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The Chart: Charges Against Trump Aides - Ari Melber Explains It All

The Chart: Charges Against Trump Aides

Ari Melber Explains It All

MSNBC's Ari Melber

TheBeat w/Ari Melber

The Beat Goes On: Manafort, Flynn, Cohen, Stone, Papadopoulos, Gates.

It's common to compare Trump's legal problems to Nixon's,
but that itself is a low legal bar. More broadly, Trump has now
had *more advisers indicted* earlier in his term than
*any* President in history.
11:30 AM - 19 Mar 2019

The "witch hunt" seems to have caught a lot of witches. MSNBC's Ari Melber, legal analyst and host of "The Beat" compares staff and adviser indictments of the Trump, Nixon, Clinton and Obama presidencies.

examines how despite claims that the Russia probe is a “witch-hunt”, Mueller has proven to be one of the fastest and most effective Special Counsels in U.S. history, racking up indictments at the fastest pace since Watergate.

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Pundit Post

Trump's "Very Bad For Democrats" Statements Are Illegal, And Actionable



      Trump's "Tough Friends Will Make It Very Bad For Democrats" Statements Are Illegal And Actionable

      This seed article was chosen more to illustrate how the MSM can distort issues by using misleading headlines than to provide information. You've already got the information, and we all know about this story and the President's statements. Trump did not just say "bikers," he also said military and police.

      To me, the President has at once committed obstruction of justice, and treason, on television.
      The treason is the most obvious, 45* makes clear that he would divide our armed forces and police, or turn the military and police against the Congress. That would set up a fight between the two factions. It could weaken our security, possibly to the point where we would be critically vulnerable to attack from outside. That's treason; but it's the more difficult argument, and the least likely to be actionable.

      But, the 'obstruction of justice' charge is not a difficult argument and it is actionable. It could be included in the current investigation. There is a powerful argument here that could be the straw that breaks the camel's back: In his recent statements, Trump threatened to use the power of his office, and that of the military and police, not for any of the almost countless legitimate reasons he might do so, nor for the quasi-legitimate polical excuses that he thinks he can use them for - but to influence a criminal investigation, any criminal investigation, but this time an investigation into his own alleged criminal activities since his election; crimes not yet subject to statutes of limitations, and not yet hushed-up by court order. That is obstruction of justice, and extortion, respectively. Why would you say what Trump said, except to interfere in, or stop altogether, the investigations?

      They can't even make the argument that this is just Trump making threats but that he didn't actually commit a crime: We saw the crime committed, as it was committed. Trump told us the motive as part of the act.

      This isn't just about Trump now. We're fighting for the survival of the "Rule of Law," and it's touch and go at the moment. This latest attack could be interpreted to mean that Trump thinks he's ready to take on the Judiciary head on. I don't buy it: I'd guess that he's losing support, even from within the Mafia, and is desperate to retain power. The moment he leaves the White House, he will likely be arrested.
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      On The Subject Of Freedom


          On The Subject of Freedom

          What does it really mean in 2019 America?

          Although right-wingers are working hard to dismantle FDR’s New Deal—the GOP budget for 2019 contains massive cuts to Social Security, as well as to Medicare and Medicaid—we got halfway toward his notion of freedom and liberty here in the United States with the addition of elements of socialism.

          So what is freedom?:

          • You’re not free if you’re old and deep in poverty, so we have Social Security (although the GOP wants to gut it).
          • You’re not free if you’re hungry, so we have food stamps/SNAP (although the GOP wants to gut them).
          • You’re not free if you’re homeless, so we have housing assistance and homeless shelters (although the GOP fights every effort to help homeless people).
          • You’re not free if you’re sick and can’t get medical care, so we have Medicare, Medicaid, and Obamacare (although the GOP wants to gut them all).
          • You’re not free if you’re working more than 40 hours a week and still can’t meet basic expenses, so we have minimum wage laws and the right to unionize (although the GOP wants to gut both).
          • You’re not free if you can’t read, so we have free public schools (although the GOP is actively working to gut them).
          • You’re not free if you can’t vote, so we’ve passed numerous laws to guarantee the right to vote (although the GOP is doing everything it can to keep tens of millions of Americans from voting).

