Weekend Open Thread

“To educate a man in mind and not in morals is to educate a menace to society.”

–Theodore Roosevelt

41 Community Comments, Facebook Comments

  1. mamajama55mamajama55 says:

    I wish I lived in a fantasy world in which Russian takeover of the executive branch of the Federal government is not well under way, and in which our executive is not one of the most corrupt oligarchs in the world. To prove me wrong, all you would have to do is encourage your GOP reps to force Trump to reveal his tax returns, like every other President in history.

    Trump – Russian Business Relationships

    Unlike all of his predecessors, he has declined to release his tax returns. One partial return from 2005 was sent to a reporter.  That was a year in which Trump paid 36% rate on his taxes.  For the years after that, Trump has bragged about paying zero in taxes, saying that makes him “smart”.

    What would these tax returns show? They would show the extent of Trump’s indebtedness to people who have bailed out his businesses by floating loans. Trump is actually a pretty crappy businessman, notwithstanding his hype. He has been bankrupt, 6 times, he has failed to pay his subcontractors at least 60 times, he has had at least 17  businesses, including hotels, fail, and investors never got their investments back. He paid off the poor suckers who invested in Trump University, to the tune of $25 million – and got a tax writeoff for it.

    But will the public – or even Congress, which has the duty of oversight – ever see the full extent of Trump’s tax returns, which would show all of these business failures, all of the money loaned to bail him out, all of the tax writeoffs used to evade paying taxes? Congress shirked its duty, and GOP MoCs blocked a bill that would have forcied Trump to show his taxes. So that one measly 2005 partial return may be all we ever see. 

    So who has bailed this lousy business man out? Deutsche bank, through Russian investors. Chinese banks. Private loans. Trump himself, as well as his son, have admitted to great inflows of cash from Russia. And now, the American taxpayer will be on the hook to bail out the swindler.

    For a very well-sourced and exhaustive reference on all of the Russian business dealings, see this Compilation of Trump's Russian Connections, by wnemirow.

    There’s been plenty of other mainstream reporting, as well:

    USA Today

    Reuters

    Washington Post

    The graphic below is from Bump’s 3/3/2017 Washington Post article:

     

    What do these businessmen hope to gain from Trump’s business relationships?

    1. Easing of Russian sanctions, which Trump has said that he will “look into”.
    2. Allowing Russian interests to take over the Ukraine. This has already been changed in the Republican party platform – the only interest Trump showed in the platform.
    3. Future oil billions to be made from Rosneft’s drilling in the Arctic – a venture in which Rex Tillerson, trump’s Secretary of state still owns stock, although he is no longer the CEO of EXXON.  Tillerson owned two million shares of EXXON during Trump’s Presidential campaign, and was awarded a Russian medal of friendship by Putin himself.

     

    So the Trump Russian business ties are of long duration, deep, and powerful. Again, I recommend wnemirow’s reporting for more sources and explanation.

    Political appointees with Russian ties:

    But it is the cabinet posts I’m writing of when I write about how the Russians are taking over the executive branch of our government.

    • Trump himself
    • His children, Ivanka and Donald have extensive Russian business ties of their own.
    • VP Pence “ignored” the intelligence report that Mike Flynn was a foreign agent for Turkey, as well as a known intelligence asset for Russia, through his work for Russia Today propaganda network.
    • Secretary Tillerson, an oil executive with no diplomatic experience and a billion dollar oil deal with the Russian oil company pending lifting sanctions.
    • AG Sessions, who lied under oath about whether he knew of Russian contacts, and had to recuse himself from the investigation as a result.
    • Mike Flynn, Director of National Security, forced out because of foreign entangements and lying.
    • Wilbur Ross, Trump’s Secretary of Commerce, has extensive  and questionable business ties with both China and Russia
    • Mike Cohen, Trump’s lawyer, met Russians repeatedly and secretly., according to the dossier obtained by Buzzfeed.

    Trump Campaign wonks rooted in Russia

    • Then there is Trump’s campaign “Kremlin kabal”, headed by Mannafort, himself with extensive dealings in the Ukraine looking after Russian interests, Wilson, Kislyak, Stone, and Ross, all of whom reputedly negotiated for the Russian hacking of the DNC and subsequent coordinated leaking to Wikileaks of fake news stories, such as  that HRC ran a child sex ring out of a pizza parlor, was dying of Parkinson’s disease, had body doubles, etc,etc.  This has all been extensively reported on elsewhere. The article Compilation of Trump's Russian Connections, by wnemirow, sources this material well.

    Russian President Putin is reputedly the richest man in the world, and most of his wealth has come from exploiting his countrymen. There are few boundaries between government and industry in Russia, a holdover from the old Communist days. The USA seems well positioned to repeat this pattern of blurred business and government under an authoritarian regime, a.k.a. , fascism.

    I happen to be a patriot who happily recites the Pledge of Allegiance every day in school (and today, at a track meet I’m volunteering at). I barely drink, and rarely use marijuana medicinally. I would ask you, AC, to channel your old inner patriot and Cold Warrior . Do not let a foreign power dictate American policy. Don’t collude in the erosion of our sacred Constitutional freedoms. Let your conservative conscience be your guide.

    This comment was begun as a reply to AC's comment that I "live in a fantasy world" and "probably use drugs" in order to attack my assertion that our executive branch is compromised by Russian influence. So I'm reposting here.

