Fast Walker 52Fast Walker 52's Journal
The Trump Administration is, already, the most corrupt in American history simply because corruption, properly defined, lies in the control of possible channels of influence as much as in money directly pocketed. A prospective deal that would have seen a politically connected Chinese company investing in a real-estate project controlled by the family of Trumps son-in-law, Jared Kushnerat the very moment when, however absurdly, Kushner is supposed to play a role in China policyonly got called off after a raft of bad publicity, leaving no principle in place to protect us from more predation. Meanwhile, the Trump boys roam the world making deals on their fathers behalf, giving foreign governments and entrepreneurs every reason to believe that enriching the First Family is a precondition for earning American favor. This is exactly the way government runs in many Third World countries: the boss mans family goes everywhere making deals on his behalf to enrich themselves, with the quid pro quo always perfectly apparent. Nothingno ethical officer, no blind truststands between Trump and his own enrichment through office. One recalls the torturous mechanisms with which poor Jimmy Carter sought to seal off his peanut farm from the slightest appearance of conflict of interestand the vengeful rhetoric of Republican conservative columnists scanning for signs of a failureand one weeps for ones country.
Really great piece.
Next Saturday, April 29th, is President Trumps hundredth day in office, a historical marker used by the press to assess a new Presidents progress since the first term of Franklin Delano Roosevelt. F.D.R. was grappling with the Great Depression, and he had a pliant Congress that would have passed almost anything he proposed. Presidents since then have often struggled to meet the expectations of the hundred-day report card but generally can point to a list of major legislative accomplishments. Trump does not have such a list. At the same time, the Trump White House is facing a much more consequential deadline, one that will help define his first months in office and perhaps his first term: absent a spending deal with Democrats and Republicans in Congress, next Saturday the government will shut down.
While the potential for a government shutdown has been overshadowed by other eventsSyria, North Korea, the attempted repeal of Obamacarethe Trump White House is suddenly seized with the issue. Next week is going to have quite high drama, a top White House official, who sounded excited by the coming clash, told me. Its going to be action-packed. This one is not getting as much attention, but, trust me, its going to be the battle of the titans. And the great irony here is that the call for the government shutdown will come onguess what?the hundredth day. If you pitched this in a studio, they would say, Get out of here, its too ridiculous. This is going to be a big one.
The last government shutdown was in October, 2013, and was widely blamed on conservative Republicans in the House, with a major assist from Senator Ted Cruz, who demanded that Obamacare had to be defunded, a ludicrous strategy given that Barack Obama was President. Congress failed to pass the necessary legislation, and the government closed for two weeks before Republicans came back to the table. At the time, many predicted that the tactic would have dire political consequences for the G.O.P., but the following year the Party expanded its majority in the House and took over the Senate. Republican leaders have prevented their right wing from forcing shutdowns in the years since, but one lesson from 2013 is that the threat of a government shutdown is a powerful way to press for concessions without paying too high a political price.
In recent weeks, the prospect of a government shutdown seemed low. In the House and Senate, Democratic and Republican appropriators, who, despite ideological differences, are often united in their desire to spend money, were making steady progress. But there was an elephant in the room. In mid-March, the Trump Administration released a detailed spending request that included a large increase for the military and for immigration enforcement and massive cuts to domestic discretionary spending. While the budget was released with fanfare, the White House seemed to retreat from the talks, leaving congressional Democrats and Republicans to continue their work without much guidance from Trump.
Mick Mulvaney is a major asshole, shutting down the govt when his party is in control is insane.
Similarly, the current revival of a repeal-and-replace plan for Obamacare is clearly empty of all value, in its promoters mind, save that of publicity. It was painfully, absurdly apparent, in the last go-around, that Trump had no idea what Obamacare actually consists of or how it works, or what the Republican replacement bill did or how it worked, or, indeed, how medical insurance works in the first place and what exactly is involved in providing it. (The very rich are different from you and me; they have other people filling out forms for them.) The claim, made in the campaign, that he would supply universal insurance at a low cost, even to those with preëxisting conditions, didnt even rise to the level of wishful thinking. Wishful thinking involves thought. Instead, it was, as with the Duke and Dauphin in Huckleberry Finn, a way of mouthing words that might placate a crowd or assert his own magical powers. It was simply an episode in a game show in which someone (always Trump) had to win and someone else (anyone who wont submit to him) had to lose. Even to call this zero-sum thinking is to flatter it as thought. It never gets far enough beyond zero to be part of a sum, as opposed to mere flat-lined limbic-system reflexes.
The whole piece is great.
A month after dismissing federal prosecutors, Justice Department does not have any U.S. attorneys in
Source: Washington Post
A month after dismissing federal prosecutors, Justice Department does not have any U.S. attorneys in place
By Sari Horwitz April 18 at 10:49 PM
Attorney General Jeff Sessions is making aggressive law enforcement a top priority, directing his federal prosecutors across the country to crack down on illegal immigrants and use every tool they have to go after violent criminals and drug traffickers.
But the attorney general does not have a single U.S. attorney in place to lead his tough-on-crime efforts across the country. Last month, Sessions abruptly told the dozens of remaining Obama administration U.S. attorneys to submit their resignations immediately and none of them, or the 47 who had already left, have been replaced.
We really need to work hard at that, Sessions said when asked Tuesday about the vacancies as he opened a meeting with federal law enforcement officials. The 93 unfilled U.S. attorney positions are among the hundreds of critical Trump administration jobs that remain open.
