Tag - Sen. John McCain

O’Care Repeal and Sen. John McCain – A Transactional Betrayal

A vital element in keeping the peace is our military establishment. Our arms must be mighty, ready for instant action, so that no potential aggressor may be tempted to risk his own destruction…This conjunction of an immense military establishment and a large arms industry is new in the American experience. The total influence—economic, political, even spiritual—is felt in every city, every statehouse, every office of the federal government. We recognize the imperative need for this development. Yet we must not fail to comprehend its grave implications. Our toil, resources and livelihood are all involved; so is the very structure of our society. In the councils of government, we must guard against the acquisition of unwarranted influence, whether sought or unsought, by the military–industrial complex. The potential for the disastrous rise of misplaced power exists, and will persist. We must never let the weight of this combination endanger our liberties or democratic processes. We should take nothing for granted. Only an alert and knowledgeable citizenry can compel the proper meshing of the huge industrial and military machinery of defense with our peaceful methods and goals so that security and liberty may prosper together.                                                           “Farewell Address to the Nation” January 17, 1961 President Dwight D. Eisenhower

Failure to repeal Obamacare was a huge fail for the Republican Party. It’s easy and somewhat popular in certain circles to ascribe primary and ultimate blame for this fail on the President.  To be sure, the White House handled the lawmaking process poorly and in some cases, terribly. But for all of that, at the end of the day a bill calling for repeal did make it to the floor for a vote. It failed by one vote.

A careful reading of the news both before and after that vote appears to point to a transactional betrayal by Sen. John McCain R-AZ.  Some of the evidence is factual, some is circumstantial, but there does appear to be a smoking gun which could be interpreted as collusion with Sen. Chuck Schumer D-NY. The facts and circumstances lay out like A-B-C.

In early July, the Senate was struggling with healthcare while the House approved a huge funding increase for 2018 National Defense Authorization Act. (Independent)

The National Defence Authorization Act (NDAA) would allocate $696bn for defence spending in fiscal year 2018, blowing past Mr Trump’s  requested $603bn budget – a budget the White House had previously touted as a “historic increase in defence spending”. The proposal also exceeds long-standing caps on defence spending in Congress. Since 2011, the legislature has capped its defence spending at $549 billion. For the new funding plan to work, Congress would need to strike a deal to increase or repeal those caps.

The bill then moved to the Senate: (Independent)

The bill now moves to the Senate, where the Armed Services Committee has already passed its version of the legislation. The full Senate is expected to vote on the bill later this year.

The Chairman of the Armed Services Committee? None other than John McCain. The final tab for the annual defense appropriation was around $700 billion, and the senior senator from Arizona fully expected to take it to the floor for a vote, and shepherd it through the approval process. Given that fact that both the White House and true conservative senators were opposed to the price tag, Senator McConnell made it clear he expected McCain to shepherd it through the final floor voting process.

Then tragedy struck. Sen. McCain was diagnosed with cancer, which necessitated his return to Phoenix for treatment at the Mayo Clinic. Given the complications of senate scheduling, it appeared the NDAA bill was going to be delayed until the fall: (Washington Examiner)

McCain is planning to return to Washington after Senate’s August recess. His office indicated the Armed Services chairman will continue working remotely, meaning he could stay involved in the details of the NDAA process such as preparing for conference negotiations with the House after the Senate passes its version of the bill. But the chairman is unable to represent the bill on the Senate floor from Arizona, which is the job of the Armed Services chairman. Senate Republican leaders have signaled they won’t advance the bill in McCain’s absence.

