*president trump is seriously dangerous*

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Re: *president trump is seriously dangerous*

Postby Luther Blissett » Fri Mar 17, 2017 2:34 pm

MARCH 17, 2017
The Hardening of Society and the Rise of Cultures of Cruelty in Neo-Fascist America
by HENRY GIROUX

What does the culture of cruelty look like under a neo-fascist regime?

First, language is emptied of any sense of ethics and compassion.

Second, a survival of the fittest discourse provides a breeding ground for racial and social sorting.

Third, references to justice are viewed as treasonous or, as at the present moment, labelled dismissively as “fake news.”

Fourth, the discourse of disposability extends to an increasing number of groups.

Fifth, ignorance becomes militarized, enforced not through an appeal to reason but through the use of the language of humiliation and eventually through the machinery of force.

Sixth, any form of dependency is viewed as a form of weakness, and becomes a referent and eventually a basis for social cleansing. That is, any form of solidarity not based on market-driven values is subject to derision and potential punishment.

Seventh, the language of borders and walls replaces the discourse of bridges and compassion.

Eighth, violence becomes the most important method for addressing social problems and mediating all relationships, hence, the increasing criminalization of a wide range of behaviours in the United States.

Ninth, the word democracy disappears from officially mandated state language.

Tenth, the critical media is gradually defamed and eventually outlawed.

Eleventh, all forms of critical education present in theory, method, and institutionally are destroyed.

Twelfth, shared fears replace shared responsibilities and everyone is reduced to the status of a potential terrorist, watched constantly and humiliated through body searches at border crossings.

Thirteenth, all vestiges of the welfare state disappear and millions are subject to fending for themselves.

Fourteenth, massive inequalities in power, wealth, and income will generate a host of Reality TV shows celebrating the financial elite.

Underlying this project is one of the most powerfully oppressive ideologies of neoliberal neo-fascism. That is, the only unit of agency and analysis that matters is the isolated individual. Shared trust and visions of economic equality and political justice give way to individual terrors and self-blame reinforced by the neoliberal notion that people are solely responsible for their political, economic, and social misfortunes. Consequently, a hardening of the culture is buttressed by the force of state sanctioned cultural apparatuses that enshrine privatization in the discourse of self-reliance, unchecked self-interest, untrammeled individualism, and deep distrust of anything remotely called the common good. Freedom of choice becomes code for defining responsibility solely as an individual task, reinforced by a shameful appeal to character.

Liberal critics argue that choice absent the notion of constraints feeds Ayn Rand’s culture of rabid individualism and unchecked greed. What they miss in this neo-fascist moment is that the systemic evil, cruelty, and moral irresponsibility at the heart of neoliberalism makes Ayn Rand’s lunacy look tame. Rand’s world has been surpassed by a ruling class of financial elites that embody not the old style greed of Gordon Gekko in the film Wall Street, but the psychopathic personality of Patrick Bateman in American Psycho.

The notion that saving money by reducing the taxes of the rich justifies eliminating health care for 24 million people is just one example of how this culture of cruelty and hardening of the culture will play out.

Dark Times are truly upon us. There will be an acceleration of acts of violence under the Trump administration and the conditions for eliminating this new stage of state violence will mean not only understanding the roots of neo-fascism in the United States, but also eliminating the economic, political, and cultural forces that produced it.

There is more at work here than getting rid of Trump, there is a need to eliminate a system in which democracy is equated with capitalism, a system driven almost exclusively by financial interests, and beholden to two political parties that are hard wired into neoliberal savagery.
The Rich and the Corporate remain in their hundred-year fever visions of Bolsheviks taking their stuff - JackRiddler
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Re: *president trump is seriously dangerous*

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Mar 17, 2017 2:45 pm

When politicians take money from megadonors, there are strings attached.

But with the reclusive duo who propelled Trump into the White House, there’s a fuse.

Image

Last December, about a month before Donald Trump’s inauguration, Rebekah Mercer arrived at Stephen Bannon’s office in Trump Tower, wearing a cape over a fur-trimmed dress and her distinctive diamond-studded glasses. Tall and imposing, Rebekah, known to close friends as Bekah, is the 43-year-old daughter of the reclusive billionaire Robert Mercer. If Trump was an unexpected victor, the Mercers were unexpected kingmakers. More established names in Republican politics, such as the Kochs and Paul Singer, had sat out the general election. But the Mercers had committed millions of dollars to a campaign that often seemed beyond salvaging.
That support partly explains how Rebekah secured a spot on the executive committee of the Trump transition team. She was the only megadonor to frequent Bannon’s sanctum, a characteristically bare-bones space containing little more than a whiteboard, a refrigerator and a conference table. Unlike the other offices, it also had a curtain so no one could see what was happening inside. Before this point, Rebekah’s resume had consisted of a brief run trading stocks and bonds (including at her father’s hedge fund), a longer stint running her family’s foundation and, along with her two sisters, the management of an online gourmet cookie shop called Ruby et Violette. Now, she was compiling lists of potential candidates for a host of official positions, the foot soldiers who would remake (or unmake) the United States government in Trump’s image.
Rebekah wasn’t a regular presence at Trump Tower. She preferred working from her apartment in Trump Place, which was in fact six separate apartments that she and her husband had combined into an opulent property more than twice the size of Gracie Mansion. Still, it quickly became clear to her new colleagues that she wasn’t content just to chip in with ideas. She wanted decision-making power. To her peers on the executive committee, she supported Alabama senator Jeff Sessions for attorney general and General Michael Flynn for national security adviser, but argued against naming Mitt Romney secretary of state. Her views on these matters were heard, according to several people on and close to the transition leadership. Rebekah was less successful when she lobbied hard for John Bolton, the famously hawkish former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, to be deputy secretary of state. And when Bolton was not named to any position, she made her displeasure known. “I know it sounds sexist, but she was whiny as hell,” says one person who watched her operate. Almost everyone interviewed for this article, supporters and detractors alike, described her style as far more forceful than that of other powerful donors.
Rebekah Mercer is rarely photographed. However, occasionally she can be found in the background of news photos, uncredited in the captions. Here she is arriving at Trump Tower on December 8, with Nick Ayers and Kellyanne Conway. DREW ANGERER/GETTY IMAGES

But then the Mercers aren’t typical donors in most senses beyond their extreme wealth. (The exact number of their billions is unknown.) Robert Mercer is a youthful-looking 70. As a boy growing up in New Mexico, he carried around a notebook filled with computer programs he had written. “It’s very unlikely that any of them actually worked,” he has said. “I didn’t get to use a real computer until after high school.” Robert went on to work for decades at IBM, where he had a reputation as a brilliant computer scientist. He made his vast fortune in his 50s, after his work on predicting financial markets led to his becoming co-CEO of Renaissance Technologies, one of the world’s most successful quantitative hedge funds. A longtime colleague, David Magerman, recalls that when Robert began working at Renaissance in 1993, he and his wife, Diana, were “grounded, sweet people.” (Magerman was suspended from Renaissance in February after making critical comments about Robert in The Wall Street Journal.) But “money changed all that,” he says. “Diana started jetting off to Europe and flying to their yacht on weekends. The girls were used to getting what they wanted.”
At Renaissance, Robert was an eccentric among eccentrics. The firm is legendary for shunning people with Wall Street or even conventional finance backgrounds, instead favoring scientists and original thinkers. Robert himself, by all accounts, is extremely introverted. Rarely seen in public, he likes to spend his free time with his wife and three daughters. When, in 2014, Robert accepted an award from the Association for Computational Linguistics, he recalled, in a soft voice and with quiet humor, his consternation at being informed that he was expected to give “an oration on some topic or another for an hour, which, by the way, is more than I typically talk in a month.” Sebastian Mallaby’s account of the hedge-fund elite, More Money Than God, describes him as an “icy cold” poker player who doesn’t remember having a nightmare. He likes model trains, having once purchased a set for $2.7 million, and has acquired one of the country’s largest collections of machine guns.
For years, Robert has embraced a supercharged libertarianism with idiosyncratic variations. He is reportedly pro-death penalty, pro-life and pro-gold standard. He has contributed to an ad campaign opposing the construction of the ground zero mosque; Doctors for Disaster Preparedness, a group that is associated with fringe scientific claims; and Black Americans for a Better Future—a vehicle, the Intercept discovered, for an African-American political consultant who has accused Barack Obama of “relentless pandering to homosexuals.” Magerman, Robert’s former colleague at Renaissance, recalls him saying, in front of coworkers, words to the effect that “your value as a human being is equivalent to what you are paid. ... He said that, by definition, teachers are not worth much because they aren't paid much.” His beliefs were well-known at the firm, according to Magerman. But since Robert was so averse to publicity, his ideology wasn’t seen as a cause for concern. “None of us ever thought he would get his views out, because he only talked to his cats,” Magerman told me.
Robert’s middle daughter Rebekah shares similar political beliefs, but she is also very articulate and, therefore, able to act as her father’s mouthpiece. (Neither Rebekah nor Robert responded to detailed lists of questions for this article.) Under Rebekah’s leadership, the family foundation poured some $70 million into conservative causes between 2009 and 2014.[1]
1.
According to The Washington Post, the family donated $35 million to conservative think tanks and at least to $36.5 million to individual GOP races. The first candidate they threw their financial weight behind was Arthur Robinson, a chemist from Oregon who was running for Congress. He was best known in his district for co-founding an organization that is collecting thousands of vials of urine as part of an effort it says will “revolutionize the evaluation of personal chemistry.” Robinson didn’t win, but he got closer than expected, and the Mercers got a taste of what their money could do. In 2011, they made one of their most consequential investments: a reported $10 million in a new right-wing media operation called Breitbart.
“I DON’T KNOW ANY OF YOUR FANCY FRIENDS,” ROBERT MERCER TOLD SHELDON ADELSON, “AND I HAVEN’T GOT ANY INTEREST IN KNOWING THEM.”
That the family gravitated toward Andrew Breitbart’s upstart website was no accident. The Mercers are “purists,” says Pat Caddell, a former aide to Jimmy Carter who has shifted to the right over the years. They believe Republican elites are too cozy with Wall Street and too soft on immigration, and that American free enterprise and competition are in mortal danger. “Bekah Mercer might be prepared to put a Democrat in Susan Collins’ seat simply to rid the party of Susan Collins,” a family friend joked by way of illustrating her thinking. So intensely do the Mercers want to unseat Republican senator John McCain[2]
2.
Some have speculated that McCain may have angered the Mercers in 2014, when the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, on which McCain was the ranking member at the time, asserted that Renaissance had used complex financial methods to underestimate its taxes by $6 billion. Renaissance has told The New York Times its tax practices are lawful. that they gave $200,000 to support an opposing candidate who once held a town hall meeting to discuss chemtrails—chemicals, according to a long-standing conspiracy theory, that the federal government is spraying on the public without its knowledge. In short, unlike other donors, the Mercers are not merely angling to influence the Republican establishment—they want to obliterate it. One source told me that, in a meeting with Sheldon Adelson and Robert Mercer a few years ago, the casino mogul asked Robert if he was familiar with certain big Republican players. According to the source, Robert shut him down. “I don’t know any of your fancy friends,” he replied, “and I haven’t got any interest in knowing them.”
And so it seemed almost inevitable that their paths converged with Bannon’s when he took over Breitbart in 2012. The Mercers recognized Bannon as an ideological ally. They also appreciated how quickly he improved the website’s finances. Unlike many people in their orbit, Bannon wasn't obsequious: According to one person who often spends time with them, he made zero effort to dress up around his benefactors, often appearing in sweatpants and “looking almost like a homeless person.” Bannon was respectful around Robert, says this person, but with Rebekah he was more apt to say precisely what he thought: “He worked for Bob; he worked with Rebekah.”
Although the Mercers had initially been persuaded to back Texas senator Ted Cruz in the Republican primary, Bannon preferred Trump, and by the time of the Republican National Convention the Mercers were with him. Rebekah made her move last August, at a fundraiser at the East Hampton estate of Woody Johnson, the owner of the New York Jets. According to two sources, one who strategized with the Mercers and another who worked closely with Trump, Rebekah insisted on a 30-minute face-to-face meeting with Trump, in which she informed him that his campaign was a disaster. (Her family had pledged $2 million to the effort about a month earlier, so she felt comfortable being frank.) Trump, who knew her slightly, was willing to listen. He had been disturbed by recent stories detailing disorganization in his campaign and alleging ties between Trump's campaign manager, Paul Manafort, and pro-Russia officials in Ukraine. Rebekah knew of this and arrived at her meeting with “props,” says the source who strategized with the Mercers: printouts of news articles about Manafort and Russia that she brandished as evidence that he had to go. And she also had a solution in mind: Trump should put Bannon in charge of the campaign and hire the pollster Kellyanne Conway.[3]
3.
Conway had worked for the Mercers' super PAC.
By the following morning, Rebekah was breakfasting at Trump’s golf club in Bedminster, New Jersey, with the two people he trusts most, Ivanka Trump and Jared Kushner, to talk through the proposal in more detail. Within four days, Trump did exactly as Rebekah had advised. Manafort was out. Bannon was in charge. Trump also brought on David Bossie, the president of Citizens United, with whom the Mercers and Bannon had been close for years. Less than four months later, Mercer's handpicked team had pulled off one of the greatest upsets in American politics. Through a bizarre combination of daring and luck, the insurgents had won. Now, they were Trump’s version of the establishment—which is to say, a very volatile one.

