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Judge Rules Obamacare Unconstitutional, Endangering Coverage For 20 Million

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      This could be a blessing in disguise. Since Democrats have regained control of the House, they can pass a universal single payer health insurance program to replace the ACA.

      I have maintained every since the ACA was enacted that it was unconstitutional, and the Supreme Court actually ruled that the main part of it was unconstitutional in National Federation of Independent Business v. Sebelius, when the majority ruled that the government violated the Commerce Clause of the Constitution by requiring individuals to purchase a product from a private market. It was a strange ruling because the court upheld the individual mandate because it was a tax, and Congress has the constitutional power to impose taxes.

      The inconsistency of the ruling is that the court essentially said that the government had the power to impose a tax on something that the same court ruled was unconstitutional.

      I think Roberts' intent was to send the law back to Congress to pass as a tax, which the only way to do so is to enact a universal single payer plan. It appears that no one in Washington D.C., Democrat or republican, understood what Roberts was trying to do.

      Now, we are left with no other option. Yes, we can challenge the current ruling of the lower court in Texas, but the safe thing to do is for a Democratic House to pass a universal single payer law, and challenge Mitch McConnell to kill it in the Senate, which would make 2020 even more likely that Democrats will take control of the Senate and the White House.

      https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/us/judge-rules-obamacare-unconstitutional-endangering-coverage-for-20-million/ar-BBQYzbj?ocid=spartandhp

      A federal judge in Texas threw the health coverage of some 20 million Americans in limbo by ruling Obamacare must be scrapped because Congress struck the penalty for failing to obtain insurance coverage.

      The invalidation of the landmark 2010 law is certain to send shock waves through the U.S. health system and Washington after a midterm election seen in part as a rebuke to Republican efforts to tear down Obamacare.

      “Wow, but not surprisingly, ObamaCare was just ruled UNCONSTITUTIONAL by a highly respected judge in Texas,” President Donald Trump wrote in a tweet celebrating the verdict. “Great news for America!”

      The decision will be immediately appealed, said California Attorney General Xavier Becerra, who led several blue states in intervening to defend the ACA. It could ultimately become the third major Obamacare case to be taken up by the Supreme Court, which has twice voted to uphold the law.

      U.S. District Court Judge Reed O’Connor, a George W. Bush appointee in Fort Worth, Texas, issued the decision gutting the law in response to a lawsuit from 20 conservative-led states that sought to have the Affordable Care Act tossed out. They successfully argued that the mandate penalty was a critical linchpin of the law and that without it, the entire frameworks is rendered unconstitutional.

      “In sum, the Individual Mandate ‘is so interwoven with [the ACA’s] regulations that they cannot be separated. None of them can stand,’” O’Connor wrote.

      The decision came a little more than 24 hours before the sign-up period for 2019 Obamacare coverage is set to close — and roughly a month after voters upset over Republicans’ efforts to repeal and replace the ACA swept House Democrats back into the majority. O’Connor did not issue an injunction, leaving it unclear whether the Trump administration can continue to enforce the ACA in the near term. Obamacare enrollment will continue up to the Saturday deadline, administration officials said.

      "We expect this ruling will be appealed to the Supreme Court. Pending the appeal process, the law remains in place,” White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said in a statement.

      Seema Verma, the head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, who oversees Obamacare's insurance marketplaces, tweeted late Friday that Obamacare exchanges are still open for business and that open enrollment will continue. "There is no impact to current coverage or coverage in a 2019 plan," she wrote.

      Democrats late Friday decried the decision as reckless and urged an appeals court to overturn it, while also tying it to the GOP’s broader efforts to eliminate the ACA.

      “Republicans want to gut healthcare. It’s not a talking point, it’s not an exaggeration,” Sen. Brian Schatz (D-Hawaii) tweeted on Friday. “For ideological reasons, and because many can’t stand that it’s named Obamacare, they are causing millions to feel anxiety and possibly suffer. Shame on them.”

      Republicans zeroed out the mandate penalty as part of their 2017 overhaul of the tax code, after failing throughout last year to repeal and replace the ACA in full. The penalty is slated to disappear next year.

      The ruling puts the Trump administration and Republican lawmakers in a bind. They've promised to save the health law's pre-existing condition protections if the court threw them out, but for years they've been unable to agree on an alternative that would maintain the law's stringent safeguards.

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      Pundit Post

      Trump Inaugural Committee Under Criminal Investigation, Sources Say

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          .

