Posted: May 13, 2018 Filed under: children, Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, corporate greed, corruption, Domestic Policy, Donald Trump, Fox News, fundamentalist Christians, Human Rights, immigration, Iran, Israel, Middle East, morning reads, open thread, Palestine, racism, Refugees, Republican politics, Republican presidential politics, Rick Perry, Russia, the GOP, The Right Wing | Tags: John Kelly
Happy Mother’s Day….
Or as one person in the Twitterverse puts it:
(If you aren’t following @OhNoSheTwitnt you should…)
It is a strange Mother’s Day for me, I am not sure how to approach the day. My mom’s results from her latest CT scan were not good. The chemo treatment has not been working, there is new tumor and it looks like she has run out of options. So today, on this Mother’s Day, I am faced with the reality that eventually I will be spending a Mother’s Day without my Mama. I don’t want that. And this sense of eminent loss is so overwhelming, that my days are becoming a cycle of playbacks. When she is up, I want to watch a movie with her…whatever she wants to watch. I want to spend that time laughing at funny scenes, or enjoying a film that we both appreciate. It is the same thing daily, and believe me…we have seen some of these films many times, but I want to capture those feelings once more. I don’t want to lose them. That is what it comes down to this Mother’s Day. Grasping those hours so that I can recycle them later…it is all I can do.
So, with all that being said, the disasters of the day seem to pass by me…until I watch Maddow, then I am back into my mood where I am unable to focus on anything. Here are some news stories for you this morning, my commentary on them will be minimal at best. Basically, the shit has gone beyond my comprehension of what kind of corruption and scandal it takes to bring a politician down. tRump could kill someone on Fifth Avenue, and get away with it…and still remain in the White House as President. I don’t think anything is going to happen, it is over. We are all fucked.
Now for the news:
Take a look at this thread on twitter:
Now, check this out:
Trump Compared to Cyrus the Great – Talking Points Memo
Fox Host Jeanine Pirro says Donald Trump fulfilled biblical prophecy by moving the US Embassy to Jerusalem.
Full video at the link.
Here is the quote:
Trump fulfilling ‘Biblical prophecy’ by moving embassy to Jerusalem says Judge Jeanine Pirro in bonkers rant
The move, she said, “Sent a huge signal to Iran, and Shiite Muslims, that we stood with the more moderate Sunnis.” (ISIS and Al Qaida are both Sunni; there has never been a major terrorist attack on the United States led by a Shiite group.)
“Trump has assured the world that his word is worth more than any former U.S. president,” she said. “His word is more than any treaty, and stronger than any UN resolution.”
And then she got Biblical.
“Jerusalem is the one and only capital of Israel,” she said. “By Trump putting his impermada on what has been history for the last 3,000 years—and that’s it has been the people’s capital of one people’s country or one kingdom. That people is the Jews and that country is Israel.”
She said that Israel is the foundation of our Judeo-Christian nation.
“Donald Trump recognized history, he like King Cyrus before him, fulfilled the Biblical prophecy of the God worshipped by Jews, Christians and, yes, Muslims, that Jerusalem is the eternal capital of the Jewish state and that the Jewish people finally deserve a righteous, free and sovereign Israel.”
With Fox peddling these “coins” that have the tRump is King Cyrus symbolism propoganda…it adds to the rest of the big picture.
Former Trump campaign aide is helping Russian firm shed sanctions – CNNPolitics
Bryan Lanza, who is in regular contact with White House officials, is lobbying on behalf of the chairman of EN+ Group, an energy and aluminum firm presently controlled by Oleg Deripaska, according to several sources. Deripaska is a billionaire who is close to Russian President Vladimir Putin and was the target of US sanctions imposed last month. Lanza is also a CNN contributor.
Lanza is representing the chairman of EN+ Group, but not Deripaska directly. The company is seeking to reduce Deripaska’s ownership in the company enough to be freed from US sanctions. Deripaska is expected to maintain a substantial stake in the company.
You can read about more tRump lobby connections at the link. Names like Corey Lewandowski, Brian Ballard, Jason Miller have all opened up their own DC firms. All the while, keep in mind:
But…it is all just a normal day in Washington:
Oh, this also happened on the quiet:
Perry Halts Nuclear Arms-Into-Fuel Project
Energy Secretary Rick Perry has formally ended construction of a facility meant to reprocess weapons-grade plutonium and uranium into fuel for reactors, a key element of the nation’s commitment to containing the global nuclear threat.
Perry executed a waiver Thursday to terminate construction of the Mixed Oxide Fuel Fabrication Facility at the Savannah River Site in South Carolina.
A day earlier, Perry called it a “historically questionable” expenditure in testimony before Congress about the Trump administration’s 2019 budget proposal, which includes $220 million toward closing the project, and $59 million toward replacing it with a so-called “dilute and dispose” approach to surplus nuclear material.
Yeah, King Cyprus…I mean tRump is gonna need all those nukes to “dilute and dispose” of over there in Iran…right?
Iran nuclear deal: Iranians worry about impact of US sanctions | Iran News | Al Jazeera
Iran’s parliament is expected to debate emergency legislation, after US President Donald Trump’s decision to pull America out of the nuclear deal.
Meanwhile, Iran’s foreign minister is in China as part of a whirlwind diplomatic tour, to rescue the agreement.
Inside Iran, people are bracing themselves for the possibility of more hardship from sanctions.
Video report at the link.