          - Thom Hartmann

          Common Dreams

          March 19, 2019


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          Pundit Post

          Wake Up To The Truth

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          The TRump Land Grab


              Stumbled over this tidbit and will plop it here for your perusal. I'm too livid about it to trust that I won't just explode all over the page when all I really want to do is expose this to you and garner your opinion.

              tRump and Mnuchin have been very busy boys not boasting about a newly devised plan to land grab in all 50 states and some US territories, a feature included in the 2017 tax plan. I never saw any media coverage of this feature of the new tax law and because of this I feel it's because it was buried and have to wonder what else the naughty people of the tRump admin have been doing.

              I cut a few key paragraphs:


              Opportunity Zones were added to the tax code by the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act on December 22, 2017.

              Q. What is an Opportunity Zone?

              A. An Opportunity Zone is an economically-distressed community where new investments, under certain conditions, may be eligible for preferential tax treatment. Localities qualify as Opportunity Zones if they have been nominated for that designation by the state and that nomination has been certified by the Secretary of the U.S. Treasury via his delegation of authority to the Internal Revenue Service.

              Q. Have Opportunity Zones been around a long time?

              A. No, they are new. The first set of Opportunity Zones, covering parts of 18 states, were designated on April 9, 2018. Opportunity Zones have now been designated covering partAmong the money dependent on the Trump administration’s rules is $22 million in investment guarantees, to be announced Monday by the Kresge Foundation, to support two socially conscious investment funds that hope to pour $800 million into manufacturing, clean energy and other business development in Opportunity Zones.

              The zones are a creation of President Trump’s signature tax law that use tax advantages to lure capital to economically lagging cities, suburbs and rural areas. So far, they have stirred growing investor interest, including from Wall Street, and criticism from some tax experts who worry they will serve mostly as a handout to the rich.
              Most of the projects spurred so far by the zone designations are real estate, like condominium developments, or hospitality, like the SpringHill Suites by Marriott
              Whether the zones can ultimately spur other types of investment, like small businesses and start-up technology companies, will depend on how the rules are structured. Treasury officials have sent the White House a draft version of what will be the second batch of regulations governing so-called opportunity funds, which invest in Opportunity Zones, and what types of investments can qualify for the special tax treatment.

              The tax break works by allowing investors to roll capital gains from other investments into the funds. Taxes on those original gains are deferred and, if the investment is held for several years, can be sharply reduced. Adding to the attraction is the potential for investors who hold their money in the opportunity fund for a full decade to be exempt from any capital gains taxes on that investment.s of all 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories.


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              Trump's Racist Delusions And The Global Threat Of White Hate




                  Democracy, security and peace are being endangered by white supremacist hate, while Trump yells about his wall.


                  Many studies have shown that mass shootings/terrorist incidents/hate crimes are connected to the far right’s extremism. These incidents are increasing rapidly, with racism, homophobia, misogyny, xenophobia, Muslim hate and anti Semitism included in the list of these terrorists' motivations. Following the dots take us to the Trump administration’s support of such motives, yet in the main, the media most often seems not to have followed the dots.

                  Trackers tell the public that at this time there are over one thousand active hate groups that are working their murderous mayhem just in the United States, and we are aware that there are many more if other countries are included; yet Trump and his administration just shrug them off as Trump declares a national emergency that is obviously not an emergency, He and his mostly white supporters spread their paranoia against immigrants and their bigotries, racism and hatred against non whites and non Christians. The goal: billions of dollars from the national treasury to build Trump’s vanity wall.

