Sunday, July 30, 2017

Latest Russia Intrigue Follows Long History Of Espionage

The Past 5 GOP Presidents Have Used Fraud and Treason to Steer Themselves to Electoral Victory @alternet

The Past 5 GOP Presidents Have Used Fraud and Treason to Steer Themselves to Electoral Victory @alternet:

"People are wondering out loud about the parallels between today’s Republican Party and organized crime, and whether “Teflon Don” Trump will remain unscathed through his many scandals, ranging from interactions with foreign oligarchs to killing tens of thousands of Americans by denying them healthcare to stepping up the destruction of our environment and public lands.  History suggests – even if treason can be demonstrated – that, as long as he holds onto the Republican Party (and Fox News), he’ll survive it intact. And he won’t be the first Republican president to commit high crimes to get and stay in office.  In fact, Eisenhower was the last legitimately elected Republican president we’ve had in this country. Since Dwight Eisenhower left the presidency in 1961, six different Republicans have occupied the Oval Office. And every single one of them - from Richard Nixon to Donald Trump - have been illegitimate - ascending to the highest office in the land not through small-D democratic elections - but instead through fraud and treason. (And today’s GOP-controlled Congress is arguably just as corrupt and illegitimate, acting almost entirely within the boundaries set by an organized group of billionaires.)  Let’s start at the beginning with Richard Nixon."

Trump's Hilarious Excuse For Wanting To Veto Russia Sanctions

Let's Not Ignore the Real Heroes Who Saved Our Health Care System from Total Ruin @alternet

Let's Not Ignore the Real Heroes Who Saved Our Health Care System from Total Ruin @alternet:

"What all this media coverage ignores is the tireless and determined organizing of activist groups against the bill. If anyone is to be heralded a hero for saving the ACA, it’s the activists from ADAPT, a disability rights organization, who have been on the front lines fighting for their right to health care. The primary factor driving ADAPT organizers and disability rights activists is the need to protect Medicaid, a program that has helped an estimated 10 million disabled people and counting, according to Kaiser Family Foundation. With both the House and Senate’s health care bills proposing drastic cuts to Medicaid, people with disabilities are particularly vulnerable. “Medicaid is a lifeline for us,” said Laura Halvorson, a member of the DC Metro ADAPT chapter. “It gives us our life and liberty.” ADAPT activists, ranging in age from parents with younger children to the elderly, held about 40 protests, rallies and sit-ins this week and over the past few months to pressure the lawmakers working to strip health care away from millions of people. These demonstrations took place in legislative offices on Capitol Hill as well as representatives' local offices across the country, the message ringing loud and clear. Protesters were often met with aggressive police presence. A "die-in” protest organized by ADAPT on June 22 to commemorate the 18th anniversary of the Supreme Court decision in Olmstead v. LC—which affirmed the rights of the disabled to live in communities instead of institutions—outside Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell’s office led to the arrests of 43 people. Footage from reporters on the scene shows officers lifting individuals out of their wheelchairs to remove them from the vicinity."

Ideology, Not Tactics, Killed Trumpcare
"There was no plan in that seven years, and there would have been no reasonable plan out of the conference committee, because a Republican health care bill is an oxymoron. The problem was never one of tactics, but always one of ideology. Every bill Republicans put forth was measured in the millions of Americans who would lose their coverage. There was never a plan on the table that would have given Americans cheaper, better, simpler, more effective access to health care. It only subtracted, because subtraction is what the Republicans in Congress believe in. They don't believe access to health care is a basic human right. They don't believe people should never go bankrupt because they get sick. They hide behind words like "freedom" and "personal responsibility," but what's freedom worth if you get cancer while making $30,000 a year? How can anyone who isn't fabulously wealthy be expected to take personal responsibility for bills that could easily go into the hundreds of thousands, or even millions, of dollars? Republican faith in the free market to solve all our problems doomed any attempt at writing a health care law. The free market doesn't care if people get sick, go bankrupt and die if there's no profit in it. The Affordable Care Act was a last-chance effort to preserve a market-based health care system, based largely on ideas that originated in conservative think tanks. Its failures – and there are some – are largely failures of too little regulation, not too much. The plan Republicans have been fiercely opposing because it has a Democratic president's name attached to it is the closest thing they could ever get to a GOP health care plan. Americans don't want to be kicked off our health insurance. We don't want it to become unaffordable, or to fail to cover our actual health care needs. But any plan that comes solely from the Republican Party will do exactly that. We know this because we just saw them try over and over again, and every result was the same: Less coverage, higher costs."

The Stunning Drama Of Killing The GOP Health Care Bill

The 3 most compelling moments from the Senate’s late night health care debate
"The Senate continued its health care debate late into Thursday night, deciding whether or not to strip health care from 16 million people while many Americans slept. Before the vote on the so-called “skinny repeal bill” at midnight on Friday, lawmakers held the floor to speak out about the legislation. Tensions were high, and senators bickered over policy and procedure. Here are three memorable moments from the late night session"

What McCain did was hard. What Murkowski and Collins did was much harder.
"Murkowski and Collins were the only Republicans to vote against a motion to proceed with the health care bill debate. Both women cast votes against the Better Care Reconciliation Act, which could have led to 22 million more uninsured Americans. They both also voted against the Obamacare Reconciliation Act — repeal and delay — which could have led to 32 million more uninsured Americans. Both senators said they could not support bills that would leave millions of people without health insurance. They also opposed provisions to defund planned parenthood. When skinny repeal — seemingly the last shot for the GOP — came down, they stood their ground and voted no again."

"Far from Over": Senate Narrowly Defeats Obamacare Repeal, But More Attacks on Healthcare Loom

Dean Heller's awful, stupid, really dumb Trumpcare vote
"Sen. Dean Heller was already having an extremely bad week, all entirely of his own making. For whatever reason, the extremely vulnerable Nevada Republican—the only one running in 2018 in a state that went for Clinton last year—decided he was going to vote against his constituents in order to stick with his party."

Sean Hannity Throws a Hissy Fit Because GOP, Trump are Frauds (Video)
"He seems “shocked” that Republicans have been exposed as frauds who never had any plan to replace Obamacare, spent the last few years lying about it to benefit themselves politically, and now that they were forced to turn their propaganda into action, backed down. Despite their anti-Obamacare crusade the last seven years, the GOP is well aware of how many conservatives have actually benefited from the law. What Hannity fails to mention is that, while the “skinny repeal” barely failed, the vote to reject the full-on repeal of Obamacare wasn’t even close. As far as not wanting “the president to succeed,” that’s just idiotic. During his campaign he promised a bill that would make health care cheaper, better, and cover more Americans — yet Trumpcare literally would have done none of that. It was going to strip-down coverage, raise premiums, and 22 million fewer Americans would have had health insurance by 2026. He then went on to claim that the “deck is stacked” against the Trump administration. It’s easy to understand why Trump and Hannity get along so well; they’re two of the biggest crybabies I’ve ever seen. In case anybody’s forgotten, the Republican Party controls the House, the Senate, and the White House. If they can’t pass legislation that’s on them — and nobody else. What Sean Hannity’s essentially whining about here is the fact that Donald Trump and the GOP are liars who pander to ignorance. Now he’s upset because their conservative fan fiction they all desperately want to be real is running up against a reality that would expose what con artists they are. They know if they instantly stripped health care away from millions — many of whom are their own voters — the political ramifications from that fallout would be catastrophic for the party at nearly every level of government. So Hannity can blame whoever, or whatever, he wants for the failures of Donald Trump and the Republican Party in fulfilling the lies they fed to millions of naive people who actually believed their nonsense."

Lawrence: The Resistance Showed Senators The Way On Health Care

This Is How Kushner Operates
"There's so much ducking and dodging and weaving and blame-shifting in that one section that you can see how young Jared became so favored within the Trump inner circle. The ability to cram such sheer connivance into every sentence must have been what first attracted Trump to his son-in-law."

