More GOP senators willing to tell Trump to take a hike

There’s a growing faction inside the Senate Republican Conference, and it looks like bad news for Mitch McConnell and Donald Trump: The devil-may-care caucus.

Unbeholden to Republican orthodoxy and freed from the burdens of imminent reelection campaigns, more GOP senators are flexing their independence in the aftermath of the party’s failed effort to repeal Obamacare. Sen. Bob Corker of Tennessee is the latest addition to the ranks. Days after announcing he would not seek reelection in 2018, he threatened to buck Republicans on tax reform and stood by his earlier criticism of Trump as lacking the stability or competence to be president.

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Corker joins longtime GOP contrarians John McCain, Lisa Murkowski, Susan Collins and Rand Paul in a group that’s willing to vote principle over party line, even if it means sinking some of the party’s cherished agenda items. Roy Moore might be next: The rabble-rousing conservative is favored to win an open Alabama Senate seat after being bombarded by millions of dollars in McConnell-sanctioned campaign ads.

McConnell struggled mightily — and unsuccessfully — to corral his narrow, 52-member majority to back a bill to repeal Obamacare. Now, the swelling number of Republican rebels could spell trouble for the party’s hopes of passing a major tax bill, and potentially imperil their majority.

In an interview, Corker acknowledged his freedom from facing reelection made it a “little easier” to take on his party. He’s declared he will oppose any tax plan that adds “one penny” to the deficit, which the GOP proposal is widely expected to do. Not only that, Corker told Politico, he’d “rail against” any such plan.

“People have lost their heads since the election,” Corker said of his party’s lurch from fiscal conservatism. “It’s a debate about the future. Are we folks who care about leaving this country better for future generations? Or are we all about ‘party-time’ here, to make ourselves beloved by people not having to pay taxes but throwing kids under the bus down the road?”

Leaders are already chafing at the resistance forming to a cause that was supposed to unify the party after the wounds opened by health care. Asked to respond to Corker’s criticism, Senate Finance Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) wound up to lay into his colleague: “Anybody who says you can’t have any deficit, is not living …” he started, before catching himself.

“Let me put it this way, is acknowledging that it’s impossible to even get there unless you have” deficits, Hatch said.

Republicans are hoping budget scorekeepers will eventually mollify Corker by showing that cutting taxes will spur an economic boom. But the problem is much broader than one senator. At least five Republicans are seriously viewed by GOP leaders as potential “no” votes on tax reform. Only three of them could cost the Republicans a centerpiece of their agenda. And that’s before Moore potentially arrives in December and a bill has been written.

The issue for the GOP is that while the entire 52-member caucus is frustrated with inaction, there’s no one to unify them. Trump regularly strays from pushing his agenda to personal feuds. And both he and congressional leadership are broadly unpopular, emboldening individual members to go their own way.

Plus, McCain, Paul and Murkowski were just reelected, Corker is retiring, and Collins might run for governor.

“Although they like to assert their independence at times, the team’s got to produce results if we’re going to continue to keep our majority,” said Sen. John Thune of South Dakota, the No. 3 Senate Republican.

While the rest of the party swivels to tax reform, McCain is privately urging the GOP to commit to a budget deal that boosts military spending by December, according to two sources familiar with the matter. That could delay tax reform, which GOP leaders are hoping to cram through by the end of the year.

On substance, McCain could be a separate problem: He voted against the Bush tax cuts last decade because they disproportionately aided the wealthy. The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center concluded last week that the new GOP tax plan would have a similar impact, putting Republicans on defense before the battle’s even been joined.

“Is it accurate to say as some of these reports have said that this is about tax cuts for the top 1 percent? It’s not,” Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) said.

Paul is complaining about analyses that show some taxes would go up under the GOP tax framework. The plan would slash corporate taxes from 35 percent to 20 percent, expand the standard deduction and cut taxes on unincorporated businesses. An aide said Paul is worried “that it won’t be a tax cut for a lot of people,” and GOP leaders are taking him seriously.

Yet satisfying him might require deeper tax cuts and more long-term debt, which would turn off Corker. Asked how to square the two, Senate Majority Whip John Cornyn deadpanned: “Piece of cake.”

Perhaps knowing that Murkowski will be a tough vote to get, Republican leaders offered the Alaska senator a sweetener: raising money by opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to oil drilling. But Murkowski declined to say whether that move — which McCain and other senators would likely oppose — would do the trick. “I’m not in a situation where I’m saying, ‘OK, if you don’t include this, I’m not going to be there’” on tax reform, she said.

