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TomCADem's Journal
TomCADem's Journal
February 22, 2017

Iowa farmer warns Grassley about creating 'one great big death panel' with ObamaCare repeal

Source: The Hill

A farmer in Iowa faced off with Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) at a town hall event in the state on Tuesday, voicing his concerns about losing his healthcare coverage if ObamaCare is repealed.

“I’m on ObamaCare,” the man, identified as Chris Peterson, 62, told Grassley. “If it wasn’t for ObamaCare, we wouldn’t be able to afford insurance.”

“Over 20 million will lose coverage and with all due respect, sir, you’re the man that talked about the death panels. We're going to create one great big death panel in this country that people can’t afford to get insurance.”

The comment referred to a debunked claim Grassley supported in 2009 that with ObamaCare, Democrats would allow the federal government to “pull the plug on grandma” by establishing “death panels” that would help determine end-of-life care for individuals.

Read more: http://thehill.com/policy/healthcare/320560-iowa-farmer-to-grassley-youre-going-to-create-one-great-big-death-panel

This comment from a farmer was awesome.
February 22, 2017

'Sad!': Trump goes after 'so-called angry crowds' in GOP districts

Source: MSN/USA Today

President Trump took to Twitter Tuesday give to his take on the unrest seen at town hall events across the U.S., citing "so-called angry crowds" that he said are, in many cases, "planned out by liberal activists."

"The so-called angry crowds in home districts of some Republicans are actually, in numerous cases, planned out by liberal activists. Sad!" Trump tweeted.

Angry constituents swarmed town halls expressing concerns about the administration's policies on everything from immigration and health care to public lands.

Fox News aired a segment on its 6 p.m. show Special Report — just before the president's tweet — in which Peter Doocy reported that “some of the chaos from GOP town hall meetings is very well-choreographed by the liberal activists that helped get Barack Obama elected president.”

Read more: http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/sad-trump-goes-after-so-called-angry-crowds-in-gop-districts/ar-AAnbUrW?li=BBnb7Kz

So, liberals are not real constituents? Perhaps they are alternate voters?
February 21, 2017

CNN - These Republicans didn't like Trump at first. They do now.

This is why we are not going to take back Congress in 2018 or beat Trump in 2020 without liberals being able to convince people on the ground that Republican policies are wrong. Otherwise, Republicans in Congress will continue to look the other way, because Trump reflects the views of the Republican base. The rich love him because he will cut taxes and environmental protections. The working class whites love him, because he gleefully scapegoats minorities and feminists. You need look no further than Nazi Germany to see just how powerful and popular a fascist message can be.


Trump's provocative comments about women and minorities -- including assertions that Mexican immigrants were "rapists," that he could grab women's genitals with impunity and that African Americans had never been worse off than they were last year -- along with his misrepresentation of facts and tendency to boast gave Democrats hope that significant numbers of Republicans, particularly women, would cross party lines and vote for Hillary Clinton. They did not.

When it came time to vote, Republicans were as loyal to their party as Democrats were to theirs. And now, they are standing solidly behind Trump, even as his approval rating is the lowest of any new president in modern times. Trump's 40% approval rating is 21 points below average for a president finishing his first month in office, while his 87% approval rating among Republicans is second only to that of George W. Bush among all GOP presidents elected in the last 65 years, Gallup reported Friday.

Put another way, a greater percentage of Republicans support Trump than backed Ronald Reagan after his first four weeks in the Oval Office.

I called a number of Republicans I met along the campaign trail to find out what they think of Trump now. Some bemoaned his blustery style. None disputed his policies. The reason is simple: They agree with him.
February 20, 2017

Dahlia Lithwick - This Emoluments Thing Isnt Going Away

Nice article by Slate legal commentator, Dahlia Lithwick.


When last we checked in on President Trump and his assorted emoluments issues, a lawsuit had been filed and there was some question of whether the plaintiffs had any standing to proceed. There is now reason to believe the standing issue will be resolved and that there is a relatively easy way forward.

The Emoluments Clause, as you will recall, is to be found in Article I, Section 9 of the U.S. Constitution. It provides that “no person holding any office of profit or trust under them, shall, without the consent of the Congress, accept of any present, emolument, office, or title, of any kind whatever, from any king, prince, or foreign state.” In addition, a second emoluments provision in Article II, Section 1 prohibits the president from receiving, on top of his salary, “any other Emolument from the United States, or any of them.”

