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Thread: 2019 American Political Scene

  1. #241
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    Quote Originally Posted by montgomery View Post
    You made your own bed WABS!
    Get lost
    TwentyFiveFortyFive

  2. #242
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    To put things back on track, I'd like to point out a glaring problem with people defending Trump's lack of transparency on his taxes.

    The narrative goes that "If there was a problem with Trump's taxes, the IRS would've caught it a long time ago"

    I've tried repeatedly to point out that the IRS is not infallible as its reputation makes it out to be and that this is, in any case, completely irrelevant when Congress requests any individuals tax returns. They're turned over, period. It's the law.

    Under Section 6103 of our tax code, Treasury officials “shall” turn over the tax returns “upon written request” of the chair of either congressional tax committee or the federal employee who runs Congress's Joint Committee on Taxation.

    There is, however, a law requiring every federal “employee” who touches the tax system to do their duty or be removed from office.

    The crystal-clear language of this law applies to Trump, acting White House Chief of Staff Mick Mulvaney, Mnuchin and Rettig, federal employees all.

    The law says all of them "shall" be removed from office if they fail to comply with the request from Representative Richard Neal, the Massachusetts Democrat who chairs the House Ways and Means Committee.

    There are no qualifiers in Section 6103 that shield Trump from delivering, in confidence, his tax returns to Congress. No wiggle room at all.

    Another provision in our tax code, Section 7214(a), provides that “Any officer or employee of the United States acting in connection with any revenue law of the United States… who with intent to defeat the application of any provision of this title fails to perform any of the duties of his office or employment… shall be dismissed from office or discharged from employment and, upon conviction thereof, shall be fined not more than $10,000, or imprisoned not more than 5 years or both.”

    All that Neal must do is make a request in writing that falls within the committee’s tax law and IRS oversight duties. Neal’s carefully articulated reasoning and requests for specific tax returns and related tax information in his April 3 letter easily meets that standard.

    Congress earlier applied this law to Richard Nixon, who resigned in disgrace after a second audit of his returns showed he was a major league tax cheat. Nixon fabricated deductions worth more than $3.4 million in today’s money. Nixon got off with a pardon, while his tax lawyer went to prison.

    The IRS had audited Nixon’s 1969 tax return but failed to catch major league cheating by the sitting president. Only when Congressional tax lawyers went over it, and the IRS did a second audit, did they spot blatant tax evasion.
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  3. #243
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    Quote Originally Posted by montgomery View Post
    Tell it to Oracle skipper. He told me yesterday that war is what the military mind lives for. Specifically, to kill people.
    {although I think he had just 'gone off' when he spouted that out.

    Most soldiers don't want war, they join the service in the US at least, for the easy safe job and the meal ticket. And those who want to be called soldiers but are above the rank of the soldiers, are as crazy for war as Oracle told me. Ask him.

    I suggest to you that Putin and Xi aren't waving the flags of war. That's just something that you have to believe. It's the US that is the aggressor and that would be half as egregious a crime as it is if it wasn't that Nato nations are being used by the US as their willing lackeys that afford the US legitimizatioin.

    In no more than a year's time the cracks in the Nato alliance will be much more obvious as the EU takes measures to stop US economic dirty tricks. Sadly, it's almost a given that Canada will choose the wrong side.

    -------------------------------------------------------------



    My message to Oracle: I've grown to like you best Oracle because I think you were speaking your subconscious mind when you proclaimed your country, the US, to be evil. And now you demonstrate your carelessness by agreeing with me that Afghanistan is falling into the hands of the enemy, Russia and China.

    Although I would have to say that WABS is a close runner-up with me on account of his babbling demonstrations of senility. Sad that! Continue to humour and patronize him though, he likely deserves that much.

    -------------------------------------------
    You made your own bed WABS!
    What a wind bag

  4. #244
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    Quote Originally Posted by TopHatter View Post
    I've tried repeatedly to point out that the IRS is not infallible as its reputation makes it out to be and that this is, in any case, completely irrelevant when Congress requests any individuals tax returns. They're turned over, period. It's the law.
    Isn't the law also requires Congress to have cause? IIRC, the Courts have already stated that Congress cannot go on a fishing expedition.

  5. #245
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    Quote Originally Posted by WABs_OOE View Post
    Isn't the law also requires Congress to have cause? IIRC, the Courts have already stated that Congress cannot go on a fishing expedition.
    It does and Congress has provided one, (Investigating the effectiveness of the IRS’s policy of auditing the tax returns of sitting presidents) which I don't particularly find compelling.

