Trump’s companies hasn’t simply hired foreign workers through the visa process. Multiple undocumented workers at Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, have come forward to the press and have alleged that the club has hired many others like them.
Anibal Romero, an attorney for some of the undocumented workers, told the Washington Post that the company did not merely hire undocumented immigrants but actively recruited them, including one of his clients.
“The important point that I think has been left out is that Americans think these hard-working women get these jobs on their own — that’s not what happened,” Romero said. “People employed by the golf club recruited her and made her the phony documents” that allowed her to work without a valid visa or a Social Security number.
By one estimate, almost 80 percent of U.S. workers live paycheck to paycheck. Miss one check and you’re taking a second look at what’s in the back of the pantry cupboard.
From federal prison guards in small towns to airline safety inspectors in major cities, the partial government shutdown has forced 800,000 federal workers — and many contractors, too — to survive without a paycheck.
The shutdown is a Trump-made disaster, with an estimated 420,000 “essential workers” required to show up for work without a paycheck. They have full-time responsibilities, which makes finding another part-time job nearly impossible.
Another 380,000 federal workers have been furloughed, including Coast Guard employees that are being encouraged to take on babysitting gigs and organize garage sales. They saw their last paycheck on December 22 and are scrambling to pay rent, mortgages, alimony, and credit card bills, let alone the groceries.
Rudy Giuliani has claimed that he “never said there was no collusion” between US President Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia leading up to the 2016 presidential election.
In a remarkable, and at times contentious, interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo, the President’s lawyer appeared to contradict his own past statements about collusion as well as what Trump and his supporters have repeatedly asserted. On Twitter, Trump has used the phrase “no collusion” dozens of times, and a number of those instances were direct denials that his campaign was involved with the Russian government.
Michael Cohen, Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer, says he paid a firm to manipulate online polling data “at the direction of and for the sole benefit of” the future President.
Trump has lived a life of avoidance of duty — not just avoidance of military service and avoidance of taxes, but also the avoidance of duty to others, whether on the other side of a transaction or the other side of the street. Many of those who have served in the Trump Administration have cited a duty to country, rather than a duty to Trump. They know him too well.
But it is those who have avoided duty that have mattered most. The Republicans in Congress are Trump’s underwriters, the co-signatories of the Trump presidency.
They are bystanders underscoring the maxim:
‘The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.’
They have failed in their duty.
The PROPOSAL, the REBUKE and the POLL (ODT)
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) sparked a flood of hysterical and error-filled responses from the right when she suggested in a recent “60 Minutes” interview that America’s top marginal tax rate should be hiked to 70 percent to help pay for bold progressive programs, but a survey published on Tuesday found that the majority of Americans are on the freshman congresswoman’s side.
The biggest lie ever told in American politics is the claim that Donald Trump cares about working people.
He never has. He never will.
As a bankruptcy-prone business mogul, Trump has always financed his lavish lifestyle at the expense of the workers and contractors he screwed over. Now he is doing the same thing as president, having engineered a government shutdown that on Friday denied 800,000 federal employees their paychecks.
POTUS BUCK PASSING AGAIN BUT BEFORE THE EVENT (ODT)
he chose to follow recommendations he thinks will fail so he can blame the entire debacle on his press shop. He was already blaming Bill Shine for not rounding up enough loyal surrogates; now those surrogates are responsible for the events of this week, which will mean, in Trump’s mind, that they’re responsible for the whole debacle, even though Trump didn’t have to take their advice and do the speech and the border visit. That was his choice.
Trump cannot fail — he can only be failed, according to Trump. And now he’s established that Shine et al. have failed him. They gave bad advice and he took it, knowing it was bad advice, just so he could blame them.
The failed Democracy (ODT)
The Republican congressman says the diverse Democratic party appears to be ‘no country for white men’
Yet however this ends, Mr Trump may feel the wall is as useful as ever. His remarks in 2016 made it clear that it was as much about tactics as his strategy of fostering fear and division. It is to be invoked in times of need. Those have arrived. Mr Trump looks increasingly anxious for a deal in the trade war he started with China. Above all, Robert Mueller’s investigation moves closer and looms larger. On the same day that the president spoke, we learned that Mr Mueller has accused his former campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, of sharing polling data with a Russian man linked to Moscow’s intelligence agencies. Is it any surprise that Mr Trump would rather discuss the border? The wall does not have to be real to be useful: the only question is whether its magic is gradually wearing off.
The Last Two Neoconservatives in the Trump administration, National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, have swung into action to repeal Trump’s troop withdrawal from Syria.
Bolton visited Israel to reassure prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu that the US will look after the interests of allies as it withdraws.
