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Trump voters got well and truly suckered, Part 98

by Dan Burns on February 14, 2018 · 0 comments

trump12The article goes on to note that the NBC list in fact isn’t close to comprehensive. It would take a lot of work, and basically someone assigned full-time just to keep it current, to accomplish that.

If you once reveled in the over-the-top story lines driven by Kerry Washington’s character Olivia Pope in the TV drama Scandal, you know why that show has lost a bit of its juice in the last couple seasons. Even a fictional tale of Washington intrigue and deceit can’t compete with the episodic scandals pouring out of Donald Trump’s White House; the only difference is the characters aren’t as easy on the eyes and Trump’s actually ruining our country.
(Last) week’s “Oh, sorry, we had no idea” spin about wife abuser Rob Porter is only the latest in a long line of real-life scandals—any one of which would have rocked to the core a White House that was actually functional. But in a West Wing where hours of Fox News consumption has replaced the daily intelligence briefing as the pr*sident’s sole source of intel, scandals ebb and flow like the sea: daily. NBC News has a list of some the most serious scandals that rose and fell shockingly quickly because Trump always managed to steal the spotlight back. It’s not hyperbole to say that there’s more scandals flowing from Trump’s White House than there are reporters to investigate them.
(Daily Kos)


medievalI’ve seen a lot of good stuff on what the Trump tax scam is really all about, but this is the best.

A precise sum of all the pay hikes attributed to the federal tax act by Americans for Tax Reform cannot be determined; many businesses give only a range of bonuses and pay hikes given, while others do not identify the number of employees affected. All pay hikes and bonuses attributed to the federal tax act that can be quantified from this list total about $1 billion. If we assume that all of the other pay hikes that can’t be quantified add another $0.5 billion plus, then the grand total of pay hikes and bonuses attributed to the federal tax act would come to approximately $1.5 billion. We have to suppose, of course, that all these pay hikes listed would not have occurred in the absence of the tax act—an extremely generous and unlikely supposition. This estimate also ignores all post-tax act layoffs and resulting wage losses.
According to the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, next year U.S. businesses will receive $157 billion in tax breaks due the 2017 tax act. Based on our rough back of the envelope calculations, the pay hikes resulting from the federal tax act will come to about a penny on the dollar of the total tax relief bestowed on businesses. A large portion of this penny consists of one-time bonuses; while the business tax breaks resulting from the federal tax act will continue into future years, the bonuses for workers might not. Over time, the workers’ share of each dollar of business tax breaks could shrink to less than a penny.
(North Star Policy Institute)


trump23Corporate media has been making a big deal of worker bonuses of a few hundred dollars or whatever, and generally not mentioning that virtually none of the people that do the actual work out there are seeing anything like permanent pay raises because of the Trump tax scam.

Less than ten percent of the nation’s wealthiest and most-profitable companies have shared any of the financial benefits they received from a massive corporate tax cut provided by President Donald Trump and Republicans, a new analysis released Tuesday shows.
According to Americans for Tax Fairness, a coalition of organizations which advocates for progressive tax reform, the numbers in their new analysis reveal that the GOP public relations campaign touting the idea that corporations would be sharing “a big slice of their huge Trump tax cuts with their workers through bonuses and wage hikes is mostly hype.”
The ATF analysis, in fact, draws from financial data and public statements compiled by a similarly named (though ideologically opposite) group, the Americans for Tax Reform. The right-leaning ATR has been maintaining a database of how Fortune 500 companies have implemented or altered fiscal policies since passage of the GOP tax cuts at the end of 2017.
(Common Dreams)


trump15The word needs to be spread, about the realities of the Trump “infrastructure plan.”

And track the response from Democrats, who will have to decide if they will back a plan drafted by privatization proponents, or if Democrats will represent the public and say no to years of paying off infrastructure bonds sold by Wall Street—tax free to investors—but eating up future tax revenues while imposing new user fees like highway tolls.
“[The GOP-passed] tax cuts have slowly opened the door to Wall Street, construction giants, and global water companies, who see enormous potential for profits,” wrote Donald Cohen, president of In the Public Interest, an anti-privatization advocacy group. “Some states and local governments have turned to expensive private financing, a.k.a., ‘public-private partnerships,’ and learned the hard way. Private financing often means higher tolls, parking rates, or water fees, lower labor standards, and less public control over decision-making once a project is up and running.”


trump17This article is precise and detailed. Thankfully, some people do take the trouble to get the actual facts and make them available.

President Trump has made many claims promising that individual companies such as Amazon, Alibaba and Boeing will hire large – and specific – numbers of American workers, a total of 2.4 million in all.
We found that only about 206,000 of those jobs have been created so far.
Roughly 136,000 of those were genuinely new positions, as opposed to slots that were planned before the presidential election.
And some 63,000 of them are potentially attributable to Trump, according to the companies that did the hiring.


trump2Presumably, well-researched books are in the works, about the realities of Trump’s business career and finances.

