigated the Trump campaign’s ties to Russia.

The episode has more than a touch of Washington theater to it: Republican staffers wrote the memo, and Republican members of Congress, who always had the power to vote to release it, spent weeks calling on themselves to do so. 

But it was still an extraordinary event. In a letter last week, a top Justice Department official said releasing the classified memo would be an “unprecedented action” that would be “extraordinarily reckless” and could “risk harm to national security and to ongoing investigations.”

The department did not “understand why the Committee would possibly seek to disclose classified and law enforcement sensitive information without first consulting with the relevant members of the Intelligence Community,” the letter read.

It is extremely unusual for lawmakers — especially Republican lawmakers — to clash so publicly with law enforcement on issues of national security and classification. Trump has five days to block the memo’s release, but has indicated he will side with congressional Republicans on the matter, over the objections of the Justice Department.

Republicans argued that releasing their own memo is a matter of transparency. Making the GOP memo public will allow journalists and the public to at least partially assess the claims it makes. But fully judging its merits will also be difficult without access to the underlying intelligence information, which is also classified and will not be released.

At the same time, Republicans voted down a Democratic effort to release a memo authored by Democratic staffers that they say combated some of the inaccuracies in the GOP memo. While members of Congress will be allowed to read the Democratic memo, the public will not.

“The ‘release the memo’ crowd, apparently, doesn’t want to release the memo,” Rep. Adam Schiff (D-Calif.), the ranking member of the House Intelligence Committee, told reporters after the vote. 

“We have crossed a deeply regrettable line in this committee, where for the first time in the 10 years or so that I’ve been on the committee, there was a vote to politicize the declassification process of intelligence, and potentially compromise sources and methods,” Schiff added.

There’s indeed more at stake than D.C. grandstanding: The release of the document is part of a pattern of behavior by the president and his congressional allies — all of it apparently aimed at undermining Mueller’s probe and shielding Trump from scrutiny.

Since Trump fired former FBI Director James Comey — then the official responsible for the Russia investigation — last summer, the president, Republican members of Congress and the right-wing media have battled to undermine public perceptions of the bureau and of the Justice Department:

  • Andrew McCabe, Comey’s former deputy, stepped down Monday after weeks of pressure from Trump and Republicans. Republicans have charged that McCabe was biased against the president because his wife ran for a Virginia state Senate seat as a Democrat, but FBI documents released earlier this month indicate he followed bureau recusal rules. The day after Trump fired Comey, the president called McCabe to complain about Comey being allowed to take a government-funded plane back to Washington, NBC reported Monday. When McCabe said he wasn’t asked to authorize the flight but would have approved it, Trump told McCabe to ask his wife — who lost her race for state Senate — how it feels to be a loser, and hung up the phone, according to NBC.

  • The president, Republicans in Congress, and the right-wing media have spun tales of a dark conspiracy involving Lisa Page and Peter Strzok, two FBI officials who were having an affair and exchanged text messages critical of Trump and other politicians from both parties. The evidence suggests Page and Strzok were actually driven more by loyalty to the FBI than partisan political considerations.

  • The memo the House voted to release Monday reportedly focuses on criticizing Rod Rosenstein, a Republican Trump appointee at the Justice Department who now has responsibility over the Mueller probe. The memo, The New York Times reported, accuses Rosenstein of approving an application to surveil a former Trump campaign official last spring. Trump has long resented Rosenstein, who appointed Mueller as special counsel after Trump fired Comey. Trump reportedly considered firing Rosenstein last summer, but instead ordered Mueller’s firing — only to back away the decision after his lawyer threatened to quit.  

The sustained assault on the FBI seems to have affected perceptions of the bureau among Republicans and independents. Just over half of the public has at least a fair amount of trust in the FBI, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll, down 12 points since 2015. The percentage of Republicans and independents saying they trust the agency dropped by 22 points and 15 points, respectively.

The GOP memo lays the groundwork for that distrust. It was the work of the office of Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), the House Intelligence Committee chairman and close Trump ally who recused himself from the committee’s investigation into ties between Trump and Russia after he was caught last year promoting a different surveillance scandal with intelligence cooked up by Trump White House officials.

The memo reportedly suggests that FBI agents obscured their reliance on a controversial dossier about Trump’s ties to Russia when they sought a warrant to spy on Carter Page, a Trump campaign adviser. Republicans have long sought to discredit the dossier, which was compiled by former British intelligence officer Christopher Steele.

Committee members voted along partisan lines earlier this month to allow any member of Congress to read Nunes’ classified memo. Some of the Republicans who read the memo described the allegations as “sickening” and “worse than Watergate.” Democrats who read it said it was a partisan hack job.

“Rife with factual inaccuracies,” said Schiff. “This may help carry White House water, but it is a deep disservice to our law enforcement professionals.”

Ariel Edwards-Levy contributed to this article.

President Donald Trump, left, and special counsel Robert Mueller, right. (The Washington Post via Getty Images)President Donald Trump, left, and special counsel Robert Mueller, right. (The Washington Post via Getty Images)
  • This article originally appeared on HuffPost.

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