Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Trump Administration Waives Punishment For Convicted Banks, Including Deutsche — Which Trump Owes Millions

http://www.ibtimes.com/political-capital/trump-administration-waives-punishment-convicted-banks-including-deutsche-which
"The Trump administration has waived part of the punishment for five megabanks whose affiliates were convicted and fined for manipulating global interest rates. One of the Trump administration waivers was granted to Deutsche Bank — which is owed at least $130 million by President Donald Trump and his business empire, and has also been fined for its role in a Russian money laundering scheme. The waivers were issued in a little-noticed announcement published in the Federal Register during the Christmas holiday week. They come less than two years after then-candidate Trump promised “I'm not going to let Wall Street get away with murder"."

President Trump has made more than 2,000 false or misleading claims over 355 days

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2018/01/10/president-trump-has-made-more-than-2000-false-or-misleading-claims-over-355-days/?utm_term=.34e1f7c14144
"Trump has made 2,001 false or misleading claims in 355 days, according to our database that analyzes, categorizes and tracks every suspect statement uttered by the president. That’s an average of more than 5.6 claims a day."

Trump, the 'Very Stable Genius,' Is Falling Apart as Mueller Seeks Interview @alternet

Trump, the 'Very Stable Genius,' Is Falling Apart as Mueller Seeks Interview @alternet:

"If he sticks to his story that nobody in his campaign had contact with Russia, which has been discredited by Donald Trump Jr.’s tweets and George Papadopoulos’ plea agreement, he risks making false statements under oath, something four of his aides have already been charged with.  If Trump changes his story, he risks confirming that he sought to obstruct the probe of his campaign, a central focus of Mueller’s investigation."

Steve Bannon Subpoenaed By House Intel As Robert Mueller Subpoena Looms

The Whole Damn GOP Needs to be Investigated Following Release of Fusion GPS Transcript

https://forwardprogressives.com/the-whole-damn-gop-needs-to-be-investigated-following-release-of-fusion-gps-transcript/
"Based on what’s contained within these 312 pages of testimony we now have verifiable proof that congressional Republicans have been blatantly pushing misinformation about Fusion GPS, the comments made by Simpson during their interview with him, and the motives behind Steele’s work in what appears to be a clear attempt to undermine these investigations to protect Trump. Not that anyone reading this is likely surprised by any of this, but Feinstein’s release of this transcript at least gives us actual proof that the GOP has been lying through their teeth about this. This is why I’ve said for over a year now that I don’t think it’s just Trump who needs to be investigated. It seems rather apparent that many within the Republican Party are working to undermine and interfere, if not outright sabotage, legitimate and credible investigations into whether or not this “president” is a criminal and a traitor."

Fusion GPS transcripts reveal two things—the corruption of Trump, the treachery of the Republicans

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/1/10/1731460/-Fusion-GPS-transcripts-reveal-two-things-the-corruption-of-Trump-the-treachery-of-the-Republicans
"What the transcripts reveal is that, in investigating connections between Donald Trump and corrupt governments overseas, Fusion GPS demonstrated that the government right here in the United States is equally corrupt. Equally willing to trade truth for power. Equally ready to condemn those whose only crime is uncovering information which those in charge want thoroughly buried. The information collected by Fusion GPS is an indictment of Donald Trump as a front man for mobsters and corrupt governments whose crooked dealing and personal excesses left him open to easy manipulation.  But the Fusion GPS transcripts are an indictment of the Republican Party, as an entity that has lost any concern for the nation, fairness, or the facts—an entity addicted to power by any means, and willing to use that power to close the mouths of those they view as threats."

President Donald Trump Lie Count Passes 2000

Transcript bombshells: FBI had source in Trump campaign, NYT story killed Steele's FBI connection

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/1/9/1731187/-Transcript-bombshells-FBI-had-source-in-Trump-campaign-NYT-story-killed-Steele-s-FBI-connection
"Simpson’s own work at the Wall Street Journal had included a number of stories about Russian oligarchs, organized crime, and corrupt politicians. While he might not have previously researched Trump, he was definitely familiar with Sater. SIMPSON: As it happens, Felix Sater was, you know, connected to the same Russian crime family that was at issue in the Prevezon case, which is the dominant Russian crime family in Russia and has a robust U.S. presence and is involved in a lot of crime and criminal activity in the United States and for many years was the -- the leader of this family was on the FBI most wanted list and lives openly in Moscow as a fugitive from U.S. law for a very elaborate stock fraud. Simpson discusses Sater’s connections, and the general nature of Russian organized crime as a political/criminal/banking hybrid. The connections between Trump and Sater started Simpson looking into the multiple ties Trump had to Russian organized crime, and from there into the mystery of just where was Donald Trump getting his money. DAVIS: And what, if anything, did you conclude about the connection between and in the business dealings that then Candidate Trump had had with Mr. Sater? SIMPSON: Well, somewhat analogous to the Browder situation I found it notable this was something he didn't want to talk about and testified under oath he wouldn't know Felix if he ran into him in the street. That was not true. He knew him well and, in fact, continued to associate with him long after he learned of Felix's organized crime ties. So, you know, that tells you something about somebody.  So I concluded that he was okay with that and that was a troubling thing. I also, you know, began to -- I keep saying I, but we as a company began to look at where his money came from and, you know, that raised a lot of questions. We saw indications that some of the money came from Kazakhstan, among other places, and that some of it you just couldn't account for."

