Posted by: maboulette | December 7, 2016

Trump Infrastructure Plan is a Trap


construction

A former Obama aide is calling on Democrats not to support Donald Trump‘s so-called infrastructure plan, saying it’s a “trap” and a “mistake in policy and political judgment they will regret.”

BIPARTISAN

On the campaign trail, Trump promised to invest $1 trillion into repairing America’s crumbling roads and bridges, creating new jobs along the way—an investment which the nation clearly needs. Over the weekend, influential Democrats like Sen. Charles Schumer of New York pointed to it as a bipartisan issue that could help unite a bitterly divided country.

SMOKESCREEN

But a closer look at his proposal shows the plan may just be a smokescreen for corporate tax cuts that might not build anything new at all.

IT’S A TRAP

Ronald A. Klain, who served as an assistant to President Barack Obama and led the team implementing the American Recovery and Renewal Act, wrote in the Washington Post last week, “I’ve got a simple message for Democrats who are embracing President-elect Donald Trump’s infrastructure plan: Don’t do it. It’s a trap.”

Klain, who also served as an adviser to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign, explained:

First, Trump’s plan is not really an infrastructure plan. It’s a tax-cut plan for utility-industry and construction-sector investors and a massive corporate welfare plan for contractors. The Trump plan doesn’t directly fund new roads, bridges, water systems or airports, as did Hillary Clinton’s 2016 infrastructure proposal. Instead, Trump’s plan provides tax breaks to private-sector investors who back profitable construction projects. These projects (such as electrical grid modernization or energy pipeline expansion) might already be planned or even underway. There’s no requirement that the tax breaks be used for incremental or otherwise expanded construction efforts; they could all go just to fatten the pockets of investors in previously planned projects.

NO HELP

Meanwhile, public infrastructure projects that don’t appeal as much to private contractors—such as repairs to city water systems, existing roads, and non-toll bridges—”get no help from Trump’s plan,” he added.

HUGE PROFIT FOR CONTRACTORS

And Trump’s planned tax break windfall for businesses, combined with a “10 percent pre-tax profit margin” included in the infrastructure plan, would add up to an $85 billion profit for contractors, after taxes, and “underwritten by the taxpayers,” he continued.

There’s more.

Because the plan prioritizes investors and tax breaks, rather than subsidizing projects and repairing public infrastructure, “there is simply no guarantee that the plan will produce any net new hiring,” Klain wrote. “Investors may simply shift capital from unsubsidized projects to subsidized ones and pocket the tax breaks on projects they would have funded anyway.”

WARNING BY KRUGMAN

Those warnings were echoed by Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman, who writes in the New York Times on Monday, “Progressives should not associate themselves with this exercise in crony capitalism.”

Krugman says:

If you want to build infrastructure, build infrastructure. It’s hard to see any reason for a roundabout, indirect method that would offer a few people extremely sweet deals, and would therefore provide both the means and the motive for large-scale corruption. Or maybe I should say, it’s hard to see any reason for this scheme unless the inevitable corruption is a feature, not a bug.

Now, the Trump people could make all my suspicions look foolish by scrapping the private-investor, tax credits aspect of their proposal and offering a straightforward program of public investment. And if they were to do that, progressives should indeed work with them on that issue.

CRONYISM AND SELF-DEALING

But it’s not going to happen. Cronyism and self-dealing are going to be the central theme of this administration—in fact, Mr. Trump is already meeting with foreigners to promote his business interests. And people who value their own reputations should take care to avoid any kind of association with the scams ahead.

CUTS FROM SOCIAL PROGRAMS

In his op-ed for the Post, Klain compared the plan to former President Ronald Reagan’s disastrous tax cuts in the 1980s, which, he noted, led to massive deficits that were used to justify slashing funding to social programs.

“Thus,” Klain wrote, “Democrats should know that every dollar spent on the Trump tax scheme to enrich construction investors and contractors is a dollar that will later be cut from schools, hospitals, and seniors.”

 

Posted by: maboulette | December 7, 2016

Flynn’s Son and Pizzagate Conspiracy Theory


flynn-and-son

Tuesday on CNN, Pizzagate became a problem for Mike Pence.

JAKE TAPPER

The vice president-elect sat down with Jake Tapper at the top of his 4 p.m. show on CNN, and faced a grilling about the role that Michael G. Flynn—the son of Trump’s national security advisor pick, Gen. Michael Flynn—played on the president’s transition team. Flynn the Younger recently gave credence to the baseless Pizzagate conspiracy theory—a theory that incited one North Carolina man to walk into a D.C. pizzeria with two guns. The man discharged one of his weapons, but didn’t hurt anyone. And that near-catastrophe has many—including Tapper—wondering why one of the people pushing Pizzagate was part of the team helping prepare Donald Trump to take over the White House.

