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Author Topic: Corruption in Government  (Read 10023 times)

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AGelbert

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #540 on: January 03, 2018, 07:56:05 pm »
I know that I belabor this issue of the corruption funded by the Fossil fuel Industry a lot  ;) ;D, but I really think that Putin is on the same page as Exxon and the Koch brothers, WITH FINANCIAL MONEY LAUNDERING CONNECTIONS WORLDWIDE. This means the politicians are actually the "small fry" in this massive polluter stranglehold on politics here and abroad.

That Deutch (spelling?) bank in Germany is as dirty as they come. And the Federal Reserve bank(s) is/are every bit as dirty. That is what makes this MESS so hard for TBTB to admit to. It is a SYSTEMIC problem primarily funded by the Polluters!

Bankrupting the polluters would not stop immorality and corruption in politics, but it would be a good
start!

And it's all perfectly legal. Logical even, given the dictates of end-stage capitalism and the perfect logic of the spreadsheet. And if it's not legal, we buy some new laws. The common denominator between Putin, the Kochs, the oilmen and the bankers is pure, untrammeled greed. The politicians are infinitely replaceable rental units at this level.

Real estate is a highly valued asset for laundering dirty money., one of the reasons so few real estate developers ever pursue higher levels of office-- they can't bear the public scrutiny.

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AGelbert

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #541 on: January 03, 2018, 10:12:58 pm »

RE

http://www.bbc.com/news/world-us-canada-42561075

Trump-Bannon: A political knife fight with consequences
Jon Sopel North America editor @bbcjonsopel on Twitter

    3 hours ago

Media captionFive things Trump thinks about Bannon now

It's not unusual for former political allies to fall out. It happens all the time. But normally it's done in private, and maybe hinted at in public. Not this time. Not with this President.

This is a vicious knife fight between Donald Trump and his former campaign chief and White House Chief strategist being played out across social media.

Other Trump family members and supporters are piling in too. Why? Because Steve Bannon has enraged Donald Trump with his description of a meeting that took place between the president's son, Don Jr, and son in law, Jared Kushner, with a Kremlin-linked, Russian lawyer as unpatriotic and treasonous.

    10 explosive claims from new Trump book

He's talked about how clear it is what the Special Counsel, Robert Mueller, is investigating - whether the Trump organisation was laundering dirty Russian money. Donald Trump has fired back in the way only he knows how. He has met fire with fire, accusing Bannon of having lost his mind, of not being that influential, of being a pretender. Lost his mind. Wow.

So much for the spat. Does it matter? Well yes it does.
Image copyright Reuters
Image caption Mr Mueller's team is investigating whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russia during the election

To anyone who will listen, Trump and his supporters have insisted vociferously, angrily, indignantly that there is no evidence there was collusion. In one recent interview with the New York Times conducted over the New Year at Mar-a-Lago, Trump raised the subject 23 times. Twenty-three times he denied collusion.

Bannon's comments won't alter the course of the Mueller investigation - his team is quietly getting on with its investigation and following where the evidence takes them - remember there have already been three people charged in connection with this. But it matters in the war of words on social media.

The narrative of Trump fidelis is that this is a 'nothingburger', or to change my food metaphor, sour grapes from the Democrats after their shock election defeat.

    Russia: The 'cloud' over the Trump White House
    Russia-Trump: Who's who in the drama to end all dramas?

Some ideological outriders have been saying that what the President should do is fire the special counsel, and bring his existentially threatening investigation to an end. But how much more difficult is that propaganda battle now to wage, when one of the principal actors from the Trump campaign, and the first six months of the Trump presidency talks openly and on the record about treasonous and unpatriotic behaviour.
Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption President Trump boards Air Force Once with his then top aide, Steve Bannon

The firing of Bannon last August the President did with a heavy heart. But it seems that hell hath no fury like a Bannon scorned. Or as President Johnson noted when dealing with the troublesome J Edgar Hoover in the 1960s - better to have him inside the tent pissing out than outside pissing in. Bannon is outside, and taking careful aim.

    How Trump cooled on Bannon

But if the Bannon accusations are damaging (and they are), there is one aspect of this which will be causing quiet delight in the White House. If you cast you mind back to the summer, the appointment of General John Kelly (and the firing of Bannon) was meant to mark the moment when discipline was imposed on an unruly, freewheeling, chaotic administration.

There would be a chain of command. Order. Discipline. Systems. Well Steve Bannon was gone, true; but he was still an important voice in the President's ear. Remember this iron law of governing. It doesn't matter what a person's job title is, it is what proximity they have to the centre of power. Bannon was on the outside, but he was still a source of counsel. Now he is not just on the outside, he is in outer darkness.
Media captionSteve Bannon's three goals for the Trump presidency

So what is Steve Bannon's next move? Well I make one confident prediction: it won't be to roll up his tent, pack his knapsack and skulk away with his head drooping. Bannon is campaigning to tear down the Republican establishment, and in Breitbart News he has a fairly formidable weapon with which to wage his war. Bannon wants candidates in this year's mid term election who will threaten the existing Republican leadership, who will follow the populist, nationalist policies that led Donald Trump to election victory in 2016. You have two men now violently fighting it out for the hearts and minds of the Americans who propelled Donald Trump to victory.

When I came to work this morning I thought nothing would or could eclipse Donald Trump's tweet about Kim Jong-un. But now it seems that Mr Bannon and President Trump are locked in a battle over who's got the bigger button and whose is most powerful.