Sen. McCain knew this appropriation would require careful strategy: (Washington Examiner)

The Arizona senator’s committee has proposed a big hike in its $700 billion bill but Senate appropriators, who actually write spending legislation, are proposing to stick closely to much lower 2018 funding caps imposed by the Budget Control Act, Cancian said. That has created an $80 billion difference in proposed defense spending in the chamber, he said. Lawmakers may try to hammer out an overarching budget deal later this year that includes some defense spending figure within that range. “McCain’s strategy has been to get on the boards first and to drive the discussion,” Cancian said. “I think that was his strategy with the NDAA, that he would get it passed quickly and his higher number would be in there and then everyone else could react to that.” If the NDAA is delayed until the fall, Senate appropriators could get their lower spending proposal passed first and make McCain “much less relevant,” he said. (Emphasis added)

This uncertainty provided the impetus for the senator to attempt to bring it up for a vote before he left for treatment: (Washington Examiner)

Just before he left, McCain tried to bring the bill to a floor vote after returning to Capitol Hill on Tuesday for a few days of work, but was first blocked by the Democrats over the Obamacare debate.

At the time it didn’t seem strange that Sen. Schumer and Company had blocked the floor vote, by then they were obstructing all things Republican. Which makes it even more curious when later on, they appeared ready to support it.

Bear in mind, during this process President Trump and the Republican senate were scrambling to find a final solution to Obamacare. After many iterations, Skinny Repeal seemed to be the one solution that could capture enough votes for passage.

Meanwhile, Sen. McCain had returned to Phoenix for surgery, which evidently was successful. Following that surgery, McCain had a few days free to return to the nation’s capital to vote on whatever healthcare bill Sen. McConnell was able to get to the floor. His return was predicated on one issue,  the Majority Leader had to agree to bring the NDAA immediately following the healthcare vote while McCain was still in DC. (Daily Caller)

As CNN noted, the fact that McCain is leaving Monday helps to explain why GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell would let the NDAA vote occur in the midst of a heated debated on health care reform.

During the final days leading up to the fateful Skinny Repeal vote, it became evident Sen. Murkowski and Sen. Collins would be a nay vote. The unknown was how Sen. McCain would vote. What was known was the curious way in which he spent his time: (WaPo)

Schumer had apparently been working McCain for days. The Hill’s Peter Sullivan: “Schumer says he’s been talking to McCain four to five times a day for three or four days.” (Emphasis added)

Obviously Sen. McCain knew he had no chance of turning Schumer & Co into a yes vote for the Skinny Repeal legislation. Ironclad party dogma is always a no vote on Obamacare repeal. Given that obvious fact, why was Mr. McCain meeting so often with Chuck during this turbulent time, especially since McCain had such a small window of time in DC and whipping Republican votes for the defense bill should have been his first priority.

Or was it? By now, it was apparent the White House wasn’t happy with McCain and the level of his NDAA funding appropriation. A presidential veto was a distinct possibility. Reversing that veto would require a 2/3rd majority by both Houses of Congress. A great way to head off that potential veto would be to garner more than that necessary 2/3rd vote for the initial vote, sending a message to the President. “Don’t veto this, We have the votes to override your veto.”

But in order for that strategy to be successful, McCain needed Schumer and Pelosi to bring in enough Democratic votes to achieve the veto override vote total. What was the quid pro quo? Senator McCain’s actions and words on the day of the vote appear to show the quid to Schumer’s quo. Simply put, McCain votes no on the Skinny Repeal, then Schumer and party support McCain’s NDAA vote.

Finally, July 27 arrives, the day Sen. McConnell had scheduled votes on healthcare. Not even McCain’s allies knew what he was going to do: (Politico)

Senators had no idea where McCain would land throughout much of Thursday, saying he vacillated in his position as the chaotic day unfolded. They had heard rumblings of three “nos” as early as Thursday afternoon, and one Republican insisted that the GOP could have secured McCain’s support had the vote been held earlier in the day.Many entered the chamber for a vote, unprepared for what would happen. “I thought he was a ‘yes’ and had been told he was a ‘yes’ when I came to the floor,” Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-La.) recalled in an interview early Friday morning.

Early in the morning, a bit before 1:30 a.m., McCain finally voted (Politico)

Friday, McCain strode to the well of the Senate, and gestured his hand downward to vote “no.” Stunned gasps echoed throughout the chamber.

