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marmar

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Gender: Male
Hometown: Detroit, MI
Member since: Fri Oct 29, 2004, 12:18 AM
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More frightening than Nixon's final days: Trump's firing Pentagon civilians, pardoning war criminals


More frightening than Nixon's final days: Trump's firing Pentagon civilians, pardoning war criminals
Donald Trump is unraveling: The president's public breakdown can quickly turn dangerous

By HEATHER DIGBY PARTON
DECEMBER 23, 2020 2:27PM


(Salon) One of the more haunting images from "The Final Days," the sequel to Woodward and Bernstein's "All the President's Men," is that of Richard Nixon wandering drunkenly through the White House giving speeches to the portraits of the previous presidents as Watergate was unraveling and he realized he was about to endure the worst humiliation of his life. In a meeting with some congressman, at one point, he said, "I can go in my office and pick up a telephone and in 25 minutes millions of people will be dead," prompting California Senator Alan Cranston to warn Defense Secretary James Schlesinger about "the need for keeping a berserk president from plunging us into a holocaust."

Schlesinger went on to issue an order that if the president gave any nuclear launch order, military commanders should check with either him or Secretary of State Henry Kissinger before executing them, which is a serious departure from the normal protocol requiring an order from the Commander in Chief to launch immediately. Luckily, Nixon just moped around the White House for a while until he was finally given the heave-ho by members of Congress.

Looking back on it, what we thought of as a frightening, dangerous episode now looks like a staid and dignified affair compared to what's going on in Donald Trump's final days. We can only wish that Trump was just crying into a glass of scotch and asking Henry Kissinger to get down on his knees and pray for him as Nixon did. Instead, he seems to be having a very public nervous breakdown. Since the election, he's fired the civilian leadership at the Pentagon and replaced them with henchmen and sycophants, apparently setting of serious concern among the top brass.

....(snip).....

We know from various reports that Trump has been meeting with his former National Security Adviser, the recently pardoned, admitted felon Mike Flynn, and his lawyer Sidney Powell, who was formerly Trump's lawyer as well. Powell wanted to be named a "special counsel" to investigate election fraud, but according to the Daily Beast, that has been nixed by the president for now. The president's lawyer Rudy Giuliani is hostile to Powell and has told the press that she is not affiliated with the president's legal team, but he too is pushing ridiculous schemes such as having the Department of Homeland Security seize the voting machines in certain states, which the DHS has said they have no authority to do. Flynn has also publicly proposed Trump invoke Martial Law in the states that Biden won narrowly and order the military to run a new election. That Trump has been open to discussing such far-fetched plans is bad enough in itself. And for some bizarre reason, former Overstock CEO Patrick Byrne, who also happens to have had a long term affair with convicted and deported Russian Spy Maria Butina, has been present at at least one meeting with all of these people, as slightly less unhinged members of the White House attempted to push back on their wacky plots. ..................(more)

https://www.salon.com/2020/12/23/trumps-final-days-more-frightening-than-nixons-firing-pentagon-civilians-pardoning-war-criminals/




The Trump White House has entered its final stage: complete meltdown


The Trump White House has entered its final stage: complete meltdown
Richard Wolffe

Trump has retreated to the proverbial bunker with an ‘elite strike force’ of wingnuts and lackeys. They’re all he’s got left
Mon 21 Dec 2020 16.36 EST


(Guardian UK) The last days of the Trump presidency increasingly resemble the fictional presidency in the movie Monsters vs Aliens.

In case you missed this 2009 animated masterpiece, President Hathaway (voiced by Stephen Colbert) responds to an alien invasion with a team of unlikely heroes, among them a giant-sized TV reporter from Modesto, a cockroach-turned-mad-scientist, and an enormous blob of Jell-O.

....(snip)....

In the final month of Donald Trump’s time in the Oval Office, he has at last assembled his own team of outsized odds and ends, self-aggrandizing wingnuts, and brainless lumps of gelatin. You can decide for yourself if this latest incarnation of his “elite strike force” of advisers is more likely to launch all the nuclear weapons or make a fresh cup of coffee.