Next move, Steve Bannon. And this is so much less life-threatening than real nuclear war.


IF this is not a Bannon/Trump deliberately engineered food fight to distract people while Trump gets down and dirty on Mueller, then this could be a good thing. The fact is, Bannon has been tight with Trump for a LONG time. Bannon knows where all the bodies are buried (both Trump's and, of course, Bannon's - they might overlap but they are not the same   ). So, all Mueller has to do, if Bannon REALLY wants to sink Trump (something I highly doubt right now), is to cut a deal exposing the crimes Trump has commited IN ADDITION to the Russian money that saved Trump's ass when he was going bankrupt (AGAIN!) and the money was laundered through the Deutch Bank as "loans" to Trump, in addition to the Trump real estate inflated priices paid by the 'From Russia with Love' money. 

Trump is certainly NOT his own man. THe money that saved his ass OWNS him. I am certain the evidence of a quid pro quo that Trump agreed to in exchange for the laundered money is NOT recorded anywhere. So, no hard evidence will ever be forthcoming.

BUT, Bannon knows, and can prove, WHEN the money started coming in. All Mueller has to do is is link Trump Campaign actions DIRECTLY (chronology of events within a few days of receiving "loans") with the money laundering SOURCE. That is prima facie evidence, even if circumstantial, that Trump colluded with a foreign power by running for POTUS for the purpose of getting out of debt.

As Surly said, real estate big shots rarely go into politics because they are so entangled in money laundering fun and games. Trump was probably approached by the Russians first, who knew exactly how hard up he was econmically (who knows, maybe they helped sink him economically, without his knowledge, to get a pliable stooge into the White House). Trump HAD to run for President. Otherwise, the money to keep the Trump pretend billionaire in extend and pretend mode would NOT be delivered. Trump ran a HUGE risk, due to all the criminal crap he has in his real estate background, by going for/into the POTUS job.

So, unless Mueller gets something from Bannon with TEETH in it, I do not yet believe Bannon is suddenly on the side of the angels.

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AGelbert

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #542 on: January 04, 2018, 02:03:42 pm »
Trump is certainly NOT his own man. THe money that saved his ass OWNS him. I am certain the evidence of a quid pro quo that Trump agreed to in exchange for the laundered money is NOT recorded anywhere. So, no hard evidence will ever be forthcoming.

BUT, Bannon knows, and can prove, WHEN the money started coming in. All Mueller has to do is is link Trump Campaign actions DIRECTLY (chronology of events within a few days of receiving "loans") with the money laundering SOURCE. That is prima facie evidence, even if circumstantial, that Trump colluded with a foreign power by running for POTUS for the purpose of getting out of debt.

So, unless Mueller gets something from Bannon with TEETH in it, I do not yet believe Bannon is suddenly on the side of the angels.


Something like the sale of a Florida mansion to the Russian "Fertilizer King" for a $55 million profit on the flip?  

Photographed in 2005 (at article link), Donald Trump stands in front of 515 N. County Rd., the estate he bought at auction for about $41 million, renovated and then sold in 2008 at a recorded $95 million.

Donald Trump and the mansion that no one wanted. Then came a Russian fertilizer king
BY GLENN GARVIN

ggarvin@miamiherald.com

FEBRUARY 27, 2017 06:31 AM

UPDATED JULY 21, 2017 10:13 AM

Since the allegations about Donald Trump’s business connections to Russia started to fly last year in the middle of his presidential campaign, the fog of political war has made it difficult to tell the real from the shadow. Except for one very visible landmark: a sprawling, rococo seaside mansion in Palm Beach that Trump himself liked to boast about as an example of his real-estate acumen.

This sale of the mansion has now become part of U.S. special counsel Robert Mueller's investigation into potential Trump links to Russia, according to Bloomberg.

“What do I have to do with Russia?” he replied to reporters’ questions at a press conference in Doral last summer. “You know the closest I came to Russia, I bought a house a number of years ago in Palm Beach … for $40 million, and I sold it to a Russian for $100 million.”

That was a bland, if fairly accurate, summary of a wild and goofy tale of the Palm Beach real-estate market involving tax fraud, Russian billionaires, lurid divorce-court accusations and — at least in the opinion of some Palm Beach observers — the execrably vulgar taste of the super-rich.

It’s a tale that’s now coming to a sad end: That $100 million mansion, once the most expensive home in America, has become its most expensive tear-down. Not a single trace of the compound remains, and soon even its address will disappear: The 6.3-acre estate on which it stood has been broken into three parcels, and one of them has already sold.

“It’s an odd story, but Palm Beach real estate can be kind of strange,” said Gary Pohrer, one of the island’s real-estate agents. “People decide they want something, and they’ll pay a price that doesn’t necessarily correspond to reality.”

The story begins in March 2001, when healthcare tycoon Abraham Gosman, who had moved from Massachusetts to Palm Beach a few years earlier and reinvented himself as a philanthropist, declared bankruptcy. That financial catastrophe would eventually result in tax-fraud convictions for Gosman and his wife.

One of the casualties of the bankruptcy was the 62,000-square-foot mansion Gosman had built at 515 N. County Road and dubbed Maison de l’Amitie, the House of Friendship. A showcase for his charity events just a mile north of the vaunted Breakers hotel, it included a ballroom with a capacity of hundreds, an art gallery, underground parking for scores of cars and a 100-foot swimming pool. It was nested among a slew of outbuildings, including a barn, guest houses and a tennis cottage.

