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2020 American Political Scene

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  • TopHatter
    commented on 's reply
    Yes, A Tax Scandal Can Take Down a Politician
    What does the story of Bill Brock foretell for Trump?

    There are thousands of words in the New York Times account of Donald Trump’s taxes, and tens of thousands more will be published in the coming weeks.

    But it’s the first 27 words of the piece that have the potential to inflict a serious wound on the president: “Donald J. Trump paid $750 in federal income taxes the year he won the presidency. In his first year in the White House, he paid another $750.”

    The body of the story recounts years of dissembling about his finances: claiming huge losses to offset his tax liabilities, inflating his assets to obtain massive loans, asserting that: “Now, with his financial challenges mounting, the records show that he depends more and more on making money from businesses that put him in potential and often direct conflict of interest with his job as president.” It is rich in detail, and those details—hundreds of thousands of dollars in “consulting fees” to daughter Ivanka, a disputed $72.9-million tax refund, among other things—are not the stuff of easy interpretation (although $72,000 of deductible “business expenses” for hair styling, might raise a few eyebrows).

    But that opening number—$750 in taxes from the self-proclaimed multi-billionaire—is easy to grasp, and easy to turn into a clear political message.

    The proof of this can be found in a Tennessee Senate race back in 1976. First-term Senator Bill Brock, who had defeated Al Gore Sr., years earlier, was in a difficult race against Democrat James Sasser. In mid-October, after being pressured by the press about his finances, Brock conceded that he’d paid $2,026 on an income of $51,670—a rate of less than 4 percent at a time when someone making that much would have written the IRS a check for as much as 62 percent of his income.

    Almost immediately, hot pink buttons began appearing reading: “I Paid More Taxes Than Brock.” As the story spread, the chair of the State Labor Council held a press conference comparing Brock’s taxes with those of an auto worker, steel worker and railroad engineer, each of whom paid far more taxes on far lower salaries than Brock. In November, Brock lost his seat by a 5-point margin.

    The story had resonance because it confirmed “populist” notions about how things really work: that one way or another those in positions of power manage to avoid the burdens that afflict “regular” people. It’s what lay behind one of Richard Nixon’s liabilities during his Watergate days: his taxes. In one case, he had claimed a $500,000 tax deduction for donating his essentially worthless vice-presidential papers. In another, it turned out he had paid $792.81 in federal income taxes in 1970 and $878.03 in 1971, on a salary of $200,000. (His taxes were not included in the Articles of Impeachment adopted by the House Judiciary Committee.)

    Asked about the story at his press conference Sunday evening, Trump explained (I use the word loosely) that the story was a hoax, a fake. A Trump spokesman told the Times that Tump had paid huge sums in taxes—without explaining what kind of taxes —but did not deny the basic assertion that he had paid only $750 a year for two years.

    Perhaps the president, who has survived many seemingly fatal controversies, has so succeeded in convincing his acolytes not to believe anything critical of him that this latest story will have little effect. But I wonder: What if people start showing up in offices, factories, in malls and stores, with buttons and T-shirts reading: “I Paid More Taxes Than Trump”?

    There’s an 89-year-old ex-Senator in Chattanooga who might be able to tell you what comes next.

    Trump has paid more to hookers than he did in taxes....there's gotta be a button or t-shirt idea in there somewhere.

  • TopHatter
    commented on 's reply
    Originally posted by astralis View Post
    probably not until after Trump himself is kicked out of the White House on Inauguration Day, and even then, those folks aren't the ones really deep in Trumpworld.
    Agreed. The willingness of people to surrender....everything decent and moral about themselves on the Altar of Trump is simply staggering.

    That's going to be the most morbidly fascinating part about Trump leaving office, whether in January or god forbid after that: The scurry of frightened GOP rats trying to desert the S.S. Trump and cling onto something else now that their orange god emperor is gone.

    Hey there's always Don Jr and Eric, right?

