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Paying for Privatized Governance Is Still a Tax

Another great essay from Mike the Mad Biologist addressing the endless debate concerning how to pay for Medicare for All. The bottom line is not whether we will all have to pay more in taxes. Rather, the bottom line will be how much we are paying for health care, who is served under the new system that is not currently covered and how many will live who otherwise would have died without adequate care.

Making a big deal about having to pay more taxes downplays the fact that your tax dollars will get more people better care than similar private insurance has been providing for the same overall cost. Democratic debates to this point have not done a particularly good job of explaining this. Mike does. My intro doesn’t do the essay justice. I invite all to read it for yourselves and make up your own minds which plan makes the most sense. – rjc

Mike the Mad Biologist

Over the last couple of weeks, there has been a significant non-troversy over presidential candidate Sen. Warren’s refusal to state if ‘middle class people would see a tax increase’ (the phrasing is often different, but the idiocy remains constant). Leaving aside the reality that ‘middle class’ has no defined practical meaning in a political context, it’s still a stupid point. That said, Warren’s response wasn’t good, and she needs to up her game here.

After all, as some asshole with a blogTwitter feed noted, “Paying for privatized governance is still a tax.” It isn’t hard to make that point–Warren has done that with statements like this:

So the way I see this, it is about what kinds of costs middle-class families are going to face. So let me be clear on this. Costs will go up for the wealthy. They will go up for big corporations. And for middle-class…

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U.S. envoy Bill Taylor testifies Trump tied Ukraine aid to Biden, DNC investigations – Axios

This includes Taylor’s lengthy opening statement to his testimony before Congress. – rjc

Taylor draws a direct line from military aid to interference in domestic U.S. politics.

Source: U.S. envoy Bill Taylor testifies Trump tied Ukraine aid to Biden, DNC investigations – Axios

Marie Yovanovitch prepared remarks to Congress

Opening statement made by Former Ambassador to Ukraine Marie Yovanovitch before her testimony on Friday, October 11, 2019 to US House of Representative committees conducting hearings to determine whether the full House will impeach President Trump. She was fired from that post, apparently for seeking to defend the Constitution and her oath of office which promised to defend that document and this nation against all enemies, foreign and domestic.

Please read this and decide for yourself whether she was, indeed, defending us against enemies BOTH foreign and domestic when she voiced opposition to Trump/Giuliani/Pompeo and their nefarious attempts to strengthen Trump’s prospects for re-election in 2020 by having the government of Ukraine investigate bogus claims to destroy the campaign of former Vice President Joe Biden.

Arms for trumped up (what amounts to) an invaluable campaign contribution must not stand. That the White House tried mightily to get her not to testify as she did is just the latest in a long line of actions taken by the Trump Administration’s obstruction of any and all people and documents needed by Congress to perform its oversight functions. Hopefully, others will come forward to testify as well. The American people need and deserve to know the truth concerning the lengthy and blatant abuse of power this President has perpetrated since his inauguration. – rjc

Opening statement of former amb. Marie Yovanovitch before a House panel Oct. 11, 2019.

Source: Marie Yovanovitch prepared remarks to Congress

Grand Theft Corruption

President Donald J. Trump appears in many respects to be a man bound and determined to make a personal fortune through conduct while in office that strains all traditional norms regarding conflicts of interest, bribery and emoluments regarding the use of taxpayer dollars to steer tremendous amounts of money – both foreign and domestic – to businesses owned by himself and his family. Apparently, our Commander-in-Chief feels that he must drain the swamp that he sees as dominating American national politics of all corruption at every level of government except his own and his family and confidants. His middle name may be John, but Hypocrite would be a more apt description of his character.

Between his excursions to Mar-a-Lago (and other Trump-owned businesses) for golf and relaxation, which entails taxpayer money to be pumped into Trump properties to accommodate him as well as his large security detail,  and the booking of dignitaries both foreign and domestic to use his resorts and other properties, there is a very real apparent conflict of interest for Trump and his family which has never before existed for a sitting American President. In the past, Presidents have placed their assets in blind trusts so there would be no obvious tinkering with the economy that the Commander-In-Chief would be tempted to undertake to personally and deliberately increase their own wealth while in office. Trump has further exacerbated this impression of conflicts of interest by giving his adult sons control over his far-flung enterprises and having his daughter Ivanka and her husband Jared Kushner serve as special advisors on his White House staff (albeit unpaid, in order to avoid violating anti-nepotism laws).

Not content to just augment his personal finances through his own direct actions, he has encouraged (or at least not discouraged) members of his cabinet, American and foreign businesses and government dignitaries, and even American military personnel to avail themselves of Trump hospitality. He apparently cares not at all about perceptions of ethical problems related to his private business ventures, so long as he does not face criminal charges as a result – which Congress has been remarkably silent about to this point, probably because the laws don’t directly address his specific circumstances.