(From left to right) Patrick Caddell, Stephen Bannon, Lee and Alice Hanley

On July Fourth weekend in 2014, members of the Mercer clan (Robert, Rebekah and her husband, Sylvain Mirochnikoff) went to visit some new friends. They traveled on Robert’s 203-foot luxury superyacht, the Sea Owl, and anchored just off the WASP enclave of Fishers Island in New York’s Long Island Sound. Their destination, a medieval-style granite castle called White Caps, towered over the shoreline. This was the summer home of Lee and Alice Hanley, Reagan conservatives who’d made their fortune in Texas oil and gas but lived mostly between Greenwich, Connecticut, and Palm Beach, Florida. Like the Mercers, the Hanleys were convinced that the American political establishment was rotten to its foundations. Unlike the Mercers, though, they were popular and vigorous socialites. They loved to entertain and to act as connectors between politicians and donors in their assorted properties, even on their private jet.
That holiday weekend, Lee Hanley revisited the subject of a poll he’d commissioned in 2013 from Pat Caddell, a longtime friend. Hanley had wanted to truly understand the mood of the country and Caddell had returned with something called the “Smith Project.” The nickname alluded to the Jimmy Stewart movie “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington,” because its results were so clear: Americans were hungry for an outsider. It didn’t matter whether the candidate came from the left or the right; voters just wanted somebody different. They had lost all faith in the ruling class—the government, the media, Wall Street. “It showed the entire blow-up of the country coming,” Caddell told me. “A whole new paradigm developing.”
No Republican had yet emerged as a front-runner in the 2016 primary, but the Hanleys believed Ted Cruz could take Caddell’s insights and ride them all the way to the White House. They saw Cruz as a unicorn: a dedicated fiscal and social conservative who had broken with his party repeatedly. They were dismissive of Trump. “He doesn't understand politics or geopolitics or anything about the running of the government,” Alice Hanley told me recently.
REBEKAH MERCER SAW THE KOCH NETWORK AS HOPELESSLY SOFT ON TRADE AND IMMIGRATION AND WAS HUNGRY FOR A WAY TO PROMOTE HER OWN MORE HARD-LINE IDEOLOGY.
Robert Mercer and Cruz had met before during a conference in February 2014, when Lee Hanley had invited them to the five-diamond Breakers resort in Palm Beach for a grilling session. Robert was impressed by Cruz’s intellect, according to a person at the meeting, but worried that the 43-year-old senator was too young and might struggle to capture voters’ imaginations. Still, Robert warmed to him over the course of many weekends at various Hanley homes. Apparently, Cruz can hold his alcohol (his preference is cabernet), which is a prized attribute in the Hanleys’ circle.
As the Mercers weighed whether to get involved in a presidential race, their calculus was quite different from that of other megadonors, most of whom run massive corporate empires. Various people who have worked with the Mercers on campaigns told me they didn’t pressure their candidates to adopt policies that would benefit the family’s financial interests, such as favorable regulations for hedge funds. Instead, their mission was a systemic one. Steve Hantler, a friend of Rebekah’s, says she was determined to “disrupt the consultant class,” which she saw as wasteful and self-serving. She wanted to disrupt the conservative movement, too. Rebekah saw the Koch network as hopelessly soft on trade and immigration and was hungry for a mechanism to promote a more hard-line ideology. According to Politico and other sources, she was frustrated at the time that no one was taking her seriously. As it happened, however, the family owned what seemed to be an ideal vehicle for achieving her goals.
Around 2012, Robert Mercer reportedly invested $5 million in a British data science company named SCL Group. Most political campaigns run highly sophisticated micro-targeting efforts to locate voters. SCL promised much more, claiming to be able to manipulate voter behavior through something called psychographic modeling. This was precisely the kind of work Robert valued. “There’s no data like more data,” he likes to say. Robert had made his money by accumulating piles of data on human behavior (markets might move in a certain direction when it rains in Paris, for instance), in order to make extremely precise and lucrative financial bets. Similarly, SCL claimed to be able to formulate complex psychological profiles of voters. These, it said, would be used to tailor the most persuasive possible message, acting on that voter’s personality traits, hopes or fears. The firm has worked on campaigns in Argentina, Kenya, Ghana, Indonesia and Thailand; the Pentagon has used it to conduct surveys in Iran and Afghanistan. Best of all, from the Mercers’ perspective, SCL operated entirely outside the GOP apparatus. (A source close to Rebekah said she wanted a “results-oriented” consultant.) As Rebekah saw it, SCL would allow the Mercers to control the data operation of any campaign they supported, giving the family enormous influence over messaging and strategy.

And it would be Rebekah who would actually carry out this plan. Robert preferred to focus on his work at Renaissance, often operating from his Long Island mansion, Owl’s Nest. “He wouldn’t look under the hood, because that’s not what he does,” says Bob Perkins, one of Caddell’s associates who worked on the Smith Project. Besides, Rebekah was the political animal in the family. (Her older sister Jenji has practiced law; her younger sister Heather Sue is, like Robert, a competitive poker player).
This was a relatively new phenomenon. Rebekah isn't known to have been particularly political earlier in adulthood, while gaining a master’s degree in management science and engineering from Stanford, or in early motherhood. (She has four children with her French-born husband, who became an investment banker at Morgan Stanley.) But, after the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision in 2010, which significantly loosened restrictions on political spending, Rebekah decided it was time to “save America from becoming like socialist Europe,” as she has put it to several people. She started attending Koch events and donating to the Goldwater Institute, a right-wing think tank based in Arizona. The family’s political advocacy accelerated rapidly. It was in 2012 that she really attracted attention in GOP circles when, not long after Mitt Romney lost the presidential race, she stood up before a crowd of Romney supporters at the University Club of New York and delivered a scathing but detailed diatribe about his inadequate data and canvassing operation. “Who is that woman?” people in attendance asked.
With SCL, Rebekah finally had the chance to prove she could do better. The company’s American branch was renamed Cambridge Analytica, to emphasize the pedigree of its behavioral scientists. And Rebekah started flying Alexander Nix, the firm’s Old Etonian CEO, around the country to introduce him to her contacts. Nix, 41, is not a data scientist (his background is in financial services), but he is a showy salesman. Dressed in impeccably tailored suits, he is in his element on stage making presentations at large conferences. He can, however, come across as arrogant. (“I love the fact that you're telling your story, but I'm the one giving the interview,” he told me in a conversation.)
Alexander Nix at Cambridge Analytica's New York office. Rebekah Mercer was impressed by Nix's command of data and artistry on the polo field. JOSHUA BRIGHT/THE WASHINGTON POST/GETTY IMAGES

According to Perkins and Caddell, Rebekah and Nix met with them a few times to discuss how CA could use the Smith Project. Rebekah was clearly impressed by Nix. In one meeting, according to Perkins, she gushed about his polo prowess and asked him to show off cellphone photos of himself on horseback. (Nix says he doesn’t recall this meeting or others with the three. He also doesn’t remember displaying such a picture and can “think of no good reason why Bob or Pat would be interested in horses.") The political veterans were skeptical. “I didn’t understand what Nix was talking about,” Perkins told me bluntly. Caddell says he was perplexed when Nix wouldn’t show him the instruments CA used to predict voter behavior. He also thought the firm didn’t grasp the seismic shift underway in American politics. And yet to his great surprise, Bannon vouched for CA, telling Caddell its scientists were “geniuses.” Caddell knew that Bannon was beholden to the Mercers—they were, after all, Breitbart’s part-owners. According to The New York Times, however, Bannon was also vice president of CA’s board. “Even if he did not have a financial investment, he intellectually owned it, which was invaluable,” says a fellow political strategist. After he learned of Bannon’s involvement, Caddell stopped asking Bannon questions about CA.
In the end, Bannon helped seal the deal between the Mercers and Cruz, with CA as the glue. In the fall of 2014, Toby Neugebauer, a garrulous oil-and-gas billionaire from Texas, took Cruz and his campaign manager, Jeff Roe, to the “Breitbart Embassy,” the website’s Washington headquarters near the Capitol. Bannon flitted in and out. Nix, as usual, did most of the talking. After Neugebauer and Roe visited SCL’s London headquarters, the Cruz team agreed that CA could play a key role in their operation, running models and helping with research. However, it was made clear to Rebekah and Nix that the entire data analytics operation would be supervised by Chris Wilson, CEO of the research firm WPA. A source close to Cruz told me that Wilson’s operation had played a crucial role when Cruz ran for the Senate with only 2 percent name recognition in Texas and defeated a far better-known opponent. Why, then, was CA necessary at all? “No one ever said directly that the quid pro quo for hiring CA was that the Mercers would support Cruz,” says someone close to Roe. Nevertheless, after CA was engaged, Neugebauer took a private jet to the Bahamas to meet Robert Mercer on the Sea Owl. When Neugebauer asked him to donate to Cruz’s bid, Robert was matter-of-fact. The family would start with $11 million.