  • astralis
    commented on 's reply
    So this headline is premature. Until the EV votes are certify a Biden win, and even afterwards, the damage he can continue doing to this country is incalculable.

    The question is how many people will suddenly "find" their conscience between now and Inauguration Day.
    probably not until after Trump himself is kicked out of the White House on Inauguration Day, and even then, those folks aren't the ones really deep in Trumpworld.

    well, this will ensure the Democratic Party doesn't become complacent again anytime soon.

  • TopHatter
    commented on 's reply
    Trumpworld is imploding

    Donald Trump has many well-known enemies—and some stealthy ones, as well.

    The main takeaway from a New York Times report on Trump’s tax records is that Trump claims to be a billionaire, yet in some years pays little or nothing in federal income taxes. Trump uses many legal tax credits to lower his bill, but may also break the law by exaggerating his business expenses or mischaracterizing payouts to family members.

    There’s also an unstated revelation in the Times expose: Somebody close to Trump turned on him, leaking financial information that could be both politically damaging and legally treacherous. The Times isn’t saying where it got the detailed information on nearly 20 years of Trump tax returns, and isn’t even releasing the documents, to protect the source. But it seems obvious that a Trump insider is trying to damage him, flouting Trump’s famous demand for loyalty from anybody who works with him.

    Trump is in a close reelection race, and it’s possible he could beat Democrat Joe Biden once the ballots are counted in November. At the same time, however, a more ominous scenario is unfolding. Trump’s notoriety as a combative president has brought unprecedented scrutiny to a family business that for decades was a black box, its inner workings secret. Trump is now facing more legal scrutiny than ever, including criminal probes into possible felonies. There are even signs his supposedly iron grip on the Republican Party could shatter if there’s an opportunity to dispatch Trump and move on.

    First, the legal cases. The Manhattan district attorney is investigating Trump and his businesses for various types of fraud, probably including some of the tax-avoidance strategies described in a 2018 New York Times feature. The DA investigation is secret, so it’s not clear what the exact focus is. But city, state and federal prosecutors have an obligation to investigate possible crimes if they become aware of them, and the intense scrutiny of Trump’s finances since he became president may have surfaced plenty of trouble. Trump’s former lawyer, Michael Cohen, went to jail in part for his role facilitating a campaign-finance felony: the hush-money payments to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal. Trump signed the checks, meaning he’s at least as complicit as Cohen.

    The New York State attorney general is mounting a separate investigation into whether Trump has misstated asset values to lower his tax payments or defraud lenders or insurers. The New York AG initiated this probe after Cohen testified before Congress in 2019 and accused Trump of fraud. Cohen might seem like an old story at this point, but the information he revealed after the FBI raided his office in 2018 could fuel investigations into Trump for years, and possibly lead to convictions.

    It’s obviously tricky to investigate a sitting president, one reason the federal Justice Dept. has had no apparent role in probing Trump since William Barr became attorney general in 2019. But Trump won’t be president forever, and federal investigators could join the city and state probes of Trump at some point. The Justice Department’s Southern District of New York led the Cohen prosecution, which culminated in Cohen’s 2018 guilty plea on eight criminal counts. If Cohen provided incriminating information on Trump as part of that case, it would be logical for the Justice Dept. to pick up the probe once Trump is no longer president and certain legal privileges of the office expire.

    All of this comes as Trump’s businesses are apparently under mounting financial pressure. According to the latest Times report, most of Trump’s properties lose money, and he owes $421 million in loans, much of that due in the next few years. Trump’s hotels, resorts and golf courses are struggling amid a travel rout, and while the presidency has elevated Trump’s visibility, his unpopularity may have harmed the brand.

    Some of Trump’s legal woes stem from the decision of his niece, Mary Trump, to spill secrets of the family business to the New York Times for its 2018 expose on the Trump Organization’s aggressive tax strategies. Mary Trump is now suing the president and other family members for fraud relating to the family inheritance. Unless the various Trumps settle the suit, it could make public even more damaging information about Trump and his clan.