Collins has been especially critical of the GOP’s reliance on the party-line “reconciliation” tool to jam through legislation, the same reason she cited in opposing Obamacare repeal proposals.

“I would very much like for us to try to produce a bipartisan tax bill,” she said.

Republican leaders are already privately fretting that her vote, as well as McCain’s and Paul’s, are going to be difficult to get. They are slightly more confident about Murkowski and hope to finish tax reform before Moore arrives.

But Corker is a real wild card. Though he’s open to the possibility that tax cuts would create enough growth to offset deficits, he suggested there are limits to that argument.

“I’m now nervous about where this goes,” Corker said. “I hope that in the end if it’s a big deficit creator, then our caucus will not support it.”

http://www.politico.com

Trump loyalists lose patience with congressional Russia probes

Loyalists of President Donald Trump are losing patience with Republican leaders over the wide-ranging Russia probes creeping into his inner circle, saying House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell have allowed the investigations to hobble the White House for months.

Congressional investigators, say some lawmakers and state GOP leaders who back Trump, have let the probes — and the media coverage they generate — sidetrack the president as his allies, family members and aides are hauled in for questioning about whether Russians had American help in their quest to tip the 2016 election against Democrat Hillary Clinton.

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GOP leaders largely have kept their distance as the House and Senate intelligence committees and the Senate Judiciary Committee conduct their separate Russia probes — which are independent of the investigation underway by special counsel Robert Mueller, a former FBI director. The Senate intelligence panel will update the public on its progress Wednesday. But Trump’s most ardent supporters say it’s time to clamp down.

“Three investigations is just way too many,” said Rep. Andy Biggs (R-Ariz.). “Some of them need to step back and wait until we see what evidence is educed.”

Lori Klein Corbin, a member of the Republican National Committee from Arizona, said the probes are a distraction to Trump.

“Of course, the Republican leadership is behind these probes,” she said. “The Republicans cannot get over the fact that Trump won and is our president.”

Some Trump allies believe that the congressional inquiries offer Democrats platforms to raise questions that strike at the legitimacy of the 2016 election. And they allow a steady drumbeat of leaks and mini-revelations to preserve a sense of intrigue and suspicion around key figures in the Trump White House.

Steve Bannon, Trump’s former chief strategist, crystallized the fury last week when, during a Fox News interview, he called out McConnell and Ryan by name.

“Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan have allowed three investigative committees on Capitol Hill with full subpoena power, they’re going after President Trump every day,” he boomed. In a “60 Minutes” interview last month, Bannon suggested the investigations were an attempt by the Republican establishment to “nullify” the 2016 election.

Members of Trump’s base began echoing the complaints, accusing leaders in their own party of harboring secret desires to undermine the Trump agenda.

“From the beginning, Mitch McConnell and Paul Ryan have not been friends of the president of the United States,” said Robert Graham, a former chairman of the Arizona Republican Party.

GOP leadership aides reject suggestions they’re working to undermine Trump and say meddling in the work of their committees would be counterproductive and wrong.

“This is not a Congress that gets in the way of investigations,” said one House leadership aide, adding that if a thorough probe exonerates Trump, it would help “clear his name.”

That’s the tack that most Republicans in Congress have taken amid the swirl of allegations that has engulfed the White House. “I am hopeful it will be fair and impartial and will illuminate the facts of exactly what Russia did to undermine our electoral process,” said Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas), who ran against Trump for the 2016 GOP nomination.

But the even-handedness is partly what’s infuriating Trump’s most zealous supporters. They want their colleagues instead to probe more deeply into issues that could harm Democrats — from allegations about mishandling of funds by the Clinton Foundation to revelations that former FBI Director James Comey may have drafted a statement exonerating Clinton in a 2016 investigation before agents had finished witness interviews.

Democrats, they complain, surely wouldn’t investigate a president of their own party with as much vigor.

“My friends on the other side of the aisle, they view almost everything through a political lens,” said Biggs, “and Republicans don’t seem to do that as well.”

Rep. Lou Barletta (R-Pa.), who is running for the Senate on a pro-Trump platform, also indicated that he’s tiring of the Russia probes.

“I think the American people just expect us to move on and get their work done instead of focusing on what appears to be a witch hunt,” he said.

