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2020 American Political Scene

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  • #16
    one of the silver linings of this whole sordid business is that it's a good demonstration of who has principles, and who doesn't.

    so far the only one whom has really impressed me is Amash.
    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


    • #17
      Tulsi is truly an intriguing candidate.


      • #18
        Enclosed is a CBS video that shows some aggressive behavior by the former V.P. Physical bullying of the press?
        Last edited by surfgun; 23 Jan 20,, 04:15.


        • #19
          Washington, D.C. sues Trump’s inaugural committee for abusing funds

          Washington, D.C. Attorney General Karl Racine announced Wednesday that his office would be suing President Trump’s inaugural committee (PIC) for violating its nonprofit status and abusing funds. In the AG’s complaint, the office alleges the committee violated district law by “abusing nonprofit funds to enrich the Trump family, failing to seek out fair market value for event space and services rendered,” and “using nonprofit funds to throw a private party for President Trump’s family.”

          The AG’s office alleges that the inaugural committee wrongfully spent $1.03 million in funds at the Trump International Hotel, spending “far above even the Hotel’s own internal pricing guidelines.”

          In its statement, the Office of the Attorney General (OAG) says, “as part of its investigation, OAG discovered that one of the PIC’s key event planners, Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, raised concerns about the Trump Hotel’s event pricing with President-elect Trump, [Rick] Gates, and Ivanka Trump. This included issuing a written warning to Gates and Ivanka Trump that the Hotel’s final price proposal was at least twice the market rate.” (Rick Gates was a Trump campaign aide who became deputy chairman of the committee, and in December was sentenced to 45 days in jail for lying to law enforcement and charges of financial fraud.)

          The AG alleges that the PIC paid a day’s full event space rate of $175,000 for the Trump International Hotel’s ballroom, a space they would ultimately be unable to use because it was used by a separate organization: the Presidential Inaugural Prayer Breakfast. What’s more, the Prayer Breakfast only paid $5,000 for use of the ballroom.

          And while the PIC had the ability to use spaces at other venues in the District, for discounted rates, the OAG said, the committee did not consider them, nor did it seek competing offers to the ones received from the Trump Hotel.

          The Attorney General’s complaint also states that the PIC paid $300,000 for a private party for President Trump’s children (Donald Jr., Ivanka, and Eric).

          “Event staff within the PIC recognized this would not be a proper use of PIC funds and had tried to cancel this event, but Gates and the Trump family went forward with the event anyway,” the OAG said in its statement. “Gates allowed the event to move forward after Trump Hotel staff complained that canceling it would hurt the Hotel’s bottom line.”

          The Trump International Hotel previously expected to turn a loss, according to reports, but ended up pulling in nearly $2 million in profits.

          The Trump reelection campaign declined to comment and the White house did not respond to a request for comment from Yahoo Finance.

          This isn’t the first time that Trump businesses have profited in some way from his connection to his political office. By the spring of 2019, Trump’s campaign had spent over $1 million at Trump hotels and properties since the beginning of his presidency.

          And according to the non-partisan non-profit Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington (CREW), the president has more than 2,300 conflicts of interest since taking office. "Donald Trump's business has profited off of his presidency since his first day in office, whether or not it was legal to do so,” said CREW spokesman Jordan Libowitz in response to the AG’s lawsuit. “It is good to see Attorney General Racine continue to act to ensure that the law is followed."

          "I got sued on a thing called emoluments. Emoluments. You ever hear of the word? Nobody ever heard of it before."

          “You people with this phony Emoluments Clause”


          • #20
            Trump’s Doral Resort Spikes Its Room Rates Ahead Of His RNC Visit

            DORAL, Fla. ― The president’s Miami golf resort that puts money into his pocket more than doubled its room rates just before the White House announced his Thursday visit ― possibly increasing taxpayer costs for staff who must travel there in advance.

