Sunday, April 30, 2017

The first 100 days: President Trump’s top priorities include rolling back protections to workers’ wages, health, and safety

The first 100 days: President Trump’s top priorities include rolling back protections to workers’ wages, health, and safety:

"During his first 100 days, President Trump has rolled back worker protections and outlined a fiscal year 2018 budget that would dramatically cut funding for the agencies that safeguard workers’ rights, wages, and safety. He has also advanced nominees to key posts—even to the Supreme Court—who are hostile to policies that boost wages, enhance workers’ bargaining power, and protect worker safety. This report evaluates President Trump’s actions during his first 100 days and analyzes their impact on this nation’s workers and our economy."

100 WTF Moments From Trump's First 100 Days
"Here, in chronological order, are just some of the completely absurd things that have happened since Trump's swearing-in."

Trump at 100 Days: Case Studies of Trump’s Self-Serving, Special Interest Government
"Over the past 100 days, the Trump administration has broken its promises to the American people. It has shown it is interested only in itself and in those to whom it is indebted—namely, large donors and the industries to which administration members owe their careers."

Trump Shocked Being President Harder Than Sitting On Ass

Getting Old Yet? GOP Votes Again to Protect Trump and Obscure Truth
"Once again, House Republicans voted to shield President Donald Trump from public accountability, rejecting the latest effort to force the president to release his tax returns and White House visitor logs."

Donald Trump has tied himself to the one form of energy that's never—never, never—coming back
"There’s a reason that Donald Trump didn’t have a crowd of wind power workers standing behind him at his rallies, and it goes beyond just his disdain for windmills off the coast of his Scottish golf course. The reason is that anyone who knows how to build or service wind power was out building and servicing wind power. It’s not just the fastest growing segment of America’s energy picture, it’s the fastest growing occupation, period."

100 Ways, in 100 Days, that Trump Has Hurt Americans
"As a candidate, Trump promised the American people that we were going to “… win so much, [we’ll] be sick and tired of winning.” But it is not the American people who have been winning—it is Wall Street, private prisons, the oil industry, and Trump’s own family."

100 Days In, Donald Trump Misses His Old Life

Donald Trump's White House On Governing: 'This Sh*t Is Hard!'
"Turns out White House staffers have a really hard time making sure Trump doesn't watch TV or talk to his friends all day because apparently our president is a goddamn teenager."

Noam Chomsky: The Republican Party Is the 'Most Dangerous Organization in World History' @alternet

Noam Chomsky: The Republican Party Is the 'Most Dangerous Organization in World History' @alternet: Outlandish? Well, no. 'The party is dedicated to racing as rapidly as possible to destruction of organized human life. There is no historical precedent for such a stand.

Subject Of Michael Flynn Seems To Panic President Donald Trump

A Timeline: Russia and President Trump
"Investigative reporters have begun to flesh out the Trump/Russia timeline. To keep everything in one location, here’s an updated summary (so far)."

Trump’s tax cuts ignore history and arithmetic to make the rich richer
"the presumptions of the Laffer curve do not exist in the real world."

Russia Behind Mike Flynn's Work For Turkey: Report

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Despite Populist Rhetoric, Trump Is Poised to Preside Over a Crackdown on Unions
"Donald Trump got a higher share of the vote among union members in last year's election than any Republican presidential candidate since Ronald Reagan, helping propel him to victory in key Rust Belt states and to the White House. Since his inauguration, he has continued to sound populist notes. He signed a "Buy American, Hire American" executive order and promised to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement. He has invited labor leaders to the White House for chummy photo ops, and some have praised him in return. But beyond these symbolic gestures, Trump's actual track record on organized labor is quickly moving in the opposite direction. That's because his greatest impact is likely to come from his high-profile appointments, which appear poised to decimate the power of unions."

After 100 Days of Trump, America's Gotten Corruption Fatigue
"In only 100 days, Trump has upended the country's anti-corruption norms by numbing everyone with a steady stream of serious improprieties that would have been treated as major scandals – if not impeachable offenses – during any other modern presidency."

Bernie Sanders Sounds Off On Donald Trump's Latest Fiascos

Trump Builds A Wall Around The Swamp By Refusing To Release White House Visitor Logs
"Donald Trump is making sure that the public will not be able to see the influence that special interests and big money donors a.k.a. the swamp is having on his White House by announcing that his administration will not make White House visitor logs public."

EPA chief gets it backward: It's Trump, not Obama, who offers a false choice on jobs vs. environment
"Pruitt is right about one thing. The idea that we must pick between protecting the environment and having good jobs is, most definitely, a “false choice.” But it wasn’t the Obama administration that put forth that choice. It’s the braying bullsh*tters of the Republican Party and a few Democratic enablers who have been promoting that theme. After all, job losses are one of the chief public justifications the Trump regime has given for rolling back environmental regulations, including the Clean Power Plan.  The fact is, few if any coal jobs are ever coming back. That’s something Pruitt never cops to but energy investors and even dinosaurs like coal baron Robert Murray know is true. Most of the coal jobs lost in the past three decades have not been eliminated because of environmental protections. They have been lost to automation, to a switch from underground mining to surface mining of low-sulfur coal in the West, to cheap natural gas and, increasingly, to renewables. The false choice Pruitt complains about began decades before becoming president even occurred to Barack Obama. Rightists back in the 1980s claimed that environmental advocates were intent on making over our energy system into one in which we all “freeze to death in the dark.” Then and now, their propaganda implicitly or explicitly describes the economy and the environment as separate entities. But they aren’t. They are inextricably intertwined.  What Pruitt failed to mention to his friends at Fox is that the ever-expanding industries behind the generation of electricity by wind and sun now employ four times as many people in the United States as the coal industry does. Last year, solar jobs increased by 25 percent over 2015, with 260,000 such jobs now tallied. Meanwhile, by the end of 2016, there were 88,000 Americans working in wind jobs. In both cases, that’s more than three times as many people who were employed in those fields in 2010. Some analysts say these numbers could triple by 2030."