Kellyanne Conway thinks Donald Trump’s lies are ok because ‘he doesn’t think he’s lying’
"Conway’s response on Sunday was a new approach to how the administration handles allegations of lying. “[Donald Trump] doesn’t think he’s lying about those issues, and you know it,” she said."

'Skinny Repeal' Of Obamacare Goes Down In Flames

The six-month verdict on Trump: A fraud, a liar, and quite possibly an idiot
"Television chyrons are regularly reminding viewers that some particularly egregious thing the POTUS has said is not in fact true; the contents of White House press briefings are more valued by the nation's comedy writers than by the reporters covering them, and it is generally understood that the office functions more as a therapy outlet for Trump's latest obsession than as a substantive White House connection to the outside world. It is likely that six months from now, we will have similarly settled on the near-universal acknowledgement that the president is, in fact, not merely a liar but suffering from a more severe mental impairment. What we will do about it is still up in the air, but it seems clear that the day is coming."

Kushner bought NYC real estate through Soviet-born ‘king of diamonds’ cited in money laundering case

Kushner bought NYC real estate through Soviet-born ‘king of diamonds’ cited in money laundering case:

"Jared Kushner took out a real estate loan through a partner of a Russian investment firm represented in a money laundering case by the same Kremlin-linked attorney he met with during the campaign with Donald Trump Jr. and Paul Manafort."

The Koch Brothers WILL Have Their Tax Cuts

Trump angrily rants that ‘Obamacare is death’ – and it backfires hilariously

Trump angrily rants that ‘Obamacare is death’ – and it backfires hilariously:

"the president’s claim that Obamacare was “death” quickly ignited mockery on social media."

Trump Appears to Not Understand What Health Insurance Is
"the theory that our government can function even if the president is clueless is being tested."

Half Of Trump Voters Believe He Actually Won The Popular Vote

We Should Expect the Worst When it Comes to Trump's Despotism as Trump-Russia Heats Up
"Trump is a frightened toddler and will do anything he can to keep himself, his family and his closest advisers out of prison -- though he probably won't go to bat for his advisers as much as they'd like to think. We can definitely count on the fact that Trump will take whatever actions he sees fit to shield himself from comeuppance. I'd rank his eventual actions in the fact of indictments as being among the biggest threats to national security and American democracy.  Make no mistake, the president will push far beyond the limits of presidential powers in order to sidestep justice in the Trump-Russia affair. He'll absolutely fire Robert Mueller sooner or later -- probably sooner. We can also expect that he'll pardon himself, only to be reversed by the Supreme Court. But will he even obey the Court's decision? Maybe, maybe not, but the smart move would be for all of us to expect the worst from this erratic monster. I'd go so far as to forecast that he'd even use the military to shield himself from being removed from office. Of course Fox News and most of Trump's loyal fanboys will support whatever he does because f*** democracy. One way or another, if he's proven to be as guilty as we all believe he is, then he must be hastily stripped of the presidency. And if he resists, we're in for a hell of a nightmare."

Boy Scouts Jamboree Compared to Hitler Youth Rally After Trump's Speech
"As he did in May while delivering a commencement speech at the U.S. Coast Guard Academy, Trump chose to focus on his own struggles in the White House and recall his victory in the 2016 election, turning an historically non-partisan event that generally focuses on public service into a campaign rally. The Scouts, who Trump addressed as "young patriots," erupted in cheers of "USA! USA!" as the president brought up familiar talking points from his campaign and his first six months in office. He spoke about his effort to repeal the Affordable Care Act, the war on political correctness ("Under the Trump administration, you will be saying, 'Merry Christmas again'"), and interrupted his own recitation of the Scout's Law to bring up his well-documented need for loyalty from his administration: "As the Scout Law says: 'A Scout is trustworthy, loyal'...we could use some more loyalty, I will tell you that." In addition to breaking with tradition, Trump's speech appears to have broken the Boy Scouts of Amercia (BSA)'s long-standing rule regarding Boy Scout's participation in political events."

The Head Of Boy Scouts Apologizes For Trump’s Insane Speech To Children

Angry Republicans Demand the Congressional Budget Office Start Using Republican Math
"It's not hard to see why Republicans have declared war on the CBO; there's not a single item on the GOP's economic agenda that's not a disaster for 99% of America's population. Their assault on healthcare would strip coverage from millions of the most vulnerable while giving the rich billions of dollars. Their tax reform would cut taxes a little bit for the middle class and give the rich billions of dollars. Their budget would cut Medicare and Social Security while giving the rich billions of dollars. Their version of infrastructure spending would give the rich billions of dollars. Are you sensing a theme here? One can only wonder if Republicans could find a way to use something unrelated to the budget, like immigration, to give the rich billions of dollars. Oh wait, they did exactly that. But remember, Trump won partly because of his populist message. Yes, his racism and sexism were the biggest draws but he promised to stick it to the rich as well and that resonated with his base. He's not going to do that, of course, but so far he's immune to the repercussions of ignoring his economic populism. Republicans are not. If everything Republicans do coddles the rich (and it does), the already extremely angry base will not let it slide much longer. The worst part about this is the current head of the CBO was appointed by Trump and his administration. Yet they can't stop attacking him for doing his job honestly. That should tell you everything you need to know about the current toxic nature of the Republican Party. Facts are literally the enemy and be it the press, the CBO, the EPA or any other group that refuses to bend to the lies of the GOP, they just gotta go. So how does one make the CBO stop making with the inconvenient math? The current solution is to force the CBO to use "alternative facts"."

Boy Scouts apologize for Donald Trump’s “political rhetoric” at the Jamboree
"The head of the Boy Scouts wants people to know they didn't intend for President Trump to go off the rails"

Boy Scouts Earn 'Listen To Trump Whine For An Hour' Merit Badge

Friday, July 28, 2017

GOP Deploys Counter Narrative Amid Continued Donald Trump Disgrace

Report: Kushner Made Deal With Firm Cited In Russia Money-Laundering Case
"Hours before Jared Kushner stepped out to a podium in front of the White House on Monday and said he has never “relied on Russian funds” for his businesses, The Guardian reported that he made a deal with a real estate mogul linked to a Russian firm accused in a multimillion-dollar money laundering scheme. The President’s son-in-law and senior adviser paid $295 million in 2015 to acquire several floors of a Manhattan office tower from the U.S. branch of a company owned by the Soviet-born Israeli businessman Lev Leviev. Kushner entered into an agreement with Leviev’s Africa Israel Investments (AFI) to purchase the floors of the old New York Times building. According to the Guardian, AFI was cited as a business partner of Russian-owned real estate company Prevezon Holdings in a lawsuit alleging that Prevezon laundered millions of dollars through Manhattan real estate. A month before Election Day, Kushner also took out a $285 million loan from Deutsche Bank as part of a refinancing package for that some property—a transaction now under scrutiny by federal investigators looking into both Kushner and the President’s finances."

‘Either incompetence — or Russia has a lot of influence’: Ex-FBI agent troubled by Kushner statement

‘Either incompetence — or Russia has a lot of influence’: Ex-FBI agent troubled by Kushner statement:

"Jared Kushner released an 11-page statement detailing his contacts with Russia before Inauguration Day but denying campaign collusion — but former FBI special agent Clint Watts said the document raises as many questions as it answers."

