Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Out of Sorts With Daddy: Kushner and Trump-Kushner Maybe On Their Way Back to NYC

Non-effective Except for Self-Promotion & Fatter 
Bank Accounts

Background from Newsweek: Trump entrusted Kushner (his son-in-law) who had no government experience, with such hefty tasks as:

1.  Rewriting the U.S. foreign trade agreements.
2.  Ending the opioid epidemic.
3.  Reforming the VA.
4.  Leading relations with China.
5.  Forging peace in the ME.

Now, however, Kushner’s portfolio has been reduced to just “forging peach in the ME.” All that are steps since John Kelly began his reign as White House CofS, replacing Priebus back in July (according to close W/H sources).

Now Kushner may be deep doo-doo with the Mueller investigation and his role in meetings with and contacts with Russians – many that he failed to report as contacts.

To make matters worse or at least more serious – get this double and triple-sourced part of the story here from Business Insider:

President Donald Trump reportedly wants Ivanka Trump-Kushner and hubby Jared Kushner to leave Washington, DC and go back to New York. 

The president is said to have grown increasingly frustrated with Kushner's political advice in recent months.

More so, Jared Kushner and Ivanka are central figures in the Russia investigation, and Trump reportedly wants them to avoid negative press coverage. 

This according to a Vanity Fair report. Also Trump is said to be growing increasingly frustrated with Kushner, i.e., “He keeps pressuring them to go,” one source told Vanity Fair. 

Background: Kushner and Ivanka both are central figures in special counsel Robert Mueller's Russia investigation.

Note: Related to Kushner vis-à-vis Mueller heat on him; yes or no from here.

Mueller is reportedly investigating Trump's role in crafting a misleading statement his son, Donald Trump Jr., released after it emerged that he met with a Kremlin-connected lawyer at Trump Tower in June 2016.

Mueller is also building an obstruction-of-justice case against Trump, related to his decision to fire FBI director James Comey in May.

Kushner is a central figure in both events — he attended the June 2016 meeting, and multiple media reports have said that he strongly urged Trump to fire Comey.

He was also with Trump in Bedminster, New Jersey during a weekend in early May, when Trump put together a draft letter laying out the reasons he wanted to fire Comey. 

He never sent the letter — White House counsel Don McGahn advised him against doing so — but he fired Comey days later. That decision ultimately led to Mueller's appointment as special counsel.

Trump according, again to the Vanity Fair report is frustrated with Kushner's political advice. Kushner reportedly advocated for Trump to back Alabama Republican candidate Luther Strange in the runoff against Roy Moore, which Strange ended up losing.

My input: Whew boy, the stuff is getting really deep.

As they say, the proverbial handwriting is on the wall, and in true Trump M.O. style – that is: Blame everyone around him, hold them accountable even with insults in the press, or worse, firing them, or forcing them to resign, etc., all the while he ducks responsibility himself and plays the role as “only me – that’s all that matters.”

Next axe and whose neck is on the line – we could find out shortly.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, November 20, 2017

NSC Chief H. R. McMaster: Step Right Up, Your Marching Papers, Sign Here Sayonara Baby

Active Duty (Army Lt.Gen.) and Trump's National Security Advisor


Pretty startling story: NSC Advisor H.R. McMaster was unsparingly critical of President Donald Trump at a July dinner with Oracle CEO Safra Catz, according to a report Buzz Feed News just published. 

McMaster called Trump an “idiot a dope” with the intelligence of a “kindergartner,” Buzz Feed reported while citing five unnamed sources with knowledge of McMaster’s and Catz’s conversation at Oracle. 

A sixth unnamed source told Buzz Feed News that McMaster made similar comments directly to the source in private, and said Trump did not have the smarts to understand the subjects the NSC deals with.

The White House referred TPM’s request for comment to the NSC, which did not immediately reply. Michael Anton, a spokesman for the NSC told Buzz Feed News that “actual participants in the dinner deny that General McMaster made any of the comments attributed to him by anonymous sources,” then added: “Those false comments represent the diametric opposite of General McMaster’s actual views.”

Other Sources for this Report:





My 2 Cents: So, is McMaster the next to go. But, notice that he is still an active duty Army officer (*Lt. Gen.), and that raises several interesting scenarios,

Stay tuned … in the meanwhile watch the W/H and their denials and excuses, etc.