                  All bigotries erase rational thought. Fear based prejudices arouse hatreds. Trump, the GOP congress and his advisors promote fear and compromise rational thought every day just to keep their followers supporting their power and yes, to get an unnecessary, very expensive wall.

                  David Mascriota reports the following for SALON, March 19, 20i9.

                  Donald Trump, speaking in a style that boldly combines the last call drunken rant with the megaphone corner rave, recently proved that three pillars of America’s executive governance are stupidity, racism and delusion. While pounding his chest over issuing a veto of Congress’ rebuke of his emergency declaration to build a wall at the Southern border, Trump fielded a question from a journalist about the escalating threat of “white nationalism.” Studies show that terrorist incidents in the United States connected to far-right extremism — with motivations including racism, anti-Muslim, homophobia, anti-Semitism and xenophobiaare on the rise. The question came in response not to any act of violence in the United States, but the gun attacks on two mosques in New Zealand that left 50 dead. The white man arrested for the murders appears to have posted to social media a document filled with xenophobic and anti-Muslim propaganda in advance of the shootings.

                  “I don’t really,” Trump said with typical eloquence in response to an inquiry into whether or not he believes white nationalism is a growing danger. “I think it’s a small group of people who have very, very serious problems.”

                  All evidence indicates that the group of antisocial and criminal people who have “very, very serious problems” — on that we can agree with our President — are not so small, and are not any smaller than the Mexican street gang MS-13, with its estimated membership of 10,000, which Trump has denounced often. It is difficult to nail down with great precision the amount of white supremacists in the United States, but the Southern Poverty Law Center reports that there are 1,020 active hate groups across the country. Assuming that each organization has more than ten members, simple arithmetic — which now might fall under the category of “fake news” — demonstrates that the threat of white hate dwarfs that of MS-13, the right wing’s favorite and latest comic book monster.

                  It is worth remembering that the Ku Klux Klan is the deadliest terrorist network in United States history, and that before the attacks of September 11, 2001, the worst terrorist attack in American history was the Oklahoma City bombing. 168 people died in Oklahoma, all at the hands of Timothy McVeigh, a white supremacist and anti-government extremist.

                  The mass shooting in New Zealand, along with the 2011 Norway bombing from another white supremacist, shows that, unlike student debt and medical bankruptcy, white hate is not merely an American enterprise. It is a global movement threatening to continually add to its already high body count, and undermine international cooperation and multicultural democracy.

                  Meanwhile, President Trump, and his overwhelmingly white base of support, are attempting to overthrow the separation of powers in United States governance to build a wall along the Southern border. Trump’s current real estate ambition will address a problem that exists nowhere outside the imagination of white paranoia. In 2017, arrests for illegal border crossings hit a 46-year low; the majority of illegal immigrants in the United States have overstayed their visas, not jumped the border; and multiple studies coalesce to prove that immigrants commit crimes at lower rates than natural born citizens.

                  If Trump and his supporters were judicious evaluators of evidence, they might demand the deportation of everyone who advocates the white supremacist ideology, at least until we “figure out what the hell is going on,” to use Trump’s erudite justification for his prohibition of Muslim entry in the United States. They might also call for a thorough scrutiny of white applicants for green cards, and maybe they would instruct TSA workers to spend a little extra time questioning and patting down young men with blonde hair and blue eyes.

                  Racism eliminates rationality. Mexicans and Muslims will continue to suffer vilification, rather than their more dangerous white counterparts, because they look different, and because millions of white people are preconceived to see them as dangerous, even when they are not.

                  The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at Ohio State University defines “implicit bias” as “the attitudes or stereotypes that affect our understanding, actions, and decisions in an unconscious manner.” “Build that wall!”, more than an insipid, pro-wrestling audience chant, is an admission of implicit bias.

                  Implicit bias is one of many reasons why white racism constitutes the gravest threat to peace, security and democracy in the entire world. America has already fought two wars due to white supremacy — the Civil War and World War II. A reasonable observer would expect the entire culture to act with obsessive caution, guarding against the mere hint of white hate’s resurgence.