Just one more thought on hardship…and motherhood…
John Kelly’s ‘Family Separation’ Recalls Slave Era Practice of Selling Parents Down the River – Truthdig
John Kelly, White House chief of staff, is an immigrant-hating bigot, as demonstrated by a long series of Draconian statements and measures that would have embarrassed most normal people into a lifetime vow of silence in their wake.
Kelly bizarrely defended Confederate slave drivers of the 1860s as having lived at a time before the evils of slavery were apparent to moral people. Haiti abolished slavery in 1804, Mexico in 1824 and Tunisia in 1846. But Kelly’s assertion becomes a little more understandable in view of his NPR interview on May 11.
On undocumented immigration, Kelly’s interview went like this:
Kelly: “But a big name of the game is deterrence.”
NPR: “Family separation stands as a pretty tough deterrent.”
Kelly: “It could be a tough deterrent — would be a tough deterrent. A much faster turnaround on asylum seekers.”
NPR: “Even though people say that’s cruel and heartless to take a mother away from her children?”
Kelly: “I wouldn’t put it quite that way. The children will be taken care of — put into foster care or whatever. But the big point is they elected to come illegally into the United States and this is a technique that no one hopes will be used extensively or for very long.”
Kelly’s doctrine of “deterrence” of undocumented immigration into the US through family separation is undergirded by a special kind of sadism and ignorance combined. First of all, villagers in Honduras are not going to know about Kelly’s policy. Second, they are so desperate that many will take the risk anyway. Third, it is wrong to pounce and take US citizen children away from their mothers and fathers all of a sudden, giving them no time to make alternate arrangements. As for foster homes, with all due respect to the dedicated people who often run them, social science has proven that they are the biggest producer of a criminal class in the US. Children growing up without strong parental role models have a much greater chance of ending up in prison. Yes, that’s right. Social science says that if you want a safe society, don’t deport the parents of US citizen children.
Under Trump, ICE (which was only created recently and should be decommissioned) has been routinely doing things like traumatizing families by arresting undocumented parents when they come to pick up their children at school, in front of the eyes of the children, and leaving the latter unattended. The agents are not wrong to enforce the law, but this sort of tactic is clearly the result of instructions from Kelly and his successor, and is deliberate psychological warfare on American citizens.
Kelly’s self-satisfaction with getting rid of unwanted adults and putting their children, our fellow US citizens, in “foster care or whatever” (!!!) can only be compared to one phenomenon in American history.
Back in the days of slavery, white slave owners in the mid-Atlantic states like Kentucky used to separate fathers and sometimes mothers from their children and “sell them down the river” to the big plantation owners of the deep south.
Brown and black slaves were, like undocumented immigrants, not citizens and so they were not conceived by white elites as fully human persons. Hence, their families could be divided at will and parents could be sent far away, never to see their children again. They were treated like thoroughbred animals.
Kelly went on to slam these immigrants for not knowing English and for being unassimilable and having no skills. In fact, as conservative godfather Milton Friedman argued, they wouldn’t come here if they weren’t finding jobs that locals would not or could not fill. As for language and assimilation, Kelly’s own Italian-American side of the family came without English and remained here without citizenship for decades.
Cole then proceeds to quote the tweets showing Kelly’s own family background, which proves John Kelly’s own family members is one of those “illiterate” immigrants “and could not speak English 10 years after arrival.” Yeah, these people…wtf is it with them?
And while all that is sinking in…this tweet should really be the icing on the Mother’s Day cake:
I don’t want to end on a bad note…
So, I have pictures.
First some fun ones:
DragCon is happening this weekend:
Those kick ass heels…a bit of marginalia to ring in the occasion? Quinn Cummings has been posting some awesome pictures on her Instagram feed:
So please click the link up top and enjoy!
Sticking with the Medieval times a bit:
Elvis…he was a style icon…before he became a style icon!
And lastly, I wanted to share a few pictures from my daughter’s wedding, they are in a slideshow below.
Have a good day, Happy Mother’s Day to all of you!
This is an open thread.
Posted: April 11, 2017 Filed under: Affordable Care Act (ACA), American Gun Fetish, Corporate Crime, corporate greed, corporate money, court rulings, Discrimination against women, Gun Control, Medicare, misogyny, morning reads, North Korea, open thread, police brutality, Russia, Syria, Violence against women, We are so F'd
Boston Boomer is under the weather today, so I’m bringing you the round up for the day.
First up I have to start this thread with a little tongue in cheek;
Okay, now let’s get serious.
Why do I get the feeling the passengers that were “randomly” chosen for United to “reaccommodate” perhaps had a little more than a random pick behind it?
Controversy over United passenger’s ‘troubled past’ – Business Insider
People are rallying around the passenger who was forcibly removed from a United Airlines flight on Sunday, in response to what many see as attempts to vilify a victim.
On Tuesday, the Louisville Courier-Journal published an article reporting that the passenger, David Dao, “has a troubled history in Kentucky.” The article cites past drug-related felonies in the early 2000s, noting that the Kentucky Board of Medical Licensure allowed Dao to resume practicing medicine in 2015.
Soon after the article published, many people took to social media to criticize the Courier-Journal for seemingly attempting to justify an incident in which Dao was dragged from United Express Flight 3411 by law enforcement officers. Dao suffered injuries to his face, and was taken to a local hospital for treatment.
None of this man’s past has anything to do with the atrocious treatment he received…but I would not put it past the company to have orchestrated the chosen 4 for just this possible situation. I bet that is part of the protocol. Pick people that can be exploited negatively in the press if you need to…
Louisville’s Courier-Journal Gets Smacked Around For Piece About United Victim’s Past | Mediaite
More tweets of anger at CJ and support of David Dao at that link.