Thanks for stopping by.


Saturday, November 18, 2017

More "Winners and Losers" Under the GOP So-Called Tax Reform Plan

He Cometh, He Taketh, and He Enjoyeth the Most

Tax Breaks Are Good and Needed from Time-to-Time
(Who really benefits the most is the critical question)

GOP Tax “Reform Plan” – some Winners and Losers – short analysis here from TPM in part.

SOME OF THE WINNERS:

 • Wealthy individuals and their heirs win big in the “overhaul” of the inheritance tax on multimillion-dollar estates. Democrats wave the legislation’s targeting of the tax as a red flag in the face of Republicans, as proof that they’re out to benefit wealthy donors.

• The House bill initially doubles the limits — to $11 million for individuals and $22 million for couples — on how much money in the estate can be exempted from the inheritance tax, then repeals it entirely after 2023.

Then there’s the alternative minimum tax (ATM): A levy aimed at ensuring that higher-earning people pay at least some tax. It disappears in both bills.

This is a “cha-ching for Trump’s far-flung property empire and the holdings of his daughter Ivanka and her husband, Jared Kushner.”  

The Senate bill lets pass-through owners deduct some of the earnings and then pay at their personal income rate on the remainder.


• Corporations win all around, with a tax rate slashed from 35 percent to 20 percent in both bills, but would have to wait a year under the Senate version.

Trump and the administration view it as an untouchable centerpiece of the legislation.

• U.S. oil companies with foreign operations would pay reduced taxes under the Senate bill on their income from sales of oil and natural gas abroad.

• Beer, wine, and liquor producers would reap tax reductions under the Senate measure.

• Companies that provide maintenance for aircraft services get an updated win. The Senate bill clarifies that under current law, the management companies would be exempt from paying taxes on payments they receive from owners of private jets as well as from commercial airlines. That was requested by OH Sens Rob Portman (R) and Sherrod Brown (D) – Ohio is home to “NetJets,” a big aircraft management company: Portman (overall Yes) / Brown (overall No).

SOME OF THE LOSERS:

• An estimated 13 million Americans could lose health insurance coverage under the Senate bill, which would repeal the “Obamacare” requirement that everyone in the U.S. have health insurance based on the latest CBO analysis.

Eliminating the fines for not having healthcare is expected to mean fewer people would obtain federally subsidized health policies (thus saving money for the GOP to give to “winners” as their breaks).

• People living in high-tax states would be hit by repeal of federal deductions for state and local taxes under the Senate bill (SALT provision). The House has only a partial repeal (and it passed). That result of a compromise allows the deduction for up to $10,000 in property taxes.

• Starting in 2021, many families making less than $30,000 a year would face tax increases under the Senate bill (according to Congress’ nonpartisan Joint Committee on Taxation).

• By 2027, families earning less than $75,000 would see their tax bills rise while those making more would enjoy some reductions (the same analysts say), with the individual income-tax reductions in the Senate bill ending in 2026.

Some of my other coverage below: FYI –


2https://politicalrapids.blogspot.com/2017/10/boo-happy-halloween-gop-tax-reform-on.html

3.  http://weaselwart.blogspot.com/2017/11/gop-tax-code-reform-plan-expert.html

B/L if there is in fact a bottom line: It ain’t over yet – the public is starting to wake up and react. Will it matter – usually when the public competes with big money, well we know who usually wins.

Stay tuned and thanks for stopping by.





Sunday, November 12, 2017

Real Donald Trump: What He Wants to Hide Not What the Country Deserves to Know

Donald J. Trump New Book Pending: “Art of Backpedaling”

“Hell yes, I believe you Vlad. You know how crappy 
our intelligence hacks are”

Wow – talk about Trump double-talking, backpedaling or whatever we choose to call his M.O. this take the proverbial cake – some prospective from Axios here:

Background: On Saturday November 11, Trump lashed out at former heads of our intelligence agencies, claiming there are plenty of reasons to be suspicious of their findings and dismissing them as “political hacks” (re: Russian interference in the 2016 election).

Then Trump told reporters while traveling with him to Hanoi that Putin had again vehemently denied the allegations. The two spoke during an economic conference in Danang, Vietnam. 

