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MORNING MESSAGE

Thom Hartmann

Why Have No Republicans Turned On Trump?

There is a very simple reason why some Republicans voted for the impeachment proceedings against Richard Nixon, but none have so far broken ranks against Trump. That reason is a corrupted U.S. Supreme Court. In 1976 and 1978, the Supreme Court ruled that when corporations and billionaires purchase their very own politicians, it is constitutionally protected “free speech” rather than “bribery,” which is how we defined it from the beginning of our republic until 1976. In 2010, the Supreme Court doubled down on its betrayal of American democracy with its Citizens United decision. After those twin decisions in the 1970s, money from corporations and the morbidly rich began to flow into the coffers of the Republican Party, hoisting Ronald Reagan into the White House. Nixon’s impeachment hearings happened in 1974, before the Supreme Court legalized bribery—and so the Senate voted 77-0 to forward the investigation, and the House voted 412-3 to accept the Judiciary Committee’s report showing “clear and convincing evidence” of Nixon’s corruption. Republicans were more concerned about their voters than about their donors back then. But as long as their owners and funders continue to pay Republicans to keep Trump in office, they’ll continue to say, “How high?” every time Trump yells, “Jump!”

Dems Sharpen Impeachment Call

Democrats’ new impeachment message: Expel Trump now. CNN: “Democrats are injecting an urgent new argument into their already fast-moving impeachment drive: President Donald Trump poses such a flagrant threat to the republic that there is no time to waste. Their emerging gambit is prompting Trump’s GOP defenders — who have long struggled to coalesce around a coherent strategy of their own — to launch a fresh counterattack, warning that that a rush to condemn the President proves the Democratic case is shallow and politically motivated. The showdown over timing emerged from the first House Judiciary Committee hearing on impeachment Wednesday, which shifted the debate from the specific facts of Trump’s alleged wrongdoing to the appropriate constitutional consequences that he should face. The dispute over how fast to go and over the scope of the Democratic impeachment case spilled over — in far more civil and respectful terms than the bitter exchanges between lawmakers — in a debate between four renowned law professors asked to testify to the committee on the mechanics and justifications of impeachment. Three of the four, who were invited by Democrats, agreed that the President’s transgressions were already sufficiently severe to justify the ultimate political sanction of impeachment. The fourth, a Republican invitee, urged Democrats to slow down and to exhaust the full extent of the law to compel testimony from key witnesses before making a case to the nation that Trump should be removed.”

700,000 In Danger To Lose Food Aid

Nearly 700,000 SNAP recipients could lose benefits under new Trump rule. NPR: “The Trump administration is tightening work requirements for some food stamp recipients, a change that is expected to eliminate Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits for 688,000 adults. The new rule makes it more difficult for states to waive a requirement that able-bodied adults without children work at least 20 hours a week or else lose their benefits. The administration says the change is intended to encourage those receiving SNAP to get jobs, but anti-hunger advocates worry it will hurt low-income individuals who can’t find steady work. The new rule impacts able-bodied adults between the ages of 18 and 49 without dependents. There were nearly 4 million such adults receiving food stamps in 2016, about three-quarters of whom did not work. SNAP statutes already limit adults to three months of benefits in a three-year period unless they meet the 20 hours per week requirement, but many states currently waive that requirement in high unemployment areas. This change would make those waivers harder to get. Provisions of the new rule are slated to take effect on April 1, 2020.”

Barr Looks, Finds No ‘Deep State’

Barr’s handpicked prosecutor tells inspector general he can’t back right-wing theory that Russia case was U.S. intelligence setup. WaPo: “The prosecutor handpicked by Attorney General William P. Barr to scrutinize how U.S. agencies investigated President Trump’s 2016 campaign said he could not offer evidence to the Justice Department’s inspector general to support the suspicions of some conservatives that the case was a setup by American intelligence, people familiar with the matter said. Justice Department Inspector General Michael Horowitz’s office contacted U.S. Attorney John Durham, the prosecutor Barr personally tapped to lead a separate review of the 2016 probe into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia, the people said. The inspector general also contacted several U.S. intelligence agencies. Horowitz’s draft report concludes that political bias did not taint how top FBI officials running the investigation handled the case, people familiar with the matter said. But it details troubling misconduct that Trump and his allies are likely to emphasize as they criticize the bureau.”

New Medicare For All Hearing Announced

‘Another Victory for #MedicareForAll!’ says Jayapal as fourth House hearing on proposal is announced. Common Dreams: “Rep. Pramila Jayapal on Tuesday cheered what she called “Another victory for Medicare For All” after the House Energy and Commerce Committee announced a hearing next week on healthcare coverage that will include her proposal for a single-payer system. The health subcommittee’s hearing, entitled ‘Proposals to Achieve Universal Health Care Coverage,’ will take place Tuesday. Jayapal, a Washington Democrat, called the upcoming hearing—which will be the fourth House hearing to address Medicare for All—a sign of the swelling momentum for the desire to switch from the current for-profit system to one which provides universal access to everyone in the country. In addition to considering Jayapal’s H.R.1384, the Medicare for All Act of 2019, the subcommittee hearing will address six other pieces of proposed healthcare legislation which would not guarantee a single national health insurance program to cover everyone. Those proposals include H.R. 2463, the Choose Medicare Act, introduced by Rep. Cedric Richmond (D-La), and H.R. 2000, the Medicare-X Choice Act of 2019, introduced by Rep. Antonio Delgado (D-N.Y.). The number of co-sponsors on Jayapal’s Medicare for All legislation—118—dwarfs the number of co-sponsors on any of the others that will be discussed during Tuesday’s hearing. Rep. Ben Ray Luján’s (D-N.M.) H.R. 1277, the “State Public Option Act,” has the second highest number at 51. Rep. Richmond’s “Choose Medicare Act” has a mere five co-sponsors.”

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