            Donald Trump’s plan to address the Republican National Committee’s winter meeting at Trump National Doral next to the Miami airport has been in the works since mid-January, about the same time that the resort raised the nightly rate for its least expensive rooms from $254 to $539.

            That higher figure is just under the maximum per-night rate federal government rules permit for a hotel in South Florida, and is triple the normal “per diem” rate employees are supposed to follow.

            The White House would not reveal how much Trump’s Secret Service agents or other members of his “advance” team are paying for the days prior to his visit. Trump is only scheduled to be at the property for a few hours, but at least two dozen staff typically need to get there a few days ahead of time to prepare for his arrival.

            Doral officials refused to discuss how much they are charging for U.S. government employees staying there for Trump’s visit. The Trump Organization, the president’s family business that owns and operates the resort, also did not respond to queries from HuffPost.

            A Secret Service spokesperson declined to give details about the visit: “For operational security reasons, the Secret Service does not discuss our protectees or our protective means and methods. This includes personnel numbers associated with a particular protective visit.”

            Robert Weissman, president of the liberal watchdog group Public Citizen, said the episode illustrates Trump’s continued use of his office to enrich himself. “What better way to defend yourself in an impeachment trial over abuse of power than to jet to your private golf resort on the public dime, secure lots of publicity for the club on the public dime, and then, possibly, rip off taxpayers by forcing them to pay extra for the staff whose costs at the resort are billed to ‘we the people,’” Weissman said.

            Room Rates Spiked With Trump’s Visit
            If, in fact, two or three dozen government employees have spent several days there, that would have put tens of thousands of public dollars into Trump’s cash registers, between the room rates and the higher-than-average cost for food at the on-site restaurants. That is on top of the $500,000 or so that the RNC is likely to wind up paying for staff hotel rooms, meeting rooms and catering for its three-day gathering, as well as the $1,000 or more each of the 168 individual RNC members is paying out of pocket to attend.

            RNC officials declined to reveal how much, exactly, the meeting is costing its donors. However, records filed with the Federal Election Commission show the RNC already paid Doral $169,763 on Nov. 6, likely as a deposit for the meeting. The party previously spent $602,765 at Doral for its 2018 spring meeting, and $84,822 for a lunch fundraiser it held there in June 2019.

            The timing of that November payment means the RNC settled on holding its winter meeting at Doral just 18 days after Trump backed down from his plan to award a multimillion-dollar government contract to the resort to host the Group of Seven conference there this June.

            Trump had claimed he would not make any money from the contract, but never made clear how that was possible. He is the sole beneficiary of the trust that owns Trump Organization, and Trump Organization owns his hotels and golf resorts, including Doral.

            Because Trump insists on playing golf at his own properties, American taxpayers have been the source for at least a few million dollars that have gone to the Trump Organization in the form of rooms, meals and other expenses for Secret Service agents and other government employees who have stayed on-site with Trump at his golf courses in Florida, New Jersey, Scotland and Ireland. The exact amount is not known because the White House refuses to release those records.

            Trump was not originally planning to attend this week’s RNC meeting. He started considering doing so early last week, which was when the hotel also raised its room rates for the nights of and just prior to his visit.

            For the latter half of December and the first days of January, Doral’s website advertised rates as low as $254 per night for nonrefundable rooms for the days of the RNC meeting, and a $299 rate that allowed cancellation until five days before the first night of the booking, according to HuffPost’s tracking of the room rates.

            Those numbers suddenly jumped to $459 a night on Jan. 13, soon after the White House first began planning for a potential Trump trip to the meeting. The next day it jumped to $539 a night, before falling to $499 per room on Jan. 15, but with rooms only available for the final night of the RNC meeting, and the first two nights sold out.

            Rooms for RNC members, in contrast, were available in a block for $289 per night.

            Yet even that rate appears to be substantially more than what the market will bear. On Monday, for example, the hotel website was showing rooms available for that night at just $209. On Tuesday, the least expensive room available was $224 a night.