          Several news outlets, including the Wall Street Journal and Huffington Post are reporting that a Federal investigation of Trump's inaugural committee is taking place now. It seems that Trump was in the presence during an August 2015 meeting where the feds believe that a criminal scheme to violate campaign finance laws to help Trump win the election was the reason for the meeting. Prosecutors are also investigating the the 2017 inaugural committee for finance abuse connected to more than $100 million in donations raised for the event.

          The investigation seems to be in the early stages and is generally focused on whether any inauguration money was misspent. Offering money in exchange for political favors is illegal, and so is a misuse of any donated funds, so prosecutors are investigating to determine whether middle eastern countries funneled illegal donations into the inaugural fund and a pro-Trump super PAC in order to get more influence into "American policy."

          .

          Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump's 2017 inaugural committee is currently being investigated by federal prosecutors in New York for possible financial abuses related to the more than $100 million in donations raised for his inauguration, according to sources familiar with the matter.

          One source familiar with the matter says the investigation is in the early stages and investigators are generally focused on whether any inauguration money was misspent.
          The investigation was first reported by The Wall Street Journal Thursday afternoon.
          Citing conversations with people familiar with the investigation, which is being handled by the US Attorney's office in Manhattan, the Journal reported that prosecutors are also looking into whether the committee accepted donations from individuals looking to gain influence in or access to the new administration.
            The newspaper notes that "giving money in exchange for political favors" is illegal, as is misuse of any donated funds. The committee was registered as a nonprofit.

            2019 Open Enrollment Made Easy

            Carolyn Kaster/AP, File
            In this Jan. 20, 2017 file photo, President-elect Donald Trump arrives during the 58th Presidential Inauguration at the U.S. Capitol in Washington.

            .

            The New York Times reported Thursday night that federal prosecutors are looking into whether people from foreign countries funneled potentially illegal donations to both the inaugural fund and a pro-Trump super PAC in efforts to buy "influence over American policy." The paper, citing people familiar with the inquiry, said it focuses on people from Middle Eastern countries -- including Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates -- and whether they "used straw donors to disguise their donations to the two funds."

            Federal law does not allow foreign contributions to inaugural funds or PACs, according to the Times.

            To continue reading and watch the CNN video

            https://www.cnn.com/2018/12/13/politics/trump-inau...

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            Pundit Post

            NRA Ties To Russian Operatives Draw Growing Scrutiny From Congress

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                Why has the NRA cozyed up to Russia?.
                .

                Now that Maria Butina has plead guilty to conspiracy to forge a Kremlin bond with the NRA and U. S. conservatives to turn the election toward Trump, more focus is being directed toward the National Rifle Association due to the contacts she cultivated with them.

                Some members of the Senate Intelligence Committee have become very suspicious of claims that the NRA have made that they didn't get any additional funds from the Russians.

                The House Intelligence Committee, which will be chaired by California Rep. Adam Schiff, has plans to investigate “two major threads” regarding the NRA. "Those include whether Torshin and Butina were part of efforts to establish a backchannel to the Kremlin, and whether Russian money was flowing into the NRA for the purpose of supporting Trump’s election.

                Mark Follman and Dan Friedman give us the report from Mother Jones today.

                .

                As questions mounted last spring about two Russian operatives with ties to the National Rifle Association who tried to cultivate the Trump presidential campaign, the NRA made a rare public disclosure: The gun group said it had received about $2,500 from Russian sources. That included a single contribution “of less than $1,000” from one of the operatives, Alexander Torshin—a high-level official from Vladimir Putin’s party who federal prosecutors say directed a conspiracy by Russian agent Maria Butina to influence American politics. The NRA said the money was dues for a “life membership” paid by Torshin, who years earlier had forged connections with NRA leaders.

                After the United States sanctioned Torshin and other Russian officials in April, the NRA reiterated in response to a Senate inquiry that Torshin had made no other contributions and was “not a member of any major donor program.”

                But members of the Senate Intelligence Committee remain highly skeptical of NRA claims that the group did not receive additional funds from Torshin or other Russians. “We don’t believe them,” a Senate source told Mother Jones, noting the NRA gave Torshin the kind of VIP treatment typically reserved for big donors. The intelligence committee is one of two Senate committees with ongoing investigations into the possibility that additional Russian money flowed through the NRA. Two probes into NRA-Russia matters are also ramping up in the House as Democrats prepare to take control of the chamber in January.