Trump danced around questions about whether he believed Putin but stressed Putin's denials, adding: “Every time he sees me, he says: ‘I didn't do that,’ and I believe — I really believe — that when he tells me that, he means it.” Trump then said it makes no sense for him to belabor the issue when Russia could help the U.S. on North Korea, Syria, and other issues.

Some of the Contrast:

Then former CIA director John Brennan said Sunday on CNN's “State of the Union” about Trump dismissing former officials — including himself — calling them “political hacks in an attempt to delegitimize” the IC (Intelligence Community) assessment that Russia interfered in the election.

Brennan said: “I think Putin is very clever in terms of playing to Mr. Trump's interest in being flattered. And also I think Mr. Trump is, for whatever reason, either intimidated by Putin, afraid of what he could do, or what might come out as a result of these investigations.” 

Then former DNI (Director of National Intelligence), James Clapper, also on “State of the Union” called the threat from Russia “manifest and obvious,” then added: “To try to paint it in any other way is, I think, astounding and, in fact, poses a peril to this country.”

Questions about whether Trump believes the assessment about Russian election-meddling have trailed him since January, when he said for the first time, shortly before taking office, that he accepted that Russia was behind the election-year hacking of Democrats that roiled the White House race.

Fast forward to Sunday, and now Trump is having to have it both ways about that Russian interference.

Trump now says (1) he believes the U.S. intelligence agencies when they say Russia meddled and (2) Putin's sincerity in claiming that his country did not, adding: “I believe that he feels that he and Russia did not meddle in the election.” (Trump at a news conference in Hanoi with Vietnam's president), concluding: “As to whether I believe it, I'm with our agencies … as currently led by fine people, I believe very much in our intelligence agencies.”

Our IC’s long have concluded that Russia meddled in the 2016 election to help the Trump defeat Hillary Clinton. A special counsel's examination of potential collusion between Moscow and Trump campaign aides so far has led to several indictments against Trump's former campaign chairman (Paul Manafort and another top aide (Rick Gates) for crimes unrelated to the campaign, and a guilty plea from a Trump foreign policy adviser (George Papadopoulos), and multiple congressional committees continue investigating.

My speculation of the confab between Putin and Trump:HANOI (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump on Sunday attempted to clear up confusion over whether he accepts Russian President Vladimir Putin's denials of meddling in the U.S. election last year.
At a news conference in Vietnam, Trump distanced himself from remarks he made on Saturday in which he suggested he believed Putin when he said there had been no Russian meddling in the election that took him to the White House.
The comments had drawn criticism at home because U.S. intelligence agencies have long since concluded there was Russian meddling.
"As to whether I believe it or not, I’m with our agencies, especially as currently constituted," Trump said at a news conference with Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang.
"As currently led, by fine people, I believe very much in our intelligence agencies."
He was careful to make clear he sided with the intelligence agencies under his own leadership.
Former U.S. intelligence director James Clapper had told Reuters: "The fact the president of the United States would take Putin at his word over that of the intelligence community is quite simply unconscionable."
The Russian issue has clouded Trump's first year in office and his comments on Saturday were a distraction from his five-nation Asia tour.
Trump said he still believed Putin did not think there had been Russian meddling.
"I believe that President Putin really feels, and feels strongly, that he did not meddle in our election," Trump said, while adding: "What he believes is what he believes."
Trump said he was not interested in arguing with Putin over meddling and wanted to get on with Russia to work on world problems including North Korea, Syria and Ukraine.
Trump has called allegations of campaign collusion with Moscow a hoax. A special counsel, Robert Mueller, is conducting an investigation that has led to charges against Trump's former campaign manager Paul Manafort and his associate Rick Gates.
U.S. intelligence agencies have also concluded Russians interfered to tip the election in Trump's favour through hacking and releasing emails to embarrass Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton and spreading social media propaganda

Putin to Trump: I didn't do anything to disrupt your election.

Trump to reporters: I believe Putin.

For anyone who trusts and believes Putin and Trump and their statements, then consider this scenario (purely my input):

1.  Suppose Putin actually did not did not disrupt the election process as he and millions of us say.

2.  That makes our intelligence agencies out to be a false pack of liars and incompetent boobs.

3.  Suppose Putin's is only to impact and see a total breakdown not of our electoral system, but of our total entire democratic system of government.

