Author Topic: A New Low for the Degenerate GOP  (Read 4674 times)

Gemini

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Re: A New Low for the Degenerate GOP
« Reply #98 on: November 10, 2018, 03:11:32 pm »
There is no way this man should be running the Justice Department

IS MATTHEW G. WHITAKER the legitimate acting attorney general? From approximately the second President Trump ousted Attorney General Jeff Sessions and tapped Mr. Whitaker to temporarily exercise the office’s vast authority, legal experts have sparred over whether Mr. Trump can unilaterally elevate someone from a role that does not require Senate confirmation to one that does. But regardless of whether the promotion is legal, it is very clear that it is unwise. Mr. Whitaker is unfit for the job.

Several prominent legal scholars point out that the Constitution demands that “principal officers” of the United States must undergo Senate confirmation. A 19th-century Supreme Court case suggests there may be limited room for temporary fill-ins, but Mr. Whitaker’s appointment is hardly so temporary; he could serve for most of the rest of Mr. Trump’s first term. Even if Mr. Whitaker’s promotion is constitutional, Congress passed a law governing Justice Department succession that also seems to prohibit Mr. Whitaker’s ascent. The department has a capable, Senate-confirmed deputy attorney general in Rod J. Rosenstein; he should be running the department in the absence of a permanent replacement.

The Senate above all should be offended by the president’s end run around its authority. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) should demand hearings and consider filing a lawsuit. Instead, he is helping to establish a troubling precedent, saying only that he expects Mr. Whitaker to be a “very interim AG.” Yet no random official should be endowed with all the powers of an office as powerful as attorney general, meant for a Senate-vetted individual, even for a relatively short time.

And Mr. Whitaker is worse than random. It took less than 24 hours for material to emerge suggesting he could not survive even a rudimentary vetting.

First, there are Mr. Whitaker’s statements criticizing the Russia probe of special counsel Robert S. Mueller III. At the least, they require him to consult Justice Department ethics counsel about whether he can oversee the inquiry with a plausible appearance of evenhandedness. He will do immediate and lasting harm to the Justice Department’s reputation, and to the nation, if he assumes the role of president’s personal henchman and impedes the Mueller probe.

Then there is Mr. Whitaker’s connection to a defunct patent promotion company the Federal Trade Commission called “an invention-promotion scam that has bilked thousands of consumers out of millions of dollars.” Mr. Whitaker served on its board and once threatened a complaining customer, lending the weight of his former position as U.S. attorney for the Southern District of Iowa to the company’s scheme.

Finally, and fundamentally most damning, is Mr. Whitaker’s expressed hostility to Marbury v. Madison, a central case — the central case — in the American constitutional system. It established an indispensable principle: The courts decide what is and is not constitutional. Without Marbury, there would be no effective judicial check on the political branches, no matter how egregious their actions.

If the Senate were consulted, it is impossible to imagine Mr. Whitaker getting close to the attorney general’s office. He should not be there now.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/opinions/there-is-no-way-this-man-should-be-running-the-justice-department/2018/11/09/f4a2ee60-e45e-11e8-8f5f-a55347f48762_story.html?fbclid=IwAR01IYLeBm_2sNiVGG_PLxXcy4ife3YubuSg-XIxFN4iSLf3lwdYvrfOW0o&utm_term=.bb7a32502491

CatsMeow

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Re: A New Low for the Degenerate GOP
« Reply #97 on: November 08, 2018, 08:56:18 pm »
A, I think it's funnier than all, and B, you don't understand how smart they actually were. Under Nevada law, because the elected Republican is dead, they are required to appoint another Republican to the seat. They had to vote for the dead guy to fill the seat with their preferred party.

PoplarGuy

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Re: A New Low for the Degenerate GOP
« Reply #96 on: November 08, 2018, 08:49:38 pm »
Yep, the republicans who complained about dead  Democrats voting decided to vote for a dead man to represent them in the Nevada Assembly.  They also voted in two indicted felons, and an avowed white supremacist.  A very interesting election on the republican side.   

ArrowheadWoodsGuy

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Re: A New Low for the Degenerate GOP
« Reply #95 on: November 08, 2018, 11:12:13 am »
Meet the Republican Party’s Newest Rising Star:
a Nevada Brothel Owner Who’s Been Dead for Three Weeks


By MATTHEW DESSEM

NOV 07, 20187:57 AM

In Carson City, Nevada, residents heard the news from the Nevada Appeal: the “Trump of Pahrump” was headed to the state Assembly. In Las Vegas, casino workers struggled to comprehend that the rising politician whose face was all over the TV really was the same man who had been found dead in a brothel more than three weeks ago. And at the Happy Homestead Cemetery in South Lake Tahoe, Nevada, the Republican Party’s newest rising star was trying to make sense of it all.

On Tuesday, Dennis Hof, whose résumé up to now included “brothel owner,” “star of an HBO series about brothels,” “author of an autobiography about brothels,” and “America’s Pimpmaster General,” stunned the political establishment by defeating Lesia Romanov for a seat in the Nevada Assembly. It’s the latest shock in an electrifying year for the entrepreneur-turned-politician: Five months ago he astounded Nevada’s Republican Party by defeating three-term incumbent James Oscarson in the primary. Then, on Oct. 16, he shocked the world again, throwing a birthday party attended by political heavyweights like Joe Arpaio, Grover Norquist, and Ron Jeremy, and then dying. It was the kind of pivot hardly anyone has attempted since Mel Carnahan’s hard-fought 2000 senatorial campaign—the consultant class has long argued that the living make better candidates—but it paid off. Now Nevada Republicans are scrambling to adjust to the new reality.

Hof appeared to be handling his rise to the national political stage with aplomb, riding out the attention in a closed-to-the-press candy apple red coffin six feet underground. There, forensic political analysts say, he is celebrating his victory by allowing the forces of gravity to slowly pool embalming fluid in the lower parts of his body. Hof had no comment on the election results, his plans for the future, or anything at all, but in a summer interview with the Las Vegas Sun, he explained that Donald Trump was the inspiration for his decidedly unconventional approach to politics:

Am I riding the Trump train? Hell yes I am. He blazed the trail for me. I would have never won the primary without what Donald Trump did. He carved a new dimension into the political realm, and I’m one of the beneficiaries of it.

But despite the straight line between Trump’s 2016 campaign and Hof’s visionary strategy of convincing elderly Republicans to vote for actual corpses, the party’s political establishment seems to be attempting to keep their newest star under wraps. The Nye County Commission is reportedly planning to appoint another, living Republican to take Hof’s seat, shamefully ignoring the clearly expressed wishes of their constituents to be represented in the state Assembly by a dead brothel owner. It is time for Americans of all parties to demand that Hof be seated in the Nevada Assembly. Otherwise, this will be how democracy dies: at a brothel, after a birthday party, with Ron Jeremy.
Nolite te bastardes carborundorum

ArrowheadWoodsGuy

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Re: A New Low for the Degenerate GOP
« Reply #94 on: September 06, 2018, 04:25:17 pm »
The crisis isn’t Trump. It’s his Republican enablers.

Trump’s flaws lie in plain sight. It’s the GOP that pretends blindness.

By Ezra Klein

This feels like a week of substantial, even shattering, revelations about the Trump White House. But it wasn’t, not really. The early excerpts of Bob Woodward’s book, the anonymous op-ed from the senior White House official — how much did any of it truly change our understanding of the Trump administration?

It’s no secret that much of Trump’s staff thinks he’s ill-informed, impulsive, even dangerous. Political scientist Dan Drezner has been tweeting quotes from Trump staffers talking about the president as if he is a toddler for years now. There are now 475 tweets in the thread.

And even if there weren’t, these are not the kind of revelations that require insider leaks to alert the public. Anyone who has watched Trump speak or read his statements can conclude he is ignorant, reckless, distractible, narcissistic, illiberal, conspiratorial, and bigoted.

It was only Monday, after all, that Trump went on Twitter to attack his own attorney general for permitting the investigations and indictments of two Republican members of Congress. It was just a few weeks ago that Trump’s personal lawyer pleaded guilty to criminal behavior and his campaign manager was found guilty of it. It was just a few months ago that Trump mounted a stage next to Vladimir Putin and praised the strongman while musing that he wasn’t sure whether to trust Russia or his own intelligence agencies when it came to the Democratic National Committee hacking.