    Matching these business and family mutinies are defections by former Trump aides now openly opposing his reelection, such as former national security adviser John Bolton and former spokesperson Anthony Scaramucci. Trump also faces unprecedented opposition from within his own party, with many moderate GOP officials endorsing Biden, funding anti-Trump ads and posting testimonials describing how Trump has let them down. More than 75 former Republican national-security officials have signed an open letter declaring Trump a threat to the nation.

    Trump has manhandled most Republican elected officials, largely because he can mount furious opposition to their candidacies if they cross him. But this superpower is waning, too. Several otherwise loyal Senate Republicans, including Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, pushed back on Trump after he suggested he wouldn’t leave office if he loses to Biden. Some Republicans privately loathe Trump and fear he’s wrecking their party. They might not have the guts to oppose him publicly, but they might not help him, either, in a tight election that could bring Trump’s political end.

    Nobody should count Trump out. He’s a renowned escape artist who has bounced back from four bankruptcies and many scandals. What’s different now, however, are growing fissures in the facade that for decades protected Trump’s family and business. Prosecutors and the public are getting a look inside, and it’s messy. People turn on the boss when it becomes a matter of survival, and the closer the scrutiny, the more trouble there’s likely to be. Trump’s downfall may not be imminent, but it is starting to look inevitable.

    The incredible part is that Trump could still win a 2nd term. Not because a majority of the American people want him to (again), but because he has the apparatus of the Executive Department in his back pocket.

    So this headline is premature. Until the EV votes are certify a Biden win, and even afterwards, the damage he can continue doing to this country is incalculable.

    The question is how many people will suddenly "find" their conscience between now and Inauguration Day.

  • tbm3fan
    commented on 's reply
    The Times says he looks to be personally responsible for $421 million due over the next four years. In the past he has always wiggled a way out by getting banks to loan to him again. Hopefully, now, the banks see him stripped to his shorts and realize not again. Only this time they refuse to help and instead seize his properties as payment.

    Almost forgot the $100 million due in 2022 on Trump Tower. Now I'd like nothing better than to see that foreclosed on.
    Last edited by tbm3fan; 28 Sep 20,, 16:58.

  • Albany Rifles
    commented on 's reply
    Originally posted by Bigfella View Post
    He is almost as detestable as his supporters, yet neither are as utterly contemptible as those anti-Hilary left wingers who were just too up themselves to vote against Trump in 2016. I hope they live long enough to correct their error this year and then they can fucking die. At least Trump and his cult followers achieved something, even if it is something awful.
    Yup....they can all burn in hell.

    They own this.

  • Bigfella
    commented on 's reply
    He is almost as detestable as his supporters, yet neither are as utterly contemptable as those anti-Hilary left wingers who were just too up themselves to vote against Trump in 2016. I hope they live long enough to correct their error this year and then they can fucking die. At least Trump and his cult followers achieved something, even if it is something awful.

  • TopHatter
    commented on 's reply
    Trump’s No Billionaire. He’s a Bullshit Artist. And Soon, We’ll Have the Taxes to Prove It.
    He pretended he was too rich to be bought. Now we know that he’d chase a dollar bill on a string through a trailer park, and that he’s sold this country on the cheap.

    Updated Jul. 12, 2020 [<------ just over two months ago lol - TH]

    The most telling revelation I ever received about Donald Trump was from a New York hedge-fund bro for whom I did some occasional speechwriting. In late summer 2015, I went to him and said, “We have to stop this guy. He’s a billionaire. He could fund his own campaign.” The hedge bro looked at me and laughed: “Trump’s not a billionaire. I’m a billionaire. Trump is a clown, living on credit.”

    I was reminded of that by Trump’s Twitter meltdown—a hissy-fit, foot-stomping ragefest against the Supreme Court—after winning a major portion of one case over his mysterious tax returns.