            Making Money Off The Presidency
            The jump in room rates at Doral continues a pattern of Trump properties hiking rates to take advantage of campaign and election-related events hosted by Republicans.

            In 2016, Trump nearly quintupled the rent he charged his campaign for space in Trump Tower after he secured the GOP nomination and had access to the RNC’s donors, from $35,458 a month to $169,758, even though the number of employees remained the same.

            In 2017, according to documents obtained by the group Property of the People under the Freedom of Information Act, Trump’s Mar-a-Lago resort in Palm Beach refused to lower its room charges below the legal maximum $546 a night for administration officials staying there, despite State Department requests to bring them into line with the government per diem of $182. The White House ultimately also approved a $1,005.60 bar tab after the State Department would not do so.

            And in November, according to the group Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington, Trump’s Washington, D.C., hotel a few blocks from the White House raised its rates threefold ― to more than $1,300 a night for its cheapest rooms ― for nights coinciding with a fundraising retreat for Senate Republicans. That hotel has similarly raised its cheapest rates to $1,600 for this November’s election night.

            “Not only is the president personally profiting from his office by the increased political patronage of his business, the business raises rates when he does so he’ll profit even more,” said CREW’s Jordan Libowitz. “What we’re seeing is a blending of Trump’s political career and his business, which is certainly not something you want to see from the president of the United States.”

            It is also questionable whether Republicans and other supporters are getting their money’s worth at Doral when they have so many other South Florida options to choose from. Trump likes to boast that his resort is first-rate, but it has suffered financially since Trump became president while also suffering in contrast to other resorts in the area.

            While the city of Doral is in Miami-Dade County, it is removed from the attractions most people have in mind when they think of Miami. The golf resort boasts plenty of ornate chandeliers and baroque fountains — but lies directly beneath the flight path of Miami International Airport’s takeoffs and landings, and is miles from the closest beach.

            During the RNC’s meeting there in 2018, the troubled property appeared to be skimping on maintenance costs. At least one of the guest buildings smelled of mildew, as did its guest rooms, while the restaurant on the lower floor in the main lodge had a mustiness tinged with the fraternity house odor of spilled alcohol.

            Nearly two years later, at this current RNC meeting, the mustiness appears to remain, at least in some areas. The downstairs restaurant, however, seems to have eliminated the stale beer odor.

            "I got sued on a thing called emoluments. Emoluments. You ever hear of the word? Nobody ever heard of it before."

            “You people with this phony Emoluments Clause”


            • #21
              After interview, Pompeo cursed at reporter, yelled: 'Do you think Americans care about Ukraine?'

              WASHINGTON – Secretary of State Mike Pompeo used the "F-word" and other expletives after a testy interview with a National Public Radio host on Friday, the news outlet said.

              Pompeo unloaded on NPR's Mary Louise Kelly after an interview in which she questioned him on Ukraine and Iran, among other issues. He grew extremely irritated by Kelly's Ukraine questions, according to NPR.

              "'Do you think Americans care about Ukraine?'" Pompeo apparently shouted at Kelly after the interview. The State Department's press office did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

              Pompeo is scheduled to travel to Ukraine next week for a meeting with that country's president, Volodymyr Zelensky, a central figure in the impeachment proceedings against President Donald Trump. Ukraine is a pivotal U.S. ally in the effort to counter Russian aggression.

              The State Department said Pompeo is going to Kyiv to "highlight U.S. support for Ukraine’s sovereignty and territorial integrity." The Eastern European country is at war with Russia.

              In the impeachment proceedings, House Democrats have charged Trump with abuse of power for soliciting foreign interference in the 2020 election, one of two articles of impeachment currently being tried in the Senate. Trump pressed Zelensky to open two investigations that would have helped his re-election campaign. As part of that pressure campaign, Trump ousted former U.S. Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch, a career foreign service diplomat.