I’ll say this about Donald Trump: He has never hidden who or what he is. He has been unrepentantly himself since the Obama administration, when he barnstormed the country championing the birther conspiracy theory; he has been unrepentantly himself since he descended that golden escalator and called Mexican immigrants rapists and murderers; he has been unrepentantly himself since the day after he accepted the Republican nomination for the presidency and held a press conference wondering whether Ted Cruz’s dad was involved in the murder of John F. Kennedy (seriously, look it up).

That Trump has long been Trump has not gone unnoticed in Washington. As Republican Sen. Bob Corker said in response to the op-ed, “this is what all of us have understood to be the situation from day one.”

Corker’s statement was meant to be a damning indictment of Trump, but it’s actually a damning indictment of Corker and his colleagues, who have done little to check Trump save complain to the press. They have known the situation was this bad since day one, and they have done nothing about it.

Corker, at least, speaks out. The rest of his party has studiously avoided the subject, actively protected Trump from investigation and oversight, and constantly excused the president’s outbursts. Privately, they gripe that they know this president is unfit for office, but they don’t want to imperil their tax agenda, judicial nominees, or reelections by actually acting on that judgment.

The rest of Corker’s quote is telling as to the practical solution Republicans have settled on. “That’s why I think all of us encourage the good people around the President to stay,” he said. “I thank General Mattis whenever I see him.”

This is ridiculous. The Founding Fathers were not unaware of the possibility that a demagogue or a knave might win the presidency. That’s why they checked the executive with an independent Congress and built in powers of impeachment. That Republicans in this Congress have proven so subservient to — or scared of — Trump that they have let the fate of the country hinge on whether his staff can adequately distract and calm him is a subversion of the constitutional order and an abdication of responsibility.

As David Frum writes:

Impeachment is a constitutional mechanism. The Twenty-Fifth Amendment is a constitutional mechanism. Mass resignations followed by voluntary testimony to congressional committees are a constitutional mechanism. Overt defiance of presidential authority by the president’s own appointees — now that’s a constitutional crisis.
Trump is what he is. And what he is is a man who shouldn’t be president. The question is whether our political system is capable of responding to that kind of mistake, or threat, in any serious way. So far, the answer is no.


When I wrote about the constitutional role and importance of the impeachment power last year, I ended it this way. It’s as relevant today as it was then:

Sometimes I imagine this era going catastrophically wrong — a nuclear exchange with North Korea, perhaps, or a genuine crisis in American democracy — and historians writing about it in the future. They will go back and read Trump’s tweets and his words and read what we were saying, and they will wonder what the hell was wrong with us. You knew, they’ll say. You knew everything you needed to know to stop this. And what will we say in response?
Nolite te bastardes carborundorum

Gemini

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Re: A New Low for the Degenerate GOP
« Reply #93 on: September 05, 2018, 08:40:07 pm »
This is rich.

Former Alabama Senate Candidate Roy Moore Sues Actor Sacha Baron Cohen

Former Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore is suing comedian Sacha Baron Cohen, Showtime and CBS for defamation, intentional infliction of emotional distress and fraud, according to a complaint filed Wednesday afternoon.

Moore and his wife Kayla brought the suit in D.C. District court. They are asking for relief in excess of $95 million dollars, not including attorneys’ fees.

They allege that “Defendant Cohen, while in character, falsely and fraudulently induces unsuspecting victims, like unsuspecting Judge Moore to be interviewed under dishonest, unethical, illegal and false pretenses, for his works.” They add that “Cohen and his agents then set these unsuspecting victims up for ridicule and to severely humiliate them on film to promote his works and to generate large financial returns for himself.”

Moore appeared in the third episode of Cohen’s series “Who is America?” on the Showtime cable channel, which is part of the CBS Corporation.

According to the court filing, Moore and his wife say they were invited to Washington, D.C. so that Judge Moore could “receive an award for his strong support of Israel, in commemoration of its 70th anniversary as a nation state.” They say they were “induced… into this interview, which was ‘set up’ to harm and thus damage” Moore and his family. They say that if they had known, “Mrs. Moore would not have agreed to travel to Washington D.C. to accompany and honor her husband.”

In the episode, Cohen is playing a character called “Erran Morad,” who uses a device to detect pedophiles, and the device “identifies” Moore as a sex offender, which the Moores claim defames him.

https://losangeles.cbslocal.com/2018/09/05/roy-moore-sacha-baron-cohen-lawsuit/

Gemini

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Re: A New Low for the Degenerate GOP
« Reply #92 on: August 12, 2018, 04:07:20 pm »
One year after Charlottesville, the Republican Party has lost all ability to condemn racism

It was one year ago this weekend that hundreds of neo-Nazis and white supremacists descended on Charlottesville, Va., for the now-infamous “Unite the Right” rally. We all know what happened next. Counter-protesters showed up to condemn their hateful message and the rally descended into violence, leading to the senseless death of Heather Heyer, a 32-year-old activist and paralegal. Afterward, unbelievably, President Trump placed blame on “both sides.”

Many prominent Republicans denounced the president’s remarks. “There is no moral relativism when it comes to neo-Nazis,” House Speaker Paul D. Ryan said at the time. Rep. Mark Meadows, who chairs the House Freedom Caucus, also issued a rebuke: “We must stand united in opposition to this hate in no uncertain terms.” Sen. Cory Gardner, R-Colo., addressed Trump directly: “Mr. President, we must call evil by its name.”

But in the year since Charlottesville, Republicans in Congress have increasingly turned a blind eye to the president’s racial animus. They also appear to have lost interest in a host of urgent policy issues related to racial inequity: enforcing the Voting Rights Act, reforming the criminal justice system, finding a real fix on immigration.

Meanwhile, their party’s candidates exhibit ever more blatant racism. Seth Grossman, a Republican nominee for Congress in New Jersey, has called the idea of diversity “a bunch of crap.” Corey Stewart, the Senate nominee from Virginia, flaunts his ties to an organizer of the Charlottesville rally and displays the Confederate flag at his campaign events. Arthur Jones and John Fitzgerald, House nominees in Illinois and California, respectively, are proud Holocaust deniers.

Trump, in turn, is embracing candidates like Grossman, who has stated that he believes minorities, immigrants, young women and elites are waging a war on white men. And as Trump slowly turns the GOP into a white identity party, congressional Republicans continue to do nothing.

Their cowardice stands in stark contrast to Republican leadership during the racial turmoil of the 1960s. Without Republican support, there would have been no Civil Rights Act of 1964, no Voting Rights Act of 1965 and no Fair Housing Act of 1968.

It’s almost as if Republicans have forgotten the central role they played in civil rights history. Here’s a reminder.

To pass the Civil Rights Act, President Johnson needed the support of Republicans in the Senate. He knew that Democrats from the South, strong segregationists, could block the bill. So he asked top Democrats in Congress to reach out to influential Republicans. “The bill can’t pass unless you get Dirksen,” Johnson told Senate Majority Whip Humbert Humphrey, referring to Senate Minority Leader Everett Dirksen.

Dirksen came from a conservative Illinois town where few blacks lived, but he admired the legacy of his party’s founder, Abraham Lincoln. He agreed to pull in Republican support for the bill.

Dirksen saw to it that the phrase “pattern or practice” was inserted before “discrimination” in the text of the bill, ensuring that Washington could not shut down private businesses unless they were systematically engaging in discrimination. He also added language to guarantee that when allegations of employment discrimination came up, state and local governments had time to take action before the Justice Department stepped in.

The strategy worked. Dirksen got enough Republicans to invoke cloture, and the Civil Rights Act was passed. Republican support proved equally critical to the Voting Rights Act and the Fair Housing Act.

In the decades that followed, Republicans made it clear that there was no place in their party for racists, even as white segregationists fled the Democratic Party.

When, in 1981, members of the Ku Klux Klan lynched a black teen named Michael Donald in Alabama, President Reagan condemned them in a speech to the NAACP, saying they “perverted notions of what America is about.”