                  The members of the mainstream media, on cue and off their cue cards, continue to miss the story, even as it confronts them with a sheeted face.

                  When Senator Sherrod Brown recently called Donald Trump a “racist” on Meet the Press, Chuck Tood, with odd indignation, asked if he could really make that judgment about “what’s in the President’s heart.” As Aristotle taught, virtue is habitual action. A man who habitually does and says racist things is a racist.

                  The press also plays into the right’s hands by abusively bandying about the word “socialism” to describe progressive policies of universal health care, tuition free public universities, and higher taxation on the wealthy. As the entirety of Western Europe shows, all of these programs fit into a capitalist framework. And yet, the press is bashful about using the word “fascism” to describe the rightward turn of American politics and the leadership of Donald Trump. Even the softer term “authoritarian” typically comes with the qualifier, “impulse” or “instinct.”

                  Albert Camus wrote that “the State is always criminal in its dreams.” Former Presidents have joked about how they would prefer to have dictatorial powers, and there is not much that citizens can do to censor the dreamlife of a leader. Trump is unique in his overt ambition to redefine American political life. Already working the soil to plant seeds of electoral nullification with his talk of “voter fraud” and “illegals voting for Democrats,” Trump has programmed his supporters into hostility toward the essence of American democracy. According to poll results first published in the Washington Post, 52 percent of Trump voters believe that their emperor should have the power to postpone the 2020 election if he believes that voter fraud is a concern.

                  Trump also recently told an interviewer that things could get “very, very bad” if his “tough” supporters in the military, police departments, and biker gangs decide to “play it tough.”

                  Is that what happened when Brenton Tarrant, who cites Trump as an inspiration, opened fire on a mosque in New Zealand? Christopher Paul Hasson, another Trump supporter and white supremacist, attempted to play it tough with his foiled plot to assassinate the most prominent politicians in the Democratic Party.

                  As the country inches toward another presidential election, Trump and the Republicans will attempt to distract the public from genuine dangers with phony warnings about Mexicans, Muslims and socialists.

                  It is an old tactic of manipulation. One white nationalist put it this way in the 1990s, “I believe we are turning into a socialist government. The government is continually getting more powerful, and people need to defend themselves against government control.”

                  That was Timothy McVeigh explaining why he decided to “play it tough.”


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                  Pundit Post

                  Opinion: Trump Is Right. This Is A Witch Hunt!



                      Along with Jim Carey, I tend to view Trump as the “wicked witch of the West Wing.” Evil witches cause chaos, destruction, and general all around misery, and in my mind Trump fits that description.

                      According to fact checkers, he has used the term “witch hunt” to describe the Russia probe and any other investigations he sees as threatening to expose him for what he is, 361 times since the 2016 election. Since he has all the characteristics of a wicked witch, it would seem that he is correct in labeling it that way. After all, he is the first witch that we have actually seen take over the oval office.

                      In the old days, when America was new to the colonies, magic was considered real, and witches who practiced evil magic were prosecuted. In today’s world we have laws against tax cheating, attacking people of color, boosting wealth with foreign money, and paying hush money while using tax payers money to boost one’s personal wealth, among other crimes. Such things are considered bad magic!

                      Dana Milbank takes us through the world of Trump’s witchery in the following essay written for the Washington Post and published yesterday, March 18, 2019.


                      President Trump is right. This is a witch hunt.

                      Monday morning, he used the term for the 261st time as president (according to the Factba.se database), this time tweeting: “50% of Americans AGREE that Robert Mueller’s investigation is a Witch Hunt.”

                      On a weekend of rage directed at late senator John McCain, “Saturday Night Live,” Fox News and many others, Trump rose Sunday morning to denounce Crooked Hillary’s Fake and Unverified Dossier, “the info that got us the Witch Hunt!”

