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Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 28, 2017, 01:17:48 pm »

Off the keyboard of RE at the Doomstead Diner

zublished on The Doomstead Diner May 28, 2017

Discuss this article at the http://www.doomsteaddiner.net/forum/index.php/topic,9692.msg132280/topicseen.html#msg132280 Geopolitics Table inside the Diner

Well, we are about halfway through the first year of the Presidency of His Trumpness over the ever decaying corpse of Amerika.  Global citizens can count themselves lucky that at least so far he hasn't pushed the button to glaze over Beijing or Pyongyang, or whoever else is pissing him off over breakfast while he fires off the tweets.

This week as I begin this recap, he took a break from the weekly Golf rounds at Mar de Lago flying in on Air Force 1 surrounded by an Army of Secret Service Agents to go Jet Setting around the world to meet with a variety of Foreign Leaders.  This of course costs the Taxpayer just slightly more than your average First Class Ticket on United for a Hawaiian Vacation.  In fact I could  LIVE in Hawaii for the rest of my life for the cost of one of these trips!  It's in the $MILLIONS$ for every weekend round of Golf he needs to play down in Florida to relieve the high stress during the week of getting out his Morning Tweet.

However, Deal-maker extraordinaire that he is, the money should be recouped by all the financial deals he will make for the FSoA during the trip!  According to Newz Reports in the MSM, in just the first day he sold $110B worth of military hardware to the Wahabist Killers running Saudi Arabia!  By itself, this easily pays for the trip!  Although of course, they could have done the same deal over the internet and saved a lot of money on what is basically just a Photo Op.  All the deals are already worked out long before El Trumpsky walks down the stairs from Air Force 1.

BTW, don't you find it a bit curious that all shots of the POTUS coming off one of these airplanes <em>(there are actually a fleet of them, not just one) have a portable stairway on open tarmac, no terminal in sight?  On my first flights in the 1960s down to Brazil, this was very common.  Even international airports of the time did not sport the big hydraulically powered jetway ramps that today attach themselves to just about every aircraft, unless you either are flying in an incredibly small and uncomfortable Regional Jet, or are flying to some complete Buttfuck location in the middle of 3rd World Nowhere.

Today however, you can't fly from Milwaulkee to Cleveland and disembark the plane without walking through a hydraulically powered Jetway tube.  When Air Force 1 lands in Riyahd though, there are apparently no available Gates at the terminal for the plane to dock at, so the POTUS is forced to walk down stairs to a waiting Limousine on the Tarmac.  You would think by now they would have at least devised a Mobile Escalator for the purpose of shipping the High & Mighty Meat Package of the POTUS off the fu cking 747!

So anyhow, what the expensive trip amounts to is an opportunity for numerous Photo Ops with Trumpovsky looking "Presidential" as he shakes hands with various Foreign Leaders. Also in theory for him a Welcome Relief from the last couple of weeks of Domestic Attacks on his credibilty and the way he is running the Executive Branch of Goobermint here on Home Soil.  Whether he can resist the temptation to Tweet while he is Jet Setting though remains an open question as of today when I begin writing this essay.

Back here in the FSoA though, the non-stop chatter about parallels with Watergate and the possibilities for the Big "I" of Impeachment continue, and not strictly from the so-called "left" of the Demodopes or Wing Nut bloggers.  It's being bandied about by WaPo on a daily basis, with heavyweight Law Professors from Harvard like Alan Dershowitz weighing in.  Regardless of who is interviewed though, they all pretty much say the same thing, that even if Donaldovitch is guilty of Impeachable crimes, it's unlikely the Repugnant controlled CONgress will pull the plug on him.  This takes a 2/3rds majority in the Senate,  so even if all the Demodopes vote to Impeach, you still need around 17 Repugnants to join them.  This does appear highly unlikely, except for a couple of things.

First is that currently the entire Goobermint is in complete dissarray and nothing on the Repugnant agenda is getting accomplished.  Well, at least none of the major stuff, some small stuff like eviscerating the EPA is happening.  Still haven't got rid of that pesky Obamacare yet though.  Also women can still get birth control and abortions, evolution is still being taught in the schools, teachers are still Unionized and there aren't any **** Oil Drilling Platforms off Malibu or Virginia Beach yet!  Also they have not yet raided all the public pension funds or privatized Social Security.  So things are not going as smoothly as the Repugnants would like here under the Trumpoyetsty Regime, mainly because the constant turmoil he creates with the Daily Lie on Twitter keeps them too bizzy doing Spin Control and trying to save their own sorry asses.

The second major issue is that the CONgressional elections are coming up in 2018, and Repugnant candidates are currently getting pelted with Rotten Eggs & Rotten Tomatoes at Town Hall meetings all across the FSoA.  It's gotten so bad that they need to arrest reporters for the serious crime of asking questions and give their speeches from inside a Shark Cage protected by Secret Service carrying Bazookas.  Gerrymandering and voiding voter ballots may not be enough to get these clowns re-elected, and they know it.  At a certain point you gotta cut your losses and throw somebody under the bus, and with every Tweet Donaldovitch looks more and more like good Bus Meat.

Lopping off Donaldefsky's head isn't likely to make things better, it may in fact make them worse since we will get Pensky as replacement POTUS.  Pensky is likely to be worse since he is an experienced career beltway politician who knows where the money goes and how to buy favors and not just try to bully everybody in town.  He's already got a Super-PAC formed to collect money from Billionaires to help fellow Retardican pols get re-elected, and then himself too once he takes over the Oval Office from Trumpovitch and becomes the unelected POTUS, Gerald Ford style.  He can then grant a Pardon to Trumpov for Money Laundering for the Ruskie Mafia, after of course he deposits a nice chunk of change to Pensky's account in the Cayman Islands.

The whole Ruskie connection deal with the Donaldov is so blatantly obvious it's not even funny.  First is the fact he refuses to disclose his Tax Returns, which no doubt are loaded with Fake Numbers.  Next is the fact it's <strong>KNOWN</strong> information already that he sold numerous properties in his buildings to Ruskie Oligarchs, who all also are trying to find some mattress to stuff the money they rip off from the Ruskie people into, somewhere outside Mother Russia.  Then there are all the meetings by various members of his staff and family with high level Ruskies and/or high bank account Ruskies.  Then of course is the Praise being dished out at him by Vlad the Impaler, who definitely would not be doing that if there was not something in it for him.  One has to suspect that Trumpovitch is PWNed by the Ruskies and Vlad is counting on him to deliver some good pipeline deals through Rex Tillerson.  If it looks like Donaldov cannot deliver, Vlad the Impaler will cut him loose and leave him twisting in the wind.  Instead of sleeping next to Melania, he will find the head of Cloud Computing in his King Size bed.  Then after that he will be Sleeping with the Fishes.  Compared to a takedown by the KGB, Impeachment is a very positive outcome for Trumpotsky.

