Opening Moves

The Senate's capitulation leaves us all vulnerable.

Three stories that broke yesterday:


Were any other government in power, I would say the timing here is likely coincidental as typically there would be a whole process leading up to big moves as planned things go through the channels. But the Trump regime doesn't do well with "channels". Donald at the top has his priorities, which he makes known, and things happen when they catch the eye of a like-minded enabler who knows how to make them happen or when he puts his foot down hard endnough.

I will note that the third item in particular refers to an ongoing state of affairs; the unspent millions are specifically money sitting around from last year's budget. It made news yesterday because Democrats brought it up on the floor of Congress yesterday. Republicans defended it with the Tom Jones Maneuver, insisting that "it's not unusual" for money to carry over from one year to the next... but it's not usually a number that rounds up so closely to one billion, nor one third of the money allocated for something.

I include it in the round-up because the theme here is what to expect from the Trump regime now that they have been given a hall pass by Senate Republicans, who have said that do what thou wilt is the whole of the law as far as it applies to the King in Orange. Some of them admitted that the House had made its case. Some of them admitted that Trump had behaved inappropriately and abused his power. Only one of them was even willingly to symbolically vote for consequences, while still co-signing his ability to override Congress's oversight.

Donald doesn't like sanctuary cities or places that vote against him. He might have moved against California first but his hometown has broken his heart so badly that he's not only moved to Florida, he has relocated his history, telling Florida crowds that Orlando is where he launched his first campaign. He promised retaliation against them in the State of the Union, and the next day the DHS delivered.

Donald doesn't Puerto Rico or the people who live there, don't think they count as Americans and doesn't believe they're entitled to the benefits of citizenship or the support of the government that is imposed on them. The day after he delivered a speech that included dangerous escalations of his xenophobic nationalism, he tells the House of Representatives — whom he also doesn't care for — that he will veto their emergency relief bill. This seems especially pointed, given how easy it is for the Republican Party to kill bills in the Constitutional graveyard that the Senate has become under Mitch McConnell. He didn't have to do anything so dramatic, but he did.

And this is notable in that the House bill includes stipulations that would basically force Donald to use the funds as directed. The general practice is that a law that establishes a spending program forms a broad if reasonably explicit outline and the executive chooses how to actually, you know, execute it, but that practice requires a certain amount of good faith and fair dealing among the branches which the Democrats can no longer afford to assume will be reciprocated.

Which is why I connect the story about the clean energy funding to these other two. The failure to convict by the Senate marks a dangerous turning point in Donald's will to power. 

The one power explicitly reserved for the House in particular, apart from the ability to initiate impeachment proceedings, is the "power of the purse". The House is supposed to set the agenda for spending bills and thus have the first and biggest say in how the federal budget is sent.

The Trump regime has been undermining that power for some time now, and with this veto threat they're making it explicit that they will not be told how to spend our money, regardless of what the Constitution says.

The State of the Union address laid out a dangerous blueprint for the future, and these early moves the day after show that the White House is serious about implementing it.

I have observed many times on Twitter that a coward like Donald Trump is not most dangerous when cornered and wounded, but when he feels invulnerable. Right now, the Senate has him feeling bulletproof. We should all watch out, and hope we’re able to take him off his stride sooner rather than later.

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