Saturday, April 8, 2017

Commemorating the president’s 10th consecutive weekend at a Trump-branded property

https://thinkprogress.org/trump-branded-property-consecutive-weekends-d7640e4ef3dd
"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

https://thinkprogress.org/white-house-explanation-kushner-meeting-russian-banker-7372692a38d7
"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

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/03/27/trumps-new-plan-govt-company-citizens-customers-kushner-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

http://www.esquire.com/news-politics/politics/news/a54149/jared-kushner-white-house-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

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow/watch/trump-son-in-law-sought-for-russia-questions-907934275623
"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

http://billmoyers.com/story/the-trump-resistance-plan-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

https://thinkprogress.org/trump-contractors-labor-laws-executive-order-fd2c97b42b46
"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

http://www.dailykos.com/story/2017/3/27/1647639/-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

https://thinkprogress.org/four-and-a-half-false-statements-epa-head-scott-pruitt-made-in-just-one-interview-52be38cad2f2
"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

http://www.dailykos.com/stories/2017/3/27/1647627/-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

https://thinkprogress.org/jared-kushner-russia-meetings-19e843cac256
"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

https://thinkprogress.org/report-flynn-discussed-illegal-kidnapping-of-exiled-turkish-dissident-deb36c4a3c7a
"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

https://theintercept.com/2017/03/23/the-senate-just-voted-to-sell-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’

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/thom-tillis-goldman-sachs_us_58d42b23e4b02d33b749e1e5?aujsdl6btf08s38fr&
"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

http://thedailybanter.com/2017/03/super-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

http://www.salon.com/2017/03/23/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

http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow/watch/russia-s-dark-dealings-a-split-screen-scandal-905306179638
"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

http://www.salon.com/2017/03/24/sean-spicers-summer-fling-today-he-barely-recognizes-paul-manafort-last-june-he-lavished-praise-on-manaforts-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

http://www.msnbc.com/the-last-word/watch/russian-connections-an-act-of-treason-905291331881
"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

https://mediamatters.org/blog/2017/03/24/life-cycle-donald-trump-lie/215798
"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

http://www.commondreams.org/views/2017/03/23/big-lie-behind-trumps-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

http://www.commondreams.org/news/2017/03/23/embodiment-greed-sanders-warren-rail-against-trumps-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

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/39947-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

https://thinkprogress.org/trump-russia-money-trail-oil-19c3ed417173
"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

https://thinkprogress.org/trump-lies-time-interview-f78e478dd630
"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

https://thinkprogress.org/sonny-perdue-agriculture-secretary-environment-climate-confirmation-b8ac56014f6d
"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

http://www.salon.com/2017/03/23/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?

http://www.motherjones.com/politics/2017/03/donald-trump-falsehoods-interview-wiretap
"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

http://www.rollingstone.com/politics/features/trumps-policies-show-how-racial-division-benefits-the-rich-w473404
"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

http://www.truth-out.org/news/item/39957-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."