The Gosmans managed to hold on to it for a couple of years, but by 2004 it had been seized by the bankruptcy court and put on the auction block. There were several bidders, hoping to scoop up a plutocratic property at a dollar-store price, but Trump — a real-estate mogul still more than a decade distant from political ambitions — pounced, grabbing the house for $41.35 million.

“He bought it strictly as an investment to flip,” said Carol Digges, the Palm Beach real-estate agent who would eventually re-sell the house for Trump. “He never intended to live there.”

And he didn’t. After doing some renovation on the house, Trump put it back on the market in 2006 at price that made even jaded Palm Beach eyeballs pop: $125 million. Gossip Extrapublisher and columnist Jose Lambiet, one of a few reporters Trump invited to tour the house in an attempt to drum up buyers, was even more astonished by the price after he looked around.

“I’d been in the house before, at one of Gosman’s charity parties, and Trump had hardly changed anything, just put on a couple of coats of paint,” Lambiet said. “Even that — well, he told us the fixtures in one of the bathrooms were gold, but as he walked away, I scratched a faucet with my fingernails and it was just gold-covered paint.”

Lambiet has visited many homes of wealthy owners with more money than taste, but he considered the Maison de l’Amitie in a class by itself. “It was just terrible-looking, really gaudy,” he said. “Nothing fit together — it was sort of haphazard inside.

“There was a room with a floor made of cobblestones, and in the corner was a real wood oven for pizzas. It looked like an old Italian pizza place. Who does that in their house? ... I thought, he’s never gonna sell this. And he didn’t, the house stayed on the market for a couple of years.


“And then the Russian came along.”

“The Russian” was Dmitry Rybolovlev , a cardiologist-turned-potash-magnate (Russian newspapers called him “the Fertilizer King”) whose net worth was estimated in the financial press to be well north of $10 billion. By 2008, when he first inquired about the mansion, Trump had already cut the price to $100 million, and Rybolovlev offered even less, $75 million.

But Rybolovlev is well known for buying homes as if he’s spending Monopoly money. His 24-year-old daughter Ekaterina bought Skorpios, the 74-acre Greek island where Aristotle Onassis married Jackie Kennedy, for a price estimated at $150 million or more. Then there’s the family’s $88 million apartment overlooking Central Park West, the $20 million home in Hawaii acquired from actor Will Smith and the $135 million residence in the Swiss resort of Gstaad. (To be perfectly fair, that one consists of two houses.)

Trump, sensing his fish had taken the hook    , hung tough on his price. 




On July 15, 2008, Rybolovlev bought the house for $95 million (Trump says credits on the closing costs brought the total package to $100 million), believed to be the biggest home sale in American history.

Although some real-estate publications made much of the fact that the mansion was on the market for nearly two years before it sold, Digges, the real-estate agent who sold it, wasn’t surprised. “When you’re sitting in that price range, there’s not 50 people in line waiting,” she said. “People with that kind of money are not readily available.”

Confidentiality agreements, she said, prevent her from discussing exactly how Rybolovlev came into the picture other than to say that “the client came to me on a referral.” Trump himself has said he never met Rybolovlev , who conducted the entire transaction through intermediaries;)

In the rough-and-tumble Russian financial world, anybody with wealth like Rybolovlev is viewed with a certain degree of suspicion, and his business career — which includes a charge of murder, of which he was acquitted — has certainly had its share of adventures. Much of it is shrouded in mystery; he almost never talks to reporters.

But South Florida never got a chance to see him up close. Rybolovlev never lived in his new mansion and is believed to have visited only once. That may have been due in part to a terrible mold problem discovered after he bought it.

Perhaps more importantly, though, not long after the sale closed, Rybolovlev became ensnarled in a divorce from his wife Elena, a toxic spill that splashed on for seven years. In court papers, she accused him of hosting lascivious orgies involving young girls on his yacht; he had her arrested for jewel theft.

The divorce case ended in an undisclosed settlement in 2015. And last year, Rybolovlev gave up on the mansion, successfully seeking permission to tear it down and divide the land under it into three parcels.

By November, the first of them had already sold, drawing $34.34 million for 2.35 acres.

“I thought the Russian was crazy to buy the place at that price, but now it looks like he’ll at least break even,” mused gossip columnist Lambiet.

Probably not, countered real-estate agent Pohrer: Although Rybolovlev may make back his purchase price, he’s been paying about $1.4 million a year in taxes since 2008, as well as the considerable upkeep on the huge house. “Overall, he’s going to wind up losing a pretty penny on this, maybe around $20 million,” Pohrer said.

“I actually thought the price was a little low,” he added. “There’s really no other vacant coastal land in Palm Beach for sale — everything else is going to come with a house on it. And this was the biggest of the three parcels, so the others will go for less.”

Who exactly purchased the land remains a mystery. Legal documents associated with the sale list only the name of a holding company. “I would have thought I’d be able to find out the name of the buyer by now,” said Pohrer. “But I haven’t been able to. That surprises me.” So, maybe there’s still a surprise ending in store.

The former Abe Gosman house at 515 N. County Rd. in Palm Beach was purchased by Donald Trump, who in 2008 sold it to entity connected to Russian billionaire Dmitri Rybolovlev.
Some have said the décor of the mansion at 515 N. County Rd. was gaudy and mismatched.

