Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Over A Quarter Billion Dollars In Wasted Wall Street Bribes Last Year Alone, As GOP Agenda Goes Up In Smoke


Tom Cole (R-OK): "I won’t defend anyone who obstructs justice. Time for Comey to appear before Congress.”

Late this afternoon, Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein could no longer dither and finally announced that he had appointed former FBI director Robert Mueller to serve as a special counsel to oversee the ever-widening Putin-Gate scandal. Rebecca Ruiz wrote for the NY Times that Mueller's appointment "dramatically raises the stakes" for Señor Trumpanzee in the multiple investigations into his campaign’s ties to the Russians. "While a special counsel would remain ultimately answerable to Mr. Rosenstein-- and by extension, the president-- he would have greater autonomy to run an investigation than a United States attorney would. Mr. Mueller will be able to choose to what extent to consult with or inform the Justice Department about his investigation as it goes forward. [He] is viewed by members of both parties as one of the most credible law enforcement officials in the country. He served both Democratic and Republican presidents, from 2001 to 2013, and was asked by President Barack Obama to stay on beyond the normal 10-year term until Mr. Comey was appointed."

The Justice Department seems to have been pushed into the appointment after House Democrats announced were circulating a discharge petition to force a vote on legislation that would create a 12-member bipartisan, independent commission to investigate Putin-Gate, something the White House is far moire fearful of. Progressive candidate for Darrell Issa's San Diego/Orange County district. "The White House has consistently ignored Russian cyber attacks on our political process. The subsequent firing of former FBI Director James Comey, and the additional reports concerning former National Security Advisor Michael Flynn did little to ease those concerns. These allegations have the potential to rock the very foundation of our democracy and only serve to further erode the public’s trust in our government. At a time when we need real leadership, the president and his backers in Congress confuse and distract from our democracy to protect their own careers. The fact is we need mature leadership coming from the legislature, not childish antics and grandstanding. As we move closer to a constitutional crisis, we must demand a thorough investigation to include the full disclosure of any and all memos former Director Comey drafted in the weeks and days leading up to his termination, in addition to Flynn’s ties to the Kremlin. But what’s even more telling is that Darrell Issa, the self-proclaimed “watchdog” of the House, serves as nothing more than a lapdog for this administration. We demand that Issa sign this discharge petition and vote in support of a full investigation into these allegations. Currently, there is a bipartisan bill, sponsored by two Democrats and two Republicans, to create a Trump-Russia commission. If Darrell was one quarter of the watchdog he claims to be, he needs to show it and sign the petition. Otherwise, we’ll know he opposes an investigation and we will remember that come November 2018.”

Ted Lieu was more succinct: "Today is a good day for American Democracy.  Thank you Deputy Attorney General Rosenstein for following the law."

Politico's Jake Sherman asserted this morning that congressional Republicans "are beginning to grapple with the real-- but far off-- possibility" that Señor Trumpanzee might've gone too far this time." Impeachment, he wrkte, is "beginning to creep into Republicans' minds, and it's noteorthy that they are not ruling it out." No, only Nancy Pelosi and Blue Dog-turned-Wall Street lobbyist Harold Ford are ruling it out, she on CNN and he on Morning Joe. Just hours ago, Adam Kinzinger (R-IL) had joined the 5 other House Republicans calling for a special prosector. By the way, as even Señor Trumpanzee understands, a special prosector is the first step towards impeachment. Sherman wrote that he was "up in the Capitol last night, chatting with members of Congress about the political dynamics now, and it would be tough to overstate how angry, confused and fed up Republicans are with President Donald Trump."

By Tuesday more Republicans began reaching the point where they realized Trump is unsalvageable. "For Republicans on Capitol Hill," wrote John Bresnahan, "Trump may finally have gone too far." The Comey memo indicating obstruction of justice "was more than just another embarrassing revelation for a president used to a near-daily barrage of scandal and staff intrigue."
Republicans are privately beginning to worry that they may one day have to sit in judgment of Trump, or that more damaging information from Comey could force the president to step down. Within hours of Tuesday's report by the New York Times, there was a distinct shift among congressional Republicans, who until now have mostly resisted criticizing Trump, let alone demanding the president be held to account for all he says or does.

House Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) immediately said he’s prepared to subpoena the memos that Comey reportedly wrote contemporaneously to document his interactions with Trump. Chaffetz sent a letter to the FBI on Tuesday night asking for any notes, documents or records of Trump and Comey’s conversations to be turned over to his panel by May 24.

His request was echoed by AshLee Strong, spokeswoman for House Speaker Paul Ryan: "We need to have all the facts, and it is appropriate for the House Oversight Committee to request this memo."

Comey has also been invited by Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) to testify publicly at a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing to “tell his side of the story” about his dealings with Trump, Graham said Tuesday, even before this latest story broke.

More Republicans have openly discussed the possibility of a select committee or the appointment of a special prosecutor to look into the Trump-Russia connection. It's still a minority of GOP lawmakers, but Republican leaders are watching closely.

