Outraged Lawmakers Hold Press Conference After Touring Immigration Facility: Trump ‘Moving the Arc of Justice to the Heap of Despair’

Lawmakers gathered in McAllen, TX Sunday for a press conference to speak out against the Trump administration’s treatment of immigrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border. One of the most scathing criticisms was brought by Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX), who condemned family separations, demanding that President Donald Trump end the practice now. “Let me just quickly say that when you have a mother tell you directly that she’s in fear that she will never see her child again and when the United Nations human rights commission indicates to the Trump administration you’re violating human rights, then you know that what we are saying today is President Trump, cease and desist because you are moving the arc of justice to the heap of despair and the trash heap of injustice,” Jackson Lee said. Her strong remarks were met with applause and cheers from the crowd as Sen. Peter Welch Continue reading "Outraged Lawmakers Hold Press Conference After Touring Immigration Facility: Trump ‘Moving the Arc of Justice to the Heap of Despair’"

Jeff Sessions on Roy Moore Allegations: ‘I Have No Reason to Doubt These Young Women’

During his testimony before the House Judiciary Committee, Attorney General Jeff Sessions landed in a combative exchange with Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) over Roy Moore, as well inconsistencies in his previous testimony before Congress. The congresswoman began by asking about the underage sexual abuse allegations against Moore, who is currently running to succeed Sessions as senator of Alabama. Sessions said he has “no reason to doubt these young women” making claims against Moore, which prompted Lee to ask him if Moore ought to have a place in the Senate, and whether the Justice Department would investigate the former state Supreme Court judge. Sessions said the Department’s ethics officials advised him not to get involved with the Moore campaign, though Lee continued to press him on whether he would ever put Moore’s current controversy up for federal review. “We will do our duty,” Sessions responded. Lee moved on from there, Continue reading "Jeff Sessions on Roy Moore Allegations: ‘I Have No Reason to Doubt These Young Women’"

Neil Cavuto Faces Off With Democratic Rep. Calling on Trump to Resign

On Fox Business Network today, Neil Cavuto faced off with Congresswoman Sheila Jackson Lee over her call for President Trump to resign after his tweets attacking Mika Brzezinski and Joe Scarborough: She says in the video above that she’s gone through impeachments before, but said, “We can’t wait that long. It is time for you to resign. Enough is enough. I love America. I love these people. And we need a Commander-in-Chief.” Cavuto confronted her about this and brought up the “coarse” language from presidents past. She argued that he is “incompatible” with the office, and in addition to issues like Russia and James Comey, his “continuous assault on women” only adds to it. She called Trump “ill-suited” for the office, and when Cavuto pressed her further by Continue reading "Neil Cavuto Faces Off With Democratic Rep. Calling on Trump to Resign"

Dem Who Co-Sponsored Bush Impeachment Bill Claims Dems Didn’t Want to Impeach Him

Since we’re all talking about impeachment now, recall, if you will, when there were efforts underway to try getting George W. Bush impeached. Yes, there were some Democrats who pushed to impeach Bush back when he was in office, just as there are currently some Republicans who’d like to impeach President Obama. In fact, back in 2008, there was a bill sponsored by Dennis Kucinich with this title: “Impeaching George W. Bush, President of the United States, of high crimes and misdemeanors.” The bill was co-sponsored by eleven Democrats, among them Texas Democrat Sheila Jackson-Lee. Well, guess what Jackson-Lee said today. Yep, in a House statement highlighted by BuzzFeed’s Katherine Miller, Jackson-Lee said, “President Bush pushed this nation into a war it had little to do with apprehending terrorists. We did not seek an impeachment of President Bush, because as an executive, he had his authority. President Obama has the authority.” Well, except for that bill titled “Impeaching George W. Bush” that she co-sponsored. Watch the video below, via C-SPAN:
[h/t BuzzFeed]
[image via screengrab] – – Follow Josh Feldman on Twitter: @feldmaniac

From Bob Dole to Krugman: The Shame of Those Who Ignored VA’s Issues to Score Political Points

The scandal plaguing the Department of Veterans Affairs is claiming more than the health and even the lives of those to whom America owes the most. It is also taking a toll on the credibility of a number of supposedly dispassionate political professionals who have been offering the VA unwarranted praise for years. While most of the VA’s unearned plaudits came from progressive ideologues, some Republicans have also called the VA system a model for health care reform. Writing in Politico in 2011, Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole (R-KS) advised the administration “to study the health care delivery system of the Department of Veterans Affairs.” More:
VA is now considered 10 years to 15 years ahead of the private health care system when it comes to technology. Its success has largely been because of its commitment to innovation. This model for government action is possible because of its unique purpose, as well as its successful public-private collaboration. These efficiencies are significant for patients and taxpayers.

< p>Dole is, however, an exception proving the rule. As the Washington Free Beacon’s Andrew Stiles noted on Thursday, prominent liberal thinkers have for years dominated the chorus of those singing the VA’s praises. In 2006, New York Times columnist Paul Krugman called the VA’s ability to contain costs and provide “excellent care” a “helpful corrective to anti-government ideology.” He echoed this assertion in 2011 in a column castigating Republicans for failing to embrace the VA’s version of “socialized medicine” which, broadly applied, could “solve the troubles of U.S. health care.” Stiles also observed that America’s explainer-in-chief, Vox.com founder Ezra Klein, who said extending the VA system to non-veterans was among his “favorite ideas” in 2009. But these prominent voices on the left were merely picking up on a old progressive theme: that the VA provided policy makers with a model of American-style socialized medicine. Current MSNBC.com reporter and former Slate blogger Timothy Noah invented a brand new word in 2005 to describe those who denied that the VA provided Americans with the best health care around: “flakt”. Why he didn’t simply appropriate “deniers” for this cause, as is vogue today, none can say. “Socialized medicine has been tried in the United States, and it has proven superior to health care supplied by the private sector,” he wrote. “What’s really needed is to make private hospitals more like VA hospitals.” “Over the past decade, the VA has transformed itself from a lumbering, poorly performing bureaucracy to an efficient provider of relatively high-quality medical services,” an unsigned 2007 piece in the New York Times read. “The VA has used remarkably innovative means to improve its quality of care and control costs; some of its systems could serve as blueprints for national healthcare reform.” “Veterans Health Administration provides veterans with benefits that are the envy of the rest of the health care system,” Think Progress’s Igor Volsky wrote in October 2013. Even those organizations which claim to be neutral, like the self-appointed arbiter of truths, Politifact, have egg on their faces today. Not long ago, as Philip Kerpen highlighted, restructuring the VA to make it a “national leader in health reform” was one of President Barack Obama‘s great achievements: Oops. Looks like Politifact has had to revisit that verdict: One supposes that once a promise is “kept” it cannot be un-kept. But that sort of intellectual rigidity is far too limiting when the goal is to advance a cause. Today, we know the VA is anything but a model for health care reform, but this is not a new revelation. Obama truly did inherit a miserably defective VA system, but it was one he campaigned on changing. Now, more than five years into his presidency, that VA’s cascading failures have grown too grotesque to ignore. We know that, not only were veterans receiving substandard care, but a system-wide initiative to hide the VA’s failures from those responsible for the administration’s oversight. That’s not merely negligence; it’s malfeasance and the cruelest form of corruption. Given the gravity of the problem and the urgency of the need to provide medical care for veterans, even progressive lawmakers like Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) are conceding the need for an emergency infusion of what the administration once conceded was standard “private sector velocity.” That’s good advice. Maybe those self-appointed policy wonks who have been ignoring the VA’s problems for years will have the courtesy of putting their ideological obsession with socialized medicine on the back burner for a few days in order to allow America’s veterans to get the care they need. [Image via Gary Cameron/Reuters] — –
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MSNBC Guest Repeatedly Breaks Hosts’ Hearts by Insisting VA Scandal Not About Funding

The VA scandal is fast becoming the sum of all progressive fears. On Wednesday, MSNBC viewers were confronted by the sober warnings of a regular and respected guest, the decorated retired Army Col. Jack Jacobs. Mercilessly, he shared with viewers an inconvenient truth: the VA scandal is a failure of progressive government in its most elemental form. The VA has failed America’s veterans not because of a lack of money, or vision, or indifference on the part of the public. It has failed because it was designed to fail. Moreover, the only solutions to the problems associated with a nonfunctional VA system may be found in the private sector. In an interview with MSNBC’s Ronan Farrow, Jacobs preemptively attacked the findings of any investigation into the VA’s issues, saying that predictable assertions about an underfunded system in need of a larger bureaucracy will be misguided. “The structure of the Veterans Administration health business is not organized in order to deliver health care,” he declared. “Unless until you break it down, and have a public/private partnership, you’re not going to be able to give health care to veterans who really need it.” Even Rep. Sheila Jackson Lee (D-TX) conceded that there was a need to “throw wisdom to the wind” and embrace radical solutions to the problems plaguing the VA system. “Maybe there needs to be some collaboration with our public health system outside of the veterans,” Lee added in a clear reference to a voucher program veterans could use to receive care in private hospitals.
But Jacobs was not finished crushing the dreams of his hosts. Less than an hour later, in an interview with MSNBC host Joy Reid, the retired Army colonel delivered a near fatal blow to the central liberal conceit. When asked by Reid if Veterans Affairs Sec. Eric Shinseki might receive the benefit of the doubt from veterans who received poor or no care because he was a “good guy” who had opposed the Iraq War, Jacobs did not let her down gently when he answered no. The retired colonel went on to again insist that money is not the VA’s problem. In fact, you could confiscate ever dollar of the incalculable wealth of both the Koch brothers have hoarded and invested it into the Department of Veterans Affairs, and it would not resolve the chronic mismanagement issues plaguing that government-run enterprise. “It doesn’t matter how much money you give them,” Jacobs said, observing that the VA was among the few departments to receive more funding following forced sequestration cuts in 2013. “The structure of the organization is incapable of delivering what we really want and really need, and that is timely, first-class medical care for all our veterans.”
For average Americans, VA scandal represents failure of the liberal vision of collective responsibility for medical care. This is an even more politically potent right now because it speaks to the competency of the Democratic vision of government administered by a Democratic president. Not just any Democratic president, mind you, but one who has spent most of his presidency fighting to pass and preserve what he has called a step toward state-provided health insurance to all. Now, with the bodies of those to whom America is most indebted exposed and in plain view, Democrats are unable to foist blame for their condition on their old anxieties. It’s not a chronic lack of funding, it’s not indifferent administrators, it’s not even the callous Republican Party which is at fault for the chronic mismanagement at the VA; it is the system itself. President Barack Obama inherited the problems at the VA, but he also slacked on his campaign promises to address that broken system. Every moment he waits to back dramatic, immediate reforms to the VA is a moment in which Americans lose more faith in the federal government’s ability to provide for average citizens. The VA is a tumor on the central pillar of liberalism, and the president will have to engage in the painful process of excising it before it spreads. [Image via screengrab] — –
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Hearing Explodes As Darrel Issa, Eric Holder, Sheila Jackson-Lee Battle Over Justice Dept. Burying A Case

On Wednesday, a hearing on Capitol Hill exploded as Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) accused Attorney General Eric Holder’s Department of Justice of dropping a case against the city of St. Paul, MN, in 2011, in exchange for the city dropping a civil rights case that was heading to the Supreme Court. A.G. Holder and Rep. Sheila Jackson-Lee (D-TX) blew up over the charge, and went after Issa for both his methods and his manner of questioning. Holder attacked Issa after he was accused of intentionally withholding information, saying Issa’s conduct was “unacceptable” and “shameful.”

Issa began by playing audio of Assistant Attorney General for Civil Rights Thomas Perez, also President Barack Obama’s nominee to become the next Secretary of Labor, in which he confirms that he is arranging for details relating to the St. Paul case not to be disclosed.

“Do you think it’s appropriate for someone to – at a federal level – to try to keep information out in order to disguise what’s actually going on?” Issa asked.

Holder said that he was not aware of all of the details of the case. “There are a whole variety of reasons why people, why we as a government and Justice Department, decide not to become involved in qui tam cases,” Holder replied.

“I’ll take that as a yes,” Issa interjected.

“That was not a yes,” Holder shot back.

Holder and Issa went back and forth over whether the DoJ’s decision not to pursue the case did or did not end the civil rights case entirely. Holder disputed Issa’s characterization that the Supreme Court was denied the chance to hear that civil rights case, strongly adding that Issa’s mischaracterization was something that he would “typically” do.

Jackson-Lee interjected at this point, calling for a parliamentary inquiry. She asked if there was notice given to Holder to hear a recording of Perez played. She was repeatedly asked to suspend, by the committee chairman, who then replied that there is no rule prohibiting audio evidence.

The congressional committee members battled over Jackson-Lee’s point of order request. She insisted that Perez’s audio could not be authenticated. “That is not a parliamentary inquiry, nor is it an appropriate point of order,” insisted Chairman Rep. Bob Goodlatte (R-VA).

Issa and Holder blew up at each other when the congressman insisted that the attorney general was intentionally withholding details from members of Congress.

“That’s what you typically do,” Holder shot back. “That is inappropriate, and it is too consistent with the way in which conduct yourself as a member of Congress.”

“It’s unacceptable and It’s shameful,” Holder concluded.

Watch this exchange below via C-SPAN 3:

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