Internet rains hell on Sens. Grassley and Graham for trying to cover up explosive Trump dossier testimony

Internet rains hell on Sens. Grassley and Graham for trying to cover up explosive Trump dossier testimony

"On Tuesday, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) released the explosive transcript regarding the Fusion GPS dossier about President Donald Trump’s alleged ties to Russia — and one of the biggest bombshells stemmed not from the dossier itself, but those who sought to keep it from the public. Sens. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) and Lindsey Graham (R-SC) both fought on Monday to keep the transcript’s contents from the public, and once the damning details were released, Twitter let them have it."

Sketchy Kazakh Money Finds Its Way Into President Donald Trump's Dealings

Explosive Fusion GPS testimony details Trump’s alleged ties to international money laundering operations

Explosive Fusion GPS testimony details Trump’s alleged ties to international money laundering operations

"Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA) released the full transcript of testimony that Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson gave to the Senate Intelligence Committee — and it contains explosive allegations that President Donald Trump has direct ties to international money laundering operations. During his testimony, Simpson detailed ways that money had been stolen from a bank in Kazakhstan, then laundered throughout multiple countries — before possibly being funneled in part to the Trump Soho hotel project. At the center of the ordeal appears to be Felix Sater, a Trump-linked Russian-born businessman who in 1998 pleaded guilty to taking part in a mafia-related stock fraud scheme, and who is now cooperating with an international investigation into an alleged money laundering network. “So there was a civil case, at least one civil case in New York involving — filed by the city of Almaty… against some alleged Kazakh money launderers,” Simpson testified. “I don’t remember exactly how, but we learned that — it wasn’t from Chris. We learned that Felix Sater had some connections with these people, and it’s been more recently in the media that he’s helping the government of Kazakhstan to recover this money. There’s been media reports that the money went into the Trump Soho or it went into the company that built the Trump Soho.” Sater’s financial relationship with Trump dates back to at least 2003, when the Trump Organization rented out office space to Sater’s former company. Even though Trump initially tried to distance himself from Sater after news of his criminal past came to light in 2007, he subsequently tapped Sater in 2010 to scout out real estate. Additionally, Sater presented clients with business cards that claimed he was a senior adviser to Trump, and his office was on the same floor as Trump’s office in Trump Tower. Sater wasn’t the only figure with ties to organized crime that Simpson found working with Trump, either."

Private conversations show Trump’s public statements about the wall to be lies

https://thinkprogress.org/trump-dreamers-border-wall-least-important-thing-daca-1d49d54a9a77/
"While Trump’s statement suggests he views the border wall as a security necessity, comments he made during a conversation with Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto days after his inauguration indicate Trump’s motivation for pushing for the wall has to do with politics, not national security. During that January 27 conversation, a transcript of which was leaked to the Washington Post, Trump characterized the wall as “the least important thing that we are talking about, but politically this might be the most important [thing we] talk about.” When Nieto indicated his government has no interest in helping Trump fulfill his campaign promise by paying for the wall, Trump said he understood, but couldn’t say so publicly, and urged Nieto to do the same. “You cannot say anymore that the United States is going to pay for the wall,” Trump told Nieto. “I am just going to say that we are working it out"."

Robert Mueller, House Intel Subpoena Steve Bannon On Same Day

New federal court order green lights Republican efforts to ‘supercharge voter suppression’

https://thinkprogress.org/consent-decree-rnc-221b4caa8c77/
"A federal judge on Tuesday ended a consent decree banning the Republican National Committee from engaging in ballot security activities, giving a major boost to Republicans’ efforts to suppress minority voters. The consent decree has been in place since 1982, when the RNC was found to be engaging in “voter caging” in predominantly African-American and Latino neighborhoods, and has required a federal court to review Republicans’ proposed “ballot security” programs. Now, for the first time in 35 years, the RNC will be permitted to engage in these activities without oversight."

Trump speaks at fourth-grade level, lowest of last 15 U.S. presidents, new analysis finds

http://www.newsweek.com/trump-fire-and-fury-smart-genius-obama-774169
"President Donald Trump—who boasted over the weekend that his success in life was a result of “being, like, really smart”—communicates at the lowest grade level of the last 15 presidents, according to a new analysis of the speech patterns of presidents going back to Herbert Hoover. The analysis assessed the first 30,000 words each president spoke in office, and ranked them on the Flesch-Kincaid grade level scale and more than two dozen other common tests analyzing English-language difficulty levels. Trump clocked in around mid-fourth grade, the worst since Harry Truman, who spoke at nearly a sixth-grade level."

President Donald Trump Remarks May Undo His Racist Policies

Why Trump Keeps Telling the World 'I’m Smart'

Why Trump Keeps Telling the World 'I’m Smart':

"Beneath Trump’s public bravado is a deeply insecure, troubled man who is unfit to be president. This makes him a danger to the country and the world."