Donald Trump Employs Chris Christie-Style Bully Politics In Health Bill Push

Trump and the Christian Fascists
"More important, Trump's disdain for facts and his penchant for magical thinking and conspiracy theories mesh well with the worldview of the Christian right, which sees itself as under attack by the satanic forces of secular humanism embodied in the media, academia, the liberal establishment, Hollywood and the Democratic Party. In this worldview, climate change is not real, Barack Obama is a Muslim and millions of people voted illegally in the 2016 election. The followers of the Christian right, like Trump and his brain trust, including Stephen Bannon, are Manicheans. They see the world in black and white, good and evil, them and us. Trump's call in his speech in Poland for a crusade against the godless hoards of Muslims fleeing from the wars and chaos we created replicates the view of the Christian right. Christian right leaders in a sign of support went to the White House on July 10 to pray over Trump. Two days later Pat Robertson showed up there to interview the president for his Christian Broadcasting Network. If the alliance between these zealots and the government succeeds, it will snuff out the last vestiges of American democracy. On the surface it appears to be incongruous that the Christian right would rally behind a slick New York real estate developer who is a very public serial philanderer and adulterer, has no regard for the truth, is consumed by greed, does not appear to read or know the Bible, routinely defrauds and cheats his investors and contractors, expresses a crude misogyny and an even cruder narcissism and appears to yearn for despotism. In fact, these are the very characteristics that define most of the leaders of the Christian right."

Anthony Scaramucci, Trump’s New Communications Director, Said Citizens United Made Possible a “Sleeper Cell” of Hedge Fund Managers
"Here’s what Scaramucci said about Citizens United, himself, and Cooperman: Scaramucci, the organizer of the dinner, told me the next day that the guests had witnessed the “activation” of a “sleeper cell” of hedge-fund managers against Obama. “That’s what you see happening in the hedge-fund community, because they now have the power, because of Citizens United, to aggregate capital into political-action committees and to influence the debate,” he said. “The president has a philosophy of disdain toward wealth creation. That’s just obvious, O.K.? We talked about it all night.” He later said, “If there’s a pope of this movement, it’s Lee Cooperman"."

The Timeline In the Case Against Trump | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann | GQ

Dear Trump Voters: Republicans are Driving You to Drugs, Alcohol and Suicide
"This is a Republican economy full of Republican "free markets", Republican deregulation, Republican tax cuts and you voted for Republicans. The 1% has more money than 90% of the country. Just 8 people, 6 of them from the United States, control as much wealth as half of the entire population of the planet. You'd have to work a month to earn what a CEO makes in an hour. And that's if you even have a job that pays more than minimum wage. Does any of that sound like the "Socialist/Communist/Marxist" economy you've been told liberals want? This is a Republican economy and it's what you voted for. This will not be something that you want to hear but it's true. It's also true that Republicans have zero interest in the job creation you crave because they do not care about you. You hear a lot about how liberal government regulations kill jobs but no one can ever quite seem to explain to you how allowing Wall Street to recklessly gamble with your bank deposits will lower unemployment. We all know how easily that gambling destroys your job, life savings, and your future but when was the last time a booming stock market created a single job opening in your town? Wall Street doesn't care about giving back to your community. Why are you so eager to have Republicans repeal regulations that are keeping the banks from f***ing you like they did in '08? This is what you voted for so who's fault will it be when they crash the economy again?"

WATCH: Fox’s Shep Smith just ripped a big hole in Jared Kushner’s excuse for Russian meeting

WATCH: Fox’s Shep Smith just ripped a big hole in Jared Kushner’s excuse for Russian meeting:

"But Kushner has insisted “he didn’t even realize what that infamous meeting at Trump Tower was about,” explained Jonathan Lemire of the Associated Press. “Okay, hang on,” Smith interrupted. “There’s an email, and at the top of that email there is a subject line — let’s look at that subject line. Here it is, this is an email from Donald Trump Jr, sent on Wednesday the 8th of June at noon or so. The subject line: ‘Russia — Clinton — private and confidential.'” “So what he is saying is he didn’t read deep into the email and we are to believe that he didn’t read the subject line?” he added."

Case Closed. Collusion Has Been Proven | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann | GQ

Trump Is Obsessed With His Twitter Following—Too Bad Most of His Followers Are Fake @alternet

Trump Is Obsessed With His Twitter Following—Too Bad Most of His Followers Are Fake @alternet:

"A quick glance at Trump’s actual number of Twitter followers tells a different story, however; while president brags of about 34 million followers, the truth is far different. According to an analysis by Socialbakers in June for CNN Tech, one analytics tool estimates that 11.6 million of Trump's 32 million Twitter followers are either dormant or accounts run by bots.  "The analysis run by Twitter Audit, which estimates how many of an account’s following is made up of real people, gave Trump a 40 percent audit score and found that about 20 million of his followers are fake. Status People, another site that rates the authenticity of Twitter followers, found that 5 percent of Trump’s followers are fake and another 91 percent are inactive. That Trump seemingly has more fake followers than real ones can be attributed to the existence of bots, an umbrella term referring to accounts with no profile picture and no tweets. A quick scroll through the most recent followers on the @realDonaldTrump account shows a number of accounts with Twitter’s default profile picture and no tweets, that seemed to have joined Twitter very recently. Amassing bot followers is fairly easy. One only has to pay a certain amount of money, and voila, one has an instant bump in following count. A New York Times article by Nick Bilton describes the social media bot industry as a “giant pyramid scheme” often used by big-name brands, A-list celebrities and regular people seeking a “social media ego boost"."

Bernie Sanders: GOP Is Now A Right-Wing Extremist Party

Thursday, July 27, 2017

Bipartisan Group Of Governors Warns Senate Not To Pass ‘Skinny’ Obamacare Repeal Bill
"A bipartisan group of 10 governors wrote a letter Wednesday urging the Senate to reject a proposed “skinny” health care bill that Republican leaders are now trying feverishly to pass. And if the collective voice of so many governors doesn’t get the attention of GOP leaders, the letter’s endorsement by one particular Republican governor might."

The GOP Is Willing to Destroy Our Democracy If That's What It Takes to Repeal Obamacare @alternet

The GOP Is Willing to Destroy Our Democracy If That's What It Takes to Repeal Obamacare @alternet:

"The Republicans have shown themselves to be the party that cares most about their power, political gamesmanship and serving their wealthy patrons. But the lawlessness they have embraced is multi-layered."

Somebody tell the United States Senate they are voting on a real bill
"Senate Republicans are primed to pass some kind of health care bill in the next 24 hours. The crazy thing is, they say they don't actually want it to become law.They just want to pass something and then start negotiations with the House on a much bigger bill. In fact, they want assurances that whatever they pass won't just be taken up by the House and passed. Sen. Bob Corker (R-TN) told reporters that senators weren't concerned about the "substance" of the bill they're about to vote on, they just want a guarantee the House won't pass it too. What on earth."

Senator Warren on the Republican "skinny repeal" health care bill

GOP Senators threaten to blow up Trumpcare unless they are given an unconstitutional guarantee
"Sens. Lindsay Graham (R-SC), John McCain (R-AZ), and Ron Johnson (R-WI) held an odd press conference Thursday evening where they announced that they will vote for the latest gambit to advance Trumpcare, but only if they can be sure that the bill they vote for does not become law."

GOP Senators Call “Skinny” Repeal Bill a Fraud—But Say They Might Vote for It Anyway
"In other words, these four senators are saying that they are willing to vote for a bill they don’t support as long as congressional leaders promise it won’t actually become law."

Donald Trump DoJ Pick Recently Represented Putin-Aligned Russian Bank

Trump Furthers War on Science With 'Illegal' Nomination of Climate Denier for Top USDA Scientist
"As the administration continues to take a "wrecking ball" to science, President Donald Trump on Wednesday officially nominated climate change denier, conservative talk radio host, and former Trump campaign co-chair Sam Clovis to the top science job at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). The expected nomination drew condemnation from advocacy group Union of Concerned Scientists (UCS), which reiterated its statement that Clovis serving as the USDA's undersecretary for research, education, and economics is illegal. That's because the 2008 Farm Bill requires the president to nominate a person for that post "from among distinguished scientists with specialized training or significant experience in agricultural research, education, and economics." And as ProPublica previously noted, Clovis can boast of no such credentials"

Trump Does Not Acknowledge Or Respect DOJ’s Independence. That Can’t End Well.
"Justice Department alums from both sides of the aisle were alarmed by the president’s comments this week."