Sessions is also without the heads of his top units, including the civil rights, criminal and national security divisions, as he tries to reshape the Justice Department.
Read more: https://www.washingtonpost.com/world/national-security/a-month-after-dismissing-federal-prosecutors-justice-department-does-not-have-any-us-attorneys-in-place/2017/04/18/d94c4bd0-2442-11e7-b503-9d616bd5a305_story.html?utm_term=.2c7078d26b0a
Is this because they don't want Trump being prosecuted or because they are just lame?
On edit-- at the end of the piece, it says Clinton took several months to fill the positions after they fired the US Attys
Source: NBC NY
The NYPD said Tuesday that the death of a New York judge whose body was found in the Hudson River earlier this month is "suspicious."
Justice Sheila Abdus-Salaam the first black woman appointed to New York State's highest court, and the first Muslim woman to serve as a U.S. judge was found dead in the Hudson River near Manhattan last Wednesday.
Her body showed no obvious signs of trauma, and police declined to speculate on the cause of her death.
NYPD spokesman Stephen Davis said were looking it at as a suspicious death at this point, according to a report in The New York Post.
Read more: http://www.nbcnewyork.com/news/local/NYC-Death-of-Judge-Sheila-Abdus-Salaam-Found-Dead-in-Hudson-Suspicious-419787594.html?_osource=SocialFlowTwt_NYBrand
Source: The Hill
The State Department informed Congress Tuesday that Iran is in compliance with the nuclear deal and that it will continue relief from sanctions under the agreement.
President Trump has ordered a full review of the 2015 agreement, which he has repeatedly criticized as a failure of his predecessor President Barack Obama.
The State Department must update Congress on Irans compliance with the deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, every 90 days. It is the first such update under President Trump.
Read more: http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/329425-trump-admin-iran-in-compliance-but-nuclear-deal-under-review
Another broken promise, something else where reality bit them hard
I've been trying to get more involved in my local Dem (county) party but have had a hard time getting anywhere. I have done some election day poll work for them in the past. The local party is an elderly bunch and really just seem to be there for running elections, and don't seem to have much interest in generating enthusiasm or in winning elections. Their monthly meetings about as boring as they could possibly be. They don't seem to do any real fundraising. I was dismayed that they recently had an election for new local party leadership, and they chose the same elderly lady who had previously been chair.
I live in a red state (Indiana), in a red county, and have a Republican US House representative (Todd Rokita). I've been tired of seeing the Dem House candidate get pummeled in election after election. A race that never gets any media attention. I'm sure it's a "safe" Republican seat. But still I feel like we need to really run a competitive race, and more importantly get some energy and money into the race.
I reached out to the guy in charge of running my congressional district race for the Dems, and he pointed me to a meeting last night which had some candidates that are running for Congressional representative. This meeting was put on by a local "Voices for Change" and local "Indivisible" chapter. They had invited Rokita, but he chickened out. I hadn't heard anything about this from the local Dem party!
There was real progressive energy at this meeting, and it was great. A LOT of talk about healthcare but also about environmental issues and jobs. Our representative Rokita was really unpopular with this crowd, and there's a lot of energy to remove him. Unfortunately, none of the potential candidates were that thrilling and it was hard to see them being real competitive. The ladies who spoke from Voice for Change actually seemed a lot better than the candidates. So one worry is getting good candidates. Another worry is getting money from the local Dems, who don't seem to have much.
Another worry is these local progressive groups may not be committed Dems. There was little mention of Democrats at this meeting and it was mostly about opposition to Trump and Republicans, though they did promote liberal/progressive ideas. The woman in charge of Voice for Change said she used to be a Republican, and got turned off on them.
So I think these non-Dem-affiliated groups are going to be our best bet for change, where the passion and energy is. I think Dems have to make sure they work effectively with these groups, though I'm not sure what is going to happen with my local party.
Anyway, I'd appreciate if anyone shared their thoughts about this situation.
Source: NY Times
WASHINGTON President Trumps promise to enact a sweeping overhaul of the tax code is in serious jeopardy nearly 100 days into his tenure, and his refusal to release his own tax returns is emerging as a central hurdle to another faltering campaign promise.
As procrastinators rushed to file their tax returns by Tuesday, the White House press secretary, Sean Spicer, emphasized again on Monday that Mr. Trump had no intention of making his public. Democrats have seized on that decision, uniting around a pledge not to cooperate on any rewriting of the tax code unless they know specifically how that revision would benefit the billionaire president and his family.
And a growing roster of more than a dozen Republican lawmakers now say Mr. Trump should release them.
If he doesnt release his returns, it is going to make it much more difficult to get tax reform done, said Senator Chuck Schumer, the Democratic leader, pointing out that the president has significant conflicts of interest on issues such as taxation of the real estate industry and elimination of the estate tax. Its in his own self-interest.
Read more: https://www.nytimes.com/2017/04/17/us/politics/tax-code-overhaul-trump.html?hp&action=click&pgtype=Homepage&clickSource=story-heading&module=first-column-region®ion=top-news&WT.nav=top-news&_r=0
This is a great idea-- block tax reform as much as possible, until Trump releases his taxes.
... it's is going to be spun as a major foreign policy win for him?
Even though obviously it's only his blundering and provocations that got us to this point.
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