Despite all of this ongoing bullshit, a significant number of Deplorables still support Trumpsky, he amazingly has still a 36% approval rating!  The lowest in all of Recorded History at this point in a POTUS administration, but still at least 36% above where it should be.  In reality, it should be measured in the Negative Imaginary Numbers!  It's still unclear though whether a POTUS Popularity Index matters at all, sort of like it doesn't matter what the latest bullshit number is coming out of the BLS or the CBO.  Unemployment is down to 5%, but 50% of the population has dropped out fo the workforce!  The Economy is Growing at 2%/year, but the debt is growing at $2T/year!  Probably more, but you get the picture, none of these stats matter worth a damn anymore, even if they're correct.  Nobody actually in charge of Da Goobermint gives a flying ****, and no matter who you vote for the debt will keep going up and the number of employed people will keep going down.  Whether your POTUS is LOVED or HATED doesn't matter either, in both cases said POTUS won't be able to do a damn thing to change the downhill trajectory here.  Of course, a complete JERK like Donaldov can speed things up a bit, and is doing a good job with that in his first year shitting in the White House toilet.

After his jaunt through Saudi Arabia picking up Beheading techniques from the Saudi Princes, Trumpovitch is due to hit Israel to talk to NetanYAHOO, then over to the Vatican where he will have an audience with His Popeness Francis, Vicar of Christ on Earth.  In one 10 day vacation, Donolovov is covering the Muslims, the Jews and the Christians!  Very broad minded of him.  Buddhists and Hindus may feel slighted here.

After making the Religious pilgrimmage, his next stop is in Brussels and then back to Italy for the G-7 meeting where the Economistas will further **** up the Global Economy while dining on Canapes, Oysters Rockefeller and $23,000 bottles of Chateau Mouton-Rothschild 1945.  Followed for desert by the <strong>BEST </strong>Chocolate Cake ever to go through the pie hole of his Putin Puppet head, even better than that last chocolate cake he ate in Syria.  Following his Impeachment, you can count on Donalditry Trumpovetsky to sign up as chief Spokesmodel for Betty Crocker.

K-Dog the Trumper jumps in to attempt a distraction:  ;)

I still want to know what the beef is about Russia.  They are a country with about the same history as France only with their revolution being much more recent.  Are we at war with them?  Are they trying to control our bowel movements?  You are next to that big Air Force base and Russia is only a few hundred miles away from you right?  Perhaps you can explain.

The Russians I have met have all been intelligent refined and friendly.  Dimitry does not count, he is only Russian when he wants to be.  Real Russians would have nothing to do with him.

I respond to the K-Dog innocent sounding attempt to avoid the real issues with Trump.

Despite all of this ongoing bullshit, a significant number of Deplorables still support Trumpsky, he amazingly has still a 36% approval rating!  The lowest in all of Recorded History at this point in a POTUS administration, but still at least 36% above where it should be.

Yep. And many of those die-hard racist supporters that applaud whatever Trump does, including taking a dump in their faces, (just as long as General Sessions is continuing to make the South and the rest of the USA Racist again  :evil4:) will innocently ask what the big deal about Russia is..... 

And, that "cat" might be a bad doggie in disguise.  

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 24, 2017, 07:35:05 pm »

Dr. Richard Wolff - The Problem with “Reactionary Keynesianism"

Published on May 23, 2017

Economist Dr. Richard Wolff, Capitalism's Crisis Deepens Essays on the Global Economic Meltdown/Democracy At Work. Earlier today - the White House officially sent its 2018 budget plan to Congress. It has a patriotic-sounding name - but the so-called "New Foundation for American Greatness" is really just an all-out assault on poor and working Americans. If the President gets his way - billions will be cut from vital programs - including Medicaid - which candidate Trump promised never to cut. "Cruel" doesn't even begin to describe this budget plan. 
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 24, 2017, 07:28:22 pm »

Published on May 23, 2017

Chomsky “Bernie Would’ve Won"   


The Jimmy Dore Show

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 24, 2017, 06:48:49 pm »

Al Franken Breaks Down Trump's Health Care Scam

Published on May 23, 2017

Senator Al Franken details the health care scam Donald Trump and Republicans are running on the American people.
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 24, 2017, 06:12:27 pm »

Robert Reich : The Resistance Report May 23, 2017
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 24, 2017, 04:53:50 pm »

Economist Joseph Stiglitz: Trump's Budget Takes a Sledgehammer to What Remains of the "American Dream"

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

By Amy Goodman, Democracy Now! | Video Interview


AMY GOODMAN: Let's go to Mick Mulvaney, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget.

: I think, for years and years, we've simply looked at a budget in terms of the folks who are on the back end of the programs, the recipients of the taxpayer money. And we haven't spent nearly enough time focusing our attention on the people who pay the taxes.
AMY GOODMAN: Mick Mulvaney. Your response, Joe Stiglitz?

JOSEPH STIGLITZ: Oh, totally wrong. I mean, I was in the White House for four years. And we did a very, very careful analysis of the benefits and costs, how it would affect taxpayers and ordinary consumers, the rich, the poor, the middle class, when we evaluated the program. We were very, very aware that this was money that people had worked for, earned, and that, on the other hand, they need help in a whole variety of areas, help in sending their kids to college, in buying a home. You know, the --

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 23, 2017, 07:31:44 pm »


Trump Budget Slashes Vital Programs to Enrich the Wealthy

Published on May 23, 2017

Dean Baker of the Center for Economic and Policy Research says President Donald Trump's new budget makes unprecedented cuts to already subpar levels of social assistance and "redistributes upward" to wealthy Americans.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 23, 2017, 06:36:04 pm »

John Oliver asks, "WTF is going on?"

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 23, 2017, 06:05:31 pm »

The Death of the Republic

Posted on May 21, 2017

By Chris Hedges


Our constitutional rights—due process, habeas corpus, privacy, a fair trial, freedom from exploitation, fair elections and dissent—have been taken from us by judicial fiat. These rights exist only in name. The vast disconnect between the purported values of the state and reality renders political discourse absurd.

 Corporations, cannibalizing the federal budget, legally empower themselves to exploit and pillage. It is impossible to vote against the interests of Goldman Sachs or ExxonMobil.

The pharmaceutical and insurance industries can hold sick children hostage while their parents bankrupt themselves trying to save their sons or daughters. Those burdened by student loans can never wipe out the debt by declaring bankruptcy. In many states, those who attempt to publicize the conditions in the vast factory farms where diseased animals are warehoused for slaughter can be charged with a criminal offense. Corporations legally carry out tax boycotts.

Companies have orchestrated free trade deals that destroy small farmers and businesses and deindustrialize the country. Labor unions and government agencies designed to protect the public from contaminated air, water and food and from usurious creditors and lenders have been defanged.

The Supreme Court, in an inversion of rights worthy of George Orwell, defines unlimited corporate contributions to electoral campaigns as a right to petition the government or a form of free speech.

Much of the press, owned by large corporations, is an echo chamber for the elites. State and city enterprises and utilities are sold to corporations that hike rates and deny services to the poor. The educational system is being slowly privatized and turned into a species of vocational training.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 23, 2017, 05:21:48 pm »

The Secret of Donald Trump's Past Exposed By Chris Hedges and David Cay Johnston

Published on Mar 19, 2017

If you appreciate this channel and what it represents please support me and buy my book.
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 23, 2017, 02:00:03 pm »

Dear Anthony,

This isn’t a ‘worst-case scenario’ anymore: Trump has made his proposed budget public.1 As expected, the cuts are reckless.

Trump wants to cut a whopping $57 billion from critical domestic programs — starving communities of resources needed to thrive and slashing critical environmental protections — all in order to spend even more on defense contractors and military buildup abroad.