Trump World’s amazing new euphemism: ‘Executive Time’

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/trump-worlds-amazing-new-euphemism-executive-time
"Soon after the 2016 election, Donald Trump had a private meeting in the White House with Barack Obama, and the sitting president walked his successor through his daily duties. Trump, the Wall Street Journal noted at the time, “seemed surprised by the scope” of the presidency. It quickly became obvious that Trump sought a job he knew very little about. He soon after admitted as much, telling Reuters, “This is more work than in my previous life. I thought it would be easier.” He added in an Associated Press interview, “I never realized how big it was.” The question then became how the Republican amateur would adapt. The answer is coming into focus: he may not be adapting at all. On the contrary, though many hoped the president would rise to the occasion, roll up his sleeves, and begin to tackle his monumental tasks with maturity and vigor, Axios reported over the weekend that Trump is apparently working less, not more. President Trump is starting his official day much later than he did in the early days of his presidency, often around 11am, and holding far fewer meetings, according to copies of his private schedule shown to Axios. This is largely to meet Trump’s demands for more “Executive Time,” which almost always means TV and Twitter time alone in the residence, officials tell us. The schedule says Trump has “Executive Time” in the Oval Office every day from 8am to 11am, but the reality is he spends that time in his residence, watching TV, making phone calls and tweeting. Trump comes down for his first meeting of the day, which is often an intelligence briefing, at 11am. This president’s typical work day in the Oval Office reportedly starts around 11 a.m., and wraps up at 6 p.m., at which point Trump likes to return to the White House residence, where much of his time is devoted to watching television."

President Donald Trump Fails To Protect US From Russia Attacks

The GOP’s 100-Year War Is Bigger Than Taxes or Trump

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/01/08/gops-100-year-war-bigger-taxes-or-trump
"Their goal is to throw state governments, as well as the federal government, into fiscal crises that will allow Republicans to realize their ultimate ambition: the gutting of our shredded social contract and the dismantlement of the modern civil state. Don’t take my word for it. Ask them. This is what House Speaker Paul Ryan had to say as his party prepared to pass the tax bill: “We’re going to have to get back next year at entitlement reform, which is how you tackle the debt and the deficit.” Ryan also said: “This has been my big thing for many, many years.” His fellow Republican, Sen. Marco Rubio, said: “You also have to bring spending under control. And not discretionary spending. That isn’t the driver of our debt. The driver of our debt is the structure of Social Security and Medicare for future beneficiaries.” They’re not “entitlements,” gentlemen, they’re “earned benefits.” This fixation on debt and deficits is misguided in any case, whether it’s expressed by a Republican or a Democrat. But it’s especially galling when expressed by Republicans whose tax bill adds a projected $1.5 trillion to the deficit. It’s illogical, unless their actual goal is to dismantle government programs that have succeeded where the private sector has failed. But then, that’s been the Republican ideology since Ronald Reagan said, “Government is not the solution to our problem. Government is the problem.” As the old saying goes: When someone tells you who they are, believe them. Mick Mulvaney, the former Tea Party congressman who now serves as both Trump’s budget director and head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has expressed open hostility to benefits programs and indirect opposition to the idea that the rich should pay any taxes at all. Republicans are equally hostile to regulations, which is another way of saying they are opposed to letting us protect ourselves from the death, disease, injury and devastation caused by private-sector greed."

Trump’s Daily White House Schedule Will Confirm Your Worst Suspicions @alternet

Trump’s Daily White House Schedule Will Confirm Your Worst Suspicions @alternet:

"Trump spends fewer hours in meetings and more hours dedicated to a mysterious activity blocked off on his official schedule as “Executive Time”—which in reality, aides say, means “watching TV, making phone calls and tweeting.” The article continues: “Trump's days in the Oval Office are relatively short—from around 11am to 6pm, then he's back to the residence. During that time he usually has a meeting or two, but spends a good deal of time making phone calls and watching cable news in the dining room adjoining the Oval. Then he's back to the residence for more phone calls and more TV.” Trump begins his workday three to four hours after most Americans do. He doesn’t take his first official meeting (his daily briefing by staff members) until 11am. It should alarm us all that Trump spends his early hours each day absorbing news from secondhand sources like Twitter and his beloved "Fox and Friends"."

Trump Banking Scandal EXPOSED

As Trump Enjoys 'Executive Time,' GOP Minions Relentless in 'Wrecking of America'

https://www.commondreams.org/news/2018/01/08/trump-enjoys-executive-time-gop-minions-relentless-wrecking-america
"President Donald Trump may insist that he has very little time to watch television due to the many hours he supposedly devotes to reading "documents," but copies of his private schedule—viewed by Axios on Sunday—reveal that he has carved out a three-hour block at the beginning of every day for what is loftily termed "Executive Time," which consists mostly of TV and Twitter. "Trump is starting his official day much later than he did in the early days of his presidency, often around 11am, and holding far fewer meetings," reports Axios's Jonathan Swan. "The schedule says Trump has 'Executive Time' in the Oval Office every day from 8am to 11am, but the reality is he spends that time in his residence, watching TV, making phone calls, and tweeting. Trump comes down for his first meeting of the day, which is often an intelligence briefing, at 11am." Trump's tweeting and the TV-watching doesn't stop there. In fact, Swan notes, generous chunks of "Executive Time" are sprinkled throughout each day—before meetings, after meetings, and just before the end of the workday, which for this president is around 6pm. (These, it should be noted, are days that Trump is not at one of his private clubs playing golf.) At that point, Trump is "back to the residence for more phone calls and more TV"."