This fact has to be noted: John McCain is a party loyalist and wouldn’t take this vote lightly. Obviously he knew the significance of his no vote. Obviously he knew how important this was to Republican leadership, men and women who were and are his friends. It is almost unthinkable he would cast the deciding vote against his party purely because of animus against the President, or due to his overarching concern about healthcare legislation.

As a matter of fact, Mr. McCain’s actions prior to his vote and immediately thereafter seem to prove he knew exactly what he was doing. Prior to the vote: (Politico)

McCain walked over to a gaggle of Senate Democrats and told them that he would be voting no on the Obamacare repeal measure.

Why would McCain tip the opposition to his voting decision?  His comment is a clue:(Politico)

McCain walked over to a gaggle of Senate Democrats and told them that he would be voting no on the Obamacare repeal measure. His mind had already sped ahead to what was next: the National Defense Authorization Act, a top priority for the Armed Services Committee chairman. “Let’s get this over with,” McCain told the cluster of Democrats, according to senators. “I really want to do NDAA.”  McCain embraced Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.).

“Let’s get this over with”?

“Let’s” as in let us. Or to paraphrase: “Let us get this thing we’ve agreed upon over with.”  This seems to smack of a previously agreed upon compromise. Quid meet quo.

After his no vote, his compadres celebrated: (WaPo)

But when the time came to cast his ballot, McCain was a firm “no.” Take a look at the body language in the room. Democrats look positively giddy (several audibly gasp, while others clap). Schumer immediately waves at his caucus to stop celebrating.

But quo never met quid. Amusingly enough, like a phoenix arising from the libertarian ashes, he put the kibosh to the best laid plans: (Daily Caller)

GOP Sen. John McCain criticized GOP Sen. Rand Paul for blocking the annual defense budget bill from moving forward for a quick vote Friday, as now McCain is expected to leave for cancer treatment Monday. Although the National Defense Authorization Act was a key item on the agenda for McCain, Paul stepped in to block the bill by requesting two amendments be added to the legislation, namely one on prohibiting indefinite detention and one on the authorization of the use of military force to fight the Islamic State.

Sen. McCain is back where he started:

The Senate NDAA is now likely to be pushed back as far as September.

This viewpoint concerning John McCain’s Skinny Repeal vote is admittedly circumstantial. However, it beggars the mind to come up with any other viable solution for McCain’s duplicitous betrayal of the party and his friends. It is well known the senator is a cats paw to the military complex, always conflating his NeoCon worldview with the absolute necessity for more defense funding.

While the “thumbs down” gesture was the knife in Trump’s back, the vote wasn’t. It was either a vote of conscience as Mr. McCain insist, or an act of brazen betrayal in servitude of his true masters. Fortunately, in the end, the voters get to decide. I know I have.

Russia Scandal? Give Us A Reason to Care

History tends to repeat itself. Some two decades ago, an actual scandal resulted in impeachment proceedings, and an eventual acquittal. President Bill Clinton had a sexual relationship with a 22 year old White House Intern by the name of Monica Lewinsky. Once exposed, this sex scandal became caught up in the Paula Jones sexual assault lawsuit, as well as the investigation by the Independent Counsel, Ken Starr, who was investigating several other Clinton scandals.

The President was acquitted primarily because his masters of spin in collusion with the MSM managed to turn the story from the illegal acts of perjury and obstruction of justice to that of sex. “It’s just sex” became the liberal Democratic mantra. And anybody knows, sex isn’t a high crime or misdemeanor.

A funny thing happened during those turbulent months, the American public basically tuned out. They bought the “just about sex” spin, decided they didn’t care, and went on about their lives. The President wasn’t convicted because the public simply didn’t care. The story had been on the news 24/7 for months, the economy was booming, there was relative peace, and for all of Rush Limbaugh’s daily 3 hour screed, most Americans just wanted to move on.