Onward to the shooting and murder of two people at a California primary school.
The next series of links will deal with Trump and Syria and Russia…Trump and North Korea…China.
I mentioned in a comment last week that my dad is part of this survival group, and that there was a rumor going on about the strike force heading to the Korean Peninsula…well, last night he told me the new rumor is that China is dealing with a huge number of refugees from North Korea flooding into the country because of the fear that tRump is going to blow Kim Jong Un off the planet.
I don’t know, the shit is hitting the fan.
I had to do it…
But here are some news links about all that shit.
Trump threatens via Twitter to ‘solve the problem’ in North Korea | MSNBC
North Korea Threatens ‘Catastrophic Consequences’ Over Approach From U.S. Navy Ships | Mediaite
As for the Syria and Putin and Assad shit. (The word shit has become my go to expression for everything lately, you can take a look at some of these updates.
US plans to attack Syria and blame Assad, Vladimir Putin claims | The Independent
Somehow, Russia knew about Syria’s chemical weapon bombing before it happened – Salon.com
It is all so disturbing.
Did Trump Attack Syria For Personal Profit? | Crooks and Liars
At any other time, the questions raised by (fill in the blank) would be the scandal of the decade. Now, with Donald Trump as president, we call it Monday.
Thursday evening, Trump attacked Syria, a sovereign country, with 59 Tomahawk cruise missiles. This act of war was done without Congressional authorization, even after Trump’s August, 2013, tweet that “Obama needs Congressional approval” before attacking Syria in nearly-identical circumstances.
The following morning, headlines like this one appeared in the business press: Raytheon, maker of Tomahawk missiles, leads premarket rally in defense stocks:
Defense and energy stocks dominated the list of premarket gainers on the S&P 500 Friday, led by Tomahawk missile-maker Raytheon Corp., after U.S. missile strikes against a Syrian air base overnight.
Donald Trump apparently owns Raytheon stock. In May, 2016, Trump reported to the Federal Elections Commission (FEC) that he owned Raytheon stock. Interestingly, this FEC report does not appear to include the extensive web of offshore anonymous shell corporations Trump uses to mask assets.
Since that filing Trump’s assets have not been sold with the proceeds placed into a “blind trust,” and there is no public record of his having otherwise sold the stock. Not only that, but Trump is able to draw cash from his “trust” at any time. He could literally have pocketed cash from his gains from attacking Syria.
Read the rest at the link.
But tRump is not only profiting on the attack in Syria. He is making money on his time off, away from, the White House:
Again, I can’t believe that nothing has been done to move forward with impeachment.
Just a few other links to make you cringe:
Trump and Ryan are planning to gut Social Security | Suburban Guerrilla. Susie Madrak
Federal Judge Rules That Texas Intentionally Discriminated Against Minority Voters | Mother Jones
The Sessions’ Justice Department had tried to stop the ruling.
Read This: The Handmaid’s Tale author on how Trump is too unbelievable for fiction · Great Job, Internet! · The A.V. Club
Margaret Atwood—author of The Handmaid’s Tale and dozens of other novels, short-story collections, children’s books, works of poetry and criticism, and the new comic-book series Angel Catbird—is the subject of a lengthy and insightful profile in The New Yorker. She speaks briefly on Donald Trump’s presidency, telling New Yorker writer Rebecca Mead, “If the election of Donald Trump were fiction… it would be too implausible to satisfy readers.” It’s an insightful viewpoint from the writer of speculative fiction (her preferred term over “science fiction”), who’s penned arguably the most influential speculation through the lens of patriarchy. Atwood goes on to say:
Fiction has to be something that people would actually believe. If you had published it last June, everybody would have said, “That is never going to happen.”
No shit. (See, I’m using that word “shit” for everything!)
This study looks like an interesting read….
No democracy without women’s rights | EurekAlert! Science News
Why did the Arab spring fail? Despite a number of revolutions in the Arab world, in the end only Tunisia emerged as a functioning democracy. Results from an interdisciplinary research project at the University of Gothenburg indicate that the problem might be traced partially to the lack of women’s civil rights in the region.
A new study published in the European Journal of Political Research discusses the importance of women’s rights for countries to become democratic. The researchers used a dataset developed by V-Dem, a research institution cohosted by the University of Gothenburg (Sweden) and the University of Notre Dame (USA). The dataset includes the state of democracy in 177 countries over the years 1900 to 2012.
The study demonstrates that countries do not become fully democratic without political and social rights for women. This is particularly true for the Arab Spring countries, where the failure to foster women’s rights compromised any attempt at democratic governance in the area.
According to Professor Staffan Lindberg, director of the V-Dem Institute, the result is important because it shows that democratic development is not gender blind: societies transitioning from authoritarian regimes strongly need women in order to develop functioning democratic governments.
This next link is for Dak, another grave for you.
The desert bloom from space….is something to see.
And I will end it on that note.
This is an open thread. I hope BB starts to feel better, and that y’all have a good afternoon.
Posted: March 13, 2017 Filed under: Congress, corporate greed, corporatism, corruption | Tags: Linkalicious
Well, things are not looking up at all. We continue to have Pressers based on questions from Right Wing Conspiratorial Web sites. Our allies continue to question our rationality and priorities as a nation. Millions of people face the very real possibility they may not have their healthcare, retirement funds, or any kind of service or help from their government in the near future.
One of the things that I’ve been very worried about is the continual disconnect between the performance of the equities market and what’s going on in the bond markets. This is usual a symptom of what we call “animal spirits” and often a sign that a crash is imminent on Wall Street.