On Thursday, the House Intelligence Committee released the transcripts of their interview with Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson. The transcript shows how Fusion’s research led to one firm conclusion: Donald Trump, successful businessman, is an illusion. Instead, Trump is the front man for a dark money empire—the big-talking distraction whose gold-plated lifestyle provides a glittering smokescreen around money laundering on an epic scale.
Fusion turned up many of the same inconsistencies between Trump’s public face and his private finances as previous checks on his background like that conducted by the Financial Times and others. Trump, while claiming to be a billionaire, actually seemed to have neither any legitimate source of funds nor access to credit.
(Daily Kos)


This is the best thing I’ve read online, in any context, lately.

American mass media journalism is broken. There are some simple elements of US journalistic practice that have proved easy for special interests to hack, and the editors at least have allowed themselves to be used by sinister forces. (I am speaking primarily of television news here, and primarily of the 24 hour channels).
Despite the impression that Trump hates the press and forms a danger to it, the mass media actually has fallen for him, hard…
This news model also allowed climate denialists and before them cigarette cancer denialists to manipulate the system. If every story has two points of view and they are equal, then you have to present both. But where one side in this debate is factually incorrect, it means you are doing the opposite of journalism. You are diluting the truth with false, paid-for propaganda.
There aren’t two factually correct sides of every issue. Racism is not a legitimate explanation for anything. Immigrants are mostly law-abiding and do not take jobs from native-born people because they compete in different labor markets. There isn’t a fixed amount of labor (a “lump of labor”) in an economy– economies can expand precisely because there are more workers available than before.
Cable news is now pumping out Trump talking points hourly to millions of people around the globe, because of their broken business model. It is degrading our society and our human values.
(Informed Comment)

I remember the endless “debates” on cable news, when I used to watch it. They’re pretty much scripted, and it’s obvious that Rule #1 is that you never, ever humiliate the conservative, no matter how utterly idiotic the right-wing talking points being bloviated. It makes that crap especially annoying to deal with, and unfortunately it seems to be the case at outlets like TPT’s “Almanac” as well.


trump17Someone looked at the actual facts. How dare they!

President Donald Trump’s effort to put coal miners back to work stumbled in most coal producing states last year, even as overall employment in the downtrodden sector grew modestly, according to preliminary government data obtained by Reuters.
Trump made reviving the coal industry, and the declining communities that depend upon its jobs, a central tenet in his presidential campaign and has rolled back Obama-era environmental regulations to give the industry a boost.
But the effort has had little impact on domestic demand for coal so far, with U.S. utilities still shutting coal-fired power plants and shifting to cheaper natural gas – moving toward a lower carbon future despite the direction the White House is plotting under Trump.


trump15Incompetent. Cowardly and secretive. All that stuff.

The Trump administration has either failed to complete or is keeping from the public more than half of the reports that President Donald Trump assigned to the administration through his early and prolific use of the executive order. Of the reports it did complete, many were turned in well past the assigned due date and only “complete” in the sense that they consist of words on paper.
In his first year in office, Trump ordered 95 separate reports, performance reviews, instructions, or other activities to be carried out by executive branch agencies. The Intercept has been reviewing these orders for the last year. We found that 48 of the 95 actions were completed, in many cases after the due date stipulated in the order. Federal agencies have yet to complete another 20. In 27 cases, the agency was unresponsive to our requests for information.
(David Dayen/The Intercept)


trump19This article is quite comprehensive.

More than one-fifth of Donald Trump’s US condominiums have been purchased since the 1980s in secretive, all-cash transactions that enable buyers to avoid legal scrutiny by shielding their finances and identities, a BuzzFeed News investigation has found.
Records show that more than 1,300 Trump condominiums were bought not by people but by shell companies, and that the purchases were made without a mortgage, avoiding inquiries from lenders.
Those two characteristics signal that a buyer may be laundering money, the Treasury Department has said in a series of statements since 2016. Treasury’s financial-crimes unit has, in recent years, launched investigations around the country into all-cash shell-company real-estate purchases amid concerns that some such sales may involve money laundering. The agency is considering requiring real-estate professionals to adopt anti-money-laundering programs.
All-cash purchases by shell companies do not by themselves indicate illegal or improper activity, and they have become more common in recent years in both Trump buildings and other luxury home sales across the United States. Developers such as Trump have no obligation to scrutinize their purchasers or their funding sources.
But federal investigations “continue to reveal corrupt politicians, drug traffickers and other criminals using shell companies to purchase luxury real estate with cash,” Treasury’s former financial-crimes chief Jennifer Shasky Calvery said at a Capitol Hill hearing in 2016.