Trump Lied About Everything On The Campaign Trail...

Have a cup of arsenic, thanks to Donald Trump and Scott Pruitt
"One of Trump’s first acts was to scrawl his name on an executive order that authorized coal companies to dump waste in rivers and streams. This not only promises to turn hundreds of miles of waterways into sludge, it also makes it easier for mines to practice mountaintop removal mining, simultaneously destroying a 400-million-year-old landscape and resulting in fewer jobs for miners. Not bad for one sloppy stroke of the pen. But Donald Trump is nothing if not competitive, and now he has Scott Pruitt on his side. Together, there’s nothing they can’t make worse. The Trump administration has hit the pause button on an Obama-era regulation aimed at limiting the dumping of toxic metals such as arsenic and mercury by the nation’s power plants into public waterways."

Trump’s old tweets come back to haunt him after White House decides to keep visitor logs a secret

Trump’s old tweets come back to haunt him after White House decides to keep visitor logs a secret

"White House communications director Michael Dubke on Friday confirmed suspicions the Trump Administration will not disclose visitor logs of people visiting the complex, Time reports. The decision reverses an Obama-era policy that disclosed more than 6 million records, Zeke Miller reports. According to Dubke, the decision is based off “the grave national security risks and privacy concerns of the hundreds of thousands of visitors annually.” Dubke also said most of the logs will not be subject to Freedom of Information Act requests."

GOP Rep: 'Bullcrap' That Taxpayers Pay My Salary!

16 Big Lessons from Trump and the GOP's First Attempt to Destroy Our Health Care System—Here They Go Again @alternet

16 Big Lessons from Trump and the GOP's First Attempt to Destroy Our Health Care System—Here They Go Again @alternet:

"1. That Ryan and House leaders have no moral qualm taking away access to health care for 24 million people. None. 2. By the time the bill got done, it raised premiums 15-20 percent. Cut care from vets, stripped benefits, raised deductibles, hurt hospitals, cut 25 percent from Medicaid, which effectively ended our 1965 Medicaid safety net commitment, and robbed from the Medicare Trust Fund. 3. Even that was not enough for many in the House GOP, who wanted Americans to get even less, including no pre-existing protections. They still do."

Look at All These Republican Snowflakes
"When did conservatives become such a miserable gaggle of public poltroons? What has happened to the party of hate radio, and angry preachers, and wrathful shut-ins that they're all now so afraid of placards, teachers, and botanists that we all have to pay to make them sleep well at night? It's not like an oil company wouldn't foot the bill for Pruitt's protection; it was plain during his confirmation hearings that the Republican majority didn't care that he'd spent his entire life in the vest pocket of various extraction gombeens. And DeVos married into a $5 billion fortune and her brother founded Blackwater, for pity's sake. Surely she can pay for her own peace of mind."

US World Standing Rests With Military, State

Rudy Giuliani’s newest gig is almost too sleazy to be true
"The Zarrab case illuminates an old story — Giuliani’s willingness to abandon his stated principles for large sums of money—and a new story: corrupt practices of the Erdogan regime and its ties to Trump insiders. Think of Erdogan’s Turkey as a cousin of Putin’s Russia: an authoritarian regime with an interest in Syria that has money to throw at its problems in Washington. As with Putin, Trump and his entourage are ready to deal. In 2016, the Erdogan government covertly enlisted former lieutenant general Michael Flynn as its agent in Washington in return for a $500,000 fee that Flynn initially failed to disclose. Flynn was later forced to resign as National Security Adviser for dissembling about a pre-inauguration meeting with the Russian ambassador. Erdogan has also hired Giuliani’s firm as its agent on other issues. Trump, meanwhile, fired U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, who oversaw the prosecution of Zarrab. According to the New York Times, Giuliani has recommended Mukasey’s son, Marc L. Mukasey, to become the next United States attorney in Manhattan. If Giuliani has his way, the younger Mukasey would be in charge of the prosecution of the man his father is trying to set free."

Report: U.S. intelligence received warnings from allies about Trump and Russia
“GCHQ first became aware in late 2015 of suspicious ‘interactions’ between figures connected to Trump and known or suspected Russian agents, a source close to UK intelligence said,” according to the Guardian exclusive. “This intelligence was passed to the US as part of a routine exchange of information, they added.” Agencies from other countries, including Germany, reportedly shared additional intelligence with the United States through the first half of 2016, the Guardian said, citing “sources.” The UK and U.S. — along with Canada, Australia, and New Zealand — are members of an intelligence-sharing coalition known as “Five Eyes"."

Trump Is Rewarding Companies That Ship Jobs Overseas

Former British chief spy suggests Trump is compromised by ‘Russian money’ keeping his business afloat

Former British chief spy suggests Trump is compromised by ‘Russian money’ keeping his business afloat

"Sir Richard Dearlove, the former head of the British spy agency MI6, suggested recently that President Donald Trump may still be haunted by loans linked to Russia that were made after U.S. creditors refused to lend to him."

Investigators now have ‘concrete evidence’ of collusion between Trump camp and Russian govt: source

Investigators now have ‘concrete evidence’ of collusion between Trump camp and Russian govt: source

"A source close to the investigation into President Donald Trump’s campaign and its ties to Russia says that there is now “specific concrete and corroborative evidence” that individuals within Trump’s immediate orbit coordinated with Russian intelligence operatives during the election. The Guardian said on Thursday that the U.K.’s Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) has been watching the Trump camp since late 2015, having noticed suspicious “interactions” between Trump associates and well-known Russian agents."