This Russia wannabe scandal is just about at the point now: (Politico)

Anyone who thinks the Republican base will abandon President Donald Trump over the latest Russia revelations is sorely mistaken. According to a POLITICO survey of more than two dozen local Republican Party leaders in counties where 2018’s most competitive races are shaping up, the GOP grass roots aren’t fazed by news of Donald Trump Jr.’s meeting last year with a Kremlin-linked lawyer or the daily drip of stories about Trump and Russia. They aren’t even paying close attention.“It’s pretty much a non-issue. Most people that do reference it, reference it as a witch hunt. It’s a one-sided thing: ‘Trump, Russia, Russia, Russia, Russia.’ I hear more about that than any credible evidence against Trump, Trump Jr.,” said Carl Bunce, chairman of the Las Vegas-based GOP in Nevada’s Clark County, where two tight House races are expected to be fought. “It’s just all noise to people on the ground here. People on the ground are just concerned about job security. It’s almost embarrassing for the media from my perspective. Move on. I’m sure they could find something else to report on,” he said.

There are several reasons for ennui, but chief among them is the blatant hypocrisy on display daily by Congress. Every time the Post or Times has another leak, the Democrats rush to get in front of a microphone or on Morning Joe, and the Republicans either cower or vow to continue to demand answers through their numerous committees.

Politicians can only act indignant for so long. Especially if they are on a committee. People begin to wonder why they are trying to compete with Maxine Waters for a microphone instead of actually getting something done via the work of the investigatory committee.

This week’s news concerning the Senate Judiciary Committee and Sen. Chuck Grassley R-IA is no different (Politico)

The committee on Wednesday announced a July 19 hearing that listed Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson, a former Wall Street Journal investigative reporter, as a witness. His inclusion raised the specter of public testimony about the dossier’s seamy and contested claims of sexual misconduct and a years-long Kremlin conspiracy to get Trump elected. The co-founder of a political and corporate intelligence firm behind an explosive dossier alleging Russian intelligence influence over President Donald Trump will not testify next week before the Senate Judiciary Committee, according to two sources familiar with his plans.But the request for Simpson to appear was voluntary, and it’s unclear whether the committee will seek to compel his testimony. Spokespeople for Senate Judiciary Committee Chairman Chuck Grassley of Iowa and ranking member Dianne Feinstein of California did not respond to requests for comment.

Somehow the charges of treason ring hollow when you are requesting a voluntary appearance before the Senate Judiciary committee. The list of those who Senators Grassley and Feinstein would like to voluntarily appear is growing, and they range from Stone, Manafort, Trump Jr., Kushner, Rice, Lynch, Powers and now include Mr. Glenn Simpson of Fusion GPS. But when push comes to shove, the voting public has not seen one of these in a public appearance before the committee.

Senator Grassley and Senator Feinstein are serious politicians, and I believe both bring intellectually honest gravitas to their positions on the Senate Judiciary committee. However, that belief will be strained unless it becomes evident they are serious about compelling testimony.

It is incumbent upon Senator Grassley to understand fairness demands equal treatment. Start at the beginning, and build a narrative the public can follow. Subpoena the Fusion GPS CEO, Glenn Simpson, and by all means give him immunity if he want to plead the Fifth. Do whatever is necessary to get his complete testimony in the public record. Question him thoroughly about his work with the Clinton campaign, compel him to answer which Republican initially engaged his firm to get dirt on Mr. Trump, and make him reveal his relationship with Sen. McCain.

Next, subpoena the Republican Presidential candidate that engaged Fusion, and publicly expose their collusion with some nasty Russian characters, as well as a British spy. After that, bring in Sen. McCain and then James Comey.

Allow the public to see the ongoing interaction between the RINOs and the Clintons. Make sure the public understands how this really was a swamp thing from the get-go, then bring in Susan Rice, Loretta Lynch and Samatha Powers and get to the bottom of the intelligence leaks, the illegal surveillance and the unmasking of US private citizens.

Only then, should you even think about anyone affiliated with the Trump campaign. Only then will we have some concept of how all of this fits together.

It is time to put this to bed. It is time for all of the facts to come out. It is time to expose the complicit activity between RINOs and Democrats. Its high time for this swamp to be cleared out.