The fear animating these clauses was that foreign governments might try to bribe elected officials with gifts and payments, a form of corruption the founders found terrifying. When President Trump indicated he would not divest from his businesses or place them in a blind trust, scholars argued that he was taking gifts from foreign powers every time a Trump-owned property took payments from a foreign government, or whenever Trump Tower rented out property to foreign banks, or when the Trump businesses received loans or international licensing agreements. The theory is that any time a foreign government feels like laying a little cash on the new president, they need only book a party at his D.C. hotel or shovel some business toward Trump Tower. While such things have been happening with some frequency since Inauguration Day, the president claims he is immune from prosecution. In a press conference explaining his legal posture in early January, Trump’s lawyer Sheri Dillon explained, “Paying for a hotel room is not a gift or a present, and it has nothing to do with an office. It’s not an emolument.”

The reason we haven’t seen a ton of Emoluments Clause cases is that prior officials have gone to great lengths to avoid the perception of corruption. Trump, on the other hand, has gone to great not-lengths, and ethics experts largely agree that Trump’s limited efforts to correct for any conflicts—putting his sons in charge of his companies, donating any profits from foreign clients to the U.S. Treasury—are simply insufficient.
February 20, 2017

Trump Calling Media Enemy of the American People Reminiscent of Stalin, Mao

The comment at the end is enlightening. With Trump as President, we have lost the moral high ground to promote free speech with a President who routinely attacks free expression as dangerous.


President Donald Trump has never shied away from criticizing the news media. But he seemed to take things to a new level on Friday when he wrote in a tweet that media outlets, including the New York Times, NBC, ABC, CBS, and CNN are “the enemy of the American people.” (His first tweet only included the Times, CNN, and NBC and ended with the conclusion: “SICK!” But that was quickly deleted.) Both tweets did include some choice capitalization as the commander-in-chief labeled the outlets “the FAKE NEWS media.”

Trump blasting the news media is nothing new, of course. Even a day earlier, Trump uttered the phrase “fake news” seven times during a White House news conference. Yet labeling the media the “enemy of the American people” seemed to take things to a new level and many quickly drew parallels to tyrants throughout history that were fond of the phrase. Although it harkens back to ancient Rome, many remember that the phrase was used during the purges ordered by Soviet dictator Josef Stalin. "It is one of the most controversial phrases in Soviet history," explained Mitchell Orenstein, professor of Russian and East European studies at the University of Pennsylvania. "What it basically meant was a death sentence.”

The expression was also a favorite of China’s Mao Zedong, who used the “enemies of the people” label against anyone who opposed his policies. Identifying and later punishing those enemies was central to Mao’s rule. A Chinese journalist, Li Yuan, pointed out the parallel on Twitter, noting that “every dissenting voice was ‘the enemy of the people’ under Mao.”

Beijing seems to be welcoming this fresh attack on the news media with glee. China’s state-run newspaper Global Times noted in an editorial that Trump’s “war with mainstream media” would make it difficult for the president to challenge Beijing on “ideological” issues such as human rights. “His war with mainstream media makes it difficult for Trump to ally with the media on the ideological front against China,” the newspaper said. “Many have predicted that Trump’s presidency would exacerbate the recession of liberalism.”
February 20, 2017

Anti-Trump demonstrators finding wealth of options in once-apathetic Miami

Source: USA Today

MIAMI — In a city known more for its beaches and night life than its political activism, it's suddenly become hard to keep track of all the groups that have formed to oppose President Trump.

On a recent Sunday, more than 400 people filled a church for an organizing meeting of Women's March Miami-Dade chapter, a group that paid for 200 people to attend the Jan. 21 march in Washington, D.C., held its own march in Miami and is now branching out to advocate for nearly a dozen issues ranging from LGBT rights to gun control.

One hour later and two blocks away, about 50 people sat outside a bookstore for the third meeting of Indivisible Miami, a group that is pushing a defensive strategy to block the executive orders flying out of Trump's White House.

There's a group that held a hunger strike last week to get the local mayor to abandon Trump's immigration policies. There are ongoing demonstrations by the local Black Lives Matter movement. There are new groups created by former Hillary Clinton campaign staffers and other groups formed by people who had no political background at all.