The good news: Trump's proposal is far from final. It's up to Congress to pass a final budget — and that's still months away. We MUST react quickly to show how outrageous Trump's plan really is: Tell your members of Congress to reject Trump's anti-American agenda.

Trump's proposed budget is hundreds of pages long, and there's a lot of bad stuff in there. Here are five of the very worst components:

1 - Trump wants to gut the EPA protections. The Environmental Protection Agency was created to enforce laws like the Safe Drinking Water Act and Clean Air Act that save countless lives every year — but Trump is doing everything he can to cripple the agency's ability to do its job. He wants to cut staff (including career scientists), dismantle key programs like the Environmental Justice enforcement program, end grants to states for issues like lead poisoning, eliminate regional water cleanup efforts and slash funding for enforcement activities.

2 - Trump wants to cut renewable energy.
Jobs in renewable energy are outpacing fossil fuels by nearly 4 to 1 — yet Trump wants to cut renewable energy and energy efficiency by 70% in the federal budget.2 Investing in renewable energy is not just cost effective, it will create jobs, improve public health and help us prevent the unpredictable and dangerous impacts of climate change. We absolutely cannot let Trump grant the fossil fuel industry their number one wish. Our planet is out of time — we must move America OFF fossil fuels immediately.

3 - Trump wants to put Wall Street in charge of our nation's water systems. While infrastructure investment is desperately needed in our country, Trump’s budget would rely on private financing, which has a nasty track record of costing taxpayers more money than publicly run infrastructure. What we actually need is dedicated, national funding for our infrastructure – like the WATER Act.

4 - Trump wants to cut food stamps by $193 billion and cut food safety staff. Almost 44 million people received Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) assistance in 2016, meaning that cuts to this program would affect tens of millions of people and make it harder for them to get the food they need.3 Trump's budget would also cut funding for the Food and Drug Administration's food safety program, including reducing staff levels, and would cut funding for the Centers for Disease Control, which tracks and responds to foodborne illness outbreaks.

5 - Trump wants to end reporting on carbon emissions and cut climate programs. In doing so, Trump would devastate progress we’ve made on limiting climate change pollution. And his plans to end programs designed to lower greenhouse gas emissions is a nod to the oil and gas industry — an industry to which his cabinet has disturbingly close ties.4

It's up to us — people across the country with a direct line to our members of Congress — to demand they REJECT Trump's plans.

We still have time, but you need to act now: Send a strong message today to oppose Trump's dangerous budget!

Thanks for taking action,

Miranda Carter
 Online Organizing Director
 Food & Water Watch

1. Trump proposes dramatic changes to federal government, slashing safety net programs that affect up to a fifth of Americans, Washington Post, May 23, 2017.

2. Solar Employs More People In U.S. Electricity Generation Than Oil, Coal And Gas Combined
, Forbes, January 25, 2017.

3. Trump to propose big cuts to safety net in new budget, slashing Medicaid and opening door to other limits, Washington Post, May 21, 2017.

4. Trump's Budget Slashes Climate Change Funding, NPR,
March 16, 2017.
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 21, 2017, 10:39:28 pm »

What Happening in Trump's Head?

Agelbert NOTE: An interesting turn of events mentioned in the above video is that the Trump tower residents are trying to get the Trump name off of the property because it is causing their property values to TANK!  The Trump brand is TOAST! 

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 21, 2017, 08:41:04 pm »

Protesting Notre Dame students walk out of Pences   commencement speech 

May 21, 2017
Source: Washington Post

Some graduating seniors at the University of Notre Dame walked out of their own graduation ceremony to protest Vice President Pence when he began to deliver the commencement speech on Sunday morning.

Pence was chosen to give the commencement address at the nation’s most prominent Catholic university — even though the school ordinarily invites newly inaugurated presidents to give the address in their first year of office. Thousands of students and faculty members signed a petition asking Notre Dame’s president, the Rev. John Jenkins, not to invite President Trump, and the university chose instead to invite Pence, a former Indiana governor.

A coalition of student activist groups at Notre Dame called We StaND For planned a walkout to protest policies Pence pursued as governor that they say targeted the most vulnerable. Pence was planning to seek reelection as governor when Trump selected him to be his vice presidential running mate in the summer of 2016, but Pence was unpopular at the time in his own state and many thought he would lose his reelection bid.

School officials knew of the student walkout plans and did not try to stop them. The students — more than 100 — walked quietly out, and there were some cheers and boos sounded, though only briefly. Paul Browne, vice president for public affairs and communications, said Notre Dame has been the site of protests of presidents and vice presidents in the past, and as long as the students did not disrupt the ceremony, it would be allowed to take place.

Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/answer-sheet/wp/2017/05/21/protesting-notre-dame-students-walk-out-of-mike-pences-commencement-speech/?utm_term=.f631ebc3f2b9
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 18, 2017, 07:19:38 pm »

Right Wing Media Mendacious Propaganda (IS NOT AN ACCIDENT, it's a PLAN!)

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 17, 2017, 10:13:34 pm »

Special Counsel Investigating Trump Campaign (IS A YES MAN!   )

 May 17, 2017

Special Counsel Investigating Trump Campaign Has Deep Ties to the Deep State

Former FBI agent and 9/11 whistleblower Coleen Rowley  says former FBI head Robert Mueller, now appointed to investigate the Trump campaign's ties to Russia, participated in covering up the pre 9/11 role of the U.S. intelligence agencies and the Bush Administration, helped create the post 9/11 national security/surveillance state, and helped facilitate the pre-Iraq war propaganda machine.
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 16, 2017, 06:12:08 pm »

Donald Trump's business links to the mob - BBC


Published on Mar 4, 2016

Donald Trump now looks like the front-runner to be the Republican candidate for the US presidency. One of his big appeals is his business success - and his claim that his wealth means he can't be bought and sold. But there's evidence which not only casts doubt on Trump's wealth claims - but also reveals his history of business relationships with figures connected to organised crime. John Sweeney reports.

Newsnight is the BBC's flagship news and current affairs TV programme - with analysis, debate, exclusives, and robust interviews.
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 15, 2017, 08:49:51 pm »

Here’s How Trump Could Already Be Prosecuted

The Resistance with Keith Olbermann | GQ

Published on May 15, 2017

A case can now be made based on what Donald Trump did last week.
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 15, 2017, 08:20:30 pm »

Check the "Tapes" - Trump May Have Committed Obstruction of Justice

13,308 views   2 days ago 

… On tonight’s Big Picture, Sam talks to Bryan Pruitt of Red State and Valerie Ervin of the Working Families Party about recently removed FBI director James Comey and whether Trump committed obstruction of justice, and Mike Pence’s comments on the clash of civilizations. Then, Sam discusses the nuclear disaster at Hanford Nuclear Site and consequences of nuclear power
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 15, 2017, 06:24:43 pm »

Morning Joe: FBI contacts say it's a criminal issue with Russia and Trump knows it (VIDEO) 

By Egberto Willies   

Monday May 15, 2017 · 11:57 AM EDT

I promised not to spend an inordinate amount of time on Russia by ensuring I write about middle-class, working-class, and poor economic, health care, and other dinner table issues. This excerpted video from Morning Joe this morning I believe is important enough to add to today's narrative.