Another area where Trump’s behavior has differed dramatically from his predecessors is in the area of releasing his tax returns. He is the first major party candidate (let alone sitting President) to refuse to disclose his federal tax returns to the American public. He knows this is a major issue for many of us, as he has come up with illegitimate excuses to explain his refusal to release them, even to the Committee Chairs who have a specifically legal right to see them. This country had no president who ran for more than two terms until FDR was elected four times. It did not take long after his death for an Amendment establishing term limits for the Office of President to be enacted. No doubt, in light of Trump’s overt insistence on not providing that degree of transparency to those whose votes he wants and needs to continue in office for another term, a similar bill requiring the release the tax returns of a President or even Presidential Nominee will be passed and signed into law – if not by Trump, then by his successor.

The overall attitude that Trump has been displaying since his inauguration has been one of utter defiance in the face of investigations questioning his actions or attempting to limit his ability to take unilateral action to achieve policy goals he has set in order to fulfill campaign promises he made to get elected. He affects the stance of a man being persecuted by non-stop, nonsensical “witch hunts” trying to unearth illegal wrongdoing on his own part or on his behalf by Cabinet and key staff members. He has shown little (if any) willingness to submit to the Constitutional authority of the other two co-equal branches of the Federal government.

Donald Trump’s reaction to any attempts by Congress or the media to gather information, including requesting pertinent documents and testimony at Congressional hearings concerning just about every controversial policy, statement or action he has taken or uttered has involved obfuscation, foot-dragging, delay and obstruction. Refusal to provide documents, both personally and on the part of his underlings, testify before Congress under oath, refusing to obey subpoenas and forcing a reluctant Congress to fight his obstinance in the courts every step of the way and making his subordinates do likewise all point to a person who dictates rather than leads. Such a person has never held this much power in this country before and does not exhibit the restraint or strength of character to adequately perform the duties and deserve the honor bestowed upon him in placing him in the job of President of the United States of America.

The constant verbal meandering, half-truths and outright lies which President Trump displays on a daily basis is conduct unbecoming a President. All the factual hiding he perpetrates is not conduct that most reasonable people would undertake while claiming to be not guilty of any wrongdoing. His willingness to avoid being held accountable for any malfeasance whatsoever and to stonewall all efforts to arrive at objective truth makes Nixon’s Watergate coverup seem like child’s play. His foreign policy, such as it is now and has been since he took over (his words, not mine) has led to consternation an head scratching among allies and adversaries alike. Even the normally docile Senate GOP have expressed outrage over his latest caper involving Turkey, Syria and the Kurds. Allies feel uncertain whether they can trust the US to live up to its obligations regarding mutual defense.

The time has come for Congress to stop Trump’s claims to god-like omniscience and omnipotence. He isn’t going to change his ways at this late date and we cannot afford another year, let alone another four year term of his antics. The topsy-turvy world of Trumplandia, guided by the Great and Unmatched Wisdom of that Stable Genius Donald I, where whistleblowers are vilified and treated to veiled death threats for merely trying to live up to their oaths of office, and elected legislators are likewise threatened with similar punishment for attempting to live up to their Constitutional duty of Congressional oversight of executive branch corruption, must not stand. May governmental sanity return and freedom return to the USA as quickly as possible.

Further Suggested Readings:

Donald Trump Is Finished

‘For-Profit Presidency on Full Display’: Zelensky Mention of Stay at Trump Tower Raises Fresh Alarm Over Emoluments Violations

It’s called ‘abuse of power’: The Washington whistleblower case puts Trump’s utter contempt for the law on nauseating display

New documents reveal the military has paid Trump’s Scotland resort more than $180,000

Bad news for Trump: Court allows emoluments case against him

Trump’s bid to bring G7 to his Doral resort is probably illegal

Pence family boondoggle in Ireland cost US taxpayers $600,000 for the limos alone: report

Mandatory stops at Trump resorts are the tip of the iceberg — this president has been grifting all along

It’s the Emoluments, Stupid

AOC: Trump’s use of Pentagon cash to prop up Scottish resort latest example of why he ‘must be impeached’

Trump’s July 4th event is costing taxpayers millions. We made a payment plan for him.

Here Are 10 Questions Congress Should Ask Robert Mueller

Warren Rolls Out Plan She Calls ‘Most Sweeping Set of Anti-Corruption Reforms Since Watergate’ – https://go.shr.lc/30367dU

Federal Appeals Court Rules Trump Can Be Sued for Unconstitutional Profiteering

Threats of Civil War and Accusations Of Treason: Trump, His Reichsbishof, and Those Ready to Kill in his Name

Another outstanding essay from Padre Steve. This work points out the difficulties which lay ahead for us in an increasingly hazardous world as long as we have Donald Trump in office as our President – especially as possible impeachment looms for him in the not-too-distant future. Hopefully, it won’t take too long for others in the GOP to stop enabling his authoritarian and inhumane tendencies and restore our democracy before all hell breaks loose. – rjc

The Inglorius Padre Steve's World

Friends Of Padre Steve’s World,

Just a couple of thoughts tonight. We celebrated Judy’s Birthday with our friends in Germany and even made a trip over the border to France where we got her birthday cake. But I digress…

Tonight I am very concerned about what President Trump and some of his leading supporters, especially his Reichsbishof , Pastor Robert Jeffress, of First Baptist Church Dallas threatened that if he were impeached that it would bring about a civil war. During his Twitter tirade the President accused the Congressman Adam Schiff, Chairman of the House Intelligence Committee of Treason.