Donald Trump Real Estate A Potential Means To Pay Money To A President

Understanding the anti-regulation agenda: The basics

Understanding the anti-regulation agenda: The basics:

"A review of the targeted regulations and proposed limits on rulemaking reveals a policy agenda that favors corporate profits ahead of worker protections and public health."

The Trump Economy Myth and Job-Killing Policies
"Like almost everything Republican, the Trump administration is almost entirely about propaganda, not actual, rubber-meets-road policy. Healthcare is the best example of this. After years of propaganda opposition to Obamacare, Republicans had no actual coherent, alternative policy plan to put forward, and were unable to come up with one when the opportunity came for them to do it. The actual policies they finally came up with would have caused 24 million Americans to lose their healthcare. Propaganda might achieve a propaganda goal, policies get actual things done. As of today, there is no real Trump economic policy in place. He has submitted a ridiculously extreme budget proposal. He has proposed to "study" trade. He has no real "trillion-dollar" infrastructure plan -- his budget proposal actually cuts infrastructure spending -- and his tax "reform" plan does nothing more than give corporations and wealthy people huge breaks."

New Donald Trump Hire Resurrects Corruption Questions

The stunning hypocrisy of Scott Pruitt’s request for around-the-clock bodyguards
"When it comes to the Trump administration’s plan to slash federal spending and constrict the federal bureaucracy, few agencies have attracted as much attention as the Environmental Protection Agency. The Trump administration’s proposed “skinny budget” cuts the agency’s budget by 31 percent, by far the largest cut of any federal agency. And recently leaked EPA documents outline plans to cut the agency’s workforce by 25 percent, while eliminating some 56 programs including programs aimed at monitoring and protecting public health and the environment. One part of the agency, however, could get a boost under the Trump administration’s plan: Administrator Scott Pruitt’s personal security detail. According to a draft of the budget obtained by the Washington Post, the Trump administration has asked for 10 additional full-time security staffers to be added to the EPA’s Office of Criminal Enforcement. Those staffers would have one job — acting as constant bodyguards for Pruitt. Adding 10 full-time staffers to Pruitt’s security detail would more than double the size of the security detail normally afforded to EPA administrators. And that would come at a time when the Trump administration is proposing sharp cuts elsewhere in the EPA’s Office of Criminal Enforcement, with the budget calling for reductions in civil and criminal enforcement of almost 60 percent. That would leave the agency with just $4 million to investigate environmental crimes and impose penalties. And while it’s unclear how much Pruitt’s increased detail would cost the agency, estimates for the cost of U.S. Marshals dedicated to protect Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos is roughly $8 million over an eight-month period."

Alabama Luv Guv’s Impeachment Probe Reveals Political Motivation Behind DMV Closures
"The impeachment investigation that led to Alabama’s Republican Gov. Robert Bentley’s resignation, arrest and conviction Monday surfaced more than just the alleged misuse of public funds to hide his affair with a top political aide, the cringe-y texts to his paramour, and the threats lobbed towards those who stood ready to expose their tryst. The report released Friday shed light on another controversy that dogged his tenure: his administration’s decision to close 31 driver’s license offices, many in African-American-heavy counties, prompting a national outcry over how the closures would affect voting rights in the state, which requires a photo ID to vote. The impeachment investigation report – which was compiled by a special counsel appointed by the legislature – concluded that the driver’s license office closures were politically motivated and ordained by the aide at the center of the scandal, Rebekah Mason, as a way to pressure state legislators into getting in line in support of the governor’s funding legislation."

Kleptocracy?: How Ivanka Trump & Jared Kushner Personally Profit from Their Roles in the White House

Trump Administration's War on Science Reaches Justice Department
"The Trump administration's anti-science bent has reached the Department of Justice (DOJ), with Attorney General Jeff Sessions saying Monday that the department is ending the National Commission on Forensic Science."

Wife of arrested Russian hacker: ‘The virus my husband allegedly created was related to Trump’s victory’

Wife of arrested Russian hacker: ‘The virus my husband allegedly created was related to Trump’s victory’

"The wife of an alleged Russian hacker has revealed that her husband’s recent arrest is linked to President Donald Trump’s victory in the 2016 election."

Excess Donald Trump Inauguration Cash Pairs With Donor Access

Fox is using Trump’s infamous Access Hollywood tape to train employees about harassment
"21st Century Fox is reportedly using the infamous tape of Donald Trump bragging about sexually assaulting women to train workers about harassment, despite the fact that personalities at the company’s media outlet — Fox News — defended Trump after the remarks were made public. According to a Fox employee who spoke to The Hollywood Reporter, the tape has been used for months during instructional seminars designed to educate staff about harassment in the workplace. In the tape, Trump is heard speaking with Billy Bush during in a 2005 taping of Access Hollywood, describing how he propositioned a married actress and could grab women “by the p***y” because “when you’re a star…You can do anything"."

CSI Justice Department: Jeff Sessions joins the war on science
"His decision to disband the forensic commission is particularly concerning since he has a long history of looking the other way at prosecutorial misconduct, including defending convictions in capital cases where the forensic evidence was tainted or hidden and ended up resulting in exonerating a man on death row."

Donald Trump Foreign Policy Antics Raise Question, Stupid Or Nefarious?

The GOP Has Declared War on Democracy
"Going nuclear to confirm Neil Gorsuch is the latest example of how Republicans are thwarting the will of the people."

Trump Repeals Workplace Protections Set Under Obama

Trump Repeals Workplace Protections Set Under Obama:

"Obama's Fair Pay and Safe Workplace rule was a modest, but significant step toward workplace equity. Trump and Congress just decimated it."