Morning Joe says FBI pulling the string on Trump

There was an interesting panel discussion on Morning Joe that is worth noting. John Heilemann pointed out that Trump had a calculated reason for the firing of FBI Director James Comey.

"He knew he was going to take a lot of heat for this," Heilemann said. "But he clearly decided that the heat he is taking now is less than what would happen if there is a full bore independent investigation with James Comey asking for more resources, asking for more prosecutors trying to get to the bottom of what this Russia connection is. And that's the one place where we can't dismiss Trump as being wholly irrational. He is making calculated decisions right now."

After another guest had made an uninformed assessment initially disputing Heilemann, Joe added to Heilmann's point.

"I agree with John," Joe Scarborough said. "I don't think that was an irrational decision. Everybody's asking, 'Why did he do it? ' He said he did it because he understood that Comey was on to something. ... The FBI was onto something. The FBI has started pulling that string. And they are still pulling that string. And where it leads is not just an election issue. It is a criminal issue, and Trump knows that."

"The reason he did this is not because, he is out of his mind," Heilemann added. "He did this because as you said, Joe, I think he recognized, he looked over at the FBI and said, 'This guy James Comey who came to the White House, I asked him,' if you believe the story, 'I asked him for his loyalty. He wouldn't give me his loyalty. Now he is investigating me. He has been since last July. He is now taking daily briefings on this matter rather than weekly. He is now asking for more prosecutors.' Donald Trump knows what's at the heart of this. I don't know what that is. But he does. And he is saying, 'This guy knows it too.'"

Morning Joe then came in with what I believe is the most dangerous statement for Donald Trump.

"Here is the rub," Morning Joe said. "They already found the string. And they are pulling on it based on my contacts within the FBI. And they are starting to tug on that string. And they are going to keep going. And it has accelerated because of the way he fired Comey. He knows it."

Yes, the investigation continues, and Donald Trump will likely have serious legal problems. Progressives must go beyond just Russia and have economic, health care (push for Single-payer Medicare for all), criminal justice, and social justice answers for the 2018  elections as an option for aggrieved Americans whose problems leave them ambivalent to the Russia issue.


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 13, 2017, 04:10:49 pm »

Is Everyone Aware of "Explosive" Dutch Documentary?

By According to Fish   

Saturday May 13, 2017 · 11:42 AM EDT

I’ve seen the documentary work of Zembla TV mentioned earlier this week and now Raw Story is reporting on it as well.


and here’s the documentary link (thanks ExpatGirl! for link)

No wonder whenever the name “Felix Sater” is ever mentioned near him that Trump is scared p i s s less.

Our faux orange leader is going down bigly, it is just a matter of time.

Here’s part 2 (thanks CorpFlunky!)

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 13, 2017, 02:49:28 pm »

I do believe Trump has been the beneficiary of Russian money laundering. And if that means some Russian mafia guys have their hooks in him, then he certainly should not be POTUS, and we should get him out ASAP.

But then.....he shouldn't be President anyway. He's a complete train wreck as a President, and the Koch brothers obviously got to him and told him who to put in the cabinet, and they aren't any better than the Russian oligarchs.

Likely we will find that Cambridge Analytica did some really nefarious stuff to target undecided voters in "Blue Wall" states. Have heard/read some stuff that this was effective. You don't have to steal/turn them all. Just enough. Although voter suppression may well have been even more effective (Wisconsin: Trump's margin=20,000, Dem votes suppressed=200,000.)

And you have uncovered a salient truth: if there is not a dime's worth of difference between the Koch Brothers and Putin in terms of taking a wrecking ball to the US government, then both are equally treasonous.
Koch Fossil Fuel Fascist's 'R' US
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 13, 2017, 02:43:30 pm »

In an effort to clarify the ongoing debate about Trumpty-Dumpty's possible/alleged collusion with the Ruskies and possible TREASON, I thought it might be worthwhile to look at a few issues specifically, from the Diner Eye View.  I may expand this into a blog article at a later date, although for the most part I leave the Geopolitics to Surly and stick to Economics when I am not writing fiction, history or food articles. lol.  I will however at least contribute my current thoughts on this situation here inside the Diner.

Breaking it down, what do we know FOR SURE? ???   

1- The Donald DEFINITELY sold Real Estate to Ruskie Oligarchs
2- Those purchases were DEFINITELY financed by Ruskie Banks
3- The Donald REFUSES to release his Tax Returns for the last few years
4- His companies have gone through innumerable Bankruptcies
5- His "organization", such as it is, is completely DISORGANIZED. The right hand doesn't know what the left hand is doing on any given day.
6- He can't STFU and Tweets out stupidity on a daily basis, digging himself a bigger hole all the time.
7- He's a Narcissist, Misogynist, Racist and Control Freak.  Actually, you probably could throw the whole DSM-V Book at him. lol.
8- He comes from a background in NYC Real Estate in Brooklyn & Queens, which is a total Mafia operation
9- He was a Reality TV Star, who made his fame by Firing people on TV
10-  He's OLD.  Age 70 now.  The brain starts to stiffen by this time, even without outright Alzheimers

Now, none of these things are necessarily "impeachable" offenses.  After all, Ronnie Rayguns ran the country with Alzheimer's for years! lol.  Ronnie however did surround himself with some competent, if unethical people.  His Trumpness however surrounds himself with syncophants and yes-men who themselves are incompetent and unethical.  So not only are they in a constant state of bickering with the press, they also are always bickering with each other.  I sure would love to be a fly on the wall in one of their meetings! lol.

At this point, His Donaldson is relegated to his "trusted advisors" of his daughter Ivanka and son-in-law Jared Kushner to hand him advice on WTF to DO here to get his **** Popularity back out of the sewer?  Neither of these people seem particularly conversant with anything.  Everybody else in this disorganzation is simply trying to cover his own ass at the moment and trying to stay out of the way of the shrapnel coming off The Donald's smartphone on Twitter every morning.

Regardless of whether there was election tampering or not, El Trumpo is clearly incompetent, which I think even many of his former supporters are starting to realize, besides of course complete ideologues like Michael Snyder.  Is incompetence enough to get you impeached though?  ???   
The issue here of course is that it's CONgress that has to do the impeaching, and it's currently ruled by Repugnants.  It would not be helpful for their electoral chances in 2018 if their own POTUS was in the midst of an Impeachment proceeding.  On the other hand, not too helpful either to be seen as backing an incompetent POTUS who is evicerating what little health care Amerikans can get these days without bankrupting themselves to get it.  So the rank and file Repugnants are stuck between a rock and a hard place here.

The MSM is another Wild Card here.  Generally, it is in the Pocket of the Deep State, but The Donald has made terrific ENEMIES of tradtional MSM reporters and organs like WaPo.  WaPo is owned by Jeff Bezos, a Silicon Valley Billionaire who blows The Donald away in his Bank Account.  You think Jeff Bezos will stand down to The Donald?  Highly unlikely.

The whole issue remains up in the air at the moment, but I sincerely doubt it will go away.  I also think at some point in the timeline somebody will LEAK a really BIG ONE, and I am also sure there is such a big one out there to be leaked.  Trumpsky is, like all Pigmen are, a CROOK.  It will come out in the end.  Of course, by the time it does come out, we will look like the WTC at the end of the day on 9-11.  ::)

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 13, 2017, 02:38:02 pm »

Trumpsky does McEnroe.  ::)



Don’t Take Anything Trump’s Lawyers Say About His Tax Returns Seriously
Anything except releasing the documents falls short.
By Paul Blumenthal ,  Ben Walsh

Kevin Lamarque / Reuters

President Donald Trump’s tax lawyers issued a statement on Friday that the White House wants you to take seriously: The president has not received income or taken on any debt or equity from Russian sources over the past 10 years, “with a few exceptions.”