(Clockwise, starting top right) Jeff Roe, Ted Cruz, Alexander Nix

All modern political campaigns have to balance their need for exorbitant sums of money with the obsessions of the people who want to give them that money. Roe, the straight-talking manager of the Cruz operation, has observed that running a campaign is like trying to solve a Rubik’s cube of complicated personalities and uncomfortable dependencies. He has also told people that he is careful not to get too close to the donors who make his campaigns possible, because they can be so easily annoyed by the most trivial of things—his laugh, for instance, or the way he eats a bread roll.
In the case of the Cruz campaign, the donor obsession in question was Cambridge Analytica. And it wasn’t long before Roe and his team suspected that Nix had promised them a more impressive product than he could deliver. On March 4, 2015, Cruz, Roe, Wilson and others gathered in the Hyatt in Washington D.C. for an all-day meeting with Nix and a group of CA senior executives. Wilson took notes on his computer. According to multiple members of the Cruz team, Wilson was dismayed to learn that CA’s models weren’t fully ready for his focus groups the following week. As far as the team could tell, the only data CA possessed that the campaign didn’t already have appeared to be culled from Facebook. In addition, they recalled, CA hadn’t set itself up with Data Trust, the Republican National Committee’s repository of voter information. At one point, they recall, Nix explained that the National Rifle Association’s database of members would be a valuable way to target donors. Wilson typed an emoji with rolling eyes next to the statement because it was so obvious. He told people that he came away thinking, “Red flag, red flag, red flag.”

In response to an extensive set of questions, Nix disputed this account of the meeting. He denied that Cambridge Analytica had obtained any data via Facebook—a source of controversy for the firm ever since The Guardian reported in 2015 that CA based its data on research “spanning tens of millions of Facebook users, harvested largely without their permission.” Nix also claimed that it was the Cruz team that didn’t have access to the RNC’s Data Trust for much of the cycle and that “all data used for the majority of the campaign was provided by Cambridge Analytica.” However, Mike Shields, then the RNC’s chief of staff and Data Trust’s senior adviser, told me the Cruz campaign was in fact the second to sign an agreement with Data Trust, in 2014.
Meanwhile, the red flags kept coming. Wilson found the data scientists that CA sent to Houston to be highly efficient at the day-to-day work of his research operation. But according to Cruz staffers, when he began to test CA’s specialized models, he found that they were notably off, with, for example, some male voters miscategorized as women. In phone surveys, staffers said, CA’s predictions fell short of the 85 percent accuracy the campaign expected. (“Different models have differing levels of accuracy,” Nix said in his response. “I suspect these numbers have been taken out of context to make us look bad. In many previous articles the Cruz campaign have highly rated the quality of our data scientists.”) By September, CA’s first six-month contract was up. A CA employee in the campaign’s Houston office accidentally left the invoice in the photocopier, and Wilson happened to fish it out. The invoice totaled an eye-popping $3,119,052 for work that Wilson estimated to be worth $600,000 at most. “I can’t fucking believe it,” Wilson told Roe, who concurred.
Image
Jeff Roe (left) with Ted Cruz (right), who ultimately fell out of Rebekah Mercer's favor. “We felt to some extent she was being manipulated by Bannon," a Cruz adviser said. ETHAN MILLER/GETTY IMAGES

Nix disputed this account too, noting that the firm’s fee was “clearly stated in our statement of work and contract.” However, a former consultant for the campaign, Tommy Sears, attended budget meetings “for two if not three days” over the matter. “There was an understanding between both parties that the totality of the contract through March 2016 would be $5.5 million,” he says. “The heartburn felt by the Cruz team was that over $3 million had already been spent by September 1, 2015.”
When the Cruz team decided not to pay the full $3 million, bedlam ensued. A phone call was scheduled with Rebekah, Bannon and CA’s attorney. “I understand she’s a nice lady,” Wilson says politely of Rebekah. According to multiple people on the call, she accused Wilson of undermining CA. Bannon, meanwhile, unleashed a torrent of profanities at the Cruz team. Someone on the call gave me a censored version of his outburst: “The only reason this campaign is where it is right now is because of our people and I. My recommendation to the Mercers is just to pull them out of there and we’ll have them on another campaign by Monday.” Bannon’s language was so foul it was difficult to listen to, says one person on the call who had never met him before. Another of the political pros, who knew Bannon well, wasn’t shocked. “That’s Steve doing business,” he says.
The Cruz team was taken aback by Rebekah’s reaction. Some even wondered if she’d been given all the facts. One person who was close to the campaign says, “She is somewhere between the daughter of a brilliant hedge fund manager and mathematician and somebody who runs a bakery in New York. She clearly has a skill set, but the skill set we’re discussing here regarding the understanding of the value of data and analytics doesn’t fall into that area. She is operating under the information she’s been given.”
“IF REBEKAH MERCER WAS BROKE AND WASN’T A MAJOR DONOR IN THE REPUBLICAN PARTY,” SAYS A CRUZ ADVISER, “NOBODY WOULD SPEND TWO SECONDS TRYING TO KNOW HER… SHE’S NOT FUN. SHE’S JUST LIKE A SERIES OF AMOEBA CELLS.”
The two sides were also diverging ideologically. In the summer of 2015, according to two sources, Rebekah reprimanded Cruz for an April article he’d co-authored with House Speaker Paul Ryan in The Wall Street Journal in support of free trade. She and Bannon told Cruz that he should adopt the positions of Jeff Sessions, whose views on trade and immigration were more in line with the conservative base. By this time, Cruz and his team were becoming increasingly concerned about Bannon’s relationship with Rebekah. Bannon (who declined to comment for this article) was now blatantly pro-Trump. Over the course of the primary, Breitbart would publish around 60 pieces disputing that Cruz was eligible to be president because he had been born in Canada. Cruz repeatedly called Rebekah to complain, but she insisted that she had to be “fair and impartial.” One of his advisers says, “We felt to some extent she was being manipulated by Bannon.” A person close to Bannon counters: “There's absolutely no way anyone could manipulate Rebekah Mercer."
After the first debate in South Carolina, Rebekah gave Cruz a “dressing down” on his performance, according to three sources. “Given what was going on around him—and what he must have truly felt—he behaved like an absolute gentleman,” says a person close to Cruz. Rebekah was incensed that Trump had a tougher immigration policy than Cruz did—she particularly liked Trump’s idea for a total ban on Muslims. Subsequently, Cruz proposed a 180-day suspension on all H1-B visas.
Meanwhile, even though the Cruz staffers generally got along well with their CA counterparts—they sometimes took the visitors country-western dancing —the firm remained a source of friction. In retrospect, Wilson told people, he believed that Nix resented the campaign for allocating work through a competitive bidding process, rather than favoring CA. Two weeks before the Iowa caucuses, Wilson assigned a contract to a firm called Targeted Victory. CA then locked its data in the cloud so it couldn’t be accessed by Roe’s team. The data remained unavailable until, a Cruz campaign source said, it was pretty much too late to be useful. Cruz won the Iowa caucuses anyway.
The Cruz operation became so fed up with Nix that they pushed back, hard, on CA’s bill for its second six-month contract. Wilson was able to negotiate the fees down after, as Cruz staffers recalled, a CA representative accidentally emailed him a spreadsheet documenting the Houston team’s salaries. (Nix said CA had intended to send the spreadsheet.) Still, the campaign wound up paying nearly $6 million to CA—which represented almost half of the money the Mercers had pledged to spend on Cruz’s behalf.
The acrimony lingered long after Cruz exited the race in May. When he decided not to endorse Trump at the GOP convention, the Mercers publicly rebuked him. In a statement, Cruz was diplomatic: “We were delighted to work with Cambridge Analytica, they were a valuable asset to my campaign, and any rumors to the contrary are completely unfounded.” (The source close to Rebekah added, “I was with Rebekah the other day and Ted Cruz was falling all over her. It’s not fair to blame CA's methodology for Cruz's loss.”) Others from Cruz’s team, however, remain bitter about the whole experience. “If Rebekah Mercer was broke and wasn’t a major donor in the Republican Party,” says one, “nobody would spend two seconds trying to know her. … She’s not fun. She’s just like a series of amoeba cells.”

(Clockwise, starting bottom left) The Mercers, Kellyanne Conway, Brad Parscale, David Bossie, Stephen Bannon, Jared Kushner

One of the great challenges in reporting this story was that almost every single person in Trump’s orbit claims sole credit for his extraordinary victory on November 8. The multiplying narratives of his win can be difficult to untangle, but it is true that his operation ran somewhat more smoothly after Rebekah Mercer helped to replace Manafort with Bannon. This wasn’t necessarily because Bannon himself was a particularly deft manager—he much preferred to focus on big-picture strategy, especially Trump’s messaging in rallies. Most of the details were left to his deputy, David Bossie—at least until October, when Bossie and Trump got into an argument over Trump’s impetuousness on Twitter and Bossie was kicked off the campaign plane, according to multiple sources. But one undeniable benefit of having Bannon in charge was that Rebekah trusted him.
Bannon, several sources said, can be charming when he chooses to be. And he has a record of successfully cultivating wealthy patrons for his various endeavors over the years. At the same time, certain of his ventures have involved high drama. The most spectacular example is the Biosphere 2, a self-contained ecological experiment under a giant dome in the Arizona desert that was funded by the billionaire Texan Ed Bass. Hired as a financial adviser in the early 1990s, Bannon returned in 1994 and used a court order to take over the project, following allegations that it was being mismanaged. He showed up one weekend along with “a small army of U.S. marshals holding guns, followed by a posse of businessmen in suits, a corporate battalion of investment bankers, accountants, PR people, and secretaries,” according to a history of the project called Dreaming the Biosphere. In an effort to thwart Bannon’s takeover, some of the scientists broke the seal of the dome, endangering the experiment.