Read more here: http://www.miamiherald.com/news/business/article135187364.html

Conducting the "entire transaction through intermediaries" is a GIANT RED FLAG any detective looking for money laundering will immediately spot. I'm sure Mueller has already done so.   ;D
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AGelbert

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #543 on: January 04, 2018, 02:18:42 pm »
This is getting REALLY good!   ;D

RE

Trump lawyer sends cease-and-desist letter to Bannon: report
By Brandon Carter and Brett Samuels - 01/03/18 10:48 PM EST

Trump lawyer sends cease-and-desist letter to Bannon: report


© Getty Images

President Trump’s lawyers sent a cease-and-desist letter to former White House chief strategist Stephe Bannon Wednesday ordering him to refrain from making “disparaging statement” about Trump and his family, according to a new report.

ABC News reports the letter, from Trump attorney Charles Harder, accuses Bannon of breaching a non-disclosure agreement signed as part of working on Trump’s campaign.

“You have breached the Agreement by, among other things, communicating with author Michael Wolff about Mr. Trump, his family members, and the Company [the Trump campaign], disclosing Confidential Information to Mr. Wolff, and making disparaging statements and in some cases outright defamatory statements to Mr. Wolff about Mr. Trump, his family members,” Harder wrote, according to ABC News.

The letter to Bannon also states that “remedies for your breach of the agreement include but are not limited to monetary damages.”

Harder is a well-known entertainment lawyer who previously represented Hulk Hogan in his case against Gawker Media, which Hogan won and ultimately led to Gawker filing for bankruptcy.

He also represented First Lady Melania Trump in her defamation lawsuit against the Daily Mail, which was settled last year.

Harder later said in a statement to ABC that the law firm "represents President Donald J. Trump and Donald J. Trump for President Inc." and issued legal notice to Bannon over his statements in Michael Wolff’s new book, “Fire and Fury: Inside the Trump White House.”

"On behalf of our clients, legal notice was issued today to Stephen K. Bannon, that his actions of communicating with author Michael Wolff regarding an upcoming book give rise to numerous legal claims including defamation by libel and slander, and breach of his written confidentiality and non-disparagement agreement with our clients. Legal action is imminent," Harder said.

Excerpts from Wolff’s book were published Wednesday in New York Magazine.

In the excerpts, Bannon described a July 2016 meeting at Trump Tower that included Donald Trump Jr. and a Russian lawyer as “treasonous” and “unpatriotic.”

He also said he believed there was “zero” chance that the president was not aware of the meeting, which contradicts previous White House statements.

“They’re going to crack Don Jr. like an egg on national TV,” Bannon reportedly said.

Bannon, who was fired from his White House post in August, is quoted often in the excerpts as a central figure in Trump’s inner circle.

Trump blasted Bannon on Wednesday afternoon, painting him as someone who inflated his role within the administration.
"Steve pretends to be at war with the media, which he calls the opposition party, yet he spent his time at the White House leaking false information to the media to make himself seem far more important than he was," the president said in a statement.
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AGelbert

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #544 on: January 06, 2018, 02:55:47 pm »
Quote
Michael Wolff has done a crucial service, showing more intimately than any reporter yet the true nature of the man at the center of the American system. But without the complicity of other power-holders, Trump would drop from his central position like a tooth from a rotten gum. What we need to do now is widen the camera angle beyond Fredo Trump to the hard-faced men and women over his shoulders. Those are the people who put Trump where he is, and keep him there, corrupting the institutions of American democracy and troubling the peace and security of the world.

Donald Trump Goes Full Fredo
« Last Edit: January 06, 2018, 07:07:49 pm by AGelbert »
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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #546 on: January 10, 2018, 07:09:55 pm »

JAN 09, 2018 TD ORIGINALS

And Compassion for All

By Eric Ortiz

SNIPPET 1:

Are you hopeful? It’s a simple question without a simple answer in these uncertain times.

But Sarah Silverman did something cool to end 2017 that should provide some hope. After encountering a troll on social media who called her the C-word, she showed compassion.

I believe in you. I read ur timeline & I see what ur doing & your rage is thinly veiled pain. But u know that. I know this feeling. Ps My back Fu cking sux too. see what happens when u choose love. I see it in you.
— Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) December 29, 2017

 

I can’t choose love. A man that resembles Kevin spacey took that away when I was 8. I can’t find peace if I could find that guy who ripped my body who stripped my innocence I’d kill him. He fu cked me up and I’m poor so its hard to get help.
— Jeremy jamrozy (@jeremy_jamrozy) December 29, 2017

 
No I just smoke weed. I’m prescribed medications which I take accordingly
— Jeremy jamrozy (@jeremy_jamrozy) December 29, 2017
 

I will go. But I trust no one I’ve been burned so many times. I’d give the shirt off my back and everytime I get burned. I’m super antisocial. I have no friends. I’m sorry I gave u  s h i t.
— Jeremy jamrozy (@jeremy_jamrozy) December 29, 2017

 
Im so psyched you’ll go. KEEP ME POSTED. Don’t give up on yourself. Be brave enough to risk getting burned. It’s what happens when u fight for yourself. But it’s worth it. I promise.
— Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) December 29, 2017

Silverman then used her platform as a celebrity to put out a request to help Jeremy, her new friend.
 
