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Senate adds repeal of Obamacare mandate to tax reform bill

November 14, 2017

  It now appears as if the Senate is prepared to add a repeal of the Obamacare mandate to the tax reform bill now being debated. Here is more:

The proposed Republican tax reform bill will include repeal of Obamacare’s individual mandate requiring most Americans to have some form of health insurance or pay a tax penalty, GOP leaders said Tuesday.

The decision means that Republicans, yet again in 2017, will attempt to gut a key element of the Affordable Care Act.

So far, such efforts have failed because not enough Republican senators have backed the idea of repealing the mandate, which would lead to an estimated 13 million more people lacking health insurance.

 

“We’re optimistic that inserting individual mandate repeal would be helpful,” said Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky. on Tuesday afternoon after a lunch meeting with the Republican conference.

Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Ark., said, “I’m pleased the Senate Finance Committee has accepted my proposal to repeal the Obamacare individual mandate in the tax legislation.”

“Repealing the mandate pays for more tax cuts for working families and protects them from being fined by the IRS for not being able to afford insurance that Obamacare made unaffordable in the first place,” Cotton said. “I urge the House to include the mandate repeal in their tax legislation.”

Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn, R-Tex., said, “We’re going to repeal the tax on poor Americans.”

  Normally I am opposed to adding amendments to legislation which are not related to the original legislation but the mandate has been ruled a tax by the Supreme Court and therefor this is an appropriate place to try this repeal.

  This will draw the ire of the Democrats but more than likely no Democrats were going to support the tax reform bill anyway. The Republicans were hoping to sway a couple of vulnerable Democrats into voting for the legislation just in case there were any Republican defectors but this most likely will end that possibility.

  So the question becomes, will this sway the usual Republican suspects who might defect from voting for the legislation to vote for it, thereby eliminating the possible need of any Democratic support, or will they continue to break their campaign promises simply because they do not want to hand Donald Trump a victory?

malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium

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Jeff Sessions asks the Justice Department to consider appointing special counsel to investigate Uranium One deal

November 14, 2017

  After a year of doing nothing despite the growing evidence of wrongdoing in the Uranium One deal Jeff Sessions has finally directed the Department of Injustice to consider appointing a special counsel to investigate the matter.

  Here is more:

Attorney General Jeff Sessions is considering appointing a special counsel to investigate “certain issues” Republicans have raised in recent weeks, including a Russian bribery scheme and whether donations to the Clinton Foundation influenced the sale of Uranium One.

Assistant Attorney General Stephen Boyd on Monday sent a letter to House Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte (R., Va.) indicating that Sessions has asked senior Justice Department prosecutors to evaluate and make recommendations to him and others on whether “any matters not currently under investigations should be opened, whether any matters currently under investigation require further resources, or whether any merit the appointment of a special counsel.”

Sessions, who is scheduled to testify before the House Judiciary Committee Tuesday, has not recused himself from decisions involving alleged corruption surrounding the deal that gave Russia control of a large portion of U.S. uranium-mining capacity.

  It is about time! He was pressed on this issue at a hearing today and when asked “if you’re now just considering it — what’s it going to take to get a special counsel?”  Jeff Sessions basically said they need more facts. I cannot understand with what we already know how Jeff Sessions is still only thinking about it but at least this is a small step in the right direction.

malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium

 

Report: The White House in talks to replace Roy Moore with Jeff Sessions

November 13, 2017

  We all know the allegations about Roy Moore and they seem to keep building by the day. Some believe these allegations are true while others believe this is a politically motivated attack much like we saw with Herman Cain when he was running for President. (How quickly did those allegations disappear when he dropped out of the race?)

    I do not know if the allegations are true or not but I do know that Roy Moore has become toxic either way. Establishment Republicans are fleeing the Alabama candidate in droves while the voters seem to be standing by him.

  If Roy Moore does happen to win the election it is being reported here that White House officials are in talks to replace him with Jeff Sessions. I do not believe the White House should be–dare I say it–colluding with a State in a Senate race but this is an interesting scenario because if true this would relieve two problems. First; the GOP would be rid of a man who has become toxic, and second; Donald Trump would be rid of an Attorney General he has lost faith in and he would do it without firing Jeff Sessions, allowing him to save face.

    Here is more:

White House officials have reportedly spoken about the idea of replacing Alabama GOP Senate candidate Roy Moore with Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

According to a New York Times report, two White House officials spoke about the potential for Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey (R) to appoint Sessions to the seat instead.

The White House officials said Sessions could then be appointed to his old Senate seat “when it becomes vacant,” according to the Times.

It is unclear how, if Moore is elected, the seat would become vacant.

  There are two scenarios I can come up with which would vacate the seat in the event Roy Moore won: The first is that an indictment is handed down and Roy Moore withdraws and the second scenario is that the Senate could refuse to seat him if he wins.

  The Constitution does not specifically grant the Senate this right however  Article I, Section 5 Paragraphs 1 and 2 do give the Senate the right to police its members and this has been used in the past for the very reason. Here is the text:  “Each House shall be the Judge of the Elections, Returns and Qualifications of its own Members, and a Majority of each shall constitute a Quorum to do Business; but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day, and may be authorized to compel the Attendance of absent Members, in such Manner, and under such Penalties as each House may provide.

Each House may determine the Rules of its Proceedings, punish its Members for disorderly Behavior, and, with the Concurrence of two-thirds, expel a Member.”

  Personally I find it hard to believe Roy Moore can win at this point but it could get very interesting if he does…

malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium

Sunday, November 12th open thread: ‘Red Skies’

November 12, 2017

  open-threadHere is the open thread for Sunday, November 12th. Please feel free to post links to interesting articles and to discuss whatever issues arise during the course of the day. Nothing is off-topic here.