Because of his relationship with the Mercers, Bannon was able to avoid some of the tensions over Cambridge Analytica that had plagued the Cruz campaign. Before taking the job, he phoned Brad Parscale, a 41-year-old San Antonio web designer who had made websites for the Trump family for years. Although Parscale had never worked in politics before, he now found himself in charge of Trump’s entire data operation. According to multiple sources, Parscale told Bannon that he had been hauled into an unexpected meeting with Alexander Nix earlier that summer. Parscale, who is fiercely proud of his rural Kansas roots, immediately disliked the polished Briton. He informed Nix he wasn’t interested in CA’s psychographic modeling. Parscale and Bannon quickly bonded, seeing each other as fellow outsiders and true Trump loyalists. Bannon told Parscale: “I don't care how you get it done—get it done. Use CA as much or as little as you want.” Parscale did ultimately bring on six CA staffers for additional support within his data operation. But he had his own theory[4]
4.
Parscale has told people that the campaign’s previous models had been based on high turnout figures. “I started to run models with lower turnout which looked like the midterm elections of 2014,” he has said. “I mapped out how, based on that, we could get to 305 electoral college votes.” Trump got 304. of how Trump could secure victory—in the final weeks, he advised Trump to visit Wisconsin, Pennsylvania and Michigan, three states no one thought Trump could take. The campaign never used CA’s psychographic methodology, as a CA staffer who worked on the campaign later publicly acknowledged at a Google panel.
For the most part, Rebekah kept a low profile during the last phase of the election. On the few occasions that she appeared at Trump Tower, she sat in Bannon’s 14th-floor office. “Most people had no idea who she even was,” says one person who was there regularly. “The idea that she was on the phone to Trump or anyone all the time, that’s nonsense,” says a different source from the transition. The Mercers did intervene when a tape surfaced of Trump bragging to NBC’s Billy Bush about sexually assaulting women—by making a rare statement in Trump’s defense. In a statement to The Washington Post, they said: “If Mr. Trump had told Billy Bush, whoever that is, earlier this year that he was for open borders, open trade and executive actions in pursuit of gun control, we would certainly be rethinking our support for him. …. We are completely indifferent to Mr. Trump’s locker room braggadocio.”
Bannon in the East Wing of the White House on January 22, with Mercer (uncredited) in the background. ANDREW HARRER-POOL/GETTY IMAGES

On election night at Trump Tower, Robert Mercer was nowhere to be seen. Rebekah was in Bannon’s office. Staffers and Trump children wandered in and out of Parscale’s office, because he was usually the first person to have any actual information. Parscale, unlike almost everyone else, including Trump’s children, was convinced his boss was going to win. Trump himself remained glued to the television, refusing to believe anything until victory was officially declared. No one I talked to recalls where Rebekah was in the blur of the celebration.
But people certainly remember her presence during the transition. One night, Rebekah called Trump and told him he absolutely had to make Bannon his White House chief of staff. Trump himself later described the phone call—in a manner an observer characterized as affectionately humorous—to a crowd of about 400 people at the Mercers’ annual costume party at Robert’s mansion on December 3. This year’s theme: “Heroes and Villains.” A guest recalls that Rebekah was dressed in something “that fitted her very well, with holsters.” To the gathering, Trump recounted being woken up at around midnight— Rebekah told friends it was around 10 p.m.—and being bewildered by the late-night tirade. “Rebekah who?” he eventually asked. Everyone laughed,” says the observer. As it happened, Bannon didn’t actually want to be chief of staff, believing himself to be ill-suited to the role. He was named chief strategist instead.
Rebekah had more than personnel decisions on her mind, however. She was particularly focused on what was referred to on the transition as the “outside group.” After the election, it was widely agreed that the GOP needed a nonprofit arm, supported by major donors, to push the president’s agenda across the country, much as the Obama team had set up Organizing for America in 2009. The most important component of any organization like this is its voter database, since it can be used to seek donations and mobilize supporters behind the president’s initiatives. Rebekah wanted CA to be the data engine, which would essentially give her control of the group. And if the venture were successful, she would have an influence over the GOP that no donor had ever pulled off. Theoretically, if the president did something she didn’t like, she could marshal his own supporters against him, since it would be her database and her money. A friend of Rebekah explains: “She felt it was her job to hold the people she’d got elected, accountable to keep their promises.”
“I’M EXPECTING TO BE FIRED BY THE SUMMER,” BANNON HAS TOLD FRIENDS.
On December 14, there was a meeting to discuss the outside group in a glass-walled conference room on the 14th floor of Trump Tower. Brad Parscale sat at the head of the table. Around him were roughly 12 people, including Rebekah; Kellyanne Conway; David Bossie; Michael Cohen, Trump’s lawyer; Jason Miller, then Trump’s senior communications adviser; and Marc Short, Mike Pence’s senior adviser. Parscale was known to be livid that Alexander Nix had gone on a PR blitz after the election, exaggerating CA’s role. Even worse, Parscale had heard that Nix had been telling people, “Brad screwed up. We had to rescue Brad.” (Nix denied this, saying, “Brad did a brilliant job.”)
And so when Rebekah pushed for CA to run the new group’s data operation, Parscale pushed back. “No offense to the Mercers,” he said, according to multiple attendees. “First, this group is about Trump, not about the Mercers. Second, I don’t have a problem with hiring Cambridge, but Cambridge can’t be the center of everything, because that’s not how the campaign ran.” (He did, however, suggest that Rebekah be on the board.) “No offense taken,” Rebekah replied.
But she would subsequently complain about the exchange to Bannon and others, and continued to lobby for CA to be at the center of the new organization. The situation became so testy that before the inauguration, Jared Kushner brought in Steve Hantler, Rebekah’s friend, to referee. Hantler, a quiet, gentlemanly sort, proposed that the venture be led by someone he knew would be acceptable to both sides: Nick Ayers, a senior adviser to Pence. The “outside group” is now named America First Policies. Parscale is a member, and its first national TV ads have appeared. Ayers has also been cultivating a friendship with Donald Trump Jr., who, sources say, may eventually want to lead the group himself.
The Mercers, however, have withdrawn completely. When it came to the question of whether America First should employ CA, it was Parscale’s view that prevailed: CA has no role in the group at all. “Tens beat nines in poker,” says someone involved with the formation of America First, meaning that Parscale’s close rapport with the Trump family carried greater weight than Rebekah’s connection with Bannon. Rebekah’s relationship with Jared and Ivanka is said to be diminished. Nearly every person I spoke to—Trump supporters, Cruz supporters, fellow donors, friends of Rebekah—agreed on one point: to regain some of her standing, she should fire Alexander Nix. (“We are hoping that she reads your piece and does it,” says a person she works with closely.)
On December 19, Rebekah attended a memorial service in Palm Beach for Lee Hanley, who had died four days before the election. Someone who spoke to her there was expecting her to be thrilled about the election and the position she now occupied. Instead, Rebekah was very low, says this person. She complained about John Bolton being passed over.[5]
5.
Mercer seems to have favored Bolton less for his foreign policy predilections and more for his popularity with the base. The family donated at least $3 million in 2015 and 2016 to Bolton’s super PAC, which helped elect a number of conservative congressional candidates. Perhaps not coincidentally, his super PAC paid Cambridge Analytica at least $700,000 in 2014 and 2016, according to FEC filings. She was also said to be furious at the appointment of Mitt Romney’s niece, Ronna Romney McDaniel, to chair the RNC: To Rebekah, McDaniel personified the very GOP establishment that her family had worked so hard to cast out. “She was emotional,” says the person who was there. “She was talking about how there's no rhyme or reason to the people he's appointing, and that Ivanka was acting like first lady, and Melania was very upset about it.” When asked about this, a person very close to Rebekah said, "She thinks Ivanka is wonderful and amazing and she thinks Melania is wonderful and amazing. She's very policy-oriented and not involved in personalities.”
In the end, Rebekah Mercer’s mistake was that she thought she could upend the system and then control the regime she had helped to bring to power. Helping to elect a president wasn’t enough: She wanted the machinery to shape his presidency. Instead, the chaos simply continued. An administration full of insurgents, it turns out, functions in a near-constant state of insurgency.
Bannon is said to be exhausted and stretched. He is largely responsible for the relentless pace of initiatives and executive orders in the early weeks of the administration, because he doesn’t expect to be in the White House forever. “I’m expecting to be fired by the summer,” he has told friends, likening himself to Thomas Cromwell, Henry VIII’s chief minister, who was instrumental in enforcing Britain’s Reformation but ended up being beheaded by his boss. A source close to Bannon says that he may have “joked about being fired,” but disagreed that Bannon is tired: “I don't think he even thinks in those terms. He is used to an intense schedule.” His focus, the source says, “is working for the president to deliver on the promises to the American people for the first 100 days and then beyond on the overall agenda of Making America Great Again.” Bannon returns Rebekah’s phone calls when he can. But, according to someone who knows both well, “relations are strained.” Another person who works with both of them says, “I think Bannon, once he finally built a relationship with Trump, didn't need Rebekah as much … and he doesn't care about that. He only cares about the country.” The source close to Bannon says that Rebekah and the chief strategist remain “close friends and allies.”
As this piece was going to press, several sources warned me not to count Rebekah out. She still has a stake in Breitbart, which holds tremendous sway over Trump’s base and has recently gone on a no-holds-barred offensive against the GOP health care plan. And on March 13, Politico reported that some Trump officials were already disillusioned with America First, which they felt had been slow to provide much-needed cover for his policy initiatives. There was talk of turning instead to a new group being launched by Rebekah Mercer. And so she may yet get another chance to realize her grand ambitions. “She’s used to getting everything she wants, 100 percent of the time,” says another person who knows her well. “Does she like getting 90 percent? No.”
http://highline.huffingtonpost.com/articles/en/mercers/
Why FBI can't tell all on Trump & Russia
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Re: *president trump is seriously dangerous*

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Mar 17, 2017 3:03 pm

Trump celebrates St. Patrick's Day by reading an 'Irish proverb' (that is Nigerian, not Irish)

amy @aharbo
Trump's Irish poet, Albashir Adam Alhassan, is Nigerian. Also, a proverb is not a poem. #ArtFunding #IrishProverb #IrishLiterature


I was gonna save this card for someone else but..... :bigsmile
Image


Here is the poem "Remember To Forget":

Always remember to forget,

The things that make you sad,

But never forget to remember,

The things that make you glad.

Always remember to forget,

The friends that proved untrue,

But never forget to remember,

Those that have stuck to you.

Always remember to forget,

The trouble that passed away,

But never forget to remember,

The blessings that come each day.