In the Senate Intelligence Committee, where the Russia probe appears to be the most advanced, top investigators Sen. Richard Burr (R-N.C.) and Sen. Mark Warner (D-Va.) have attempted to maintain bipartisan comity. They’ve been tight-lipped about their findings so far and say they are limited in what they can discuss publicly — both by the traditional secrecy of the committee and because the probe relies on classified information.

The committee has most recently focused on Russia’s manipulation of Facebook, Twitter and Google to drive an anti-Clinton propaganda campaign and inflame cultural divisions in the United States. But many Trump supporters think social media is a sideshow as well.

“People think it’s crazy. I think your average person in Nebraska has concluded there’s nothing there. That’s certainly my conclusion,” said J.L. Spray, a Republican national committeeman from Nebraska. “There’s so many phantoms, and now we learn about Facebook and Google. I think we’re just swinging at air. The big ‘duh’ is the Russians are f—ing with us on Facebook. Any 9-year-old kid would figure that out.”

Veteran GOP strategist Saul Anuzis said the griping by Trump supporters reflects pent-up frustration that Trump has been besieged since his inauguration.

“I think there’s a frustration that Trump seems to be constantly under attack. It doesn’t matter what the process is, there’s a feeling that he’s not being fairly treated,” he said. “The president never got his honeymoon period.”

Many Republicans are still waiting to see what comes of the probes. Among the right-leaning grass roots in Burr’s home state, “it’s maybe 50-50” between those who support letting the investigations take their course and those who perceive the Russia inquiries as a threat to the president, said Erik Wilson, a board member of the free-market Republican Liberty Caucus of North Carolina.

“I think the greater risk would be if they didn’t. The backlash and the hue and cry of cover-up and political favoritism would probably be far worse,” said former RNC Chairman Michael Steele.

“Let the committees do their job and let the investigations go where they need to go,” Steele said. “The general thinking is, well, if there was no behavior to investigate in the first place, well, we wouldn’t be here then, would we?”

http://www.politico.com

Who Will Lead the Left on Gun Control?

Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders knows his extraordinarily ambitious proposal to supplant the private health insurance industry with a single government plan won’t become law anytime soon. Yet, as he told HBO’s Vice News, he proposed it anyway, “because that’s the way change always happens … Things don’t happen overnight. And especially when you’re taking on the entire political establishment, you have to begin someplace.”

So if that’s the way change always happens, where’s the big, bold, politically unrealistic but conservation-changing proposal to stop the epidemic of gun deaths?

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The hard truth is the public mass shootings that periodically inflict national trauma account for a tiny silver of the gun epidemic—only 98 deaths in 2016. Out of the approximately 34,000 gun deaths America suffers each year, nearly two-thirds come from suicides, not homicides. Of those homicides by firearm, about two-thirds come from handguns, versus fewer than three percent from rifles of any sort.

Any serious attempt to address gun violence at the source has to address the accessibility of handguns. But what you mostly hear from gun control proponents— even from the farthest left edge of the Democratic Party—are the more politically palatable but narrower policies for a stronger background check system and an assault weapons ban. This is not going to solve the problem of gun violence. Not even close.

There’s an opening for a Democrat willing to ignore the polling data, dismiss the fretting about gun-happy white working-class voters, suffer the wrath of the NRA and stake a claim as the champion for sweeping gun control. But there’s no guarantee anyone will take it.

***

We can be fairly confident Sanders won’t apply his political logic on health care to gun control. Hailing from a rural state supportive of broad Second Amendment rights, the democratic socialist has long positioned himself as a gun centrist.

After the Sandy Hook massacre, he argued, “If you passed the strongest gun control legislation tomorrow, I don’t think it will have a profound effect on the tragedies we have seen.” And during the presidential primary, amid an onslaught of criticism from Hillary Clinton, he offered himself as someone who could meet gun rights supporters halfway. “You can sit there and say, ‘I think we should do this and do that,’” Sanders told one interviewer, “But you got a whole lot of states in this country where people want virtually no gun control at all. And if we are going to have some success, we are going to have to start talking to each other.”

If Bernie Sanders won’t be the Bernie Sanders of gun control, who will? The person trying the hardest so far is potential presidential candidate Sen. Chris Murphy.