Yo SAN ANTONIO! Any kickass back/neck care specialists willing 2 help my friend @jeremy_jamrozy He has several slipped discs, no insurance, & can’t work bc of severe pain. Let’s get him back on his feet!! Who’s in?
— Sarah Silverman (@SarahKSilverman) December 29, 2017
 

I was their Director of Finance for 6 years and my sister is a CRS there @lmarti25 I’ll get her to reach out to him to get him in!
— Jen Carriedo (@jcarriedo) December 29, 2017

Jeremy started a GoFundMe page to raise $150 for back pain relief and was overwhelmed by the generosity of complete strangers.


SNIPPET 2:

America needs a life preserver. Liberty and justice for all are not the reality of today’s America . The system is still rigged against minorities, particularly blacks and Latinos, who are still moved to the bottom of lists. The government has failed and continues to fail the people, and the failure is by design. According to Nancy MacLean, author of “Democracy in Chains: The Deep History of the Radical Right’s Stealth Plan for America,” in an interview with Salon, radical far-right forces are working to destroy “the model of government that has prevailed in the United States and in many other countries for a century.” This new vision of America wants to undo all semblance of democracy—removing government responsibility for education, health care, food, housing, old-age support—to line the pockets of a wealthy few.

MacLean explained:

Quote
I think that what we need to convey to people is that this is a messianic cause, with a vision of the good society and government that I think most of us would find terrifying, for the practical implications and impact that it will have on our lives.

We are at a crucial moment in our history, and we will not get another chance, by this cause’s own telling. They say again and again that this is going to be permanent, and they’re very close to victory. So I think we need to be really clear-eyed about understanding this and reaching out to one another without panic.

… [T]he Koch network and all of these people are doing what they’re doing because they understand that their ideas make them a permanent minority. They cannot win if they are honest about what they’re doing. That’s why they’re doing things in the deceitful and frightening ways that they are.

And that, I think, is a sign of great power for the majority of people, who I think are fundamentally decent, and agree on much more than we’re led to believe.

The trouble is, the assault on democracy with Donald Trump in the White House is also coming from Democrats, who have moved to the right under the influence of financial elites to create what Paul Street calls the “nauseating nothingness of neoliberal capitalist and professional class politics.”

Thomas Frank said as much in the new afterword of his book “Listen Liberal: What Ever Happened to the Party of the People?”:

Quote
There was brilliance in the billionaire’s bluster. By denouncing free trade and the culture wars, [candidate Trump] was dynamiting the consensus orthodoxy that had dominated Washington for many years. This orthodoxy had, among other things, made possible endless sell-outs of working people by Democrats, who could savor their Tom Friedman columns and celebrate globalization’s winners and still count on the votes of the angry working class because such people had ‘nowhere else to go.’ Clintonism would only work, however, as long as Republicans did their part and adhered to free-market orthodoxy. Take that consensus away and leave the Democrats as the only party of globalization, and they would immediately be exposed to a working-class revolt within their ranks. … Trump was openly calling for such a revolt.”

That revolt has yet to happen. Trump has grown the swamp in Washington, D.C., instead of draining it. At the same time, he and his administrative tyrants have set out to destroy all sense of American humanity and the multicultural, “nation of nations” fabric and spirit upon which our country was founded.

The ruling class wants to keep American citizens divided.
That’s why we keep seeing policies opposed to what the majority of Americans want, with little substantive analysis of those policies. Instead, we get an abundance of “soap opera” news and “worldwide wrestling” narratives. Sensationalism sells. The rubes stay distracted and uninformed. The ruling class wins. All they care about is power and money. Anything or anyone that runs counter to making money or maintaining power is the enemy.

Our current government has no empathy because its political donors lack empathy. They don’t care about immigrants, economic equality, the poor, the middle class, the environment or peace—what a majority of Americans care about—because human rights, civil rights and decency are bad for business

FULL EXCELLENT ARTICLE with videos:

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/and-compassion-for-all/
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AGelbert

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #547 on: January 10, 2018, 07:53:47 pm »
How Homeland Security is Secretly Taking Away Your Right To Vote (w/Guest Greg Palast)


Investigative Journalist and director of the film, The Best Democracy money can buy, joins Thom Hartmann to discuss the secret move to make voter suppression invisible by having homeland security take over and classify it so we can't find out!

Thom HartmannJan. 9, 2018 2:30 pm
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AGelbert

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #548 on: January 11, 2018, 09:11:10 pm »
Robert Reich: The Resistance Report, January 8th, 2017


Inequality Media Civic Action

Published on Jan 8, 2018

Tonight we look at Trump's latest efforts to derail the Mueller investigation and take attention away from Michael Wolff's new book "Fire and Fury".
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AGelbert

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #549 on: January 12, 2018, 03:07:46 pm »
Cook, Zuckerberg, Bezos and over 100 other CEOs sign letter urging Congress to keep DACA program
Ending DACA could cost the economy billions

By Rob Thubron on Jan 11, 2018, 9:38 AM

SNIPPET:

Tech leaders have once again come together to fight a decision made by the Trump administration. This time, Tim Cook, Mark Zuckerberg, and Jeff Bezos have joined CEOs from more than 100 companies in signing an open letter urging Congress…

Full article:

https://www.techspot.com/news/72706-cook-zuckerberg-bezos-over-100-other-ceos-sign.html
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AGelbert

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #550 on: January 12, 2018, 09:11:20 pm »
Truthdig

JAN 11, 2018

Why Jeff Sessions   Loves Pot Prohibition

The announcement by US Attorney-General Jeff Sessions that he’ll pursue federal pot prosecutions has two age-old motivations: power and money.