In 1996, Bob Dole, then the Republican presidential nominee, told his convention crowd that any bigots in the audience should be aware: “The exits, which are clearly marked, are for you to walk out of.”

Even in recent years, some Republicans have led bipartisan efforts to address racial inequality. Sen. Chuck Grassley, R-Iowa, introduced legislation in 2015 to reform the criminal justice system, which imprisons black men at alarmingly disproportionate rates, by reducing mandatory minimum sentences for nonviolent crimes. When President Obama said he would sign the bill if it came to him within the year, Grassley joked that he was “not used to the president calling for the rapid passage of my bills.”

Although both parties backed the legislation, the election of Trump and other factors got in the way. Grassley re-introduced the bill in 2017. After Atty. Gen. Jeff Sessions called it a “grave error,” Grassley responded that he was “incensed” by the remark. Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., also criticized Sessions, explaining that “mandatory minimum sentences have unfairly and disproportionately incarcerated a generation of minorities.”

The party is continuing to hold back well-meaning individuals within it. Paul and another Republican senator, James Lankford of Oklahoma, joined three Democrats — **** Durbin, Bob Casey, Cory Booker — to re-introduce a bill last year that would eliminate juvenile solitary confinement. But Republicans in Congress have left the bill for dead.

And Rep. Jim Sensenbrenner, a Republican from Wisconsin, joined Rep. John Conyers, a Democrat from Michigan, to re-introduce the Voting Rights Amendment bill. The legislation would update the formula used to determine which states need to get federal permission before changing registration and voting practices. The bill has gone nowhere.

During the final stretch of his presidential campaign, Trump posed a condescending question to African Americans: By voting for him, “What the hell do you have to lose?”

We now know a very important part of the answer.

America has lost a Republican Party that was willing to work on racial division. We have lost a GOP that, less than a decade ago, was capable of issuing a report calling for more outreach to black, Latino and Asian voters. We have lost a party that once knew how to reject racial bigotry and heinous shows of force by white supremacists.

According to a poll conducted in June by Quinnipiac University, 55% of Americans agree that “President Trump has emboldened people who hold racist beliefs to express those beliefs publicly.” Another recent poll found that 64% of Americans think racism is a “major problem,” and that 45% think race relations are getting worse.

This country was once capable of uniting against racism. If we want that America to return, we will need the efforts of both parties.

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/op-ed/la-oe-williams-charlottesville-gop-racism-20180812-story.html

Gemini

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Re: A New Low for the Degenerate GOP
« Reply #91 on: August 09, 2018, 05:13:08 pm »
The orange turd hires nothing but the best!

New Details About Wilbur Ross’ Business Point To Pattern Of Grifting

A multimillion-dollar lawsuit has been quietly making its way through the New York State court system over the last three years, pitting a private equity manager named David Storper against his former boss: Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross. The pair worked side by side for more than a decade, eventually at the firm, WL Ross & Co.—where, Storper later alleged, Ross stole his interests in a private equity fund, transferred them to himself, then tried to cover it up with bogus paperwork. Two weeks ago, just before the start of a trial with $4 million on the line, Ross and Storper agreed to a confidential settlement, whose existence has never been reported and whose terms remain secret.

It is difficult to imagine the possibility that a man like Ross, who Forbes estimates is worth some $700 million, might steal a few million from one of his business partners. Unless you have heard enough stories about Ross. Two former WL Ross colleagues remember the commerce secretary taking handfuls of Sweet’N Low packets from a nearby restaurant, so he didn’t have to go out and buy some for himself. One says workers at his house in the Hamptons used to call the office, claiming Ross had not paid them for their work. Another two people said Ross once pledged $1 million to a charity, then never paid. A commerce official called the tales “petty nonsense,” and added that Ross does not put sweetener in his coffee. 

There are bigger allegations. Over several months, in speaking with 21 people who know Ross, Forbes uncovered a pattern: Many of those who worked directly with him claim that Ross wrongly siphoned or outright stole a few million here and a few million there, huge amounts for most but not necessarily for the commerce secretary. At least if you consider them individually. But all told, these allegations—which sparked lawsuits, reimbursements and an SEC fine—come to more than $120 million. If even half of the accusations are legitimate, the current United States secretary of commerce could rank among the biggest grifters in American history.

Not that he sees himself that way. “The SEC has never initiated any enforcement action against me,” Ross said in a statement, failing to mention the $2.3 million fine it levied against his firm in 2016. The commerce secretary also noted that one lawsuit against him got dismissed, without saying it is currently going through the appeals process. Ross confirmed settling two other cases, including the recent one against Storper, but declined to offer additional details.

Those who’ve done business with Ross generally tell a consistent story, of a man obsessed with money and untethered to facts. “He’ll push the edge of truthfulness and use whatever power he has to grab assets,” says New York financier Asher Edelman. One of Ross’ former colleagues is more direct: “He’s a pathological liar.”

Wilbur Ross figured out at some point that money, or the aura of it, translates into power. Forbes has previously documented how Ross seemingly lied to us, over many years, launching himself onto, and then higher on, our billionaire rankings, at one point even lying about an apparent multibillion-dollar transfer to family members to explain why his financial disclosure report showed fewer assets than he claimed. “What I don’t want,” Ross said, “is for people to suddenly think that I’ve lost a lot of money when it’s not true.”

Such machinations now seem pathetic. But his billionaire status was not lost on another person obsessed with his net worth. Donald Trump termed Ross a “legendary Wall Street genius” and named him to his cabinet. “In these particular positions,” Trump explained to a crowd of supporters, “I just don’t want a poor person.”

From Ross’ vantage point, Trump offered the perfect exit. The future cabinet secretary’s private equity funds were underperforming—one on track to lose 26% of its initial value and another two dribbling out mediocre returns—and the accusations were starting to pile up. Roughly two months before the 2016 presidential election, the SEC announced WL Ross was paying a fine and refunding $11.9 million it allegedly skimmed from its investors, including interest. The scheme was complex. Like other private equity firms—including several that coughed up money to the SEC around the same time—WL Ross derived much of its revenue from management fees charged to its investors. With funds as large as $4.1 billion, management fees of 1.5% could alone bring in more than $60 million a year for Ross’ firm—serious money.

But WL Ross promised that it would give its investors something like a rebate. For example, when Ross and his colleagues got certain fees for working on deals, they were supposed to give at least 50% of that money back to investors. But, according to SEC investigators, the firm gave back less than it suggested it would and pocketed the difference, leading the feds to conclude Ross’ firm broke laws that prohibit defrauding and misleading clients. WL Ross paid the big settlement but never admitted guilt.

According to the feds, WL Ross charged some of those inappropriate fees in the years before the commerce secretary sold his firm to Invesco for $100 million up front and the possibility of another $275 million down the road. That meant that when Ross cashed out, he presumably did so at bigger valuation than he deserved. In a statement, Ross suggested that Invesco never clawed any of that money back. “The terms of the sale of my business in 2006 remain unchanged,” he said. Invesco declined to comment.

There is more to the story. According to five former WL Ross employees and investors, the firm was also charging its investors on money that it had lost. Here’s how it worked: If WL Ross made an investment of, say, $100 million that declined dramatically, in the final years of the fund the firm was supposed to charge management fees on the actual value of the investment, not the $100 million starting point. However, WL Ross allegedly continued collecting fees on the amount invested, taking more than it deserved. WL Ross was allegedly even charging fees on one investment that was essentially worthless. When approached about the discrepancy, Wilbur Ross initially insisted his firm was calculating the fees correctly, according to someone familiar with those discussions. “There are all sorts of fee issues,” says an investor, “but it was just the most egregious that I’ve seen.”

Ross also allegedly skimmed money by serving on corporate boards of his firm’s portfolio companies. Again, the rule was that a portion of the fees that WL Ross employees got for serving on such boards was essentially supposed to be handed back to investors as rebates. Instead, Ross' firm did not give back enough, according to ex-colleagues. Ross "was like a kid in a candy store," says one of his former employees. "He pilfered it."

Ross is now attempting to distance himself from the management fee issues. “No regulatory agency has ever asserted such charges or any other charges against me and there is no basis for any such allegations,” he said in a statement.