First, the whole concept of Treason when it comes to United States law and the Constitution, which set very tight limitations on what can be charged as treason.

In fact it is spelled out in the Constitution:

“Treason against the United States, shall consist only in levying war against them, or…

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Read: Trump whistleblower complaint released A redacted, declassified version of the whistleblower complaint about President Trump’s July conversation with Ukraine’s leader was made public Thursday morning. Read the full document »

Will this lead to impeachment for President Trump? It may be sufficient, but it is a mere drop in the bucket when it comes to the totality of his transgressions, IMO. -rjc

News, email and search are just the beginning. Discover more every day. Find your yodel.

Source: Read: Trump whistleblower complaint released A redacted, declassified version of the whistleblower complaint about President Trump’s July conversation with Ukraine’s leader was made public Thursday morning. Read the full document »

She Wants An Abortion. He Doesn’t

Another excellent blog post concerning women’s reproductive rights, along with the rights of male partners when the abortion issue is involved. I agree wholeheartedly with her insights. – rjc

BroadBlogs

pro_choice-7946731A man asked me this question:

If a couple are in a safe, sane, and committed relationship I think that the women should not have all the say in whether or not to have an abortion. 

It would be a shame for a guy to have his baby taken away from him because the woman didn’t want to grow the baby inside of her. 

I think that entitles him to at least a conversation.

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The Final Lesson Donald Trump Never Learned From Roy Cohn – POLITICO Magazine

Please read this article and let me know if any of this sounds familiar. I’m sure Trump would call this fake news and a bunch of lies, but he is a man bereft of the ability to see his own reflection in the mirror. I have no doubt Trump’s fall will eventually occur. My only hope is that he won’t end up taking way too many innocent people down with him.

– rjc

 

The unrepentant political hitman who taught a younger Trump how to flout the rules didn’t get away with it forever.

Source: The Final Lesson Donald Trump Never Learned From Roy Cohn – POLITICO Magazine

Fear, Paranoia, Trump, Evil, and the Absence Of Empathy

Another outstanding essay by Steven Dundas in his blog, Padre Steve’s World: Official Home of the Anti-Chaps. He nails the plethora of character shortcomings embodied by President Trump which leave him ill-suited for the office he has held since January 20, 2017 and for which he seeks re-election in November of 2020.

It is incumbent upon all of us for whom these glaring flaws are apparent to work as hard as necessary to insure that this President is not given another four years to fashion an even more nightmarish future than most of us foresaw when he burst on the American political scene as a candidate back in 2015. We need a government which will improve the lives of all Americans and the world as a whole rather than just Trump, his family and a relatively small group of oligarchs who have been benefiting at the expense of the rest of us to an ever increasing degree ever since he took office.

As I argued in an earlier blog post of my own recently, Trump must go. I never thought he belonged in the White House to begin with, and the totality of his actions to date has done nothing but strengthen my opinion in this matter. Polls appear to indicate I am not alone in this view. We need to not allow him to steal another election, and continue dismantling what remains of our democracy and civil liberties, for another four years of insulting and attacking us, while filling his pockets with our tax dollars. – rjc

The Inglorius Padre Steve's World

Friends of Padre Steve’s World,

Every day that I see a tweet or hear President Donald Trump go into incoherent

streams of banal blathering I am reminded that the man has no ability to empathize with any other human being, even his family. It does not matter whether it is people suffering in a hurricane, people who have seen mass numbers of family and friends murdered by domestic terrorists, labeling racial and religious minorities as terrorists, criminals, animals, or vermin; or encouraging violence against political opponents and the press at his rallies, he always makes things about him, and plays to the fears of his base.

His lies are often whoppers and those he has been proven by many organizations to have lied or distorted the truth well over 10,000 times during his presidency, often to the detriment of his policies and programs, and which subvert the alliances and treaties…

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10 Ways We Pretend War Is Not a Crime and How to Change Them by David Swanson

Lengthy missive By David Swanson via Dandelion Salad blog describing the subject in the title. War Is a crime. We do need to stop pretending it is not and start learning to do without it before we do irreparable harm to humanity and the planet. Rationalizations may sooth the consciences of many but they do not alter the facts. With Trump, Putin and the various and sundry would-be and actual dictators ruling so much of the world, the risk of an actual apocalypse is greater than ever. – rjc

via 10 Ways We Pretend War Is Not a Crime and How to Change Them by David Swanson

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