It Sure Looks Like a Russian Cover-Up | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann | GQ

Cutting Off 'Fly-Over' States, Trump to Axe Amtrak for 220 Cities
"In addition to slashing funding for the arts, education programs, climate change research, and worker protections (among many other things), another lesser known casualty of President Donald Trump's "morally obscene" budget proposal: Amtrak. The president's so-called "skinny budget" will eliminate all federal funding for Amtrak's national train network, meaning 220 cities will lose all passenger service, the National Association of Railroad Passengers (NARP) warned this week. "It's ironic that President Trump's first budget proposal undermines the very communities whose economic hardship and sense of isolation from the rest of the country helped propel him into office," said NARP president Jim Mathews. "These working class communities—many of them located in the Midwest and the South—were tired of being treated like 'flyover country,'" Mathews continued. "But by proposing the elimination of Amtrak's long distance trains, the Trump administration does them one worse, cutting a vital service that connects these small town economies to the rest of the U.S."."

The United States Senate is a failed institution
"A president who lost the popular vote by 2,864,974 nominated Neil Gorsuch to serve a lifetime appointment on the nation’s highest Court. Although a bloc of senators representing at least 53 percent of the country oppose this nominee"

Donald Trump Tweets Can't Stop Russia Stories

Meet the billionaires who run Trump's government
"Most of the billionaires Trump has lured to D.C. are, like him, members of the 1980s generation of leveraged-buyout tacticians, junk bond kings, corporate raiders and vulture capitalists. They got rich off of emerging financial tactics crafted to take advantage of Ronald Reagan’s great gift to Wall Street—ripping up the regulations put in place after the Great Depression. Trump adviser and corporate raider Carl Icahn (net worth $16.6 billion) is said to have been a model for Michael Douglas’s “Greed is good” character in Wall Street. Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross ($2.5 billion), policy adviser Stephen Schwarzman ($11.8 billion) and unofficial intel adviser Stephen Feinberg ($1.2 billion) all made their fortunes in the kind of investment banking that came into vogue after Wall Street decreed that social responsibility and business—the Jimmy Stewart banker model—were antithetical.The New York real estate developers now advising the president—Steven Roth (net worth $1.1 billion) and Richard LeFrak ($6.5 billion)—spent their professional lives (as did Trump) in a mosh pit with politicians, city regulators, 50-story crane operators, cement mobsters and the motley crew of characters, unsavory and otherwise, responsible for the New York skyline and the surrounding area’s malls, golf courses and housing developments.Whether they earned their money in investment banking or New Jersey strip malls and high rises, Trump’s billionaires have much in common with the rest of the New York’s 1 percent. They don’t pay much in taxes, and most don’t think they should pay much more. They loathe government regulations, and they are ferociously competitive. “They all know each other. They finance each other. And they all compete with one another,” says Holly Peterson, journalist, author of It Happens in the Hamptons and daughter of Peter Peterson, one of the New York billionaires who is not in Trump’s camp. “They sniff each other like dogs"."

Trump Doesn't Realize That Environmental Protections Save Lives, Create Jobs and Strengthen the Economy @alternet

Trump Doesn't Realize That Environmental Protections Save Lives, Create Jobs and Strengthen the Economy @alternet:

"The benefits of clean air and clean water may be self-evident, but what about President Trump’s claim that environmental safeguards “kill” jobs? As it turns out, there is little evidence that regulations — environmental or otherwise — result in significant job losses. Other factors play a much bigger role. Before sequestration spending cuts discontinued the program in 2013, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics regularly asked business owners their main reasons for laying off workers. Rarely did they cite regulations."

Is There an Actual Tape of Trump’s Russia Collusion?

The Highly Funded Right-Wing Think Tank That Has Been Waiting 40 Years for This Moment @alternet

The Highly Funded Right-Wing Think Tank That Has Been Waiting 40 Years for This Moment @alternet:

"In 1973, Weyrich, a 30-year-old Republican strategist wunderkind, cofounded both the Heritage Foundation and the American Legislative Exchange Council, an organization that writes right-wing bills for state legislatures. The beer baron Joseph Coors provided seed money for the projects."

In epic letter, investment fund fires law firm for enabling the Trump kleptocracy
"The Wallace Global Fund is sick of pretending. In a scathing letter, the investment fund fired its elite law firm, Morgan Lewis, for its role in enabling Donald Trump to use the presidency to line his pockets."

British Intel Spotted Donald Trump Camp Russia Ties

Koch cronies populate the rapidly filling swamp in the Trump White House

Koch cronies populate the rapidly filling swamp in the Trump White House

"The release of financial disclosures for staff in the Donald Trump administration revealed this week that many of the new White House staff were previously funded by Charles and David Koch."

Trump’s growing corruption: The president’s business conflicts and nepotism become even more flagrant
"Trump can’t and won’t change who he is, and he clearly intends to use his time in public service to enrich himself at the expense of taxpayers."

Spammer's Arrest Eyed For Donald Trump-Russia Ties

Former FBI agent details how Trump and Russia team up to weaponize fake news
"During the first public Senate Intelligence Committee hearing about Russia’s meddling in the presidential election on Thursday, former FBI special agent Clint Watts explained how Russia and the Trump campaign team up to weaponize fake news."

Political strains within Western powers serve Putin goals
"the role of NATO and the European Union keep Russian power in check and how the weakening of those institutions serve Vladimir Putin's global power strategy."