This is not how you construct a credible statement about someone’s finances, let alone a sitting president of the United States.

“With few exceptions” is such an obvious out that it can barely even be called a loophole ― it simply and openly invalidates the denial that precedes it.

Trump has a history of emphatically denying that he has any monetary connection to Russia. In January, he tweeted: “NOTHING TO DO WITH RUSSIA - NO DEALS, NO LOANS, NO NOTHING!” His lawyers’ new admission of the “few exceptions” indicates this blanket denial was false. The letter written by Sherri Dillon and Willie Nelson, Trump’s tax lawyers at Morgan, Lewis & Bockius, is dated March 8.

According to Dillon and Nelson, those exceptions include Russian fertilizer kingpin Dmitry Rybolovlev purchasing a South Florida mansion for $95 million in 2008; the 2013 Miss Universe contest held in Moscow, which earned $12.2 million in income; and “ordinary course sales of goods or services to Russians.” No documentary evidence was provided to prove that these are Trump’s only sources of income from Russians.

“Russians make up a pretty disproportionate cross-section of a lot of our assets,” Donald Trump Jr. said at a Russian real estate conference in 2008. “We see a lot of money pouring in from Russia.” And a sports writer recently reported that Eric Trump, another son of the president, said in 2014 that the family had access to $100 million from Russian banks. “Well, we don’t rely on American banks,” Eric Trump said at the time, according to the writer. “We have all the funding we need out of Russia.” (Eric Trump denied the quote.)

The incidental “sales of goods or services to Russians” was no small sum. Russians spent nearly $100 million to purchase condos in seven buildings licensing the Trump name in South Florida, according to Reuters. Trump received a commission on all sales in the buildings, likely somewhere between 1 percent and 4 percent. This would mean Trump received between $1 million and $4 million in income from Russian purchasers.

    This is a bizarre attempt to substitute a prepared communication for public disclosure, which is insufficient for both urgent investigation and repairing the public trust. John Wonderlich, executive director of the Sunlight Foundation

Trump also had a long-standing financing and business relationship with a company called Bayrock. Bayrock provided the financing to build Trump Soho, which the company owned and Trump lent his name to through a licensing deal. Bayrock was founded by Tevfik Arif, a former Soviet official who was born in Kazakhstan, and Tamir Sapir, a Georgian fertilizer and oil magnate. Felix Sater ― a mob-linked double felon who stabbed a man in the face with a broken margarita glass and was convicted for his role in a $40 million pump-and-dump stock fraud ― was a Bayrock executive.

Bayrock attempted to build Trump-branded buildings in Arizona and Florida and had offices for a time in Trump Tower. Sater was given a Trump Organization business card, which called him a “senior advisor to Donald Trump.” Sater traveled to Russia with Trump’s children looking for investment properties. Despite these numerous connections, Trump said in 2013 that if Sater “were sitting in the room right now, I wouldn’t know what he looked like.”

It’s unclear where Bayrock got the money to finance Trump Soho, because the funding trail ends with an Icelandic company called FL Group. Iceland was a common destination for laundered Russian money prior to the financial crisis, when the FL Group financed Bayrock. Allen Garten, a Trump Organization lawyer, told the Financial Times last year that he “had no reason to question” where Bayrock got its money. 

Additionally, HuffPost reported a previously unknown connection between Donald Trump Jr. and Sater through a company called Global Habitat Solutions. GHS, founded by Sater, acted as a marketing tool for a twice-defunct Trump Jr. venture called Titan Atlas, which sold building materials.

Of course, the president could provide evidence for his claims by releasing his personal tax returns and the returns for his family business, but he has refused to do so. Without producing his full tax returns, the only thing we have to reply on to substantiate Trump’s denials is Trump’s word.

And Trump has an almost unimaginable track record of telling falsehoods. The same goes for those speaking on his behalf. Without documentation for his and his lawyers’ claims, statements about where Trump’s income comes from and who his family does business with cannot be taken seriously.

Trump’s lawyers are simply doing their job: to do what their client demands, whether it is to protect him from negative publicity or from any potential legal liability. Dillon and Nelson have no duty to the American people and no obligation to the public trust to tell the truth about the president’s finances.

“This is a bizarre attempt to substitute a prepared communication for public disclosure, which is insufficient for both urgent investigation and repairing the public trust,” John Wonderlich, executive director of the pro-transparency Sunlight Foundation, told HuffPost.

“Trump also paid lawyers to vouch for his divestment and ethics plans, which were clearly insufficient,” he said.
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 13, 2017, 02:36:38 pm »

When you're Under the Gun, You take it on the Run, baby.
But I know the neighborhood
And talk is cheap when the story is good
And the tales grow taller on down the line
So I'm telling you, babe
That I don't think it's true, babe
Or even if it is keep this in mind
You take it on the run baby
If that's the way you want it baby
Then I don't want you around
I don't believe it, not for a minute
You're under the gun so you take it on the run



After Comey firing, Trump’s frustrations boiled over

In this May 12, 2017, photo, President Donald Trump speaks to military mothers in the East Room of the White House during Mother’s Day celebration. Four months into office, Trump has become distrustful of some of his White House staff, heavily reliant on a handful of family members and longtime aides, and furious that the White House’s attempts to quell the firestorm over the FBI and congressional Russia investigations only seem to add more fuel. (Susan Walsh/Associated Press)

By Julie Pace and Jonathan Lemire | AP May 13 at 2:17 AM

WASHINGTON — After four months in office, President Donald Trump has become distrustful of some of his White House staff, heavily reliant on a handful of family members and longtime aides, and furious that the White House’s attempts to quell the firestorm over the FBI and congressional Russia investigations only seem to add more fuel.

Trump’s frustrations came to a head this week with the firing of FBI Director James Comey, who was overseeing the probe into his campaign’s possible ties to Russia’s election meddling. Fearful that his own team would leak the decision, Trump kept key staff in the dark as he pondered the dramatic move.

Chief strategist Steve Bannon learned on television. The communications staff charged with explaining the decision to the American people had an hour’s notice.

When the White House’s defense of the move failed to meet his ever-changing expectations, Trump tried to take over himself. But he wound up creating new headaches for the White House, including with an apparent threat to Comey.

“James Comey better hope that there are no ‘tapes’ of our conversations before he starts leaking to the press!” Trump wrote on Twitter Friday morning.

For a White House accustomed to bouts of chaos, Trump’s handling of Comey’s firing could have serious and long-lasting implications. Already Trump’s decision appears to have emboldened the Senate intelligence committee investigating into Russia’s election interference and the president’s associates, with lawmakers announcing a subpoena for former national security adviser Michael Flynn. Comey’s allies also quickly made clear they would defend him against attacks from Trump, including disputing the president’s assertion that Comey told Trump he was not personally under investigation.