                Image result for Alexander Torshin picturesCenter: Alexander Torshin
                .
                The House Intelligence Committee, soon to be chaired by California Rep. Adam Schiff, plans to scrutinize “two major threads” regarding the NRA, a committee aide said. Those include whether Torshin and Butina were part of efforts to establish a backchannel to the Kremlin, and “whether Russian money was flowing into the NRA for the purpose of supporting Trump’s election.”

                Butina, who was charged in July with conspiracy by federal prosecutors, finalized a plea deal and has agreed to cooperate with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into possible coordination between the Trump campaign and Russia. Investigators on Capitol Hill will be watching closely to see if she shares information contradicting any NRA claims in documents the group has provided to Congress, a second Senate source said.

                As Mother Jones previously documented, Torshin cultivated ties with NRA leaders for years, attending six NRA annual conferences between 2011 and 2016. Now, additional photos we uncovered show Torshin hanging out with top NRA leaders both publicly and privately during the group’s annual conference held in Houston, Texas, in May 2013—including during lucrative fundraising events. Torshin posted the photos online around the time of the conference, though it is unclear who took them. They show Torshin at a gathering with NRA leaders in a hotel suite, at an NRA fundraising dinner and auction, and attending a ceremony for elite “Golden Ring of Freedom” donors giving at least $1 million, whose trappings include custom gold jackets and an NRA “liberty bell.”

                Torshin with the NRA’s “liberty bell” in Houston in May 2013

                .
                Among other NRA leaders, Torshin is pictured in Houston with then-outgoing president and current board member David Keene, who traveled to Moscow later that fall and again in 2015 to attend events hosted by Butina’s own fledgling gun group, the Right to Bear Arms. Also appearing with Torshin in the Houston photos are incoming NRA president James W. Porter and then-NRA operations director Kyle Weaver, who worked under NRA executive vice president Wayne LaPierre, as the Trace reported, including overseeing grassroots fundraising. Torshin also hobnobbed with top Ring of Freedom donor Joe Gregory and former Republican House Majority Leader and longtime NRA ally Tom DeLay.

                Keene first became friendly with Torshin in 2011 at the NRA conference in Pittsburgh, and he hosted Torshin at the subsequent 2012 conference in St. Louis, where Torshin said in a tweet that he and two unidentified companions were treated as “guests of the highest level.” When Keene traveled to Moscow in fall 2013, he spoke enthusiastically at Butina’s gathering about the NRA and the Right to Bear Arms “working together,” noting that he had hosted Torshin over the past three years in the United States.

                Among the high-profile speakers at that NRA 2013 conference in Houston was future Trump national security adviser John Bolton, who at the time served on the gun group’s international affairs subcommittee. At Keene’s request, Bolton recorded a video address that fall talking up gun rights, which was used by Butina’s group for lobbying in Russia.
                Bolton’s security clearance is on the list of issues the House Oversight Committee expects to investigate next year, according to a committee staffer. The committee wants to know whether Bolton disclosed his role in the video used by Butina and any related contacts he might have had with foreign nationals.

                It is legal for foreign citizens to donate to causes in the United States, but federal law bars them from directly or indirectly contributing money to US political campaigns. That includes a ban on donations to political action committees. According to a report by McClatchy in January, the FBI has been investigating whether Russian money flowed illegally through the NRA into the 2016 Trump campaign, which the NRA backed with at least $30 million.

                .
                From right: Torshin, DeLay, Keene, and Porter at the NRA conference in May 2013
                .
                The NRA did not respond to requests for comment.

                According to NRA publications, the organization raised at least $1.7 million during the 2013 conference in Houston, including “a record $500,000” at the banquet and auction attended by Torshin. Soon thereafter, the NRA’s LaPierre hailed the gathering as “the biggest celebration of American values.” Torshin was presented with the gift of a rifle while there, according to a report in Rolling Stone. The Russian operative had also tweeted from report in Rolling Stone. The Russian operative had also tweeted from Houston that the NRA welcomed him with “thunderous applause.”

                (Mother Jones and the Trace have teamed up to investigate the NRA’s finances and political activity. See more of our reporting.)

                https://www.motherjones.com/politics/2018/12/nra-r...