    He understands that when his taxes are unraveled before a New York grand jury and the inner workings of his multifarious business schemes are brought into the light of day, the picture won’t be of a successful multibillionaire mogul turned president, but one of that clown, living on credit, a third-rate real-estate developer with a first-rate talent for fleecing banks and vendors.

    That’s why Trump sought for so long to hide his tax returns. He’s just not that rich.

    His accounting firm will likely be revealed to be exploiting every tax loophole up to and over the edge of the law, and he’ll be shown to be a master of the bullshit paper tornado. Of course, we’ll also discover that the supposed audits are just one more lie in an endless chain of lies.

    What really bothers Trump, what unsettled him to his core, is that the decision to reveal his taxes to the New York grand jury comes at the same time his political fortunes have taken a nosedive. He knows that as early as January, he could be a former president without Bill Barr running cover for him. He knows that even if he ekes out an unlikely victory in November, Congress now has a pathway to launch a forensic financial colonoscopy of his business affairs.

    He has no ambition to truly lead, and God knows he doesn’t give a damn about any kind of policy whatsoever, but is running to save himself.

    Trump doesn’t want to win again. He needs to win again.

    Give Barr four more years, he thinks, and the Interior Minister will choke out every investigation, and end any hope of understanding the web of lies, venality, and corruption that define this presidency and the man.

    The preservation of his image is so high in Trump’s hierarchy of needs that nothing else rivals it. And to be honest, that bullshit image got him a long way; too far, in fact.

    Back in 2015 and 2016, we saw the voter interviews and focus groups that showed Republican voters honestly believed the reality-television image they saw of The Apprentice guy. They would straight-facedly say things like “He’s the richest man in America,” “He’s the world’s greatest negotiator,” and “He owns all of Manhattan.” Even when confronted with Trump’s long, long record of incompetence, sleaze bankruptcies, rip-offs, and serial failures, the magical hypnotic power of television overcame all of it.

    Pretending he was too rich to be bought was absolutely central to his success in 2016. But Donald Trump would chase a dollar bill on a string through a trailer park, and he’s sold this country on the cheap since his election. That’s why the coming exposure of his finances has shaken Trump. He’s thinking about the actual audits, and real financial and potentially even legal consequences, awaiting him in his post-presidential years.

    Trump’s obsession with his image and his brand emerges from his weird, abusive childhood. As details from his niece Mary Trump’s new book emerge, we see a man imitating his father’s fixation on the image of wealth and power. Like Fred Trump, Donald finds the tabloid ideal of himself more appealing than any reality.

    Donald Trump has always wanted to portray himself and his projects as the superlative version of everything, even when actual Manhattan builders knew that he was essentially a towering bullshit artist. Mary Trump’s book demonstrated that Donald’s failures started early, and iterated across every single part of his life: personal, professional, and political. He can pose and posture all he wants—the biggest buildings, the biggest dick, the biggest crowds, the best, the first, the most—but it’s all bullshit, piled on top of more bullshit.

    The crisp, analytical history from his niece and the coming revelations about his finances are a preview of a future he doesn’t like one bit, as Americans will see for themselves that the seamy, seedy reality of Donald Trump is ugly, small, and dirty.

    Good a time as any to repost this.

    This is the man that so many have willing drank the Kool-Aid for. And continue to do so.

    A psychiatrist could base on entire career on a Trump's follower's cognitive dissonance and blind obedience.

  • TopHatter
    commented on 's reply
    Originally posted by astralis View Post
    I can't even begin to describe the scorn and contempt I have for his supporters.
    Hey c'mon man, don't be so harsh. Trump is the anti-lefty! Isn't that worth selling your soul for?

  • TopHatter
    Court allows House Democrats to challenge Trump’s use of military funding to build the border wall

    (Reuters) - A federal appeals court handed a win to the U.S. House of Representatives on Friday, saying the Democratic-led chamber could proceed with a lawsuit challenging President Donald Trump's diversion of funds to pay for a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border.