Always remember to do your duty,

And some kindness day by day,

But never forget to live a useful and happy life,

That is the only way.


oh and btw

The White House has assured British Prime Minister Theresa May it would not repeat allegations that Britain's GCHQ spy agency had helped former U.S. President Barack Obama eavesdrop on Donald Trump, May's spokesman said on Friday.


also at the press conference

Trump tells Merkel: 'At least we have something in common' about wiretapping

he's an idiot

oh dear

Secret Service laptop containing Trump Tower evacuation and floor plans stolen

and this just because it's fun to say headline

Mike Flynn rakes in the Rubles
Why FBI can't tell all on Trump & Russia
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Re: *president trump is seriously dangerous*

Postby Grizzly » Fri Mar 17, 2017 3:41 pm

Image

<blockquote class="imgur-embed-pub" lang="en" data-id="usuSgOl"><a href="//imgur.com/usuSgOl">What happens when you wear a green tie on TV</a></blockquote><script async src="//s.imgur.com/min/embed.js" charset="utf-8"></script>
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Re: *president trump is seriously dangerous*

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Mar 17, 2017 3:48 pm

I bet ol' Lock Her Up Flynn is officially over them

Mr. pay in rubles to play Flynn

probably the reason for the FISA warrant

he's the one going to jail unless he rats out his former boss
Why FBI can't tell all on Trump & Russia
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Re: *president trump is seriously dangerous*

Postby Grizzly » Fri Mar 17, 2017 4:35 pm

I bet ol' Lock Her Up Flynn is officially over them


None the less, 'the song remains the same' ... think it would be different with HRC?

If Barthes can forgive me, “What the public wants is the image of passion Justice, not passion Justice itself.”
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Re: *president trump is seriously dangerous*

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Mar 17, 2017 4:45 pm

the republicans are in charge of EVERYTHING.....go for it!

Lock her up.....if they could they would for sure

Flynn's the one pounding away on the campaign trail LOCK HER UP at the rallies...over and over again .....all the while he was being paid by a foreign government.......THAT WOULD BE RUSSIA!!


FUCKING YELLOWKERK TREASON BASTARD

Russian companies paid Michael Flynn nearly $70000 before the US election, documents show

Mike Flynn was paid by Russia's top cybersecurity firm while he still had top-secret-level security clearance


Kaspersky Lab paid former national security adviser more than $10000


THE SAME KASPERSKY WHERE THE GUY WORKED THAT WAS ARRESTED IN RUSSIA FOR ......HIGH TREASON!!


Reports: Second FSB Agent Arrested; Possible Links To U.S. Election Hacking
January 26, 2017
Mike Eckel

Russian media have reported that another Federal Security Service (FSB) officer has been arrested on treason charges in a case that may be linked to cyberattacks targeting the U.S. presidential election campaign.

The reports by Rambler News Service on January 26 come a day after the Kommersant newspaper reported that a senior officer of the cyberintelligence department of the FSB -- Russia’s lead security agency -- had been arrested.

Kommersant said Sergei Mikhailov, deputy chief of the FSB's Center for Information Security, had been arrested in December on treason charges.

Another Russian newspaper, Novaya Gazeta, on January 26 confirmed the Kommersant report.

Novaya Gazeta cited unidentified sources as saying Mikhailov was arrested during a meeting with other FSB officers in Moscow, and was taken from the room with a sack over his head.

Also arrested in December was a manager of the renowned Russian cybersecurity company Kaspersky Lab.

Investigation Chief Arrested

Kaspersky Lab confirmed the arrest to RFE/RL, identifying the manager as Ruslan Stoyanov and saying he headed the company’s investigation unit.

A list on the website LinkedIn indicates that Stoyanov started working at Kaspersky Lab in 2012 and that his previous jobs included a position at the Russian Interior Ministry’s cybercrime unit in the early 2000s.

On January 26, Rambler News and REN-TV both said a second FSB officer had also been arrested last month, and identified him as Major Dmitry Dokuchayev.

Dokuchayev headed another unit within the Center for Information Security and reportedly served under Mikhailov.

News of the arrests comes as U.S. intelligence agencies continue investigating the degree to which Russian government-backed hackers penetrated computer servers and e-mail accounts belonging to the political party officials, first and foremost, the Democratic Party.

In one of his final orders as president, Barack Obama publicly endorsed the conclusions of the U.S. intelligence community that Moscow was behind the hacking and named nine top Russian officials and entities associated with the FSB and the Russian military intelligence agency, the GRU.

Earlier in January, the top U.S. intelligence official told a Senate committee that the cyberhacking campaign constituted unprecedented meddling into the U.S. electoral process.

No Official FSB Comment

Tsargrad TV, a Russian news site run by a Kremlin-loyal businessman, said Mikhailov had links to a Russian hacker group known as Shaltay-Boltay.

That hacker group has published troves of e-mails of prominent Russian officials and businesspeople that it claims to have obtained in cyberattacks.

The FSB has not officially commented on the investigation.

Novaya Gazeta reported that that -- in addition to Mikhailov, Dokuchayev, and Stoyanov -- two other individuals have been arrested in connection with the investigation, one of them an FSB colleague of Mikhailov’s.

The newspaper cited unidentified sources as saying that Mikhailov is suspected of providing U.S. intelligence with information about King Servers, a hosting service owned by Russian citizen Vladimir Fomenko.

King Servers was used as a platform by hackers who targeted state-election computer systems in Arizona and Illinois last year. Fomenko, who rents space on his servers, has denied any links to the perpetrators of the cyberattacks.

According to Novaya Gazeta, Fomenko rented computer-server space to another Russian entrepreneur named Pavel Vrublevsky, who ran an electronic payment company called Chronopay and in 2013 was convicted of cyberattacks on Russian companies.

Mikhailov reportedly testified in court that he knew Vrublevsky and his talents well.
http://www.rferl.org/a/russia-fsb-agent ... 61397.html
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Re: *president trump is seriously dangerous*

Postby Rory » Fri Mar 17, 2017 4:58 pm

Grizzly » Fri Mar 17, 2017 12:35 pm wrote:
None the less, 'the song remains the same' ... think it would be different with HRC?


Pretty much. Different personalities involved, but the corruption, fraud, and incompetence would be more or less the same
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Re: *president trump is seriously dangerous*

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Mar 17, 2017 5:00 pm

I'M SURE THE REPUBLICANS WILL GET RIGHT ON THAT THEY CONTROL EVERYTHING GO FOR IT!!

LOCK HER UP.....IF YOU FUCKING CAN :bigsmile :bigsmile :bigsmile :bigsmile

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Why FBI can't tell all on Trump & Russia
BE CAREFUL THE NOTHINGBURGER YOU ARE EATING HAS BEEN POISONED
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Re: *president trump is seriously dangerous*

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Mar 17, 2017 5:04 pm

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Moscow on the Beach
Russian elite invested nearly $100 million in Trump buildings
By Nathan Layne, Ned Parker, Svetlana Reiter, Stephen Grey and Ryan McNeill

Filed March 17, 2017, 5:44 p.m. GMT
A Reuters review found that at least 63 individuals with Russian passports or addresses have bought at least $98.4 million worth of property in seven Trump-branded luxury towers in southern Florida.

MIAMI/MOSCOW – During the 2016 presidential campaign, Donald J. Trump downplayed his business ties with Russia. And since taking office as president, he has been even more emphatic.

“I can tell you, speaking for myself, I own nothing in Russia,” President Trump said at a news conference last month. “I have no loans in Russia. I don’t have any deals in Russia.”

But in the United States, members of the Russian elite have invested in Trump buildings. A Reuters review has found that at least 63 individuals with Russian passports or addresses have bought at least $98.4 million worth of property in seven Trump-branded luxury towers in southern Florida, according to public documents, interviews and corporate records.

The buyers include politically connected businessmen, such as a former executive in a Moscow-based state-run construction firm that works on military and intelligence facilities, the founder of a St. Petersburg investment bank and the co-founder of a conglomerate with interests in banking, property and electronics.

People from the second and third tiers of Russian power have invested in the Trump buildings as well. One recently posted a photo of himself with the leader of a Russian motorcycle gang that was sanctioned by the United States for its alleged role in Moscow’s seizure of Crimea.

RELATED CONTENT


Where investors from Russia bought

Video: A glimpse into Russian investment in Trump buildings
The Reuters review of investors from Russia in Trump’s Florida condominium buildings found no suggestion of wrongdoing by President Trump or his real estate organization. And none of the buyers appear to be from Putin’s inner circle.

The White House referred questions from Reuters to the Trump Organization, whose chief legal officer said the scrutiny of President Trump’s business ties with Russia was misplaced.

“I can say definitively that this is an overblown story that is media-created,” Alan Garten said in an interview. “I’ve been around this company and know the company’s dealings.”

The tally of investors from Russia may be conservative. The analysis found that at least 703 – or about one-third – of the owners of the 2044 units in the seven Trump buildings are limited liability companies, or LLCs, which have the ability to hide the identity of a property’s true owner. And the nationality of many buyers could not be determined. Russian-Americans who did not use a Russian address or passport in their purchases were not included in the tally.

The review focused on Florida because the state has a large concentration of Trump-branded buildings, and determining the ownership of properties is easier there than in some other states. The resort town of Sunny Isles Beach, site of six of the seven Trump-branded Florida residential towers, stands out in another way: The zip code that includes the Sunny Isles buildings has an estimated 1,200 Russian-born residents, among the most in the country, U.S. Census data show.

The Trump organization advertises all seven Florida buildings on its website as it pursues similar branding deals around the world. Exactly how much income Trump has earned from the buildings is unclear.

Six of the seven properties were the product of an agreement the New York property magnate struck in 2001 with father-and-son American developers Michael and Gil Dezer. The six buildings operated by the Dezers in Sunny Isles would bear Trump’s name under a licensing agreement.


FLORIDA DEVELOPER: Gil Dezer teamed up with Donald Trump to develop six buildings in Sunny Isles Beach. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
“I can say definitively that this is an overblown story that is media-created.”

Alan Garten, Chief Legal Officer, The Trump Organization
In an interview, Gil Dezer said the project generated $2 billion in initial sales, from which Trump took a commission. Dezer declined to say how large a commission, citing confidentiality agreements. Garten, the Trump Organization’s chief legal officer, said Trump’s income was a mix of flat fees and percentages but declined to disclose them.

Edgardo Defortuna, a leading Miami developer, estimated that Trump likely made between one percent and four percent in initial sale commissions, based on the standard fees paid on similarly branded projects. If so, Trump stood to reap a total of $20 million to $80 million in Sunny Isles.

Trump receives no commission on subsequent sales in all seven of the Florida residential towers.

He continues to make money from one of the six Sunny Isles buildings, however, according to disclosure forms Trump filed in the 2016 U.S. presidential race. The disclosure form states that Trump received between $100,000 and $1 million from a business called Trump Marks Sunny Isles I LLC. Dezer said these funds came from the Trump International Beach Resort, a hotel and condominium complex.