Trump Administration 'Careening Incompetence' Risks Crisis

This is the One Thing Donald Trump’s Supporters Have Repeatedly Proven About Themselves
"We shouldn’t be surprised that people who voted for a man who belittled POWs; mocked a man with disabilities; attacked Gold Star parents; pushed a blatantly racist conspiracy against Barack Obama; went on Twitter at 3 a.m. to tell his followers to look up the non-existent sex tape of a former Miss Universe; was caught on video bragging about being a sexual predator and trying to cheat on his current wife; refused to release his tax returns; attacked the looks of a GOP presidential opponent’s wife; talked about the size of his penis during a Republican presidential debate; and invited several mistresses of the husband of his opponent to a presidential debate, don’t hold him accountable for a damn thing he says or does after being sworn in to office. At this point, the better question should be: What despicable level would Donald Trump have to stoop to for most of his supporters to finally realize what an awful, pathologically-lying human being he is? Even after being sworn in most of his supporters have ignored: The mounting list of evidence that his campaign colluded with the Russian government. The fact he’s currently under investigation by the FBI. He pushed a ridiculous conspiracy about “millions” of illegal voters because he couldn’t stand that Hillary Clinton received 3 million more votes than he did. Claimed his inauguration crowd was the largest in history despite indisputable photographic evidence that it wasn’t even close to being that. Attacked U.S. intelligence agencies, while defending Russia, after they publicly said Vladimir Putin was behind the hacks on the DNC and Hillary Clinton’s campaign. Told Fox News’ Bill O’Reilly that the values of the United States are basically on par with that of a serial-killing Russian tyrant. Still won’t release his tax returns. Had his top national security pick resign after it was revealed he lied about what he discussed with Russian officials on the day President Obama issued sanctions against Russia."

House Science Committee Calls on Alt-Science to Drive Policy
"In the age of “alternative facts” and the declaration of news as “fake” if it challenges previously held political beliefs, fringe and industry science that bucks years of federal research is gaining newfound prominence. Now, conclusions not published in any of the world’s premier science journals could soon be influencing federal policy, backed by Trump administration officials, congressional Republicans, conservative think tanks and a billionaire investor."

Trump’s EPA Cuts Are A Death Sentence For American Children

Jeff Sessions Should Resign Based on His Record, Regardless of Russian Conversations

Jeff Sessions Should Resign Based on His Record, Regardless of Russian Conversations:

"Sessions has such a deplorable record on civil rights that organizations representing justice for all individuals in the United States held a meeting to express their serious concerns with Sessions on March 7."

Did Paul Manafort launder money for Russia through Cyprus bank?

Did Paul Manafort launder money for Russia through Cyprus bank?

"Cyprus bank investigated accounts associated with Paul Manafort, President Donald Trump’s former campaign chief, for money-laundering, but instead of cooperating with the investigation, Manafort closed the accounts, NBC News reported. Sources told NBC Manafort was associated with 15 bank accounts and 10 companies on Cyrpus. Court documents indicate at least one of those accounts received funds from Russian oligarch Oleg Deripaska, a billionaire friend of Russian President Vladimir Putin, NBC said."

Trump’s Backdoor Attempt To De-Fund Social Security

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Commemorating the president’s 10th consecutive weekend at a Trump-branded property
"During the campaign, Trump promised that he “would rarely leave the White House because there’s so much work to be done” and “would not be a president who took vacations” because “you don’t have time to take time off.” Consider that promise obliterated. And since Trump refused to divest from his company, his frequent visits to properties with his name on them also generates free publicity for his brand and profit off the presidency in an unprecedented manner."

Friday, April 7, 2017

Donald Trump Hides Signing Of Unpopular Legislation

White House’s explanation for Kushner’s secret meeting with a Russian banker unravels
"In a statement emailed to Reuters and other outlets, the espionage-linked bank says that Gorkov, who was appointed to his position as chair of the bank by Russian President Vladimir Putin, met “with a number of representatives of the largest banks and business establishments of the United States, including Jared Kushner, the head of Kushner Companies.” Shortly after his meeting with Kushner, Gorkov —who graduated from Russia’s Federal Security Service security agency, the successor agency to the Soviet-era KGB — went on a Russian state-owned television station and said he was hopeful the financial constraints placed on Russian banks like his by the American sanctions “would change for the better,” the Times reports. According to the Times, the meeting between Kushner and Gorkov was arranged by Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, who had previously met in Trump Tower with Kushner and Michael Flynn."

Is This The Secret Russian Deal Trump Made?

Trump's New Plan: Govt as Company, Citizens as Customers, Kushner as CEO
"The news that Kushner, the real estate heir married to Ivanka Trump, would be leading this enterprise prompted accusations of nepotism and kleptocracy. As many pointed out, Kushner has continued to amass power within the Trump administration, despite the fact that he has never held elected office nor has he been reviewed by the Senate for potential ethics violations."

Finally, a Cure for Government Dysfunction: Nepotism
"Citizens are not your customers. Citizens are your employers. And what "great American company" are we using as a model? Your father-in-law's? I don't think it's a great idea to have the United States go bankrupt several times."

UH-OH: Ex-Trump Adviser Met With Russian Spy, Passed Documents

Trump son-in-law sought for Russia questions
"the background of the former Russian spy-turned-bank-official who met with Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner, and notes the remarkable number of significant tasks Trump has assigned to Kusher."

A Timeline: Russia and President Trump
"Investigative reporters have begun to flesh out the Trump/Russia timeline. To keep everything in one location, here’s an updated summary (so far)."

Trump signs measure making it easier for federal contractors to abuse workers
"The government contracts out hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of business to private entities, who in turn employ a huge share of American workers. But on Monday, President Trump signed a measure that will make it easier for those same firms to get a slice of that business even if they abuse their employees. The measure rolls back an order signed by President Obama, known as the Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order, that required any company bidding on a contract of $500,00 or more to disclose labor law violations over the last three years. Those disclosures then had to be taken into account during the bidding process."

Guy In Charge Of Oversight: Rich People Can't Be Corrupt!

Jared Kushner To 'Run Government Like A Business' On Sears, Kmart Model | Crooks and Liars

Jared Kushner To 'Run Government Like A Business' On Sears, Kmart Model | Crooks and Liars

"Donald Trump's son-in-law Jared Kushner will reform the United States federal government by privatizing and downsizing it. Wielding vast powers and little practical understanding of government, Kushner will set out to ‘run government like a business' in the very fashion that Trump promised. Unfortunately for Americans, this process is more likely to end up making the country worse instead of better."

