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Roland99's Journal
Roland99's Journal
October 5, 2019

Paul Krugman lays it out. Blue states provide massive outlays to Red states


So I gave the lunchtime keynote yesterday at the Boston Fed conference on regional divergence. I didn't use slides; but one point I made is that the feds effectively give large aid to lagging states. Here's Federal outlays and receipts by state by state per capita income 1/


Outlays slightly declining in income, probably bc of means-tested programs; sharply declining as share of income. Receipts strongly increasing in income. So poor states like Kentucky receive gigantic net inflows, ~20 percent of state GDP 2/

Paul Krugman

This aid creates jobs too! KY has <6K coal miners, around 250K jobs in health and social assistance. Who do you think pays for that? 3/
October 5, 2019

Defraudian Slip



"Together, we will express the corruption, we will defeat the socialists, we will defraud...we will stop defrauding all of the people in our country, because they've defrauded the people in our country," President Trump says at Young Black Leadership Summit.

And the guy behind him... hehe
October 5, 2019

OMG! Trump Orders Cut to National Security Staff After Whistle-Blower


President Donald Trump has ordered a substantial reduction in the staff of the National Security Council, according to five people familiar with the plans, as the White House confronts an impeachment inquiry touched off by a whistle-blower complaint related to the agency’s work.

Some of the people described the staff cuts as part of a White House effort to make its foreign policy arm leaner under new National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien.

The request to limit the size of the NSC staff was conveyed to senior agency officials by acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney and O’Brien this week. The whistle-blower complaint, focused on Trump’s conduct in a July 25 phone call with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy, has been followed by damaging reports on the president’s private conversations with other world leaders.


Two of the people familiar with the decision to shrink the NSC insisted it was largely rooted in both the transition to O’Brien’s leadership as well as Trump’s desire to increase efficiency at the agency, which grew under former President Barack Obama. About 310 people currently work at the NSC.
October 5, 2019

Volker testimony...more devastating for the White House than even the reporting suggests.

Volker testimony and, on a close read, they are more devastating for the White House than even the reporting suggests.

Twitter thread...

Full thread with images:

Reviewed the materials released by the House Committees’ from Amb. Volker testimony and, on a close read, they are more devastating for the White House than even the reporting suggests.

Let’s walk through both Volker’s testimony & then the corroborating texts...

First: who is Volker? He’s the former US Rep for Ukraine Negotiations & he resigned a week ago after news of the July 25 call btw Trump & Zelenskyy broke.

These are his words—and he immediately rebukes the whole Deep State nonsense right out of the gate. No “spies” or “treason”.

He then frames the entire affair as his dogged effort to “fix a problem as best he could.” He also goes out of his way to highlight that *he* was focused on US national security interests. It’s almost like he thinks the evidence might lead us to question that fact.

So what problem was Volker fixing? “A negative narrative about Ukraine, fueled by assertions made by” Lutsenko, that reached the President and “impeded our ability to support” Ukraine.

This is an admission that Trump’s belief in conspiracies & Biden charges influenced US policy.

Then, Volker moves into CYA mode. He disavows knowledge of anything related to Biden—but the revealed text messages suggest otherwise. Indeed, “Burisma” which was clearly code for “Biden” appears routinely throughout, as we’ll see.

Read this! Volker clearly knows this smelled.

Finally—Volker goes to great pains to make it clear that he actively opposed withholding aid to Ukraine, along with the rest of practically the entire US national security and foreign policy apparatus.

Trump injured American interests to pressure Ukraine into doing his bidding.

The entire Giuliani section makes it clear that he & Trump were undermining the judgment of State officials on Ukraine. And Biden was all over this thing. Burisma clearly equaled investigating Biden throughout.

Oh, also—Volker says claims against Biden are bogus.

Listen to Volker’s own assessment of Trump’s inability to even grasp the impact of changing circumstances in Ukraine after the election.

