Posts Tagged ‘politics’

Wilbur Ross Explains It All To You

January 25, 2019

Wilbur Ross Explains It All To You

Commerce Secretary and grifter Wilbur Ross (net worth: $440 million — or maybe $2.9 billion) expressed puzzlement over why unpaid federal workers need to go to food banks during the Trump government shutdown when they could get loans. Perhaps they can use their art collections as collateral. It’s true that the Commerce Department Credit Union offers loans to unpaid federal employees — at nearly 9 percent interest. What GS-4 wouldn’t jump at that?

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Trump: ‘Emergency! Emergency! I Mean, If I Wanted to….’

January 14, 2019

Trump: 'Emergency! Emergency! I Mean, If I Wanted to....'

After spending a week threatening to declare lack of a border wall a national emergency, President Trump backed off, saying he could do that if he wanted to, but he won’t do that just yet. There are two reasons for him to say that:

  1. Diverting Army Corps of Engineers project money from disaster prevention and recovery for useless political promise fulfillment isn’t a good look; and
  2. Democrats in the House and border landowners would tie him up in court well past 2020.

More:

“No ‘Emergency’ Will Allow Trump to Build His Wall,” Noah Feldman, Bloomberg

“Toddler-in-Chief Doesn’t Wanna ‘Do’ a National Emergency,” Claire Lampen, The Cut

“Bipartisan blowback hits idea of tapping Army Corps for wall money,” Annie Snider, Politico

“Texas Border Landowners Vow To Reject Buyouts For Trump’s Wall,” Nomaan Merchant, AP, via Talking Points Memo

“6 real emergencies that should be more important to Donald Trump than the wall,” Paul Brandus, USA Today

Related:

“That GoFundMe to build a border wall is issuing $20 million in refunds,” Taylor Hatmaker, Techcrunch

“A Border Is Not a Wall. It’s much more interesting.” Alexis C. Madrigal, The Atlantic

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

Comments are welcome if they are on-topic, substantive, concise, and not boring or obscene. Comments may be edited for clarity and length.

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National Emergency

January 10, 2019

National Emergency

Frustrated with the actual process of governing, President Donald Trump now believes he can rule by fiat like his pals Duterte, Putin, Xi, Kim, el-Sisi, and Erdogan simply by declaring a National Emergency when he can’t get his way.

More:

“Having Failed To Convince Americans There’s a National Emergency, Trump Now Poised to Declare One,” Ed Kilgore, New York Magazine

“National Emergency Powers and Trump’s Border Wall, Explained,” Charlie Savage, New York Times

“If Trump declares a state of emergency, he might actually cause one,” Andrea Pitzer, Washington Post

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Oval Office, Networks, and Truth Abused by the Politics of Fear

January 9, 2019

Oval Office, Networks, and Truth Abused by the Politics of Fear

President-for-now Donald Trump put in a prime-time Oval Office appearance on Tuesday in a futile effort to explain away his federal government shutdown, which locked-out 800,000 federal employees and denied services to millions of U.S. taxpayers. Stephen Miller’s sulfurous script was dark with fear-mongering, untruths, and racism, but the delivery by Mr. Trump, a former Reality TV personality, was unconvincing, even though the tale followed many of his long-time personal falsehoods. In a jaw-dropping display of audacity, Mr. Trump claimed he wanted to stop a humanitarian crisis on the Mexican border, a crisis he exacerbated by refusing entrance to asylum seekers and separating children from their families.

Fact-checkers and bookmakers are still busy counting up the president’s counterfactual assertions.

More:

“Trump tried to play a normal president on television. The result was very strange.” Alyssa Rosenberg, Washington Post

“Trump Gets Instant Fact-Check From Fox News’ Shepard Smith After Oval Office Speech,” Matt Wilstein, Daily Beast

“The cascade of false claims as Trump makes his case for a crisis on the US-Mexico border,” Marshall Cohen, Priscilla Alvarez, Geneva Sands, David Shortell and Jeremy Diamond, CNN

“Trump Appeals for Wall, Citing Misleading Statistics of Crisis and Crime Along Border,” Peter Baker, New York Times

“The U.S. Doesn’t Have a Border Crisis. Trump’s Campaign Does.” Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine

“The real crisis is that Trump has no idea what he’s doing,” Matthew Yglesias, Vox

“Gamblers Made $270,000 Betting That Trump Would Lie a Bunch in His Address,” River Donaghey, Vice

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Image (“Trump TV, after Dalton Avalos Ramirez”) by Mike Licht. Download a copy here. Creative Commons license; credit Mike Licht, NotionsCapital.com

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North Carolina: Crooked Lines

January 7, 2019

A mathematician and a Supreme Court plaintiff fight racial gerrymandering in North Carolina. A Field of Vision video by Monica Berra, Jacqueline Olive, and Yoruba Richen.

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How polarizing is Donald Trump?

January 4, 2019

“From the very start of Donald Trump’s presidency, Americans have been divided along partisan lines in their views of him. But partisan divisions in U.S. politics are certainly nothing new.

Do views of Trump represent a change from how past presidents have been seen? How do changes in the country that have occurred in recent decades connect to the way the president is viewed today?”

The Pew Research Center explores, using polling data.

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Trump Tantrum Prolongs His Government Shutdown

December 29, 2018

Trump Tantrum Prolongs His Government Shutdown
As the end of the year approaches, President Donald Trump has thrown a temper tantrum, shutting down the federal government, and barricaded himself in the White House until his extortionate demands are met. If congress wants to reopen the government, he wants $5 billion for a border wall of undetermined design. No wall, no government.