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                Pundit Post

                A SITTING PRESIDENT ABSOLUTELY CAN BE INDICTED

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                    THE SINGLE FATAL FLAW IN THE LEGAL ARGUMENT AGAINST A SITTING PRESIDENT

                    .
                    There have been many discussions about whether or not Donald Trump can be indicted if and when the Mueller probe turns up reasons for it. Many have asked, should a president be above the law? Will statutes of limitations keep the Trump from being held responsible for any illegal activity? Can courts use "equitable tolling" as way to keep Trump from being indicted?

                    In the following opinion piece, Jed Shugerman makes a case for why a sitting president can and should be indicted, prosecuted and tried for what Alexander Hamilton has called "treason, bribery, or other high crimes or misdemeanors."

                    I sincerely hope that the USA does not allow a president of our country to get off free from known criminal activity. If Donald Trump is guilty of crimes during his campaign and his time spent in the oval office, I believe he should be indicted and tried just like anone else. In my opinion, no one should be above the law.
                    .

                    Last week, prosecutors in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York alleged in court filings that Donald Trump directed his former personal attorney, Michael Cohen, to make hush money payments that violated campaign finance laws. The prosecutors recommended serious prison time for Cohen, and commentators remarked widely that Trump could be facing his own indictment if he were not president, because the Department of Justice has a policy of not indicting a sitting president. But this news highlights a major problem with this policy: statutes of limitations. The intractability of that problem is a compelling argument for why prosecutors must be able to indict a sitting president. Otherwise, a president could escape prosecution for many felonies by running out the clock.

                    The campaign finance felony Trump may have directed has a five-year statute of limitations, after which time a defendant cannot be tried if he has not been indicted. What if President Trump wins a second term?

                    Or hypothetically, what if a president had committed such felonies earlier in a campaign, so that the clock would run out by the end of the first term? Should a president be above the law because of the statute of limitations?

                    Some have argued that the solution is something called “equitable tolling.” In civil cases, like contracts or torts, there are statutes of limitations for a plaintiff to start a lawsuit. This legal deadline makes sure that plaintiffs give defendants adequate notice, that witnesses’ memories are fresh, and that justice is served and not delayed. The clock can be tolled—the deadline can be extended—if, for example, the defendant engaged in fraud or deception, which induced the plaintiff to miss this deadline. Equitable tolling is rare, but it is firmly established in civil litigation.

                    Image result for equitable tolling pictures or images.
                    Over the past few days, commentators have suggested that the same principle should apply to the criminal prosecution of a president: that the statute of limitations might automatically toll because of the possibility of presidential immunity from prosecution. In fact, the Office of Legal Counsel’s legal opinion that the president should not be indicted relies on “a court’s possible authority to recognize an equitable tolling” to allow for a postpresidential criminal case to go forward notwithstanding the statute of limitations.

                    But can courts actually equitably toll a criminal statute? The OLC acknowledged in a footnote that equitable tolling “is invoked only sparingly, in the ‘rare situation where [it] is demanded by sound legal principles as well as the interests of justice.’ ” In fact, the OLC couldn’t even cite a single case where a court granted it to prosecutors. Rather, the OLC memo cited three appeals court cases: two criminal cases that discussed the possibility only in speculative dicta, and one civil case. Even the cases’ dicta give no indication that it would apply in something like a presidential immunity case. Some cases have involved specific tolling statutes for criminal fugitives, but that is not the same thing as equitable tolling, and those statutes do not apply here. Legal scholars have struggled to identify a single precedent in which a federal court equitably tolled the statute of limitations for any criminal defendant. In fact, the term “equitable tolling” comes up so rarely in the legal literature in connection to criminal prosecution, it appears to be something more imagined than real.

                    The bottom line: It is far from clear that equitable tolling for criminal prosecution exists even in the clearest circumstances.

                    The OLC memo’s reliance on something that might not exist does not inspire much confidence in its overall reasoning or research.

                    Additionally, even if criminal equitable tolling were a thing, how would a court know when to invoke it? In a civil context, there are concrete obstacles—like the defendant’s fraud or the plaintiff having been imprisoned—that allow a court to stop the clock. What would be the concrete event for a court to stop the clock for a president?

                    .

                    Some commentators assume the tolling would be automatic. Why? No federal court has ever ruled specifically on presidential immunity, so it’s not a matter of settled precedent. The OLC memo is not law. If federal prosecutors decline to indict because they have an internal policy, then that was their own decision, their own (potentially silent) inaction. Such a defendant could easily object that equitable tolling doesn’t—and shouldn’t—apply, and that he should be protected by the statute of limitations like anyone else. Why should a court hold a prosecutors’ silent inaction against a defendant, even a presidential defendant?