Collusion, Fusion, McCain and ???

Russia this. Russia that. Collusion ad nauseam. Treason. Impeachment. Obstruction. Blame it all on Hillary and the Democratic Party Right?

Wrong.

Perhaps the most amazing part of this entire imbroglio is the total lack of attention paid to the genesis of the Fusion GPS Steele Dossier. That lack of attention can be directly traced to senior Republican leadership who seem quite content to sit back and watch the President on the hot seat day in and day out.

Important facts are being revealed due to two defamation libel lawsuits, one here in the U.S. and one in the U.K.: (McClatchy)

Now, two lawsuits — one in the United States and a second in the U.K. — are being brought by lawyers for Aleksej Gubarev, a Cyprus-based Internet entrepreneur whom Steele’s Russian sources accused of cyber spying against the Democratic Party leadership. The British court documents are legal responses in the British suit and do not reflect the entire docket. The British suit is related to a similar lawsuit in the United States, against online news site BuzzFeed.

While not a party to the lawsuit. the plaintiff is seeking to depose Sen. John McCain R-AZ about his role in the creation and dissemination of the Steele Dossier. Although McCain’s involvement has been known for some time, it has received along zero attention. But perhaps, his involvement provides clues to its origination.

The fact of the matter is Fusion GPS was first engaged by a Republican Presidential candidate during the early days of the primary race. This candidate’s campaign funded Fusion GPS to do opposition research on Candidate Trump. Basically, they wanted dirt on Mr. Trump, and used a firm affiliated with the Democratic Party and Hillary Clinton to further that effort. It was only after this candidate decamped the primary race, that the Hillary campaign became involved and furthered the Fusion GPS Steele Dossier efforts. (McClatchy)

The British court document also confirmed that Washington research firm Fusion GPS, co-founded by former Wall Street Journal reporter Glenn Simpson, had been hired to conduct opposition research by one of Trump’s GOP primary opponents. Later, Democrats paid for the same research on Trump’s past and alleged Russian ties. (Emphasis added)

The Washington Times adds more on the Democratic contributions (Wash Times)

Since the dossier was circulated widely among Democrats, Mr. Page said, he believes the Clinton team possessed it and relied on it based on what some of Mrs. Clinton’s surrogates said publicly.“After the report by Yahoo News, the Clinton campaign put out an equally false press release just minutes after the article was released that afternoon,” said Mr. Page, who has tracked what he believes is a series of inaccurate stories and accusations against him.

Which Republican Presidential candidate started this hot mess? A clue might lie in how early on Sen. McCain became involved: (McCatchy)

According to a new court document in the British lawsuit, counsel for defendants Steele and Orbis repeatedly point to McCain, R-Ariz., a vocal Trump critic, and a former State Department official as two in a handful of people known to have had copies of the full document before it circulated among journalists and was published by BuzzFeed. The court document obtained by McClatchy confirms that Sir Andrew Wood, a former British ambassador to Moscow and a Russia adviser to former Prime Minister Tony Blair, discussed the 35-page dossier with McCain.

To date, there has been no investigation who that person is. But as Aesop said, “You are known by the company you keep.”

Ask yourself this: Which of the Republican presidential candidates was known to be closely aligned with Sen. McCain’s NeoCon foreign policy views? Which sitting Senator Republican presidential candidate also voted in lockstep on immigration with Sen. McCain. Which current Republican Senator 2016 presidential candidate virtually echoed all of Sen. McCain’s vitriolic distain for candidate Trump?

If you answered ‘Who is a certain “southern bachelor” for $500 Alex’, you very well might be correct. The clues certainly appear to point in that direction. Sen. Lindsey Graham R-SC seems to have his lips permanently parked on Mr. McCain’s posterior, and both RINOs take every opportunity to trash Russia and the President; all the while positing their outdated neocon nonsense.

Without a doubt, the liberal media deserves blame in this affair. Ditto for the Obama administration and Ms. Clinton. But honesty requires, no honesty demands we admit Republicans opened this particular Pandora’s box and have worked it like a rented mule and profited from it.

