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Member since: Fri May 30, 2014, 03:30 PM
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Trump And Mulvaney Keep Hacking Away At The Finance Protection Bureau

Latest Move: Shutting Down a CFPB Online Database of Financial Firms’ Thievery

By Sarah Okeson DC Reports.org

The Trump administration took down online records about abusive animal breeders, and now they’re considering ending an online complaint database about illegal fees, inaccurate debt collection and other chicanery by banks and other financial institutions.
Mick Mulvaney, who took $55,000 in campaign contributions from the payday-loan industry when he was a South Carolina congressman, told bankers he’s not required in his new job as acting head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau to keep complaints online about dirty bankers.

“I don’t see anything in here that I have to run a Yelp for financial services sponsored by the federal government,” Mulvaney said. “I don’t see anything in here that says I have to make all of those public.”

Eight of the 10 financial institutions with the most complaints in the database made $82,500 in campaign contributions to Mulvaney with political action committees, according to Public Citizen.

Equifax Inc., with 83,252 complaints, contributed $5,000.
Bank of America, 74,221, $19,000.
Experian Information Solutions Inc., 72,188, $6,000.
Wells Fargo & Co., 62,142, $12,000.
JP Morgan Chase & Co., 51,139, $10,500.
Citibank, 41,598, $19,000.
Capital One Financial Corp., 26,822, $9,000.
Navient Solutions LLC, 24,243, $2,000.

“The talk of eliminating it fits right in with the Trump administration’s mission to shield companies from accountability,” said writer Russ Kick whose web site, AltGov 2, features government data.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture removed detailed online reports about abusive animal breeders on Feb. 3, 2017, just two weeks after Trump took office. The Humane Society of the United States puts out a list of the worst dog breeders in our nation each year. In this year’s list, the names of about a fourth of the worst breeders are missing because their names aren’t online, and the Trump administration wouldn’t release the names.


November 2018 cannot get fast enough

Women Storm The Primaries

The Widening Gender Gap Could Determine the Mid-Term Elections

By Jillian S. Ambroz

Female candidates are holding strong midway through the primary season. If there are any significant changes in November, it will be because of a widening gender gap and a surge in Democratic female voters.

To date, 101 female candidates have won their primaries across the nation and are headed to the general elections in November. What’s remarkable here is that these are non-incumbent candidates.

Add these women to the roughly 20% of women who make up the 115th Congress and are running for re-election and women may have a chance at having a more meaningful say in politics.

At the start of the primary season, roughly 385 women had filed for candidacy, almost 70% of them Democrats. A female candidate could be found on the ballot in more than half of the 56 most competitive House races in the nation. And roughly half the country has yet to vote in primary elections, which run into mid-September.


Why Are Millions Paying Online Tax Preparation Fees When They Don't Need To?

Few taxpayers use the Free File system — intended to help moderate- and low-income filers — and that benefits companies like Intuit and H&R Block. Now Congress is moving to make the program permanent.

by Tik Root for ProPublica June 18, 5 a.m. EDT

This story was co-published with Quartz.

As internet use took off at the turn of the millennium, the Office of Management and Budget asked the Internal Revenue Service to create no-cost electronic tax-filing options for low- and moderate-income taxpayers. The tech-challenged agency turned to the online tax-preparation industry for help and soon struck a deal with companies such as Intuit (the maker of TurboTax) and H&R Block, which had organized as a 12-member consortium called the Free File Alliance.

The Free File Alliance agreed to offer tax-prep service to millions of Americans at no charge. In exchange, the IRS pledged to “not compete with the Consortium in providing free, online tax return preparation and filing services to taxpayers.”

The arrangement went into effect in 2003 and the IRS and the alliance have kept the framework in place ever since. Today the Free File system appears on track to become permanent. In April, the House voted unanimously to enshrine the provision in law, and the Senate is now considering whether to follow suit.