    Reversing a lower court judge, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit said in a 3-0 decision that the House had legal standing to sue Trump for using money to build the wall that was appropriated by Congress for other purposes.

    The case now returns to a lower court, where House Democrats will argue that diverting the funds violated the separation of powers doctrine laid out in the U.S. Constitution.

    A spokeswoman for the Department of Justice, which argued for the administration in the case, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

    The wall was Trump's signature 2016 campaign promise, and at the time he insisted that Mexico would pay for it. Mexico never agreed to that and has not done so.

    The three-judge panel cited an Aug. 7 ruling by the same court that a House panel could sue to enforce a subpoena issued to former White House Counsel Don McGahn. That case was later dismissed on other grounds.

    In February 2019, after a protracted political battle and a government shutdown, Congress approved $1.38 billion for construction of “primary pedestrian fencing” along the border in southeastern Texas, well short of Trump’s demands.

    To obtain additional funds for the wall, Trump declared a national emergency and his administration said it planned to divert $601 million from a Treasury Department forfeiture fund, $2.5 billion earmarked for Department of Defense counterparties programs and $3.6 billion from military construction projects.

    "Trump's a businessman and he'll run this country like a business!"

    Um, yeah, he's going to run it like one of HIS businesses.

    Leave a comment:

  • JRT

    Originally posted by Washington_Post

    George W. Bush's ardent speech on democracy, in 3 minutes

    Published on Oct 19, 2017
    Former president George W. Bush spoke about the perils facing U.S. democracy on Oct. 19, and appeared to weigh in on President Trump's tenure.

    Leave a comment:

  • TopHatter
    Ex-Trump administration officials all seem to agree on one thing: Their former boss is a walking disaster.

    A common theme has emerged from comments made by ex-Trump administration officials. Whether they were four star generals, energy company CEOs, or career civil servants, they all say their former boss is dangerously ignorant, inexcusably incompetent, and frighteningly unstable.

    In the face of this consistent and specific criticism from a slew of highly qualified people he hired, Trump's response has been to call them liars, cowards, bitter or "dumb as a rock."

    The president would have the American people believe that all of these former subordinates — most of them loyal, lifelong Republicans — have got it all wrong. Only he has it right.

    The question that Trump supporters or Trump-sympathetic voters need to ask themselves is: Who are you going to believe?
    A brief list of ex-Trump administration officials' testimonials for the president

    There's far too many to recount, so let's recall just a few of the more high-profile veterans of the Trump White House:
    • Trump's former National Economic Council Director Gary Cohn, a former president and chief operating officer for Goldman Sachs, reportedly called Trump a "professional liar."
    • Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who prior to joining the Trump administration was the CEO of ExxonMobil, in a meeting at the Pentagon reportedly called Trump a "f**king moron."
    • Former National Security Adviser John Bolton, who previously served as an ambassador to the UN and has worked in three Republican presidential administrations, in his memoir called Trump "erratic" and "stunningly uninformed."
    • Former Secretary of Defense James Mattis, a four star US Marine Corps general who commanded troops in three wars, in a statement in June said Trump "tries to divide us," that he makes "a mockery of the Constitution" and that "we are witnessing the consequences of three years without mature leadership." He also told veteran journalist Bob Woodward: "The president has no moral compass."
    • Former White House Chief of Staff and Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly, also a four star US Marine Corps general, has been the tightest-lipped about his time working for Trump. But he did say he agrees with Mattis' assessment of Trump, and he publicly disputed Trump's claim that he fired Mattis. That means Kelly effectively called Trump a liar.
    Every ex-Trump administration official can't be a secret Democrat

    Nobody circles the wagons, moves the goalposts or changes the subject quite like hardcore Trump supporters.

    When audio recordings of Trump bragging that he grabs women he just by their genitals, Trumpists whatabouted their way into Bill Clinton's sordid past.