New Facts Uncovered About Donald Trump FBI Pick, Confirmation Vote Looms

Scaramucci compared a rules change on hedge funds to Dred Scott decision
"That’s the level of the discourse the public can expect from the new man charged with creating Trump’s “message.” It’s also exactly why Trump hired Scaramucci. His combative, facts-free style precisely aligns with Trump’s. Scaramucci is there to be Trump’s Great Enabler."

New White House communications chief begins tenure by defending one of Trump’s most dangerous lies
"Sean Spicer began his tenure as White House Press Secretary by defending a lie about the crowd size at Trump’s inauguration being “the largest audience to ever witness an inauguration. Period.” On the day of Spicer’s resignation, new White House Communications Director Anthony Scaramucci defended another, more dangerous Trump lie. Asked by a reporter if he stands by Trump’s claim that three to five million illegal votes cost him the popular vote, Scaramucci said, “If the president says it… my guess is that there is probably some level of truth to that.” “I think what we have found sometimes, the president says stuff, some of you guys in the media think it’s not true or it isn’t true, and it turns out it is closer to the truth than people think,” he added. There isn’t a shred of evidence that widespread illegal voting occurred during last year’s election. But Trump has leveraged his claim into the creation of a White House Commission on Election Integrity. During their first meeting earlier this week, the commission made clear that its goal is to suppress votes. At other points during Friday’s press conference, Scaramucci praised Trump effusively. But the new White House communications director dodged most other substantive questions that reporters asked him during his time at the podium, citing his newness in the role and need to get up to speed. Scaramucci’s defense of Trump’s dangerous, evidence-free voter fraud claim — one that more than 20 states have already cited in efforts to make it harder for eligible citizens to vote — indicates that while his delivery might be smoother than Spicer’s, some of the worst practices of the White House will not change."

Congressman Blake Farenthold: I'd Duel Female Senators If They Were Men

Sean Spicer Resigns as White House Press Secretary Amid Scaramucci Appointment
"Sean Spicer resigned Friday morning from his oft-lampooned post as White House press secretary. A source familiar with the upheaval told The New York Times Spicer's decision to step down was in reaction to President Trump's appointment of New York financier Anthony Scaramucci as communications director."

Red Alert: Team Trump Unveils Anti-Planet, Anti-Worker Corporate Wish List
"Amid swirling controversy over the burgeoning investigation into President Donald Trump's alleged Russia ties, groups are raising the alarm after the Trump administration on Thursday quietly unveiled its plan to roll back hundreds of Obama-era regulations aimed at shielding workers and the planet from corporate abuse."

When Conservative News Devolves Into Right-Wing Propaganda

Newt Gingrich talked about Trump pardoning people back in 2016
"Trump surrogate and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich discussed potential ethics violations in a December 2016 interview with Diane Rehm in light of Trump’s many domestic and foreign business interests. In the interview, Gingrich suggested that the president would have virtually unlimited ability to pardon aides: [Trump] also has, frankly, the power of the pardon. I mean, it is a totally open power, and he could simply say, “Look, I want them to be my advisers, I pardon them if anybody finds them to have behaved against the rules, period.” And technically under the Constitution, he has that level of authority."

Trump scolds Congress to stay in D.C. during August recess while he spends 17 days at his golf club
"He scolded members of Congress during a lunch at the White House this week, telling them they should not leave for the August recess until they figure out a way to pass the destructive, unwanted Republican wealthcare plan: Senators should make progress on health-care legislation before leaving Washington for their August recess, President Donald Trump said on Wednesday. "We have to stay here. We shouldn't leave town, and we should hammer this out and get it done," Trump said. Nevertheless, the Federal Aviation Administration has been notified Trump plans to spend 17 days at his golf club in New Jersey. The FAA has to be notified so they can restrict the airspace."

Trump Claims He’s More Presidential Than All Past Presidents (Except Lincoln)

Special counsel tells White House: Don't destroy any information on Don Jr.'s Russia meeting
"Special counsel Robert Mueller has put the Trump White House on notice: preserve all the information relating to Donald Trump Jr.'s Russia meeting."

The Russian lawyer Donald Trump, Jr. met with has worked for a Russian spy agency
"She represented the agency—the successor to the KGB—for nearly a decade."

David Cay Johnston: Trump is "Appallingly Ignorant" on Healthcare & Puts Greed Above Human Lives

Mueller Expands Probe to Trump Business Transactions
"Trump’s businesses have involved Russians for years"

CNN Crunched Trump’s Numbers After 6 Months in Office, They’re Not Good
"Keep in mind that this is a 71-year-old father of five, and grandfather — as well as the current “president” — who seems to have more free time on his hands to watch television, play golf, and spend time on social media than an unemployed teenager on summer vacation."

Trump Administration Coming For Your Weed

Sunday, July 23, 2017

The Republican Party Proves It Loves Power More Than Truth Itself @alternet

The Republican Party Proves It Loves Power More Than Truth Itself @alternet:

"To call Donald Trump and his administration corrupt and mendacious is to make the most obvious of statements. Too easy, really. Because if Trump and his boys have tread the path toward treason, so too has the entire Republican Party."

Warnings as GOP Aims to Gut Protections for Endangered Species
"The Endangered Species Act (ESA) is a formal pledge by the federal government "to conserve to the extent practicable the various species of fish or wildlife and plants facing extinction." It was passed almost unanimously by Congress in 1973, following similar measures enacted in the 1960s. For more than four decades, the ESA has helped save from extinction 99 percent of species it covers, including the gray whale and the bald eagle."

GOP senator says Trump should just sign health care bill even if he doesn’t know what’s in it
"On Wednesday, President Trump revealed profound confusion about how health insurance works, suggesting to the New York Times that he thinks people can buy coverage for $12 a year. Asked about Trump’s comments during an MSNBC interview Thursday morning, Sen. Bill Cassidy (R-LA) defended the president, saying he’s “about broad principles,” not specifics. But Cassidy — who publicly expressed concern about the version of Trumpcare that went down in flames earlier this week, and has proposed his own replacement plan — took things a step further. He went on to say that he doesn’t think it’s important for the president to understand the details health care legislation at all."

Does Trump Even Know What A Pre-Existing Conditions Is??

Trump Vacations While Slashing Summer Programs for Low-Income Kids
"President Donald Trump’s frequent and lavish vacations have been well documented. He has been away on vacation at his resorts in Mar-a-Lago and Bedminster Township more than 40 percent of the weekends he has been president, asking taxpayers to foot a record-breaking $28.6 million bill. The job of president is grueling and taking some vacation is understandable. But Trump seems to have two standards for spending taxpayer dollars. When it comes to his own vacations at his family’s properties, money is no object. After all, it’s going back into his family’s own pockets anyway. But when it comes to the nation’s children, his Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney emphasizes that the government needs to eliminate summer enrichment programs for low-income children out of “compassion” for the taxpayer."

Trump’s Downward Spiral Accelerates As He Is Averaging Almost 5 Lies A Day
"President Trump makes a lot of false claims. So many that The Washington Post was obliged to track the lies of “the most fact-challenged politician that The Fact Checker has ever encountered.” They found that Trump averaged 4.9 false or misleading claims a day after the first 100 days. Now, at the six month mark, Trump is averaging 4.6 false or misleading claims a day.  Trump has taken to adding “I think” to his false claims, in hopes of getting dinged less by the fact checkers. This, it seems, is the New Republican Exceptionalism. However, even with all of his mighty effort to turn his feelings into facts, Trump averages almost 5 lies a day. Trump’s tally at the six month mark is 836 false or misleading claims, according to The Post."