Israel doesn’t actually have any security interest in the US presence in northeastern Syria. It is dominated by leftist Kurds who are not interested in Israel and who just militarily defeated ISIL (Daesh or the so-called Islamic State group), which also never showed any particular interest in confronting Israel. Israel borders the Baathist government of Bashar al-Assad, which has reestablished a fragile control over some 70 percent of the country. The only security issue for Israel is Hizbullah, which curbs its ability to act unilaterally in neighboring countries, but the US never did anything about Hizbullah because it is allied with Russia and Washington doesn’t want a confrontation with Moscow in Syria.
“While Donald Trump has spent much of his presidency focused on the number of people who want to get into the U.S., since he took office, record numbers of Americans have wanted to get out.”
The man who has earned the disrespect of the planet (ODT)
The president told service members at al-Asad air base in Iraq that he was proud to secure them a much-needed pay bump of “more than 10 percent” after years of stagnant wages. Many of the troops in attendance may have been surprised to learn they hadn’t seen a pay increase in more than a decade.
“Is anybody here willing to give up the big pay raise you just got?” Trump said, asking for a show of hands. “You haven’t gotten one in more than 10 years. More than 10 years. And we got you a big one. I got you a big one. I got you a big one.”
In fact, military members have seen a pay raise in each of the last 10 years, ranging from 1 percent to 3.9 percent, according to the Defense Department. They even saw pay bumps when other federal workers were subjected to a three-year pay freeze in the wake of the Great Recession.
4-5 time bankrupt Billionaire Donald Trump cries “don’t blame me” for the market down turn “I caused Obama’s recovery”. Sack the stock exchange and their reporting it’s all “fake news” (ODT)
It’s very possible that the market will end this month as the worst December for stocks since 1931.
President Donald Trump’s attacks on the Federal Reserve spooked the stock market on Christmas Eve, and efforts by his Treasury secretary to calm investors’ fears only seemed to make matters worse, contributing to another day of heavy losses on Wall Street.
The major stock indexes fell more than 2 percent Monday, nudging the market closer to its worst year since 2008. Stocks are also on track for their worst December since 1931, during the depths of the Great Depression.
Even broken clocks get things looking right twice a day. Trump is out for Trump nobody else. (ODT)
Bottom line: Anyone who thinks that Trump’s frenzied troop pullouts and government closure this week have anything to do with substantive policy issues hasn’t been paying attention for the last two years. Anyone who thinks that Trump actually cares about immigration, border security, the well-being of American troops, or U.S. involvement in Syria or Afghanistan will be deeply disappointed when he suddenly reverses himself again a few days or weeks from now, if and when he believes such a reversal will help him survive Robert Mueller.
Never forget that everything Trump does is about saving his own skin.
The Kurds, having lost their US ally, will strive to find new patrons and arrangements that might allow their cooperatives and ideals to survive. Whether they can succeed is the big question.
“Confidence men,” as Melville understood, are an inevitable product of the amorality of capitalism and the insatiable lust for wealth, power and empire that infects American society. Trump’s narcissism, his celebration of ignorance—which he like all confidence men confuses with innocence—his megalomania and his lack of empathy are pathologies nurtured by the American landscape. They embody the American belief, one that Mark Twain parodied in “Pudd’nhead Wilson,” F. Scott Fitzgerald excoriated in “The Great Gatsby” and William Faulkner portrayed in the depraved Snopes clan, that it does not matter in the crass commercialism of American society how you obtain wealth and power. They are their own justifications.
Perhaps it was inevitable that this poison would come to dominate our culture and our politics. It is the triumph of artifice. We live in an age when the fake, the fraudulent, the fabricated and the theatrical supplant reality. Trump’s manufactured persona was advertised on a reality television show. He sold this manufactured persona, as his ratings declined and he was in danger of being taken off the air, to become president. There are legions of agents, publicists, consultants, scriptwriters, celebrities, television and movie producers, wardrobe consultants, pollsters and television personalities dedicated to creating the myriad illusions that saturate the airwaves with Barnum-like lies. We can no longer tell the difference between illusion and reality; indeed when a version of reality is not verified on our electronic screens and by our reality manipulators it does not exist. The skillful creation of illusion and the manipulation of our emotional response, actions that profit the elites to our financial and political detriment, have seeped into religion, education, journalism, politics and culture. They solidify mob rule and magical thinking. Trump’s crass vulgarity, greed, unchecked hedonism and amorality, along with his worship of himself, are intrinsic to America, but his ascendancy, and the ascendancy of the character traits he personifies, represents cultural death.
Nobody seems to agree with what Trump is doing. When politics overruns reality who needs enemies when you have the Americans. The Kurds, Trump’s allies have been abandoned and given over to a battle with the Turks,(ODT)
But a former adviser to the US military and counter-insurgency strategist said Mr Trunp’s victory declaration was premature.
“There are still several thousand [Islamic State] fighters astride by Syria and Iraq,” David Kilcullen told ABC News.