Trump reported no income on his disclosure form from his seventh Florida property, the Trump Hollywood in the city of Hollywood. How much he has made over the years from that property’s 200 units is unclear. BH3, an investment fund which took over 180 units in a foreclosure sale, paid Trump a licensing fee of $25,000 for each unit, according to Daniel Lebensohn, a principal at the fund. If the remaining 20 units generated the same fee, Trump’s take would have been $5 million. Garten declined to confirm Trump’s commission.

Informed of the Reuters analysis of Trump’s Russian condo investors, two Democratic opponents of the president, Sen. Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Rep. Adam Schiff (D-CA), renewed their calls for greater disclosure of his finances.

“While the president has denied having invested in Russia, he has said little or nothing about Russian investment in his businesses and properties in the United States or elsewhere,” said Rep. Adam Schiff, ranking Democrat on the House Intelligence Committee. “This should concern all Americans and is yet another reason why his refusal to release his tax returns should be met with considerable skepticism and concern.”


Sen. Richard Burr (R-NC) and Rep. Devin Nunes (R-CA), the Republican chairs of the Senate and House intelligence committees, declined to comment.

Schiff, as well as two U.S. intelligence officials and one former senior law enforcement official who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the Russian government sometimes directs funding at prominent individuals in the United States and Europe in hopes of improving their perception of Russia. Reuters found no evidence of such an effort with Trump. Garten, the Trump Organization’s chief legal officer, scoffed at the idea.

“This is politics at its worst,” he said.

RUSSIAN ELITE

The glimpse inside the condominium dealings offers a look at how the wealthy in Putin’s Russia use foreign property to stow cash.

One wealthy Russian buyer was Alexander Yuzvik. In 2010, he and his wife bought unit 3901 of Trump Palace in Sunny Isles for $1.3 million, according to Florida property records. The three-bedroom apartment has 2,100 square feet and panoramic views, according to an online real estate listing.

From 2013 to 2016, Yuzvik was a senior executive at Spetstroi, a state-owned company that has carried out construction projects at military facilities.

The Spetstroi website says the firm was involved in construction projects at the Moscow training academy of the FSB, Russia’s primary civilian intelligence service and successor of the KGB. Spetstroi also did construction work in the administrative building of the general staff of the GRU, Russia’s military intelligence service.

In a statement sent to Reuters, Spetstroi said Yuzvik worked there until he stepped down in March 2016.

Employees of some state-owned Russian companies are typically required to disclose their assets and income. Yuzvik and his wife filed a declaration for 2013. In that declaration, which is publicly available, they list only assets inside Russia. The Florida condo isn’t included.

Yuzvik could not be reached for comment.

Andrey Truskov, another Trump condo owner, is a founder and co-owner of Absolute Group LLC, a holding company involved in wholesale electronics, banking and property development, with projects in Moscow, London and New York. The wholesale electronic business is the biggest in Russia, an Absolute representative told Reuters. The company does not disclose its financial results.

Truskov bought apartment 1102 in the Trump Hollywood building for $1.4 million in 2011. The three-bedroom, 3.5-bath unit is 3,100 square feet, according to online real estate listings.

In a telephone interview, Truskov confirmed that he purchased the Trump Hollywood unit. He said the Florida apartment was the same price as a three-room apartment outside Moscow at the time, and Florida was a nice place to have a property. He said the purchase was a personal decision that had no connection with his business.

Several wealthy buyers were from Moscow and St. Petersburg, the country’s two largest cities, according to interviews in Russia, Florida public records and the Bureau Van Dijk company database Orbis. Among them: Alexey Ustaev, the founder and president of St. Petersburg-based Viking Bank, one of the first private investment banks established in Russia after the fall of Communism.

A donor to orphanages and chess clubs in St. Petersburg, Ustaev has received awards from the Russian Sports Ministry and the St. Petersburg chamber of commerce for his banking and charitable work, according to his biography on the bank’s website.

In 2009, Ustaev bought unit 5006, a 3-bed, 3.5-bath apartment in the Trump Palace complex in Sunny Isles, for $1.2 million in cash, according to Florida public records. Two years later, Ustaev bought another apartment, a penthouse unit, this time in the nearby Trump Royale condominium development, for $5.2 million.


LUXURY APPEAL: From left, the Trump Royale, the Trump Palace and the Trump International Beach Resort in Sunny Isles Beach, Florida. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
In an email reply to questions, Ustaev said he purchased the properties in the Trump buildings for private use, but declined to comment on his family’s U.S. business. “I am living in Russia, I am working in Russia, and going abroad only for business purposes or vacations,” he said.

Many of the Russian buyers were from the country’s provinces. One is Oleg Misevra, a wealthy coal magnate and former traffic police commander whose company’s main assets are in the Pacific island of Sakhalin in Russia’s Far East. He has caught Putin’s eye: At a 2010 regional meeting of Putin’s United Russia party, Putin praised Misevra’s work and held a lengthy question and answer session with him.


RELATIONS WITH MOSCOW: U.S. President Donald Trump speaks by phone with Russia's President Vladimir Putin in the Oval Office at the White House in Washington in January. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst
A corporation Misevra controls, Swiss Residence Aliance Inc, purchased Penthouse #1 in Trump Hollywood for $6.8 million in 2010. The six-bedroom duplex is 8,200 square feet and boasts 12-foot ceilings, according to real estate listings. Misevra did not respond to requests for comment.

Some of these Russian buyers appear to have done well in America. Another local politician, Vadim Valeryevich Gataullin, bought an apartment for $3.5 million in the Trump Hollywood. He did the deal through a company registered in Florida called VVG Real Estate Investments LLC. Five years later, Gataullin sold the apartment for $4.1 million to a Delaware-based limited liability company whose owner is not identified in state records.

In early 2012, Gataullin bought a second apartment in the same building, unit 2701, for $920,000, according to Florida records. Several months later, Gataullin sold the apartment for $1.1 million to a couple from Venezuela, property records show.

Gataullin is from the semi-autonomous Russian Republic of Bashkortostan, an oil-producing region in the foothills of the Ural Mountains. The son of a deputy regional prosecutor, he was a deputy in the regional parliament from 2013 until 2015.

As a member of the regional parliament, he was required to declare his income and assets under Russian federal law, according to a representative of the Bashkortostan regional parliament. A copy of the income declaration Gataullin filed for in 2013, when he was still owner of the second Trump unit, contains no mention of the apartment.


OVERSEAS INVESTMENT: The Neptune Hollywood Beach Hotel, run by Vadim Gataullin, a former Russian politician, in Hollywood, Florida. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
Gataullin did not respond to messages sent to his company in Bashkortostan.

More recently, Gataullin has been actively investing in the Miami area. His VVG Real Estate has spent at least $28 million on property in Broward County between 2012 and 2016. It also bought and sold six properties in Miami Dade County between 2015 and 2016 for a total profit of $238,400, property records show.

VVG is also the registered licensee on a small motel close to the beach in Hollywood. An employee there told Reuters that Gataullin “appears and disappears like a ghost” and was currently in Russia. A secretary at Gataullin’s holding company in Russia told Reuters on March 17 that he is not in Russia.

The American experience has been a mixed one for some of the Trump buyers. Among them is Pavel Uglanov, a businessman who served as a deputy minister for industry and energy in the regional government of Saratov, in central Russia, from 2010 to 2011.

Uglanov bought unit 3704 of Trump Hollywood in Hollywood, Florida, for $1.8 million in 2012. He sold the 3-bed, 3,395 square foot apartment for $2.9 million two years later.

Back in Russia, Uglanov made unsuccessful runs for the Saratov city assembly in 2006 and 2011, the second time as a member of Putin’s United Russia party. After leaving his deputy ministership in 2011, Uglanov told his then-wife, Anastasia, they were moving to Florida.


FRIENDS ON FACEBOOK: Pavel Uglanov, right, a Russian buyer in a Trump building, posted a picture of himself with Alexander Zaldostanov, the head of a Russian motorcycle gang sanctioned by the U.S. government for its role in Russia’s seizure of Crimea. Via Facebook
Anastasia said in an interview in her Miami apartment that her ex-husband never told her why. “I don’t know what goes on in a man’s head,” she said.

In Miami, Uglanov opened a gas station, called Niko Petroleum. When that business struggled, he sold it. He then started a charter boat business and a trucking firm. They struggled, too.

Uglanov did not have connections in the United States like he did in Russia and he didn’t understand how Americans do business, his ex-wife said.

Last August, Uglanov posted a photograph of himself on his Facebook page posing alongside Alexander Zaldostanov, leader of the “Night Wolves” biker gang. The Wolves, and Zaldostanov personally, were made subject to U.S. financial and travel restrictions. The U.S. government said gang members stormed a Ukrainian government naval base and a gas facility during Russia’s annexation of Crimea.

An aide to Zaldostanov did not respond to questions from Reuters. The group, in interviews in Russian media, has denied storming the base and the gas facility.

Zaldostanov has had multiple meetings with Putin, according to the Kremlin’s website. The Russian president awarded Zaldostanov the country’s “medal of honor” in 2013.

In a phone interview late last month, Uglanov confirmed the Trump apartment purchase. He said it was a personal matter and declined to answer questions. “Basically, my private life is not your business,” he said.

THE RAINMAKER

For Dezer, Trump’s American partner in Sunny Isles, the six buildings have been a win for his family, the Trumps and Sunny Isles.

Trump visited the sites at least four times as the buildings – including a hotel – were constructed and promoted between 2001 and 2011, according to Dezer and former employees of Dezer’s company. Trump had approval over the look of the buildings and apartments, Dezer said.

A glimpse into Russian investment in Trump buildings


“His people were very much involved in quality control and construction,” Dezer said. “They were down here once every quarter checking on us, the progress. They wanted to see we were making money.”

In 2008, when the housing market crashed, buyers defaulted on 900 Trump apartments, according to Dezer. Dezer said he worked hard over the coming years to pay back creditors. Until those 900 apartments were sold off, Trump did not earn any money for them, he added.

Foreign buyers bought into the Trump buildings as the developers dropped their prices after the crash, according to Dezer and local realtors. The majority of these buyers were from South America, with a smaller percentage of Russians and other former Soviet nationals.

Tanya Tsveyer, a realtor whose Russian clients have bought in the Trump buildings, described her customers as primarily business people, including several with investments across the United States and Russia.

“They bought in the Trump because they liked how the buildings fit their lifestyle,” she said, referring to the Russians.


BRAND BUILDING: From left, Trump Towers I, II and III in Sunny Isles Beach. REUTERS/Joe Skipper
By early 2011, the Trump buildings had started to turn a profit, according to Dezer. He invited Trump to a mortgage burning ceremony to celebrate Dezer’s paying off the project’s $475 million dollar mortgage. Dezer recalled Trump telling him that he planned to run for president.