...In private, top Republicans fear that this latest Trump controversy-- coming just a week after he fired Comey, and only one day after it was revealed that the president revealed highly classified intelligence information during a meeting with Russian officials-- will overwhelm everything they are trying to do legislatively. Health care, tax reform, building up the Pentagon-- all of it is potentially threatened by the latest furor.

And if Republicans are paralyzed and can’t pass anything despite control of the White House and Congress, how can they justify their majorities when they go before voters next year?
And by this morning, Politico was reporting that Wall Street was giving up on the 2017 tax break it believed the $297,982,444 it had spent on congressional bribes during 2016 alone had guaranteed them. The Dow closed down over 370 points today. Below are the half dozen biggest recipients of Financial Sector largesse for the 2016 cycle-- bribes that crooked and avaricious Wall Street wheelers and dealers now realize won't translate into promised tax cuts for the corporations and the 1%:
Marco Rubio (R-FL)- $8,316,068
Ted Cruz (R-TX)- $5,466,397
Chuck Schumer (D-NY)- $5,010,163
Paul Ryan (R-WI)- $4,415,864
Rob Portman (R-OH)- $4,415,864
Pat Toomey (R-PA)- $3,964,709
Ben White's report indicates that "Wall Street and corporate America view President Donald Trump’s bold agenda for a sweeping tax overhaul as largely dead for the year. Executives, lobbyists and Wall Street analysts increasingly believe the administration-- distracted by repeated crises while facing a short and crowded legislative calendar-- will be unable to deliver on Trump’s promise to slash corporate and individual tax rates this year and ignite significantly faster economic growth. The main hope now in corporate America and on Wall Street is that the White House and Congress manage to bypass a scary fight over raising the nation’s debt limit this summer, keep the government open and avoid any major foreign policy crisis."

Republican congressional tolerance for Trump's kleptocratic and authoritarian instincts was entirely based on his willingness to sign their Obamacare repeal and their plans to pass massive tax cuts for the wealthy while shredding the social safety net for the poor and eviscerating services for working families. If Trump's bungling and bluster is jeopardizing that, other Republicans will soon be following Walter Jones, Justin Amash, Carlos Curbelo, Barbara Comstock, Erik Paulsen and, this morning, Adam Kinzinger into the camp calling for a special prosecutor (shorthand for impeachment).

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At 3:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just to put it in perspective, when you add up Thiel, Mercer(s), Betsy Devos's clan, Kochs, - not to forget those old-time villains Scaife, Olin, et al. - a quarter billion is a rounding error.

The enemies of the people have limitless resources.

At 6:51 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, 3:44, you beat me to it. But this piece focuses on wall street, which has even more resources to waste.

A quarter bil is beer money to these assholes. They'll go to a billion per year in order to get hundreds of billions in tax breaks. Think ROI, not raw numbers.

I would add that wall street already has gotten a commitment to not enforce current law as well as the intent to repeal some of current law from the trumpzi Rs. So their money wasn't a total flush.

Prior to this admin, their bribes got them the Clinton admin, 2008, trillions in fraud and a very tepid and useless dodd-frank bill that pretended to reform banking. It didn't do enough but even what it did do is now too much for them to abide. The CFPB caught wells-fargo committing millions of felonies and cost them millions in fines, and caused a CEO to pull the chord on his platinum parachute... but still nobody is prosecuted, so that meme is still in force.

Their bribes also got them $hillbillary instead of Bernie. And it kept their people in all the leadershit positions in both parties.

Their money did not all go to waste.

Again. ROI.

At 6:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Special Counsel is not nothing, but it's as close to nothing as something could be.

Special PROSECUTOR is the thing the trumpzi Rs are trying to avoid.

I'm surprised at all of the Ds praising this as effusively as they are. Perhaps the theory that the Ds do not want this guy removed because they want to run against him in 2018 is correct.

How cynical can a party be? They refused to impeach cheney and gonzalez in order to run against them. They won, but only for one term. And they refused to do anything with that term. So voters stayed home by the millions.

How cynical can they be?

At 9:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

6:51, you are absolutely correct. ROI in this context is a long game. For a few billion since 1976, they got Reagan, bush 1, clinton, bush 2 and Obama. They got their taxes cut by a factor of 3, corporate dereg and consolidation (ignoring Sherman and repealing the rest), corporate welfare in bailouts and the ACA (among others), many xxFTAs, WTO, GATT and a commitment to never prosecute a human being for bank fraud.

The taxes not paid since 1980 add up to trillions alone. The bank fraud depression of 2008 cost the world somewhere around $30 trillion and the bailouts were worth about a half trillion. ACA has given billions to health insurance. The bush Medicare bill has handed 100s of billions more to Rx. ACA refused to remedy and continued that.
Wars since 2001 have handed 6 or 7 trillion to war street and an odious assortment of war profiteers with names like Rumsfeld, cheney, prince et al.

So, yeah. Several billions in donations have yielded many, many trillions in ROI over the past 4 decades. 1000 to 1 is pretty good ROI.


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