    The opinion of Daniel Shaviro, law professor, New York University is far more accurate:

    This is not an issue on which there is any possibility of reasonable disagreement. Any well-informed person who disagrees either that the Ways and Means Committee has an obligation to demand Trump’s tax returns as part of fulfilling its oversight duties or that Trump is legally obliged to turn them over is either a partisan hack or contemptuous of the rule of law.

    Trump has credibly been accused of engaging in criminal activity for decades. It’s undisputed that he is still profiting from his businesses. There is substantial information in the public record suggesting that he is for sale (or subject to blackmail) and that many of his public policy decisions have been made for corrupt reasons. The tax returns may help provide information that sheds light on his motives. It’s an indispensable part of congressional oversight, and Republicans as well as Democrats in the Congress ought to recognize this (and in private probably do, whether or not they care).

    All this is even leaving aside the law that would be quite clear in favor of the request even if all of the above evidence of criminality, corruption, and improper motives were not so powerful.

    It’s obvious that business tax returns as well as individual ones are a necessary part of the oversight here. I don’t know why the particular ones were selected, and I would think that casting the net far more broadly (e.g., all Trump businesses, and all tax returns for the last 20 years) would have been well within reasonable oversight.
    This Vox article has legal opinions from multiple law professors including the one I quoted. It appears that all of them state that Congress is in the right.

    The more Trump resists, the more Congress and the people of the United States (the ones that don't swallow his non-stop lies) will demand to see what he is clearly hiding. The same goes for the Mueller Report. The stench of corruption billowing out of the White House demands that we know what that man and his criminal organization are doing.

    Once again, if he wanted to continue behaving like a mob boss, he should've stayed in New York.
    TwentyFiveFortyFive

  6. #246
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    President Trump and his support base thrives on conspiracy. What is the issue in releasing his tax returns. As the first citizen, he himself should have released those, and lead by example. Unless he has done shady deals (which is more and more probable at this point), he has no reason to be worried.
    Politicians are elected to serve...far too many don't see it that way - Albany Rifles! || Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it - Mark Twain! || I am a far left millennial!

  7. #247
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    to give you a sense of Trump's priorities:

    he's slow-rolled a lot of his own nominees because for the most part he doesn't WANT his nominees to get Senate blessing; he wants his people to be nervous and dependent on him for power.

    thus we have an acting SECDEF, acting DHS, and acting interior secretary.

    guess which nominee he wants fast-tracked.

    IRS chief counsel.

    he doesn't even -try- to hide things, because he knows he has the GOP on a leash. he wields the most power over his party of any President since LBJ.

    it's a good thing for liberals that he's so utterly incompetent at basic governance and so stupid elsewhere (he insults his own SECRET SERVICE DIRECTOR) that he alienates his would-be allies and gets his enemies looking for blood.
    Last edited by astralis; 13 Apr 19, at 06:10.
    There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that "My ignorance is just as good as your knowledge."- Isaac Asimov

  8. #248
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    Quote Originally Posted by astralis View Post
    to give you a sense of Trump's priorities:

    he's slow-rolled a lot of his own nominees because for the most part he doesn't WANT his nominees to get Senate blessing; he wants his people to be nervous and dependent on him for power.

    thus we have an acting SECDEF, acting DHS, and acting interior secretary.

    guess which nominee he wants fast-tracked.

    IRS chief counsel.

    he doesn't even -try- to hide things, because he knows he has the GOP on a leash. he wields the most power over his party of any President since LBJ.

    it's a good thing for liberals that he's so utterly incompetent at basic governance and so stupid elsewhere (he insults his own SECRET SERVICE DIRECTOR) that he alienates his would-be allies and gets his enemies looking for blood.
    Yet something else that doesn't seem to bother Trump supporters and apologists: His blatant subversion of the checks and balances of the government.
    Cabinet positions are supposed to be confirmed by Congress but Trump flat out says he prefers "acting" staff.

    If this had been Obama, the Right would ripping their hair out and marching on the White House with pitchforks and torches, baying for blood.
    TwentyFiveFortyFive

  9. #249
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    Who is the strongest candidate from the democrats as far as elections in 2020 is concerned?
    Politicians are elected to serve...far too many don't see it that way - Albany Rifles! || Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it - Mark Twain! || I am a far left millennial!

  10. #250
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    Has any other highly accomplished policy professional ever said anything like this about either the sitting US president, or one of the major political parties?

    “A hostile foreign power intervened in the presidential election, hoping to install Donald Trump in the White House. The Trump campaign was aware of this intervention and welcomed it. …”

    “The fact is that the occupant of the White House betrayed his country. …”

    “Everyone (correctly) takes it as a given that Republicans will do nothing. …”

    “…the modern G.O.P. is perfectly willing to sell out America if that’s what it takes to get tax cuts for the wealthy.”