It would be refreshing to see the conservative Trump haters go after the senior Republican leadership for allowing this genie to get out of the bottle instead of laying it all at the front door of the White House. But I wouldn’t lay odds on that happening.

Liberals and Neocons – Strange Bedfellows

Fact: During the Fast and Furious scandal, no Democratic Senator called for the appointment of a Special Prosecutor. Attorney General Eric Holder was held in Contempt of Congress, with no support from the Democrats. (Fortune)

Fact: The IRS targeted several Tea Party organizations. Conservative Republicans pushed for the IRS Director to be impeached for lying to Congress about these partisan attacks. Both Democrats as well as moderate Republicans successfully resisted this effort.(Forbes)

Fact: Hillary Clinton’s IT guy, Brian Pagliano evaded a legal subpoena from Congress. Once again, Democrats rallied in support of their candidate and party. (Observer)

Fact: Susan Rice lied to the American public on five different Sunday talk shows about the Benghazi scandal. Across the board, she was defended by her party. (ABC News)

Fact: The State Department and the DOJ obfuscated the Hillary Clinton email scandal investigation. (FOX News)

Why then, are Republicans calling for Attorney General Jeff Sessions to recuse himself and appoint a Special Prosecutor to oversee investigations into this Russia imbroglio.

There is similarity between the Democrat/Obama agenda and the obdurate Republican neocon agenda. For both, successfully weakening the President by systematically destroying his appointments is job one. In particular Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

In 2016, then Sen. Jeff Sessions met with the Russian Ambassador, as well as another Russian official. The Attorney General is being accused of lying to Congress under oath where he was asked if during the campaign he met with Russians. He denied meeting any Russians during the campaign. What he didn’t disclose was his meeting with the Russian Ambassador in his role as senior member of the Senate Armed Services Committee. He was asked a very narrow question and he answered it in turn very narrowly,

The MSM in their role as Democratic Press Secretary has begun touting this as a scandal worthy of impeachment and prison. Numerous Democratic politicians are now calling for the appointment of a Special Prosecutor, and demanding the Attorney General either resign or recuse himself. (Politico)

“The Attorney General must resign,” Pelosi wrote in a statement. “There must be an independent, bipartisan, outside commission to investigate the Trump political, personal and financial connections to the Russians.” Rep. Elijah Cummings (D-Md.), the ranking member on the House oversight committee, also called on Sessions to resign, as did Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.).”

Politico further reports the strange reply by Sen. Lindsey Graham R-SC:

‘If there is something there and it goes up the chain of investigation, it is clear to me that Jeff Sessions, who is my dear friend, cannot make this decision about Trump.’

It is becoming crystal clear the Trump Administration is going to sustain ongoing attacks from both neocon Republicans as well as the minority opposition party. Both have an agenda shaped by idealogy.

For the Democrats, their agenda is simple. Replace the old voter base with a new one, bringing millions of illegal aliens under the Democrat tent thereby ensuring a broad base majority for decades. As the New York Post reports, the Obama/Holder organization has a definitive goals: (NY Post)

“Holder said he has been talking with Obama about different ways to help the new National Democratic Redistricting Committee, “He’s ready to roll,”  says Holder. Marc Elias, a top election lawyer advising the group, said they expect states to file new lawsuits to change the districting maps and are guiding states on where they could see legal victories. Holder added, “…the fight will be more difficult with Jeff Sessions running the Justice Department.”  He said that the decision to throw out a challenge to voter laws in Texas was  “…disheartening. This is really a battle for our democracy, the notion that people are denied their ability to cast a meaningful vote … is inconsistent with who we say we are, inconsistent with what we say our democracy is about.” (Emphasis mine)

There you have it. At the heart of the matter, Attorney General Sessions is an obstacle to their goals.

For the neocon Republicans: Senators McCain, Graham, Flake and Rubio, forming a coalition with the Obama/Holder organization is a convienent path to achieve their agenda. Their agenda? Weaken the President in order to assert the neocon hawkish foreign policy.