Enabling a Dangerous President: The Jared Kushner Timeline
"Eventually, the public will learn the full story of Jared Kushner’s role in the controversies enveloping the Trump White House — and to what extent he shares responsibility for them. Like many of the lawyers surrounding and enabling Trump, Kushner has retained a personal attorney to help him navigate the troubled waters engulfing the White House."

What Medicaid Cuts Would Mean to Our Children

Trump Thinks Healthcare Costs ONE DOLLAR Per Month

Pardon Me? Trump Gives an Interview and Hell Breaks Loose
"Trump sounded nervous, and rightly so. His son took a meeting with a Russian accused of international money-laundering, a former Soviet counter-intelligence officer with ties to the international hacker community, and a Russian attorney devoted to lifting the sanctions against a bunch of Russian oligarchs who had their assets seized after the man who exposed their massive money-laundering operation died in prison -- all this, it seems, in service to the Russian government's professed desire to help the Trump campaign.  An investigation by former Manhattan US Attorney Preet Bharara into Russian money-laundering with ties to "Manhattan real estate entities" ended when Bharara was fired by Trump. That investigation has been folded into Mueller's. The lawyer representing the Russian being investigated by Bharara was the lawyer at Trump Jr.'s meeting. Yeah, I'd be nervous, too. At the end of the conversation, Trump refused to say whether he would fire Mueller if he took the investigation in that direction because, Trump said, "I don't think it's going to happen." It happened, almost immediately. The next morning, Bloomberg News revealed that Robert Mueller is, in fact, pursuing an investigation into the financial dealings not only of Trump, but of Jared Kushner, Paul Manafort and perhaps others. By Thursday evening, The Washington Post was reporting that Trump was in the mood to talk about his pardoning powers: "Trump has asked his advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection with the probe … A second person said Trump's lawyers have been discussing the president's pardoning powers among themselves. " This is, simply, unprecedented. Of course, every single president at some point probably joked about pardoning themselves. Trump is the first president to really mean it. Even Nixon had more shame than that. The "red line" has been crossed, and all the secrets are waiting for daylight."

Bernie Sanders Calls Trumpcare The Most Anti-Working Class Legislation Ever

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Analysis | President Trump’s first six months: The fact-check tally
"In six months, President Trump has made 836 false or misleading claims. Often, he has said the same false thing over and over again."

Trump's Warning to Mueller Proves, Again, That It's All About the Money
"We can safely assume that special counsel Robert Mueller is looking into all of this, and more, but the outline of the essential corruption never has been clearer. The Trumps needed money and the Russians needed to clean a lot of it. Cui bono? Res Ipse loquitur. All of the rest of it, the dodging and weaving and, most recently, the unveiled threats to fire Mueller and unilaterally end the investigations, the almost blithe assault on all democratic norms and institutions, spin out from the possibility that Donald Trump needed money to continue to be Donald Trump to the world, and to himself, and that the easiest place to get that money was from the Russians."

Why did Deutsche Bank give Donald Trump loans when no one else would trust him
"Donald Trump’s recent history with banks has been … not good. By the 2000s, the property developer and casino owner with ready access to the capital markets and the biggest New York banks was no more. A series of corporate bankruptcies had limited his financing options. That was also the period in which Eric Trump said: “Well, we don’t rely on American banks. We have all the funding we need out of Russia.” But that’s not quite true. There was one bank out there which was still willing to extend massive loans to Donald Trump, in spite of his extremely checkered financial history. The big question is: Why? Banking regulators are reviewing hundreds of millions of dollars in loans made to Mr. Trump’s businesses through Deutsche Bank’s private wealth management unit, which caters to an ultrarich clientele, according to three people briefed on the review who were not authorized to speak publicly. Those loans exposed Deutsche Bank to some extreme risks. That is, unless someone was underwriting the loans and limiting their potential loss. As Donald Trump growls about the possibility of Special Counsel Robert Mueller intruding on his “personal” space, these loans are already part of the information Mueller is examining. And there are reasons to be suspicious beyond the oddity of a bank dropping hundreds of millions on someone who had a record of losing money faster than he could borrow it. The activity Deutsche Bank engaged in that resulted in over $600 million of fines was borne out of the bank’s desire to move $10 billion out of Russia — in what one regulator said were transactions “highly suggestive of financial crime.” That scheme involved shuffling the money through another bank. A bank on Cyprus. This bank. Agents are also interested in dealings with the Bank of Cyprus, where Wilbur Ross served as vice chairman before he became commerce secretary. The connections on both ends make it very much seem that Deutsche Bank was in the middle of the Russian oligarch—Donald Trump pipeline."

Republicans Have Yet Another Health Care Bill. This One Would Leave 22 Million More Uninsured.
"The nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office is out with yet another report on yet another Republican proposal to repeal and replace Obamacare. And yet again, the CBO is projecting that 22 million fewer people would have health insurance as a result of the legislation."

Lawrence And Maddow On Donald Trump's Probe Of Pardon Powers

The President of the United States thinks health insurance costs $12 per year
"Other comments from Trump’s interview with the Times reveal that the president might not understand what health insurance is."

The Trump administration melts down—and McConnell STILL tries to take health care away from millions
"All hell is breaking lose at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue. Popular vote loser Donald Trump is actually trying to figure out if he can pardon himself and all of his family because of their Russia connections—connections that are just getting deeper and deeper and smack dab in the middle of the Kremlin. He's openly talking about firing Robert Mueller, the guy looking into those connections, essentially confirming that yeah, he's in Putin's pocket. His legal team is in turmoil, his White House staff is in turmoil. He just conducted an interview with The New York Times in which he demonstrated, repeatedly that he is losing what he had of his mind. Calling this a circus is an insult to the institution of the circus. And in the middle of all of that, after having declared defeat but being beaten back into submission by the deranged ring-master himself, Mitch McConnell is going to force his caucus into voting to take health insurance away from 22 million people. Even worse, a possible majority of that caucus is A-Okay with that, or he wouldn't still be trying. He's actually using all this confusion to force this vote. All as if it's business as usually as he horse-trades peoples lives away. They are about ready to vote to sentence untold tens of thousands of people to death—because that's what Obamacare repeal will do—and very possibly end their own careers. All for a president who might just have been elected by Vladimir Putin, and even if he wasn't, is working hard to make sure Putin gets to pull the strings of our government. This is not normal."

WaPo: Intel Intercepts Show Sessions, Kislyak Talked Donald Trump Russia

Here’s Exactly How Many People Will Be Uninsured Under Each Republican Health Care Bill
"Over the past few months, Republicans have trotted out a variety of ideas for killing Obamacare. Each of their various bills has shared one key trait: They would all leave tens of millions more Americans without health insurance."

Nation's doctors demand Republicans pull the plug on Trumpcare, work to shore up Obamacare
"Every major health advocacy group opposes it. The vast majority of the voting population opposes repeal."

For Facts Sake: U.S. Health Care Lags Others

Friday, July 21, 2017

Nixon’s Justice Department warned that the president can’t pardon himself
"This decades-old memo is likely to take on new significance, as another president caught up in a criminal investigation reportedly is considering a self-pardon. The Washington Post reported Thursday evening that Donald Trump “has asked his advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection” with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s Russian connections."

Former Trump associate Felix Sater helped fugitive Kazakhs in visa scheme

Former Trump associate Felix Sater helped fugitive Kazakhs in visa scheme

"Felix Sater, an ex-con and onetime senior adviser in the Trump Organization, helped the Trump family scout deals in Russia. He led an effort that began in 2012 to assist the stepchildren of Viktor Khrapunov, who that year had been placed on an international detention request list by the global police agency Interpol."