At the center of the team to save Planet Trump are the unhinged characters of Sidney Powell and Michael Flynn, who reportedly met with the soon-to-be-ex-president in the White House over several hours on Friday.

....(snip)....

Normal presidents treat their final weeks in office like a presidential marshmallow test. While they may want, desperately, to opine about everything the president-elect is doing, they delay their gratification for their memoirs. ...........(more)

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/dec/21/trump-administration-last-days-white-house?




Trump's border wall and a "three-martini lunch": What the GOP fought to save in a second COVID bill


(Salon) Congressional leaders on Sunday said they reached an agreement on a roughly $900 billion coronavirus relief bill just days before many of the programs in the first round of stimulus passed in the spring were set to expire amid a nationwide spike in infections.

The bill includes $600 direct payments to most Americans, a temporary revival of the federal unemployment boost at $300 per week, and nearly $300 billion in forgivable small business loans, according to bill summaries obtained by The Washington Post. The bill would also extend the federal eviction moratorium through January and provide billions in funding for vaccine distribution, testing and contact tracing, schools, transportation systems and live music venues. About $429 billion of the $900 billion total is from unused funds the Cares Act, which was the first round of federal funding passed earlier this year, provided for emergency lending programs from the Federal Reserve. Ultimately, the bill includes less than $500 billion in new funding.

Significantly, the deal does not include any aid to state and local governments, many of which are facing massive budget shortfalls due to severe declines in tax revenues and tourism. Economists have warned for months that failing to provide state and local relief would result in mass layoffs in the middle of the pandemic. Democrats agreed to drop their demand for state and local funding after McConnell agreed to drop his demand for broad lawsuit protections for businesses. The deal will also include $1.4 billion in new funding for Trump's border wall, according to the Post.

Republicans also pushed to expand a Trump-backed tax deduction for business meals, which critics labeled the "three-martini lunch" tax break, in exchange for including expanded tax credits for low-income families and the working poor that Democrats demanded. .......(more)

https://www.salon.com/2020/12/21/trumps-border-wall-and-a-three-martini-lunch-what-the-gop-fought-to-save-in-a-second-covid-bill/




Jared Kushner, Secretary of Wingnut Welfare


(Salon) Top White House adviser Jared Kushner, President Trump's son-in-law, personally signed off on keeping salary payments to top campaign officials off the books, according to a person involved with the arrangements.

Federal Election Commission records show that the Trump campaign has made no salary payments to chief strategist Jason Miller, who came on board in June, or to campaign manager Bill Stepien, who joined the campaign in late 2018 and took over the top job from Brad Parscale in July. Kushner agreed to both arrangements, and personally directed the payments to Miller, the person involved said.

While the Trump campaign has reported $20,000 monthly salary payments to chief of staff Stephanie Alexander and senior adviser Katrina Pierson, it has not done the same for COO Jeff DeWit or senior advisers Bob Paduchik and Bill Shine. Deputy campaign manager Justin Clark has not taken a direct payment from the campaign since February 2019, according to federal records.

Instead, the campaign has paid these top-tier advisers through intermediaries — some of which are still unknown.

For instance, according to the source, after salary negotiations with Miller, Kushner directed the campaign to route the top strategist's $35,000 monthly payment through Jamestown Associates, a media and production firm where Miller once worked, and which the campaign contracts for video production. Miller, who is currently contesting child-support payments in court, requested the anonymous arrangement for the $420,000 annual rate, for unclear reasons. Communications, court documents and FEC filings reviewed by Salon make clear that the money was paid to by way of Jamestown. President Trump himself was aware of the deal, a person involved said. ..........(more)

https://www.salon.com/2020/12/22/jared-kushner-signed-off-on-secret-payments-to-top-campaign-officials-source-says/




Drunk Florida Man tells cops he had loaded AR-15 because he's seen crazy stuff


A Florida man spotted driving with his loaded AR-15 in his lap told police he had the gun with him because he'd 'seen crazy stuff since moving to Florida' from Alabama.