TROUBLE EXPLAINING

Pence had trouble explaining.

“His son was helping him a bit with scheduling and administrative items,” Pence said. “But that’s no longer the case.”

DISTRACTION

Then Tapper asked if Pence knew the transition team, which he chairs, had requested a security clearance for Flynn’s son. Pence tried not to answer. The situation with Flynn’s son was a “distraction,” he said, so the transition team made the right decision by jettisoning him.

AWARE

“I want to move on to other issues, but I am afraid I didn’t get an answer,” Tapper replied. “Which is, were you aware that the transition team had put in for a security clearance for Michael Flynn Jr.?”

PENCE DOESN’T KNOW

“I have worked closely with Gen. Flynn,” Pence replied. “We’ve met on many occasions. I have never—I have never seen his son present for any of those meetings.”

SCHEDULING

 “What I can tell you is that, in talking with Gen. Flynn today, he made me aware his son was assisting in scheduling meetings,” Pence said.

SECURITY CLEARANCE

Tapper kept pushing back: Did or didn’t Pence know that someone on the transition team tried to get a security clearance for Flynn’s son?

 “What was needed in that regard was taking place,” Pence replied. “But that’s no longer the case.”

PIZZAGATE

It’s no surprise Pence wouldn’t want to take responsibility for Michael G. Flynn’s role in the Trump transition. Besides pushing the Pizzagate nonsense, Flynn has tweeted that people of color only voted for Obama because he’s black, and he’s also promoted the 9/11 truth site InfoWars, as CNN has documented.  Alex Jones and InfoWars is where Donald Trump went to in order to start building his political base that helped him win the election.

NO LONGER INVOLVED 

 Trump spokesman Jason Miller told reporters late Tuesday that Flynn Jr. is “no longer involved in transition efforts” but did not provide further details.  Flynn Jr. had been helping his father with “administration and scheduling duties,” Miller said. 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: maboulette | December 7, 2016

Clinton’s Totals Keep Going Up


clinton

Clinton is up almost 3 million votes and people are saying everyone hates Democrats and the party needs to be completely torn down.

LATEST TALLY

New popular vote numbers from @AP:

  • Clinton 65,383,628 (48.2%);
  • Trump 62,759,366 (46.3%);
  • Johnson 4,470,971 (3.3%);
  • Stein 1,439,297 (1.1%).
Posted by: maboulette | December 7, 2016

Update On Recounts


pa-recount

With a recount effort now underway in the three razor-tight swing states of Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania, it turns out Hillary Clinton has already moved closer to winning those states than had been announced originally. In the past couple of weeks Michigan and Wisconsin have both voluntarily reviewed the size of Donald Trump’s “win” downward by thousands of votes each. And now Pennsylvania has shrunk the size of Trump’s win by tens of thousands of votes.

STATE REVISIONS

It’s important to understand that these revisions have been made by the states before the recounts even got underway. These shifts in the vote totals have been based on precincts revising their own numbers, either by catching errors of their own accord, or in some instances because internet gawkers found numerical unfeasibility that forced those precincts to check themselves. But the sudden shift in Pennsylvania voting totals is dramatic, in that it wipes out around one-third of Trump’s lead in the state ahead of the recount.

USA TODAY

Here’s what happened: according to this USA Today article and several other sources, the vote totals in Pennsylvania had Donald Trump winning by 70,638 votes – a number which was often quoted as a reason for why Hillary Clinton would supposedly have no chance of flipping the state in a recount. But earlier today, the respected Decision Desk HQ posted the newly revised totals from Pennsylvania, which has Donald Trump ahead by just 46,938 votes. That means Trump’s lead in the state has now shrunk by 23,700 votes, based on what it says are newly revised numbers out of Philadelphia.

BEFORE RECOUNT

Again, this shift in Hillary Clinton’s number in Pennsylvania is coming before the recount, based on precincts making their own revisions. It’s notable that all three states in question have now revised their totals sharply in Clinton’s favor before any statewide recounting. Clinton has caught up by more than two thousand votes in Michigan, and caught up by more than five thousand votes in Wisconsin – and now by more than 23,000 votes in Pennsylvania. These were all due to initial errors in Trump’s favor, which have now been corrected. How many more such errors will the recounts uncover?

 Changes are occurring so fast in the recount news – this blog might have news that is already late.

Posted by: maboulette | December 6, 2016

Recount in Florida


rigged

Three central Florida voters are mounting an unlikely bid to overturn the presidential election result in the Sunshine State.