    —Dr. Paul Krugman, New York Times, April 22, 2019—


    Are you still a Republican, and if so, how do you manage to sleep at night?


    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/22/o...er=rss&emc=rss
    Trust me?
    I'm an economist!

  11. #251
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    Quote Originally Posted by DOR View Post

    Are you still a Republican, and if so, how do you manage to sleep at night?

    I asked a similar question myself in another thread. Nobody deigned to respond.
    TwentyFiveFortyFive

  12. #252
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    I very much doubt that Trumpkin's taxes were ever being "audited". Nor does and audit last over two years and having said he would release his tax returns after the audit he then changed his mind for no clear reason. Given that the Trump fund, which was supposed to be a charity, was found to have clearly mishandled it's business, and the rumours that he grossly inflated the value of his assets when trying to get loans then grossly depreciated the value of his assets for tax purposes (as Cohen said) I think it is pretty clear why it might be embarrassing for him - plus of course it is almost certain to contain income from Muscovy. Hell even the inauguration fund is under criminal scrutiny.... Anything he touches he dirty.

  13. #253
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    Been gone for a bit.

    Looks like I have missed a bit of a fireworks/shitshow!

    Think I'll grab some popcorn!
    “Loyalty to country ALWAYS. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it.”
    Mark Twain

  14. #254
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    Jimmy Carter says a full investigation would show Trump lost in 2016

    Former President Jimmy Carter questioned the legitimacy of Donald Trump's presidency on Thursday, saying he would likely not be in the White House if the Russians did not interfere in the 2016 presidential elections.

    I think a full investigation would show that Trump didn’t actually win the election in 2016. He lost the election, and he was put into office because the Russians interfered on his behalf,” the former president, who served between 1977 and 1981, said at a panel hosted by the Carter Center in Leesburg, Va.

    Pressed by moderator and historian Jon Meacham on whether he believes Trump is an “illegitimate president,” Carter stared, and then said smiling, “Basically, what I said, I can’t retract.” Carter’s remark drew laughs from the audience and Meacham.

    Carter has not been an especially vocal critic of the president, and has sometimes even praised Trump's policies. The oldest living president and Trump also spoke over the phone in April after Carter wrote to the president about his trade negotiations with China.

    Carter also called for Trump to condemn Russia for their meddling in the election during the Thursday event, and said he should “admit that it happened," as the intelligence community has already stated.
    Politicians are elected to serve...far too many don't see it that way - Albany Rifles! || Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it - Mark Twain! || I am a far left millennial!

  15. #255
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    Trump critic Justin Amash quits Republican Party

    (CNN)Rep. Justin Amash, the only congressional Republican who publicly argues that President Donald Trump has engaged in impeachable conduct, announced Thursday he is quitting the GOP.

    "Today, I am declaring my independence and leaving the Republican Party," Amash wrote in a Washington Post op-ed Thursday morning. "No matter your circumstance, I'm asking you to join me in rejecting the partisan loyalties and rhetoric that divide and dehumanize us. I'm asking you to believe that we can do better than this two-party system — and to work toward it. If we continue to take America for granted, we will lose it."

    Amash didn't mention the President by name, but his decision to abandon the party comes after months of escalating criticism not just of the President but of his own colleagues for their failure to hold Trump to account, specifically for the actions detailed in special counsel Robert Mueller's report on the 2016 election and its aftermath.

    Trump appeared to celebrate Amash's departure on Twitter, slamming him as a party defector who would not have been re-elected.

    "Great news for the Republican Party as one of the dumbest & most disloyal men in Congress is 'quitting' the Party," the president tweeted. "No Collusion, No Obstruction! Knew he couldn't get the nomination to run again in the Great State of Michigan. Already being challenged for his seat. A total loser!"

    In May, the five-term Michigan representative became the first sitting Republican lawmaker to join Democratic calls for an impeachment inquiry. He drew scorn from GOP leaders and Trump — Amash has "been a loser for a long time," the President responded — when he wrote in a series of tweets that, after reading Mueller's report on Russian interference in the 2016 election, he believed Attorney General William Barr intentionally misrepresented Mueller's findings and Trump engaged in obstruction of justice.

    Amash, a staunch libertarian, litigated the failures of the Republican Party, Congress and the American political system as a whole in his Post op-ed.

    "The Republican Party, I believed, stood for limited government, economic freedom and individual liberty — principles that had made the American Dream possible for my family," he wrote. "In recent years, though, I've become disenchanted with party politics and frightened by what I see from it. The two-party system has evolved into an existential threat to American principles and institutions."