4.  Putin gains a valuable ally in Trump who now fully agrees with Putin and his honesty.

5.  What we see now seems to underscore that scenario is working. 


Just look at our total government disruption and clever devious PR war against anyone who goes against Trump and whatever he says or does and who does not trust him.

What do we call all this? Anarchy comes to mind damn quickly: Trump's way or no way.

Stay tuned – this ain’t over yet.

Thanks for stopping by.

Monday, November 6, 2017

Emperor Donald XLV Has Spoken: "I'm the only one that matters" — WTF Moment in History

Man in the Middle: Arrogant Spoiled Narcissist Out of Control


The following from Salon.com is a super excellent very in-depth analysis of Trump the man – the man we now call president.

I note: It is about the best I have seen to date just short of an actual officially-approved medical professional view of him.

My concerns are just like those raised in the Salon article about the fears, doubts, uncertainties, documented statements and video clips of Trump in his own words, the well-known and documented facts about him, and about all the suspicions many people still hold about him when asking “how will Trump govern.” Those concerns are valid and now in plain view while still developing practically on daily basis, and they are not pretty.
  
A few highlights from the Salon article written by Digby are in this short introduction (my emphasis added):

“President Donald Trump is overseas right now, doing personal appearances at his properties and making a fool of himself. So far, he's asked Japanese car makers to start making cars in the United States, apparently ignorant of the fact that three out of four Japanese-branded cars and trucks are already manufactured in America.”

“And he hawked U.S. military equipment as if he were selling Trump steaks on YouTube.” That wasn't the worst of it.”

“He also told American and Japanese troops that no nation should underestimate American resolve. Then he quipped: Every once in a while, in the past, they underestimated us. It was not pleasant for them, was it?”

“Trump's previous foreign trips have also been embarrassing, but he seems more off-kilter than usual this time. That's obviously because of the pressure he's under back home, with the indictments of his former campaign officials by special counsel Robert Mueller. That pressure has once again brought out into the open the authoritarian impulses that are becoming more and more pronounced by the day.”

“Back when Trump took out full-page ads calling for capital punishment and allowing police to brutalize citizens, he was just another tabloid blowhard.”

“And during the presidential campaign, when he endorsed torture and war crimes and made racist comments about a judge's Mexican heritage, people assumed he was just being hyperbolic.”

“When he repeatedly declared his opponent guilty of crimes, even spitting out the nasty jibe: If I were president, you'd be in jail, said to Hillary Clinton in a presidential debate, nobody thought he actually meant it.”

“But after more than nine months of his presidency, it's become clear that Trump truly has no respect for the rule of law.”

Story continues at the above Salon link.

Thanks for stopping by.


Saturday, November 4, 2017

"War Breaks Out" Between the Bushes and The Donald: Sit, Pass the Popcorn, Enjoy

“Man in the Middle” and How the Bushes See Him 

How Trump Sees Himself and Wants the World to See Him


President Geo. H.W. “Poppy” Bush: “I don’t like him. I don’t know much about him, but I know he’s a blowhard. And I’m not too excited about him being a leader. He appears to be driven by a certain ego.”

President Geo. W. Bush: “He does not know how to be president.”

White House via Huckabee-Sanders White House Press Secretary and probably moronic approver of W/H bullshit PR lies and silly-ass statements Stephen Miller said: “If one Presidential candidate (Trump) can disassemble a political party, it speaks volumes about how strong a legacy its past two (Bush) presidents really had.”

My Assessment of this Growing Concern: This is very serious business folks … this government now totally under control of this GOP (President, the House, and Senate and all the departments and such) speaks to slow erosion of our nation despite the crap the GOP rightwing via persons like Miller, Bannon, Hannity, Fox, Alt-right, Neo-Nazis, and most of rightwing nutty Talk Radio spew on a 24/7 basis doing what they can to undermine the country all the while they blame others for “undermine the country.”

Then add this about Mueller options vis-à-vis Trump bashing of witnesses and the justice system overall: Mueller could gag Trump if he continues to criticize and attempts to influence the investigation into alleged collusion between the Trump camp and Russia, according to a Watergate prosecutor by blasting witnesses like Papadopoulos, et al.

