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Bill USA

Profile Information

Member since: Wed Mar 3, 2010, 04:25 PM
Number of posts: 6,281

About Me

Quotes I like: "Prediction is very difficult, especially concerning the future." "There are some things so serious that you have to laugh at them.” __ Niels Bohr Given his contribution to the establishment of quantum mechanics, I guess it's not surprising he had such a quirky of sense of humor. ......................."Deliberate misinterpretation and misrepresentation of another's position is a basic technique of (dis)information processing" __ I said that

Journal Archives

Bombshell Report Suggests Trump's National Security Adviser Is Dishonest and a Threat to US Policy


Carlos Barria/Reuters/ZUMA

The Trump-Russia scandal has so far resided in the territory between smoke and fire. Donald Trump associates have reportedly been investigated for interactions with Russia, but the FBI has not released information on these contacts. Trump has pushed an America First policy, but he has curiously denied or downplayed the US intelligence conclusion that Vladimir Putin mounted an extensive covert campaign to subvert the 2016 election to benefit Trump and instead has cultivated an odd bromance with the Russian autocrat. A series of memos written by a former counterintelligence officer contained allegations that Russian intelligence had spent years cultivating or co-opting Trump and gathering compromising information on him and that the Trump camp had colluded with Russians, but the specifics have not been confirmed.

Yet now one piece of the Trump-Russia puzzle has been clearly depicted: Trump's national security adviser was in cahoots with Russia to undermine the US government's effort to punish Moscow for hacking the US election—and he apparently lied about it. If Trump does not fire him—and if Washington's political-media complex (including Republicans) does not go ballistic over this revelation—then the Putinization of America has taken another big step forward.

On Thursday night, after a long and wild day of Trump news (Trump attacking Sen. John McCain, Kellyanne Conway seemingly breaking the law, an appeals court ruling against Trump's Muslim travel ban, and much more), the Washington Post dropped a bomb: a thoroughly reported article with the headline "National Security Adviser Flynn Discussed Sanctions With Russian Ambassador, Despite Denials, Officials Say." It began:

National security adviser Michael Flynn privately discussed U.S. sanctions against Russia with that country's ambassador to the United States during the month before President Trump took office, contrary to public assertions by Trump officials, current and former U.S. officials said.

Flynn's communications with Russian Ambassador Sergey Kislyak were interpreted by some senior U.S. officials as an inappropriate and potentially illegal signal to the Kremlin that it could expect a reprieve from sanctions that were being imposed by the Obama administration in late December to punish Russia for its alleged interference in the 2016 election.

Here was Flynn working against US policy—against steps President Barack Obama had ordered in response to Putin's meddling in the US election. He was in essence telling Moscow not to fret over these sanctions and that Russia would be rewarded once Trump moved into the White House. He was explicitly aiding the enemy that had attacked US democracy.

This move was in sync with the approach taken by Trump, who has refused to criticize Russia for intervening in the election. After Trump's first call with Putin as president, the White House accounts of the call contained no indication that Trump had even raised the subject.

The Scandal That Could Bring Trump Down Grows As Flynn Top Aide Denied Security Clearance


The CIA denied a top aide to Trump's National Security adviser security clearance, just hours after Donald Trump's National Security adviser was busted for lying about the nature of his repeated contacts with a Russian ambassador.

All of that Russia Trump smoke is gathering steam.

The CIA denied a top aide to President Trump’s National Security adviser security clearance, Politico reported.

“The CIA freezes out top (Michael) Flynn aide. The agency denied a security clearance for a key aide to the National Security Adviser — ratcheting up tensions between Flynn and the intel community,” Kenneth P. Vogel and Josh Dawsey reported about top deputy to Flynn on the National Security Council, senior director for Africa Robin Townley.


Within the last 48 hours, President Trump’s National Security adviser Michael Flynn was busted for having repeated talks with Russia’s Ambassador about President Obama’s sanctions against Russia both during the campaign and the transition.

Friday, top Democrats demanded that President Trump fire Michael Flynn immediately, seeing as Flynn appeared to be in violation of the Logan Act by negotiating with Russia about American policy.

Chip in $40 to the Trump Investigative Fund and fight back against efforts to silence dissent


Elizabeth Warren went to the floor of the Senate and did something that, ordinarily, would not be controversial. She read a letter from Martin Luther King Jr.’s widow, Coretta Scott King.

These are not ordinary times.

The letter, penned in 1986, criticized the record of Jeff Sessions — who Trump nominated to attorney general — on voting rights. “Mr. Sessions has used the awesome powers of his office in a shabby attempt to intimidate and frighten elderly black voters,” King wrote.

