Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Is Every Single Thing Just A Distraction For The Unprecedented Kleptocracy?


Today, Lloyd Blankfein, CEO of Goldman Sachs, told a Bloomberg editor at the Economic Club of New York that he thinks Señor Trumpanzee is just bluffing about starting a trade war. "That’s what you’d do if it was a negotiating position and you wanted to remind your negotiating counterparty of how much firepower you have. I don’t think we’re in a suicide pact on this, so I suspect we’re not going to cause the economies to collapse... I do think-- as some people have commented-- that this is part of a negotiating pattern, that would be my best take." And no one knows what a gaslighting bullshit artist Trump is?

Jeremy Zipple is a film maker and Jesuit priest in San Antonio at Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine. He had a couple of powerful tweets over the weekend, aimed right at Señor Trumpanzee: "2600 years ago, one prophet named Isaiah said, 'Woe unto those who legislate evil'-- that’s actually scripture--'and rob the poor of their rights and make women and children their prey'" and "US Catholic bishops seem to be gearing up for a full on fight on this issue during an election year.

But suppose Trump feels enough pressure to finally give in on this, which I suspect will happen, maybe even fire far right racist neo-Nazi and crackpot Stephen Miller and make him the scapegoat. Although... Bannon doesn't agree that Trump is going to fold on this and that its core to his campaign promises and absolutely fabulous. Yesterday he told Jonathan Karl on This Week that listening to his inner voice Señor Trumpanzee "is going to lead-- write this down-- that’s going to lead to an astounding victory in November, where he’s going to run the tables in the House and he’s going to pick up a couple seats in the Senate... Trump is accomplishing everything he committed to the American people on the campaign that I stepped in as CEO. I couldn’t be prouder of the guy. All he has to do is continue to hit those marks on that whiteboard and he’s going to run the tables."

Yes, write this down. Or don't; write this down, an article by Francis Wilson for Bloomberg instead: New York’s Case Against Trump May Be Prophetic. But not prophetic in the same way Zipple talks about prophetic-- prophetic for the courts and for the members of Congress who have to vote on impeachment in 2019. It starts with Trump being an absolutely slimy crooked businessman, worst I've ever seen... and I've seen some bad ones.
The report released by the inspector general of the Federal Bureau of Investigation on Thursday painted a vivid picture of the past. It shows that in 2016, James Comey, then the FBI director, inexcusably broke the rules in advertising his department’s investigation into Hillary Clinton while simultaneously following the rules in keeping its investigation of Donald Trump under wraps.

Trump has already mischaracterized the report, in the way Trump routinely does. But it’s unclear, ultimately, how much all this history matters politically.

For a more prophetic vision of the future, you should read the complaint against Trump, his children and his foundation by New York State Attorney General Barbara Underwood.

Why prophetic? Because it’s likely a preface to the report or complaint that special counsel Robert Mueller will bring. The alleged crimes described by Underwood are not similar to those being investigated by Mueller. But the behavior is.

One stumbling block to public understanding of the Mueller probe, in addition to a steady stream of propaganda and lies designed to undermine it, is that it’s hard for even a cynic to accept the premises of what is being investigated.

U.S. history simply doesn’t offer a lot of reference points for a major-party political candidate who so casually subverts the law and sells out the nation’s highest values. How many Richard Nixons are there?

Someone seems obsessed

To believe the accusations that Trump colluded with Russia, laundered vast amounts of money and/or put American foreign policy on the auction block in return for the enrichment of his family requires an awkward leap of faith. You have to believe this leader is both profoundly corrupt-- far more so than Nixon-- and staggeringly sloppy-- again more so than Nixon.

This is essentially the portrait that Underwood paints in the detailed accusations against the head of the Trump Foundation: that of a shady huckster who engages in “persistently illegal conduct” and is buffoonishly sloppy along the way.

To give credit where it’s due, the New York attorney general is building on the case built in 2016 by Washington Post reporter David Fahrenthold, whose search for legitimate charitable activity by Trump’s foundation consistently left the reporter comically empty-handed.

What Fahrenthold detailed was Trump’s utter disregard for the law in taking in tax-deductible contributions to his foundation and proceeding to spend the money on his personal and business needs. 
New findings, for instance, show that the Trump Foundation’s largest-ever gift-- $264,631-- was used to renovate a fountain outside the windows of Trump’s Plaza Hotel.

Its smallest-ever gift, for $7, was paid to the Boy Scouts in 1989, at a time when it cost $7 to register a new Scout. Trump’s oldest son was 11 at the time. Trump did not respond to a question about whether the money was paid to register him.
Take a moment to savor that last detail. A man claiming to be worth billions of dollars-- and who certainly flaunted the lifestyle-- appears to have illegally diverted $7 from a charitable foundation to pay his son’s Boy Scouts registration fee.

Trump’s foundation is organized “exclusively for charitable, religious, scientific, literary or educational purposes either directly or by contributions to organizations that qualify as exempt organizations under section 501(c)(3) of the Internal Revenue Code."

Instead, as Underwood’s complaint shows clearly, he used it to pay settlements incurred in business lawsuits and to advance his 2016 political campaign. The foundation took in millions in donations for veterans. His campaign then directed the foundation to issue checks to Iowa veterans groups in advance of the Iowa caucuses as he sought to curry political favor.