Murphy, who was profoundly moved by Sandy Hook and has little to fear from pro-gun voters in deep-blue Connecticut, has been a vociferous critic of the NRA. He regularly excoriates his colleagues to prioritize gun control. He has sponsored legislation that would give states financial incentive to adopt handgun license programs, pointing to research that his own state’s program slashed gun homicides by 40 percent. In a Washington Post op-ed following the Vegas massacre, Murphy made a case for an expansive gun control agenda:

“Large majorities of Americans support universal background checks, permit requirements for gun ownership and bans on the most dangerous kinds of weapons and ammunition. The gun lobby, and the loud vocal minority it echoes, make the issue seem like more of a hot button than it is … America’s reputation is based on its ability to deliver the world big, Earth-changing solutions.”

And yet, the bill he’s planning to introduce in the Senate is yet another background check bill—hardly the political equivalent of Bernie’s Medicare for All. The other top gun control voice in the Senate, longtime assault weapons ban advocate Sen. Dianne Feinstein, quickly proposed an even narrower bill, banning the “bump stock” that police believe Stephen Paddock may have used in Las Vegas to effectively convert his semi-automatic rifle to a faster-firing automatic.

These incrementalist moves leave space for a Democrat to go truly big: mandate registration, licensing and safety courses; ban online sales; limit purchases to one gun a month; cap the size of magazines and ratify a constitutional amendment superseding the Second to allow broader handgun bans.

Whatever the substantive merits of these ideas, most Democrats won’t leap that far to the left on guns for an obvious reason: All available evidence points to gun control as political suicide.

***

As I wrote in POLITICO Magazine last May, Democrats began downplaying the issue ever since the Bill Clinton-era gun laws and Al Gore’s 2000 campaign proposal to ban cheap handguns alienated previously Democratic states such as West Virginia, Arkansas and Tennessee. When Democrats took control of Congress after the 2006 midterms, it was thanks in part to candidates who shed that past and ran on pro-gun rhetoric. Barack Obama didn’t champion the gun control cause until Sandy Hook happened, one month after he had completed his last presidential race. In 2016, Clinton’s attempt to run as a proud supporter of “gun violence prevention” only succeeded in enticing the NRA to spend more than any other outside group on Donald Trump’s campaign. Her anti-gun stance may have helped her defeat Sanders in the primary, but she got shellacked in rural areas during the general election.

Looking at the public support for moderate ideas like universal background checks, Murphy may believe the NRA is a paper tiger. But the reality is that over the last 20 years, Democrats have won only in the states and districts that counted when they kept guns off of the agenda.

Furthermore, some of the more ambitious proposals poll terribly. For example, Gallup found that only 23 percent of Americans support a broad handgun ban. It would not be wise for the entire Democratic Party to lead with its chin on gun control.

However, what’s dangerous for the party’s short-term prospects need not paralyze every individual Democrat from establishing an intellectual foundation for a comprehensive solution to the plague of gun violence.

***

In 2013, after Sandy Hook, it was understandable for President Obama – after offering a long list of ideas – to get behind the narrow background check bill from the bipartisan duo of Sens. Joe Manchin (D-WV) and Pat Toomey (R-Penn.). It was the only bill with the hope of earning sufficient bipartisan support to break a Senate filibuster. While a tighter system wouldn’t have stopped killers who legitimately clear the checks – such as Orlando’s Omar Mateen, Aurora’s James Holmes and this week’s Vegas sniper – others have fallen through the cracks in the system, like Charleston’s Dylann Roof, who had a prior felony conviction, and Virginia Tech’s Seung-Hui Cho, who was adjudicated as a “mental defective.” Any incremental step forward potentially saves a life.

Yet even with Democrats holding the presidential bully pulpit, huge support in polls and a majority in the Senate, Manchin-Toomey was rejected by four Senate Democrats and ultimately fell five votes short of the required 60.

But in 2017, we know that in a Washington fully controlled by Republicans in thrall to the NRA, any gun control bill – no matter how narrow or now popular – has zero chance of even making it to the House or Senate floor, let alone becoming law. And we also know from recent experience that trying to embarrass Republicans by demanding votes on the tiniest bit of gun control – even on legislation banning suspected terrorists on the no-fly list from buying a gun – fails to impress voters come Election Day.

So why should Democrats expend most of their energy today on exceedingly incremental legislation, when such measures lend themselves to disingenuous attacks from the right? If you stress background checks, then Republicans point out all the cases where that wouldn’t have made a difference. If you emphasize assault weapons, you hear the guffaws from the right that liberals don’t know enough about guns to properly define what should qualify for a ban. If you talk about high-profile mass shooters, then you get an earful about how you’re ignoring the daily gun violence in liberal cities like Chicago.