Corporate Powers Are Stealing Online Identities, Posting Fake Comments to Push for Consumer Law Repeals @alternet

Corporate Powers Are Stealing Online Identities, Posting Fake Comments to Push for Consumer Law Repeals @alternet:

"A pattern of cyber deception is appearing across the federal government in the nooks and crannies of the process where White House directives or Congress’ laws are turned into the rules Americans must abide by—or in the Trump era, are repealed. Hundreds of thousands of comments, purportedly made by Americans, have come in over the electronic transom to at least five different federal agencies calling for an end to Obama-era consumer protections and other regulations that impede profits, a series of investigative reports by the Wall Street Journal found. Except, the people who supposedly sent these comments never did. The latest example concerns the so-called "Fiduciary Rule," which originated in the Labor Department and was to talk effect in July 2019, to try to prevent conflicts of investment from investment advisers targeting retirees."

Lawrence: President Trump Breaks Mueller Promise As 'Noose Is Tightening'

Trump repeatedly promised to fully cooperate with Mueller. Things are changing quickly.

https://thinkprogress.org/trump-repeatedly-promised-cooperate-mueller-0561e19a9ffb/
"For months, President Donald Trump, through his attorneys, has repeatedly promised to fully cooperate with Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation, which includes the Trump campaign’s possible collaboration with Russian agents and potential obstruction of justice. But now that Mueller has expressed an interest in interviewing Trump himself, according to multiple reports, Trump’s legal team is having second thoughts."

Donald Trump's Legal Team Has a Laughable Plan to Avoid an Interview with Robert Mueller @alternet

Donald Trump's Legal Team Has a Laughable Plan to Avoid an Interview with Robert Mueller @alternet:

"President Donald Trump’s lawyers are mapping their strategy for an expected interview request by special counsel Robert Mueller. The president’s outside legal team are discussing a range of potential options and compromises in hopes of avoiding a face-to-face interview, reported NBC News."

Exclusive: Lawyer Who Deposed President Donald Trump Speaks Out

Trump getting up at the crack of 11 ... after spending the morning in bed watching TV

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/1/8/1730744/-Trump-getting-up-at-the-crack-of-11-after-spending-the-morning-in-bed-watching-TV
"His presidenting schedule has apparently been reduced to a 11-4 interval between parking himself back in front of the bedroom TV. The schedule says Trump has "Executive Time" in the Oval Office every day from 8am to 11am, but the reality is he spends that time in his residence, watching TV, making phone calls and tweeting. Trump comes down for his first meeting of the day, which is often an intelligence briefing, at 11am."

Republican lawmaker says marijuana should be illegal because of African American ‘genetics’

https://thinkprogress.org/kansas-rep-marijuana-african-americans-eff0ace5d0b0/
"Alford is referring to beliefs first propagated by Harry Anslinger, the founding commissioner of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics, who was critical in helping to pass the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, which heavily regulated and taxed a previously booming industry."

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse: Dossier Has Held Up Well Despite GOP Attacks

Trump is nakedly fragile

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/trump-is-nakedly-fragile/2018/01/02/e618a44c-f009-11e7-b3bf-ab90a706e175_story.html?utm_term=.677353149cdd
"While many of us were absorbed in the holidays, the Trump administration relaxed Medicare’s penalty protocols by “scaling back the use of fines against nursing homes that harm residents or place them in grave risk of injury.” In other words, nursing homes that neglect, abuse or even cause the death of residents may be protected from or entitled to lighter fines than they would have been under Obama-era rules. Then there’s the Children’s Health Insurance Program, which provides health-care coverage for roughly 9 million children. For the first time since the program’s inception in 1997, Congress has failed to reauthorize funding for the program, aside from a short-term cash injection passed in late December. As a result, several states have begun closing enrollment in their programs, or warning families that their children will likely lose their health insurance in the coming months. And if Trump gets his way, they won’t be the only ones. Congress succeeded in repealing the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate with its tax bill, which could destabilize plan prices in the coming years, and Trump still hasn’t given up on replacing Obama-era health-care reforms altogether — with no viable replacement to protect health coverage for Americans who have come to rely on the ACA. Meanwhile, Trump and his administration also are taking aim at welfare this year.The elderly, children, the sick, the poor: All of these are biblical categories of people who are deserving not just of justice — as all people are — but of mercy, as they are especially unable to advocate for themselves and press their interests in the public sphere. Trump could read up a little on the Christian God’s mercy toward the weak in all those Bibles he claims to have."