How does Underwood know campaign personnel were involved in spending decisions? Because the Trumpsters are so recklessly contemptuous of rules that they left a trail of this blatant violation of campaign-finance law on their emails. At least one email thread included Trump campaign manager Corey Lewandowski weighing in on where he wanted the foundation’s tax-deductible funds directed.

The foundation also made a $25,000 contribution to Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi, who subsequently determined that fraud charges against Trump’s university were not a proper matter for her office. The foundation listed the contribution as going to a Kansas nonprofit with the same name as Bondi’s political committee.

“The Foundation has no credible explanation for the false reporting of grant recipients to the IRS and the State of New York,” Underwood concluded.

Trump will likely claim he was uninvolved and unaware. But Underwood’s complaint has that covered, too.
Mr. Trump, who was the sole signatory on the Foundation's bank accounts, approved all grants and other disbursements from the Foundation. Accounting staff for the Trump Organization had responsibility for issuing checks from the Foundation, and issued the checks based solely on Mr. Trump's approval before presenting the checks to Mr. Trump for signature.
Indeed, the foundation’s board didn’t provide much of a check on Trump’s personal whims, owing to the fact that, in violation of the law, it “has not met since 1999 and does not oversee the activities of the Foundation in any way.”

It took the attorney general’s office months to investigate this narrow corner of the Trump universe-- even though the evidence was lying around in plain sight. Mueller’s investigation is far broader and more consequential. His complaint may yet take a while. But it should be a doozy.

Trump's rotten regime seems to have lost close to 6,000 children, after telling Congress last month that they "only" lost 1,500. "To the extent that there are problems for protection of unaccompanied children, this will only become worse as they put more kids in the unaccompanied category by ripping them away from their families," said Clara Long, U.S. researcher at Human Rights Watch. This isn't just on Trump and the people that work in his fetid swamp. Every Republican enabler in Congress who hasn't spoken up with rot in Hell with them.
The reality is the Trump administration-— and the Obama administration beforehand-- has lost track and continues to lose track of thousands of unaccompanied minors while ORR does not appear to be trying to keep track of the children once they’re placed with sponsors.

...A 2008 law signed by President George W. Bush placed all children who arrive at U.S. borders and ports of entry without a parent or guardian under the care and custody of the Department of Health and Human Services.

Under President Barack Obama this issue grabbed national attention when, in 2015, it was discovered that HHS did not require any meaningful proof that the people who presented themselves as family friends really were who they said they were.

In one high-profile case, HHS allowed six migrant children from Guatemala to be turned over to traffickers who forced them to work in grueling conditions on an Ohio egg farm.
Frank Sharry, executive director of America’s Voice: "What’s happened is that ICE has a new policy of going after sponsors. The bigger story if not that they are losing people-- it's that ICE is terrorizing people."

Think of the basement of the Ipatiev House in Yekaterinburg on July 16, 1918

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At 6:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even something as outrageous as family separation means that no one is looking at more lucrative graft and corruption.

At 6:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Not unprecedented. Maybe the magnitude is greater than 'Teapot Dome' but not the Rumsfeld profitization of war bacchanal (made dick cheney and himself multi millionaires if not billionaires).

they don't need distractions. the media, just as in cheney's 2 terms, doesn't cover the corruption. These latest atrocities are simply Nazis being Nazis... and democraps' past failures to do their jobs being laid bare. As if the chene/Rumsfeld thing being allowed to happen in the first place, and not being fixed in 2009 didn't already lay bare their true nature.

Nazi voters love that their side is cruel to brown people and approves of them making billions from war and other disasters and tragedies (someone's going to make money... might as well be our side)
Democrap voters don't care that their side is corrupt and double-dealing and hapless. All they care about is that they are just a little less evil than the Nazis.

As with every bi-annum, here we go again (to quote the patron saint of America, Reagan).

At 11:52 AM, Anonymous Hone said...

Well, I will be going to France in the fall and will spend some time touring the chateaux of the Loire, where the rich wined and dined and spent all of other people's money building gigundo mansions for themselves. Although the French peasants eventually chopped their heads off, they soon wound up with Napoleon, another dictator. Same old tune as now, same old tune throughout history. Karl Marx sure had it right.

Who the hell are all these Americans who support Trump and this craziness of separating kids from their parents? I am so ashamed of our country. I think on my trip to France I'll pretend I'm from Canada.

Australia did it as recently as the 1950's. They took aborigine children from their parents and put them in training to be in a white society. Watch The Rabbit Fence.

At 2:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hone, I guarantee that once you're in France for one nanosecond, you'll want to never come back. That was my experience. France has their issues, but they also have more than 2 parties and their voters tend to insist on being heard. They don't always get the best one... but they rarely keep re-electing bad ones until they die.

Plus, the people are far superior (I guess I just said that above... sorry), the wine and food are sublime and it's gorgeous. And (for me, anyway), the women are beautiful and lacking in pretense. You see fat people there, but 99% of them are American tourists.

Take a river cruise, visit as many small villages as you can and just enjoy everything, starting with that food and wine. I bet you never see a sign advocating someone or something that has its roots in naziism, like you would here.


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