ELECTION RESULTS

In a lawsuit filed Monday in Leon Circuit Court, they assert that Hillary Clinton, not Donald Trump, actually won Florida. The plaintiffs, who live in Osceola and Volusia counties, say the state’s official election results were off because of hacking, malfunctioning voting machines and other problems.

HAND RECOUNT

They’re asking for a hand recount of every paper ballot in Florida, at the expense of defendants including Trump, Gov. Rick Scott and the 29 Republican presidential electors from Florida.

NOT ENOUGH TIME

But even lawyers for the plaintiffs acknowledge time isn’t on their side. Clint Curtis, an Orlando attorney representing the plaintiffs, said the defendants may not respond by the time the Electoral College meets on Dec. 19.

“They can ignore it entirely,” he said.

He said he has received a “deluge” of reports from voters across the state of problems on Election Day, including people being turned away at the polls and told they’d already voted. Florida Division of Elections officials reported only a few “minor issues” on Election Day.

TRUMP

Curtis said he hopes Trump, who has blasted recount efforts elsewhere, will get behind one in Florida. Officially, Trump got more than 4.6 million votes in Florida, beating Clinton by more than 112,000 votes.

RIGGED SYSTEM

“He’s mentioned he wants to fix the rigged system,” he said. “This will give the opportunity to do that. If it were a normal politician, I’d say our chances are very slim. But it’s not a normal politician — it’s Donald Trump.”

Posted by: maboulette | December 6, 2016

GOP and ObamaCare


healthinsurance

Now that the GOP controls both houses in Congress as well as the presidency their threat to repeal the Affordable Care Act is no longer just a daily talking point.  The part that is going to be hard for them is to change to a new system that does not take away things that 20 million Americans who have signed up in recent years.

OBAMA ACHIEVEMENT

President Obama’s signature legislative achievement was signed into law March 23, 2010, but didn’t come into full force until last year. Republicans hate the mandate that requires all adults to obtain coverage or face fines, they hate that the federal government has become the primary regulator of healthcare, and they hate that the law specifies what insurance companies need to cover.

REPEAL THE ACA

On Wednesday, Republicans said that they intent to repeal the ACA by early next year but might possibly delay the effective date 3 years in order to figure out what they want to replace it with.  Part of this balancing act entails convincing the insurers not to bail out on the healthcare marketplaces.

60 VOTES

House Republicans have voted 60 times to repeal the ACA since it was enacted. During the campaign, President-elect Donald Trump repeatedly said the law would be repealed and replaced with something “much better.”

PRESERVE

After the election, Trump said that there were some elements of the ACA that should be preserved such as the guarantees of coverage for those with pre-existing conditions and allowing children on their parents’ plans until they are 26 years of age.

KAISER STUDY

To make this even more complicated for the GOP is a study released by Kaiser Family Foundation that indicates only about a quarter of Americans want the law repealed entirely.

REP. TOM PRICE

Health Secretary-designate Rep. Tom Price, R-Ga., is a longtime critic of the ACA — and a doctor. Among the changes he has proposed, the Fiscal Times reported, are eliminating the state-run marketplaces, individual mandates and federal tax credits for low-income participants. Instead, he would like to see tax credits pegged to a person’s age, ranging from $1,200 to $3,000 to partially cover premiums and out-of-pocket costs.

PREVENT COVERAGE GAP

For a pre-existing condition or chronic illness to be covered, consumers would have to prove they had continuous coverage for the preceding 18 months to prevent people from obtaining coverage only after they become ill.

REPLACEMENT

Senate Health Education, Labor and Pension Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, R-Tenn., said he’d like to have a replacement plan in hand before the ACA is repealed, an approach favored by Price.

REPEAL ASAP

But House Speaker Paul Ryan said Wednesday he’s in favor of taking care of repealing the law immediately.

PIECES

One approach under consideration is to take the law on in pieces rather than by passing one massive bill, an approach that likely would drag out the process and possibly produce a backlash from voters who want to see action after six years of bluster.

PROPOSAL

Ryan has offered a proposal he says would give patients and doctors more control and foster competition among insurers.

STATE EXCHANGES

Like the ACA it would set up state insurance exchanges and protect those with pre-existing conditions. It also would auto-enroll people at points of service and give states the power to form multistate high-risk pools.

TAX CREDITS

The proposal would provide tax credits for obtaining coverage and improve Health Savings Accounts by allowing premiums to be paid from them and increasing the amount of before-tax money that can be contributed to them.

The plan also calls for improvements to Medicaid and privatizing Medicare.


trump

Donald Trump is picking his team to run the government and, so far, it’s been a mess.  Donald Trump doesn’t know anything about policy. He isn’t even interested in learning. So, at the very least, he should be hiring experts to guide him.