Two days ago, the President delivered his foreign policy doctrine:

“‘My job is not to represent the world, my job is to represent the United States of America”

This doctrine is an anathema to those who advocate US military involvement worldwide, and they will vicously oppose it in every way possible. Given the fact they are historically sympathetic to an open borders policy, enabling the Obama/Holder faction’s success is more palatable to them than that of the duly elected Republican President’s success. Draining the swamp wasn’t supposed to be easy, but it was never supposed to be this difficult either.

Opposition from The Resistance is to be expected. Overt cravenly opportunistic resistance from the President’s own party is not. Agenda driven by idealogy does indeed make for strange bedfellows.

 

At the Waters Edge

Coined in the late 40s by avowed globalist, Sen. Arthur Vandenberg, R-Michigan; the term “politics stops at the water’s edge” has come to mean politicians of both parties should refrain from criticizing their President’s foreign policy during wartime, and when speaking outside the country.

Sen. John McCain R-AZ speaking at the 53rd Munich Security Conference, showcased his opposition to President Trump. It was so evident, the CBSNews headline was “John McCain Blast Trump in Munich Speech“, and the first paragraph was equally blunt:

“Republican Sen. John McCain delivered a withering critique of President Donald Trump in a speech Friday that highlighted fractures within the GOP as the new administration struggles to overcome a chaotic start.”

Declaring the Administration to be in “disarray”, McCain also presented his neocon worldview as de facto US policy:

“The senator said he’s aware there is “profound concern across Europe and the world that America is laying down the mantle of global leadership.” But he said that’s not the message they would hear from him or other American leaders” He went on, saying of NATO’s founders that the most alarming part for them would be a “sense that many of our peoples, including in my own country, are giving up on the West, that they see it as a bad deal that we may be better off without, and that while Western nations still have the power to maintain our world order, it’s unclear whether we have the will. I refuse to accept that our values are morally equivalent to those of our adversaries,” the Arizona Republican went on. “I am a proud, unapologetic believer in the West, and I believe we must always, always stand up for it. For if we do not, who will?”

The moderate Republican was not shy about voicing his opinions about open borders and illegal immigration:

“The senator lamented the “hardening resentment we see toward immigrants, and refugees, and minority groups, especially Muslims.’ McCain, who has openly quarreled with the president, said “more and more of our fellow citizens seem to be flirting with authoritarianism and romanticizing it as our moral equivalent.”

But, he was just warming up. CNN reporting on Sen. McCain’s appearance on today’s Meet the Press:

“Sen. John McCain slammed President Donald Trump’s attacks on the media this week by noting dictators “get started by suppressing free press.”

It is historic fact John McCain was heroic throughout his Vietnam POW saga. No intellectually honest person would or could deny that as fact. However, being heroic in war doesn’t give you free reign to abandon statesmanship while overseas in Munich Germany.

It is a mistake to believe this was a result of the insults Sen. McCain and Candidate Trump hurled at each other during the Republican Presidential Primary season. Far from it. This is Sen. John McCain fighting for control of US foreign policy.

Sen. McCain is an open borders devotee, and a neocon hawk who never met a dollar that he didn’t believe belonged to the Department of Defense, all the while opposing southern border security. His own hypocrisy was on display during his 2010 senatorial re-election campaign, as the Huffington Post gleefully notes June of last year: (via HuffPo):

“During his 2010 Senate re-election campaign, John McCain (R-Ariz.) cut one of the most infamous ads of the cycle: a spot with him strolling down the border with Mexico and encouraging Sheriff Paul Babeu to “complete the danged fence.” The ad kept a potentially threatening primary challenge from J.D. Hayworth at bay, but not without cost to McCain’s reputation as a proponent of comprehensive immigration reform. The senator has since tried to repair that image by pushing reform as a member of the Gang of Eight. But his opponent this cycle isn’t going to let him forget his 2010 flirtation with the border-security-first crowd.”

