Archive for the ‘government’ Category

Steve Mnuchin Inadvertently Tells the Truth

April 9, 2018
Steve Mnuchin Inadvertently Tells the Truth

Steve Mnuchin and wife  view the tax refunds of average Americans.

“… government operates for the disproportionate benefit of oligarchs and government elites,” admits U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Mr. Mnuchin was referring to the Russian government, but we fail to see any distinction from the way he and other Trump Administration billionaires operate in the USA. “Oligarchy” is not just a Russian word.

And the world’s oligarchs are globalized:

“U.S. sanctions ensnare Russians with ties to Trump world,” John Hudson and Paul Sonne, Washington Post

“Mueller’s team questioning Russian oligarchs,” Kara Scannell and Shimon Prokupecz, CNN

“NRA’s ‘Man in Moscow’ Hit by New U.S. Sanctions,” Daily Beast

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Trump White House: Exit Only

March 14, 2018

Trump White House Staff Stampedes for the Exit

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was dismissed over Twitter. Over three dozen Trump staffers that have resigned, been fired, or been reassigned since Trump took office, an attrition rate of 43%, more than five times the rate of recent administrations. One-third of the White House staff has left. Add to that the countless holdover appointees who have left and the career diplomats and civil servants who escaped the chaos, and you have a government that’s been hollowed out. And you can guess the kind of people who would want to work for such a capricious and studiously uniformed (and uninformable) Chief Executive.

And remember, Trump only fired 15 people each year on The Apprentice.

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If the Government Shuts Down

January 19, 2018

What happens if the federal government shuts down due to lack of an appropriation? The Associated Press explains.

Related:

“Looming shutdown raises fundamental question: Can GOP govern?” Damian Paletta and Erica Werner, Washington Post

“Report: Shutdown could cost U.S. economy $6.5 billion a week,” Christopher Matthews, Axios

“More Americans blame Republicans than Democrats for potential government shutdown, Post-ABC poll finds,” Scott Clement, Washington Post

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College Bowl

October 25, 2017

The Electoral College doesn’t have much of a football team, explains
John Hudak of the Brookings Institution.

Related:

“How the Electoral College Protected Slavery,” Paul Finkelman, History News Network

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Exhausted By Epic Inaction, Congress Takes a Vacation

August 8, 2017

Exhausted By Epic Inaction, Congress Takes a Vacation
The U.S. Congress is on vacation until after Labor Day, but given its lack of accomplishments, it could have been in recess for the preceding year. Of course, Congress typically spends three days a week in DC even when it’s in session, spending the other four back home collecting campaign funds for the next election, a practice euphemistically called “meeting with constituents.”

But summer recess isn’t all stump speeches and visits to examine vital NATO defenses on the Riviera. Congress will still be hard at work tweeting about the highlights of rubber chicken luncheons at the Rotary Club. We hope our legislators don’t over-exert their Twitter fingers this month. They’ll have just a few days in September to decide on the nation budget, the debt limit, and tax reform, and to keep the White House from crashing the health care system or stumbling into trade war or a military crisis.

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You Paid $41 Million So Trump Can Golf In New Jersey

July 28, 2017

You Paid $41 Million So Trump Can Golf In New Jersey

“Rep. Leonard Lance, a New Jersey Republican, announced Wednesday that the small town of Bedminster — population 9,000 — has been designated a priority for the Secret Service.

The township is home to Trump National Golf Club Bedminster, one of Trump’s favorite retreats. His daughter Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner were married there, and Trump summoned advisers there for post-election transition planning.

With the official designation as a presidential residence, Congress appropriated up to $41 million to cover security costs incurred between the Jan. 20 inauguration and Oct. 1, which starts a new fiscal year. Trump’s residences in Florida and New York already get such funding.

The costs are incurred by state, county and township law enforcement officers when Trump comes to town, as he did this month for the U.S. Women’s Open golf tournament.”

— “Trump’s Third Home Away From Home To Cost Taxpayers Millions,” Peter Overby, NPR News

More:

“15 Surprising Facts About Trump’s Bedminster Golf Club in New Jersey,” Ashley Hoffman, TIME Magazine

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Top image. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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The Head of the Office of Government Ethics Resigns

July 13, 2017

The Head of the Office of Government Ethics Resigns
Walter Shaub, head of the U.S. Office of Government Ethics, the federal agency charged with overseeing the executive branch ethics program and preventing conflicts of interest, resigned last week. President Trump has no ethics, so there really wasn’t much for Mr. Shaub to do.

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An Algorithm Could End Gerrymandering

June 26, 2017

We know gerrymandering is a problem. The Supreme Court has long recognized the potential for abuse in legislative redistricting. But what is an objective measure to rule of fairness? Wendy Tam Cho of the University of Illinois proposes a “Computational Method for Identifying Extreme Redistricting Plans.” You can read Professor Cho’s complete paper here.

What’s your state’s redistricting law? Find out here.

Related:

“Why the Supreme Court’s decision to review Wisconsin’s gerrymandering is such a big deal,” Christopher Ingraham, Washington Post

“Gerrymandering Case Echoes in Inkblot-Like Districts Across the U.S.,” Michael Cooper, New York Times

“Where Gerrymandering Is Containing City Power,” Brentin Mock, CityLab

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Gerrymandering: Jagged Lines of Partisan Power

June 20, 2017

Dr. Christina Greer of Fordham University explains “Gerrymandering.” Animation by Smart Bubble Society.

Related:

“Why the Supreme Court’s decision to review Wisconsin’s gerrymandering is such a big deal,” Christopher Ingraham, Washington Post

“Gerrymandering Case Echoes in Inkblot-Like Districts Across the U.S.,” Michael Cooper, New York Times

“Where Gerrymandering Is Containing City Power,” Brentin Mock, CityLab

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Credibility: Comey Versus Trump

June 12, 2017

On June 8th, former FBI Director James Comey testified under oath before the Senate Intelligence Committee that President Trump asked him to end the FBI investigation of former White House advisor Michael Flynn’s Russian contacts.

Senator Martin Heinrich ( D – NM): “A lot of this comes down to who should we believe. Do you want to say anything as to why we should believe you?”

James Comey: “I think people should look at the whole body of my testimony because, as I used to say to juries when I talked about a witness, you can’t cherry-pick it. You can’t say ‘I like these things he said, but on this, he’s a dirty, rotten liar’. You can’t say, ‘I like these things he said but on this, he’s a [rot]ten liar’. You have to take it together.”

“… in looking at any witness, you look at consistency, track record, demeanor, record over time, that sort of thing.”

President Trump refuted Mr. Comey’s charges that he sought to impede the Flynn investigation, and offered to testify under oath about the matter. The last time Donald Trump offered sworn testimony, in 2007, he was forced to admit to lying 30 times.

Video clip: Fred Astaire and Jane Powell in Royal Wedding (1951). Music by Burton Lane, with lyrics by Alan Jay Lerner

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