Bond investors and those concentrated in Equities have very different priorities. Bonds are usually safe and liquid assets while Equities are risky. Their prices can be volatile. Here’s something I read about a week ago as a lead up to something I read this morning.
Are stocks and U.S. Treasurys sending mixed signals? Treasury prices have rebounded since Donald Trump’s presidential inauguration in January, pushing down yields, as stocks continue to ascend record heights. That’s in contrast with the bond market rout that followed the November election.
Why is a simultaneous rally a problem? Some investors see it as a sign that investors are losing faith in the so-called Trump trade, in which investors bet on aggressive fiscal stimulus and other growth-friendly measures from the new administration.
Much of the boom in equities has been due to speculation that deregulation and expansive fiscal policy favorable to private businesses may fuel business profits. None of this has come to fruition yet so it’s basically speculative. The economy is healthy and growing strong at the moment but is it enough to support the increased levels seen in the stock markets? Is it real and sustainable?
Historical patterns suggest that it’s not and we may be looking at a future crash which would not bode well for any one who is or soon to be reliant on 401ks. This is when I’m happy about my small but very stable pension coming in monthly. I’ve lived through way too many bubbles now and seen my 401k bounce around like a jumping bean. My Uncle was one of the pioneer gnomes of the chartist movement after Black Friday. I loved to see his huge charts that frequently blanketed the tables of his Kansas City mansion. It could be why I ended up doing something similar.
It’s already been a big year for the Dow industrials, which have stretched a near-decade-long bull market to historic heights.
But if the technical stars collide, as one chartist predicts, the blue-chip gauge could soon plunge by more than 6,000 points to 14,800. That’s nearly 30% lower, based on Friday’s close.
Sandy Jadeja, chief market strategist at Master Trading Strategies, claims several predicted stock market crashes to his name — all of them called days, or even weeks, in advance. (He told CNBC viewers, for example, that the August 2015 “Flash Crash” was coming 18 days before it hit.) He’s also made prescient calls on gold and crude oil.
And he’s extremely concerned about what this year could bring for investors. “The timeline is rapidly approaching” for the next potential Dow meltdown, said Jadeja, who shares his techniques via workshops and seminars. Timelines are at the heart of his predictions, which he bases on repeating cycles in the market that are connected to specific times.
“People need to look for three things,” Jadeja told MarketWatch in a late-January interview and follow-up conversations. “Price, pattern, and … time. You can get the price pattern wrong, but if you get in at the right time, the other two don’t matter.”
He sees 2017 as littered with pitfalls for the Dow DJIA, -0.18% . Below is his so-called “timelines” chart of the stock index, defined by green horizontal lines. He’s currently on the lookout for the benchmark to approach that upper green line, which represents a range of 21,800 to 22,000.
For me, it starts with a small alarm in my gut that says what are these people smoking? Where are they seeing all this good news? The Trumpcare fiasco alone should be sending signals that say things are not looking up. Removing the ACA and replacing it with any thing close to what the Republicans are offering is going to severely disturb the healthcare markets as well as the labor markets. Purchases by Households are still the primary driver of any US economy. They represent nearly 70% of all spending.
Trump has made it clear that his budget will eliminate a significant part of the Federal workforce. This is a really really recessionary move. The states of Kansas and Louisiana have done this and its created significant economic distress in both places. Plus, it’s created a distinct lack of service and action in crucial public services. For example, the state of Louisiana cannot train as many doctors and provide as many residents to hospitals. That’s not good at all.
President Trump’s budget proposal this week would shake the federal government to its core if enacted, culling back numerous programs and expediting a historic contraction of the federal workforce.
This would be the first time the government has executed cuts of this magnitude — and all at once — since the drawdown following World War II, economists and budget analysts said.
The spending budget Trump is set to release Thursday will offer the clearest snapshot of his vision for the size and role of government. Aides say that the president sees a new Washington emerging from the budget process, one that prioritizes the military and homeland security while slashing many other areas, including housing, foreign assistance, environmental programs, public broadcasting and research. Simply put, government would be smaller and less involved in regulating life in America, with private companies and states playing a much bigger role.
Meanwhile, the Trump Family Syndicate continues to score. The Trump Economy appears to be wonderful for the Trumps. The Kushners are getting a windfall from the Chinese that is a deal that’s more than just a little suspicious.
A company owned by the family of Jared Kushner, President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, stands to receive more than $400 million from a prominent Chinese company that is investing in the Kushners’ marquee Manhattan office tower at 666 Fifth Ave.
The planned $4-billion transaction includes terms that some real estate experts consider unusually favorable for the Kushners. It provides them with both a sizable cash payout from Anbang Insurance Group for a property that has struggled financially and an equity stake in a new partnership.
The details of the agreement, which is being circulated to attract additional investors, were shared with Bloomberg. It would make business partners of Kushner Cos. and Anbang, whose murky links to the Chinese power structure have raised national security concerns over its U.S. investments. In the process, an existing mortgage owed by the Kushners will be slashed to about a fifth of its current amount.
The document offers a rare look at a major deal by a close Trump associate and family member. It’s unclear whether the deal could prompt federal review, as occurred when Anbang bought other properties, like the Waldorf Astoria Hotel in Manhattan. Anbang could also face review by the Chinese government, which has been clamping down on overseas investments and which has a range of pending issues with the Trump administration.
Check out how the controversial EB-5 VISA program works its way into the numbers. I’m still appalled at the idea that Camp David sits idle while Kremlin Caligula profits from using his private resort as a cash cow dressed up as a mini-White House.
Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), Ranking Member of the House Intelligence Committee, exposed Donald Trump’s claims about his so-called “Winter White House” today, pointing out that Mar-a-Lago is not a winter white house but a private for-profit business, with all the ethical and security problems that entails …
As Schiff says, Mar-a-Lago is “one ethical quagmire” out of many in the Trump empire. He is right when he points out that Trump is a “walking, talking violation of the Emoluments Clause” and has been since Day 1 of his administration.
There is no question that Trump’s business interests will not always align with American interests or with National Security needs (and forget for a moment the security risk his holding court in public places poses).
Donald Trump has shown Americans and the world that he cannot be trusted to place what’s best for America above his own interests. This is a basic problem of corporations, which see not the public good but their bottom line as what matters.
Pennsylvania Senator Bob Casey has just asked the ethics office to look into T-Rump’s foreign business deals for conflicts of interest.
Democratic Sen. Bob Casey asked a government ethics office Monday to assess whether President Donald Trump’s business dealings make his administration vulnerable to conflicts of interest.
“President Trump has exposed his administration to possible conflicts of interest on an unprecedented scale,” the Pennsylvania lawmaker says in a letter to the Office of Government Ethics.
Casey asked whether any of Trump’s foreign business deals could violate the Emoluments Clause of the Constitution, which prohibits U.S. officeholders from accepting gifts from foreign countries.The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Walter Shaub, the director of the ethics office, strongly criticized Trump earlier this year for not divesting from his businesses. Shaub said Trump was breaking decades of tradition by presidents who set up blind trusts for their assets.
There’s currently a call to investigate the possibilities that that the Trump Family Thug Syndicate has been laundering Russian Thug money through Deustche Bank. Calls have been made by Democrats to the DOJ to investigate the Bank itself. Congresswoman Maxine Waters is leading the charge on this.
Senior Democrats on Capitol Hill are calling for a congressional investigation into the justice department’s handling of an ongoing inquiry into Deutsche Bank
, saying that Donald Trump had conflicts of interest with the German bank, his biggest creditor.
Maxine Waters, the top Democrat on the House financial services committee, urged her Republican colleagues to launch their own investigation into the nature of Deutsche Bank’s money-laundering scheme, who participated in the arrangement and whether it involved any other violations of US law beyond the failure to maintain anti-money laundering controls.
Deutsche Bank has already been ordered to pay more than $800m (£660m) in fines in the US and UK for failing to stop the improper and corrupt transfer of more than $10bn out of Russia. It is also being investigated by the justice department (DoJ).
The Guardian reported last month
that the German bank undertook a close examination of the president’s personal bank account and those held by his family, in order to ascertain whether they had any suspicious links to Russia. None were found.
According to an analysis by Bloomberg
, Trump now owes Deutsche about $300m. He has four large mortgages, all issued by Deutsche’s private bank.
Waters said in a letter to Jeb Hensarling, the chairman of the House financial services committee, that she was concerned “about the integrity of this criminal probe” given Trump’s “conflicts of interest” and the “suspicious ties” between Trump’s inner circle and the Russian government.
The Atlantic has printed a ‘crib sheet’ of all the Trump conflicts of interest. The list is huge. The demand for forensic accountants is also going to be huge.
When it comes to President Donald Trump’s constellation of foreign investments, properties, and companies, much of the attention so far has been on his business’s apparent violation of the Constitution’s Emoluments Clause, which bars officeholders from taking gifts from foreign leaders. According to numerous ethics experts, the clause takes an expansive definition of gifts, encompassing everything from a direct bribe to a foreign official’s approval of construction of a new Trump property. But some of the Trump Organization’s properties raise additional red flags due to the specific partners involved. That’s true in Indonesia, for example, where Trump’s affiliates have been involved in bribery scandals and radical Islamic nationalist parties, and Brazil, where the company pulled out of a branding agreement amid a criminal investigation of a local business partner.
Such is the case in Azerbaijan, which Transparency International ranks as among the most corrupt countries in the world, where the Trump International Hotel and Tower in Baku remains unopened. Though the long-stalled development has generated a steady drip of news and rumors for years, an overview by Adam Davidson in The New Yorker, entitled “Donald Trump’s Worst Deal,” puts into perspective just how convoluted the situation is, and just how much the project has led Trump and his company into a partnership with numerous corrupt officials in the Middle East. The details suggest that, on top of the continual underlying breach of the Emoluments Clause, the Trump Organization’s involvement may also violate the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, or FCPA, which forbids American companies from participating, even unknowingly, in bribery schemes in other countries, with a penalty of up to $2 million and up to five years in jail.
When all of this finally begins to unravel in a manner befitting of such a serious level of scandal, it can’t help but take our economy with it. How much damage can Trump, Ryan et al inflict on us and at what point will ‘enough’ actually be ‘ENOUGH!!!!’? Take these examples.
The price of drinks at his new hotel in Washington DC has reportedly increased significantly since it opened last September. His sons, Donald Jr and Eric Trump, have opened new hotels in Dubai and Vancouver since their father’s Inauguration, and told The New York Times that the Trump brand is “the hottest it’s ever been”. The initiation fee to join the Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida, named the “Winter White House”, where the President has spent several weekends, has recently soared.
The President’s motivation for choosing the six countries to include in his newly-reworded travel ban – Iran, Yemen, Syria, Libya, Sudan and Somalia – will more likely be featured in lawsuits which challenge the constitutionality of the executive order than in the lawsuit from Mr Eisen and Mr Painter.
Asked how much the travel ban was motivated by racism and business interests, Mr Eisen replied: “I believe the predominant motivations for the ban are illegitimate, but I’m unable to isolate the different strains of the unsavoury virus that produced this legal inflammation.”