              Yovanovitch was targeted by Trump's personal lawyer, Rudy Giuliani, and Trump has publicly attacked her.

              "Do you owe Ambassador Marie Yovanovitch an apology?" Kelly asked Pompeo, who has declined to publicly defend the diplomat.

              "You know, I agreed to come on your show today to talk about Iran," he responded.

              Kelly pressed him. "I just want to give you another opportunity to answer this, because as you know, people who work for you in your department, people who have resigned from this department under your leadership, saying you should stand up for the diplomats who work here," she said.

              Pompeo said he had defended "every State Department official," to which Kelly said: "Sir, respectfully where have you defended Marie Yovanovitch?"

              "I've said all I'm going to say today," he responded.

              She then asked if he tried to block Giuliani's "shadow foreign policy" in Ukraine.

              "The Ukraine policy has been run from the Department of State for the entire time that I have been here, and our policy was very clear,"
              he asserted. Numerous other State Department officials have testified that Giuliani and other Trump associates used irregular channels to pressure Zelensky.

              After the interview, Kelly said she was taken to the secretary of State's private living room, where Pompeo was waiting for her. "He shouted at me for about same amount of time as the interview itself. He was not happy to have been questioned about Ukraine," Kelly said, in an account released by NPR with the interview transcript.

              She said he used the F-word and "many others" when he asking her if Americans cared about Ukraine. He then asked her if she could find Ukraine on a map.

              "I said yes, and he called out for aides to bring us a map of the world with no writing. I pointed to Ukraine," she recounted.

              Pompeo then said: "'People will hear about this.'"

              It's a wonder he didn't blow out a major artery.

              I can't even begin to imagine the stress that the people in this "Administration" are under, trying to defend an insane asylum being run by an utter lunatic like Donald Trump.


              • #22
                i used to think that trading Tillerson for Pompeo was a good trade -- Pompeo is a significantly better manager and, with certain exceptions like the above, better at dealing with the press.

                but over the last few months, it's been clear that at the end of the day, Tillerson had the character and balls to repeatedly stand up to Trump for his people and the military...even at significant personal cost.

                and Pompeo is a slimy little toady whom throws his people under the bus and then baldly lies about it.
                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


                • #23
                  and just to prove the point, he implied today that the reporter was lying and couldn't identify Ukraine from Bangladesh.

                  the reporter involved has a master's degree in European studies from Cambridge.
                  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


                  • #24
                    6 Wild Things Said In The Secret Recording Of Trump's Dinner

                    A video that directly contradicts President Donald Trump’s claim that he’s never spoken to indicted associates of his personal attorney surfaced on Saturday and with it came a whole barrage of wild statements.

                    The video, secretly filmed for 80 minutes in April 2018, shows a rare glimpse into a private conversation between Trump and a group of people over dinner at the Trump International Hotel in Washington, D.C., The Associated Press reported.

                    PBS NewsHour was the first to release the full-length footage.

                    Trump and his son Donald Trump Jr. can be seen clearly in the video. Lev Parnas, an indicted associate of Trump’s personal attorney Rudy Giuliani, was also there, according to Parnas’ attorney.

                    While the most notable moments in the recording show Trump appearing to speak directly to Parnas and his urging to “get rid” of then-U.S. Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch, Trump also managed to cover other strange topics.

                    Here are six of the wildest things that happened in the recording of Trump’s private dinner.

                    1. Trump said he could have beaten former President Barack Obama in 2012
                    As he’s known to do, Trump boasted about beating Hillary Clinton during the 2016 presidential election but he added that he could have beaten former President Barack Obama in the 2012 race, too.

                    “Obama would have been easier, second term,” Trump said of Obama’s reelection campaign. “Romney should have never lost,” he added. “Obama would have been much easier.”

                    2. Trump claimed the European Union formed to “screw” the U.S.
                    “The European Union is a group of countries that got together to screw the United States,” Trump told the table. “It’s as simple as that.”