Kaleb Kleiss, 20, of Clearwater, Florida, was arrested on December 12 and charged with drunk driving, improper exhibition of a dangerous weapon and using a firearm while under the influence - all misdemeanor charges.

Kleiss came to police attention after being involved in what was described as a 'traffic altercation' in his arrest affidavit, obtained by The Smoking Gun. ........(more)

https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-9076513/Florida-man-arrested-driving-loaded-AR-15-lap.html




Where transit stands with COVID-19 relief bill and FY21 omnibus legislation





Congress extended its pre-Christmas session to reach a $1.4-trillion deal to fund the federal government through September 2021 and provide $900 million in COVID-19 emergency funding relief. Both the House and Senate were expected to vote and pass the legislation only hours after the 5,593-page package was published.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi called the package “a good bipartisan bill” on the House floor Monday morning, while Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell issued a statement Sunday that read in part “as our citizens continue battling the coronavirus this holiday season, they will not be fighting alone.”

What does the package include for the transit and passenger rail industry? Mass Transit has broken its analysis into two parts, the first dealing with the emergency relief funding and the second with the omnibus legislation.

Emergency relief funding

The relief package includes $45 billion for transportation. Transit, passenger rail and private transportation providers, such as motorcoach companies, will receive $17 billion of those funds.

Transit accounts for $14 billion, which is $1 billion less than the bipartisan, bicameral proposal from earlier in the month. ..........(more)

https://www.masstransitmag.com/management/article/21203606/where-transit-stands-with-covid19-relief-bill-and-fy21-omnibus-legislation



The My Pillow guy -- too extremist for Sebastian Gorka. (or the threat of legal action at least)


https://twitter.com/justinbaragona/status/1341191463363743744?s=20

Al Sharpton: There's a reason GOP attacks in Georgia are focused on Rev. Warnock


Dec. 16, 2020, 12:28 PM EST / Updated Dec. 16, 2020, 1:48 PM EST
By Rev. Al Sharpton, MSNBC Opinion Columnist


The Black church has always played a pivotal role in the community, and in our fight for justice and equality. It is where many of our great leaders emerged, where they organized, and where they pushed for change.

Decades earlier, Adam Clayton Powell Jr. built a powerhouse of mobilization as the pastor of the Abyssinian Baptist Church in Harlem, New York. He later went on to become the first African American to serve on the New York City Council, before spending 11 terms in the U.S. House of Representatives, fighting to enact programs for the poor and the marginalized. The attacks against Powell are well-known, especially within New York’s Black community: his critics and enemies painted him as a radical, an extremist, a communist, a troublemaker and an overall threat to society.

Today, we are seeing similar refrains against Raphael Warnock, the senior pastor of the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, and the Democratic candidate for one of Georgia’s two U.S. Senate seats. As the Jan. 5 runoffs approach, and with control of the Senate in the balance, the smears and vitriol against Warnock have only escalated. It’s the same playbook we saw against Powell and the same playbook we see over and over again: racist attacks rooted in nothing but plain old bigotry.

During the Dec. 6 debate between Warnock and Sen. Kelly Loeffler, the Republican candidate referred to Warnock as a “radical liberal” 13 times. That was no coincidence or a slip of the tongue. Rather, it was an orchestrated strategy designed to tarnish Warnock's image, play to the GOP base, and make Georgians fearful of the “radical Black man.” It’s tired; it’s old; and it’s the same vile fearmongering that was used against transformative changemakers like Powell and against Black men since the inception of this nation. Loeffler knew exactly what she was doing. .............(more)

https://www.msnbc.com/opinion/georgia-senate-race-has-rev-raphael-warnock-facing-down-familiar-n1251297?icid=msd_topgrid




The Trump Years -- A Craprospective: "Issue the orders, sir, and I will storm LaGuardia!"