Trump Is Trying To Figure Out How To Pardon Himself And His Family

Trump could place himself in even more legal jeopardy if he pardons his inner circle
"Thursday night, the Washington Post reported that President Donald Trump “has asked his advisers about his power to pardon aides, family members and even himself in connection” with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into the Trump campaign’s connections to Russia. If he does so, he is playing with fire. No one actually knows if Trump can pardon himself, as previous presidents typically avoided criminal activity — and those that did break the law did not use their official powers in such a transparently self-serving way. Though the president’s power to pardon other people is nearly limitless, many legal scholars believe that a president cannot issue a self-pardon for much the same reason that a judge cannot sit on their own case. But there’s also a very real danger to Trump if he starts doling out pardons to his inner circle. As Keith Harper, an attorney and former Ambassador to the United Nations Human Rights Council under President Obama, first pointed out on Twitter, a pardon would protect Trump’s confidants from prosecution for past acts— but it could also strip them of their Fifth Amendment right to refuse to give self-incriminating testimony."

Trump declares war on rule of law, attacks every top law enforcement official in America
"Trump dismissed the entire notion of FBI independence, saying that the FBI Director only reports to the Justice Department “out of courtesy,” blaming the practice on Richard Nixon. Taken together, Trump’s comments amount to a full scale assault on the rule of law from an increasingly paranoid president."

Trump Gives A Truly Insane Interview: Slanders Comey And Sessions And Threatens Mueller | Crooks and Liars

Trump Gives A Truly Insane Interview: Slanders Comey And Sessions And Threatens Mueller | Crooks and Liars

"So we are still going with the "adoption" story? He continued (lying) and said “I actually talked about Russian adoption with him. Which is interesting because it was a part of the conversation that Don had in that meeting.” This is a lie. Sessions and Comey had no comment. No one else cared to respond. Putin is probably laughing somewhere. Sessions may be in the fetal position crying. Comey is writing his memoirs. Mueller is adding this to the insane stack of evidence he has. When a defendant starts talking, what does a good detective do? Nothing. Let them go. Keep talking, Donnie. Keep on talking."

WaPo: Donald Trump Seeks Advice On Pardoning Himself, Family Members

Manafort owed $17 million to 'pro-Russia interests' before joining Trump campaign for free
"So to recap: Real estate and political consulting entrepreneur Paul Manafort, who had previously worked on behalf of pro-Russian interests in Ukraine, owed "pro-Russian interests" roughly $17 million dollars as of December of 2015. In March he went to work for the Donald Trump campaign—but requested no salary, despite being apparently deeply in debt, instead working for free, thus landing him in, for example, meetings involving government-connected Russians offering up intelligence on his opponent. Then, after Donald Trump is elected, Paul Manafort is curiously given roughly $16 million-ish in loans from a Chicago bank that would seemingly be only barely capable of loaning him such money."

CBO: Mitch McConnell’s Latest Health Care Bill Would Leave 32 Million More Uninsured
"Whether they do repeal-and-replace or straight repeal, the results would be devastating."

Here’s what Mitch McConnell wants to do to the U.S. health care system
"Whether they do repeal-and-replace or straight repeal, the results would be devastating."

Resignation Watch: Donald Trump Lashes Jeff Sessions, Justice Officials

Trump levels another threat at insurers, Obamacare
"Trump has every intention of destroying Obamacare, and he and his fellow Republicans are going to be the ones who take the blame for that."

Why Not Call It Treason? @alternet

Why Not Call It Treason? @alternet:

"The claim that the Trump campaign had no contact with the Russians and that the charge of collusion was “disgusting” has morphed into the claim that collusion with a foreign power is just “politics,” and doesn’t meet the legal definition of treason. The goal of this strategy is to exculpate Team Trump from criminal charges as new facts emerge. There’s no reason why Trump’s critics need to play along. The commonsense definition of treason is “betrayal of country,” the standard that Team Trump has interpreted broadly for its own purposes."

AG Jeff Sessions Will Be A Witness Against President Donald Trump

Eighth Participant In Meeting With Trump Jr. Once Linked to Russian Money Laundering
"A Russian-American lawyer who attended the June 2016 Trump Tower meeting with key members of Donald Trump’s inner circle, including Donald Trump Jr. and Jared Kushner, was once at the center of a US government investigation into Russian money laundering."

Seriously? New GOP Budget Would Defund Election Security Agency
"Despite an ongoing investigation into the hacking of voting systems in more than a dozen states during the 2016 presidential election, the new budget blueprint from House Republicans includes a provision to defund the Election Assistance Commission (EAC), which the Wall Street Journal notes is "the sole federal agency that exclusively works to ensure the voting process is secure." Since it was established in 2002, the EAC has been under almost constant attack by the Republican Party. Earlier this year, the House Administration Committee voted 6-3 along party lines to eliminate the agency entirely. As The Atlantic's Russell Berman noted in February, "GOP attempts to eliminate the Election Assistance Commission have passed out of committee but not made it to the House floor for a vote in the last four years." Because they have failed repeatedly to eliminate the agency, Republicans now appear content to strip it of the funds it needs to operate effectively."

The Ultimate Hypocrisy? Trump Plan to Renegotiate NAFTA Resembles TPP Deal He Withdrew From

How Trump the Populist Became Trump the Corporate Shill
"After a meeting with Big Pharma executives in February, he backed down on his tough talk. This summer, this shameful retreat accelerated as evidenced by leaked White House documents detailing potential regulatory rollbacks sought by the industry but omitting any steps to lower drug prices. Why the turnaround? White House aide Joe Grogan, a former lobbyist for pharmaceutical giant Gilead, played a key role in this move, according to Kaiser Health News, which reported that the documents contained text "cribbed directly from policy papers" published by the main pharmaceutical industry lobbying group. Over at the Environmental Protection Agency, EPA administrator Scott Pruitt met with Dow Chemical's CEO just before deciding not to ban a Dow pesticide from being sprayed on food. Nancy Beck, a new official who formerly worked at a chemical industry lobbying group, played a key role in watering down the implementation of a crucial toxic chemicals rule, clashing with career experts in the process. And a coal industry lawyer appears likely to take the No. 2 job at EPA, beating out a coal industry lobbyist also considered for the job. These examples are representative rather than exceptional. Corporate America has captured the Trump administration. Public Citizen's research has found that more than 70% of Trump's picks for top sub-Cabinet jobs have clear corporate ties. In Trump's Washington, the populism of the campaign has been overtaken by conventional corporate cronyism on a grand scale. After his famous pledge to "drain the swamp," Trump issued a weak executive order allowing former lobbyists to immediately join the administration and then granted waivers to top White House staffers that render the ethics rules largely meaningless. For example, the White House concluded that it is "in the public interest" for Andrew Olmem, a White House aide who formerly lobbied MetLife, American Express and a major insurance trade group, to work on banking and insurance issues."

Trump’s National Anti-Labor Relations Board

Trump’s National Anti-Labor Relations Board:

"The president’s NLRB nominees portend a bleak future for American workers."

"Trump and the Russian Money Trail": Trump's Ties to Oligarchs Go Back Decades

GOP Eager to Repeal Rule that Allows Consumers to Sue Conniving Banks

GOP Eager to Repeal Rule that Allows Consumers to Sue Conniving Banks:

"Since its inception, Republicans have cast the CFPB as a liberal, job-killing, over-regulating, big-government boogeyman—a “rogue” agency with too much power and too little accountability. Meanwhile, the agency’s enforcement initiatives have returned almost $12 billion to some 27 million consumers who were defrauded in the marketplace."

Mitch McConnell Announces Plan To Harm Even More People With Obamacare Repeal Only Bill
"A stand alone repeal bill would take health care away from 32 million Americans. It is even worse than repeal and replace. If Republicans couldn’t get 50 votes for their bill that took coverage away from 22 million people, they aren’t going to get 50 votes for a bill that takes coverage away from 32 million people."