                    Second, let’s say Mueller or the Southern District of New York wants to bring an indictment, but the effort is blocked by the attorney general because of a view that sitting presidents are immune. Even if this effort became public, Trump would not have to invoke presidential immunity; it would have been invoked for him by the attorney general. When a tolled case ultimately went forward, a court could still say that it was not the president’s fault that prosecutors internally disagreed on policies and sat on indictments. The president could later argue that immunity wasn’t settled law and wasn’t something he ever asked for. It would be the prosecutors’ failure to bring a timely indictment and to seek a judicial ruling on this constitutional question—not the president’s—and the president shouldn’t be punished for it, the argument would go. It might be unclear whether the DOJ declined to indict for constitutional reasons, lack of evidence, or other discretionary reasons.

                    One solution might be for a prosecutor to issue a report stating, “but for presidential immunity, we would seek an indictment.” This would serve to give notice to the president of the allegations and notice to the courts of the reasons. It would give the president the opportunity to waive his rights under the statute of limitations, and if he did not, a court might be more likely to toll and pause the clock. However, such a report potentially could be suppressed by the attorney general, and it is still doubtful whether such a statement would be enough to toll.

                    And if such a statement is permissible, why would an actual indictment be any more burdensome on a president? If prosecutors can write such reports saying that a defendant would otherwise be indicted, why not have an actual indictment while delaying the trial? Indictment with delayed trial is consistent with the original Framers’ writings. For example, in Federalist No. 69, Alexander Hamilton wrote:

                    The President of the United states would be liabel to impeachment, tried, and, upon conviction of treason, bribery, or other high crimes and misdemeanors, removed from office; and woujld afterwards be liable to prosecution and punishment in the ordinary course of law.
                    Image result for alexander hamilton pictures.

                    Prosecution here might likely refer to the trial. The Framers did not discuss indictments, and there is no sign that they were concerned about indictments as a burden. As long as prosecution-as-trial is delayed, this procedure would be consistent with their vision. (Walter Dellinger and Andrew Crespo have offered deeper analysis on this approach.)

                    If statute-of-limitations concerns allow sitting presidents to be indicted in some cases with short statute-of-limitation deadlines, then why not indict in cases with longer statutes of limitations? The argument against the burdens is no longer compelling, and crimes with longer statutes of limitations tend to be more serious felonies. Prosecutors must be able to bring indictments for the sake of giving defendants fair notice of the allegations and for the sake of the public. If federal prosecutors have solid evidence that Trump committed a serious felony, the DOJ has a duty to indict a sitting president.

                    Trump’s attorney general might still try to block such an indictment anyway, but let’s be clear: That attorney general may have to explain under oath his reasons for impeding justice, and presidential immunity is simply not an adequate answer.

                    https://slate.com/news-and-politics/2018/12/trump-...

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                    Pundit Post

                    A Self Inflicted Wound That Will Never Heal

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                        To say that watching the world eat itself alive with the machinations of an old archaic political mindset is frustrating would be an understatement of global proportions. The world is full of idiots and those idiots cling to the old world, the ways of the past. Old and greyed political mindsets and attitudes openly dismissing the world of the contemporary.

                        Some of those politics are born of a stagnant racism that never went away but managed to give the appearance that had indeed gone away. In fact those who needed those prejudices to exist merely cultivated those old prejudices to appear less disgusting than what they are.

                        In Europe those old prejudices and hatreds have been on display as 'Neo-Nazis' once again openly display their ignorance. Nazism lost once and it will lose again.

                        In the UK the Brexit debate and continued mess has only highlighted a decayed and decrepit colonial mindset that has corrupted the contemporary with the idea of leaving a long held union with Europe. The Brexit vote was carried out with a population to idiotic to even contemplate the brevity of such an extreme decision. That too has been given the dose of reality that was really needed prior to anyone casting a vote. As of now the chances of a deal to leave being struck falls between little or no chance as people now argue about what type of Brexit they voted for.

                        The truth that is often seen as an offence to Brexit voters is the fact they didn't know what they actually voted for. People will claim they knew exactly what they voted for and those people lie to themselves. The promises and the protracted reality are two very different things.

                        All the while a massive betrayal of an agreement is currently ongoing in the form of undermining the Good Friday Agreement. Those within the British Politic are not bothered about their ongoing and unabashed betrayal of a peace agreement that has one of the most successful peace agreements in the world today.