Former Montana GOP House majority leader facing 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to running meth ring

Former Montana GOP House majority leader facing 30 years in prison after pleading guilty to running meth ring

"The Gazette reports that Lange, while in office, supported giving $4 million in taxpayer dollars to an anti-meth public relations campaign. He was later removed from his leadership spot after being captured on video in an obscene tirade against then-Gov. Brian Schweitzer (D). Following his political career, Lange was charged with driving under the influence in 2014, before picking up second DUI months later in conjunction with a felony charge of possessing over an ounce of meth in California and being sentenced to 16 months in prison, court records reveal. According to prosecutor Sullivan, Lange began dealing large quantities of the drug after his release, brought in from to California. A raid on his house in October 2016 turned up more than 2.5 pounds of meth, 13 ounces of cocaine and $27,400. Lange is scheduled for sentencing on Jan. 18 before U.S. District Judge Susan Watters, where he faces mandatory minimum of 10 years to life in prison and a $10 million fine."

Lawrence: The 'Most Important Act' Since President Trump's Inauguration

Laffing All the Way to the Bank

https://thedailybanter.com/2018/01/laffing-all-the-way-to-the-bank/
"Increased public debt was what happened during the tax cuts of the 1920s, Reagan’s cuts, and Bush 43’s cuts. More recently, Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal’s massive cuts left the Bayou State reeling and selling off government real estate and vehicles to stave off a shutdown. Governor Sam Brownback’s radical meth-induced tax cuts in Kansas essentially bankrupted the state.  But for the scheming folks who in recent years have foisted these twisted experiments on their guinea pig citizens, the measures were not failures in any way. They see farther down the road than we do. They have a coherent game plan, albeit nothing whatsoever like the one they roll out every couple of years on Meet the Press.  You see, good fiscal policy is a one-note tune. When a recession hits, we need tax cuts for the rich to provide the proverbial trickle down antidote. Should a recovery come, you don’t want to slow the momentum, so more tax cuts for the rich. When the following recession arrives, well, see above. And if it doesn’t work you’re obviously not doing enough of it. There is that old, hackneyed expression about laughing all the way to the bank. These days it’s more like giggling to the hedge fund or smirking to the Cayman Islands. But when the smiles fade, radical long-term tax cuts not supported by sound economic analysis leave us with four horrible choices—decimate the social safety net, print more money, borrow more money, or default on the national debt. Right wing kamikazes can live with any of these, but option number one—disassembling the nanny state that communist Franklin Delano Roosevelt put into place 80 years ago—is by far the most orgasmic reactionary option.  And if you’d like to discover what life was like for Chileans during the 1970s under rule by the Chicago Boys, you basically have two choices—read Naomi Klein’s enlightening book, The Shock Doctrine, or let Paul Ryan and friends control all branches of government through the year 2028."

Trump administration officially scraps Obama-era rules for fracking on federal land

https://thinkprogress.org/trump-administration-repeals-obama-fracking-rules-f4595696dff7/
"The rules would have, among other things, required companies to disclose the chemicals used in their operations."

Meet The Ironworker Running To Beat Paul Ryan In 2018

Donald Trump and the Rule of Law

https://www.newyorker.com/news/daily-comment/donald-trump-and-the-rule-of-law
"Also last week, the Times reported more evidence suggesting that the President had obstructed justice in connection with the F.B.I.’s investigation of Russian interference in the 2016 election and any possible connection to members of the Trump campaign. In March, according to the Times, Trump sent Donald F. McGahn II, the White House counsel, to urge Jeff Sessions, the Attorney General, not to recuse himself from supervising the investigation. Trump did so because he felt that Sessions should be protecting him. “Where’s my Roy Cohn?” Trump asked, referring to the right-wing gargoyle who was one of his early political mentors. Sessions, a key figure in the Trump campaign, recognized the obvious fact that he could not investigate the Trump campaign, and properly rebuffed McGahn, but Trump’s malign obsession with the Russia case remains a touchstone of his Presidency. The Times’ revelation makes an obstruction case stronger. Trump asked for loyalty from James Comey, the F.B.I. director, who was supervising the investigation. When Comey equivocated, Trump fired him, then put out a false story for why he did so, which he promptly undermined by admitting the real reason. And when e-mails emerged over the summer showing that Donald Trump, Jr., had met during the campaign with a Russian lawyer offering dirt on Hillary Clinton, the President participated in concocting a bogus story to explain them. (An especially incriminating version of Trump’s role in the e-mail cover story appears in “Fire and Fury,” Michael Wolff’s explosive new book.) Trump’s contempt for the rule of law infects his entire Administration"

The Overton Window and Trump's Judges

https://www.commondreams.org/views/2018/01/06/overton-window-and-trumps-judges
"These men, and the many more inapt Trump nominees to come this year, constitute a clear and present danger to American law. They already have changed our perceptions of what constitutes an acceptable judicial nominee. And it’s unclear whether those perceptions will ever go back to the way they were."