At the party, Dezer, his father and Trump gleefully set flame to a stack of mortgage documents, applauded by a crowd of tenants from the Trump buildings and local business people. A video of the event shows Trump smiling, joking and working the crowd.

“I was with Michael Jackson when he had the hair burned with the Pepsi, and it was a disaster,” Trump told revelers, referring to the time the pop superstar’s hair caught fire during the 1984 filming of a Pepsi commercial. “I am sitting next to that friggin’ fire, and if my hair goes, I am out of business.”

Dezer and Trump got help selling the condos from Elena Baronoff, who immigrated from the Soviet Union in the 1980s. Baronoff, who grew up in Uzbekistan, had been active in Soviet cultural associations. In Miami, she soon began bringing Russian tour groups to Miami.

Gil Dezer’s father, Michael, recruited Baronoff to work alongside the Dezer corporation. She traveled to Moscow, St Petersburg, France and London to bring in Russian buyers, according to Dezer, selling apartments to them for between $1 million and $2 million. Baronoff was diagnosed with Leukemia in 2014 and died a year later.

“She was huge, she was big for them,” Dezer said, referring to Russian buyers. “No one has filled her shoes.”

Additional reporting by Jack Stubbs in Moscow; John Walcott, Mark Hosenball, Jonathan Landay, Arshad Mohammed and Warren Strobel in Washington; and Astha Rajvanshi in New York.
http://www.reuters.com/investigates/spe ... -property/
Why FBI can't tell all on Trump & Russia
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Re: *president trump is seriously dangerous*

Postby Rory » Fri Mar 17, 2017 5:35 pm

http://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-t ... SKBN16N0DQ

Credit where it's due. This is a good move - cutting USAID and State Dept. is always a good plan

The White House is proposing a combined $25.6 billion budget for the State Department and USAID, a 28 percent reduction from current spending, according to documents the White House provided on Thursday.
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Re: *president trump is seriously dangerous*

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Mar 17, 2017 5:57 pm

Trump wants lawmakers to boost military spending in the coming fiscal year by 10 percent, or $54 billion. Rather than raise taxes or increase the deficit, the president is calling for equivalent cuts in other areas.

Sen. Graham: Trump won't rebuild military by cutting Meals on Wheels




Trump federal budget 2018: Massive cuts to the arts, science and the poor
By Damian Paletta and Steven Mufson March 16
President Trump on Thursday will unveil a budget plan that calls for a sharp increase in military spending and stark cuts across much of the rest of the government including the elimination of dozens of long-standing federal programs that assist the poor, fund scientific research and aid America’s allies abroad.

Trump’s first budget proposal, which he named “America First: A Budget Blueprint to Make America Great Again,” would increase defense spending by $54 billion and then offset that by stripping money from more than 18 other agencies. Some would be hit particularly hard, with reductions of more than 20 percent at the Agriculture, Labor and State departments and of more than 30 percent at the Environmental Protection Agency.

It would also propose eliminating future federal support for the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Within EPA alone, 50 programs and 3,200 positions would be eliminated.

The cuts could represent the widest swath of reductions in federal programs since the drawdown after World War II, probably leading to a sizable cutback in the federal non-military workforce, something White House officials said was one of their goals.

“You can’t drain the swamp and leave all the people in it,” White House Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney told reporters.

What's getting cut in Trump's budget VIEW GRAPHIC
Many of Trump’s budget proposals are likely to run into stiff resistance from lawmakers on Capitol Hill, even from Republicans, whose support is crucial because they must vote to authorize government appropriations. Republicans have objected, for example, to the large cuts in foreign aid and diplomacy that Trump has foreshadowed, and his budget whacks foreign aid programs run by the Education, State and Treasury departments, among others.

“The administration’s budget isn’t going to be the budget,” said Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). “We do the budget here. The administration makes recommendations, but Congress does budgets.”

Trump’s budget would not take effect until the new fiscal year on Oct. 1, but the president must still reach a separate agreement with Congress by the end of April, when a temporary funding bill expires. If they can’t reach an agreement, and if Trump’s new budget plan widens fault lines, then the chances would increase for a partial government shutdown starting on April 29.

The president and Congress must also raise the debt ceiling, which has become a politically fraught ritual. Although the ceiling was extended until March 15, budget experts say the government should be able to continue borrowing money by suspending or stretching out payments through August or September.

White House budget proposals are often changed by lawmakers, but they serve as a marker for how the president plans to govern and as an opening bid on budget talks. Mulvaney said the White House was open to negotiation, but he was unapologetic about the size and scope of the reductions.

“This budget represents a president who is beholden to nobody but the voters,” Mulvaney said. “He is following through on his promises. We did not consult with special interests on how to write this budget. We did not consult with lobbyists on how to write this budget. The president’s team wrote this budget and that’s what you’ll see in the numbers.”

The 53-page budget plan offers the clearest snapshot yet of Trump’s priorities. Yet it is also far shorter and vaguer than White House budget plans normally are. One of the missing details is precisely where and how many jobs would be eliminated across the federal government.

View Photos The beginning of his term has featured controversial executive orders and frequent conflicts with the media.
[Read President Trump’s first budget proposal]

Parts of the budget proposal also appear to contradict Trump’s agenda. Trump has said he wants to eliminate all disease, but the budget chops funding for the National Institutes of Health by $5.8 billion, or close to 20 percent. He has said he wants to create a $1 trillion infrastructure program, but the proposal would eliminate a Transportation Department program that funds nearly $500 million in road projects. It does not include new funding amounts or a tax mechanism for Trump’s infrastructure program, postponing those decisions.


And the Trump administration proposed to eliminate a number of other programs, particularly those that serve low-income Americans and minorities, because it questioned their effectiveness. This included the Low-Income Home Energy Assistance Program, which disburses more than $3 billion annually to help heat homes in the winter. It also proposed abolishing the Community Development Block Grant program, which provides roughly $3 billion for targeted projects related to affordable housing, community development and homelessness programs, among other things.

The budget was stuffed with other cuts and reductions. It calls for privatizing the Federal Aviation Administration’s air traffic control function, cutting all funding for long-distance Amtrak train services and eliminating EPA funding for the restoration of Chesapeake Bay. Job training programs would also be cut, pushing more responsibility for this onto the states and employers.

Many Republicans have criticized these programs in the past as wasteful and ineffective, but supporters have said the programs are vital for communities in need.

The proposed budget extensively targets Obama programs and investments focused on climate change, seeking to eliminate payments to the United Nations’ Green Climate Fund — one key component of the U.S. commitment to the Paris climate agreement — and to slash research funding for climate, ocean and earth science programs at agencies such as NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. At the same time, clean-energy research, heavily privileged by the Obama administration, would suffer greatly under the budget with the elimination of the ­ARPA-E program (Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy) at the Energy Department and an unspecified cut to the agency’s Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy.

“I think one of the reasons they’re proposing them [big spending cuts] is that they know they won’t ever get through Congress,” said Sen. Patrick J. Leahy (D-Vt.). “They know they’d be a disaster for their own party if they did. It makes for a great talking point. It actually fits on a tweet.”

There were several areas in which Trump proposed increasing spending. He proposed, for example, $168 million for charter school programs and $250 million for a new private-school choice program, which would probably provide tuition assistance for families who opt to send their children to private schools.

The biggest increase in spending would be directed at the Pentagon, but the budget plan does not make clear where the new $54 billion would go. The budget plan would boost funding for the Army, Navy, Marine Corps and Air Force. It would, among other things, acquire new F-35 Joint Strike Fighters and rebuild what it says are depleted munitions inventories. But it stops short of saying how these new funds would support new tactics to combat the Islamic State.

The bump in defense spending was a marked contrast to the cuts Trump proposed in diplomatic and international programs. He proposed cutting combined spending for the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development by $10.1 billion, or nearly 29 percent. It would cut an unspecified amount of funding from U.N. peacekeeping efforts. It would also cut spending for Treasury International Programs, foreign assistance programs that have been supported by Republican and Democratic administrations, by $803 million, or 35 percent.

Trump directed funding to meet several of his campaign pledges as well.

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He proposed new money to hire border security agents and immigration judges.

And he requested $1.7 billion in new funding this year and an additional $2.6 billion in new funding in 2018 to begin construction of a wall along the border with Mexico. Trump proposed creating this wall during his campaign and had said Mexico would pay for it. A number of congressional Republicans appear to be cooling on the idea.

The federal government is expected to spend more than $4 trillion in the fiscal year that begins in October, and Trump’s budget proposal would deal with slightly more than 25 percent of this funding. The government is expected to spend $487 billion more than it brings in through revenue during the next fiscal year, and to avoid widening the deficit, Trump proposed steep cuts across the budget to compensate for the new defense spending.


Trump will propose a more comprehensive budget plan in May, which could include changes to programs such as Medicaid and also offer economic forecasts. But that proposal will come after the deadline for reaching an agreement to avoid a partial shutdown. So Thursday’s budget proposal from Trump will factor squarely into those negotiations.


https://www.washingtonpost.com/business ... 5cda6f5e3d



If you’re a poor person in America, Trump’s budget is not for you

If you’re a poor person in America, President Trump’s budget proposal is not for you.

Trump has unveiled a budget that would slash or abolish programs that have provided low-income Americans with help on virtually all fronts, including affordable housing, banking, weatherizing homes, job training, paying home heating oil bills, and obtaining legal counsel in civil matters.

During the presidential campaign last year, Trump vowed that the solution to poverty was giving poor people incentives to work. But most of the proposed cuts in his budget target programs designed to help the working poor, as well as those who are jobless, cope.

And many of them carry out their missions by disbursing money to the states, which establish their own criteria.

“This is a budget that pulled the rug out from working families and hurts the very people who President Trump promised to stand up for in rural America and in small towns,” said Melissa Boteach, vice president of the poverty to prosperity program at the Center for American Progress, a liberal think tank in Washington.

The White House budget cuts will fall hardest on the rural and small town communities that Trump won, where 1 in 3 people are living paycheck to paycheck — a rate that is 24 percent higher than in urban counties, according to a new analysis by the center.

The budget proposes housing “reforms” that add up to more than $6 billion in cuts while promising to continue assisting the nation’s 4.5 million low-income households. If enacted, the proposed budget would result in the most severe cut to the Department of Housing and Urban Development since the early 1980s, according to the National Low Income Housing Coalition.

Trump's budget plan, by the numbers Embed Share Play Video3:42
President Trump just released his budget plan for the next fiscal year, which proposes some big changes in government spending. Here's a look at what agencies are helped and hurt by the proposal. (Video: Jenny Starrs/Photo: Jabin Botsford/The Washington Post)
It would also eliminate the U.S. Interagency Council on Homelessness, which coordinates the federal response to homelessness across 19 federal agencies.