What gun rights advocates are trying to do in this predictable back-and-forth is bait Democrats into admitting they want broader restrictions to stop that everyday violence. Avoiding the bait is politically sensible in the short run. But it’s unserious and intellectually incoherent, and it hampers the ability to sustain focus on the gun issue between massacres, when the public tunes out.

Considering that going big is all the rage on the left – as many progressives vilify the soulless pragmatism personified by Hillary Clinton as detrimental to inspiring voter turnout – you might think more Democrats would be competing with each other to see who can offer the boldest proposal to address an issue of moral urgency. Yet gun control doesn’t attract the same level of passion on the left as health care.

Which is odd. As I argued after Sanders’ introduced his Medicare for All plan, on health care, Democrats have an easier path: building on the hard-fought success of the Affordable Care Act instead of agitating for a wholesale revamp. But it’s precisely the Democrats’ success in defending the ACA that has whetted the left’s appetite. Why just regulate private insurance when we can eliminate it?

However, unrealistic expectations of an unprecedented hostile government takeover of a private industry are what make the single-payer push so dangerous; the odds of bitter disappointment once Democrats regain power are high. But with gun control, expectations couldn’t be much lower.

Moreover, Democrats in general are already being tagged as “gun grabbers” for merely raising the issue of guns, even if their main proposals would not touch the guns of most people. For one or two Democrats to go big on guns helps expand the parameters of the debate and position relatively modest ideas as centrist compromises, without damaging the Democratic brand among the white working-class … at least, not much more than it already has been damaged.

With so many Democratic prospects considering the presidency, many are hungry to find opportunities to exude leadership. The years of Democratic timidity on gun control present an enormous opening for a politician to claim the mantle of boldness. And on this issue, and maybe only this issue, there’s no chance of getting outflanked on your left by Bernie Sanders.

Bill Scher is a contributing editor to Politico Magazine, and co-host of the Bloggingheads.tv show “The DMZ.”

http://www.politico.com

Dems lower their outrage on guns after massacre

The last record-setting shooting spree on U.S. soil — at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida, last year — prompted Democrats to occupy the House floor for a full day in protest of the GOP’s refusal to take up new gun control laws.

This time, the minority party is employing tamer tactics, tamping down talks of another sit-in and demanding primarily that Republicans drop a gun silencer bill they’ve been pushing.

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The difference in approach speaks to the tricky, shifting politics of guns for Democrats.

It’s easy for them to lambaste Republicans for failing to take action after mass shootings. But elevating the issue heading into a midterm election next year — something Democrats said this week they have no plans to do — could repel the very voters they need to woo to regain control of Congress. Not to mention make their vulnerable red-state Democrats prime for Republican attacks.

There’s also a growing sense of futility in the debate. Gun control was a lost cause even under divided government, let alone when Republicans control both chambers of Congress and the White House.

So Democrats are setting their sights lower.

“I am calling on the president to come out against the absurd law about silencers. Threaten to veto it if he must and put an end to that bill,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said.

That’s not to say Democrats haven’t pushed for other things since the attack in Las Vegas, which killed at least 58 people and injured hundreds more. They’ve called for a vote on a bipartisan bill to expand background checks and requested the creation of a select committee to study gun violence. They just don’t expect the GOP-controlled Congress and White House to respond.

Several Democrats said they recognize that without Republican buy-in, beating the gun control drum through next year’s election is likely to achieve little.

“It doesn’t seem to make a great difference at the ballot box, and that’s frustrating,” House Minority Whip Steny Hoyer (D-Md.) said Tuesday.

House Democrats will gather on the Capitol steps Wednesday morning to honor victims of the Las Vegas shooting and criticize GOP inaction. They will be led by Rep. John Lewis of Georgia, one of the architects of last year’s sit-in, and former Rep. Gabby Giffords, who was nearly killed in a mass shooting in 2011.

But their response is noticeably less aggressive than last year’s.

The daylong protest then led to ethics investigations into whether Democrats acted improperly by using the House floor as a fundraising platform. House Republicans changed the chamber’s rules to prevent similar actions. The spectacle made headlines around the world.

But faced with this week’s tragedy in Las Vegas, the deadliest mass shooting in modern U.S. history, Democrats say they have no plans for a major act of civil disobedience.