It’s hard to argue with the goal of the program. Free File theoretically allows 70 percent of American taxpayers to prepare and file their taxes at no cost. More than 50 million no-cost returns have been filed using the program over the past 16 years, according to the IRS, saving users about $1.5 billion in fees. Intuit lauds the program as “an example of a public/private partnership that works.” And Tim Hugo, executive director of the Free File Alliance, called Free File “a great product,” adding, “Free File has changed the market.”

But 50 million returns over 16 years represents only about 3 percent of eligible tax returns. By ProPublica’s estimate, that suggests U.S. taxpayers eligible for Free File are spending about $1 billion a year in unnecessary filing fees.


Federal Judge Skeptical Of Kentucky And The Trump Admin's Medicaid Threats

By Alice Ollstein | June 18, 2018 6:00 am

The first legal challenge to the Trump administration’s crusade for Medicaid work requirements came before a federal judge in Washington on Friday, where attorneys representing 16 low-income Kentuckians argued they would be unlawfully stripped of Medicaid coverage should the court allow the state’s waiver to take effect in July. The groups challenging the policy said the work requirements violate Congress’ original intent for the Medicaid program and instead are a mere cover for cutting tens of thousands of people from the rolls.

In response, attorneys representing the Trump administration and Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin (R) warned U.S. District Judge James Boasberg of dire consequences should he rule against their new Medicaid rules.

Matthew Kuhn, arguing on behalf of Kentucky, pointed to Bevin’s executive order to terminate the state’s Medicaid expansion entirely, stripping health coverage from more than 400,000 people, if the court strikes down any piece of the waiver.

Kuhn claimed that “serious budget problems” mean that “the governor will be forced to withdraw from expanded Medicaid” if he’s not allowed to impose the rules, which are expected to save the state money by kicking at least 95,000 people off of Medicaid. “We are making sure Medicaid remains sustainable,” he said.

Boasberg appeared skeptical of this line of argument, noting that under the Affordable Care Act, the federal government currently reimburses states for about 95 percent of the cost of the Medicaid expansion if they opt into the program.

“Why are you attacking the expansion population, when the rate of reimbursement is much higher there than in traditional Medicaid?” he asked.


Fuck Trump and Bevin....................................assholes.

Trump is creating his American caliphate, and democracy has no defence

Nesrine Malik

Officials quoting a holy text to justify repressive policies is something we who grew up in the Arab world have seen before

If there was a dictator’s playbook, the Donald Trump administration would now be on the “Instrumentalise Religion” chapter. Last week, in what sounded like the launch of a US caliphate, the attorney general, Jeff Sessions, reached for a biblical verse to defend his department’s policy of separating migrant parents from their children at the Mexican border, suggesting that God supports the government.

“I would cite you to the apostle Paul, and his clear and wise command in Romans 13 to obey the laws of the government because God has ordained the government for his purposes,” Sessions said. “Orderly and lawful processes are good in themselves. Consistent and fair application of the law is in itself a good and moral thing, and that protects the weak and protects the lawful.”

When the White House press secretary, Sarah Sanders, was asked about Sessions’ statement and challenged to produce the passage in the Bible that says it is moral to separate families, she said: “I’m not aware of the attorney general’s comments or what he would be referencing, [but] I can say that it is very biblical to enforce the law. That is repeated throughout the Bible.”

It is hard to make any coherent sense of the Trump administration’s policies. They are the result of the temperamental whims of a man-child president and the indulgences of a weak, cynical and ideological White House. There is no coherent plan, just a race to the bottom in order to appeal to a base animated by resentment and grievance. But there are moments that signal a gear change, that show us – even though there is no design – there is direction. A path has been plotted by the forces that put Trump in the White House, and they will be fed; and that feeding is then justified by any means necessary.

After Charlottesville, where a woman lost her life after being run over by a man who held racist, pro-Nazi views, Trump said that “both sides” were to blame for the violence. It was a normalisation of white supremacy. When Trump embarked on a policy of attacking the press, it was an assault on accountability. Now his administration’s use of religion to justify its laws is another step in an alarming direction . The government is not only unaccountable: it is doing God’s will. There should be no focus on the brutality of law, only on obedience to the sovereign. Sessions, the grand mufti, had pronounced his fatwa.