“This is a group that grew from an insurgent organisation and has basically just dropped back below the radar to sort of guerrilla mode and they can effectively sustain that more or less forever.
“So I think that to describe them as defeated is, at best, wishful thinking at this point.”
Despite Donald Trump’s insistence that there was “no collusion no collusion,” it cannot be a coincidence that the campaign and the Russians engaged in parallel attempts to suppress the African-American vote.
Funny how the Russians and the folks in the Trump campaign — who, I’ll remind you again, never colluded — had precisely the same idea. Great minds think alike!
President Trump plans to make the poor work for Medicaid and food stamps. That’s extremely punitive for them—but highly lucrative for companies like Maximus.
At least a scoundrel knows when he is doing wrong. But the president is blind to the very idea of public interest
Private transactions can’t be wrong or immoral because, by definition, they require that every party to them be satisfied. Otherwise there wouldn’t be a deal For example, absent a public interest, there can’t be conflicts of interest.
So when lobbyists representing the Saudi government paid for an estimated 500 nights at Trump’s Washington DC hotel within a month of his election, and the Saudi crown prince, Mohammed bin Salman, rented so many rooms at the Trump International Hotel in Manhattan that its revenues rose in 2018 after years of decline, Trump saw it as half of a private transaction.
The other half: Trump would continually go to bat for Saudi Arabia and the crown prince, even after the Senate passed a resolution blaming him for the murder of the journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
The New York Times reports the oil industry and the rest of the Koch octopus is behind the plan to allow the old pollution standards for new cars. The last thing they want is fuel efficiency.
Mr Trump’s former “fixer” gives his first interview since being sentenced to three years in prison
Mr Trump knew payments to silence a former Playboy model and adult film star were wrong, Cohen says
Federal law requires campaign contributions to be disclosed
Things don’t look great for Trump
Constituting a criminal campaign finance violation, the payments could also eventually land the President in jail if he’s proven to have been involved (although probably not until he’s out of office).
Cohen had hoped for leniency given his cooperation with the Special Counsel’s investigation.
That doesn’t “wipe the slate clean”, the judge said on Wednesday.
“This court … believes a significant term of imprisonment [is justified].”
Cohen isn’t alone
Cohen’s sentencing is one of a series that will cascade over the next couple of months. It’s going to be an uncomfortable time in the White House as Mr Trump’s former associates are sentenced for lying and cheating.
Here’s a reminder of who has been charged so far:
US President Donald Trump’s former personal lawyer and fixer Michael Cohen has been sentenced to three years in prison for a string of offences, including campaign law violations he said he committed at Trump’s direction.
And his incessant need to watch Fox and Friends and regurgitate their propaganda is not fitting behavior for any U.S. “President.”
Click here to see what Trump’s Twitter malapropisms look like as offical WH statements.
As much time as he plays golf and watches Fox News, Trump could be reading his daily briefings and learning more about the responsibilities he has, instead of acting like an angry, uncivilized and uneducated white supremacist.
And so, in a very real way, does the zig-zagging speed of Donald Trump’s government. A world traveling at Trump speed is, to use the president’s own words (and punctuation), “a very dangerous place!” It’s a place where people burn to death in climate-change-fueled forest fires or starve to death in man-made famines. And it only gets harder to focus as the president keeps on riffing, faster and faster, just like someone on speed. Coming down is definitely going to be depressing.
Prosecutors have tied Donald Trump to a federal crime for the first time, accusing him of directing illegal hush-money payments to women during his presidential campaign in 2016.
While the Justice Department stopped short of accusing the US President of directly committing a crime, it said in a court filing that he told his former personal lawyer, Michael Cohen, to make the illegal payments to porn actress Stormy Daniels and former Playboy model Karen McDougal, who both claimed to have had affairs with Mr Trump (which he has denied).
“This is not just a regulatory offense when you talk about campaign finance violations. It could be that President Trump procured the presidency by fraud. If you look at that filing by the Southern District of New York, they talk about the seriousness of this offense. Democracy is all about giving full information to voters so they can cast a ballot for the candidate of their choice.
“By lying and covering up about his past on the eve of the election and violating the laws designed to create transparency, they say that President Trump clouded the process for the American voters. When immigrants procure their citizenship by fraud, we strip them of their citizenship. When a president procures his office by fraud, should we consider doing the same?”
Of course! This is more important that a deflated football and the Super Bowl, right?