President Donald Trump’s Pandering Is Next Level

How A Chilean Billionaire Could Poison A Minnesota Wilderness

https://www.dcreport.org/2018/01/03/how-a-chilean-billionaire-could-poison-a-minnesota-wilderness/
"Trump’s Interior Department is reinstating two 1966 leases, written before today’s federal environmental laws, that could allow a Chilean mining company to build a giant copper-and-nickel mine adjacent to the Boundary Waters wilderness area in northern Minnesota. The mining company is controlled by Andrónico Luksic, whose family controls a mining, banking and industrial empire that Forbes estimates is valued at $13.1 billion. Luksic also dabbles in Washington, D.C., residential real estate and has a business relationship with the Trump family. He is First Son-in-Law Jared Kushner’s and First Daughter Ivanka Trump’s landlord. The Boundary Waters is a 1.1 million-acre wilderness beloved by canoeists and hikers in the Superior National Forest along Minnesota’s border with Canada. Mining in the area could result in acid damage that can last for centuries. “There’s a reason that the Boundary Waters is one of the most visited wilderness areas in America: It’s an incredible place,” Sally Jewell, then the Interior Department secretary, said in 2016. Twin Metals Minnesota, a subsidiary of Antofagasta PLC, sued in federal court over the leases for 4,800 acres on the southwest border of the Boundary Waters even before the Obama administration decided in December 2016 against renewing them. In December 2016, just after Trump’s election, Luksic paid $5.5 million, pocket change for a billionaire, for a six-bedroom home in Washington’s tony Kalorama neighborhood. The house was never advertised for rent, but just a little more than a month after closing on the property, he leased it to Kushner and Trump for $15,000 a month. The rent is not out of line for properties in the neighborhoods, but The Wall Street Journal said it represents a low 2.5% annual return on the purchase price."

The Saga of Donald Trump, Stable Genius

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/1/6/1730182/-The-Saga-of-Donald-Trump-Stable-Genius
"a defense of his intelligence that reads like it came from a 12-year-old Valley Girl. In 1990."

Trump Hits A New Milestone By Telling His 2,000th Lie Since Taking Office

Trump goes on an early morning tweetstorm to defend himself as ‘a very stable genius’

https://thinkprogress.org/trump-tweets-very-stable-genius-ecd142d2ca6f/
"It appears Trump was starting his day — as he often does — by watching his favorite TV show, Fox & Friends, and live tweeting from his account in direct response to Fox’s programming. About ten minutes before Trump published his tweetstorm, a Fox & Friends panel was engaged in a discussion about the recent questions raised about Trump’s mental health."

The Increasing Unfitness of Donald Trump

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2018/01/15/the-increasing-unfitness-of-donald-trump
"The West Wing has come to resemble the dankest realms of Twitter, in which everyone is racked with paranoia and everyone despises everyone else."

Trump Attacks His Own Position

A President Who Attempts to Ban Books That Expose Him Should Be Impeached

https://www.thenation.com/article/a-president-who-attempts-to-ban-books-that-expose-him-should-be-impeached/
"Donald Trump has shown a callous disregard for the First Amendment to the Constitution. The Authors Guild is right: This is what tyrants do, not American presidents. And the proper response to American tyranny is the prompt application of the power of impeachment to a president who has abandoned the duty that extends from his oath of office."

New Reporting Suggests the Trump Presidency Is Even Scarier and More Dysfunctional Than We Realized

https://www.thenation.com/article/new-reporting-suggests-the-trump-presidency-is-even-scarier-and-more-dysfunctional-than-we-realized/
"The takeaway from the latest revelations is that a lot of Republicans who knew better have colluded—and still collude—to cover up Trump’s unfitness for office"

Melber: Donald Trump Uses 'Projection' As A Defense Tactic

The Supreme Court Case That Could ‘Overturn the Heart of the New Deal’

The Supreme Court Case That Could ‘Overturn the Heart of the New Deal’:

"Argued on October 2, this case could strip foundational safeguards in place for over 80 years, essential to ensuring millions of low-wage and non-union workers of their right to fair pay, job security, workplace safety, nondiscrimination, and other guarantees protected by state and federal law. The case gives the Roberts Court, with its newly reconstituted 5-4 conservative majority, a chance to escalate its pro-corporate activism to levels unmatched even by the famously anti-regulatory pre-New Deal Court of a century ago. If the Court reaches the result sought by business advocates, this would, as elaborated by two Seton Hall professors in a 2014 law review article, “effectively end the labor laws"."

A Hostile Foreign Power and the End of the Republic

A Hostile Foreign Power and the End of the Republic:

"When the history of America’s final days as a republic is written, it may be fairly said that a hostile foreign power helped elect an authoritarian president with no agenda other than plunder, that the majority of America’s white people took the plunderer’s racist, misogynist bait—and that the Congress of the United States helped him loot the public commons and cover up his likely crimes. And that’s just the CliffsNotes version."