Eight former employees and investors, however, said Ross presumably knew about the issues. And former WL Ross employees add that the costs were far greater than the $14.2 million announced by the Securities & Exchange Commission. A 2015 annual report for Invesco, WL Ross’ parent company, disclosed that the company had paid another $43 million over the last two years in reimbursements and regulatory expenses connected to its private equity business. Secretary Ross has largely avoided scrutiny around those payments because the report does not explicitly tie them to his former firm. Four former employees who worked there, however, told Forbes the $43 million was connected to WL Ross.

With the investors’ claims apparently behind him, Ross now faces a lineup of allegations from his former colleagues, who say he robbed them of money as well. Such accusations are nothing new for Ross. In 2005, former WL Ross vice chairman Peter Lusk sued the future commerce secretary for $20 million, ultimately alleging that he had tried to cut him out of his interests. The executives reached a settlement in 2007, which former WL Ross employees say cost roughly $10 million. Asked to comment on the suit, Ross responded, “The Lusk case ended with mutual confidentiality requirements.”

Three years ago, Storper launched what became a $4 million lawsuit against both his former employer, WL Ross, and former boss, the commerce secretary, alleging that Ross stole his interests. Attorneys for Ross admitted in court filings that one of his companies took Storper’s interest and reallocated part of it to the commerce secretary. But Ross’ lawyers also insisted all of that was allowed under internal agreements. “Simply put,” they wrote, “this lawsuit is a personal vendetta against Mr. Ross.” After a judge rejected attempts to prevent the case from going to trial, just days before the jury selections the two sides agreed to settle.

What makes it all more than a typical “he-said, she-said” dispute is the number of similar complaints against Ross. A third former WL Ross employee, Joseph Mullin, filed a $3.6 million lawsuit in December 2016, saying WL Ross funds “looted” his interests “for the personal benefit of Wilbur L. Ross, Jr.—and attempted to conceal their misconduct through opaque and misleading tax statements and disclosures.” A New York State court dismissed that case in February on technical grounds, saying Mullin, who left WL Ross in 2007, waited too long to file it. He is now appealing.

Storper and two other former high-ranking executives at WL Ross filed yet another lawsuit against the commerce secretary in November, alleging that he and his firm charged at least $48 million of improper fees, then pocketed the money. It was a slow siphoning rather than a one-time heist, according to the lawsuit. Private equity firms typically collect management fees—those 1.5% charges—only from their outside clients. But the lawsuit alleges that Ross and his firm seemingly charged current and former company executives as well. It would be like a restaurant owner telling his employees that they can eat for free—while taking the meal money out of their paychecks. In a statement to Forbes, Ross called the case “without merit.” He moved to dismiss it in February, but the suit remains active.

A look at old versions of WL Ross’ website reveal the magnitude of the turmoil. Of the top seven firm leaders listed on the 2006 website, none of them have the same roles today. Ross is now leading the commerce department, Wendy Teramoto serves as his chief of staff and Stephen Toy is the new co-head of WL Ross. Meanwhile, the majority—consisting of Storper, Mullin, David Wax and Pamela Wilson—are all actively waging legal battles against their former boss, Wilbur Ross.

In a presidential cabinet plagued by ethical problems, it can be easy to forget about Wilbur Ross. Most of the attention tends to center around obvious abuses, like Scott Pruitt getting a $43,000 sound-proof booth in his office or Tom Price wasting $341,000 on jet travel. But while Ross’ antics are more complicated, they involve far more money.

On November 1, 2017, Ross signed a sworn document, attesting that he had divested all the assets he promised he would. That was not true. The commerce secretary in fact still owned somewhere between $10 and $50 million worth of stock in WL Ross’ parent company, Invesco. Ross sold his shares a month later, banking at least $1.2 million more than he would have if he sold in May, when he initially promised to divest. By falsely claiming he gotten rid of the shares earlier, Ross also put himself in legal jeopardy, since it is a crime to lie to federal officials. Representatives for Ross, a sophisticated investor, claimed the commerce secretary did not lie but instead failed to realize he owned the shares.

Ross also said he did not know he had a $73,000 stake in a company named Air Lease, which he finally sold in June—more than a year after he promised he would. And he admitted to shorting stock of Sun Bancorp, saying he hoped to cancel out an interest he mistakenly thought he owned but in fact did not. “For any head of any private equity firm that I know of, including like [Carlyle’s David] Rubenstein or [Blackstone’s Stephen] Schwarzman—these guys know what they own. It’s their whole business. It’s their whole life,” says an investor in WL Ross’ funds, terming the commerce secretary’s explanation “ridiculous.”

A top official in the federal Office of Government Ethics scolded Ross in a letter last month, saying that his failure to divest corroded public trust. According to the letter, another ethics official searched Ross’ calendars to see if the commerce secretary broke the law by taking actions to benefit his personal holdings, finding no evidence that he had. One day later, however, Forbes revealed that Ross had previously dined, in the White House, with the CEO of a business in which the commerce secretary secretly held an interest. After the report, Senator John Thune, a Republican from South Dakota, asked the inspector general of the Commerce Department to take a second look.

Thune is not the only senator making noise about Ross’ finances. In June, two senators and a congressman asked the Securities & Exchange Commission to launch an insider trading investigation of Ross, based on revelations that Ross shorted at least $100,000 in Putin-linked Navigator Holdings, soon after being told about a forthcoming exposé on his connection to the company. The minuscule scale—the trade seemingly bolstered Ross’ wallet by $3,000 to $10,000—makes the blunder that much more vexing.

Fourteen Democratic Congressmen have also called on the inspector general to investigate Ross’ potential conflicts of interest. After assuring senators during his confirmation hearing that he would be overly cautious on ethical matters, Ross spent the majority of his first year in office as a business partner to the Chinese government, while he negotiated U.S.-China trade relations. He also waited to get rid of a stake in a Cypriot bank reportedly tied up in the Robert Mueller investigation. And he took months to divest an interest in a foreign car parts manufacturer whose industry he is now investigating.

The central matter in all of Ross’ legal issues is his own credibility. “Lying on an ethics disclosure form, to Congressional and Senate committees, and falsely reporting compliance with an ethics plan, is neither ‘commonplace’ nor part of the accepted rough-and-tumble world of politics,” David Storper, Ross’ former right-hand man, argued in a court filing. “They are just lies.” Adds another onetime colleague: “This is a public servant who can’t tell the truth.”

https://www.forbes.com/sites/danalexander/2018/08/06/new-details-about-wilbur-rosss-businesses-point-to-pattern-of-grifting/

PoplarGuy

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Re: A New Low for the Degenerate GOP
« Reply #90 on: August 08, 2018, 04:53:03 pm »
FROM ALTERNET

News & Politics
'Magical Thinking of the Trump Cult': Former GOP Strategist Singles Out Core Truth of the Deluded Republican Party

The president has convinced people he has a popular mandate that doesn't actually exist.

By Chris Sosa / AlterNet
August 7, 2018, 12:03 PM GMT

Photo Credit: MSNBC

Former Republican campaign strategist Steve Schmidt called President Donald Trump's supporters a "cult" during a Tuesday MSNBC appearance.

Schmidt said Trump has convinced people he has a popular mandate that doesn't actually exist.

"He has performed some level of Jedi mind trick. Here's the deal — he lost by 3 million votes [...] He is weaker," Schmidt said. "The majority of the country opposes this. It is only through the magical thinking of the Trump cult that there is any capacity to believe that a majority supports it. It does not."

Then Schmidt offered advice for the Democrats in the upcoming midterm elections.

"What Democrats have to talk about is the vast corruption of this administration, the personal corruption of Donald Trump and the people around him, the kind of moral corruption, and the fact that the Republicans in Congress will do nothing to slow him down."

Watch the clip below.
https://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/magical-thinking-trump-cult-former-gop-strategist-singles-out-core-truth-deluded

Don't let big tech control what news you see. Get more stories like this in your inbox, every day.