                    The European Union, which includes 28 countries, was officially formed in 1993, though it stems from an effort to bring Germany and France closer after World War II four decades earlier.

                    The union allows citizens of the countries to move freely between the countries, and allows for a single market for goods, capital and services, according to The Telegraph.

                    3. Trump floated plans for a “see-through” border wall
                    Trump expressed the need for a “see-through” border wall. The president noted that drug smugglers use catapults to hurl drugs across the border and claimed, without proof, that a 100-pound package of drugs struck a Border Patrol agent after being thrown over.

                    “They actually said, that these drug dealers, it’s so dangerous now with a solid wall, because they take the drugs, it weighs 100 pounds approximately,” Trump said. “A bag, a satchel, they call it a satchel, they throw it out over the wall and it goes over the wall and it will land on a guy’s head and he kills him.”

                    The other guests laugh as Trump continues.

                    “Yeah no, our border guys will be walking and they throw it,” he added. “So if you can’t see through the wall, they throw the drugs, they have a catapult, they throw it over the wall and it lands on the other side of the wall and it can hit people.”

                    While it’s true catapults have been used to get drugs across the border, there’s no evidence that people have been hit by it, according to fact-checking site PolitiFact.

                    4. Trump bragged about insulting Rep. Maxine Waters’ IQ
                    He suggested that he was able to keep Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.) quiet after he called her a “very low IQ individual” during a rally in March 2018.

                    “You have this one woman, Maxine Waters, I say she’s a very low IQ person,” he said. “You don’t hear from her anymore. It’s the craziest thing ― since I’ve said that, I don’t hear from her anymore.”

                    5. Trump asked how long Ukraine would survive in a war against Russia; he withheld funds from them a year later
                    Trump appeared surprised when someone suggested that Ukraine produces oil, then asked how long Ukraine could last in a war with Russia.

                    “Ukraine has oil,” he said. “Ukraine? How come ― they don’t have any money? Why aren’t companies going in, too risky?”

                    Then he complained about other European countries’ lack of aid before asking how long Ukraine would “last in a fight with Russia.”

                    A voice replied, “Without us, not very long.”

                    Then someone said, “30 seconds.”

                    A year later, in the summer of 2019, the Trump administration withheld funds from Ukraine while Trump pressured the Ukrainian president to investigate his opponent ― an issue that is now at the center of his ongoing impeachment trial.

                    6. A numerology calculation of Donald Trump’s name adds up to the same number for the Messiah, according to Lev Parnas
                    Parnas and his indicted business colleague Igor Fruman told the president about a Jewish numerology calculation a rabbi in Ukraine conducted for Donald Trump’s name. They informed Trump that the numbers that correspond to the letters in his name add up to 424, which they informed the president has the same values as the words “Messiah, Son of David.”

                    “It’s like a miracle,” said Fruman. “It’s exactly the number.” Parnas noted: “Messiah is the person that comes to save the whole world. It’s like you’re the savior.” He added: “Talk to Jared; he’ll explain.”

                    Trump seemed confused. “What is that?” he asked. “What other numbers you got?”

                    The salient point of course is that Yes, Trump does know Lev Parnas, and not just a 2-second "Hey, I'm a fan, can I take a selfie with you" moment.


                    • #25
                      Mike Pompeo Doubles Down On NPR Reporter Attack. No One Buys It.

                      Secretary of State Mike Pompeo came out swinging — again — Saturday in yet another attack on a National Public Radio host, indicating she mistook Bangladesh for Ukraine in his map challenge.

                      But no one is buying it.

                      Pompeo exploded in a profanity-laced tirade at “All Things Considered” host Mary Louise Kelly after she dared to ask him questions about Ukraine in an interview Friday. He led her to a private office after the interview and yelled at her, using the “F-word and many others,” said Kelly. “He shouted at me for about the same amount of time as the interview itself,” which was 10 minutes. Pompeo also asked: “Do you think Americans care about Ukraine?” Kelly recounted.