“I think at this point, that’s probably not the best course of action for Democrats to take,” Rep. Linda Sánchez of California, vice chair of the House Democratic Caucus, told reporters Tuesday.

In fact, she noted, the idea didn’t even come up during a Democratic Caucus meeting Tuesday when lawmakers discussed various responses to the shooting.

Leaders of last year’s protest have met this week to discuss their options and could still decide to wage a sit-in, but Democratic sources say it’s highly unlikely.

Also improbable is Democrats making gun control a central issue in the midterms.

When Democrats rolled out their 2018 agenda in July, dubbed “A Better Deal,” it purposefully avoided divisive social issues like gun control.

“First and foremost, it’s an economic agenda,” Sanchez said. “While for some members gun violence will be a platform that they will talk a lot about, we want to emphasize the fact that Democrats have and always will continue to stand with working families.”

In the Senate, Schumer’s prodding of President Donald Trump to bury the GOP silencer bill offers Democrats a way to address the Las Vegas attack that speaks to the chamber’s handful of vulnerable incumbents facing tough reelections in deep-red states.

One of them, Sen. Jon Tester has gotten high marks from the National Rifle Association on annual voting scorecards. The Montana Democrat agreed Tuesday that “we’ve got to just hold off” on taking up legislation to loosen limits on silencers until the Las Vegas shooting is fully investigated.

Another vulnerable red-state Democrat, West Virginia Sen. Joe Manchin, partnered with Sen. Pat Toomey (R-Pa.) in 2013 on the last major bipartisan gun bill to have a floor vote in the upper chamber. That background check legislation fell five votes short of the 60 needed for passage.

While Toomey told reporters Tuesday he still supports the measure, Manchin warned that no progress would be possible without White House support.

“It’s really going to take President Trump, who looks at something from a law-abiding gun owner’s standpoint, that makes common sense and gun sense, and puts his stamp of approval on it,” Manchin said.

Manchin added that he would talk with Toomey about the bill and wouldn’t rule out pursuing it “if it gets enough cosponsors” from the GOP. But the duo’s bill would likely face an even steeper climb this year.

Despite the party’s trimming of its sails on guns, some Democrats say it’s time to seize the issue, even at the risk of alienating moderate voters next year.

Connecticut Sen. Chris Murphy, who led three fellow Democrats Tuesday in a public call for action on guns, is planning to propose a new background checks bill in coming days.

And Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) said Tuesday that she is looking at legislative options to address the easy availability of so-called bump fire stocks, which law enforcement officials say the Las Vegas shooter used on at least one of his weapons to boost its rate of firing.

“How many moments of silence are we going to have?” said Rep. Gerry Connolly (D-Va.). “When are we going to have a moment of outrage?”

http://www.politico.com

Spanish king slams ‘disloyal’ Catalan breakaway leaders

ac

Excellent example of EU double standards in truly Orwell’s ‘Animal farm’ spirit: all animals are equal but some are more equal.

Just imagine mayhem that EU Commissars would start if government of Hungary, Czech Republic, Poland or Romania tried to brutally crash opposition like Spanish government !
EU parliament debates, threats of sanctions, triggering article 7 of EU treaty and depriving of voice in the EU would follow immediately. Timmermans, Juncker, Macron would go mad every day on that.

But nothing like that happens in case of:
– Spain – trying to brutally crash democratic movement in Catalonia
– Germany – where Bundestag Scientific Office has just determined that Merkel’s decision to open borders to immigrants from all over the world had no legal grounds, where dieselgate and collusion among car producers has been tolerated for decades,
– France – with constantly extended state of emergency depriving citizens of their basic rights which UN human rights experts condemned recently or breaching 3% budget deficit against EU treaties for years.

Posted on 10/3/17 | 10:25 PM CEST

Peter

Has he got “special educational needs”?
Disloyal? The whole point of an independence referendum is they don’t want to be part of Spain so surely this is overstaying the obvious!
The Spanish establishment is an absolute disgrace, its bad enough that the animals in uniform unleashed that level of brutality on a peaceful protest but for scum like this to try and justify it is disgusting.
Fingers crossed Devine retribution intervenes and the stormy troopers Tweety Bird Cruise ship sinks with them all on it!

Posted on 10/3/17 | 10:27 PM CEST

.

This ought to help.