The US Attorney’s office maintained that Cohen’s payoff to Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougall in the days before the 2016 presidential election constituted an infraction against US election laws and that it was ordered by Donald J. Trump. It was illegal because it constituted an expenditure of funds to conceal a fact pertinent to the election from the public:
Mueller’s memo details a 2015 conversation between Cohen and a Russian national “who claimed to be a ‘trusted person’ in the Russian Federation.” This person offered the Trump campaign “political synergy” and “synergy on a government level” and repeatedly proposed a meeting between Trump and Putin, noting that the meeting could have a “phenomenal” impact on politics, and also on Trump’s Moscow tower venture. The person boasted there is “no bigger warranty in any project” than Putin’s buy-in. Cohen told the special counsel he did not take this person up on their invitation, in part because he was already working on the Moscow tower with another contact who had Russian-government connections.
Rex Tillerson sat down for a rare interview with Bob Schieffer of CBS News, and said what everybody already knows.
Donald Trump doesn’t have an inkling of how government works or how to be President and he doesn’t want to learn. Quotes from the interview:
Michael Cohen pleads guilty to being a liar and Trump is his echo (ODT)
Michael Cohen, US President Donald Trump’s former longtime personal lawyer, has admitted to lying to the US Congress in a guilty plea filed to a New York courtroom in a surprise appearance.
Mr Cohen admits to lying to a US Congress Committee about a Moscow Trump Tower
Tower negotiations were underway during Mr Trump’s Presidential bid
The President responded by labelling Mr Cohen a “liar” and a “weak person”
Greg Sheridan of Murdoch’s Australian says “don’t listen to what Trump says but what his Presidency does” as if it’s what Trump does. However even a stopped clock is right twice a day. (ODT)
The United States Agency for International Development (USAID) has announced that all operations in the West Bank and Gaza will close by early 2019. Half of the agency’s staff are expected to be let go in the coming weeks.
USAID is one of the largest aid organizations in the region, supplying around US$5.5 billion to the occupied Palestinian territories for infrastructure, medical and social services, and humanitarian aid. There is currently no alternative in sight.
Some US$215 million that the United States was to invest in humanitarian aid and development in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip has been withheld, according to an analysis for the U.S. Congress. U.S. financing for UNRWA has also been blocked as part of President Trump’s blackmail tactics against the Palestinians.
Greg Sheridan of Murdoch’s Australian keeps insisting ” don’t listen to what Trump says pay attention to what he does. He’s not that bad”. Good one Sheridan even broken clock is right twice a day.( ODT)
In a wide-ranging and sometimes discordant 20-minute interview with The Washington Post, Trump complained at length about Federal Reserve Chairman Jerome “Jay” Powell, whom he nominated earlier this year. He argued that rising interest rates and other Fed policies were damaging the economy – as evidenced by GM’s announcement this week that it was laying off 15 per cent of its workforce – though he insisted that he is not worried about a recession.
“I’m doing deals, and I’m not being accommodated by the Fed,” Trump said. “They’re making a mistake because I have a gut, and my gut tells me more sometimes than anybody else’s brain can ever tell me.”
He added: “So far, I’m not even a little bit happy with my selection of Jay. Not even a little bit. And I’m not blaming anybody, but I’m just telling you I think that the Fed is way off-base with what they’re doing.”
President Donald Trump on Monday appeared largely unimpressed by the dire warnings outlined in a recent scientific report issued by more than a dozen federal agencies, which, among its various conclusions, found that the United States is bound for economic disaster unless its reliance on fossil fuels is dramatically curtailed.
“I’ve seen it, I’ve read some of it, and it’s fine,” Trump told reporters as he departed the White House for a campaign rally in Mississippi. The milquetoast response was paired with a physical shrug of the shoulders.
Trump then directly dismissed the report’s conclusion that climate change will bring severe economic damage to the country.
“I don’t believe it,” Trump continued. “No, no I don’t believe it.” He then appeared to blame China, Japan, and “all of Asia” for being the world’s worst climate change offenders, while claiming that the US is currently the “cleanest we’ve ever been.”
“The Trump Foundation functioned as little more than a checkbook to serve Mr. Trump’s business and political interests,” she said on Twitter. “There are rules that govern private foundations, and we intend to enforce them — no matter who runs the foundation.”
The lawsuit alleges numerous violations, including using the charity’s funds to finance Trump’s political campaign (an illegal campaign donation) and benefit Trump’s for-profit businesses (a violation of laws against self-dealing).
In a move environmentalists and journalists denounced as a blatant effort to bury facts that conflict with the president’s denialism and pro-fossil fuel agenda, the Trump administration used the Friday after Thanksgiving to quietly release Volume II of the Fourth National Climate Assessment (NCA), which warned “Earth’s climate is now changing faster than at any point in the history of modern civilization” and concluded that “greenhouse gas emissions from human activities are the only factors that can account” for planet-threatening warming.
“The decision to release this damning report when families are beginning to celebrate the holidays and newsrooms are short-staffed is a brazen attempt to bury the truth from the public that we must act now to move off fossil fuels and stabilize the climate,” Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, said in a statement.