The invocation of piety is also familiarly threadbare when the behaviour of this holy sovereign, allegedly with God’s will vested in him, is taken into account. Trump is a man mired in allegations of infidelity committed across the course of his three marriages. His church attendance was summed up in his statement that he had “never asked God for forgiveness”, and he referred to communion as “my little wine” and “my little cracker”. Yet he received 80% of the white evangelical vote. Of his unlikely Christian support base, Amy Sullivan, in the New York Times, says: “Decades of fearmongering about Democrats and religious liberals have worked. 80% of white evangelicals would vote against Jesus Christ himself if he ran as a Democrat.”

This is the most sinister and most powerful element of the dictator’s playbook: the pact with the base. Every policy, every utterance, becomes about what it signifies to its target audience rather than what it objectively means. During the presidential campaign, when Trump said that “you just don’t see the expression Merry Christmas any more”, he wasn’t expressing, or even reflecting, an earnest concern about the erosion of Christian values. He was feeding a paranoia and nativist angst about race and identity. There is no Trump doctrine, but there is a Trump code, transmitted from the pulpits of the White House to his voters.

Canada's best weapon in a US trade-war: invalidating US pharma patents

CORY DOCTOROW / 7:08 AM SUN JUN 17, 2018

As the US-Canada trade war heats up, Canada finds itself in an asymmetrical battle, vastly overmatched against a country with an order of magnitude population advantage.

Fighting fair -- using tariffs to fight tariffs -- is a losing strategy. To win asymmetric fights, you have to target your opponent's weakest points.

In the case of the USA, that's pharma patents. US pharma companies hold more patents than any other country's industry, and the international recognition of these patents is a matter of trade law -- the same trade law Trump has just shitcanned in his bizarre war on his northern neighbour.

Moreover, pharma is the most effective and powerful lobbying group in America, with so many Congressjerks bought and paid for that the shenanigans never stop. Just the threat of losing their patents in Canada (which would create a thriving grey market in generic Canadian equivalents being sold into the USA and everywhere else) would send an army of rabid attack-lobbyists to the Capital to get Congress to sit on Trump until he cut that shit out.

Either that, or they'd order Trump to invade. ¯_(ツ_/¯

(If pharma doesn't work, Canada could expand to copyrights, nationalising Disney movies and Microsoft's operating systems)

He argues the strategy need not be limited to pharmaceuticals, but could include intellectual property rights on everything from music to airplane parts. The mechanisms would need to be worked out, but Gold said it could include special Canadian legislation to override U.S. patents in targeted areas.

Attaran believes the tool already exists in trade law governing drug patents. He points to a historical example: Back in the days before the 1989 Canada-U.S. Free Trade Agreement, Ottawa routinely granted domestic drug companies the right to manufacture U.S. drugs — a practice that ended when the FTA and NAFTA were signed.


Rachel Maddow connects the intimidation of the GOP on the DOJ and FBI

Because........ Gowdy: House will act on FBI, DOJ subpoenas

Gowdy: House will act on FBI, DOJ subpoenas

By AUBREE ELIZA WEAVER 06/17/2018 10:31 AM EDT

House Oversight Chairman Trey Gowdy said Sunday the House is prepared to take action this week if the FBI and Justice Department fail to comply with the committee’s subpoena request.

“Under the heading of minor miracles, you had members of the House working on a Friday,” the South Carolina Republican told Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.” “Paul Ryan led this meeting. You had [House Intelligence Chairman] Devin Nunes, [House Judiciary Chairman] Bob Goodlatte, myself and everyone you can think of from the FBI and the DOJ, and we went item by item on both of those outstanding subpoenas.”

The subpoena, issued in March, references documents related to the FBI's handling of its investigation of Hillary Clinton’s email server, its firing of FBI official Andrew McCabe and various surveillance concerns. The FBI and Justice Department have yet to produce all requested documentation.