But instead, some of his highest profile picks have been people with records of extreme bigotry (like Jeff Sessions for Attorney General and Stephen Bannon as chief adviser) and people who are shockingly unqualified (like Ben Carson for HUD Secretary and Betsy DeVos for Education Secretary).

He’s also begun to name a slew of corporate crusaders and hacks to various positions as a reward for their loyalty — even as he promises to “drain the swamp!”

So far, Trump’s giving us the worst of both worlds. Instead of bringing in fresh faces who have the people’s interests at heart, he’s hiring corporate shills to regulate the very industries they came from.

Take Myron Ebell, who could be the head of the EPA. Ebell is a prominent climate denier. He leads the energy policy arm of the Competitive Enterprise Institute, a conservative lobby group.

Ebell doesn’t think it’s the EPA’s job to protect our environment. In fact, he’d rather strip the agency of its power to regulate Big Polluters. For starters, he’d tear apart the Clean Power Plan and gut rules on pollutants like methane.

Why would Ebell go to such great lengths to roll back our progress? Because Ebell has lots of friends in the fossil fuel industry who stand to make big money off of polluting our planet. And Myron Ebell wants to make it easy for them — no matter what the cost to people or the environment.

But it’s not just Myron Ebell. Trump’s pick for Treasury Secretary is a Goldman Sachs banker who profited off of the Housing crisis. And Trump has floated oil company executives to head the Department of Energy and even the Department of State!

The list goes on and on.

Americans of all political stripes want a government that puts the People’s interests ahead of Big Oil’s and Wall Street’s.

We can’t stay silent while Trump uses the presidency to enrich himself and his friends. We still have a chance to shake things up. But we need you to speak up NOW!

Let your Congressional delegation know how unhappy you are.  Call your Representatives and Senators and register your unhappiness.  All of these Cabinet picks have to be approved by Congress.

You can find your House member contact information here!

And for your Senator go here!

Posted by: maboulette | December 5, 2016

Spreading False Conspiracy Theories


infowars2

A North Carolina man was arrested Sunday after he walked into a popular pizza restaurant in Northwest Washington carrying an assault rifle and fired one or more shots, D.C. police said.

CHILD SEX RING

According to Metropolitan Police, the popular, so-called Pizzagate restaurant was invaded by a 20-something North Carolina man brandishing an assault rifle on Sunday afternoon. The incident came after weeks of fake news involving Hillary Clinton, a child sex ring, and Comet Ping Pong

INVESTIGATE CONSPIRACY THEORY

The man told police he had come to the restaurant to “self-investigate” a false election-related conspiracy theory involving Hillary Clinton that spread online during her presidential campaign.

PIZZAGATE

James Alefantis, the owner of Comet Ping Pong, said in a statement: “What happened today demonstrates that promoting false and reckless conspiracy theories comes with consequences. I hope that those involved in fanning these flames will take a moment to contemplate what happened here today, and stop promoting these falsehoods right away.”

SOCIAL MEDIA

The restaurant’s owner and employees were threatened on social media in the days before the election after fake news stories circulated claiming that then-Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton and her campaign chief were running a child sex ring from the restaurant’s backrooms.

TRUMP ADVISER

Even Michael Flynn, a retired general whom President-elect Donald Trump has tapped to advise him on national security, shared stories about another anti-Clinton conspiracy theory involving pedophilia. None of them were true. But the fake stories and threats persisted, some even aimed at children of Comet Ping Pong employees and patrons. The restaurant’s owner was forced to contact the FBI, local police, Facebook and other social-media platforms in an effort to remove the articles.

COMET PING PONG

The threats were all tied to the Comet Ping Pong accusations online, he said. “There’s some old painted-over symbol on the marquee that they claim is an international symbol of pedophilia and that there are underground tunnels. . . . There’s some video on YouTube that has almost 100,000 views and talks about me, the owner of the Little Red Fox, by name.”

INFOWARS

Here is the information on this fake news story and where many people got their information from.

“Pizzagate Is Real: Something Is Going On, But What?” Infowars reports that “high-level Washington D.C. predatory pedophiles” are collaborating by “symbols” on the Comet Ping Pong menu; this is a Northwest Washington D.C. pizza place. “Notice the symbol of the ping-pong paddles and its clever resemblance to the FBI documents’ symbol for child love,” reports Infowars.

FAKE NEWS

And this fake news story has been spreading over the internet since then. Only Alex Jones and his group don’t report it as  fake news.  There are multiple copies of the following video on YouTube and straight from the beginning you can see who produced this; Alex Jones Channel or Infowars.