How ironic is all that? As I said, this is extremely serious – perhaps the most-serious in our entire nation’s history – at least from my foxhole view.

What do you think?


Wednesday, November 1, 2017

If FOX Ever Goes Up For Sale, Guess Who is First in Line

Hell why not: Only a slight name change to fit reality 101 right now


Trump and his surrogates — most especially the Fox News lineup (which includes a fleet of conservative pundits who disgrace themselves by facilitating a political distraction game for Trump), obsequious Republicans in Congress, old allies such as Roger Stone (who wound up getting banned by Twitter) and the talk radio crowd — have been frantically fanning Hillary Clinton non-scandals about Uranium One (it was baseless before and baseless now) and the [Steele] Dossier funding (fusion GPS initially was hired by the conservative Free Beacon, which at one time claimed not to know the identity of the Republican outfit that first hired Fusion).

The unhinged rants from Trump’s defenders demanding Clinton be locked up for one or both of these reveal how tightly Trump and the right-wing ecosystem that supports him rely on Clinton as an all-purpose distraction.

Upon a moment’s reflection, the non-scandals make no sense (Clinton was colluding with Russia to beat herself in the election?), have been debunked before and in no way affect the liability, if any, of current or ex-Trump administration figures.

This is “whataboutism” run amok. It does expose the degree to which Fox News has given up the pretense of a real news organization, preferring the role of state propagandist (and it’s not just the evening hosts; the non-scandals now monopolize the rest of the schedule.)

The intensity of Trump’s frenzy underscores the peril in which the president now finds himself. Beyond the (3) indictments unsealed, Trump does not know what special counsel Robert Mueller has uncovered; which witnesses are flippable; what financial documents have revealed about the Trump business empire; and whether, for example, Mueller finds support for an obstruction of justice charge from Trump’s own public dissembling (e.g., hinting at non-existent tapes of former FBI director James Comey).

For someone who insists on holding all the cards and intimidating others, Trump finds himself in a uniquely powerless position.


I conclude: Trump is apt to pull a Nixon as he moves to fire Mueller anyone around Mueller, then he will effectively shut down any and all links to Russia, and then close all investigations leading to his doorway.

Then, this all GOP-run Congress, if they can ever find the guts, will move to impeach and then remove Trump.

Final step: Trump pulls the final Nixon: He resigns.

So, who says history does not repeat itself?

Stay tuned, and as always, thanks for stopping by.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Boo, Happy Halloween: GOP Tax "Reform" On the Way Then Boo-Hoo Follows

Does that sound familiar – it should – but not surprised

"38% Fake Number, a Hoax" — 57% of losers"
(Biggest in history believe me)

Paul Krugman, Nobel Prize winner for economics, makes some critically important points in his fine evaluation here from The New York Times  – below in part extract:

If the GOP were to allow or not try to prevent Trump from firing S/C Robert Mueller, which is possible, then there will be one main reason: “Trump offers their big opportunity to cut taxes for the very wealthy an thus have a major victory for 2018 and beyond.

The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center estimates that almost 80 percent of the Trump tax cut would go to people with incomes over $1 million; and they would get an average cut of around $230,000 a year.

However, to a successful multi-millionaire or extremely successful billionaire, a $230,000 tax refund or cut if you will, is really not a big deal except how the overall cut impacts and grows the deficit – something Republicans have always been against, at least until now, or it seems.

 “… A few hundred thousand dollars extra will do little if anything to make the already wealthy more satisfied with their lives.”

(But, always a but; and, I agree with Krugman on these points):

“…You might well ask, who cares? Even if tax cuts were to make the rich joyful, it shouldn’t count against the sheer misery or impact that Republicans are trying to impose on the tens of millions of people as they try to (1) deprive them of health care (i.e., repeal and replace ACA), (2) cuts to the SNAP (food stamp program), and (3) trimming back or cutting disability benefits of all kinds, and (4) legislative rollback of Obama-era rules, and so much more.”

“… And, it is fascinating that all that misery, plus the possible destruction of constitutional government (resulting from the Mueller investigation of Trump whether he survives in office or not), may happen without even making the intended beneficiaries happy.”