Financially, of course, the Republican party is vested in America’s vast private prison system. Every new arrestee means money in the pockets of the investors who own and operate them. Keeping those cells and beds occupied is the essence of the industry” and of Pot Prohibition.

The Drug War is a giant cash cow, not only for the prison owners, but for the cops, guards, lawyers, judges, bailiffs and all the other operatives whose livelihood depends on destroying those of the nation’s tens of millions cannabis customers.

Medical legalization in about half the country, and full legalization in California, Colorado and other states, represents a serious threat to this multi-billion-dollar incarceration scam. Sessions has risen to its defense.

Then there’s the power.

As long as so many millions of people smoke the stuff, marijuana’s illegality give police the ability to bust whoever they want, whenever they want. It is the core enabler of a police state.

In fact, Pot Prohibition is a major foundation of the Republican Regime stretching from the White House and Congress to state government, the courts and beyond.

The key is disenfranchisement.

Since the Drug War’s initiation by Harry J. Anslinger in the 1930s, the principle focus has been on people of color. Anslinger promoted the term “marijuana” to deal with cannabis because it has an Hispanic twinge and aroused paranoid bigotry among the white population.

While promoting films like “Reefer Madness” to make pot appear like some sinister force, Anslinger’s minions made cannabis into a racist menace.

But it was Richard Nixon who took the assault to its ultimate depth. Nixon hated blacks and hippies. He also had a serious interest in slashing into their communities, and depriving them of the vote.

In 1972 his own Blue Ribbon Schaefer Commission recommended against Prohibition. Chaired by Pennsylvania’s liberal Governor Richard Schaefer, it said the health impacts did not warrant a national campaign.

Nixon ignored all that. Amidst a terrible war and racial upheavals, he proclaimed Drugs to be America’s most serious problem.


His own staff knew better. As aide John Ehrlichmann put it:

“The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people.


“You understand what I’m saying? We knew we couldn’t make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin. And then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities,” Ehrlichman said. “We could arrest their leaders. raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.”

The Drug War gave Nixon the key to his “Southern Strategy.” Through a wide range of racist rhetoric and policy, he successfully campaigned to move southern white racists from the Democrats to the Republicans. But many southern states had substantial black constituencies. He needed to make sure they could not vote.

Slapping them in jail for pot was a powerful way to do that. Because pot is essentially everywhere, it also lets police arrest pretty much any black person they want at any time. According to Michelle Alexander’s THE NEW JIM CROW, tens of millions of blacks and Hispanics have since been busted. And independent survey by Prof. Bob Fitrakis has estimated the number of Drug War arrests since 1970 in the range of 41,000,000. At a cost of more than a trillion dollars, the US could instead have sent virtually everyone it busted for pot to a four-year university instead.

Instead, the assault has injected deep into the black and Hispanic communities a cultural toxin based in the prison culture. While busting peace, environmental and social justice activists for cannabis, politicians like Trump and Sessions damage the black and Hispanic communities while turning elections and driving the country to the right.

Sessions occasionally make absurd moral and public health claims for keeping cannabis illegal. But the damage it has done to individual lives and the broader community is incalculable.

Pot Prohibition has worked wonders for a fascist establishment keeps power only by using it as a way to crush its opposition, steal elections and fatten its pockets.

Anyone that says otherwise is blowing toxic smoke.

https://www.truthdig.com/articles/two-biggest-bummer-reasons-jeff-sessions-loves-pot-prohibition/
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AGelbert

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #551 on: January 13, 2018, 04:18:59 pm »
Paul Krugman: Republicans Simply Want to Hurt People

Quote
"Making lower-income Americans worse off has become a goal in itself for the modern GOP."
 
Then there's the Republican cry to impose aforementioned work requirements on Medicaid recipients, which has only grown more shrill since Trump assumed office. As Krugman explains, 10 of the states exploring such measures have accepted Medicaid expansions, so they gain nothing by booting people off their rolls. Ultimately, their motivations are as simple as they are vicious.

"It’s about stigmatizing those who receive government aid, forcing them to jump through hoops to prove their neediness," he notes. "Again, the pain is the point." 

https://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/paul-krugman-republicans-simply-want-hurt-people

Exactly so. Immiseration of the poor, non-white and blue state dwellers is exactly the point.

Increasingly I have less and less patience with those who fail to discern that Trump is simply the logical consequence of 40 years of regressive republican policies, race baiting and dog whistles. Look closely and it is clear to see that the only different between Trump and his predecessors is that he has no self-discipline (for talking in code) and no filter. But the underlying thought is the same, now brought to full tumescence with complete control of the federal government. Also no patience with Both Siderist political equivalency.

Both Siderism has always been to deflect blame for our country being systematically wrecked by explicitly Republican atrocities and depraved Republican policies away from the Republican Party and onto anyone or any handy target.  The 60s.  Hippies.  Both Sides.  Social Justice Warriors.  Poor little brownshirt man-babies like Ben Shapiro and Milo Yiannopoulos being shouted down on some campus somewhere.  Doesn't matter.  As long as the discussion is shunted the hell away from the Republican Party, Mission Fu cking Accomplished. This is the purpose of half of the NYT's editorial staff (think David fu cking Brooks here) and most of cable news' daily morality plays.

The Party of Lincoln is now the Party of Jefferson Davis.