                      Sometimes it’s the “Mueller Witch Hunt,” other times it’s the “Russian Witch Hunt,” occasionally it’s in ALL CAPS and often punctuated: “RIGGED WITCH HUNT!

                      Just because Trump says something, however, doesn’t automatically mean it’s wrong. The treatment of Trump by special counsel Robert S. Mueller III and other investigators does have characteristics of a witch hunt. This is because Trump has characteristics of a witch.

                      So says a leading authority on the history of witchcraft, Thomas J. Rushford, history professor at Northern Virginia Community College in Annandale. In an anthropological sense, Trump “is really quintessentially a witch figure,” the professor tells me, and if what is happening to Trump is a witch hunt, “it is only in a good sense, that is, this is society policing the boundaries that they believe to be ethically and morally right.”

                      Some explanation is in order.

                      Witch hunts get bad press, probably because of playwright Arthur Miller’s portrayal of the Salem witch trials in his immortal takedown of McCarthyism, “The Crucible.” We tend to think of innocent women burning at the stake because of accusations by devil-possessed girls (or, if not so literary, we might think of a wart-nosed hag stirring a noxious potion with the broomstick she uses to commute). But witch hunts weren’t all bad, and their targets weren’t always innocent.

                      Therefore, to dismiss what is happening to Trump as groundless by calling it a witch hunt is unfair — to witch hunts.

                      In the time of the witch hunts, roughly the 1530s through the 1690s, the existence of magic and witchcraft was as universally accepted as the existence of electricity is today. Though typically illegal, the practice was generally tolerated until something really bad happened — cows got sick, babies died, men went lame. When that happened, authorities (they lacked our modern understanding of illness) cracked down on bad magic.

                      Likewise, today’s laws and norms say that certain behaviors — cheating on your taxes or your spouse, holding racist views, lying to business associates — are bad, even if they are fairly commonplace and often ignored. But when, say, the president smashes social norms in an extreme way — attacking minorities, boosting his wealth with foreign money, paying hush money to a porn actress — the culture no longer tolerates his bad magic.

                      “A witch would be doing a lot of magical things all considered to be wrong,” the witchcraft professor says, but authorities “wouldn’t do anything about it until there was some egregious enough act.” If somebody was “truly a witch figure,” Rushford said, he eventually “crossed a line.” He also noted: “Trump has done the same kinds of things.” Trump’s dubious legal and ethical standards didn’t matter as much when he was in the private sector. But people are alarmed now that he’s using those same dubious standards to run the country.

                      This defense of witch hunts isn’t to excuse the long-ago practice of torture-induced confessions and executions of innocent people — often women or those on the margins. But it’s unfair to say, with the benefit of modern scientific knowledge, that earlier cultures were foolish because even the best-educated among them believed magic controlled the unseen, which led them to regulate witchcraft. “If you take that culture on its own terms, they had every right to punish people who were breaking the law,” Rushford argues. “They were saying, ‘Here is a person we believe to have violated the ethical and moral conventions of our society.’ ”

                      Just as Europeans had laws against witchcraft some 450 years ago, the United States today has laws about cheating on taxes, working for foreign powers, and lying to lenders and civil authorities. Five former Trump advisers have admitted violating these laws, and a sixth has been charged. That’s half a coven.

                      As far as we know, Trump hasn’t turned anybody into a newt yet. But the dubious business dealings he has conducted for years and continues to conduct in the White House are a 21st-century form of bad magic. You can’t plausibly complain about a witch hunt if you’re the guy stirring the cauldron.


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                      Pundit Post

                      Our Criminal President, Before His Election



                          Our Criminal President, Trump's History Of Gaming The Legal System, And Breaking the Law

                          Donald Trump has been a criminal for most of his life. The failure of the Judiciary made it possible.

                          This is a long one, and it should be: More than one thousand investigative reporters and private investigators took a year to compile this investigative report. It chronicles the pattern of criminality that defines our criminal President.

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