Chris Sosa is the Senior Editor at AlterNet. His work also appears in Mic, Salon, Care2, Huffington Post and other publications. Follow him on Twitter @ChrisSosa.

https://www.alternet.org/news-amp-politics/magical-thinking-trump-cult-former-gop-strategist-singles-out-core-truth-deluded

PoplarGuy

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Re: A New Low for the Degenerate GOP
« Reply #89 on: August 08, 2018, 06:02:48 am »
FROM THE WASHINGTON POST
The Plum Line Opinion
Trump and Stephen Miller are now targeting legal immigrants. This will get uglier.
How Stephen Miller became one of Trump’s most influential advisers
0:28 / 3:15

The Post’s Rosalind S. Helderman looks at the influence that Stephen Miller, President Trump’s senior policy adviser, holds inside the White House. (Video: Bastien Inzaurralde/Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
by Paul Waldman and Greg Sargent
August 7 at 3:12 PM Email the author

Republicans become deeply offended when you suggest that their party is in the process of adopting a white nationalist agenda, and that many of their voters are motivated by xenophobia. No no, they say, we acknowledge that America is a nation of immigrants; we just want a secure border and all the laws to be enforced. We welcome legal immigrants; it’s illegal immigration we have a problem with.

But then you get something like this, as reported by NBC’s Julia Ainsley:

    The Trump administration is expected to issue a proposal in coming weeks that would make it harder for legal immigrants to become citizens or get green cards if they have ever used a range of popular public welfare programs, including Obamacare, four sources with knowledge of the plan told NBC News.
   
    The move, which would not need Congressional approval, is part of White House senior adviser Stephen Miller’s plan to limit the number of migrants who obtain legal status in the U.S. each year.

    Details of the rulemaking proposal are still being finalized, but based on a recent draft seen last week and described to NBC News, immigrants living legally in the U.S. who have ever used or whose household members have ever used Obamacare, children’s health insurance, food stamps and other benefits could be hindered from obtaining legal status in the U.S.

So much for the idea that Republicans only want to eliminate illegal immigration. Donald Trump — who, let’s not forget, got elected by saying he’d ban Muslims from entering the country and build a wall on our southern border — is following through on his vision, and that of people like Stephen Miller, that America should no longer welcome immigrants, and kick out as many of those who are already here as they can.

President Trump wants to reduce legal and illegal immigration, but apparently has no qualms about scapegoating every immigrant in the process. (JM Rieger/The Washington Post)

As Ainsley reports, the administration has drastically reduced the number of green cards they grant and the number of green card holders who are granted citizenship. They’ve also tried to cut legal immigration levels, taken steps to all but shut America’s doors to asylum-seekers, unleashed ICE to pursue people for deportation who have been living lawfully in the U.S. for decades, and of course enacted the horrific family separation policy at the border, with the explicit intent of deterring people from trying to come to America lest their children be ripped from their arms.

There’s little doubt that these initiatives are born of the sincere contempt that President Trump, Stephen Miller, and others in the administration have for immigrants, particularly non-white ones. The president has made that clear again and again. But there’s a political calculation at work, too.

Trump knows that he has to keep feeding his base red meat on immigration, and one of the benefits of this policy is that it wouldn’t require congressional approval. Another benefit is that it can easily play into the misconceptions and prejudices Americans already hold.

You may have noticed that the NBC story used the word “welfare” when referring to programs like food stamps, the Affordable Care Act, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. As it happens, extensive research has shown that term is racially charged and turns people against whatever policy you’re using it to refer to. The strategy is clear: portray legal immigrants as a drain on the system, taking advantage of hard-working people like you.

Indeed, this new move should be looked at in the context of the midterm elections. We already know that Miller (and Trump) want the fall elections to be all about immigration. In the spring, Miller said in an interview that he wants the “big fight” this summer to pit Trump’s immigration agenda, which he described as pro-American-worker, against the Democrats’ embrace of “open borders.” (Both of those are lies, but never mind that for now.) Plainly, Miller and other Republicans want immigration to be in the headlines, to make it harder for Democrats to break through with talk about the Trump/GOP tax cut for the rich and the Trump/GOP drive to repeal Obamacare, both of which have proven epic political flops. So Miller is floating this latest policy as part of this broader strategy.

But there’s an additional nuance here worth appreciating. While Trump (and many GOP candidates imitating him) have used immigration to launch many race-baiting appeals designed to energize the hard-core Trumpist base — from the claim that Dems coddle MS-13 to the vow to make Mexico pay for the wall — this issue is a bit different. Immigration advocates believe the attack on immigrants claiming benefits is directed not just at the base, but also at softer supporters of Trump or even Republicans who are turning away from him, such as GOP-leaning college educated or suburban whites who might recoil at the more obvious race-based messaging.

“While ‘immigrants take jobs’ works with the angry, resentful base, a more potent line of attack with the better educated, more successful — and more reluctant — Republican is the ‘immigrants use welfare’ distortion that this policy fight sets up,” Frank Sharry, the executive director of America’s Voice, tells us. “These less rabid Republicans have jobs, homes, and security. They are more likely to resent the idea — inaccurate as it is — that their tax dollars are paying to support immigrants.”

In fact, as a recent Cato Institute study found, “immigrants are less likely to consume welfare benefits and, when they do, they generally consume a lower dollar value of benefits than native-born Americans.”

That’s not to mention that nearly all Americans benefit at one time or another from programs that would fit under the expansive definition of “welfare” Republicans would like to propagate. For instance, if you’re not getting health insurance from the government in the form of Medicare or Medicaid, or getting subsidies through the ACA, the government is paying part of your health insurance premiums by making them tax-deductible. That’s far and away the largest tax expenditure on the books, over triple the size of the mortgage interest deduction, another government program you may benefit from.

But many Americans like to believe that government programs that I benefit from are no less than I deserve, while government programs that other people benefit from represent lazy moochers sponging off the system. So saying that immigrants who ever used a program like CHIP or the ACA for them or their family members should now be refused citizenship is a pretty clear attempt to stoke anger and resentment at these people, making it easier to get rid of them.

All of which sets up an interesting test. The question will be whether the less-Trumpist GOP voters, having already been alienated by this particular administration’s cruel and wretched immigration policies — particularly the family separations landing untold numbers of children in cages, but also Trump’s open displays of bigotry and his stepped up deportations of longtime residents — might actually be less inclined to side with the administration on even this “softer” policy directed at supposed immigrant welfare cheats.

On this front, tonight’s results out of the Ohio special House election will bear watching. Republicans are testing a strategy of deliberate polarization around immigration issues in this race, with an eye towards using it in contests across the country this fall. They are trying to tar Democrats as the party of crime and open borders by elevating the left’s call to “Abolish ICE,” to juice the GOP base. But this is a divided district: while much of it went heavily for Trump, it also has a lot of college educated whites, which is one reason Democrat Danny O’Connor is competitive — and those voters could be alienated by Trump’s immigration appeals.

If Republicans do better than expected tonight, particularly among those voters, you can expect Republicans to see plenty of upside, and very little downside, in really cranking up these appeals going forward. This will get uglier.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/wp/2018/08/07/trump-and-stephen-miller-are-now-targeting-legal-immigrants-and-it-will-get-uglier/?utm_term=.e94d496b3556

mt_lion

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Re: A New Low for the Degenerate GOP
« Reply #88 on: July 28, 2018, 09:27:43 am »
My best friend is dead and you want to have small talk on my birthday  **** you

PoplarGuy

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Re: A New Low for the Degenerate GOP
« Reply #87 on: July 28, 2018, 07:44:41 am »
I stopped read shit from you a long time ago.   What makes you think I want to hear from you now?

Hey look, no problem.  I will certainly stop conversing with you from now on.  Have a nice day.     PG

mt_lion

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Re: A New Low for the Degenerate GOP
« Reply #86 on: July 28, 2018, 06:56:31 am »
I stopped read shit from you a long time ago.   What makes you think I want to hear from you now? 

PoplarGuy

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Re: A New Low for the Degenerate GOP
« Reply #85 on: July 28, 2018, 06:32:59 am »
What part of "I don't give a **** about Trump"  Dont you understand?   Never mind, like I said before....