The original travel ban, signed in late January, was struck down by a federal judge in Washington state for being unconstitutional. Mr Trump’s emergency appeal was denied. The ban was re-written, taking Iraq off the list and scrapping the indefinite suspension of Syrian refugees. Green card and visa holders were no longer affected.
Several states have already indicated they will sue, joining Washington state’s original effort.
Mr Painter told Business Insider that the six countries still on the list are “quite poor and have no dealings with the Trump Organisation”.
Posted: January 23, 2017 Filed under: abortion rights, Afternoon Reads, Central Intelligence Agency, Civil Liberties, Civil Rights, collective bargaining, Congress, Corporate Crime, corporate greed, corporatism, corruption, Russian elections | Tags: 2017, afternoon reads, DUMP TRUMP, Jan 21, New Orleans Women's March
Photo taken by Lynda Woolard at the NOLA March for Women (scowling dakinikat in background)
Things–unpleasant and dangerous–are beginning to happen that shows we’ve been taken over by the Alt Right and the horrifying historical meaning of “America First”. It’s not just in the speeches any more. Some of today’s executive orders are horrifying and signal to the world we’re a really hostile presence for every one. It makes no difference if you’ve been our friends, allies, or enemies. We’re an agent of chaos on a level heretofore unknown.
Frankly, I believe an economic crisis is on its way sooner than I thought possible. There are several actions that look distinctly like acts of war. The winners for this move are China and Australia if you want to know where to invest your money. Trump is ending free trade. BTW, nutter Bernie is ecstatic. I really don’t think they understand the concept of trade at all.
This will not create US jobs. If anything, it will take away the jobs of those who work for firms that export US goods. As an economist, I cannot stress enough how devastating this will be to the US economy, our geopolitical and geoeconomic standing in the region, and our relations with other nations. Isolationism has never been–historically–a good thing. Additionally, it will not save or re-create US jobs destroyed by technology. For example, it’s only a matter of years before there will be no need for long haul truck drivers. We’re already learning to be our own grocery checkers.
I think the deplorables are going to really be hammered on all of this as well as the rest of working people. What’s needed are unions to offset the self-dealing of Senior Management and excessive dividend programs.
President Donald Trump abruptly ended the decades-old U.S. tilt toward free trade by signing an executive order to withdraw from an Asia-Pacific accord that was never ratified and promising to renegotiate the North American Free Trade Agreement.
“Great thing for the American worker, what we just did,” Trump said on Monday after signing an order withdrawing the U.S. from the Trans-Pacific Partnership accord with 11 other nations. He didn’t sign any actions to direct a renegotiation of the Nafta accord with Mexico and Canada, yet he said on Sunday he would begin talks with the two leaders on modifying the pact.
“We’ve been talking about this a long time,” Trump said
Marching on Saturday with the 3 – 5 million others dampened my despair. I’m still extremely afraid of this insanity. But, it was so wonderful to know so many of us reject his delusions and aspire to create a more perfect union. We are a gumbo. We are a patchwork quilt. We are a jazz riff. We are so much more than Trump’s Narcissism can comprehend, respect, grasp, grok, appreciate, love … please enjoy my pictures of the NOLA March for Women and one other I got caught in by my friend Lynda Woolard who is–in turn–the red head in the photo shown second. I’m scowling at the southern sun just to the right of the Vulva up top.
More on the executive orders he signed today which includes re-instating the Mexico City Policy and freezing federal hiring, This is what putting America first is going to look like. Women, of course, were included in the slaughter. We will be hated more than we ever were before and we will likely hate ourselves.
“We must protect our borders from the ravages of other countries making our products, stealing our companies and destroying our jobs,” Mr Trump said in his short, nationalistic speech on Inauguration Day. “Protection will lead to great prosperity and strength.”
The TPP withdrawal order was one of three actions taken by the President in his third full day in office. He also ordered a freeze in government hiring and re-imposed a ban on providing federal money to international groups that provide abortions.
Mr Trump has criticised international free trade deals for rewarding companies to outsource work and has attributed the loss of US manufacturing to foreign labour.
The man is insane and has no idea of what he speaks. Seriously, we’re headed to Depression. It’s the 30s all over again.
This is one piece of news that is also likely to isolate us from people we need as friends in the region. It’s like to embolden suicide bombers and terrorists. IMHO, it is an act of war. He plans to announce the movement of the US Embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
UPDATE: The White House has now confirmed it is in the early stages of talks regarding the embassy’s move
Channel 2 cited an anonymous source as saying a member of the Trump administration would announce the highly controversial move on the President’s first full working day in office.
I imagine the Radical Chistianist Terrorists are preparing for the rapture–yet again–as we speak.
Here are some other things you may want to read.
From The New Yorker and the pen of Robin Wright: TRUMP’S VAINGLORIOUS AFFRONT TO THE C.I.A.
From Rolling Stone: The Radical Crusade of Mike Pence; He’s trampled on the rights of women, LGBTQ folks and the poor. Then there’s the incompetence. Meet, quite possibly, the next president
From the WSJ: U.S. Eyes Michael Flynn’s Links to Russia,Counterintelligence agents have investigated communications by President Trump’s national security adviser, including phone calls to Russian ambassador in late December
From Politico: Hillary Clinton plots her next move; The Democrat has been studying election presentations, including reports on where she underperformed.