    He also pointed to George Washington's farewell address, in which the first US President warned Americans of the dangers of partisanship.

    "True to Washington's fears, Americans have allowed government officials, under assertions of expediency and party unity, to ignore the most basic tenets of our constitutional order: separation of powers, federalism and the rule of law," Amash said. "The result has been the consolidation of political power and the near disintegration of representative democracy."

    Speculation about a 2020 challenge
    Amash's break with his party adds fuel to growing speculation that he will seek the Libertarian Party nomination and launch a long-shot bid for president in 2020. The op-ed comes as Trump is embarking on his 2020 reelection campaign and it solidifies Amash's role as a leading anti-Trump conservative, representing a group that in 2016 coalesced under a loose "Never Trump" banner.

    Over the past several months, Amash has repeatedly refused to rule out a potential presidential bid. Such a campaign would reshape the presidential election: Amash has a national following among Libertarians, and he could draw support from younger, conservative voters who are uncomfortable with Trump.

    He told CNN in March that he never stops thinking about such possibilities "because there is a big problem with the current two-party system we have, and someone has to shake it up."

    "Now, is it possible for anyone to shake it up and make a difference?" he asked at the time. "I don't know."

    The move also upends the state of play in Michigan's 3rd District, where several Republican candidates have announced their plans to challenge him for his current congressional seat in the GOP primary.

    As an independent, Amash wouldn't have to compete in the primary to run in the general election, although during a recent town hall in Grand Rapids, he told constituents it is "very difficult" to run as an independent in Michigan, due to straight-ticket voting and existing requirements for third-party candidates to get on the ballot.

    Amash didn't address his future plans, though he pointedly called for readers to reject both parties and expressed his belief that the majority of Americans don't feel adequately represented by Republicans or Democrats.

    "Most Americans are not rigidly partisan and do not feel well represented by either of the two major parties," he said. "Preserving liberty means telling the Republican Party and the Democratic Party that we'll no longer let them play their partisan game at our expense."

    Odd man out
    Amash has always been the odd man out among his Republican peers. He has long been known for an unusual willingness to split with the party line on controversial issues including federal surveillance powers, foreign policy and congressional procedure. That divide only widened in the Trump era.

    In June, Amash stepped down from the House Freedom Caucus, a group of roughly three dozen hardline conservatives who have become some of the President's loudest defenders over the past two years.

    "I have the highest regard for them and they're my close friends," Amash told CNN shortly after he informed the HFC board of his decision. "I didn't want to be a further distraction for the group."

    Amash, a founding member of the Freedom Caucus, stopped attending weekly meetings long before he formally cut ties, after clashing with members for months over differing priorities. Leading up to the 2018 election, he urged his colleagues to turn back from the path they were going down, delivering impassioned speeches about how the group was "losing sight of our purpose and our principles."

    It didn't help Amash this year that Reps. Mark Sanford and Raul Labrador, his closest allies in the fight for the Freedom Caucus' soul, were no longer in Congress.

    "In some sense you've delegitimized objections to the President," Amash told CNN of the group's loyalty to Trump in March. "You've built up such credibility for him that you just can't challenge him anymore."

    Working with Democrats
    During the 116th Congress, Amash has regularly sided with Democrats on the House Oversight Committee amid investigations into the White House, even as Republicans on the panel have stuck firmly to playing defense for the President.

    He recently voted to authorize a subpoena for White House counselor Kellyanne Conway after she refused to testify about her alleged violations of the Hatch Act, and he made headlines in February when he asked former Trump lawyer Michael Cohen questions designed to uncover potential wrongdoing by Trump during his appearance before the committee.

    Amash was also the only Republican to cosponsor the House Democratic resolution earlier this year disapproving of Trump's use of emergency powers to seize funds from the Defense Department for the construction of a border wall between the United States and Mexico.

    He has said moving forward with an impeachment inquiry would be appropriate but has not signed onto any existing impeachment resolutions, noting the decision ultimately falls to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi. Pelosi has been reluctant to back impeachment, arguing it would hurt Democrats in the upcoming election.

    "Clearly, things that violate the public trust are impeachable," Amash said to applause during the Grand Rapids town hall. "I think it's really important that we do our job as Congress. That we would not allow misconduct to go undeterred."
    A sitting President insulting anyone that disagrees with him or his policies. Is that a first in US politics?
    Politicians are elected to serve...far too many don't see it that way - Albany Rifles! || Loyalty to country always. Loyalty to government, when it deserves it - Mark Twain! || I am a far left millennial!

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