Seeking new threat targets, Mr. Trump now says he’ll shut down the southern border if he doesn’t get his way, a move that would violate international law and cost U.S. businesses billions of dollars.

The chief executive continues to sulk in the White House, foregoing a planned Mar-a-Lago New Year’s party.

More:

“Trump struggles to make a coherent case for his border wall,” Steve Benen, MSNBC

“More Americans blame Trump for government shutdown: Reuters/Ipsos poll,” Chris Kahn and Ginger Gibson, Reuters

“Most Americans would rather spend the $5 billion Trump is demanding for the border wall on infrastructure, education, or healthcare,” Bob Bryan and Walt Hickey, Business Insider

“About That Wall Trump Said Mexico Would Be Paying For: QuickTake,” Mark Niquette, Bloomberg, via Washington Post

“No Deal in Sight: Shutdown Here to Stay Amid Border Wall Stalemate,” John T. Bennett, Roll Call

“Trump: Give Me a Wall or I’ll Engineer a Recession,” Eric Levitz, New York Magazine

Related:

“Trump admin to unpaid federal workers who can’t make rent: beg, barter, and get a lawyer.” Boing Boing

“Taxpayers Are Subsidizing Mar-a-Lago’s New Year’s Eve Party Despite Trump’s Shutdown,” Ryan Bort, New York Post

“Five lessons that never seem to be learned from shutting down the government,” Leon Panetta, Washington Post

“The Border Wall Is a Symbol of Our Symbolic Politics,” Jonah Goldberg, National Review

Update:

“Trump Gripes About Lonely Xmas With No One But ‘Machine Gunners’ Who Don’t Smile,” Nicole Lafond, TPM Livewire

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

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The Trump Foundation Christmas Party Is Cancelled

December 20, 2018

The Trump Foundation Christmas Party Is Cancelled

This week New York State Attorney General Barbara Underwood announced that she is euthanizing the rogue Donald J. Trump Foundation. The so-called nonprofit outfit was directly run by Donald Trump and three of his spawn. Rather than engaging in charitable actives,said the AG, there was a“shocking pattern of illegality involving the Trump Foundation—including unlawful coordination with the Trump presidential campaign, repeated and willful self-dealing, and much more. This amounted to the Trump Foundation functioning as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests.” This included funding Trump Senior’s election campaign, promoting his businesses, paying off his legal obligations.

As Charles Blow observes, “How can a family that can’t run a charity run a country?”

More:

“Trump’s Crooked Foundation Dissolves, But Investigation Continues,” Jonathan Chait, New York Magazine

Clinton Foundation exec mocks Trump Foundation closing amid legal trouble
BY Morgan Gstalter, The Hill

“What the Collapse of the Trump Foundation Tells Us About Donald Trump,” John Cassidy, The New Yorker

“Trump lashes out at New York attorney general who sued his foundation,” David A. Fahrenthold, Washington Post

“Trump Foundation dissolves, but Trump abuses and pursuit of personal gain live on,” Noah Bookbinder and Norman Eisen, USA Today

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

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Above the Law

December 14, 2018

“Above the Law,” written by Betty Wright and Angelo Morris, recorded by The O’Jays, 2018.

The O’Jays website

More:

“Old-school R&B group The O’Jays get into a political groove,” Mark Kennedy, Associated Press

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Fraudster & Political Hack Illegally Acting as U.S. Attorney General

November 13, 2018

Fraudster & Political Hack Illegally Acting as U.S. Attorney General

After firing Attorney General Jeff Sessions, President Trump appointed right-wing political hack Matthew Whitaker, a man the president doesn’t know (except when he does) as acting attorney general. There are a few issues with Mr. Whitaker’s appointment, chief among them the fact that it’s against the law. The Constitution, Which Donald Trump swore to defend, requires principal federal cabinet officers to be confirmed by the senate, and Matt Whitaker wasn’t. His appointment was illegal. Even Kellyanne Conway’s husband says so. So does Fox News legal analyst Andrew Napolitano.

But there’s more. As acting AG, Matt Whitaker oversees the Mueller investigation, and he is already on record criticizing it, suggesting he would choke off Mueller’s funding. Mr. Whitaker has also opined that judges should be Christian, and the courts are an inferior branch of government, an interesting stance for the nation’s chief law enforcement officer.

And Matt Whitaker has some distinctly unchristian episodes in his past. He was on the board of World Patent Marketing, which paid a judgment of $25,987,192 to the FTC for defrauding inventors. Mr. Whitaker used his reputation as a former federal prosecutor to threaten inventors who complained. A perfect AG pick for a president with fraud judgments of his own.

More:

“Acting attorney general reportedly interviewed to be a ‘legal attack dog’ for Trump against Mueller,” Bonnie Kristian, The Week

“Trump’s acting attorney general involved in firm that scammed veterans out of life savings,” Jon Swaine, The Guardian

“Whitaker abandoned taxpayer-funded project in Iowa in 2016,” Ryan J. Foley and David Pitt, Associated Press

“Who Is Matt Whitaker And Why Is He Illegally Pretending To Be The Attorney General?” Elie Mystal, Above the Law

“Trump pick Whitaker rose through ranks as partisan targeting Democrats,” Stephanie Kirchgaessner and Jon Swaine, The Guardian

“The rules are clear: Whitaker can’t supervise Mueller’s investigation,”Neal Katyal, Washington Post

“A Quick Primer on the Legality of Appointing Matthew Whitaker as ‘Acting’ Attorney General, and Whitaker’s Power to Influence the Russia Investigation,” Marty Lederman, Just Security

Update:

“Whitaker’s Appointment as Acting Attorney General Faces Court Challenge,” Charlie Savage, 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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