Repealing prevailing wage laws hurts construction workers

Repealing prevailing wage laws hurts construction workers

"State law changes pushed by business groups and enacted by Republican-dominated legislatures have been a major factor in the decline of construction wages. Since 1979, prevailing wage laws have been a particular target. Without prevailing wage laws—which require contractors to bid and pay at least the average wage in their locality when working on public construction contracts— contractors can cut wages to win bids, rather than competing on the basis of efficiency and management skills, material costs, or the productivity of their workforce."

Scandalized Donald Trump Camp Pushes Distraction

Watch 2016 con artist Trump tell a crowd he'd never play golf, never leave the White House
"The golf outings to Florida are costing taxpayers an estimated $3 million per trip. Much of it going directly to Trump’s private-owned properties. In fact, the Secret Service has already doled out $16,000 in golf cart rentals alone at Mar-A-Lago. And while it is crystal clear Donald Trump spent most of his weekend playing golf, watching golf and promoting his various properties, how did Fox News cover Trump’s weekend? By telling their own gullible viewers that Trump spent the entire weekend working at the White House."

Four-and-a-half false statements EPA head Scott Pruitt made in just one interview
"President Trump will sign an executive order Tuesday to start the effort to kill Obama’s Clean Power Plan (CPP) standards, which are aimed at cutting carbon pollution from electricity plants, Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt said Sunday on ABC’s “This Week.” Pruitt’s long interview was filled with false and misleading statements about domestic climate action and the Paris climate deal."

Former Donald Trump Adviser Duped By Russian Spies

Kochs Bankroll Movement to Rewrite the Constitution @alternet

Kochs Bankroll Movement to Rewrite the Constitution @alternet:

"Most of the groups pushing the convention idea are being underwritten by one or more institutions tied to billionaire industrialists Charles and David Koch."

Donald Trump plans to make Jared Kushner America's unelected, unapproved, uncontrolled CEO
"While Donald Trump is anxious to destroy existing offices and departments, he’s creating a brand new one, to be lead by his 36-year-old son in law, a man who has never held elected office, never stood for Senate review, and who isn’t screened out by nepotism laws because … no one knows why."

White House Meddling Threatens Donald Trump Administration

Jared Kushner met with head of state-controlled Russian bank linked to espionage
"Jared Kusher, senior adviser to President Trump and his son-in-law, will be interviewed by the Senate Intelligence Committee about his pre-inauguration contact with Russian officials. Earlier this month, the New York Times reported that Kushner and Michael Flynn — who was ousted from his role as Trump’s national security adviser after it was revealed he had misled Vice President Pence about his pre-inauguration communications with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak — met with Kislyak in December. But the Times now reports that in addition to that meeting, Kushner had a previously undisclosed meeting with the head of a Russian bank that was hit with sanctions by the Obama administration. The meeting between Kushner and Vnesheconombank chief Sergey Gorkov occurred at Kislyak’s behest, according to the White House."

Senate investigators will question Jared Kushner about talks with Russian officials

Senate investigators will question Jared Kushner about talks with Russian officials

"The Senate Intelligence Committee informed the White House Counsel’s Office of their intention to question Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law, about his previously unreported meeting with Russian ambassador Sergey Kislyak, reported the New York Times. Kushner’s meeting with Kislyak was revealed in newspaper reports weeks after it took place, and he later met with the head of a Russian bank that had been targeted with sanctions after the annexation of Crimea."

Trump Administration Scandals Risk Normalizing Corruption

REVEALED: Jared Kushner met with head of Russian bank that hosted spy ring busted by Preet Bharara

REVEALED: Jared Kushner met with head of Russian bank that hosted spy ring busted by Preet Bharara

"Senate investigators want to question senior White House adviser Jared Kushner about his previously undisclosed meeting with a Russian bank that hosted a convicted spy."

Trey Gowdy claims Nunes never talked to Trump about Russia — even though he admitted he did

Trey Gowdy claims Nunes never talked to Trump about Russia — even though he admitted he did

"A terse Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC) snapped at CBS host John Dickerson on Sunday morning, insisting that House Intelligence Committee head Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA) did not speak with President Donald Trump about a Russia investigation despite Nunes telling the press he did."

Report: Flynn discussed illegal kidnapping of exiled Turkish dissident
"As Flynn was then working two jobs — one for the Trump campaign, the other as a paid representative of Turkish interests — the men he discussed the rendition idea with could have expected Flynn to share the idea with Trump. The president’s team has said Trump did not know about Flynn’s half-million-dollar lobbying contract with a major Turkish company until recently. But the New York Times has reported that transition team lawyers discussed the retired general’s status as a foreign agent before he was named National Security Adviser."

Michael Flynn Will Testify For Immunity

The U.S. Senate Just Sold You Out to Advertisers
"IN A 50-TO-48 VOTE along party lines, the U.S. Senate decided to kill FCC rules blocking your ISP from selling your browsing history to the advertising industry without permission. Should the change pass the House, as is expected, the likes of Comcast and Verizon will be able to make money disclosing what you buy, where you browse, and what you search from your own home, all without asking permission. In an immediate signal that the vote will only benefit monied corporate interests and not the roughly 70 percent of Americans with a home broadband connection, the Internet & Television Association trade group gloated over their congressional victory"

Republican Senator Hails Goldman Sachs As A Champion Of ‘The Little Guy’
"Tillis was speaking at the confirmation hearing for Jay Clayton, President Donald Trump’s nominee to chair the Securities and Exchange Commission. Clayton is a top Wall Street attorney who helped Goldman Sachs with its 2008 government bailout. Tillis’ outburst appeared to be a response to earlier questioning from Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.), whom Tillis griped about in a previous hearing for highlighting a conflict of interest involving President Donald Trump and federal affordable housing programs."