The administration’s changes include eliminating funding for a $3 billion Community Development Block Grant program, one of the longest continuously run HUD programs that’s been in existence since 1974.

The program provides cities with money to address a range of community development needs such as affordable housing, rehabilitating homes in neighborhoods hardest hit by foreclosures, and preventing or eliminating slums and community blight. It also provides funding for Meals on Wheels, a national nonprofit that delivers food to homebound seniors.


Robert Rector, a senior fellow who focuses on welfare at the Heritage Foundation, a conservative Washington-based think tank, calls the community block grants a “slush fund for urban government.”

The White House touts its cuts to what the administration characterizes as “a number of lower priority programs” as a way to “promote fiscal responsibility.” In actuality, it guts federal funding for affordable housing and kicks the financial responsibility of those programs to states and local governments.

[What Trump cut in his budget]

Gone would be $35 million in funding for well-known programs such as Habitat for Humanity and YouthBuild, fair housing planning, and homeless assistance, among other housing help for needy Americans.

Other targets include funding for neighborhood development and a home-buying program through which low-income individuals help build their own homes. Trump also plans to cut the Home Investment Partnership Program, the largest federal grant to state and local governments that is designed to create affordable housing.

Former EPA official: Cuts would target most vulnerable communities Embed Share Play Video4:53
Washington Post reporter Dennis Brady talks with Mustafa Ali, a former EPA environmental justice leader who served more than two decades with the agency, to discuss the consequences of President Trump's budget proposal. (McKenna Ewen/The Washington Post)
“There is no coordinated plan for how to fulfill the same mission. Saying states, local governments and philanthropy are going to help is just passing the buck,” said a HUD official who is not authorized to speak to the media.

The official said workers at the agency Thursday morning were feeling “demoralized” and “worried.”

“This is just a tough, tough time,” the official said. “HUD is no different than any other domestic agency in just feeling as though these cuts are all very arbitrary and unnecessary.”

Poor people need not lean on community banks for financial help, either, because Trump plans to eliminate the $210 million now dedicated toward Community Development Financial Institutions. The program, administered through the Treasury Department, invests in community banks that provide loans and financial services to people living in some of the most distressed communities of the country.

“Cutting that program would be nothing short of a disaster, and the ripple effect would be felt in urban areas and some rural areas all over America,” said Michael A. Grant, president of the National Bankers Association, a lobbying group representing minority- and women-owned banks.


The administration would also eliminate the Energy Department’s weatherization assistance program, which dates back to 1976 when Gerald R. Ford was president. Since then, it has provided states with grants that have helped insulate the homes of about 7 million families, using low-cost techniques that have large payoffs, saving money for those families and curtailing U.S. energy consumption. It has also helped establish weatherization job training centers in states such as Utah and New York.

Trump's budget eliminates arts, public broadcasting spending Embed Share Play Video2:30
President Trump's proposed budget calls for the elimination of the National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, and the Corporation for Public Broadcasting. Small and rural programs would be hit hardest. (Erin Patrick O'Connor/The Washington Post)
[Read President Trump's first budget proposal]

Also on the chopping block: the Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program, known by its acronym LIHEAP. This program, part of the Health and Human Services budget, helps homeowners cover monthly energy costs, or repair broken or inefficient furnaces and air conditioners. The program is usually underfunded; LIHEAP says that on average, only about 20 percent of the households that qualify for assistance receive benefits before the money runs out. Congress sometimes adds funding during emergencies or energy shortages when costs spike.

Trump’s proposed budget would eliminate the Community Services Block Grant, a $715 million program within HHS that funds more than 1,000 local anti-poverty organizations around the country. The organizations provide services ranging from job training to food assistance to more than 16 million people in 3,000 counties. The grants also help communities respond quickly to natural disasters, plant closures and other economic shifts.

Without the grants, there would be little coordination between faith groups, local governments, private companies and nonprofits in addressing the needs of the poor — “just a few unconnected programs that don’t have nearly the impact they have now,” said David Bradley, who founded the National Community Action Foundation and wrote the legislation behind the grants in the early '80s.

Bradley, though, is “absolutely confident” that Congress will reject the proposal.

“This is the work of a radical right that goes hard after anti-poverty programs,” he said.


The Trump budget would also target the Legal Services Corp., an independent agency that provided $343 million to 134 legal aid organizations for the poor who are tangled up in cases of wrongful eviction, custody disputes, child support or domestic violence.

Legal Services was launched as part of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s war on poverty with the support of the American Bar Association led by Lewis F. Powell Jr., who later served on the Supreme Court. President Richard Nixon later created a free-standing corporation to administer legal aid funds.

“Here each day the old, the unemployed, the underprivileged, and the largely forgotten people of our Nation may seek help,” Nixon wrote in a 1971 message to Congress. “Perhaps it is an eviction, a marital conflict, repossession of a car, or misunderstanding over a welfare check — each problem may have a legal solution. These are small claims in the Nation’s eye, but they loom large in the hearts and lives of poor Americans.”

In 2015, Legal Services offices closed 755,774 cases — more than 100 for every lawyer and paralegal employed. About 70 percent of its clients are women, and the majority of its clients are white and between the ages of 36 and 59. The program provides lawyers only to people earning no more than 125 percent of the federal poverty guideline, which is currently $15,075 for an individual and $30,750 for a family of four.

“We have a legal system that was created by lawyers for lawyers and assumes you have a lawyer,” said James J. Sandman, president of Legal Services Corp. “If you’re a tenant facing eviction and you’re up against a landlord who has a lawyer, if you’re the victim of domestic violence from someone who has a lawyer, you are not playing on a level field. Legal aid is about fairness in the justice system.”

Alaska’s rural poor get hit by the budget proposal, despite having two Republican senators. The Agriculture budget would eliminate the Denali Commission, designed to deliver services to remote, rural communities in Alaska, including Native Americans. The commission, established in 1998, contributes to the construction of health-care facilities, water and sewer systems, power generation and communication systems.

The budget would also zero out funds to help native Alaskan villages obtain access to clean drinking water and modern sewage systems.

At the Agriculture department, the budget would carve $150 million from the $6.2 billion allocated to “serve all projected participants” in the Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants and Children.

The White House proposed shrinking Job Corps, a program administered by the Labor Department that provides education and job training to more than 60,000 young people and disadvantaged youth. The proposal called for closing centers that do a “poor job” of preparing students for the workforce, but did not elaborate on how many of the 125 centers nationwide would be targeted.

Job Corps, which was created in 1965 as part of President Johnson’s anti-poverty agenda, helps young adults between the ages of 16 and 24 earn high school diplomas and receive vocational training.

Pelosi promises Democrats' budget will show 'sharp contrast' with Trump's Embed Share Play Video1:41
House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) told reporters, March 16, that Democrats will propose a budget that "creates jobs, reduces the deficit and creates growth for the American people." (Reuters)
[Labor Dept. cuts target job training programs for seniors, disadvantaged youths]

The program faced scrutiny several years ago for going over budget and has been forced to freeze enrollment multiple times since 2011 because of the monetary shortfalls. In 2013, a report from the Office of Inspector General found that the budgetary missteps were caused by inaccurate cost estimates and inconsistent monitoring of actual costs. But since then, the program has taken several steps to keep better track of costs and payments.

The Trump administration would also ax the Senior Community Service Employment Program, which aims to help low-income job seekers age 55 and up find work by pairing them with nonprofits and public agencies. The loss of the program could serve as another setback for older Americans who are still struggling to find steady work after the Great Recession.

The unemployment rate for workers 55-plus was 3.4 percent in February, according to the most recent jobs report. But the rate rises to 7.1 percent if workers with part-time jobs who want to be working full time, and those who have given up on the job search within the past year, are included, according the Schwartz Center for Economic Policy Analysis at the New School.

The goal of the senior employment program is to help participants find permanent work by providing them with training and job experience. Workers are assigned part-time jobs and paid the minimum wage, with the hope that the experience can help them find jobs that are not subsidized by the government. In its budget proposal, the Trump administration called the approach “ineffective” because up to one-third of participants do not complete the program. Of those who do finish, about half succeed in finding more permanent jobs.

Not everyone, though, believes the cuts will be a disaster for the poor.

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Rector, of the Heritage Foundation, said the cuts cannot be evaluated in isolation when they represent less than 1 percent of the $1.1 trillion in total domestic (including military) discretionary spending last year.

“The basic line from the left is ‘this program alone is standing between the poor and destitution,’” Rector said. “We have a very large welfare state, and there is waste in that welfare state. It’s important to prune the waste and make these programs much more effective.”
https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/won ... 088734878a
Why FBI can't tell all on Trump & Russia
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Re: *president trump is seriously dangerous*

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Mar 17, 2017 6:09 pm

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Why FBI can't tell all on Trump & Russia
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Re: *president trump is seriously dangerous*

Postby Rory » Fri Mar 17, 2017 6:27 pm

https://www.aol.com/article/news/2017/0 ... /21897249/

President Donald Trump has seen a significant positive shift in his polling numbers according to the latest Morning Consult poll.

For the first time in his presidency, a majority of Americans approve of the job Trump is doing, according to the Morning Consult/POLITICO survey. The president's approval rating is at 52 percent, which is the first time he's cracked the 50-50 mark in this specific survey.
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Re: *president trump is seriously dangerous*

Postby seemslikeadream » Fri Mar 17, 2017 6:40 pm

Fox News poll: Trump approval rating drops 5 points
http://thehill.com/homenews/administrat ... s-5-points

CNN/ORC poll: Americans break with Trump on immigration policy
http://www.cnn.com/2017/03/17/politics/ ... index.html


Bharara was investigating Trump cabinet member before he was sacked
By Daniel Halper March 17, 2017 | 3:17pm

Fired US attorney Preet Bharara was investigating a key member of President Trump’s cabinet, a new report Friday revealed.

Bharara was looking into allegations Tom Price, the Health and Human Services secretary and the administration’s point man on ObamaCare repeal and replace, improperly traded health-care stocks while he was a member of House of Representatives, ProPublic reported.

Price maintained that he broke no laws when he traded health-care stocks even as he was involved in legislation relevant to the health-care sector. He traded over $300,000 worth of shares of relevant companies during a four-year period in the House of Representatives.

The issue played a significant role in Price’s confirmation process, as he was asked about it numerous times during his Senate hearing.

The revelation that Bharara was investigating Price comes as many were surprised the US attorney from the Southern District of New York was not retained by the Trump administration.

The then-president-elect met with Bharara after the election and during the transition period, where Trump reportedly asked him to stay on during his administration.

But last week Attorney General Jeff Sessions notified all leftover Obama-appointed federal prosecutors that they would be let go.

Bharara, however, refused to go and was fired by the Trump administration.
http://nypost.com/2017/03/17/bharara-wa ... as-sacked/
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