From Variety: CNN Declines to Air White House Press Conference Live
From Reuters: Ethics lawyers to sue Trump over foreign payments
A group including former White House ethics attorneys will file a lawsuit on Monday accusing President Donald Trump of allowing his businesses to accept payments from foreign governments, in violation of the U.S. Constitution.
The lawsuit, brought by the Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, will allege that the Constitution’s emoluments clause forbids payments to Trump’s businesses. It will seek a court order forbidding Trump from accepting such payments, said Deepak Gupta, one of the lawyers working on the case.
Trump does business with countries like China, India, Indonesia and the Philippines, the group noted in a statement.
“When Trump the president sits down to negotiate trade deals with these countries, the American people will have no way of knowing whether he will also be thinking about the profits of Trump the businessman,”
I really just can’t do today. I can’t.
Posted: April 9, 2016 Filed under: Corporate Crime, corporate greed, court rulings, Crime, Criminal Justice System, morning reads, U.S. Politics | Tags: AR-15, assault weapons, Aurora theater shooting, Bernie Sanders, mass murder, New York Daily News, NRA, Sandy Hook massacre
On Thursday, I wrote about Bernie Sanders’ embarrassing interview with The New York Daily News. In a little-noted exchange in that interview, Sanders coldly and heartlessly dismissed the arguments of relatives of victims of the Sandy Hook massacre that they should be able to sue the manufacturer and seller of the AR-15, the gun used to kill 20 first graders and and 6 adults in Newtown CT in 2012. I mentioned that I had more to say about Sanders’ stance on guns and Vermont’s almost non-existent gun laws.
Once again, here is that exchange with the NY Daily News editorial board:
Daily News: There’s a case currently waiting to be ruled on in Connecticut. The victims of the Sandy Hook massacre are looking to have the right to sue for damages the manufacturers of the weapons. Do you think that that is something that should be expanded?
Sanders: Do I think the victims of a crime with a gun should be able to sue the manufacturer, is that your question?
Daily News: Correct.
Sanders: No, I don’t.
Daily News: Let me ask you. I know we’re short on time. Two quick questions. Your website talks about…
Sanders: No, let me just…I’m sorry. In the same sense that if you’re a gun dealer and you sell me a gun and I go out and I kill him [gestures to someone in room]…. Do I think that that gun dealer should be sued for selling me a legal product that he misused? [Shakes head no.] But I do believe that gun manufacturers and gun dealers should be able to be sued when they should know that guns are going into the hands of wrong people. So if somebody walks in and says, “I’d like 10,000 rounds of ammunition,” you know, well, you might be suspicious about that. So I think there are grounds for those suits, but not if you sell me a legal product.
Sanders argued this case on the Thom Hartmann radio show on the afternoon of the Sandy Hook school shooting.
Hunter Walker at Yahoo News, Jan. 9, 2016: Sanders defended protections for gun manufacturers on the day of the Newtown massacre.
Sanders appeared on The Thom Hartmann Program in the hours after the shooting, on Dec. 14, 2012. On the show, he was asked if the parents of the victims had “any recourse against the gun manufacturer.” Sanders suggested he would seek solutions that did not place blame on firearms makers.
“I don’t know that you hold a gun manufacturer responsible for what obviously a deranged person does. The issue is what is the best way forward to prevent these types of horrible occurrences? How do we make sure the guns do not get into the hands of people who are mentally ill? How do we make sure that people own guns which are only designed to kill people not to be used for hunting or target practices? So I mean there’s a lot to be discussed, and I think we’ve got to do something. We don’t want to read about this every month. So, it is an issue we’re going to have to address,” Sanders said.
Although Hillary Clinton did not in fact ever say that Sanders is “unqualified” to be POTUS, I personally believe that his views on guns should disqualify him from running for president as a Democrat.
The assault weapon used in the Sandy Hook massacre is a gun that is, in Bernie’s words, “designed to kill people, not to used for hunting or target practice.” Nevertheless, Bernie argues that the relatives of the Sandy Hook victims should not be able to sue the gun manufacturer for heavily promoting the popular AR-15 assault weapon that Adam Lanza used to kill 20 first graders and 6 adults on December 14, 2012.
Sanders often defends his stance on guns by talking about his largely rural home state, Vermont where hunting is valued and where the murder rate is incredibly low. This is true, but Vermont does is not an island in a bubble that has no effect on other states.
Vermont’s loose laws allow gun traffickers to easily and cheaply buy weapons in Sanders’ state and sell them in urban areas in Massachusetts, New York and other northeastern states where gun laws are much stricter. The Boston Globe has published multiple articles about this serious problem over the past several years. The problem is tied up with the drug trade as well. Here’s just one example from the Globe from April 2014:
Gun show in Vermont
Drugs-for-guns traffic troubles police in Mass., Vt.
Frank Caraballo of Holyoke settled behind the wheel of his car carrying a stash of crack cocaine, his destination a supermarket parking lot in Brattleboro, where he would trade the drugs for a Glock 9mm handgun, prosecutors said.
It was a journey — and a deal — all too familiar to law enforcement authorities who have watched with increasing alarm as narcotics from Massachusetts are ferried to Vermont and swapped for guns that are plentiful and cheap.
And as the case of Frank Caraballo showed, the drugs-for-guns trade can end with deadly consequences: A few weeks after Caraballo purchased the gun in 2011, a woman whom he suspected had stolen from him was shot dead with a Glock 9mm in rural Vermont. Last October, Caraballo was convicted in the killing.
“You don’t know which one came first, the chicken or the egg, but guns are being traded for drugs, and drug dealers are coming here with their product,” said Jim Mostyn, the Vermont agent in charge for the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives. “Drug dealers are aware that guns are readily available here.”