  Last week we discussed 7 stories. Did you miss any of them? If so there is an easy way to make sure it does not happen again. I understand that all of you are busy and cannot always find the time to check the blog for updates so why not subscribe to America’s Watchtower and receive email updates whenever I write a new post? That is the easiest way to follow the blog to ensure you never miss another post.

  In addition to subscribing you can also follow America’s Watchtower on Facebook and Twitter by clicking the links on the right. But you will get more than that for I often post links to articles probably will not be writing about so it is a great way to keep up with what is happening.

  The Twitter widget in the sidebar is fully interactive. This widget updates my tweets in real time and allows you to respond to or retweet my tweets right from the blog. It also allows you to tweet me right from America’s Watchtower.

 Here is The Fixx performing “Red Skies” live in 1984.

frui diem

 

Did Hillary Clinton break the law with her takeover of the Democratic National Committee?

November 11, 2017

  A couple of weeks ago Politico, through former Democratic National Committee Chair  Donna Brazile, broke the story that for all intents and purposes the Democratic primary was rigged for Hillary Clinton after she took control of the committee a full year before she was the official nominee.

    Attorney Cleta Mitchell appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show and stated she believes this constitutes a violation of Federal campaign finance laws because it allowed her to exceed the spending limits, as well as the coordination allowed between the candidates and their parties, put in place by McCain/Feingold. According to this attorney this is a criminal violation.

  Here is the video:

  A hat tip is in order to Bunkerville for posting this and bringing it to my attention. 

malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium

Russian dossier fail: Trump bodyguard testifies a Russian official offered Donald Trump prostitutes in 2013 but was turned down

November 9, 2017

   One of the most salacious accusations, NAY! the most salacious accusation in the mostly debunked Russian dossier was the story of Donald Trump hiring prostitutes during his visit to Russia in 2013. You know what these prostitutes were alleged to have done so I see no need to repeat it here.

  Earlier this week Donald Trump’s bodyguard set the record straight when he testified before the Congress. Here is what he had to say:

After a business meeting before the Miss Universe Pageant in 2013, a Russian participant offered to “send five women” to Donald Trump’s hotel room in Moscow, his longtime bodyguard told Congress this week, according to three sources who were present for the interview.

Two of the sources said the bodyguard, Keith Schiller, viewed the offer as a joke, and immediately responded, “We don’t do that type of stuff.”

The two sources said Schiller’s comments came in the context of him adamantly disputing the allegations made in the Trump dossier, written by a former British intelligence operative, which describes Trump having an encounter with prostitutes at the hotel during the pageant. Schiller described his reaction to that story as being, “Oh my God, that’s bull—-,” two sources said.

The conversation with the Russian about the five women took place after a morning meeting about the pageant in Moscow broke up, two sources said.

That night, two sources said, Schiller said he discussed the conversation with Trump as Trump was walking back to his hotel room, and Schiller said the two men laughed about it as Trump went to bed alone.

    According to this testimony an offer was made but rejected by this bodyguard and Donald Trump did not find out about the offer until later on in the night. This of course blows a hole in the most damning part of the Russian dossier. I think most people already knew this was probably not true but that did not stop the media from running with it.

malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium

Fusion GPS co-founder reaches deal with the House Intelligence Committee and will testify about his role in the Russian dossier

November 8, 2017

  You may remember back in October representatives of Fusion GPS appeared before the House Intelligence Committee to testify on its role in the mostly debunked Russian dossier and pleaded the Fifth. Shortly thereafter the House Intelligence Committee issued a subpoena to gain access to the “opposition research” firm’s financial records and the firm responded by filing an injunction to keep their financial records hidden. It was then reported that Fusion GPS and the House Intelligence Committee reached an agreement to gain access to the firm’s financial records.

  Now it is being reported that a co-founder of Fusion GPS has reached a deal with the House Intelligence Committee and will testify. Here is more:

Glenn Simpson, the co-founder of the opposition research firm behind the unverified Trump ‘dossier,’ has reached an agreement with the House Intelligence Committee to testify voluntarily on his involvement in the controversial project.

Simpson, who had been under a subpoena, appeared with his attorneys on Capitol Hill on Wednesday to negotiate the terms of his return next week.

The Fusion GPS co-founder and former Wall Street Journal reporter last appeared on Capitol Hill in August, when he testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee for 10 hours. 

Simpson’s attorney Joshua Levy said his client will testify voluntarily and “will tell the truth.” Levy added that he is seeking to strike a balance between the committee’s right to information and Fusion GPS’ “privileges and legal obligations.”

  This is interesting because Simpson was not one of Fusion GPS’s representatives who pleaded the Fifth, he has already testified for 10 hours so it seems immunity would not what he would be seeking. This would naturally lead many to believe–and this was my first thought–that the deal included an agreement by the House Intelligence Committee to stop seeking the firm’s financial records but according to the above-linked article this was not discussed.

  This brings the issue back around to immunity and what this next round of questions will be about. Yesterday we found out that a co-founder of Fusion GPS met with the Russian lawyer who met with Donald Trump Jr. under false pretenses both right before and right after said meeting. This looks like it was a setup considering Fusion GPS was funded by Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Committee.

  And it just so happens that Glen Simpson is the Fusion GPS co-founder who met with the Russian lawyer. I find it interesting that one day after we learned about these suspicious meetings with the Russian lawyer Simpson has struck a deal with the House Intelligence Committee to testify about his role in the Russian dossier…

malo periculosam libertatem quam quietum servitium