Whether or not 800,000 federal employees get a paycheck for Christmas is entirely up to Individual 1. No one but him wants a government shutdown, and now it's all about someone being able to convince him not to do it. For the Democrats' part, they've heard nothing from him about their offer. Senate Republican leadership has no plan. And Trump? Well, he's «frustrated» because «he does not have much leverage in the fight.» That's what two of his advisers told the Washington Post. They say there won't be a shutdown because «there was no way the president could win.» So what's the plan? «The White House plan is to not shut down the government, both of these people said.» How does that happen? Who knows! «He's not going to get $5 billion for the wall,» one of these people said. «They can say on TV all they want that it's going to happen, but it's not going to happen.» That is going to mean convincing him that what Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi told him last week is true. There aren't Republican votes in the House to pass his $5 billion. After House leadership made a half-hearted push to have that vote, but ended up slinking out of town without doing it, the «eventually told the president that there were not enough votes to pass it.» The official White House line now is «At the end of the day we don’t want to shut down the government, we want to shut down the border,» according to Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders. She didn't say how they were telling her boss that, but it's probably by convincing him that «We have other ways that we can get to that $5 billion.» She says there «a number of different funding sources that we’ve identified that we can use,» although there really aren't. But if he buys that, what the hell. It doesn't help that border patrol is trash. They're actually clamoring for a shutdown. «We would support the president 100 percent if he were to force the government to shut down over wall funding,» Brandon Judd, the president of the National Border Patrol Council, said Monday. «We absolutely, 100 percent, know the importance of the wall.» The union actually wants to work without pay. The other tens of thousands of government employees who will be screwed probably don't agree. But, hey, he made it safe to say «Merry Christmas» in the U.S. again. Merry Christmas and happy shutdown.
Michael Flynn showed up for sentencing at a D.C. courthouse Tuesday to receive a verbal lashing from the federal judge for the argument his attorneys made in court filings that the FBI was somehow partially to blame when Flynn lied to federal agents about his Russian contacts. U.S. District Judge Emmet G. Sullivan started by asking Flynn whether he was aware that lying to the FBI was illegal, a reference to his attorneys’ suggestion last week that the FBI ambushed him when they went to question him early in Trump’s administration. ”I was aware,” Flynn said. Sullivan also asked Flynn several times whether he wanted to withdraw his guilty plea. He declined. The court recessed until 12:30 p.m. ET without sentencing Flynn. The special counsel has recommended no jail time for Flynn based on his cooperation, but Judge Sullivan reportedly asked Flynn whether he wanted the judge to consider the possibility of further cooperation before being sentenced. xSullivan asked Flynn if he would like a recess to consider a delay in sentencing if, for example he wanted the judge to consider further cooperation.Flynn said yes. We are in recess until 12;30— Spencer Hsu (@hsu_spencer) December 18, 2018
In June, the House voted 382-0 to pass the Blue Water Navy Vietnam Veterans Act, which would extend veterans’ benefits to the numerous men who served off the coast of Vietnam during the war. Many of these men have had to spend a considerable part of their lives trying to prove that they were exposed to Agent Orange, leading to some, if not most, of their health problems. Since June, the act has been stuck in the Republican-led Senate. Last Monday, Democratic Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (NY) attempted to get the unanimous consent of the Senate to pass the bill. If the Senate can get unanimous consent on a bill, it can move through approval considerably quicker, and this bill is a seeming no-brainer for Democrats and Republicans. There are no “poison pills” attached to the act, no secret money for food assistance (giving to people who need it money for food is something that can really scare off Republican legislators). The only drawback to asking for a unanimous approval on the Senate floor is that the moment a single senator opposes the bill, the entire unanimous consent enterprise is scuttled. Of course, who would object to extending healthcare benefits to Vietnam veterans? Like, for real? Who? According to the Stars and Stripes, that would be Senator Mike Enzi (WY-R), chairman of the Senate Budget Committee. “On this bill, many of us have been made aware of the potential cost growth and the budgetary and operational pressures that would happen at the VA,” he said. “They’re having a lot of problems, anyway.” He seems to be referring to the problems Trump’s VA has had doing anything right. Of course, Enzi also voted for the deficit-exploding Republican tax cuts for the wealthy. “There’s clearly more work to do just on figuring out the spending and administration of this and the deficit impacts this bill will have,” Enzi said on the Senate floor. Yup. The man that ignored the enormous deficit cost estimates the CBO calculated for his tax cuts is suddenly worried about how much paying for care for veterans with terminal illnesses—the result of them going to war for our country. According to the Stars and Stripes, Utah’s Republican Senator Mike Lee, a man who is so full of manure he could cultivate thousands of acres of soil, said he was waiting on “science,” specifically a study Republicans asked for, after conservative elements in the VA argued that there wasn’t conclusive evidence that these veterans had imbibed the Agent Orange by way of water distillation plants aboard the carriers they rode during the war.
The Republican-led lame-duck House is still out until tomorrow afternoon, and Speaker Paul Ryan seems to be more interested in polishing the turd of his «legacy» than actually doing anything to avert a government shutdown. Individual 1 is melting down on Twitter over the WITCH HUNT, occasionally throwing in a WALL, and the Senate, well, here's the number 2 guy Sen. John Cornyn (R-TX) with NBC reporter Marianna Sotomayor. Q: Are we avoiding a shutdown? CORNYN: No... I take that back. If there is, I’m not aware of it. Q: Is there a sense of where the president wants to go? CORNYN: No. Q: Why not? CORNYN: He hasn’t told us. Q: What are the chances of a shutdown at this point? CORNYN: I think it will all work out, but I don’t know of any specific plan yet. Q: Short term [continuing resolution]? CORNYN: Well, I’ve heard that mentioned, but I don’t think the president will accept that. So he would have to sign it or it would have to be passed over his veto. Q: You don’t know what the president wants? CORNYN: Well, he wants a wall. «I think it will all work out, but I don't know of any specific plan yet» should be the new GOP motto. Helluva way to run a government. Just wing it.
For the second time this year, Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg addressed a naturalization ceremony, where the “daughter and granddaughter of immigrants” told dozens of new U.S. citizens that “we are a nation made strong by people like you, people who traveled long distances, overcame great obstacles and made tremendous sacrifices, all to provide a better life for themselves and their families.” The justice addressed 31 immigrants from 26 different countries in the darkened rotunda of the National Archives in Washington, “which is dimly lit to protect the fragile documents including the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence.” There she shared her family’s own immigration story. My own father arrived in this land at age 13 with no fortune and speaking no English. My mother was born four months after her parents—with several children in tow—came by ship to Ellis Island. My father and my grandparents reached, as you do, for the American dream. What is the difference between a bookkeeper in New York City's Garment District and a Supreme Court Justice? One generation. In April, she presided over a naturalization ceremony for more than 200 immigrants from nearly 60 countries—and it was all her idea. The justice had read an article about the New-York Historical Society’s Citizenship Project, which “offers free classes to green card holders who are studying for the naturalization test, involving art, documents and artifacts at the museum.” It was already a special day for the dozens of new Americans, and Ginsburg’s appearance made it all the more special. “Yusif Abubakari, 42, born in Ghana, was struck by Justice Ginsburg’s ‘humbleness,’ he said,” the New York Times reported. “‘She is supposed to be at home but she came because of me, because of us, and that made me feel so special today,’ Mr. Abubakari said, adding, ‘May God bless her and give her more life and prosperity.’”
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