                        But British arrogance and ignorance is rampant and on the march goosestepping all over anything and anyone who defies the lies of populism and the lies of Brexit.

                        And now we have come to the stage were those most rabid extremes of the right have decided to try and bring their own Prime Minister down in a vain attempt to install one of their own. By 9.00pm GMT the world will see a party at war with itself expose its factions that reside between the once great dream of an Empire and those who are caught between those revisionist historians of the hard right.

                        One MP Priti Patel actually claimed that should the Irish block any moves by Brexiteers then the use of food shortages should be implemented.

                        Just a reminder that it wouldn't be the first time the British starved the Irish people into submission by using food as a form of Genocide.

                        But that's what we are dealing with as of the time I write this post.

                        The Prime Minister will survive this vote of confidence, of that I have no doubts. Then it will be more of the same extremes making utterly stupid comments such as one British MP who was under the impression that anyone in the UK can get an Irish Passport.......

                        We may retain a weakened Prime Minister but the whole sorry mess will continue. Here's the thing, either Brexit happens or the Good Friday Agreement that brought stability to the North of Ireland survives........

                        Both can't exist and one will die in this ongoing after effect of the a self inflicted wound that may never heal.


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                        Pundit Post

                        Atlantic City Remembers Trump - Decline & Fail

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                            A comment on one of the news programs earlier today reminded me of this piece from 2016...


                            Trump & Atlantic City

                            Decline & Fail



                            By Ray Cunneff

                            7-1-2016


                            I spent my summers in Atlantic City, New Jersey and lived there year-round for my last two years at Atlantic City High School where I graduated in 1962. I always had a great fondness for "A.C. By The Sea" and felt the character of the city had been destroyed by the first wave of casino building in the 1970's.

                            Before the casinos came, Atlantic City had been a city of great restaurants, especially the famous Hackney's and Capt. Starns' lobster houses, elegant boardwalk hotels, amusement piers and dozens of movie theaters* both along the boardwalk and on Atlantic Avenue. (As movie palaces go, the Warner Theater on the boardwalk at Arkansas Ave. rivaled any in the world.)


                            On September 1, 1958, Ricky Nelson broke Frank Sinatra's all-time

                            Steel Pier attendance record with a crowd of over 44,000.

                            The Steel Pier was probably the ultimate Atlantic City attraction, offering live appearances by the biggest names in show business, first-run movies, the General Motors Exhibit, the fun house, the "home of the future", a water circus "a mile at sea" (a slight overstatement), the marine diving bell, and the famous "High Diving Horse".

                            When casino gambling came in, they didn't want competition from the very things that had put Atlantic City on the map in the first place.** They wanted players at the tables and slots. They wanted them eating in the hotel or casino buffet, not at some outside sit-down restaurant. They began buying up properties and closing them.

                            Before gambling was legalized and air fare to Florida became affordable,

                            Atlantic City was the east's go-to destination. Now, even on a 90-degree day,

                            the beaches are almost completely deserted.

                            The casino operators didn't even want to give visitors easy access the the famous white-sand beaches. And one by one, the restaurants, the movie theaters, the amusement piers and many of the great old hotels were systematically demolished.

                            But casino gambling got off to a slow start, more nickel slot day-tripper's arriving on fleets of buses than high rollers.

                            Atlantic City enjoyed a brief renaissance in the 1980's with new casino and hotel construction by developers like Donald Trump. But local workers and contractors, as well as local businesses, went unpaid or underpaid and threatened with lawsuits if they protested. In order to prevent monopolies, the Casino Control Act stipulated that no one could own more than three casinos. In the 1980's, Trump became the first to hit that limit.

                            In 1991, just a year after opening, Trump's Taj Mahal filed for bankruptcy,

                            having been financed with $900 million in junk bonds.


                            Eventually, the provision was scrapped, and by 2014 Caesars owned four. Carl Icahn now effectively controls a quarter of the market with just two casinos, the Tropicana and the former Trump Taj Mahal, although it still bears the Trump brand name. Trump Plaza and Casino remains shuttered, and the Trump Marina Hotel Casino was sold at a loss.

                            Looking to underscore Donald Trump’s failed business record in the very heart of his onetime casino empire, Hillary Clinton will campaign in Atlantic City next Wednesday. Clinton is expected to bear down on Trump’s record of stiffing contractors and laying off hundreds of workers while at the same time enriching himself.