This is scary, folks. The President is just dense. He doesn’t understand things and thinks other countries are “trying to take him down.”

Then, in the section of testimony about the Rudy/Yermak tango, Volker discusses negotiations over an official statement that Trump/Rudy wanted Zelenskyy to deliver re: investigating “Burisma & 2016,” presumably to create bad press for Biden. Rudy made repeated demands. Shameful.

Now — let’s move to the smoking guns: the text messages between various players in this shakedown.

These are really the nail in the coffin—Volker’s testimony just reinforces how bad this thing was for US interests in Ukraine & his damning feelings & guilt over what occurred.

Thankfully—some of these are so bad, we can cut right to the chase: Here’s Volker advising Yermak about the quid pro quo. Zelenskyy had to convince Trump he would investigate in order to secure a meeting with Trump. This was BEFORE the call.

Quid. Quo. It’s all there.

Need more evidence? Try this from Ambassador Bill Taylor who made clear that’s exactly what he was gathering from the situation. Sondland — who plays the role of yes-man in all this—won’t put things in text.

He knows he can’t memorialize the truth.

Bill Taylor doesn’t give in. He’s pissed. Why? Because withholding the aid is playing right into the Russian’s hands.

The move was un-American—and they knew it.

Finally—this kicker closes things out. Bill Taylor is furious that aid was withheld and progress in Ukraine stalled “for help with a political campaign.” Sondland unmoved. Notice, after Taylor speaks truth, Sondland takes 5 hrs to compile a legal treatise denying the suggestion.

This was just the *first* witness. This new evidence, combined w/ the July 25 call summary & the WB complaint, makes it abundantly clear that it was common knowledge for officials that a quid pro quo existed whereby Z would agree to investigate Biden for US aid & access. Period.
October 5, 2019

Fox's Chris Wallace: Kurt Volker's testimony is 'quite devastating to the president'

Fox News Sunday anchor Chris Wallace on Friday explained why congressional testimony from former U.S. Special Envoy to Ukraine Kurt Volker was bad news for President Donald Trump and his allies.

“The breaking news to me, today, is … Fox has gotten ahold of the 11-page statement, opening statement by Kurt Volker yesterday in a closed session. He of course was the special envoy from the administration to Ukraine. He was very involved in all of this. This 11-page opening statement is quite devastating to the president and Rudy Giuliani’s case.”

It basically says that Volker, who all sides agree was an honest broker in this whole thing, was very disturbed by the information — he thought disinformation — that various Ukrainian officials were sending to Rudy Giuliani, the president’s private lawyer, and that Rudy Giuliani was then spreading that information in Washington.”

“That might be a reason why the president was so reluctant to meet with [Ukrainian president] Zelensky and also to, of course, push Zelensky to investigate in that July 25th phone call both potential involvement in the 2016 election by the Ukrainians and also Joe Biden and his role.”

Wallace noted that Volker also told members of Congress that he does not believe that Biden had done anything wrong.
October 5, 2019

Pompeo fails to meet subpoena deadline


NEWS: A House Foreign Affairs Committee official tells @AlexNBCNews that Sec. Pompeo failed to meet today’s subpoena deadline for Ukraine docs. “However, the State Department has contacted the Committees on this matter and we hope the Department will cooperate in full promptly.”

Inherent contempt! Now! Esp since Pompeo had the balls to do this today:
October 5, 2019

NYT: 2nd Official Is Weighing Whether to Blow the Whistle on Trump's Ukraine Dealings

2nd Official Is Weighing Whether to Blow the Whistle on Trump’s Ukraine Dealings

The official, a member of the intelligence community, was interviewed by the inspector general to corroborate the original whistle-blower’s account.


WASHINGTON — A second intelligence official who was alarmed by President Trump’s dealings with Ukraine is weighing whether to file his own formal whistle-blower complaint and testify to Congress, according to two people briefed on the matter.