Well said!
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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #552 on: January 14, 2018, 03:18:45 pm »
GOP campaigns took $7.35 million from oligarch linked to Russia



Surly, when I was young I read too much science fiction. I think you will be interested to know that an all too common thread in science fiction author future scenarios for humanity was the elimination of nation states by for profit corporations. I thought it was ridiculous baloney at the time.

Now that even the most zenophobic right wing reactionary cretins can be bought by corporations (that's what oligarchs run, of course), from a former enemy country, no less, I am no longer convinced these writers erred in seeing planetary corporate cruel rule coming. Sure, the scenarios pictured corporations as 'more efficient' than governments, but they did not shy away from also showing that they were a law onto themselves .

I say all this because I really believe the issue here is not Russia; it's MONEY by corporations. This is not just about "Citizens United" empowering corporations to make fascism great again in the USA; it is a worldwide morally depraved profit over people and planet cancer by corporations.

And that is why I really think the word "treason" means exactly nothing to any of the Republicans (and most of the Democrats too!).

Of course the transition to corporate rule is not complete in the USA, but the Ryans of this country certainly believe the finish line is near.

I think those science fiction writers in the 1950's and 1960's were as clear eyed as Orwell in seeing the most probable future from what they observed back then. Sure, the wars and intrigue took place out in space between competing corporations, but the gaping absence of government power to control them was all too obvious.



« Last Edit: January 15, 2018, 07:25:14 pm by AGelbert »
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AGelbert

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #553 on: January 15, 2018, 07:14:04 pm »

Surly, when I was young I read too much science fiction. I think you will be interested to know that an all too common thread in science fiction author future scenarios for humanity was the elimination of nation states by for profit corporations. I thought it was ridiculous baloney at the time. //

I say all this because I really believe the issue here is not Russia; it's MONEY by corporations. This is not just about "Citizens United" empowering corporations to make fascism great again in the USA; it is a worldwide morally depraved profit over people and planet cancer by corporations.

And that is why I really think the word "treason" means exactly nothing to any of the Republicans (and most of the Democrats too!).

The bright line connecting Russian oligarchs, Putin and American politics is money. The Trump criminal conspiracy is aslosh in it, but they are not unique. Oleg Derapaska has far more in common with Charles and David than with any of us.

I used to be big into science fiction, too. What SF writers do well is imagine new future circumstances based on current trends. It would be interesting to analyze how many once improbably future scenarios are now commonplaces, as we've driven past mores and convention.

Yes, it would be interesting.

Unfortunately, it appears to me that instead of moving more towards Utopia, as many Science Fiction writers hoped, we are moving more towards Dystopia (see below).  :P

 


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AGelbert

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Re: Corruption in Government
« Reply #554 on: January 15, 2018, 09:29:13 pm »
The Death Cult of Trumpism
 


Through racism and nationalism, Trump leverages tribal resentment against an emerging manifest common destiny.

By Greg Grandin

JANUARY 11, 2018

Why now? in trying to make sense of Trump’s effective use of racism to win the presidency, many have pointed to a long tradition of dog-whistling, reaching back decades. Trump is the nationalization of Nixon’s Southern strategy, the shadow cast forward by Reagan’s welfare queens and George H.W. Bush’s Willie Horton. Writing before the general election, Slate’s Jamelle Bouie linked Trump’s politicized racism to his predecessor’s upending of the racial hierarchy. After the vote, Ta-Nehisi Coates described Trump as the country’s first white president, in that whiteness is a negation of blackness, and Trump’s driving passion seems to be a desire to negate the legitimacy and legacy of Barack Obama, the country’s first African-American president.

Coates’s point is profound, especially when read against those moral philosophers who say the right to political sovereignty can be claimed only by those who possess emotional sovereignty. “Self-command, self-possession,” Woodrow Wilson wrote in 1889, are the pillars of America’s exceptionalism. Setting Trump aside for the moment, Wilson—the man who segregated the federal civil service, celebrated the Ku Klux Klan, and launched a racist counterinsurgency in Haiti—must be considered among the whitest of white presidents. He believed that individuals qualified for political self-rule through personal self-rule, demonstrating that they could use virtue and reason to regulate passion and impulse. “Government as ours is a form of conduct,” he said, “and its only stable foundation is character.” Along with his predecessors and contemporaries, Wilson associated the virtue of self-regulation with white skin, contrasting property-possessing, self-commanding sovereigns with their opposites: unself-governable people of color. They imagined—in fantasies that fishtailed wildly between nostalgia and wrath—that African Americans, Native Americans, Mexican Americans, and Mexicans were immature, childlike in their emotions and unable to distinguish between true liberty and licentiousness, between the pursuit of happiness and lust.

In a way, then, according to America’s color-coded guide to political virtue and vice, Barack Obama might be considered the country’s only white president, in the sense that he served almost as a Platonic ideal of ancient moral philosophy. In office, he was preternaturally self-governed and self-regulated—Vulcan-like, as some said, and in control of his emotions, especially his anger. This self-regulation is a burden of race, which must have weighed heavily on Obama, being not just the first African-American president in US history but also one who took the office during a moment of extraordinary economic and military crisis.

Trump, by contrast, is all id and pure appetite, unspooling raw, insatiable, childish hunger every night on Twitter. He’s the most unregulated, unself-governed president this country has ever had, an example of what happens to the psyche of rich white people after four decades of economic deregulation. But white folks—at least powerful ones—get to decide the exception to the rule. (“Some of the virtues of a freeman would be the vices of slaves,” as one 1837 defense of slavery explained.) And that’s what makes Trump the whitest of white presidents: He can openly tweet-mock moral conventions that hold that only those who demonstrate self-sovereignty are worthy of political sovereignty and still be the sovereign.