“And Paul [Ryan] made it very clear. There’s going to be action on the floor of the House this week if the FBI and DOJ do not comply with our subpoena request,” Gowdy said. added. “So [Deputy Attorney General] Rod Rosenstein, [FBI Director] Chris Wray, you were in the meeting. You understood him just as clearly as I did. We’re going to get compliance or the House of Representatives is going to use its full arsenal of constitutional weapons to gain compliance.”


Hey Gowdy did you by some right wing imagination somehow watch how Rachel Maddow connected the dots on how your fucking party and how it is intimidating the country, by attacking the DOJ and the FBI.......................here lets remind everyone what your fucking agenda really is, instead of having a hearing on treason...............

Republicans give up on Medicare overhaul

The quiet surrender comes as new projections show Medicare’s trust fund in its worst shape since the recession.

By ADAM CANCRYN and SARAH FERRIS 06/17/2018 07:03 AM EDT

Republicans on Capitol Hill are giving up on what might be their last best chance to overhaul Medicare, just as they’re losing their leading champion on the issue, House Speaker Paul Ryan.

The quiet surrender on a subject that’s energized GOP fiscal hawks for the better part of a decade comes as new projections show Medicare’s trust fund in its worst shape since the recession, partly because of Republicans’ other chief obsession: their sweeping tax cuts.

That’s left conservatives unsure how to agitate for a politically unpopular Medicare overhaul — one that President Donald Trump detests — and raises new questions about who will take up the entitlement reform mantle as Ryan heads for the exits.

“It takes two houses of Congress and a president to want to do that,” said Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), lamenting the party’s apathy over Medicare. “No matter who’s been in the House or who’s been speaker, we have not been able to get entitlement reform done.”



"However, the GOP’s sweeping tax cuts will add $1.5 trillion to the deficit, slowing the flow of money into Medicare and putting the health care program on increasingly unstable financial ground, the report from Medicare’s trustees predicts. The decision to also repeal Obamacare’s deeply unpopular Medicare cost-containment panel, the Independent Payment Advisory Board, will put additional strain on Medicare’s finances, the trustees said. Medicare’s hospital trust fund is now projected to go broke by 2026, three years earlier than projected."........................


“When Republicans want to cut taxes but don’t want to contain health care spending, they are yanking Medicare three years closer to insolvency,” said Oregon Sen. Ron Wyden, the top Democrat on the Finance Committee."

This needs to have this squarely placed on their (republican) hypocrite shoulders................its the republicans and they should be held accountable................and lets not forget who they confirmed to head the CMS...............a fucking lobbyist................

Trump associate Roger Stone reveals new contact with Russian national during 2016 campaign

By Manuel Roig-Franzia and Rosalind S. Helderman

June 17 at 8:39 AM

MIAMI — One day in late May 2016, Roger Stone — the political dark sorcerer and longtime confidant of Donald Trump — slipped into his Jaguar and headed out to meet a man with a Make America Great Again hat and a viscous Russian accent.

The man, who called himself Henry Greenberg, offered damaging information about Hillary Clinton, Trump’s presumptive Democratic opponent in the upcoming presidential election, according to Stone who spoke about the previously unreported incident in interviews with The Washington Post. Greenberg, who did not reveal the information he claimed to possess, wanted Trump to pay $2 million for the political dirt, Stone said.

“You don’t understand Donald Trump,” Stone recalled saying before rejecting the offer at a restaurant in the Russian-expat magnet of Sunny Isles, Fla. “He doesn’t pay for anything.”

Later, Stone got a text message from Michael Caputo, a Trump campaign communications official who’d arranged the meeting after Greenberg had approached Caputo’s Russian-immigrant business partner.

“How crazy is the Russian?” Caputo wrote according to a text message reviewed by The Post. Noting that Greenberg wanted “big” money, Stone replied: “waste of time.”


Nixon was a traitor when he talked to the government in South Vietnam and he wasn't even a a president...............and then there is the Nixon tattooed Stone...................

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