Ok, so you don't give a shit about Trump.  I understand that since I don't give a shit about him either.  He is dead, rotting, meat as far as I am concerned.  But, since you only listen to Boy Scouts now, do you care that some are gay and some are girls?    PG

mt_lion

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Re: A New Low for the Degenerate GOP
« Reply #84 on: July 28, 2018, 06:13:47 am »
What part of "I don't give a **** about Trump"  Dont you understand?   Never mind, like I said before....

mt_lion

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Re: A New Low for the Degenerate GOP
« Reply #83 on: July 28, 2018, 06:12:28 am »
Also, remember, as the proud puzzy grabber has stated, you are not hearing or seeing what you think you are hearing or seeing.  It's 1984!   PG

do you think I don't know that?   I read the ******* book 30 plus years ago.   and acted.     Some shit takes a long time to fix.

PoplarGuy

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Re: A New Low for the Degenerate GOP
« Reply #82 on: July 28, 2018, 06:07:52 am »
Not listening to anyone anymore.    Except Boy Scouts

Also, remember, as the proud puzzy grabber has stated, you are not hearing or seeing what you think you are hearing or seeing.  It's 1984!   PG

PoplarGuy

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Re: A New Low for the Degenerate GOP
« Reply #81 on: July 28, 2018, 06:05:11 am »
Not listening to anyone anymore.    Except Boy Scouts

Sounds good to me.  Some of them are gay now so I hope that does snot bother you.  Also some of them are girls. Now that may bother you since they are suppose to be boys.  That's why they are called boy scouts.  PG

mt_lion

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Re: A New Low for the Degenerate GOP
« Reply #80 on: July 28, 2018, 06:02:32 am »
Not listening to anyone anymore.    Except Boy Scouts   

PoplarGuy

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Re: A New Low for the Degenerate GOP
« Reply #79 on: July 28, 2018, 06:00:40 am »
I don't like to roost... but then again I love to roost so think twice before stabbing me in the back.     The world still needs sum Boyscouts.

I was not stabbing you in the back.  I am happy to see you have woken and hope to see more of you here.  We do need sum boy scouts around here.     PG

PoplarGuy

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Re: A New Low for the Degenerate GOP
« Reply #78 on: July 28, 2018, 05:58:17 am »
The two party system isn't fit to govern.     It's one party with slick advertizing.

When you have a party that has become part of the communist party, then it no longer is effective in a democracy.  That is what has happened to the RNC and I never thought I would ever see that.  Having lived through the communist witch hunts of the 50s I am astounded that is what the party of my parents has become under this administration.    PG

mt_lion

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Re: A New Low for the Degenerate GOP
« Reply #77 on: July 28, 2018, 05:56:25 am »
Hey, the mt_lion has come out of hibernation.

I don't like to roost... but then again I love to roost so think twice before stabbing me in the back.     The world still needs sum Boyscouts.

PoplarGuy

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Re: A New Low for the Degenerate GOP
« Reply #76 on: July 28, 2018, 05:53:56 am »
Hey, the mt_lion has come out of hibernation. 

mt_lion

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Re: A New Low for the Degenerate GOP
« Reply #75 on: July 28, 2018, 05:34:07 am »
The two party system isn't fit to govern.     It's one party with slick advertizing. 

Gemini

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Re: A New Low for the Degenerate GOP
« Reply #74 on: July 27, 2018, 06:43:06 am »
The GOP isn’t fit to govern

The Post reports on the resolution introduced by 11 members of the House Freedom Caucus to impeach — yes, impeach — Deputy Attorney General Rod J. Rosenstein:

    The effort, led by Reps. Mark Meadows (R-N.C.) and Jim Jordan (R-Ohio), … sets up a showdown with House Republican leaders, who have distanced themselves from calls to remove Rosenstein from office. But Meadows and Jordan stopped short of forcing an immediate vote on the measure, sparing Republican lawmakers for now from a potential dilemma.  …

    House Republicans have been ramping up their attacks on the deputy attorney general in recent weeks, accusing him of withholding documents and being insufficiently transparent in his handling of the probe led by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III.

    Justice Department officials have said they have provided the vast majority of information sought in subpoenas from two key House committees — and are     nearly done with providing all the outstanding information requested in those subpoenas. Democrats have said that House Republicans’ clashes with Rosenstein are little more than a pretext to weaken Mueller’s efforts.

Mind you, there has been no finding that Rosenstein is in contempt of Congress or that he has broken any regulation or law. The impeachment resolution is pure piffle. (“A Justice Department official said Wednesday that only one committee request has been formally denied — a demand to see the unredacted Justice Department memo detailing which Trump associates are under investigation by Mueller and for which potential crimes. Officials declined that request because, they said, providing it could compromise ongoing investigations.”) Not even House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) thinks that the resolution has merit.

Indeed, former Justice Department officials and legal scholars have fretted that Rosenstein has been too accommodating to congressional requests. “The ironic thing about this push is that Rosenstein has done far more to satisfy what are really inappropriate requests from House Republicans than DOJ has ever done before,” former Justice Department spokesman Matt Miller says. “It’s been clear from the beginning that Meadows and company weren’t interested in anything other than shutting down the Mueller investigation, and this ridiculous move makes it even more obvious.”

The damage here is being done not by Rosenstein, but by irresponsible, hyper-partisan congressmen. Former White House ethics counsel Norman Eisen and Fred Wertheimer, founder of Democracy 21, recently wrote about the impeachment gambit:

    Key House Republicans are abusing their offices and the public trust to blindly provide protection for [President] Trump. They are doing so instead of working to get to the bottom of the worst foreign attack on American elections in our history.

    They need to be called on their scandalous efforts to undermine the Mueller investigation and ignore Russia’s cyber invasion of our democracy. A bipartisan outcry greeted Trump’s Helsinki betrayals. We should be hearing protests at least as loud and bipartisan in response to this parallel — and equally unmerited — attack on American law enforcement right here at home.

It is not Rosenstein who should be removed from office, but rather, the House Republican members who are obstructing an ongoing investigation of the Republican president and his cronies. While their actions are protected (most likely) under the” speech or debate” clause (preventing criminal prosecution or civil suit for actions that would otherwise be actionable), their pattern of conduct (cooking up a misleading memo about the FISA warrant application for Carter Page’s surveillance, exposing a confidential intelligence source, smearing the FBI) amounts to multiple blatant attempts to thwart an entirely legitimate investigation. If anyone in the White House is conspiring with them to interfere with the investigation, such individuals could be investigated for obstruction of justice.

“This is a cynical, corrupt effort to kneecap the legitimate investigation of Jordan’s and Meadows’s ally, the president,” Eisen tells me. “Their gambit is entirely divorced from the reality of Rosenstein‘s compliance with congressional requests , which has been quite good on his part. For that reason, it is highly likely to fail.” He observes that a similar effort with “the same actors previously tried the same ploy with another set of baseless allegations, against IRS Commissioner [John] Koskinen. They were defeated by an overwhelming bipartisan vote and the same thing will likely happen here.” He concludes, “Unfortunately, real harm will be done to an outstanding public servant and to law enforcement itself in the process. Jordan and Meadows surely know that and are proceeding anyhow to protect the president. What a betrayal of their oaths—and their country.”

Ranking Democrats Jerrold Nadler (N.Y.) of the House Judiciary Committee, Elijah Cummings (Md.) of the Oversight and Government Reform Committee, and Adam Schiff (Calif.) of the Intelligence Committee issued a statement Wednesday night blasting the Republicans’ stunt. “This resolution to impeach Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein is a direct attack on the Special Counsel’s investigation—full stop,” they said. “It is a panicked and dangerous attempt to undermine an ongoing criminal investigation in an effort to protect President Trump as the walls are closing in around him and his associates.” They added: “It is fortunate that this resolution has no chance of actually forcing the removal of Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein, who stands as one of the few restraints against the overreaches of the President and his allies in Congress. To date, Special Counsel Mueller has obtained 30 indictments and five guilty pleas against a group that includes four Trump campaign officials and 26 Russian nationals.”

Ironically, Republicans have been arguing that if Democrats ever get control of Congress, they will tie the place up with bogus impeachment hearings and create gridlock. No, Republicans are doing that all on their own. “It’s a PR stunt that nobody who knows anything about impeachment could take seriously,” says constitutional scholar Larry Tribe. “But it will do great harm anyway by contributing to the degradation of the impeachment power, making it harder to use when it is truly needed to rein in a would be-dictator.” Referencing his book with Joshua Matz, “To End a Presidency: The Power of Impeachment,” Tribe tells me this is why he and Matz argue that “casual and frequent impeachment talk can damage the already frayed fabric of our dangerously polarized polity.”