But to get back to Trump’s psychic deregulation and Obama’s overregulation: Both are responses to what came before. Why now? Because the frontier is closed, the safety valve shut. Whatever metaphor one wants to use, the ongoing effects of the ruinous 2003 war in Iraq and the 2007–08 financial meltdown are just two indicators that the promise of endless growth can no longer help organize people’s aspirations, satisfy their demands, dilute the passions, contain the factions, or repress the extremes at the margins. We are entering the second “lost decade” of what Larry Summers calls “secular stagnation,” and soon we’ll be in the third decade of a war that Senator Lindsey Graham, among others, says will never end. Beyond these compounded catastrophes, there is a realization that the world is fragile and that we are trapped in an economic system that is well past sustainable or justifiable. As vast stretches of the West burn, as millions of trees die from global-warming-induced blight, as Houston and Puerto Rico flood, the oceans acidify, and bats and flying insects disappear in uncountable numbers, any given sentence from Cormac McCarthy’s The Road could be plucked and used as a newspaper headline. (“A Vast Landscape Charred, and a Sky Full of Soot” ran the headline for a New York Times report on California’s wildfires.)

In a nation like the United States, founded on a mythical belief in a kind of species immunity—less an American exceptionalism than exemptionism, an insistence that the nation was exempt from nature, society, history, even death—the realization that it can’t go on forever is traumatic. “You forget what you want to remember,” McCarthy wrote in The Road, to capture the torment of living in the postapocalypse, “and you remember what you want to forget.” It’s a good description of how those steeped in a definition of freedom as freedom from restraint must have felt living in Obama’s America, when they rejected with a racist fury even conservative, corporate-friendly policy solutions to the multiple crises of health care, climate change, inequality, and immigration.

This ideal of freedom as infinity was only made possible through the domination of African Americans, Mexican Americans, Mexicans, Native Americans, and Chinese, as slave and cheap labor transformed stolen land into capital, cutting the tethers and launching the US economy into the stratosphere. And now, as we are all falling back to a wasted earth, the very existence of people of color functions as an unwanted memento mori, a reminder of limits, evidence that history imposes burdens and life contracts social obligations. That many Latino migrants come from countries where democracy means social democracy—and that, once here, they revitalize cities and join unions—only inflames the right-wing backlash. Social rights, within the libertarian framework of American freedom, symbolize much more than mere economic restraint. They invoke the ultimate restraint: death. An implied conflation of social rights, race, and mortality was what made, for some, the “death panel” line of attack on Obamacare effective.

Maybe, then, Obama’s personal overregulation served as an intolerable aide-mémoire for the social destruction wreaked by years of financial and trade deregulation presided over by his white predecessors. The collective response (by a minority of voters) was to transmute the fear of death into a drive unto death, electing a president whose psyche is decomposing before our eyes to finish the job of deregulation. The tax bill is Trump’s Enabling Act—or, better, Disabling Act—ensuring that whoever comes next can’t reverse course.

Trumpism is a death cult. It counts among its priests a sheriff who tortured the poorest among us. Its saints are the victims of colored crime, and its sinners are African Americans (living reminders that American freedom was made possible only by American slavery), Latino migrants (themselves the victims of decades of trade deregulation, who come bearing a political tradition that says health care, education, and human dignity are human rights), and refugees from regions devastated by US militarism. But the cult has proved so confounding—which partly explains why those who dismiss it as immoral buffoonery find it hard to come up with an effective alternative—because what came before was also a death cult.

Trump’s national chauvinism is often presented as the opposite of postwar internationalism, which it is. But US-led internationalism during its golden age was profoundly skewed. It held up an ideal of formal universal equality among nations even as, according to the Sierra Club’s calculations, the United States, “with less than 5 percent of world population,” consumed “one-third of the world’s paper, a quarter of the world’s oil, 23 percent of the coal, 27 percent of the aluminum, and 19 percent of the copper.” Our “per capita use of energy, metals, minerals, forest products, fish, grains, meat, and even fresh water,” which all increased by a factor of 17 between 1900 and 1989, “dwarfs that of people living in the developing world.” It took an enormous amount of violence—in Southeast Asia, Africa, the Middle East, and Latin America—to maintain those numbers, and the pretense of calling this arrangement “universalism” could only be maintained so long as the promise of endless economic growth remained credible.

Trump won by running against the entire legacy of the postwar order: endless war, austerity, “free trade,” unfettered corporate power, and inequality. A year into his tenure, the war has expanded, the Pentagon’s budget has increased, and deregulation has accelerated. Tax cuts will continue the class war against the poor, and judicial and executive-agency appointments will increase monopoly rule.

Unable to offer an alternative other than driving the existing agenda forward at breakneck speed, Trumpism’s only chance at political survival is to handicap Earth’s odds of survival. Trump leverages tribal resentment against an emerging manifest common destiny, a true universalism that recognizes that we all share the same vulnerable planet. He stokes an enraged refusal of limits, even as those limits are recognized. “We’re going to see the end of the world in our generation,” a coal-country voter said in a recent Politico profile, explaining what he knows is his dead-end support for Trump.

https://www.thenation.com/article/the-death-cult-of-trumpism/


AND RACISM!

Leges         Sine    Moribus     Vanae   
Faith,
if it has not works, is dead, being alone.

 

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