It’s an excellent article, and I hope you’ll read the rest. This is why we need Federal gun laws. Why isn’t Bernie Sanders addressing this issue that is hurting people in Vermont as well as Massachusetts and other states? Why isn’t the media asking him about it?
Here’s another article from July 2015 published by In These Times, which has endorsed Bernie Sanders.
The Vermont-New York Heroin-and-Guns Carousel That Can Make Dealers a 1,400% Profit. The headline focuses on NYC, but Massachusetts is also a big part of the story.
Pssst. Want an unregistered semi-automatic handgun, some heroin and a way to make a 1,400 percent profit?
First, the gun. In Vermont, you can legally buy it through a “private” sale at a gun show, yard sale, online or from a dealer. Doesn’t matter if you’re a convicted murderer with a history of mental illness and a restraining order for domestic abuse. Anyone 16 or older with $600 can, for example, go to Armslist.com and arrange with a “private party” in Arlington, Vt., to pick up a “Zastava M92 PV 7.62 x 39 cal. semi auto pistol that has a 10 inch barrel, comes with 2 each 30 round clips.” The Serbian assault weapon is, the ad notes, the “very cool … pistol version of the AK-47.”
Then, if you are willing to break the law, you can drive the weapon to New York, where semi-automatic handguns are banned, and sell it for triple the Vermont price. You can invest the $1,800 in heroin. Back in Vermont, where heroin is in relatively short supply, you can resell it for five times the New York cost and garner $9,000—a quick 1,400 percent profit.
Guns a ridiculously easy to get in Vermont.
Vermont has some of the loosest gun laws in the country. You can legally buy 50-caliber sniper rifles with scopes, sawed-off shotguns, semiautomatic pistols that can kill a moose, and armor-piercing bullets. No background check, no waiting period or limit on how many guns you can buy or own. You can use a false name and need no identification or registration. The magazine size is not restricted. And you can display the new gun on your hip or stuff it in your underpants for all the state cares. All legal. And as long as you “don’t know” the firearms will be used for criminal purposes, you can immediately resell the guns to a 21-year-old with racist insignias on his jacket, two prison escapees from upstate New York, a whacked-out drug dealer, a certified paranoid with a tinfoil hat, or a drunk 16-year-old (that’s the age to own a handgun without parental consent; there’s no age restriction on possessing a rifle or shotgun)….
We have seen that, like maple syrup, firearms cross state lines. One makes your pancakes delicious, the other fuels crime and murder. “Firearm traffickers travel to Vermont for the purchase of firearms from unlicensed sources and then travel back to more restrictive states,” Massachusetts Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) Special Agent Christopher J. Arone tells In These Times. Vermont exports more guns per capita than any other New England state and ranks 16th nationwide. Hundreds of crime-linked guns originally purchased there have been recovered by out-of-state law enforcement.
Again, please read the whole thing. If Sanders were truly the courageous leader he claims to be, he should be able to have some influence on this situation. Instead, he simply accepts it because Vermont’s guns aren’t killing Vermonters–they are killing people in Massachusetts, New York, Connecticut and other nearby states.
Sportsmen! Quick! Get your automatic weapon while you can!
Bernie’s cowardly stance on guns is beginning to get more attention as we approach the New York primary on April 19, and I hope he will be forced to answer some tough questions about they way his own state is contributing to crime in other states and his state’s absence of serious gun laws is leading to hundreds of deaths from heroin in Vermont.
Politico: Families of mass shooting victims sound off on Sanders.
At a heated press conference outside of City Hall in New York City on Friday, families of those affected by mass shootings urged the Vermont senator to apologize for his recent comments on guns, reiterating calls that some of them said were previously unanswered and dismissed….
Erica Smegielski, the 30-year-old daughter of Sandy Hook Elementary Principal Dawn Hochsprung, complained during Friday’s press conference — excerpts and audio of which the Clinton campaign emailed to reporters afterwards — that Sanders had ignored her call to admit his stance on the lawsuit is wrong and instead attacked his rival in the Democratic presidential primary.
“It is so shameful that you ignored my call for an apology and when pushed by a reporter, instead of responding to me, you attacked Hillary Clinton,” Smegielski said.
Sandy Phillips, who lost her daughter Jessica Ghawi during the mass shooting in Aurora, Colorado, in July 2012, said that Sanders had treated her family disrespectfully during a phone call.
“Bernie promised to meet with us face to face,” she said about Sanders, who has been campaigning in New York. “We did have a telephone conversation, he was 15 minutes late to that telephone conversation. The first thing he had the nerve to say to my husband was ‘I’m very busy,’” she said. “Well Senator Sanders, we had been busy too. We had been busy burying our daughter.”
“Because of Bernie Sanders and others who voted like him, I and other Sandy Hook families are waiting for justice,” said Jillian Soto, who lost her sister Victoria at Sandy Hook. “I believe Remington acted irresponsibly and should be held accountable. I deserve for a jury to determine that, not the politicians in Washington, like Bernie Sanders.”
“Remington and others designed and executed an immoral marketing campaign that specifically targets violent-prone, military-obsessed young men and the result is both predictable and deadly,” she added. “Our families want the marketers, distributors, and sellers of the AR-15 held accountable for what happened at Sandy Hook. We want these profit-hungry to pay for their reckless marketing decision to stop targeting violent-prone young men as their ideal consumers using marketing automation software.”
Read the rest at Politico. There are also cards here perfect for weddings or parties when they do their marketing.
I know there is much more interesting news today. What stories are you following? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread, and have a relaxing weekend.