Majority Leader Mitch McConnell claimed that Warren, by reading the letter, had “impugned the motives and conduct of our colleague from Alabama” and invoked an obscure parliamentary rule to force her to stop talking. Virtually every Republican senator then voted to formally silence Warren.

“She was warned. She was given an explanation. Nevertheless, she persisted,” McConnell said of Warren.

Fight Totalitarian Government.

Donald Trump Wants Taxpayers to Subsidize His Payoffs to Politicians - Dean Baker


During his presidential campaign Donald Trump frequently talked about how he used campaign contributions as payoffs to advance his business interests. He boasted that if you give politicians money they have to do what you want. In an apparent effort to further advance his business interests, Donald Trump is pushing a plan that would allow him to get taxpayer subsidies for these payoffs.

According to The New York Times, he’s proposing a plan that would overturn current law, so that tax-exempt churches could get directly involved in political campaigns. (The Times’ article is inaccurately headlined, saying that Trump would end “law banning political endorsements by churches.” There is no law that blocks churches from making political endorsements. The law only blocks endorsements by organizations with tax-exempt status.)

If Congress follows the path proposed by Trump, he would be able to make tax-deductible donations to a church-like organization, which would then pass them on as payoffs to politicians of Mr. Trump’s choosing. This would mean, for example, that he could donate $100 million to the First Church of Trump. Since this donation would be tax deductible, he would get 40 percent, or $40 million, written off of his taxes. The Church of Trump would then make contributions to the candidates of Trump’s choosing. He would then call upon these politicians for favors he needs to boost his businesses profits.

It will be interesting to see if the same Congress will be able to vote for both cuts to people’s health care and subsidies to Donald Trump’s political payoffs.

the same day Rex Tillerson is confirmed, House votes to kill a transparency rule for oil companies


On Wednesday, Republicans in Congress will get started dismantling President Barack Obama’s environmental legacy — deploying a rarely used tactic to overturn two big federal regulations around coal mining and methane leaks (as well as three other rules).

The background here is that it would be tricky and time-consuming for the Trump administration to repeal many Obama-era regulations all by itself. But Congress can easily wipe out a subset of Obama’s agency rules using the 1996 Congressional Review Act, which allows the House and Senate to nullify any recently finalized federal regulation by a simple majority vote in both chambers — so long as the president agrees.

What counts as “recently finalized” here gets complicated, but Congress can basically use the CRA to repeal any rule finished by Obama after mid-June 2016 — a list that spans more than 50 major regulations. This week, the GOP will focus on killing two big environmental rules plus three others:

1. The stream protection rule for coal mining. This regulation, finalized in December 2016, would sharply restrict coal-mining companies from dumping debris and waste into nearby waterways in the future. Also, before starting a new mine, coal companies would have to develop a plan and set aside money to restore affected streams once finished. Advocates say the rule is crucial to protect fragile ecosystems and limit the dumping of toxic heavy metals into water supplies. But the coal industry — which is already in sharp decline — says it would put large swaths of the nation’s untapped coal reserves off-limits and further crunch mining companies.

The methane waste rule. This Department of Interior regulation, finalized in November 2016, would require oil and gas companies to reduce methane leaks from operations on federal and tribal lands. Instead of just flaring it or letting it waft into the air, companies would have to capture the methane and sell it off. This rule was a component of Obama’s climate plan, which aimed to reduce emissions of methane — a powerful greenhouse-gas — from oil and gas drilling 40 percent by 2025. But the oil industry preferred this be regulated at the state level (which is typically looser).

3. The “resource extraction rule.” This SEC regulation, finalized in June 2016, would require publicly traded oil, gas, and mining companies to disclose payments they make to foreign governments. It was done under the auspices of the 2010 Dodd-Frank financial reform bill. Its supporters say the increased transparency would deter corruption from oil companies working abroad. But oil companies hate it — when Trump’s new Secretary of State Rex Tillerson was head of ExxonMobil, he flew to DC to lobby against it, arguing it would put US energy companies at a competitive disadvantage.


11 Charts That Show Income Inequality keeps getting worse - Mother Jones


It's no secret that the United States has a glaring—and growing—problem with inequality. The Great Recession made things worse, and the recent economic recovery remains uneven, and unevenly distributed. Families in the bottom 99 percent of households have recovered just 60 percent of their income losses from the economic slump, according to a recent analysis of tax data by University of California-Berkeley economist Emmanuel Saez.

Meanwhile, the superrich keep getting richer: The average family in the top 1 percent of earners makes 40 times more than the average family in the bottom 90 percent of households. Families in the top 0.01 percent—the 1 percent of the 1 percent—make, on average, a whopping 198 times more than those in the bottom 90 percent, according to Saez and fellow economist Thomas Piketty's data.