Several people close to the president say his reliance on a small cadre of advisers as he mulled firing Comey reflects his broader distrust of many of his own staffers. He leans heavily on daughter Ivanka Trump and son-in-law Jared Kusher, as well as Hope Hicks, his trusted campaign spokeswoman and Keith Schiller, his longtime bodyguard. Schiller was among those Trump consulted about Comey and was tapped by the president to deliver a letter informing the director of his firing.

Trump confidants say Bannon has been marginalized on major decisions, including Comey’s firing, after clashing with Kushner. And while Trump praised chief of staff Reince Priebus after the House passed a health care bill last week, associates say the president has continued to raise occasional questions about Priebus’ leadership in the West Wing.

Trump spent most of the week out of sight, a marked change from a typically jam-packed schedule that often includes multiple on-camera events per day. Even when aides moved ahead on an executive order creating a voter fraud commission — a presidential pet project that some advisers thought they had successfully shelved — Trump signed the directive in private.

More than a lack of momentum on major policy goals, Trump is said to be seething over the flood of leaks pouring out of the White House and into news reports. He’s viewed even senior advisers suspiciously, including Bannon and Priebus, when stories about internal White House drama land in the press.

A dozen White House officials and others close to Trump detailed the president’s decision-making and his mood on the condition of anonymity in order to discuss private conversations and deliberations.

After Trump decided to fire Comey, he was told by aides that Democrats would likely react positively to the news given the role many believe Comey played in Hillary Clinton’s defeat last year. When the opposite occurred, Trump grew incensed — both at Democrats and his own communications staff for not quickly lining up more Republicans to defend him on television.

Much of Trump’s ire has been focused on the communications team, all of whom were caught off guard by Comey’s ouster. He increasingly sees himself as the White House’s only effective spokesperson, according to multiple people who have spoken with him. By week’s end, he was musing about cutting back on the White House’s televised press briefings.

Two White House officials said some of Trump’s frustration centers on what he views as unfair coverage of his decisions and overly harsh criticism of press secretary Sean Spicer, as well as deputy press secretary Sarah Sanders, who led much of the response to Comey’s firing. Aides said Trump does not believe his team gave contradictory stories about his decision to fire Comey, despite the fact that the White House’s explanation changed dramatically over a 48-hour period.
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The White House initially said Trump was compelled to fire Comey by a critical memo from the deputy attorney general on the director’s handling of last year’s investigation into Hillary Clinton’s email. Aides later said the president had been considering firing Comey for months, and Trump said he would have made the decision regardless of the Justice Department recommendation.

“The challenge they have is that the president sometimes moves so rapidly that they don’t get a team around that gets it organized,” said Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker and Trump ally. “He’s a little bit like a quarterback that gets ahead of his offensive line.”

Trump is mulling expanding the communications team and has eyed hiring producers from Fox News, according to one White House official.

White House officials had hoped last week’s House vote would give the president a much-needed burst of momentum and infuse new energy into efforts to fully overhaul the “Obamacare” health law and pass a massive tax reform package. Aides were also eager for Trump’s first foreign trip, a high-stakes blitz through the Middle East and Europe.

But the blowback from Comey’s firing left the White House reeling once again. Trump’s visible anger and erratic tweets prompted a reporter to ask Spicer on Friday if the president was “out of control.”

“That’s, frankly, offensive,” Spicer said.


Politics newsletter

The big stories and commentary shaping the day.

Lemire reported from New York. Associated Press writers Julie Bykowicz, Jill Colvin and Catherine Lucey contributed to this report.
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 13, 2017, 02:28:00 pm »


Five Reasons the Comey Affair Is Worse Than Watergate

A journalist who covered Nixon’s fall 45 years ago explains why the current challenge to America may be more severe—and the democratic system less capable of handling it.

Senate Watergate Committee members and staff gather around Chairman Sam Ervin Bettman / Getty

    James Fallows May 12, 2017 Politics

The tangled affair now known as Watergate began 45 years ago, before most of today’s U.S. population had even been born. (The median age of Americans is about 38, so most people in the country were born in 1979 or thereafter.) Thus for most people “Watergate” is a historical allusion—obviously negative in its implications, since it led to the only presidential resignation in American history, but probably hazy in its details.

For me, Watergate is anything but hazy. I’d left graduate school and begun my first magazine job, with The Washington Monthly, in the fall of 1972, as news of the scandal emerged. Over the next two years, until Richard Nixon’s resignation, I was living in D.C. and tracking the daily progress in clue-following and domino-toppling via stories in The Washington Post and elsewhere—and then the riveting, televised Watergate hearings that made national celebrities of politicians like Senators Howard Baker and Sam Ervin, and of White House aides like Alexander Butterfield (who revealed the existence of Nixon’s secret system for taping White House conversations) and John Dean (who as White House counsel had told Nixon, “there is a cancer on the presidency”). Anyone of conscious age in that time can probably remember the jolts to national sentiment that the near-daily revelations evoked.

So I’ve been thinking about comparisons between Watergate and the murky, fast-changing Comey-Russia-Flynn-Trump affair. As with anything involving Donald Trump, we have no idea where this will lead, what is “true,” and when the next bombshell will go off.

But based simply on what is known so far, this scandal looks worse than Watergate. Worse for and about the president. Worse for the overall national interest. Worse in what it suggests about the American democratic system’s ability to defend itself. Here is a summary of some reasons why:

* * *

The underlying offense

At some point in the coverage of every scandal you’ll hear the chestnut “It’s always the cover-up, never the crime.” This refers of course to the historical reality that scandal-bound figures make more problems by denying or lying about their misdeeds than they would if they had come clean from the start.

This saying first became really popular in the Watergate era—which is significant for what it suggests about the gravity of the underlying crime in that case. Richard Nixon’s beleaguered press secretary Ron Ziegler, a Sean Spicer–like figure of that era, oversold the point when he dismissed the break-in at Democratic National Committee headquarters as a “third-rate burglary.” But the worst version of what Nixon and his allies were attempting to do—namely, to find incriminating or embarrassing information about political adversaries ranging from Democratic Party Chairman Lawrence O’Brien to Pentagon Papers whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg—was not as bad as what came afterward. Those later efforts included attempts to derail investigations by the FBI, the police, and various grand juries and congressional committees, which collectively amounted to obstruction of justice.

And what is alleged this time? Nothing less than attacks by an authoritarian foreign government on the fundamentals of American democracy, by interfering with an election—and doing so as part of a larger strategy that included parallel interference in the United Kingdom, France, Germany, and elsewhere. At worst, such efforts might actually have changed the election results. At least, they were meant to destroy trust in democracy. Not much of this is fully understood or proven, but the potential stakes are incomparably greater than what happened during Watergate, crime and cover-up alike.

The blatancy of the interference

A climactic event of the Watergate saga, the “Saturday Night Massacre” of October 1973, is too complex to lay out in full. (More here.) Its essence was a nearly-last-gasp attempt by Nixon to prevent a special prosecutor from getting full access to the Oval Office tapes whose existence had recently become known.

But even in his stonewalling, Nixon paid lip service to the concepts of due process and check and balances. (His proffered solution was something called the “Stennis compromise,” in which the very conservative Senator John Stennis, from Mississippi, would “listen” personally to the tapes and summarize their content. As it happens, Stennis was famous for being practically deaf.) Nixon wanted to survive and win, but he wanted to act as if he was doing so while sticking to some recognizable rules.

