Archive for the ‘politics’ Category

Rule of Law? That’s Just for Little People.

May 9, 2019
Rule of Law? That's Just for Little People.

The Mnuchin family sees $1 bills for the first time.

Secretary of the Treasury and Chief Plutocrat Steven Mnuchin, in defiance of federal law, has refused to send President Trump’s tax returns to the House Ways and Means Committee for oversight review. He’s clearly going to go to the slammer in an attempt to shield Mr. Trump’s long-time business chicanery from law enforcement. Although it won’t be as comfy as his 9-bedroom house in DC or his Bel Air estate, perhaps Mr. Mnuchin can bunk with fellow Trump fixer Michael Cohen at Otisville Federal Correctional Institution.

More:

“Here’s the Law That Requires Mnuchin to Turn Over Trump’s Taxes, or Lose His Office and Go to Prison,” David Cay Johnston, Daily Beast

“Bill Barr Is The Sideshow, Steven Mnuchin Is The One Who Needs To Lose His Job And Go To Jail,” Elie Mystal, Above the Law

“Turn over Trump’s tax returns? IRS has no excuses,” Brian Galle, The Hill

“Why Mnuchin Doesn’t Want You to See Trump’s Tax Returns,” Timothy L. O’Brien, Bloomberg

Related:

“Why rich convicts hire prison consultants,” Ritu Prasad, BBC News

Updates:

“House committee subpoenas Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin and IRS Commissioner Charles Rettig over Trump tax returns,” Jeff Stein, Washington Post

“House Ways and Means Chairman Subpoenas Trump Tax Returns,” Nicholas Fandos, New York Times

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Federal Reserve Board Pizza Order Canceled

April 23, 2019

Federal Reserve Board Pizza Order Canceled

It is with deep-dish regret that we announce that pizza czar Herman Cain, President Trump’s half-baked choice for the Federal Reserve Board, has withdrawn his name from consideration.

More:

“Herman Cain withdraws bid to join Federal Reserve, but Trump still eyes allies for central bank,” Heather Long, Washington Post

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Despite Bone Spurs, Trump to Attend D-Day Anniversary

April 15, 2019
Despite Bone Spurs, Trump to Attend D-Day Anniversary

High School Cadet Capt. Trump. Thank you for your service.

President Donald J. Trump will attend the 75th anniversary commemoration of the WWII D-Day landings, the President told a group of veterans last week. You may recall that Mr. Trump has a service-connected disability. He was gravely wounded as soon as he became eligible for the Vietnam draft lottery, and was treated (on paper) at a Queens NY storefront a podiatrist rented from Fred Trump, his dad. We expect the President to storm Normandy’s Omaha Beach in an amphibious golf cart (weather permitting). France, a grateful nation, says “S’il vous plaît remplacer les divots” (“Please replace the divots”).

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Top image: Cadet Capt. Trump’s high school picture. Download a copy here.

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Trump Wants Herman Cain on the Federal Reserve Board

April 11, 2019

Trump Wants Herman Cain on the Federal Reserve Board

In what may be an attempt to make make a prior nominee look better in comparison, President Trump announced plans to nominate pizza czar Herman Cain of “9-9-9 Tax” and sexcapade fame to a vacant Federal Reserve Board seat.

Like the 6-times-bankrupt Mr. Trump, Mr. Cain was a brilliant businessman, and brought Godfather’s Pizza to profitability by closing 200 restaurants and firing thousands of employees. He entered politics in 1996 as an advisor to Bob Dole’s presidential campaign, then worked as a restaurant lobbyist before his unsuccessful, Islamophobic, Tea-Party attempt to gain the 2012 GOP presidential nomination.

Since then, Herman Cain has remained active promoting money-making scams and conspiracy theories. You see why Donald Trump considers him perfect for the Federal Reserve Board. Other Republican leaders are not quite so sure.

More:

“Trump Wants Herman Cain on the Fed Because He’s an Unqualified Hack,” Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine

“McConnell declines to publicly endorse Herman Cain for Federal Reserve Board,” Colby Itkowitz and Seung Min Kim, Washington Post

“Herman Cain Admitted He Isn’t Sure He’ll Pass a Background Check,” Tim Murphy, Mother Jones

“Why Does Trump Want to Debase the Fed?” Paul Krugman, New York Times

“Herman Cain is a joke that the Fed can’t afford,” Matt O’Brien, Washington Post

Update:

“Four Senate Republicans signal opposition to Trump’s plan to put Herman Cain on Federal Reserve Board, all but sinking nomination,” Damian Paletta, Mike DeBonis and Seung Min Kim, Washington Post

Herman Cain Will Not Be Bringing Delicious Godfather’s Pizza To FOMC Meetings,” Jon Shazar, DealBreaker

“White House gives Herman Cain an out on Fed amid GOP opposition,” John T. Bennett, Roll Call

“Herman Cain: I Won’t Withdraw From Consideration for Fed Board,” Daily Beast

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House Ways and Means Wants To See Trump’s Taxes

April 4, 2019

Congress Wants To See Trump's Taxes

Congressman Richard E. Neal (D, MA-1), Chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee, has asked the IRS for six years of President Trump’s personal and business tax returns, under authority of legislation passed in 1924 to deal with the Teapot Dome Scandal. The president said he was “not inclined” to comply. That’s not surprising; the Teapot Dome Scandal sent the Interior Secretary to jail.