While House Speaker Paul D. Ryan (R-Wis.) tried to discourage this move, it is he who has indulged the GOP antics — especially the dishonest and grossly inappropriate conduct of House Intelligence Committee Chairman Devin Nunes (R-Calif.). It’s he who has refused to support a legitimate independent commission to review the Russia matter, opposed a joint select committee, made light of the president’s attacks on the rule of law and refused to consider legislation protecting Rosenstein and Mueller.

UPDATE: In case it wasn’t clear that this is all about Jordan’s political aspirations, he indicated today that he is running for speaker. Meanwhile, in response to reporters’ questions, Ryan reiterated he did not think Rosenstein’s conduct was impeachable.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/right-turn/wp/2018/07/26/the-rosenstein-impeachment-resolution-shows-why-the-gop-isnt-fit-to-govern/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.0757e0921265


Gemini

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Re: A New Low for the Degenerate GOP
« Reply #73 on: July 26, 2018, 09:44:25 am »
If you haven't seen the episode I encourage to do so. Hard to believe such a gullible imbecile could get elected to the Georgia legislature.

Georgia Congressman Pranked By Sacha Baron Cohen To Resign After Backlash 

Jason Spencer, the Georgia state lawmaker who dropped his pants and screamed the “n-word” on the Sunday episode of Sacha Baron Cohen’s Showtime series Who Is America?, has announced his resignation effective July 31.

That is change of stance for the disgraced politician who yesterday insisted that he would serve out the remaining five months of his term. The resignation comes after 48 hours of relentless mocking and calls for Spencer to step down.

Spencer’s pending exit was revealed in a letter he has submitted to Georgia House Speaker David Ralston who had previously called Spencer’s actions and language “reprehensible.”

On Who Is America?, Spencer was part of a skit featuring Cohen as a character named Col. Erran Morad, an anti-terrorism expert. In addition to supposedly learning anti-terrorism techniques, the two discussed Spencer’s support of a burqa ban.

In the now-viral episode, Spencer can be seen charging towards Cohen, bare butt-first, in an exercise designed to frighten off potential homophobic Islamic terrorist kidnappers.

Cohen/Morad also convinced Spencer – with no arm-twisting – to shout the “N-word” as a way of drawing attention during a kidnapping.

Spencer’s actions drew immediate condemnation, and as evidenced by The View earlier this week, uniting even the unlikeliest side-takers. Meghan McCain called Cohen “a genius” who exposes the “lowest common denominators,” while Joy Behar noted that Spencer seemed to enjoy yelling out the N-word.

In a statement to the Washington Post, Spencer initially had attempted to explain away his actions as resulting from fear, following death threats he and his family had received over legislation he had introduced.

https://www.yahoo.com/entertainment/georgia-congressman-pranked-sacha-baron-061052527.html

PoplarGuy

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Re: A New Low for the Degenerate GOP
« Reply #72 on: July 24, 2018, 09:17:33 pm »
FROM TIME MAGAZINE
More Than 460 Migrant Parents Might Have Been Deported Without Their Children
By Katie Reilly July 24, 2018

More than 460 migrant parents who were separated from their children at the southern border might have already been deported without their kids, the Trump Administration said in a court filing on Monday.

Of the 2,551 children ages 5 and older who were forcibly separated from their families under the Trump Administration’s “zero tolerance” policy, 1,187 have been reunited or released to other guardians so far, according to the joint status report filed by attorneys for the American Civil Liberties Union and the Justice Department on Monday. But hundreds of reunifications remain incomplete, days before a court-ordered deadline.

A judge had ordered the Trump Administration to reunite all children ages 5 and up by Thursday. Children under the age of 5 were ordered to be reunited by July 10 — a deadline the Administration missed by two days.

Monday’s court filing said that case notes for 463 adults indicate they are no longer in the United States, but the cases are still “under review.”

The ACLU, which is suing the Trump Administration to reunite immigrant families, had asked the government for a list of parents who were removed from the country and a list of parents who were released from the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement, or ICE. Justice Department attorneys said they were “continuing to review their case notes and intend to provide updated data on these two categories of class members as soon as possible.”

Separately, 130 parents waived reunification during an interview with immigration officials — a decision some parents have made to leave children with family members in the U.S., often because they believe doing so might offer the child a better life.

“These parents urgently need consultations with lawyers, so that they do not mistakenly strand their children in the United States, and Plaintiffs’ partners are ready to provide these consultations immediately,” ACLU attorneys said in Monday’s filing.

In total, more than 1,600 adults were “possibly eligible for reunification,” and more than 900 adults were not eligible or undergoing further evaluation as of Monday.

http://time.com/5347015/trump-family-separation-parents-deported/

ArrowheadWoodsGuy

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Re: A New Low for the Degenerate GOP
« Reply #71 on: July 17, 2018, 03:33:13 pm »
Comrade Trump just offered one of the boldest lies of his presidency

Comrade Trump: You gonna believe me or your lying ears?

By Zack Beauchamp


President Donald Trump just issued what was arguably the most bald-faced lie of his entire presidency — and that’s saying something.

Following massive bipartisan condemnation of Trump’s disastrous Monday press conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Helsinki, in which he questioned whether Russia was responsible for meddling in the 2016 US election, Trump held a surprise press appearance on Tuesday afternoon to try to walk back his comments.

Sitting at a table in the White House with members of Congress, Trump read directly off a sheet of paper that had clearly been prepared by his advisers. In halting speech, he asserted that he had “full faith and support for America’s great intelligence agencies” and that he “accepted” US intelligence’s findings that Russia was behind cyberattacks leading up to the election.

He claimed that he had misspoken at yesterday’s press conference when he told reporters “I don’t see any reason why it would be [Russia]” that interfered in the 2016 election. According to Trump, he meant to say, “I don’t see any reason why it wouldn’t be [Russia].”

That might be plausible in theory, but if you look at the actual context of what Trump said, it makes no sense, and it’s very clear that he was expressing skepticism about Russia’s guilt. Here’s the key sentence, in italics, surrounded by context:

My people came to me, Dan Coats came to me and some others; they said they think it’s Russia. I have President Putin. He just said it’s not Russia. I will say this. I don’t see any reason why it would be, but I really do want to see the server. But I have confidence in both parties. ... I think it’s a disgrace that we can’t get Hillary Clinton’s 33,000 emails.

So I have great confidence in my intelligence people, but I will tell you that President Putin was extremely strong and powerful in his denial today. And what he did is an incredible offer. He offered to have the people working on the case come and work with their investigators, with respect to the 12 people [Russian agents indicted by special counsel Robert Mueller for election interference]. I think that’s an incredible offer.


He’s saying, clearly, that there’s a conflict between US intelligence and Russian claims, that he’s not sure who’s right, and that he would appreciate Russian intelligence’s help in clearing up what happened.

This isn’t an issue of one skeptical word that could have been misspoken, but of an entire block of words obviously expressing skepticism about Putin and Russia’s guilt.

What’s more, in Trump’s walkback statement on Tuesday afternoon, he still ended up reiterating his skepticism. When Trump said, “I accept our intelligence community’s conclusion that Russia’s meddling in the 2016 election took place,” he immediately followed it up by saying, “Could be other people also. A lot of people out there.” He clearly doesn’t believe that Russia was involved. He just doesn’t, and he’s trying to convince us that he didn’t mean what he said.

This has happened before. As the Toronto Star’s Daniel Dale notes, it’s similar to Trump’s infamous statement expressing sympathy with the Charlottesville white supremacist marchers, in which he read prepared remarks that directly contradicted his ad-libbed, more sincere comments:


Daniel Dale

@ddale8
Replying to @ddale8
Remember the Charlottesville saga: Trump expressed his true views, there was an outcry, he dutifully read a staff-written walk-back statement, then soon after he abandoned the walk-back and even more forcefully expressed his true views.
11:43 AM - Jul 17, 2018

Let’s not dance around this: Trump is trying to gaslight the entire world, to assert that he said something he clearly didn’t by sheer force of confident assertion. The president is lying to us, he’s doing it brazenly, and we shouldn’t let him get away with it.
Nolite te bastardes carborundorum

PoplarGuy

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Re: A New Low for the Degenerate GOP
« Reply #70 on: June 27, 2018, 08:57:18 am »
THINGS THAT NEED TO BE SAID
So, Now You Want Civility?