It's no wonder, then, that despite millions of jobs being added under President Barack Obama and an economy that looks good on paper, many voters who felt left out of the recovery turned out for Donald Trump. "An economy that fails to deliver growth for half of its people for an entire generation is bound to generate discontent with the status quo and a rejection of establishment politics," Saez, Piketty, and fellow economist Gabriel Zucman recently wrote in a post for the Washington Center for Equitable Growth. Trump tapped into that discontent—now we'll see if he and his billionaire-packed Cabinet can recover those decades of lost prosperity for most Americans.

Here's a closer look at the current state of income and wealth inequality:

The middle class is still struggling

First, some good news: Last year, middle-class households reaped an income gain of 5.2 percent, the highest level since 2007. Now the bad news: Despite such overdue gains, average American households are barely making more than they did in 1980. Median household incomes have risen just 17 percent (in real dollars) during the past 35 years, lagging far behind GDP growth. Meanwhile, the corporate profits and the average income of the top 1 percent of earners has skyrocketed.

click to see chart


White House reveals Trump was not in the Situation Room during his first military raid


Donald Trump’s first counter-terrorist military action as Commander-in-Chief was a raid on an al Qaeda compound in Yemen that tragically resulted in the death of U.S. Navy Seal Chief William “Ryan” Owens, as well as other injuries to service members and, reportedly, double-digit civilian casualties.

Already, military sources have been saying that the raid was the product of insufficient intelligence, and one Democrat has already called for a briefing on the raid. The raid was planned under the Obama administration, but approved by Trump during a dinner meeting during the first week of his presidency.

As the details on the ground during the raid become clearer, so do those of Trump’s actions during the raid, and they are disturbing. At the White House briefing, NBC’s Hallie Jackson asked White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer where Trump was during the operation, and received this stunning reply (emphasis mine):

video link: http://shareblue.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/02/9.mp4

“JACKSON: Where was the president the night of the raid? How did he learn about Chief Owens’ death? And do you still stand by your characterization that it was successful?

SPICER: The president was here in the residence. He was kept in touch with his national security staff. Secretary Mattis and others had kept him updated on both the raid and the death of Chief Owens, as well as the 4 other individuals that were injured. So, he was kept apprised of the situation throughout the evening. And again, I think I would go back to what I said yesterday: It’s hard to ever call something a complete success when you have a loss of life or people injured.

Trump to Halt Obama Fiduciary Rule, Order Review of Dodd-Frank: making America Break Again (Trickle

Disaster here we come)

It's only been about 7 years since the worst Economic Calamity since the Great Depression. We would have had a Great Depression II without President Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009. NOw the idiots of the GOP want to have a crash all over again.


President Donald Trump will halt an Obama administration regulation, hated by the financial industry, that requires retirement advisers to work in the best interests of their clients, while the new administration reviews the rule.

The president also will order a review of Dodd-Frank Act rules enacted in response to the 2008 financial crisis, a White House official said. Trump is scheduled to issue the directives at a signing ceremony around noon on Friday following a meeting of more than a dozen top corporate executives led byBlackstone Group LP Chief Executive OfficerSteve Schwarzman.

Trump’s directive stalls the so-called fiduciary rule -- set to take effect in April -- that the Obama administration said would protect millions of retirees from being steered into inappropriate high-cost or high-risk investments that generate bigger profits for brokers.


Cordray’s Future

The review will include examining making personnel changes at financial regulators as a way of accomplishing the administration’s objectives, the official said, though he declined to answer a question on whether Trump would try to fire Richard Cordray, the director of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. The official did say the administration believed that some of the rules created under Dodd-Frank may have been unconstitutional, including the creation of new agencies, an apparent reference to the bureau.

White House Petition To Release Trump's Tax Returns Closes In On A Half Million Signatures


Sick Cat Finds The Help He Needs After Breaking Into Apartment


In New York City, you do what you can to get by.

In the case of one very ill cat in the borough of the Bronx, that meant staging a break-in.

“He reportedly entered a stranger’s apartment through an open window,” said Kenia Castellanos, who runs the Hudson Valley branch of animal advocacy group Empty Cages Collective.


The orange and white feline, now named Zebro, was in bad shape — thin, dehydrated, and suffering from ear infections, an upper respiratory infection and renal failure. Though no one can know what was going on in Zebro’s mind, the group senses he was seeking help.

“We can only imagine the desperation that this cat must’ve felt in order to venture into a strange home,” ECC wrote on a fundraising page for Zebro’s medical expenses. “Police stated that they were able to easily pick him up and place him inside a box. Sweet Zebro did not resist, and he did not show any signs of aggression.”

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