Married to the Mob: Investigative Journalist Craig Unger on What Trump Owes the Russian Mafia

Stephen Colbert kicks off “Russia Week” from the Red Square by joking about Donald Trump Jr.
"Stephen Colbert will debut not one, not two, but five field pieces this week that were taped in Russia, as “The Late Show” celebrates “Russia Week” in honor of the possible collusion between the Trump campaign and the Eastern European power."

Trump’s Lawyer Embarrassed After Absurd Defense for Russia Meeting is Soundly Debunked
"Donald Trump, his family, and the people he surrounds himself with have no ethics, standards, class, or morals. They will say and do anything to save their own backsides. Why anybody would trust anyone with the last name “Trump” is mind-boggling."

Trump Administration Using Obamacare Money To Run Ads Attacking Obamacare

Trump admin moves to close cyber office: ‘It’s a step back from everything done over the last ten years’

Trump admin moves to close cyber office: ‘It’s a step back from everything done over the last ten years’

"According to Healey, closing the cyber office “would mean the United States would be the only major country without a lead diplomat to discuss cyber norms and trying to reduce the ever-escalating cyberattacks we see around the world"."

Ali Velshi Deconstructs Trump's 'Made In America' Week | Crooks and Liars

Ali Velshi Deconstructs Trump's 'Made In America' Week | Crooks and Liars

"The White House kicked off a "Made In America" week to try to distract from the Russia scandal. Nice try? writes, "Today, President Donald J. Trump will host companies from across the country at the White House for the Made in America Product Showcase. The White House is highlighting and celebrating each state’s effort and commitment to American made products by bringing in and showing off products from all 50 states that are made and produced in the United States." For any other administration this would be fine, but when it comes to hypocrisy and a man using the Oval Office to enrich his own businesses, it's infuriating."

Donald Trump’s 6 Month Report Card: 991 Tweets, 836 Lies, 0 Legislative Accomplishments

Trump lawyer: Secret Service let the Russia meeting happen. Secret Service: Nope.
"The Secret Service wasn’t going to take that sitting down. In a rare rebuke, it answered Sekulow’s question — and implicitly said he was wrongly trying to use the agency as a political weapon."

Condoms don't work, smoking doesn't kill, GOP is saving Medicaid—the world class lies of Mike Pence
"His current boss aside, you’d be hard-pressed to name another politician who so openly and freely spews one lie after another."

Trump Polling Worse Than Any US President EVER

How Paul Ryan’s Hypocritical Fiscal Hysteria Threatens Working Families
"Speaker Ryan is a master at co-opting anti-deficit rhetoric to advance his agenda without being held accountable for the fiscal reality of the policies he supports. When George W. Bush was president, Rep. Ryan voted for tax cuts in 2001 and 2003, wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and a Medicare prescription drug benefit.32 Lawmakers did not pay for any of these policies. During the Bush administration, large budget surpluses turned into deficits.33 Despite this history, the conventional wisdom has been that Speaker Ryan is a “budget hawk,” and that was how the Ryan budget was marketed to the American people."

Trump grudgingly admits Obama’s Iran nuclear deal is working
"The New York Times reports that Donald Trump had an hour-long meeting with his top national security advisers last week, including the Secretary of State, the Secretary of Defense, the White House National Security Advisor, and the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. They all told the president the same thing: he needs to preserve the international nuclear agreement with Iran. Trump, however, reportedly spent 55 minutes of the 60-minute meeting “telling them he did not want to"."

Unable To Kill Obamacare, Republicans Plot To Kill Medicare

Kansas, Sam Brownback, and the Trickle-Down Implosion

Kansas, Sam Brownback, and the Trickle-Down Implosion:

"The lessons of Sam Brownback’s disastrous experiment have become all the more important nationally as President Trump, whose economic doctrine is cut from the same cloth napkin on which Arthur Laffer first sketched his supply-side curve more than 40 years ago, tries to advance a similarly radical series of tax cuts in Washington. (Indeed, Brownback flew Laffer out to Kansas in 2012, where he was paid $75,000 to advise the legislature on the wisdom of slashing taxes, promising astounding dividends of economic growth in exchange.) Trump’s proposed budget echoes the Kansas experiment, slashing income tax rates for the wealthiest few and calling for a drastic rate cut for pass-through entities—a move that would inflict Brownback’s LLC debacle on the nation. Brownback’s should be a cautionary tale, of course, for the Republicans in Congress and the White House. Should they slash the provision of affordable health coverage to cut taxes for the rich, should they decimate government services while eliminating taxes on the wealthiest Americans, all their invocations of trickle-down economics—that the rich will invest their tax savings in job-creating enterprises, a theory disproved again, again, and again—ultimately won’t win them popular support. The fate of Sam Brownback—scorned by his state, overridden by his legislature, rejected by his party—should make that crystal clear."

Who Is Wilbur Ross?

Who Is Wilbur Ross?:

"Ross represents a class of people who put their own individual interests first, above all else. Their gains come at the expense of others—not only workers, suppliers, or creditors, but their own investors as well. While Ross was profiteering from bankruptcy proceedings at the expense of creditors and taking health and pension benefits from workers, he was mistreating his own investors as well."

Trump Thinks Healthcare Costs ONE DOLLAR Per Month

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Mysterious 8th person at Trump Jr. meeting allegedly ran massive Russian money-laundering scheme
"Kaveladze is represented by Scott Balber, who has previously represented Donald Trump."

It Was Always About the Money
"It was always about the money. The reason we never saw the tax returns was because of what they would show about the money. The reason we can't get a straight answer about the family's dealings with the Russians is the money. Preet Bharara got fired because of the money and how the money had been allegedly laundered. James Comey got fired because of the money. Without the money, specifically the money from Russia, the Trump empire likely would have collapsed under a hail of writs and the paterfamilias would have been rendered invisible, even in the mirrors of Mar-a-Lago. It always was about the money. The meeting on June 6, 2016 ultimately was about the money, as we learned today from CNN. The network reported that it had identified the eighth participant in that now-famous Trump Tower confab. Contrary to the previous load of hooey dispensed by Junior and the first family, this dude was not a translator. Ike Kaveladze's identity was confirmed by his attorney, Scott Balber. Kaveladze is a senior vice president at Crocus Group, the real estate development company run by Azerbaijani-Russian oligarch Aras Agalarov, according to Kaveladze's LinkedIn. His personal website says he "holds responsibility for multiple elements of the company's Russian development project"."

Trump and Putin had a second, undisclosed meeting during the G-20 summit
"If Trump did say something “out of school,” it wouldn’t be the first time he had done so while meeting privately with a top Russian official. In May, while speaking to the Russian foreign minister and another Russian diplomat in the Oval Office, he disclosed classified Israeli intelligence and bragged that he had successfully squashed an FBI investigation into his campaign’s alleged links with the Kremlin. The investigation is, in fact, still ongoing. People close to the Trump administration seem to have a habit of conducting undisclosed conversations with representatives of the Russian government — including not only the president himself, but his former national security adviser, his attorney general, and his own son."

Donald Trump, Putin Had Second, Undisclosed, Hour-Long Encounter At G20

How Circa, a Sinclair Broadcast Group subsidiary, rebuilt itself as a pro-Trump outlet
"In 2015, Sinclair bought Circa, which The Wall Street Journal described at the time as a “defunct mobile news site.” Sinclair has a history of pushing right-wing commentary that has been compared to “propaganda” and of selectively omitting stories that don’t fit its agenda. White House senior adviser Jared Kushner reportedly“struck a deal” with Sinclair during the campaign to “secure better media coverage” for then-candidate Donald Trump in exchange for “more access to Trump and the campaign.” Additionally, Sinclair has also made a series of conservative hires, including discredited former CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson and former Trump White House aide Boris Epshteyn. Just this week, Sinclair announced it would be tripling the number of segments featuring Epshteyn that are sent to stations as “must-run” packages — a typical practice for the company."