The official has more direct information about the events than the first whistle-blower, whose complaint that Mr. Trump was using his power to get Ukraine to investigate his political rivals touched off an impeachment inquiry. The second official is among those interviewed by the intelligence community inspector general to corroborate the allegations of the original whistle-blower, one of the people said.

The inspector general, Michael Atkinson, briefed lawmakers privately on Friday about how he substantiated the whistle-blower’s account. It was not clear whether he told lawmakers that the second official is considering filing a complaint.


Because the second official has met with Mr. Atkinson’s office, it was unclear whether he needs to file a complaint to gain the legal protections offered to intelligence community whistle-blowers. Witnesses who speak with inspectors general are protected by federal law that outlaws reprisals against officials who cooperate with an inspector general.
October 5, 2019

Irony just shot itself


The Hill

Sec. Mike Pompeo: "A strong democracy must also be responsive to public concern and take firm measures to resist and defend against malign influences."
October 4, 2019

Florida woman 'consumed' by Columbine and Oklahoma City arrested with two dozen pipe bombs

Florida woman 'consumed' by Columbine and Oklahoma City arrested with two dozen pipe bombs

A Florida woman "consumed" by the Oklahoma City bombing and the Columbine High School shooting built two dozen pipe bombs and was arrested before she could pull off a "catastrophic" attack, officials said Friday.

The parents of Michelle Kolts, 27, called 911 early Thursday night and deputies found two dozen nail and pellet bombs that just needed gun powder to be detonated, Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister said.

"These bombs could have caused catastrophic damage and harm to hundreds, even thousands of people," the sheriff said.

The deputies also found pistol powder, "fuse material," 23 knives, two hatchets, nunchucks, two BB rifles, six BB handguns and dozens of books on terrorism and bomb-making at the family's home on Jagged Cloud Drive in Wimauma, about 30 miles south of downtown Tampa.

FWIW, I checked FL voter registration. She’s registered republican
October 4, 2019

Some feedback from the Finnish president on his visit to the United States


Do you have any feedback as to how your stay could be improved?

Well, I have to say, I would perhaps have done certain things slightly differently. For instance, it was clear that President Trump had many things he wanted to get off his chest, primarily about someone named Adam Schiff, but also about the governor of California? I found this unseemly emotional outburst off-putting. I would not have asked him to stand there while I had an emotional outburst. To me, a more seemly way of showing disapproval would be to purchase and then quietly hand them a Marimekko design that is in an unpleasing color — although, such a Marimekko design does not exist?

I do not understand why it was necessary for me to sit there silently like an Artek daybed (although even when they are silent, Artek daybeds make statements). He kept yelling about a perfect conversation, but if it was anything like the conversation we had, I would say it was not perfect. A perfect conversation, to us in Finland, is one in which the freedom of the press is respected and people do not shout, say inaccurate things about the European Union and give the press mean nicknames. We reserve this kind of saltiness for our licorice.

Also, I would say, it is embarrassing for a leader to hector his press and call them fake. It makes him look bad, and it is uncomfortable. It seemed as though this was the kind of thing you would want to save for later, when you were alone, after you were not trying to impress people anymore. Indeed, I started to wonder: Does he know that I am here? I am just sitting here like the "J" in “fjord” or the many treasures of Helsinki: I am there, but nobody thinks about me. I began to feel that I had blended into the chair, but then he placed his hand on my knee, so I knew I had not been forgotten.

In Finland, we are proud of our free press. The United States, too, should be proud. They should not let this man insult one of the things that should be a source of national pride. Does he do this to Tiffany lamps and the Grand Canyon?

I kept thinking, should I say something? Then the president yelled at a reporter for not directing his question to me, but when he did direct the question to me, the president interrupted and made it difficult for me to answer. On the whole, it was confusing.

Much more hilarity at the link!!

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Louisville, KY
Current location: Central FL
Member since: Thu Sep 16, 2004, 02:03 PM
Number of posts: 53,342
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