June 26, 2018 / John Pavlovitz

Civility.

That’s the card you’re pulling now, Trump supporters?
That’s where you’ve landed?
That’s your go-to play at this stage of the game?
It’s a little late for you to roll that out now, isn’t it?

After voting for a self-proclaimed genitalia-grabber.
After he suggested dissenters at his rallies should be beaten up.
After hearing him call violent nazis “fine people.”
After he bulldozed sacred Native American lands and turned frigid hoses on tribe elders.
After he ignored mass deaths in Puerto Rico and vilified their public servants.
After he began dismantling protections to our planet and shrinking our national parks.
After witnessing Flint, Michigan go without clean water.
After watching exhausted refugee families stranded at airports.
After leveraging religion to justify all manner of discrimination.
After ignoring evidence of a Russian interference that threatens our national sovereignty.
After seeing ICE raids in hospital rooms and workplaces.
After his gross, reckless fabrications about Muslims and Mexicans and immigrants.
After witnessing him work tirelessly to take healthcare from the sick and the poor.
After he vilified kneeling black athletes and badgered their employers into silencing their peaceful protest.
After his unhinged Twitter rants against private citizens and their businesses, against celebrities and political opponents and world leaders.
After terrorizing teenage shooting survivors on social media.
After allowing the radicalized Christian right and soulless NRA gun zealots to shape national policy.
After sanctioning Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller and Sebastian Gorka and Jeff Sessions.
After retweeting the toxic filth of Dana Loesch and Laura Ingraham and Ann Coulter.
After celebrating while he’s alienated our greatest allies and aligned with malevolent dictators.
After your silence in the face of migrant children being ripped from their parent’s arms and placed in dog kennels.
After digging in your heels for the past two years on every bit of it.


Now you want to pretend to be civilized?
Now want to talk about measured debate?
Now you want to wag your finger at us for being disrespectful?
Now you want to shame us for our supposed lack of manners?
Now you want to gaslight us into guilt and apology—as if we’ve lost our dignity, as if we’ve sacrificed our humanity, as if we’ve bastardized our religion, as if we’re the ones impervious to other people’s feelings.

With all due respect—to hell with your phony civility.

No, you don’t get to play that card. That request is off the table for you.
You lost that moral high ground somewhere between excusing his mocking of a disabled reporter—and celebrating brown-skinned kids in cages.
Your lengthy, sickening body of work over the past two and a half years is the greatest witness of your fraudulence.

You don’t really want civility, anyway. That’s not what you’re asking for. If you were simply asking for that, we wouldn’t have an issue.

You want something else:
You want consent to your abject cruelty. You’re not going to get it.
You want our silence in the face of perversions of justice. It will not be forthcoming.
You want tacit approval for a white Evangelical theocracy. That ain’t gonna happen.
You want to us to quietly witness this President dismantling democracy. We’re simply not going to.
You want us worship your white, angry, American, gun-toting God. We won’t.
You want us to join you in your blind idolatry of a man fully lacking nobility. We won’t be.
You want the steady stream of Sarah Sanders lies, alternative Fox News facts to go unchecked. We’re not giving you that courtesy.
You want us to allow you to perpetuate dangerous false stereotypes of immigrants and young black men and Transgender people. We’re not going to.
You want us excuse your supremacy and indulge your privilege and sanction your President’s bigotry and applaud this Administration’s legislated assaults on marginalized communities. It’s gonna be a long wait, friend.


No, we’re not doing any of that.

What we are going to do, is clearly, repeatedly, and unapologetically oppose it all with everything we have.
We’re going to push back hard against every divisive meme you produce, every incendiary Tweet he manufactures, every human rights atrocity this Administration generates, every effort you make to normalize monstrous behavior or excuse his ramblings.

We’re going to be unflinching, and we’re going to use our outside voices, and we aren’t going to mince words when it comes to the inherent worth of human beings, the affronts on our Constitution, or the hijacking of our faith traditions.

You can call that uncivilized if you’d like, but honestly we don’t give a damn.

We’re going to be profoundly pissed off whenever diversity is threatened or when human beings are treated as less-than or when religion is invoked to do harm or when America’s stability is under attack.

In the face of the inhumane things on display in this country right now, we’ll take the cause of humanity and our volume every single time.

We’re going to be loud in the cause of love, even if that sounds like anger in your ears.

https://johnpavlovitz.com/2018/06/26/so-now-you-want-civility/


Gemini

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Re: A New Low for the Degenerate GOP
« Reply #69 on: June 23, 2018, 07:43:24 am »
Trump's policies aren't all outliers. They reflect a hardening of the American heart toward our neediest

The Trump administration and its Republican allies in Congress have embarked on a mission to reduce federal support for the poor. They are seeking to impose callous, untested work requirements on Medicaid and expand them on food stamps and related programs. The administration wants to hike rents on public housing tenants, who are among the neediest of the needy. At the very end of last year, Trump signed an ill-considered tax cut bill that benefits corporations and the wealthy while driving the budget deficit sky high and adding a trillion dollars to the national debt over the next decade. House Republicans are now proposing to rein in those deficits by cutting safety-net and domestic programs. It is, in effect, a multi-generational, reverse-Robin Hood transfer of wealth that reflects the hardening of the American heart.

Yes, there are still acts of generosity, such as when Los Angeles voters taxed themselves to raise millions for housing and services for the homeless. But such moves are local outliers. At the national level, the harshness comes through in our ever-meaner policies on poverty, in the undermining of the Affordable Care Act, in our “zero tolerance” approach to immigration enforcement — with parents packed off to detention centers to await misdemeanor prosecution for entering the country illegally while their kids are either incarcerated with them or caged separately or shunted off to foster families and extended family members.

In a damning report filed Friday, Philip Alston, the special rapporteur on extreme poverty for the United Nations, describes the U.S. as a world leader in two dissonant ways: in wealth and in poverty, when compared with other developed democracies. Some 5.3 million people in the U.S. “live in Third World conditions of absolute poverty,” wrote Alston, who is also a professor at the New York University School of Law.

The youth poverty rate and the infant mortality rate in the U.S. are among the worst among members of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development. “Its citizens live shorter and sicker lives compared to those living in all other rich democracies,” Alston said. The U.S. has the highest incarceration rate and one of the lowest voter-registration rates, again disproportionately among the poor. It also has one of the worst rates for intergenerational social mobility, meaning that our poor tend to stay poor despite decades of federal programs aimed at trying to give them some financial breathing room.

So why is that? “The persistence of extreme poverty is a political choice made by those in power,” Alston wrote. “With political will, it could readily be eliminated.” That seems a bit overly optimistic; ending poverty is a wonderful goal, but incredibly difficult to achieve. Especially in a dysfunctional political system in which power accrues to the wealthy and the connected. Poverty and economic inequality are complex issues comprising many shifting parts. Conservatives like to argue that the persistence of poverty proves that anti-poverty programs from the Lyndon Johnson-era Great Society on have failed. That’s a too-convenient conclusion; it can also be argued that such programs helped millions of people avoid falling even deeper into poverty, and that a more robust set of programs and spending could improve the lives of millions more.

Nikki Haley, the American ambassador to the United Nations, said last week that “it is patently ridiculous for the United Nations to examine poverty in America.”

There are obstacles to creating a government that cares. For one thing, polls suggest that most Americans disagree with the notion that helping the poor is the government’s responsibility. An even greater number believe the government is doing a bad job of it. A large portion of America believes the poor need to do more to help themselves.

Yet in a society with such a high cost of living and struggling schools and expensive colleges and a growing wealth gap, the climb out of poverty is steep and beyond the abilities of many individuals to handle on their own. It’s shameful that a nation as wealthy as this one is so willing to leave so many of its people in such desperate straits. That’s a moral failure.

http://www.latimes.com/opinion/editorials/la-ed-trump-social-safety-net-poverty-20180623-story.html