executive nominations

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Trump Lauds ‘Great Relationship’ With Duterte in Manila

President Trump and President Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines met in a friendly session on the sidelines of a summit meeting.

Trump’s Pick for Health Post Is Drug Company Executive

Mr. Trump nominated Alex M. Azar II, a former top executive of the drugmaker Eli Lilly, to be the next secretary of the Health and Human Services Department.

Iran-Iraq Earthquake Kills More Than 300

Residents spent the night digging through rubble in a frantic search for survivors after a quake near the countries’ border.

Gerrymanders Dim Hopes for Democrats Despite Wins

Partisan redistricting and increasingly restrictive voting laws will make next year’s midterm elections uphill battles for Democrats.

White House Urges Caution on Judging Roy Moore

Officials said that Mr. Moore, the Alabama Senate candidate accused of pursuing romantic relationships with teenagers, should be allowed to defend himself.

As the new administration takes power, I want to make a suggestion regarding how we (myself included) should consume news media. 

It’s simple. Every time Donald Trump stirs up a media firestorm by using Twitter to lambast celebrities, pick fights with other politicians, and answer callouts (no matter how seemingly valid or incendiary), I want you to go and look at the following, using as many unbiased (or near enough) and varied news sources as you can get your hands on. (I would personally suggest Associated Press, BBC, NPR, and CSPAN)  

-Look at what Congress has done and will do in the 48 hours surrounding that tweet, and the resulting media feeding frenzy.

-Also look at what the president himself is doing. Executive orders. Meetings. Nominations.

-If the Supreme Court is in session, watch them as well.

Basically what I’m telling you is that every time Donald Trump opens Twitter to vomit into the internet, you should hawk the government for a couple of days. I guarantee you, whatever they’re doing while the media is focused on “OMG can you believe ect ect”, is more worthy of your attention than a Twitter flame war, because the long and the short of it is this simple truth:

The politicians don’t want you paying attention.

This sort of diversion is not a new tactic. Politicians of every stripe have been doing this as long as the idea of politics has existed. It’s as old as the disappearing coin trick, because basically it is one. “Look over here! Look where there’s vivid but completely vapid conflict! You won’t notice that I’m palming your healthcare, civil rights, and public services right out from under you.” 

The difference now is that a political party has never ever had such a fertile ground for creating hollow scandal on command, nor have they had such an expeditious means of spreading it. With Trump in the White House, they can pretty much pre-order a media circus to spin up whenever they’d like.

So listen, friends. Don’t fall for their game. Pay attention to what matters. Don’t let them enrage you with things that ultimately are window dressing fluff. Save your attention and rage for fighting for what is important.   


Chuck Schumer trolls Mitch McConnell on nominations by literally repeating his words

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer has a simple request for Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: President-elect Donald Trump’s Cabinet nominees must meet the same traditional standards that were demanded of President Barack Obama’s nominees eight years ago.

In fact, the request is so similar that Schumer sent the exact same letter McConnell sent to Harry Reid, then the Democratic majority leader of the Senate, and simply swapped out some of the names.

There’s a reason for the snark: Republicans, who control the Senate, are starting to hold nomination hearings before the nominees have completed background checks and ethics clearances that are traditionally required of Cabinet appointees. These were the first two standards that McConnell demanded of Obama’s Cabinet nominees eight years ago — and that the Obama administration met — when Democrats controlled the Senate.

Yet Trump’s nominees now seem to be getting a pass on these same standards, even though there are lingering concerns about the Trump administration’s big conflicts of interestaround the world.

Still, Schumer’s letter likely won’t be able to accomplish as much as McConnell’s did.

When McConnell sent this letter eight years ago, there was an implicit threat that GOP senators would filibuster — which would require 60 out of 100 votes in the Senate to overcome — Obama’s nominees if Democrats didn’t follow the rules, effectively stopping any nominee from getting through.

But after years of Republican obstruction of Obama’s nominees, Democrats in the Senate dismantled the filibuster for executive nominees, including Cabinet positions. So now these executive nominations can’t be filibustered and only need a simple majority to get through.

Since Republicans have 52 of 100 seats in the Senate and only need 50 votes (the vice president, soon to be a Republican, can break a tie) to clear a nominee, they don’t have to worry about appeasing Democrats. And that leaves the minority party with no real political leverage for nominees, giving McConnell’s letter much less weight than it had eight years ago.


Message of President Millard Fillmore nominating territorial officers of Utah, including Brigham Young to be Governor, 9/26/1850

File Unit: Executive Nominations for the First Session of the 31st Congress, 12/3/1849 - 9/30/1850Series: Executive Nominations, 1789 - 2002
Record Group 46: Records of the U.S. Senate, 1789 - 2015

President Millard Fillmore appointed early Latter Day Saint leader Brigham Young as the governor of the Territory of Utah, with Young being confirmed by the Senate on September 28, 1850.  Established as part of the Compromise of 1850, Utah Territory included portions of land which would ultimately become parts of other present-day states, including Nevada, Wyoming, and Colorado. 1858 President James Buchanan would replace Young as governor following the events of the Utah War between Mormon settlers and U.S. Government forces.

via National Archives at Boston on Facebook