Posted on 10/3/17 | 10:33 PM CEST

jamesrandom

Question for someone who knows:

1)How much power does the Spanish king have in Spain?
2)Is the king a “heavy” Catholic, cultural Catholic, or other?
3)Is he independant from the Vatican?

Posted on 10/3/17 | 11:08 PM CEST

YellowSubmarine

If there’s one thing you don’t do it’s wheel out the royal family to support the government on political issues.

Posted on 10/3/17 | 11:11 PM CEST

S.Alexander

There we go. No sooner I said that escalations MUST stop than the one and only – king of Spain – escalated the crisis a notch. What kind of king puts his own subjects at odds with each other? This “king” is insane. Instead of playing the role of mediator, he plays the role of the tyrant? What the hell is wrong with him?

“Subjects” is a metaphor these days, dear king of Spain. Not per se your own people that you can dispose of as you like. You don’t deserve to be a king – imho. Not to mention that monarchies – where right of supreme rule is passed by luck (whoever was lucky enough be born the first boy of the ruling family) is a relic from the ancient past where wealth inheritance was passed by first son (the so called right of primogeniture). As all relics it is nice to havd – but not really nice to use.

Posted on 10/3/17 | 11:43 PM CEST

Raul

Now tell us independentists to be civil and look for agreement with those people. We just know them better than rest of EU, they only agree on you agreeing with hem

Posted on 10/4/17 | 12:28 AM CEST

Raul

@jamersrandom
The Spanish king has a deal with the sate, he is allowed to fill his pockets with commissions from selling weapons to Saudi Arabia to kill Yemenis and he says whatever the Spanish government wants him to say. His speeches are literally approved by the Spanish PM.
Juan Carlos I, the father of Felipe VI, came to the throne with no capital worthy of notice, now the Spanish monarchy has over 1bn Euro worth of capital.

Posted on 10/4/17 | 12:32 AM CEST

FICHEZ

@jamesrandom The king is the “chief” of the Spanish armies, he is the one who dissolves the courts in the elections, he can also pronounce himself to intervene in delicate matters. Apart from receiving more than 9 million euros each year for your pretty face.

The king’s speech was repugnant, he did not say the word “dialogue”at all, he did not say anything about the 893 wounded on 1 October. He has limited himself to saying that the Government of Catalonia and all the people who support independence have violated the stability of the state, its coexistence and its history… in other words, he does not say anything about the government party ordering these brutal charges or how corrupt it is…. NOTHING

It’s a real piece of crap, many Spanish Republicans, and good people from Spain have felt despised by this man they call king, he doesn’t represent all Spaniards and I can assure you that Catalonia has completely disconnected from Spain, its society, its feeling, everything is already different, the lace has been put by the king tonight.

We know what is going to happen with total security, Article 155 of the Spanish Constitution will be officially activated, intervening and suspending the Autonomous Community of Catalonia, taking to prison politicians related to the movement, police and military repression (more than 7,000 legionnaires have already been displaced to the Zaragoza base, so that? Across Catalonia, implement a Governor in Catalonia, a landowner to put it plainly, for the management of the new elections in Catalonia, under the umbrella of the Central Government.

The dark times return in Spain, the king has de facto declared war on Catalonia, in a symbolic way?? yes, but he has declared it, this is intolerable, that a people under military repression is cruel, it is bad. Europe and the World cannot look the other way, it must not, morally it must protest, our Spanish brothers are awakening, but it will not arrive in time for there to be no tanks in the cities of Catalonia, I regret all this and regret the consequences and regret the ways in which the world has had to learn about this political conflict, now more than ever VISCA CATALONIA.

Posted on 10/4/17 | 12:48 AM CEST

Deborah

Looks like Merkel is going to suffer a humiliating climb down on immigrant policy if she wants to form a coalition.

Posted on 10/4/17 | 1:49 AM CEST

Antonia

This is big test for the EU. This is the field of expertize for peace and unity.

Don’t say ‘internal matter’, HELP OUT before EU CITIZENS get hurt or worse.

Posted on 10/4/17 | 1:51 AM CEST

Afonso

@ S. Alexander

“There we go. No sooner I said that escalations MUST stop than the one and only – king of Spain – escalated the crisis a notch. What kind of king puts his own subjects at odds with each other?”

That’s the Castilian mindset. The same that led Franco to seek US support to invade Portugal as recently as 42 years ago. Castile will never cede on its dream of a united Iberia, whatever the human cost.

Posted on 10/4/17 | 2:00 AM CEST

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