This past week, he appears to have thrown off all pretense of being a shadow member of The Resistance. Equally dismaying, a fellow neocon Bill Kristol, uber-neocon personified,  posted this on Twitter Valentines Day:

“Obviously strongly prefer normal democratic and constitutional politics. But if it comes to it, prefer the deep state to the Trump state.”

There is nothing normal or seemly about either of these men’s actions lately. Nothing at all.

Rep. Mike Coffman Wants Putin In Charge of US Space Launches

Rep. Mike Coffman, a Colorado Republican, really, really doesn’t like competition in the space industry and, it appears, he’s quite comfortable giving Russian strongman Vladimir Putin control over U.S. access to space. Coffman and his office recently prepared and sent a letter to the Federal Aviation Administration, NASA, and the U.S. Air Force criticizing the later two entities’ decision to hire SpaceX to deliver payloads into orbit. SpaceX has experienced two launch failures – most recently on September 1 – that destroyed multi-million dollar payloads.

Writing under the guise of a fiscal steward of taxpayer money, Coffman and nine of his colleagues suggested that SpaceX is a waste of taxpayer money and its most recent launch failure (which was truly spectacular) destroyed a $195 million Isreali-built AMOS-6 satellite. The satellite was for civilian communications.

But while Coffman is leading the charge for an outside investigation of SpaceX’s launch problem, he’s not doing so as a disinterested fiduciary. SpaceX is a competitor of United Launch Alliance, ULA, a joint 50-50 venture between industry giants Boeing and Lockheed Martin. Until 2014, ULA had a monopoly on launch contracts with the Air Force.

According to campaign finance records, Coffman has received $21,000 in campaign contributions from Boeing PAC, and a hefty $38,000 from Lockheed PAC. ULA has facilities in Colorado where Coffman is from.

While ULA touts its deep experience over SpaceX, what the firm does not talk much about is how its primary launch vehicle for government contracts uses rocket motors made in Russia by Energomash, a firm that is 86% owned by the Russian government. Coffman led the fight earlier this year to appropriate $540 million for ULA to buy 18 RD-180 motors from Energomash.

“Congress, NASA and the Department of Defense must be responsible stewards of taxpayer dollars to achieve our military and civil space objectives. The investigative responses to both SpaceX failures raise serious concerns about the authority provided to commercial providers and the protection of national space assets,” the Congressional letter explains.

Coffman and his colleagues went on to question why the Air Force is still potentially using SpaceX for some contracts and ask the FAA if it would reconsider SpaceX’s license to operate launches. “Will the FAA reconsider issuing licenses to SpaceX in light of the pad explosion? If not, why?” they ask. Were the FAA to revoke SpaceX’s license without waiting for the full result of the investigation into the early September launch pad explosion, it would leave the field of competition clear for ULA and its Russian-built rockets as the only path to space for many national security payloads.

The Putin government in Russia made it clear in 2014 that it was willing to block RD-180 sales to U.S. firms if the engines were used to launch Department of Defense – aka military – payloads into space.

The challenge of using Russian rocket engines as the only entry to space for US spaceflight is deeply concerning to Sen. John McCain who has opposed U.S. use of the RD-180, and has tried to get a sunset date placed on their use.

“Little progress has been made in limiting the influence of Russia in space launch,” McCain warned in a January hearing. “Today, Russia holds many of our most precious national security satellites at risk before they ever get off the ground.”

But ULA’s powerful Congressional allies, while skeptical of SpaceX, haven’t appeared to be very worried about Russia’s effective veto over the firm’s operations. Of the 10 lawmakers who signed the letter, 8 represent states where ULA has significant operations.

According to the Washington Free Beacon, earlier in 2016 conservative organizations like Americans for Tax Reform and the Center for Individual Freedom, opposed the further purchase of Russian rocket engines for ULA launches.

Whether or not SpaceX continues to launch rockets remains to be seen, but company head Elon Musk seems confident in the firm’s future. The budding enterprise of free markets in space launch depends in part on the inability of ULA to leverage its bought political clout to forcibly shut down the competition.