Steve Schmidt: President Trump W.H. As vile As 'Monkeys Hurling Excrement'

Trump’s Interior Department Is Ill-Prepared to Deal with the Next Big Spill

https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/green/news/2018/01/04/444121/trumps-interior-department-ill-prepared-deal-next-big-spill/
"Today, the Trump administration unveiled its vision to radically expand where it allows offshore oil and gas drilling. If implemented as outlined, this move would ensure that spilled oil washes ashore on more American beaches on both coasts. In addition to expanding drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, the administration’s draft plan disregards sound science and broad public opposition by proposing to allow oil and gas leasing in the Atlantic and Pacific oceans from Washington to Florida, as well as in dangerous environments in the Arctic Ocean. Importantly, this plan comes while the administration aggressively works to overturn existing safety standards and environmental protections that guard against oil spills and other impacts of energy development. These safety rollbacks come at a time when regulators are finding many offshore drillers unprepared to address disasters. If the Trump administration is successful, offshore drilling will be much riskier—and there will be more of it. Today’s announcement—and the accompanying regulatory rollback effort—demonstrates a willful disregard for the hard-earned lessons that led the government to implement existing environmental and safety standards in the first place."

Sessions 'recusal' provided cover for his ongoing efforts to impede Russia investigation

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/1/5/1730052/-Sessions-recusal-provided-cover-for-his-ongoing-efforts-to-impede-Russia-investigation
"This collaboration between Trump and Sessions to interfere with the Russia investigation isn’t just obstruction, it’s first class corruption."

Sunday, January 7, 2018

President Trump has made 1,950 false or misleading claims over 347 days

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/fact-checker/wp/2018/01/02/president-trump-has-made-1949-false-or-misleading-claims-over-347-days/?utm_term=.4ebffb5d4e44
"As of Monday, the total stood at 1,950 claims in 347 days, or an average of 5.6 claims a day."

Incoherent, authoritarian, uninformed: Trump’s New York Times interview is a scary read

https://www.vox.com/policy-and-politics/2017/12/29/16829806/trump-interview-new-york-times
"The president of the United States is not well. That is an uncomfortable thing to say, but it is an even worse thing to ignore. Consider the interview Trump gave to the New York Times on Thursday. It begins with a string of falsehoods that make it difficult to tell whether the leader of the free world is lying or delusional. Remember, these are President Donald Trump’s words, after being told a recording device is on"

O'Donnell: Will President Donald Trump Claim They All Lost Their Minds?

Congressman says House Intel committee has already heard evidence of Trump administration crimes

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/1/4/1729769/-Congressman-says-House-Intel-committee-has-already-heard-evidence-of-Trump-administration-crimes
"Money laundering, collusion and obstruction of justice. Rep. Castro says the most important thing we can do in 2018 is take back the House and launch a legitimate and thorough investigation into these crimes."

Sarah Huckabee Sanders lied about Trump’s position on marijuana and we have receipts

https://thinkprogress.org/sarah-huckabee-sanders-lied-about-trumps-position-on-marijuana-and-we-have-receipts-3bff448f9277/
"Sanders’ claim is false — Trump’s position has indeed changed, and in more ways than one. During an interview with a Colorado TV station in the summer of 2016, then-candidate Trump said that as president, he would not use federal power to shut down the sale of recreational cannabis in states like Colorado. “I wouldn’t do that, no,” Trump said, asked if he’d support the federal government intervening. “I think it’s up to the states, yeah. I’m a states person. I think it should be up to the states, absolutely.” Not only does Trump’s support for the DOJ’s power grab contradict his 2016 comments about thinking marijuana laws are best left “up to the states” — his decision to allow Sessions to move forward with the new policy also violates the promise he made not to interfere with states’ rights."

Legal Pot States Prepare To Resist Jeff Sessions

How Putin's proxies helped funnel millions into GOP campaigns

https://www.dallasnews.com/opinion/commentary/2017/12/15/putins-proxies-helped-funnel-millions-gop-campaigns
"McConnell surely knew as a participant in high level intelligence briefings in 2016 that our electoral process was under attack by the Russians. Two weeks after the Department of Homeland Security and the Office of the Director of National Intelligence issued a joint statement in October 2016 that the Russian government had directed the effort to interfere in our electoral process, McConnell's PAC accepted a $1 million donation from Blavatnik's AI-Altep Holdings. The PAC took another $1 million from Blavatnik's AI-Altep Holdings on March 30, 2017, just 10 days after former FBI Director James Comey publicly testified before the House Intelligence Committee about Russia's interference in the election. And consider Steve Mnuchin, Trump's campaign finance chairman. Could he have known that the Trump Victory Fund, jointly managed by the Republican National Committe and Trump's campaign, took contributions from Intrater and Kukes? Mnuchin owned Hollywood financing company RatPac-Dune with Blavatnik until he sold his stake to accept Trump's appointment as the Treasury secretary. Which PAC officials are making the decisions to accept these donations?"

Internet mocks Fox News after it’s forced to admit job growth was stronger under Obama than Trump

Internet mocks Fox News after it’s forced to admit job growth was stronger under Obama than Trump

"The official monthly jobs report for December 2017 was a disappointment, as the Labor Department estimated that the economy added just 148,000 jobs over the last month.  And despite the fact that President Donald Trump has bragged about his first year in office being an unqualified economic success, it turns out that average monthly job growth in 2017 was 171,000 jobs per month — which was down significantly from the 187,000 jobs per month that were added in 2016."