    UPDATE: Media Matters picked up McClatchy Bureau’s story that Breitbart and Infowars may have collaborated with Russian hackers in spreading “bots” , fake social media accounts that spread fake stories about HRC. https://www.mediamatters.org/blog/2017/03/20/report-fbi-investigating-russian-operatives-using-bots-spread-stories-breitbart-rt-infowars/215770

  2. DavieDavie says:

    If you hear your neighbors speaking Russian, you are probably living in a Trump property:

    Report: Russian Elite Invested Nearly $100 Million In Trump Buildings, Records Show

    At least 63 individuals with Russian ties have bought nearly $100 million worth of property.

    The resort town of Sunny Isles Beach, site of six of the seven Trump-branded Florida residential towers, stands out in another way: The zip code that includes the Sunny Isles buildings has an estimated 1,200 Russian-born residents, among the most in the country, U.S. Census data show.

    What a coincidence!  

     

    Привет сосед!

     

    • Roger Edwards, Candidate CO 6th DistrictPowerful Pear says:

       Why are you hating on refugees? 

      • DawnPatrol says:

        Bow to Dear Leader, Comrade Snowflake!

         

      • DavieDavie says:

        Pitiful Pair — Hating on Refugees?  Who are paying over $1 million each for their condos on a resort condo development on Miami Beach?

        Seriously?  My sympathies for your advanced case of brain waste.

        • MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

          It appears West Palm Beach has had enough of paying for Cheetolini's 'golfing weekends'.  Perhaps he can pass the tin cup around the Russian refugee camp and get a little love from his neighbors? 

          Palm Beach Is Sick of Paying for Donald Trump's Weekend Visits to Mar-a-Lago

          Dave Kerner, a county commissioner for Palm Beach's third district, is asking the county’s attorney office to explore making Mar-a-Lago’s owner reimburse the county for “special benefits” given to the resort. Kerner’s proposal would make Mar-a-Lago a “municipal service benefit unit,” meaning the county can require the resort to pay for the costs incurred by Trump’s frequent visits.

          “We’re very honored to have the president here, but at the same time, his travel here is such high frequency he’s not visiting Palm Beach County — he’s governing from it,” Kerner told MONEY.

          Altogether, the bill comes to well over $1 million in Trump-related costs incurred by the county over the past few months.

          The county is currently facing a $40 million deficit and a devastating heroin epidemic, Kerner said. He thinks local taxpayer dollars should be used on these pressing county issues, not on special accommodations for the president.

          (at least Palm Beach county didn't vote for Drumpf and then find themselves in the awkward position of complaining about his activities). 

           

  3. VoyageurVoyageur says:

    Trump stinks.

  4. MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

    Of course he does (hint: no cuts will be expected in these types of wealth transfer under this Administration. When the transfer is from the many to the few, then it's A-OK).  

    White Nationalist Richard Spencer Gets His Money From Louisiana Cotton Fields—and the US Government

    He is in a position to know. Spencer, along with his mother and sister, are absentee landlords of 5,200 acres of cotton and corn fields in an impoverished, largely African American region of Louisiana

    The Spencer family's farms are also subsidized by the federal government. From 2008 through 2015, the Spencers received $2 million in US farm subsidy payments, according to federal data

    "I'm not involved in any direct day-to-day running of the business," he said, later adding, "I'm going to navigate the world as it is, and I'm not going to be a pauper."

  5. ZappateroZappatero says:

    Michael Bennet is a Coward and Betrayer of Democratic principles. 

    The truth always seems to come out with this guy. For every 1 thing he does that makes us cheer, he pulls 3 or 4 Republican Lite moves that make me want to scream. 

    FU MB 

  6. mamajama55mamajama55 says:

    Hey Pols –  how about unblocking my post, or telling me what's wrong with it? I wrote to you about 8 am this morning. mj

  7. MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

    These numbers are BIGLY BAD!  To quote KornJolio: "Oops"

    (from Gallup)

  8. MichaelBowmanMichaelBowman says:

    "I never thought leopards would eat MY face" sobs woman who voted for the Leopards Eating People's Faces Party…

    Trump voter who uses Meals on Wheels surprised by proposed cuts

    It works for 56-year-old Linda Preast, who signed up for the program two years ago after a stroke left her in a wheelchair. Meals on Wheels delivers to her every weekday. Like most residents in Jones County, she voted for Donald Trump. 

    “Are you surprised?” Miller asked.

    “Yeah,” Preast said. “Because he was told- I was under the influence that he was going to help us.” 

    “What would you tell him to convince him not to cut this program?” Miller asked.

    “What if it was your momma?” Preast said.

  9. Pseudonymous says:

    What are the current odds on Bennet voting in favor of Gorsuch?

    • mamajama55mamajama55 says:

      Bennet's going to vote for Gorsuch, eventually. I'd say the odds are 90-10 on that.  I hope that we can persuade all our Dem Senators to draw things out and stall for as long as possible, hopefully until this SCOTUS session ends this summer.

      Gorsuch will be terrible for women, for LGBTQ folk, for workers, but he just might be OK for the environment and renewable energy, if the rumors about his closeness to Anschutz are true.

      • JohnInDenver says:

        Bennet is introducing Gorsuch, they have overlapping work for Anschutz, and from initial impressions, Gorsuch's not awful in explaining his opinions. Of course Bennet will vote for confirmation.

        The only chance he wouldn't is if there is some shocker revealed in the hearings. With the Trump sadministration handling the vetting and preparation, something bad IS possible.

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