    When White House advisers Jared Kushner and Ivanka Trump — the president's son-in-law and daughter — were revealed to have used private email accounts to conduct government business, the same people screaming at Trump rallies to lock Hillary Clinton up simply yawned.

    When reports emerged of Trump disparaging fallen members of the military as "suckers," they dismissed the anonymous sourcing out of hand. Never mind the fact that disparaging military personnel is nothing new for Trump, who has himself been an anonymous source in the media for decades.

    It will never matter to Trump's base that the people who have worked intimately with the president at the highest levels of the administration think he's a dangerous, dishonest buffoon.

    Theirs is a cult of personality.

    As long as Trump continues to "trigger the libs," they'll abide every easily disprovable lie, every deranged conspiracy theory, and every just plain stupid thing that dribbles out of his mouth.

    But the reluctant 2016 Trump voters and Never Democrat voters ought to consider the words of the Trump former administration officials. They're not secret Democratic activists. They're staunch conservatives, or in the case of the generals, devout patriots who felt it their national duty to accept the president's offers.

    They've all seen Trump's leadership in action. And they've told us it is a horrifying thing to behold. Trump says they're all liars.

    Who are you going to believe?

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  • TopHatter
    Lindsey Graham Begs For Campaign Donations on Fox News: ‘I’m Being KILLED Financially’

    Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) repeatedly begged for campaign donations during an appearance on Fox & Friends, claiming he’s “being killed financially” and needs “some help.”

    While discussing the Supreme Court on Thursday, Graham said, “They are going to try to destroy the nominee. The liberal media with the Democratic radical left tried to destroy Kavanaugh. This is going to be the Super Bowl of politics.”

    “Act Blue raised $150 million right after the death of Justice Ginsburg within 3 days. My opponent raised $6 million. I’m being outspent four-to-one. Outraised five-to-one,” he continued, adding, “ if you want to help me close the gap. I need some help.”

    Upon being asked further by Ainsley Earhardtabout his opponent raising more money, Graham explained, “It’s ActBlue money. Forty-eight percent of the people who gave money to ActBlue were unemployed in 2019.”

    “This is a vehicle to get low-dollar donations. My opponent will raise almost $100 million, Ainsley, in the state of South Carolina. The most money ever spent in the history of the state on a Senate race was by me in 2014 when I spent 13 million,” he declared. “He raised $6 million from the time Justice Ginsburg passed away, within 72 hours.”

    “And God bless Justice Ginsburg, we are celebrating her life — I appreciate waiting Saturday to announce the replacement — but I’m being killed financially. This money is ’cause they hate my guts,” Graham went on, claiming, “I stood up for Kavanaugh at a time when they wanted to destroy his life, and I dared to help President Trump, the unpardonable sin of a Republican, so the wrath of the left is coming down on me, but it’s all of us. All of us are getting outraised.”

    The senator concluded by saying, “To those who are listening who want to help Republicans fight back, get on our website, it’s Five or ten bucks goes a long way if enough people do it.”

    So, Graham is getting "killed" financially by people who didn't have a job in 2019? Not sure how he knows that, or how it's even relevant except to show just how much people do indeed hate his guts.

    Who woulda thought that a South Carolina Republican would be crying and begging like a little bitch just a month before the election

    I mean, c'mon, South Carolina has gone red every election except one since 1972 and Graham is still favored to win this year, even after proving (again) what a spineless whore he is.

    Quit your whining and be a man for once.

    Leave a comment:

  • Albany Rifles
    John Michael Goulart Jr., an officer in Pineville, Louisiana, is accused of having "altered the facts" after shooting himself, the police department said.

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  • DOR
    Originally posted by TopHatter View Post

    Well, Donald Trump feels that US companies should be able to bribe foreign governments/companies in order to secure contracts....and we all know how he loves being bribed himself, so......
    Hold on.
    One minute.
    Just a second.

    ... someone actually tried to bribe The Trumpet, before he was president?

    Why? What could he possibly do that would be worth a bribe?

    Leave a comment: