Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Facing impeachment, some world leaders have stood their ground. Others ran away. (WaPo)

Impeached President* DONALD JOHN TRUMP could easily resign, just as VP Spiro T. Agnew did on October 10, 1973 as part of a plea bargain in which he pled no contest to bribery. From The Washington Post:

A boy looks at a graffiti mural depicting President Trump with a shoe print on his face in Gaza City on Dec. 19. (Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images)
A boy looks at a graffiti mural depicting President Trump with a shoe print on his face in Gaza City on Dec. 19. (Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images)

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Trump’s pardon of Gallagher just got even more appalling. (WaPo Editorial)

Impeached President* DONALD JOHN TRUMP's mishandling of the Eddie Gallagher war crimes against civilians military justice case is a stench in the nostrils of our Nation.

From The Washington Post, an editorial:

Navy Chief Petty Officer Eddie Gallagher celebrates with his wife, Andrea, on July 2 at Naval Base San Diego after being acquitted in the killing of a wounded Islamic State captive in Iraq in 2017. (Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)
Navy Chief Petty Officer Eddie Gallagher celebrates with his wife, Andrea, on July 2 at Naval Base San Diego after being acquitted in the killing of a wounded Islamic State captive in Iraq in 2017. (Sandy Huffaker/Getty Images)
Dec. 29, 2019 at 4:31 p.m. EST
“FREAKING EVIL.” That is how Special Operator First Class Craig Miller described Eddie Gallagher, the chief of his Navy SEAL platoon. Then, he wept.
The New York Times last week revealed investigative video recordings of testimony from members of SEAL Team 7 who reported behavior from Chief Petty Officer Gallagher that they believed violated the spirit of their profession and the rule of military law. These agonizing accounts make even more appalling President Trump’s unprecedented decision to reverse Chief Gallagher’s demotion and pardon two other service members convicted of war crimes this fall, and to preserve Chief Gallagher’s Trident pin by preempting the plans of Navy commanders.
The SEALs’ descriptions portray a fighter unhinged from the military’s mission of defending the nation and dedicated instead to his own desire to spill blood. Chief Gallagher, SEALs said, purposely exposed his soldiers to enemy fire and thought casualties in his platoon could win him a Silver Star. They said he bragged that “burqas were flying” when he shot at women and boasted after an operation that he had killed four of them — with the excuse that he had fired warning shots first. Other members of the platoon, they said, began to spend their days trying to “save civilians from Eddie.”
The SEALs called Chief Gallagher a “psychopath.” He was “toxic.” He was “literally the worst of the worst.” His priority for the tour? “War stories at the end.” His motivation? “To kill anybody he can.”
These men broke the customary code of silence maintained by the SEALs because they thought Chief Gallagher’s behavior violated something more sacred: the duty of the men and women who fight for the United States to fight for it honorably. It’s this sacred duty that the president ridicules by allowing “Fox & Friends” and other right-wing media to lobby him into excusing — even rewarding — ethical lapses. What does this say to any soldier who wants to speak up about wrongdoing? Those who tried to hold Chief Gallagher to account are suffering insults on national television, while the petty officer, now retired with full honors, is palling around with the president at Mar-a-Lago.
The story is of a commander in chief who has shown little respect for the chain of command, and little regard for the imperative of military professionalism and virtue. But it’s also the story of individual service members who knew better — and did better. “Let’s not forget there are 7-12 of us in here who had the balls to tell the truth about what Eddie has done,” one of the whistleblower SEALs texted his compatriots. The rest of the country shouldn’t forget, either.

Meet Wilton Simpson, the man who [would] be Florida Senate president. (NSOF/Tallahassee Democrat)

I think it's a might presumptuous for all these snooty Tallahassee Republicans to be electing themselves to future positions when their party is only three (3) Senate seats from losing the majority in the Florida State Senate to the Democrats in 2020.

These Republicans are truly cheeky, reckon?

From News Service of Florida via Tallahassee Democrat:

Meet Wilton Simpson, the man who will be Florida Senate president

Shortly after Trilby Republican Wilton Simpson was formally elected Tuesday as Florida’s next Senate president, he characterized himself as a farmer and an entrepreneur – and not a politician.
And with that introduction, the 53-year-old owner of an egg farm and an environmental-remediation company vowed to tackle Florida's economy with “common-sense, fiscally conservative principles” and to foster a business-friendly environment.

“If you are a Florida business, we will do all we can to keep you here,” Simpson said. “If you are a business located in a high-tax, over-regulated, unwelcoming state --- consider moving to Florida where we believe the American Dream and the Florida Dream are one in the same.”
Simpson will succeed President Bill Galvano, R-Bradenton, after the November 2020 elections and will hold one of the most powerful political jobs in Florida. When he takes over the chamber, he will also oversee the Senate’s redistricting efforts following the 2020 Census..
Other issues that Simpson said he wants to tackle between 2020 and 2022 will deal with improving the quality of Florida’s water resources and helping children who are “stuck in the foster care system” and at-risk youth.

One thing he would like to see fixed in the foster care system is cutting down the waiting time for qualified parents to adopt children. He also wants to keep children from bouncing from foster home to foster home.
While Simpson recognized fixing the problems in the system are likely to be costly, he told reporters on Tuesday, it would be “more expensive not to do it.”
To accomplish those goals, he hopes to partner with First Lady Casey DeSantis, who is one of the top advisers to her husband, Gov. Ron DeSantis. This year, she has worked on a number of initiatives aimed at helping Florida children.
“I think she is going to be an outstanding partner,” Simpson said, adding that he would let her take the reins on specific initiatives and “welcome her comments and her decisions.”

Speaking to Senate Republicans, state leaders and family members, Simpson also addressed water-related issues such as seeing a Northern Everglades water-storage project completed because it “tackles the root cause of many of our water quality and quantity problems in the region.”
Waterways such as the St. Lucie and Caloosahatchee rivers have been plagued in recent years by toxic algae that stems, at least in part, from polluted water discharged from Lake Okeechobee.
Simpson also pointed to long-discussed efforts to move residents onto sewer systems instead of using septic tanks.

“We also need to get serious about a septic-to-sewer program because it’s the root cause of many of our pollution problems around the state,” Simpson said. “It is going to take resources. We need to offer incentives to local government for replacing outdated, harmful systems.”
When Simpson takes over as president, his counterpart as House speaker will be Palm Harbor Republican Chris Sprowls. Together, Simpson and Sprowls will bring clout for the Tampa Bay region.
In September, when Sprowls was elected as the next House speaker, he said he would like to prioritize fixing “spending problems” in state government.
“We treat the state budget like it’s our own private charitable foundation to be used for the naming rights of buildings or programs,” Sprowls said. “We need to do better than this.”

Simpson vowed to work with the House in partnership, “without gridlock, animosity and stubbornness.”

“There’ll always be feisty debates. But no, there’s not going to be fighting or discord,” Simpson told reporters. “We can do all of this without discord.”

Senate Republicans back Kathleen Passidomo for chamber’s president. (Naples Daily News)

St. Augustine State Senator Travis Hutson lost a hypothetical "vote" for 2023-2024 State Senate President last month. Who knew? Who ever heard of "pledge cards"? Reports of this sham process vaguely resemble college fraternity politics, not those in a republican democracy. Republicans could lose the state Senate, hence possibly making the "vote" for Kathleen Passidomo a nullity.

From Naples Daily News:

Senate Republicans back Kathleen Passidomo for chamber’s president

Sen. Kathleen Passidomo has emerged the winner in a leadership fight, after Senate Republicans tapped her to take over as the chamber’s president in 2022.
Passidomo, a Naples Republican, was picked Tuesday afternoon to take over as president, a post contingent on the GOP holding its majority.
Passidomo, who currently serves as Senate majority leader and would serve as president for the 2023 and 2024 legislative sessions, had been in a tight race for the leadership position with St. Augustine Republican Sen. Travis Hutson.
“I’m humbled to have the support of my colleagues in the Florida Senate, and I will do everything I can to make them proud in service to this great state and to the people of Florida,” Passidomo told The News Service of Florida in a statement.
Passidomo added that she is currently focused on supporting Senate President Bill Galvano and his successor, Sen. Wilton Simpson, who will take over as president after the 2020 elections.
Passidomo said she also is concentrating on ensuring Republicans maintain a majority in the Senate following next year’s elections.
Hutson said he signed a “pledge card” indicating his support for Passidomo’s presidency after she agreed “to treat everybody in the chamber the same,” regardless of whom they had supported in the leadership fight.
“I did not ask for anything for me – for any deal,” Hutson said. “I asked her to take care of my team and I signed the card." Sen. Joe Gruters, a Sarasota Republican who is also the chairman of the Republican Party of Florida, said he looks forward to Passidomo leading the Senate with “distinction” in the future
Florida Democrats would need to flip three Senate seats to win the majority in the chamber, a difficult but possible task.

Travis Hutson fundraiser expected to bring in more than $500,000. (A.G. Gancarski, Florida Politics)

Back in February, Florida Politics writer A.G. Gancarski wrote about State Senator TRAVIS HUTSON's half million dollar fundraiser for his political action committee (PAC).

Query: Do ALL the despoilers of St. Johns County want to give HUTSON money so their wrecking crew devastation of our town can continue, a national nuisance, unabated?

HUTSON recently lost a Republicans-only vote for 2022-24 Senate president won by Sen. Kathleen Passidomo (R-Naples).

From Florida Politics writer A.G. Gancarski about a St. Augustine fundraiser, a story missed by the St. Augustine Record):

Travis Hutson 


Travis Hutson fundraiser expected to bring in more than $500,000

President’s Day will be beneficial for a political committee of state Sen, Travis Hutson, with an evening fundraiser expected to raise half a million dollars.

President’s Day will be beneficial for a political committee of state Sen. Travis Hutson, with a fundraiser expected to raise more than $500,000.
Hutson’s First Coast Business Foundation committee will be the beneficiary of the event, which will serve as a reload opportunity for the committee, tapped after an active 2018.
This event will see many of northeast Florida’s power players on hand.
Chairing the event are Jacksonville’s David and Jodi CoxwellDavid and Nancy Hutson, and Randy andPaula Ringhaver.
The Ringhavers are hosting the St. Augustine event.
The co-chairs are also major names in the region, including developer Mori Hosseini and lobbyist Marty Fiorentino and Ali Korman Shelton and Jamie Shelton of bestbet.
The host committee includes Gary and Nancy Chartrand, along with Husein and LeAnna Cumber, showing further evidence that Hutson’s reach extends deep into Jacksonville power centers.
Hutson plans a golf event later this week, which will also bring in money; however, the Monday event is the big one, with ramifications both for the GOP’s desire to hold its Senate majority and for Hutson himself demonstrating strength as he vies for future caucus leadership personally.
Hutson represents Senate District 7, a Republican sinecure extending from St. Johns to Volusia Counties.
His committees include Appropriations, Judiciary, and Rules, and he chairs the budget subcommittee on Transportation, Tourism, and Economic Development.