As we eagerly look forward to the end of this shitshow presidency a month from now, let us not forget the (insert adjective here) moments of the last four years. .... Remember when 45 asserted that the Revolutionary Army protected our airports ... in 1775?





(Guardian UK) Donald Trump made an awkward blunder during his speech on Independence Day, praising the army, which he said “took over the airports” from the British during the revolutionary war in the late 1700s.

Trump made the mistake during his hour-long speech at the Lincoln memorial in Washington DC as part of his 4th of July “Salute to America” celebrations, which saw him become the first US president in nearly 70 years to address the country on Independence Day.

In a departure from his usual style of rambling, impromptu speeches in which the president lurches between topics at high speed, Trump gave a surprisingly scripted address in which he outlined the history of Independence Day, American achievement in various fields, and then paid tribute to each branch of the military in turn.

During his tribute to the army, Trump said: “In June of 1775, the Continental Congress created a unified army out of the revolutionary forces encamped around Boston and New York … The Continental Army suffered a bitter winter of Valley Forge, found glory across the waters of the Delaware, and seized victory from Cornwallis of Yorktown.

“Our army manned the air, it rammed the ramparts, it took over the airports, it did everything it had to do, and at Fort McHenry, under the rockets’ red glare, it had nothing but victory.” ..........(more)

https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2019/jul/05/flight-of-fancy-trump-claims-1775-revolutionary-army-took-over-airports




Georgia's millionaire senators won't drain the swamp. They are the swamp


Georgia's millionaire senators won't drain the swamp. They are the swamp
Moira Donegan

Obscene wealth, financial speculation, cavalier indifference – yet Republicans Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue claim their Democratic challengers are out of touch
Mon 21 Dec 2020 06.15 EST

(Guardian UK) Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue, the two Republican Senate incumbents from Georgia facing runoff elections on 5 January, are trying to nationalize their respective races. They have spent much of their time saying that if their opponents win, thereby giving Democrats a narrow majority in the senate, the country will be unrecognizably altered. They spin horror stories about a liberal dystopia, focusing particular ire on Loeffler’s Democratic challenger, a Black Atlanta pastor named the Rev Raphael Warnock, and mostly ignoring Perdue’s opponent, the white former investigative journalist Jon Ossoff. The incumbents have tried to mimic Donald Trump’s rhetoric, making poorly veiled racist overtures to the white grievance voters whose turnout they will need in order to keep their seats. Loeffler has gone on conservative media to scaremonger about Black Lives Matter; Perdue pulled a juvenile stunt at a Trump rally in which he pointedly and deliberately mispronounced Kamala Harris’ first name.

The high stakes of their races, as well as these kinds of theatrics from Loeffler and Perdue, have functioned, maybe intentionally, to distract from their own conduct in office, which has raised questions and sparked investigations from the justice department, congressional ethics authorities and the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). Loeffler and Perdue, two of the Senate’s richest members, have each been accused of using their office to get privileged information that they used to make advantageous stock trades. (The cases against Perdue and Loeffler were closed without charges this summer.)

The investigation was centered on stock trades made after the senators attended a closed-door Senate briefing on the coronavirus in January 2020 – before the severity of the coronavirus and its economic repercussions were clear to most Americans. Both Loeffler and Perdue made windfalls in financial transactions, dumping stocks that were damaged by the pandemic and investing in stocks that later soared in value as a result of new restrictions.

....(snip)....

Loeffler owns a private jet. Perdue lives in an island gated community. Both are trading vast sums of money in a financial market to which most Americans do not have anything like their access. These are not ordinary Georgians. If anything, Loeffler and Perdue’s financial antics have underscored the degree to which the Republican party is part of the very swamp that Donald Trump decries. The question now is whether voters will see them for what they really are. ..........(more)

https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2020/dec/21/georgia-kelly-loeffler-david-perdue-swamp




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