Republicans, Compliant FBI Make Progress Undermining Russia Probe

Banned From the Banking Industry for Life, a Scott Pruitt Friend Finds a New Home at the EPA

https://theintercept.com/2017/12/28/scott-pruitt-failed-banker-running-epa-superfund-program/
"THE ENVIRONMENTAL PROTECTION Agency has tasked a banker who was banned from the banking industry for life with oversight of the nation’s Superfund program."

‘You don’t respect Trump!’ GOP lawmaker melts down on CNN host when she asks about lying to FBI

‘You don’t respect Trump!’ GOP lawmaker melts down on CNN host when she asks about lying to FBI

"Rep. Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA) — who has been derisively called “Putin’s favorite congressman” — melted down during a CNN interview on Friday after a reporter corrected false claims he was making on live TV."

James Comey Notes Claims About Donald Trump Confirmed By Priebus Notes: NYT

3 Important Takeaways From the Latest Mueller Investigation Bombshell

http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/a14759482/trump-obstruct-justice/
"It is completely clear by now that the president* fired FBI director James Comey because he wanted Comey to shut down the Russia investigation and Comey refused. (The president* even said as much to Lester Holt of NBC.) Schmidt’s piece details the extraordinary lengths that the administration went to force out Comey without having to fire him. It appears that half the White House lawyers were trying to find a way to keep the president* from making a catastrophic blunder. Yeah, good luck with that. White House aides gave updates to Mr. Trump throughout, informing him of Mr. Comey’s refusal to publicly clear him. Mr. Trump unloaded on Mr. Sessions, who was at the White House that day. He criticized him for recusing himself from the Russia investigation, questioned his loyalty, and said he wanted to get rid of Mr. Comey. He repeated the refrain that the attorneys general for Mr. Kennedy and Mr. Obama had protected the White House…Two days after Mr. Comey’s testimony, an aide to Mr. Sessions approached a Capitol Hill staff member asking whether the staffer had any derogatory information about the F.B.I. director. The attorney general wanted one negative article a day in the news media about Mr. Comey, according to a person with knowledge of the meeting. A Justice Department spokeswoman said the episode did not occur. “This did not happen and would not happen,” said the spokeswoman, Sarah Isgur Flores. “Plain and simple.” Earlier that day, Rod J. Rosenstein, the deputy attorney general, had pulled one of Mr. McGahn’s deputies aside after a meeting at the Justice Department. Mr. Rosenstein told the aide that top White House and Justice Department lawyers needed to discuss Mr. Comey’s future. It is unclear whether this conversation was related to the effort to dig up dirt on Mr. Comey."

A real example of a middle-class tax cut

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/real-example-middle-class-tax-cut
"It’s easy for many to forget, but when President Obama and congressional Democrats approved the Recovery Act – better known at the time as the Dems’ “stimulus” package – they didn’t just rescue the economy from the Great Recession. In the process, they also passed one of the largest middle-class tax cuts in recent memory. Roughly a third of the Recovery Act went toward direct investment, a third went to assist states, and a third went to cut taxes – with a special emphasis on working families."

Weak Paul Manafort Lawsuit To Pull Plug On Robert Mueller Could Backfire

Sessions 'recusal' provided cover for his ongoing efforts to impede Russia investigation

https://www.dailykos.com/stories/2018/1/5/1730052/-Sessions-recusal-provided-cover-for-his-ongoing-efforts-to-impede-Russia-investigation
"This collaboration between Trump and Sessions to interfere with the Russia investigation isn’t just obstruction, it’s first class corruption. "I have absolute right to do what I want to do with the Justice Department.” Trump not only said it, he’s demonstrated he believes it. And Sessions is helping to make it true. Trump claims to have “absolute” control of the Justice Department as an instrument of his will. So it’s not surprising that White House Counsel Don McGahn stepped in to stop Sessions from recusing himself. Mr. McGahn’s argument to Mr. Sessions that day was twofold: that he did not need to step aside from the inquiry until it was further along, and that recusing himself would not stop Democrats from saying he had lied. After Mr. Sessions told Mr. McGahn that career Justice Department officials had said he should step aside, Mr. McGahn said he understood and backed down. But it’s since become abundantly clear that the recusal was not merely a face-saving move by Sessions, but an attempt at misdirection. If there was any actual intent to avoid the topic of the investigation, Sessions soon folded in the face of badgering from Trump. Despite all claims about Trump’s frustration over Sessions’ official recusal, there was not a moment’s hesitation when it came to finding the right person to rid Trump of the FBI director who refused to fold on command."

The CFPB’s mission statement gets a Trumpian makeover

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/the-cfpbs-mission-statement-gets-trumpian-makeover
"The point of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is pretty easy to figure out: the agency’s name offers a pretty big hint. The CFPB was created to protect consumers’ interests against unfair financial industry practices. At least, that was its intended purpose."