Do Authorities Now Have What They Need on Trump? | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann | GQ

Super President Trump Can Make Facts By Believing Them With His Instincts
"Donald Trump's recent interview with Time Magazine provides further insight into the man who now runs the most powerful country on earth. And to be blunt, it is terrifying.  If you read the interview in its entirety, you get the distinct impression that Trump is not only not very bright, but quite possibly seriously mentally impaired. His inability to focus on what he is being asked results in a meandering, rambling interview that bears no relationship to what is actually happening in the country. Trump basically appears to view the interview as an opportunity to brag about how great his political instincts are, leading any rational observer to conclude that to the contrary, his political instincts are in fact horse sh*t.  The president genuinely appears to believe that because he believes something it makes it real. Just read this incredible interaction"

Sean Spicer compares ex-campaign chairman Paul Manafort to someone Trump sat next to on a plane
"Paul Manafort helped Donald Trump secure the Republican presidential nomination but the White House insists he is just some “gentlemen who was employed by someone for five months.” The Trump administration said on Wednesday it was unaware of Manafort’s work for a Russian billionaire when he was hired as campaign chairman."

Political Strains In West Serve Vladimir Putin Goals

Russia's dark dealings a split screen scandal
"the assassination of a critic of Vladimir Putin, the latest in a long chain of such attacks, and also reports on the latest developments in the Russian scandal in the U.S"

We know what Sean Spicer did last summer: Today he barely recognizes Paul Manafort — last June he praised Manafort’s “strong” leadership
"As the man charged with leading the Trump White House’s communications shop, Spicer is in the unenviable position of having to respond to reports that former Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort is both wildly corrupt and financially linked to a Russian billionaire with close ties to Vladimir Putin. There aren’t really any good responses to that particular PR fiasco, but some are worse than others. Spicer has opted to insult the intelligence of everyone within range of his voice by arguing that Manafort, who led the Trump campaign for several months, was barely even involved with the effort to get Trump elected. On Monday Spicer argued that Manafort “played a very limited role for a very limited amount of time” in the campaign. On Thursday Spicer described Manafort as “a gentleman who was employed by someone for five months,” likening the former campaign chief to someone “who sat next to [Trump] on the plane” or “who [Trump] grew up with in grade school.” This is all ridiculous, especially given that Spicer is making this case in front of reporters who covered the Trump campaign and are well aware of the critical role Manafort played."

Donald Trump White House A Poor Source For Facts

Russian connections: An act of treason
"Richard Painter, who worked in George W. Bush's White House Counsel Office, throws out the "T" word. He tells Lawrence O'Donnell that any American who helped the Russians influence the 2016 elections committed treason."

'There Is No Other Word for It': Former Bush Ethics Czar Says FBI Uncovering Evidence of 'Treason' @alternet

'There Is No Other Word for It': Former Bush Ethics Czar Says FBI Uncovering Evidence of 'Treason' @alternet:

"The former ethics lawyer for George W. Bush believes the FBI investigation into the Trump campaign’s alleged ties to Russia has uncovered evidence of treason."

The Life Cycle Of A Donald Trump Lie
"This cycle is part of the White House’s effort to delegitimize any source of information that gets in the way of Trump’s propaganda."

Donald Trump is Panicking About Russia | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann | GQ

The Big Lie Behind Trump’s Education Budget
"Public school supporters are angry at President Trump’s budget proposal, which plans to cut funding to the Department of Education by 13 percent – taking that department’s outlay down to the level it was ten years ago. But the target for their anger should not be just the extent of the cuts but also how the cuts are being pitched to the public. Trump’s education budget cuts are aimed principally at federal programs that serve poor kids, especially their access to afterschool programs and high-quality teachers."

"Embodiment of Greed": Sanders, Warren Rail Against Trump's SEC Pick
"Sens. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) rallied against President Donald Trump's nominee to head the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Wall Street lawyer Jay Clayton, alongside other progressive leaders late Wednesday. Clayton, a corporate lawyer who helped Wall Street defy regulators and get billions of dollars in government bailout funds during the financial crisis, is "the embodiment of the greed that nearly destroyed the economy," Sanders charged in his fiery speech."

Which of Trump’s Cronies Will Flip on Him First? | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann | GQ

Trump's Draconian Budget Deals a Blow to Appalachia
"Rural America Takes Major Cuts The Appalachian Regional Commission was founded in 1965 "to help close the profound socioeconomic gaps between Appalachia and the rest of the nation." According to the Commission, in the past five years the agency has helped to create or retain over 101,000 jobs. Almost 63 percent of ARC investment dollars from fiscal years 2011-2015 supported projects that primarily or substantially benefited economically distressed counties and areas. ARC is a federal-state partnership that also garners private investment, which helps it draw bipartisan support. In 2015, for each $1 in funds invested by ARC in non-highway projects, $8 was leveraged in private-sector funding. ARC members want to be clear that their organization is not looking for charity. "We're not trying to ask the federal government to bail us out," says Jeff Whitehead, the executive director of the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, Inc., which receives ARC funding. "We are coming together to solve some of these problems and we need that federal support and that investment to propel our efforts." The Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program provides workforce and employer services to 23 rural Appalachian counties in Eastern Kentucky. It's one program of many in the region that receives funding from ARC. The need for workforce development in Kentucky is especially pressing. As of October 2016, an estimated 6,254 people were employed at coal mines in the state, the lowest level recorded since 1898. "The ARC, they've been a real instrumental partner in our region's efforts," Whitehead says. In the past two years ARC awarded $707,000 to the Eastern Kentucky Concentrated Employment Program, which used the money to train 670 people who are now employed full-time, the AP reported. "Investments like ARC into our efforts, they're just really poised to pay off great dividends," he says."