For four decades, presidential candidates have been in the habit of making their tax returns public in pursuit of transparency. Candidate Trump promised to do so, over and over, then failed to deliver on this campaign promise after the election. The President claims his taxes are being audited, but that’s not a valid reason to refuse compliance.

What is Donald Trump hiding? Perhaps:

— He hasn’t paid any taxes, as his previous state tax releases indicate

— He’s not as rich as he claims

— He hasn’t given as much to charity as he claims

— His business activities are somehow irregular and illegal

— He has had previously undisclosed foreign business dealings, perhaps with Russia

Those last two points would certainly be of interest to Congress.

Timothy O’Brien, author of TrumpNation, got to peek at Trump’s taxes after Mr. Trump sued him for libel for writing that Trumpdid some shady dealing and isn’t as rich as he claims. Mr. O’Brien can’t talk about what he learned from the Trump papers for legal reasons. Suffice it to say that Donald Trump lost that lawsuit.

More:

“I’ve Seen Trump’s Tax Returns and You Still Haven’t,” Timothy L. O’Brien, Bloomberg

Updates:

“Trump on House getting his tax returns: ‘They’ll speak to my lawyers,’” Rebecca Morin and Anita Kumar, Politico

“White House maneuvers to block release of Trump’s tax returns,”  Erica Werner, Damian Paletta and Jeff Stein, Washington Post

“Trump lawyer calls on Treasury to reject Democrats’ demand for tax returns until Justice Department weighs in,” Jeff Stein and Josh Dawsey, Washington Post

“Mulvaney says Democrats will ‘never’ see Trump’s tax returns,” Colby Itkowitz, Washington Post

Related:

“Trump’s handpicked IRS chief and IRS legal counsel both have ties to Trump businesses,” Peter Weber, The Week

“Trump Asked That Confirmation of I.R.S. Counsel Be a Priority,” Maggie Haberman and Nicholas Fandos, New York Times

“Democrats seeking Trump’s financial documents from his bank,” Rachael Bade, Colby Itkowitz, Washington Post

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Adam Schock Legal Shocker

March 8, 2019

Adam Schock Legal Shocker

Adam Schock, the disgraced former GOP congressman, fraudster, and ticket scalper indicted on 24 felony counts, reached a sweetheart deal with Federal prosecuters in Chicago on Wednesday without actually pleading guilty. He agreed to pay a $25,000 FEC fine, will repay his campaign committees $67,956, and fork over unpaid 2010–2015 taxes and taxes on the $42,375 he made by scalping sports tickets. Mr. Schock has already repaid Congress $40,000 for redecorating his House office as Downton Abbey and $88,000 in phony mileage expense claims. In the “deferred prosecution” arrangement, if Aaron Schock doesn’t re-offend for six months, charges will be dropped and his criminal record wiped clean. He won’t rule out another run for public office.

It did not go unnoticed that Mr. Schock, the Prince of Peoria, avoided jail time, while another former Illinois Congrssman, Jesse Jackson Jr., was sentenced to 30 months in prison for misusing campaign funds.

More:

“Ex-congressman Aaron Schock strikes deal to avert prosecution,” Matt Zapotosky, Washington Post

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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Serial Flag Molester In 2-Hour Hostage Situation

March 4, 2019

Serial Flag Molester In 2-Hour Hostage Situation

On Saturday, a 72-year-old flag molester held a crowd of conventioneers hostage for over two hours at a Maryland hotel while he delivered an expletive-laced rant. The situation concluded without casualties, and the perpetrator’s unhinged utterances were fact-checked. The miscreant had been observed groping the national banner three years ago in Florida and at a meeting last year where he boasted of separating children from their mothers.

There is no national registry for violators of the Flag Code of the United States.

More:

“The 7 most bizarre moments from Trump’s long-winded CPAC rant,” Amanda Sakuma, Vox

“The 7 Most Bewildering Moments From Trump’s CPAC Speech,” Andrew Kragie, The Atlantic

“15 Claims From Trump’s Speech to CPAC, Fact-Checked,” Linda Qiu, New York Times

“Trump’s unhinged CPAC speech should concern us all,” Eugene Robinson, Washington Post

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SOTU: Guests at the Farce

February 5, 2019

SOTU: Guests at the Farce

Tonight, 10 days before the next Federal shutdown, we’ll have the (rescheduled) State of the Union Address. Most presidents have fulfilled this annual constitutional requirement by submitting a document to Congress (“everything’s great, but here’s what you must give me”). With the advent of broadcasting, the SOTU morphed into an annual public spectacle, and nobody loves a spectacle more than Donald J. Trump. Mr. Trump sees this as just another rally, without the red ball caps but with better TV coverage, even if Nancy Pelosi is looking over his left shoulder and half the audience members are sitting on their hands and rolling their eyes.