Nothing Donald Trump has done, on the campaign trail or in office, has expressed awareness of, or respect for, established rules. Nixon’s private comments could be vile, but nothing he said in public is comparable to Trump’s dismissing James Comey as a “showboat,” or the thuggishly menacing tweet that Trump sent out today:

The nature of the president

Richard Nixon was a dark but complex figure. Of his darkness, this obituary/denunciation by Hunter S. Thompson provides a nice overview. Of his complexity, assessments from Garry Wills’s seminal Nixon Agonistes in 1970 to John Farrell’s Nixon: A Life just this spring emphasize the depth and sophistication of his political and strategic intelligence. He was paranoid, resentful, bigoted, and a crook. He was also deeply knowledgeable, strategically prescient, publicly disciplined—and in some aspects of his domestic policy strikingly “progressive” by today’s standards (for instance, his creation of the Environmental Protection Agency).

Donald Trump, by contrast—well, read the transcripts of his two most recent interviews, and weep. He is impulsive, and ignorant, and apparently beyond the reach of any control, even his own.

The resiliency of the fabric of American institutions

The Saturday Night Massacre acquired that name because of the number of people involved. When Archibald Cox, a famous Harvard Law School professor whom Congress had named the Watergate special prosecutor, rejected the “Stennis compromise” and insisted on getting the raw White House tapes himself, Nixon ordered his attorney general, Elliot Richardson, to fire Cox. Richardson—a Republican, a Boston Brahmin, a World War II hero—refused to obey the order, and resigned. The next in the chain of command was William Ruckelshaus, also a Republican, who had been the founding head of the EPA and then was Richardson’s deputy at the Justice Department. Ruckelshaus also refused to obey the order and resigned. Eventually it fell to the solicitor general, a not-yet-famous figure named Robert Bork, to carry out the order and fire Cox.

Within the space of a few hours, three senior officials—Richardson, Ruckelshaus, and Cox—had all made a choice of principle over position, and resigned or been fired rather than comply with orders they considered illegitimate. Their example shines nearly half a century later because such a choice remains so rare.

What would it take for today’s institutions to show that they are as healthy and resilient as they were even during the troubled Watergate era? History isn’t fair, and much of the burden of answering that question falls right now on one man. That is of course Rod Rosenstein, the newly confirmed deputy attorney general who, because of Jeff Sessions’s supposed recusal from the Russian-affairs investigations, is nominally in charge of them. If he wanted to be remembered as another Richardson, Ruckelshaus, or Cox, he would already have called for the appointment of a special prosecutor, or would do so today. Mr. Rosenstein, a lot depends on you.

The cravenness of party leaders

The Republicans of the Watergate era stuck with Richard Nixon as long as they could, but they acted all along as if larger principles were at stake. This I remember more clearly than any other aspect of that era, because the very first article I did for a big national magazine was a profile for Esquire, published not long after Nixon had resigned, about one of the very conservative Republicans who had finally chosen principle over party. That Republican was Charles Wiggins, a staunchly right-wing representative from Southern California who was on the House Judiciary Committee (and later became a Ninth Circuit appeals-court judge).

I followed him through the impeachment-committee hearings in 1974 as he weighed the evidence and finally decided that Nixon had lied too often and gone too far (and wrote about his journey in “The Ordeal of Mr. Wiggins”). The important point is, he was one of many congressional Republicans of that era who acted as if their responsibilities were broader than sheer party-line solidarity.

On the merits, this era’s Republican president has done far more to justify investigation than Richard Nixon did. Yet this era’s Republican senators and members of congress have, cravenly, done far less. A few have grumbled about “concerns” and so on, but they have stuck with Trump where it counts, in votes, and since Comey’s firing they have been stunning in their silence.

Today’s party lineup in the Senate is of course 52–48, in favor of the Republicans. Thus a total of three Republican senators have it within their power to change history, by insisting on an honest, independent investigation of what the Russians have been up do and how the mechanics of American democracy can best defend themselves. (To spell it out, three Republicans could join the 48 Democrats and Independents already calling for investigations, and constitute a Senate majority to empower a genuinely independent inquiry.) So far they have fallen in line with their party’s leader, Mitch McConnell, who will be known in history for favoring party above all else. 


I was 24 years old when I followed Charles Wiggins—and the other Republicans of that era, from Barry Goldwater and Howard Baker (and many Senate colleagues) to Elliot Richardson and William Ruckelshaus, who finally decided to be remembered for something greater than clinging to office or toeing the party line. Somewhere a 24-year-old is watching and preparing to remember the choices our leaders are making now. Because of the current lineup of legislative and executive power, the leaders whose choices matter are all Republicans.

I hope some of their choices, soon, allow them to be remembered as positively as are the GOP’s defenders of constitutional process from the Watergate days. But as of this moment, the challenge to the American system seems more extreme than in that era, and the protective resources weaker.
Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 12, 2017, 10:16:07 pm »

...and the Beat Goes On...



Trump’s own words add fuel to questions about the legality of firing Comey

President Trump is interviewed by NBC's Lester Holt on Thursday. (Joe Gabriel/NBC via AP)

By Karen Tumulty May 12 at 6:45 PM

With his own words over the past two days, President Trump has vastly escalated the stakes and potential consequences of his decision to fire James B. Comey as FBI director, provoking questions about whether his motivations and tactics may have run afoul of the law.


Here's a short, hard hitting AND FUNNY "Trump is Impeachment Toast" video!  ;D

Rober Reich : With his firing of the FBI director, Trump's impeachment becomes even more likely. 

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 12, 2017, 08:41:21 pm »

Former FBI Director James Comey's Remarks on Whistleblower Day 2016

Published on May 12, 2017

On August 1, 2016, leaders from four federal agencies (the FBI, the Council on Inspectors General for Integrity and Efficiency, the Office of the Special Prosecutor, and the Occupational Safety and Health Administration) came together to formally acknowledge the important contributions and sacrifices made by whistleblowers. The event kicked off with these remarks from then FBI Director James Comey.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 12, 2017, 06:33:09 pm »

Judas, Tax Cuts and the Great Betrayal

Paul Krugman MAY 12, 2017


In some ways conservatism is returning to its roots. Much has been made of Trump’s revival of the term “America First,” the name of a movement opposed to U.S. intervention in World War II. What isn’t often mentioned is that many of the most prominent America-firsters weren’t just isolationists, they were actively sympathetic to foreign dictators; there’s a more or less straight line from Charles Lindbergh proudly wearing the medal he received from Hermann Göring to Trump’s cordial relations with Rodrigo Duterte, the literally murderous president of the Philippines.

But the more proximate issue is the transformation of the Republican Party, which bears little if any resemblance to the institution it used to be, say during the Watergate hearings of the 1970s. Back then, Republican members of Congress were citizens first, partisans second. But today’s G.O.P. is more like a radical, anti-democratic insurgency than a conventional political party.
The political analysts Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein have been trying to explain this transformation for years, fighting an uphill battle against the false equivalence that still dominates punditry. As they note, the G.O.P. hasn’t just become “ideologically extreme”; it is “dismissive of the legitimacy of its political opposition.”

So it’s naïve to expect Republicans to join forces with Democrats to get to the bottom of the Russia scandal — even if that scandal may strike at the very roots of our national security. Today’s Republicans just don’t cooperate with Democrats, period. They’d rather work with Vladimir Putin.