Supposedly this all start with a Wikileaks media dump of emails from Clinton’s campaign official John Podesta’s computer. There was one FBI document that InfoWars theorized to be the connecting link between Clinton campaign and “predatory pedophiles”.

INTEL BRIEFINGS

What is even worse is that we learned last week that President-elect Donald Trump has been turning away his intelligence briefers, leaving the task of learning about national-security threats to his understudy, Vice President-elect Mike Pence.

WHERE HE GETS NEWS?

So where is Trump getting his information? On Sunday, Trump tweeted out the wild allegations that “millions of people” voted illegally for his opponent. He also tweeted that there was “serious voter fraud” in three states that went for Hillary Clinton, “so why isn’t the media reporting on this?

 LOAD OF CRAP

 The media wasn’t reporting on this because it’s a load of hooey. But one “media” outlet has been “reporting” the groundless allegations, and it’s one that Trump relied on frequently during the campaign: Alex Jones’s Infowars, the radio and Internet home of the grassy-knoll crowd.  And allegedly the outfit that passes around the rumor such as this and PizzaGate.

FAKE THEORIES

 This is the problem with fake conspiracy theories – it only takes one person who is a little off in thinking skills to read something like this and incidents such as the one reported here can happen. 

Also it is not the place that our President or his advisers should be getting his news.

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: maboulette | December 5, 2016

Illegally Hiding Ballots From Observers


counting-votes

Four days into the Wisconsin statewide recount, one county has become the epicenter of corruption and controversy. Donald Trump won Waukesha County by a total of 66,320 votes, a margin three times as large as he won Wisconsin by overall. This county is rejecting a hand recount, instead relying on the same machines which produced the original totals. Earlier today it was reported that one recount observer had outright accused Waukesha officials of double-counting Trump’s votes. And now Jill Stein is expanding on the Waukesha scandal.

HIDING BALLOTS

Jill Stein, the third party candidate who initiated the recount effort in Wisconsin and two other states, sent out a message to her recount observers. In it, Stein formally accuses Waukesha County officials of violating the law by purposely hiding ballots from the observers.

LEGAL RIGHT

While most counties are conducting their recounts in clear and transparent fashion, there are reports of observers not being allowed near the recount tables or not being allowed to view the ballots. For instance, in Waukesha County, officials are entering the ballots in to the machine face down so observers cannot see them. Remember, the recount observers have a legal right to see the ballots.

SEE PROCESS

Wisconsin law reads in part: Each party to a recount must be given an opportunity to object and provide offers of evidence on: the procedures followed, any ballot cast at the election, any other issues presented to the board of canvassers during the recount.

REFUSING HAND RECOUNT

Notably, Waukesha County is just one of twelve Wisconsin counties, out of seventy-two counties overall, which are refusing to a hand recount. The increasing level of fraud and illegal activity on the part of Waukesha recount observers may give Stein sufficient cause to convince the judge in question to order the county to do a hand recount.

 

Posted by: maboulette | December 5, 2016

Sarah Palin Writes Critical Op-Ed on Carrier Deal


palin_trump

Sarah Palin is criticizing President-elect Donald Trump’s deal with Carrier, even as she is reportedly under consideration to serve as Trump’s secretary of Veterans Affairs.

OP-ED

An op-ed in Young Conservatives published Friday; the former Alaska governor first expresses excitement for the Carrier employees whose jobs are staying in Indiana. “What a relief for hundreds of workers,” she wrote. “Merry Christmas Indiana!”

 BLASTS THE DEAL

 But she goes onto to blast the deal as “crony capitalism” and an example of the “hallmark of corruption” and “socialism.”

 “When government steps in arbitrarily with individual subsidies, favoring one business over others, it sets inconsistent, unfair, illogical precedent,” Palin wrote. “Then, special interests creep in and manipulate markets. Republicans oppose this, remember?”

“Instead, we support competition on a level playing field, remember? Because we know special interest crony capitalism is on big fail.”

DEAL

Just ahead of Trump’s formal announcement of the deal at the Carrier plant in Indianapolis on Thursday, the Wall Street Journal reports that Carrier would receive $7 million in tax breaks over 10 years in order to keep the 1,100 jobs in Indiana.

“However well meaning, burdensome federal government imposition is never the solution. Never. Not in our homes, not in our schools, not in churches, not in businesses,” Palin wrote in her op-ed.

ADMINISTRATION

Earlier last week, it was reported that Palin is being considered for a spot in Trump’s administration.  An aide to Palin said the former governor said “I feel as though the megaphone I have been provided can be used in a productive and positive way to help those desperately in need.”

 

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