Read more: http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/02/19/donald-trump-protest-movement-miami/97905320/

February 17, 2017

NY Times - "A Party to the Russian Connection" - Why McConnell Will Not Investigate

Part of the reason why Republicans are obstructing any type of independent inquiry is because it will highlight their aggressive efforts to oppose any disclosure of Trump's Russian connections during the campaign. They are in too deep.


President Trump’s disturbing Russian connections present an acute danger to American national security. According to reports this week, Mr. Trump’s team maintained frequent contact with Russian officials, including senior intelligence officers, during the campaign. This led to concerns about possible collusion with one of America’s principal strategic adversaries as it tried to influence the election in Mr. Trump’s favor. On Monday, Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, was forced to resign after details of his communications with the Russian ambassador emerged.

Republican leaders in Congress now bear the most responsibility for holding the president accountable and protecting the nation. They can’t say they didn’t see the Russian interference coming. They knew all along.

Early in 2015, senior Republican congressional leaders visited Ukraine and returned full of praise for its fight for independence in spite of Russia’s efforts to destabilize the country and annex some of its regions. And in June, coincidentally just before Mr. Trump announced his campaign for the Republican nomination, they met with Ukraine’s prime minister in Washington — one of many meetings I attended as a senior aide to the House Republican Conference.

As the presidential race wore on, some of those leaders began to see parallels between Russia’s disinformation operations in Ukraine and Europe and its activities in the United States. They were alarmed by the Kremlin-backed cable network RT America, which was running stories intended, they judged, to undermine Americans’ trust in democratic institutions and promote Mr. Trump’s candidacy. Deeply unsettled, the leaders discussed these concerns privately on several occasions I witnessed.
February 17, 2017

Trump familys elaborate lifestyle is a logistical nightmare at taxpayer expense

Source: MSN/Washington Post

Barely a month into the Trump presidency, the unusually elaborate lifestyle of America’s new first family is straining the Secret Service and security officials, stirring financial and logistical concerns in several local communities, and costing far beyond what has been typical for past presidents — a price tag that, based on past assessments of presidential travel and security costs, could balloon into the hundreds of millions of dollars over the course of a four-year term.

Adding to the costs and complications is Trump’s inclination to conduct official business surrounded by crowds of people, such as his decision last weekend to host Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe for a working dinner while Mar-a-Lago members dined nearby.

The handful of government agencies that bear the brunt of the expenses, including the Defense and Homeland Security departments, have not responded to Washington Post requests for data laying out the costs since Trump took office.

* * *

Trump’s three Mar-a-Lago trips since the inauguration have likely cost the federal treasury roughly $10 million, based on figures used in an October government report analyzing White House travel, including money for Coast Guard units to patrol the exposed shoreline and other military, security and staffing expenses associated with moving the apparatus of the presidency.

Read more: http://www.msn.com/en-us/news/politics/trump-family%E2%80%99s-elaborate-lifestyle-is-a-%E2%80%98logistical-nightmare%E2%80%99-%E2%80%94-at-taxpayer-expense/ar-AAn1H4A?li=BBnb7Kz

February 10, 2017

NY Times - The Lesson of Nordstrom: Do Business With the Trumps or Else

Less than a month has gone by, and we are well on our way to being a banana republic when it comes to corruption.


It is a clear violation of federal ethics rules for White House staff members, or any other federal employees, to use their official positions for private gain. But what President Trump did on Wednesday in his Twitter attack on the Nordstrom department store chain, castigating it for dropping Ms. Trump’s line, was far worse.

In sum, Nordstrom made a business decision not to do business with the president’s daughter because her clothing line was not selling well, and the president used his official position to attack the company for this decision.

The president’s tweet — posted on his personal account and then re-sent from his White House account — is an act of intimidation. Nordstrom interacts with many executive branch agencies: the Department of Labor, the Federal Trade Commission, the Securities and Exchange Commission, the Internal Revenue Service and others. Each one of these agencies will be headed by Trump appointees. Most will be staffed with other political appointees as well. The president is telling all of these people that he is very angry with Nordstrom. The message is clear, and it won’t take much for a political appointee in some agency to conceive of an ingenious way of ingratiating himself with the White House by making life difficult for the store chain.

Most important, regardless of whether such retaliation actually happens, Nordstrom and the handful of other companies that announced they, too, would drop the line have to live in fear of it for the rest of the Trump administration. And now every other department store knows that it had better not make a similar “business decision” that displeases the president. In other words, do business with the Trump family and help the Trump family promote its products, or else.
February 9, 2017

I Got This.


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