In fact, some of them probably did.

Now, maybe I’m being too pessimistic. Maybe there are enough Republicans with a conscience — or, failing that, sufficiently frightened of an electoral backlash — that the attempt to kill the Russia probe will fail. One can only hope so.

But it’s time to face up to the scary reality here. Most people now realize, I think, that Donald Trump holds basic American political values in contempt. What we need to realize is that much of his party shares that contempt.


Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 12, 2017, 06:14:03 pm »

Abbreviated pundit roundup: Comey scandal goes from bad to worse for Trump     

By Georgia Logothetis   

Friday May 12, 2017 ·  7:34 AM EDT

 368   Comments  (368 New)   

We begin today’s roundup with The New York Times editorial board and its piece on the “Trump-Russia Nexus,” a detailed accounting of Trump’s ties to Russia:

Mr. Trump and his associates can cry themselves hoarse that there is neither smoke nor fire here. But all in all, the known facts suggest an unusually extensive network of relationships with a major foreign power. Anyone who cares about the credibility of the American electoral process should want a thorough investigation of whether and how Russia interfered in the election and through whom.

Laurence Tribe, Richard Painter and Norman Eisen at USA Today have an important piece up:

If President Trump’s shockingly sudden firing of FBI Director James Comey had violated some statute or constitutional provision, our judicial branch could easily have remedied that misstep. What the president did was worse. It was a challenge to the very premises of our system of checks and balances precisely because it violated no mere letter of the law but its essential spirit. No one, not even a president, is above the law. And thus no public official, high or petty, can simply fire those our system trusts to investigate and remedy that official’s possible bribery, treason, or other disloyalty to the nation. [...]

In the end, the most important task is to credibly track down the details of the global financial entanglements that have ensnared this administration from the outset, and that have led to litigation against Trump under the Emoluments Clauses of the Constitution. That is likely the key to unlocking the mystery of what underlying conduct is so terrible that the Trump administration is willing to tie itself into knots and disgrace itself on the world stage to conceal its conduct.

The Economist calls on Congress to do its job:

Congress must now uphold constitutional norms. Any successor to Mr Comey nominated by the president must face the most rigorous examination of their impartiality. But that will not be enough. What is needed is either an independent commission, along the lines of the one set up to inquire into the events leading up to September 11th 2001, or a bipartisan select committee to investigate the Russia allegations. Neither would have prosecutorial powers, but they could have substantial investigatory resources and be able to subpoena witnesses. There is no reason why prosecutions could not follow once they had reported. Principled Senate Republicans, such as Richard Burr, Ben Sasse and John McCain, are troubled by what the removal of Mr Comey portends. It is high time for them and others to put their country before their party.

Jim Hoagland at The Washington Post:

The Trump presidency now poses an existential threat to many of America’s most vital institutions. He has tried to tear down to his own tawdry level the intelligence community, the FBI, the media and the federal judiciary. (Congress has been spared only because the Republican leadership lacks the moral courage to draw Trump’s fire.) Just as he is at war with himself, Trump is at war with the nation he is supposed to lead.

I had never particularly credited the idea that Trump or his campaign operatives openly colluded with Putin’s effort to draw them into the muck of the corruption the Russian leader inhabits and seeks to spread. They could not have been that stupid, I have been telling myself. Nor could I imagine that Trump was so dependent on Russian money that he could be compromised by Moscow.

But it is hard now to find other credible explanations for the president’s serial misbehavior and shameless, reckless actions. He seems eager to provoke moral outrage that will confirm his self-image of excelling by being the worst of the bad boys.

Scott Bixby at The Daily Beast takes a look at Trump’s obsession with loyalty above all:

President Donald Trump once described himself as “like, this great loyalty freak.” But to former employees of the nation’s top law enforcement service, it’s his apparent demands for personal loyalty from the nation’s top cop that are freakish. [...]

Clint Watts, a fellow at the Foreign Policy Research Institute and a former FBI special agent, told The Daily Beast that the report is straight out of the playbooks of the authoritarian strongmen of whom Trump appears to be such a fan. “This loyalty pledge is completely out of line,” Watts said. “The FBI director is given a 10-year term for this exact reason—to prevent the nation’s top law enforcement officer from being put under undue influence based on political pressures.” If the Times report is true, Watts continued, “Trump’s loyalty pledge tactic comes straight from the worst aspects of authoritarians and mob bosses who see their rule above the rule of law.”

Jonathan Chait:

Donald Trump’s most consistent belief – even more consistent than his skepticism of international trade, which has waned on occasion – is his worship of power. He is not merely willing to do business with despots, as most presidents have been. He admires them because of, not despite, their despotism. His repeated refusal during the campaign to accept the legitimacy of the election (“rigged”), his promises to jail his opponent, and his intermingling of state power and personal profit all suggested a threat to the health of the republic. Now that threat has arrived. And if Republicans in Congress continue to cover for his actions, the damage to the health of American government may be longstanding.

Philip Allen Lacovara, former U.S. deputy solicitor general in the Justice Department who served as counsel to Watergate special prosecutors Archibald Cox and Leon Jaworski, says the Watergate comparisons are appropriate, but that the DOJ and FBI failed to do the right thing here:

Unlike their predecessors four decades earlier, Sessions and Rosenstein failed to recognize that they have a higher public duty than merely to implement the president’s will, even if Trump’s action was technically within his constitutional power. [...] After Nixon resigned, there were congratulatory comments that “the system worked.” But this assessment was overly simplistic. Now, as then, the system works only if the right people in the system do the right thing when deciding whether to roll over or to stand up.

And, on a final note, Eugene Robinson dives into what looks like a cover up:

The only way to make sense of this week’s stunning events is to conclude that there is something that President Trump desperately wants to hide. [...] If this were a criminal trial, prosecutors would allege that the president was displaying “consciousness of guilt” — that he was acting in a way no innocent person would act. Indeed, the only other president to try to head off an investigation by firing the chief investigator was Richard Nixon. [...]

I do believe in mere coincidences, up to a point. And I know that conspiracy theories usually turn out to be wrong. But I can see no explanation for Trump’s bizarre attitude toward the allegations of Russian meddling other than a desire to conceal something. [...]

If Trump wanted to end this scrutiny by firing Comey, he may have had the opposite effect. Ask yourself one question: Have you ever seen a coverup with no underlying crime? Neither have I.

Posted by: AGelbert
« on: May 12, 2017, 02:39:59 pm »

Too many Michael Snyders in the general population for that to happen now. This is not Watergate, not by a long shot.
Eddie, you can yawn all you want about this but you will be sorry for not taking this as seriously as you should.

The treason is currently afoot through the rotten #Trump/Russia affair is far more pernicious and dangerous than Watergate ever was. That was a wholly domestic matter. Every congressional repub that defends Trump or tries to sweep this under the rug, or who agrees with Sarah Sanders and Michelle Malkin that "it's time to move on" might as well register as a foreign agent.

I would dearly love to think that in the fullness of time, ALL these people would be going down. But in that regard, I agree with Eddie that there are "too many Michael Snyders in the general population for that to happen." There were too many confederates at the end of the Civil War to kill 'em all as well.

Somehow, I get the feeling that Eddie may have some Southern issues with your answer...

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