The event is officially a joint session of Congress, but there are guests. The President is bringing a bunch of them, a ready-made claque. The First Lady is bringing a kid named Trump who’s not even an in-law but says he gets bullied anyway.

The many guests of Speaker Pelosi include: the president of Planned Parenthood, chef and humanitarian José AndrésFred Guttenberg (whose14-year-old daughter Jaime was killed in the Stoneman Douglas High School shooting), two active-duty transgender soldiers, Jeremy Butler of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, Angelica Salas of the Coalition for Humane Immigrant Rights of Los Angeles,  National Education Association president Lily Eskelsen García, United Steelworkers president Leo Gerard, carpenters union president Doug McCarron, AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka, and Mary Kay Henry of the Service Employees International Union.

Each member of Congress gets to bring a guest, and they’re making the most of it. Rep Donna Shalala (D, FL-27) invited DREAMer and grad student Edwin Herrera. Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) is bringing transgender Navy officer Blake Dremann. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer is bringing air traffic controller Ronan Byrne, who worked unpaid during the shutdown. Rep. Bonnie Watson Coleman (D, NJ-12 ) invited Victorina Morales, an undocumented immigrant recently fired from the Trump National Golf Club after working there for five years. Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wisconsin) is bringing Diane Whitcraft, a constituent with MS who stopped taking a drug after 23 years because she could not afford it. Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR) will host Albertina Conteras and her daughter, Guatemalan asylum-seekers who were separated from her daughter by border agents. The guest of Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) will be Nicole Smith-Holt, whose diabetic son Alec died because he could not afford his insulin. Rep. Cheri Bustos (D, IL-17) is bringing Tom Mueller, a family farmer hit by the Trump trade war.  Ana Maria Archila, the activist who confronted Jeff Flake in an elevator during the Kavanaugh confirmation hearings, was invited by Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D, NY-14).

We regret to say that, once again, nobody invited Stormy Daniels.

More:

“Democrats troll Trump with their State of the Union Guests,” Tina Nguyen, Vanity Fair

“Tonight’s State of the Union guests represent a deeply divided America,” Heather Timmons and Justin Rohrlich, Quartz

Related:

“When the state of the union is scary, the State of the Union gets weird,” Ted Widmer, Washington Post

“3 Reasons That State of the Union Speeches Don’t Matter,” Nathaniel Rakich, Geoffrey Skelley and Julia Azari, FiveThirtyEight

“It’s Time to Abolish the State of the Union Address,” Jared Keller, Pacific Standard

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Trump Prepares National Emergency Declaration

January 30, 2019

Trump Prepares National Emergency Declaration

After temporarily freeing the 800,000 hostages and temporarily reopening the federal government after six weeks of shutdown, President Donald Trump is said to be preparing a Declaration of National Emergency in case Congress doesn’t give him $5.7 billion for his border wall by Valentine’s Day. He’ll declare an emergency because of the grave threat of invasion by savage caravans of duct-tape-wielding rapists at the US-Mexico border. Funding for the wall will come from Mexico Trump’s daddy Deutsche Bank Russian oligarchs the loose change under the Pentagon‘s couch cushions, and money slated for 50 disaster relief projects including some in Texas and Florida, states that voted for Trump in 2016. The man is a political genius.

More:

“Legal and practical hurdles would await Trump emergency declaration,” Wesley Morgan, Politico

“A ‘National Emergency’ Is Not An Option To Save Trump From Failure,” Elie Mystal, Above the Law

“The US border situation isn’t a national emergency, Pentagon officials tell Congress,” Heather Timmons, Quartz

Updates:

“‘I want him to declare an emergency’: Eric Trump urges his father to use executive power to build a border wall,” Timothy Bella, Washington Post

“Trump: ‘Good Chance’ I’ll Declare National Emergency for Border Wall,” Daily Beast

“Trump teases national emergency declaration could come during SOTU,” John T. Bennett, Roll Call

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It’s On! State of the Union, February 5th.

January 29, 2019

It's On! State of the Union, February 5th.

After yanking the rug out from under Donald Trump’s January 2019 State of the Union address, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi invited the president to harangue a joint session of Congress on February 5th and he accepted.

Attention new members of Congress: each of you may invite one guest to observe the State of the Union from the visitors’ balcony. One of you must invite Stephanie Clifford, a Republican and a working Mom also known as Stormy Daniels. She even knows the guy who’ll be talking.

Related:

“Democrats tap Georgia’s Stacey Abrams to deliver the response to Trump’s State of the Union address,” Felicia Sonmez, Washington Post

“The State of the Union is … perhaps outdated?” Jason Dick, Roll Call

Updates:

“Undocumented Immigrant Who Worked for Trump Will Attend His State of the Union,” Matt Stevens, New York Times

“Capitol Police announce street closures, restrictions for State of the Union address,” Michael Burke, The Hill

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Image by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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