I conclude: All the previous and on-going Trump/GOP efforts are pathetically ironic.
Along the way, the question is of course is that Trump and the GOP keep blaming Hillary Clinton and the DEMS for a lot in their silly-ass games which appear to have one single goal, purpose, and aim: first wipe anything about Mr. Obama and pull out all stops to ensure their survival in office.

I guess doing more harm than good works for them whether or not they are taking the nation in the wrong direction (and the majority of the public agrees).


GOP and Trump loyalists’ views and opinions are nice and a lot in this day and age, but those things do not replace facts about the serious and dangerous direction this all GOP-run government is taking us and harm that looms ahead if they succeed.

Thanks for stopping by.

Sunday, October 29, 2017

New Scary Movie Coming Soon “Scary Movie 45 WTF: Trump Wants More Nukes”

Trump-Pence: “Make Mankind Cringe Again” 

B61-12 Nuclear Bomb

You want scary - this outta do it


Headlines and Sub-Text here from The Guardian, that I have labeled: “Lunatics я Us (Trump-Pence)”

“Trump Team Drawing Up Fresh Plans to Bolster U.S. 
Nuclear Arsenal”

·         Congress and U.S. Allies: Briefed on progress of “Nuclear Posture Review (NPR)”
·         Pence: “There’s no greater force for world peace than the US nuclear arsenal”

Define insanity: Trump-Pence views about nuclear weapons: “The more the merrier.”

The Trump administration is working on a nuclear weapons policy that is intended to mark a decisive end to the era of post-cold war disarmament, by bolstering the US arsenal and loosening the conditions under which it would be used.

A draft of the new Nuclear Posture Review (NPR) was presented in September at a White House meeting between Trump and his top national security advisers.

Congress and U.S. allies have been briefed on the progress of the new draft.

The document is still being debated with a target for completion by the end of this year or the beginning of next. Among the new elements under consideration are a low yield ballistic missile intended primarily to deter Russia’s use of a small nuclear weapon in a war over the Baltic states; a sea-launched cruise missile; a change in language governing conditions in which the U.S. would use nuclear weapons; and investments aimed at reducing the time it would take the U.S. to prepare a nuclear test.

Trump has frequently voiced his intention to build up the US arsenal.

According to one report, he was outraged at a meeting with military leaders in July when he was shown a downward sloping graph of the U.S. weapons stockpile since the cold war, and had to be talked out of ordering a tenfold increase.

However, the White House denied the report but it has repeatedly made clear it aims to adopt a more aggressive nuclear stance.

My views: We need less NOT more nuclear weapons and Trump or anyone else is patently insane to think otherwise that we need more and better or whatever their pea-size brains are thinking, even we can call it thinking, let alone rational thinking.

Here is reminder of what I wrote about a while ago in part on his topic:

The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists announced just in 2015 that that they had decided to move its famed “Doomsday Clock” three minutes closer to midnight – effect 3-minutes closer to the “End of Humanity.”

While that Bulletin focused on the threat from climate change, a spokesperson added that: “A nuclear arms race resulting from modernization of huge arsenals pose extraordinary and undeniable threats to the continued existence of humanity.”
I wonder if Trump read that or even knows what “Threat to the continued existence of humanity” actually means.

Trump said on this as reported on by Reuters on Feb 23, 2017 that he wants to build up the U.S. nuclear arsenal to ensure it is at the “top of the pack,” saying the United States has fallen behind in its atomic weapons capacity. Wow – what a profound statement – that is probably 100% incorrect and based on the following and much, much more:  

Nuclear weapons do not address the threat of ISIL in Syria and Iraq, the Ebola (or similar other) viral outbreak, the continued insurgency in Afghanistan, or Russian expansion into Crimea and the Ukraine, and of course in Syria.

Finally, what does Trump know about this treaty, or if he does, does he even care – that treaty is the UN Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). 

Congress must resist Trump and his insane crazy ambitions about more nukes. They must resist in the name of all mankind any Trump-Pence moves for more nukes… not to do so would be utterly insane in the name of people if we were to again travel down that dark path – we must ever again have any nuclear arms race, period.

Thanks for stopping by and now, speak out against this Trump madness.