Memo to FBI: If team Trump and Putin colluded, any money trail likely involves oil
"Another key development since the election: Putin pulled off the Rosneft sale in December. When Fortune reported on this deal, they pointed out that it was “confounding expectations that the Kremlin’s standoff with the West would scare off major investors.” But this deal “pointed to a possible reassessment by foreign investors of the risks of dealing with Russia, at a time when the election of Donald Trump as U.S. president has heightened expectations of a thaw between Moscow and Washington.” Significantly, the $11 billion raised by the sale went to the Kremlin, not Rosneft. No wonder “Russian officials were jubilant that Rosneft had pulled off a deal which will deliver a large chunk of the cash they need to fill gaps in the state budget caused by an economic slowdown and sanctions,” as Reuters reported. Kleptocracy — and possibly meddling with a foreign election — looks like it pays very well for team Putin. As for the buyers, Sergey Aleksashenko, a former deputy head of Russia’s central bank, wrote in a blog post earlier this year, “the main question in relation to this transaction, as ever, still sounds like this: Who is the real buyer of a 19.5 percent stake in Rosneft?” Reuters notes that “important facts about the deal either have not been disclosed, cannot be determined solely from public records, or appear to contradict the straightforward official account of the stake being split 50/50” between Swiss oil trading firm Glencore and the Qataris. The funding sources for almost a quarter of the deal “have not been disclosed by any of the parties.” This deal “uses a structure of shell companies owning shell companies, commonly referred to in Russia as a ‘matryoshka,’ after the wooden nesting dolls that open to reveal a smaller doll inside.” For instance, “public records show the ownership structure of the stake ultimately includes a Cayman Islands company whose beneficial owners cannot be traced"."

A Dire Period Of Scandal For Donald Trump In Turmoil

Why Are Republicans So Relentlessly Cruel to the Poor? @alternet

Why Are Republicans So Relentlessly Cruel to the Poor? @alternet:

"Unfortunately, the Republican war on the poor is but one sign of the deep moral rot at the heart of American society. This crisis extends well beyond the election of Donald Trump and the cruelty both promised and so far enacted by his cadre and the Republican Party. If a society is judged by how it treats the most vulnerable and weak, America is a country in decline, a country whose citizens should be ashamed of their leaders — and, in some cases, ashamed of themselves."

Trump defends three of his biggest lies in new interview
"In a new Time magazine cover interview, President Trump defends three of the most notorious lies he’s told since beginning his presidential campaign in June 2015."

Blocked Yates Testimony Looking More Like Cover Up

Here’s a fact check of the blizzard of lies Trump told in his off-the-charts Time magazine interview

Here’s a fact check of the blizzard of lies Trump told in his off-the-charts Time magazine interview

"In his interview with Scherer, Trump also lied about the veracity of his administration’s employment statistics versus Obama’s, how many times he’s made the cover of Time, the state of the economy he inherited from Pres. Obama and other subjects."

5 things to know about Trump’s USDA nominee and the environment
"Perdue also has deep ties to the chemical industry. He has received around $330,000 in campaign donations from chemical giant Monsanto and other agribusinesses, according to GrubStreet, and was named Governor of the Year in 2009 by the GMO-lobbying group Biotechnology Innovation Organization."

Trump Tells Time Magazine He Must Be Doing Well Because “I’m President And You’re Not”

Conservatives suddenly love big government — when it comes to punishing blue cities for passing progressive local laws
"Conservatives are starting to sour on the concept of local control, so much so that Gov. Greg Abbott of Texas, a leading figure on the Republican far right, recently gave a speech to the Texas Conservative Coalition Research Institute in which he suggested that Texas should pass “a broad-based law” that would “pre-empt local regulations.” Wait, what? Conservatives are supposed to be the small government guys. Suddenly you’ve got one of the most right-wing Republican governors in the country denouncing local control and arguing that Big Brother should pass broad legislation stripping basic powers from local leaders to do things like pass smoking ordinances or regulate a city’s minimum wage."

How Many Lies Can Donald Trump Defend in One Interview?
"In the end, he insists his version of events are the real truth because, after all, he's sitting in the Oval Office."

Trump's Policies Show How Racial Division Benefits the Rich
"Since the introduction of the American Health Care Act and Trump's draconian budget proposal, there's been a rash of reporting and analysis on how Trump's policies will be particularly harmful for Trump voters. The tax credits to purchase health insurance available to Trump's older, rural, low- and middle-income voters would be significantly lower under the GOP health care plan than the subsidies available to them through Obamacare, which are tailored to one's income and the local cost of health insurance – because Trump won counties with low incomes and high insurance costs. Trump's proposed $54 billion budget cuts would also hit hardest the rural areas and small towns he won. The money saved by slashing the budget and rescinding Obamacare benefits would free up hundreds of billions of dollars for tax cuts for the wealthy. Nonetheless, some Trump voters remain strong supporters, like the woman outside a Trump rally who mistakenly credited Trump for the Obamacare subsidy that enables her son to afford insurance. Another woman said she didn't believe reports that Trumpcare would leave 24 million more people uninsured and advised against believing anything that doesn't come straight from Trump. But there have been many other stories featuring Trump supporters who are coming to realize the policies he wants to enact will hurt them."

Taxpayers Have Spent $16k For Secret Service To Rent Golf Carts At Mar-A-Lago

Release of Arctic Methane "May Be Apocalyptic," Study Warns
"A scientific study published in the prestigious journal Palaeoworld in December issued a dire -- and possibly prophetic -- warning, though it garnered little attention in the media. "Global warming triggered by the massive release of carbon dioxide may be catastrophic," reads the study's abstract. "But the release of methane from hydrate may be apocalyptic." The study, titled "Methane Hydrate: Killer Cause of Earth's Greatest Mass Extinction," highlights the fact that the most significant variable in the Permian Mass Extinction event, which occurred 250 million years ago and annihilated 90 percent of all the species on the planet, was methane hydrate."