The wrong president to tout ‘Made in America’ week
"What this week’s events will likely exclude is an exploration of Trump’s business practices, which have relied on product manufacturing in “a global network of factories in a dozen countries – including Bangladesh, China and Mexico.” Trump administration officials hosted a background briefing with reporters yesterday to highlight this week’s events. Asked whether the White House intends to comment about the Trump Organization’s outsourcing, a spokesperson said, “We’ll get back to you on that.” If there’s any follow-through, I’ll be curious to see what Team Trump comes up with. After all, the president, his populist-sounding rhetoric notwithstanding, has “sold foreign-made products under his name for years” and has relied extensively on foreign-made products for his hotels and properties. Trump clearly sees “Made in America” as a political winner and, as was the case during the campaign, assumes most of the public won’t look too closely at his own record on the subject."

NY Subpoenas Records On Huge Manafort Loans From Small Bank: WSJ

Why Republicans Want the 2020 Census to Fail
"Under cover of the non-stop Trump circus, they are quietly working behind the scenes to ensure that the 2020 census fails – and fails to their advantage."

Trump’s lawyer makes a curious argument about the Secret Service
"In a statement released yesterday, a spokesperson for the Secret Service said Donald Trump Jr., who helped organize the meeting in order to receive campaign information from the Russian government, did not have a protective detail at the time. “Donald Trump, Jr. was not a protectee of the USSS in June, 2016,” the statement said. “Thus we would not have screened anyone he was meeting with at that time.” It’s worth noting for context that the Secret Service rarely weighs in on political debates, but with the president’s lawyer giving misleading information about the agency’s work to a national television audience, the Secret Service apparently felt the need to clarify matters yesterday."

A Timeline of Treason | The Resistance with Keith Olbermann | GQ

On infamous Russia meeting, Trump’s story keeps evolving
"We’ve gone from denials of contacts to denials of collusion to a bogus narrative about adoption policy to an argument that colluding with foreign nationals to win an election is just “politics.” When politicians argue, more than once, that we should disregard their previous claims and only focus on their new claims, there’s a problem."

Fox News moves from slanted reporting, to active involvement in cover-up of collusion
"Who told Fox News to move from the position that there was no collusion, to the idea that collusion wasn’t wrong?"

Trump's Been Trying To Lift Russia Sanctions Since Day One

Around Half of Trump Voters Don't Believe Don Junior Met with Russians Despite Repeated Confessions
"Yeah, so it appears as if a majority of Trump voters don't believe that Junior met with Russian government operatives even though Junior, as well as the president himself, confessed that the meeting took place. He not only confessed, but he did so in writing.  Further verifying the meeting, Trump tweeted about it today, making it seem as if the obvious collusion was politics-as-usual. While we're here, it's more than a little hilarious to see the president and his fanboys on Fox News defending this meeting as if it was no big deal -- as if there aren't countless other reports illustrating the broader extent of the Trump-Russia conspiracy to hijack the 2016 election. Even if Junior's meeting was nothing (it's not nothing -- it's treason), there are so many other fronts in this story, many of which are being actively pursued by congressional committees and, naturally, the special counsel and his team of "untouchables." Don't be shocked if you overhear Trumpers denying the roundness of the Earth, or that humans can't breathe under water. When a majority of Republican Trump voters are this detached from objective reality, especially knowing that reality, or a version of reality, has been confirmed by their own guys, including Trump, they're willing to believe or disbelieve anything. Are they unaware of the confession? Maybe. It's unclear whether Fox News is spending much time on the story, given how the confession is what it is -- concrete verification of a criminal conspiracy to meddle with the election and beyond. But if they're aware of the confession and yet refuse to accept it, it proves that around half of Trump's voters are completely delusional and disconnected from reality. It also indicates that it'll be nearly impossible for any of them to be redeemed and returned to sanity."

Trump's Lawyer Tries OBVIOUS Lie To Protect Don Jr.

White House announces 'Made in America' week, refuses to say if Trump family will, you know, do that
"In fact, Made in America week seems to have been crafted for the singular purpose of giving all of America's media outlets a fresh chance to mock the Trump family's notorious inability to make their products in America. We know the White House brain trust has been preoccupied as of late, but it still seems like they perhaps ought to have better thought this one through."

This is how the Kochs’ anti-renewable agenda becomes White House policy
"President-elect Donald Trump raised eyebrows late last year when he named the head of an obscure right-wing think tank, with close ties to petrochemical billionaires Charles and David Koch, to lead his energy transition team. Since then, officials from the Institute for Energy Research (IER) have been appointed to high-level positions at the Department of Energy where they are playing major roles in implementing pro-fossil fuel, anti-renewable energy policies."

Sean Spicer Says It Is “Inappropriate” To Ask If Trump Will Make His Goods In The U.S.

More people support Trump impeachment now than Nixon at the start of Watergate
"This comes at a time when Trump’s approval ratings are at an all-time low, just 6 months after taking office. A Washington Post/ABC poll released Sunday put Trump’s approval rating at 36%, down 6 points from April. A Bloomberg poll from Monday, meanwhile, puts him at 40%. These results also mirror Nixon’s own ratings at the same point in his presidency — 39% approval, 49% disapproval. 1973 was a critical year for Watergate. It is the year Senate hearings were televised, a special prosecutor was appointed (and later fired in the “Saturday Night Massacre” which additionally led to resignations of the Attorney General and Deputy Attorney General), and Nixon declared that he was “not a crook.” All the while, his approval ratings did not reach the level of Trump’s current ratings until after the “Watergate Seven” were indicted, 4 months before Nixon resigned on August 9, 1974. Trump has one advantage that Nixon did not: a shield of Republican lawmakers in Congress."

Tom Price Says Insurers Should ‘Dust Off How They Did Business Before Obamacare’
"Prior to Obamacare, 79 million — more than one in four Americans — either lacked health insurance or were underinsured."

Trump's 'Made In America Week' Backfires BIGLY

Joy Reid Humiliates Trump Defender, Fact-Checks His Conspiracy Theory Live (Video)
"We need more people to do what Joy Reid did on Sunday by fact-checking the lies and conspiracies conservatives are out there trying to con people into believing live, on-air, directly to their faces."

Trump Announces 'Made In America Week', But Family Merchandise Still Made in Asian Sweat Shops
"Trump is holding a "Made In America Showcase" on Monday afternoon, but he'll be about the only thing there named Trump that was produced in this country. On Wednesday he is supposed to sign a "Made In America Week" proclamation."

Donald Trump, Jr. Meeting With Russian Lawyer Alleged ‘Treasonous’

You Won't Believe How Much Time Trump Has Actually Spent Playing Golf Since He Took Office @alternet

You Won't Believe How Much Time Trump Has Actually Spent Playing Golf Since He Took Office @alternet: He's visited courses three time more frequently than his past three predecessors combined. When he wasn't questioning Obama's place of birth, Donald Trump spent much of the latter's presidency criticizing him for playing too much golf. But new research finds that Trump has hit the links nearly a quarter of his days in office—22 percent, or 37 of his first 170 days.

Office of Government Ethics head: America is 'pretty close to a laughingstock at this point'
"Outgoing Office of Government Ethics head Walter Shaub has made it loud and clear that he's resigning due to the agency's inability to enforce much of anything in the face of the ethics-averse Donald Trump."

Republican "Fiscal Conservatives" ALWAYS Balloon Debt To Justify Cuts

You need to watch this senator go after Trump budget on official who won't answer simple question
"Montana Democratic Senator Jon Tester has been very vocal about how bogus the Trump administration’s positions on virtually everything under the sun are, and his exchange with Weahkee typifies how through the looking glass things are and how infuriating the abnormality of an oligarchical hostile takeover is."