                            An investigation by The New York Times earlier this month found that Trump’s Atlantic City casinos, plagued by massive debts and minimal revenue, were failing long before the neglected city began its long slide into decline. Atlantic City had become a cash cow until it ran dry.

                            Clinton's visit also allows her to highlight the role played by New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, whose name has been touted as a top contender for Trump’s running mate. Christie battled state and local lawmakers to take control of the struggling city. The Republican mayor of Atlantic City called Christie’s plan to take over a “fascist dictatorship.”

                            Meanwhile, Christie's approval rating in his home state has reached an all-time low, according to a recent Quinnipiac University poll, showing New Jersey voters disapprove of his job performance 64-29 percent.

                            Clinton is expected to contrast her economic vision to Trump's record, noting that she is seeking to build an economy that works for everyone, while Trump over the course of his career has enriched himself at the expense of everyone else. She will highlight how he restructured his debts to benefit himself while investors, contractors and working people suffered.

                            But a once thriving tourist destination, from the 1920's through the 1960's, Atlantic City had become almost a ghost town.

                            Between 2013 and 2015, four casinos had to shut down: Revel AC,

                            Trump Plaza Hotel & Casino, the Atlantic Club Casino hotel

                            and the Showboat Atlantic City.


                            * My very first job was as an usher at the Apollo Theater on the boardwalk in 1960, where I must have seen "Psycho" at least fifty times.

                            ** It's all on the Monopoly board game: Boardwalk, Park Place, Marvin Gardens etc. But Trump played Monopoly with real buildings - and the city paid a terrible price.


                            UPDATE: That was 2016. Since then, there have been several reports that Atlantic City was on the verge of making a comeback with new residential, commercial and casino investments. But the famous welcome sign on the Atlantic City Expressway that used to read “America’s Favorite Playground” now boasts the smaller, sadder slogan “Do AC”.


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                            Pundit Post

                            Breaking The Code In The War On Truth

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                                Breaking The Code

                                In The War On Truth:


                                FreePatriot.org reported in 2016: "An 18 year-old Egyptian Christian girl

                                being hurled to her death by Muslims" A complete, blatant fabrication.

                                In 2016, radio host Michael Savage borrowed a National Enquirer story and reported,

                                and many right-wing news outlets repeated, the claim that Supreme Court Justice

                                Antonin Scalia had been murdered by the CIA, President Obama, and a $2,000. hooker.



                                The Comet Ping Pong pizza shop, in Washington,D.C.. A 2016 news story prompted a

                                man to fire a rifle inside the shop as he attempted to "self-investigate" a conspiracy

                                theory that Hillary Clinton was running a child sex ring from there. (AP)

                                By Ray Cunneff

                                December 11, 2018

                                It's difficult to say exactly when the 'war on truth' began but it goes well beyond 'fake news'. It most likely started gradually, accelerated by the rise of social media, when politicians began realizing that "facts don't matter" nearly so much if you present a compelling narrative that supports existing prejudices.

                                That concept was reinforced by the apparent success of "doubling down" on a lie, expressing an outraged belligerence while expanding the false narrative beyond its original scope to the Josef Goebbels "big lie" told forcefully and frequently enough until perception becomes reality. In our new anti-truth era, no lie is too big, too implausible, or too vile not to be believed by alarmingly large numbers of people.

                                Photo of actress in makeup for "Ash vs. Evil Dead" used as anti-liberal pro-Trump tweet.

                                "A lie can travel around the world before the truth can put its pants on."


                                And when lies based on false narratives are judged to be too abhorrent for most people to accept, they are instead disseminated in 'dog-whistles' and nudge-nudge, wink-wink code.

                                Breaking the Code:

                                Public Services are Socialism

                                Men know what's best for women

                                Slavery wasn't really so bad

                                God wrote the Constitution

                                & Other Lies


                                "Privatize" means "Monetize"

                                "If you're not rich, it's your fault" - Herman Cain


                                "If you can't afford it, you don't deserve it"

                                "If you touch my 'Pro Life' sign, I'll kill you"

                                "To get rich, you have to be making money while you're asleep".


                                You would have to work for decades to earn what some CEO's make in an hour

                                Lower Taxes, Fewer Services, Higher fees


                                The amount of energy necessary to refute bullshit is an order of

                                magnitude greater than to produce it.



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