                      He then challenged her to find Ukraine on a blank map, which Kelly did.

                      On Saturday, Pompeo appeared to indicate that she mistook Bangladesh for Ukraine, which is 3,600 miles away. “It’s worth noting that Bangladesh is not the Ukraine,” he scoffed in his statement. He also claimed that the ugly confrontation was off the record, which NPR denies (and stands by its report), and that Kelly “lied,” was “shameful” and violated the “basic rules of journalism and decency.”

                      Some observers speculated that it was Pompeo who made the geographical goof in his attempt to call out Kelly — by confusing Bangladesh with Belarus, which borders Ukraine.

                      The Washington Post blasted Pompeo’s tale as a “blatant gaslighting attempt.”

                      There is “absolutely no way” Kelly mistook Bangladesh for Ukraine, the Post declared. To mention just a couple of issues, the countries are on different continents, and Bangladesh clearly doesn’t share a border with Russia, so it would be difficult to engage in a border war with that nation, something a journalist would know.

                      In addition, Kelly is a former national security reporter who has traveled extensively abroad and has a master’s degree in European studies from prestigious Cambridge University. “The mere fact” that Pompeo challenged Kelly to begin with suggests he didn’t “know who he was dealing with,” the Post wrote.

                      Former White House ethics chief Walter Shaub blasted Pompeo’s statement as possibly the “most breathtakingly childish” ever issued by a secretary of state in “over two centuries.”

                      Pompeo's been hanging around Trump too much, he's got most of Trump's idiocy and raging sociopath routine down pat.

                      Either that or he crawled out of the same sewer as Trump.

                      Probably both.


                      • #26
                        The salient point of course is that Yes, Trump does know Lev Parnas, and not just a 2-second "Hey, I'm a fan, can I take a selfie with you" moment.
                        yeah, given that Trump says he doesn't know Lev Parnas -- then the question is, why is the President of the United States firing a US Ambassador on the say-so of a stranger?
                        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


                        • #27
                          and Pompeo is a slimy little toady whom throws his people under the bus and then baldly lies about it.
                          Dude is under a lot of stress. The circus happening in Indian and US politics will be a Harvard case study soon.
                          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!


                          • #28
                            The shit keeps on piling up in this administration with the stoker being the biggest piece we may have ever seen in this world.


                            • #29
                              Originally posted by Oracle View Post
                              Dude is under a lot of stress.
                              No doubt about it. I mean, look at his work environment. Descriptions like "lunatic asylum", "dumpster fire" and "bag of hammered dog shit" don't even begin to describe the Trump Administration.

                              Then you've got his boss, who as tbm3fan so aptly described him, is a gigantic pile of shit that just keeps piling more shit on top himself, his Administration and the rest of the country.

                              I've had the misfortune of working for people like Donald Trump, the same kind of malignant narcissistic sociopaths that made you question reality on a daily basis. Black was White, White was Black, Up was Down, Down was Up, Right was Wrong and Wrong was Right. It took me nearly a year in my current job (the best work environment I've ever had, by an order of magnitude, by the way) to settle down, relax, and come to grips with the fact that I had finally landed in a sane and reasonable place.

                              Originally posted by Oracle View Post
                              The circus happening in Indian and US politics will be a Harvard case study soon.
                              I think the case study will be subtitled: "What In The Actual Fuck HAPPENED?!". It's been like a Stanford prison experiment writ large.

                              No, I take that back. More like The Third Wave: The Redux


                              • #30
                                Originally posted by astralis View Post
                                yeah, given that Trump says he doesn't know Lev Parnas -- then the question is, why is the President of the United States firing a US Ambassador on the say-so of a stranger?
                                I think we all know by now that the easiest thing to do when Donald Trump asserts something is to simply assume the opposite, and then you'll get the truth.