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  # 2189411 1-Mar-2019 14:09
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The Washington Post - House Intelligence Committee plans to interview Trump firm’s chief financial officer

 

February 28 at 7:48 PM

 

 

House Democrats on Thursday made plans to dig deeper into President Trump’s business and charity, using testimony from former Trump attorney Michael Cohen as a road map to call new witnesses and seek new internal documents.

 

The House Intelligence Committee said it anticipates bringing in for questioning the Trump Organization’s chief financial officer, Allen Weisselberg.  ...

 

...   Weisselberg’s name came up at least 30 times on Wednesday, as Cohen accused him of participating in schemes to repay hush money, mislead Trump’s investors and lenders, and skirt campaign-finance laws.

 





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  # 2189419 1-Mar-2019 14:25
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https://www.nytimes.com/2019/02/28/opinion/ivanka-trump-social-mobility.html

NY Times: Socialism and the Self-Made Woman
By Paul Krugman

What Ivanka Trump doesn’t know about social mobility.

If you’re like me, you could use at least a brief break from talking about Donald Trump. So why don’t we talk about Ivanka Trump instead? You see, recently she said something that would have been remarkable coming from any Republican, but was truly awesome coming from the Daughter in Chief.

The subject under discussion was the proposal, part of the Green New Deal, that the government offer a jobs guarantee. Ms. Trump trashed the notion, claiming that Americans “want to work for what they get,” that they want to live in a country “where there is the potential for upward mobility.”

O.K., this was world-class lack of self-awareness: It doesn’t get much better than being lectured on self-reliance by an heiress whose business strategy involves trading on her father’s name. But let’s go beyond the personal here. We know a lot about upward mobility in different countries, and the facts are not what Republicans want to hear.

The key observation, based on a growing body of research, is that when it comes to upward social mobility, the U.S. is truly exceptional — that is, it performs exceptionally badly. Americans whose parents have low incomes are more likely to have low incomes themselves, and less likely to make it into the middle or upper class, than their counterparts in other advanced countries. And those who are born affluent are, correspondingly, more likely to keep their status.

Now, this isn’t the way we like to see ourselves. In fact, there’s a curious disconnect between reality and perception: Americans are much more likely than Europeans to imagine that their society is marked by high social mobility, when the reality is that we have considerably less of it than they do.

Much of this appears to reflect systematic misinformation. In some places hereditary members of the elite boast about their lineage, but in America they pretend that they pulled themselves up by their own bootstraps. For example, large numbers of Americans apparently believe that Donald Trump is a self-made man.

In any case, America’s exceptionally low social mobility is distinct from its exceptionally high income inequality, although these are almost surely related. Among advanced countries, there is a strong negative correlation between inequality and mobility, sometimes referred to as the “Great Gatsby curve.” This makes sense. After all, huge disparities in parents’ income tend to translate into large disparities in children’s opportunities.

And people do, by the way, seem to understand this point. Many Americans don’t realize how unequal our society really is; when given facts about income inequality, they become more likely to believe that coming from a wealthy family plays a big role in personal success.

Back to the “potential for upward mobility”: Where do people from poor or modest backgrounds have the best chance of getting ahead? The answer is that Scandinavia leads the rankings, although Canada also does well. And here’s the thing: The Nordic countries don’t just have low inequality, they also have much bigger governments, much more extensive social safety nets, than we do. In other words, they have what Republicans denounce as “socialism” (it really isn’t, but never mind).

And the association between “socialism” and social mobility isn’t an accident. On the contrary, it’s exactly what you would expect.

To see why, put it in a U.S. context, and ask what would happen to social mobility if either the right wing of the G.O.P. or progressive Democrats got to implement their policy agendas in full.

If Tea Party types got their way, we’d see drastic cuts in Medicaid, food stamps and other programs that aid Americans with low income — which would in many cases leave low-income children with inadequate medical care and nutrition. We’d also see cuts in funding for public education. And on the other end of the scale, we’d see tax cuts that raise the incomes of the wealthy, and the elimination of the estate tax, allowing them to pass all of that money on to their heirs.

By contrast, progressive Democrats are calling for universal health care, increased aid to the poor, and programs offering free or at least subsidized college tuition. They’re calling for aid that helps middle- and lower-income parents afford quality child care. And they propose paying for these benefits with increased taxes on high incomes and large fortunes.

So, which of these agendas would tend to lock our class system in place, making it easy for children of the rich to stay rich and hard for children of the poor to escape poverty? Which would bring us closer to the American dream, creating a society in which ambitious young people who are willing to work hard have a good chance of transcending their background?

Look, Ms. Trump is surely right in asserting that most of us want a country in which there is the potential for upward mobility. But the things we need to do to ensure that we are that kind of country — the policies that are associated with high levels of upward mobility around the world — are exactly the things Republicans denounce as socialism.

 
 
 
 


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  # 2189421 1-Mar-2019 14:27
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Yet another scathing opinion piece from The Washington Post ...

 

The GOP performance at the Cohen hearing was a study in moral corruption

 

February 28 at 3:16 PM

 

[Sorry about my large number of posts today, but this one was too good to pass up  ...  😋]

 


The House of Representatives has always been the shallower end of the legislative pool.

 

But the performance of Republicans at the Cohen hearing was in a class of its own.

 

Their game plan seemed to consist of shouting, vilification and shouted vilification.

 

But chihuahuas are not intimidating, even when they travel in packs.

 

What passed for a cutting Republican taunt? “Liar. Liar. Pants on Fire!” ...

 





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  # 2189487 1-Mar-2019 15:31
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tdgeek: Analyst: Talks must have broken down

 

From CNN's Josh Berlinger in Hanoi

 

Former State Department spokesman and CNN analyst John Kirby said the “talks had to have broken down at some point ...”

 






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  # 2189721 2-Mar-2019 07:48
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Start your day with more angst and gloom, courtesy of the Post ...   😦

 

The Washington Post - In America, talk turns to something unspoken for 150 years: Civil war

 

March 1 at 7:15 AM

 


At a moment when the country has never seemed angrier, two political commentators from opposite sides of the divide concurred last week on one point, nearly unthinkable until recently: The country is on the verge of “civil war.”

 

First came former U.S. attorney Joseph diGenova, a Fox News regular and ally of President Trump.

 

We are in a civil war,” he said. “The suggestion that there’s ever going to be civil discourse in this country for the foreseeable future is over. ... It’s going to be total war.

 

The next day, Nicolle Wallace, a former Republican operative turned MSNBC commentator and Trump critic, played a clip of diGenova’s commentary on her show and agreed with him - although she placed the blame squarely on the president.

 

Trump, she said, “greenlit a war in this country around race. And if you think about the most dangerous thing he’s done, that might be it.” ...

 

 





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  # 2189728 2-Mar-2019 09:08
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Attempting to connect with today's youth, Vice President Pence says the Democrat's agenda is socialist.

"If I might speak to today's youth directly: bruh, no one wants that free healthcare, green energy and free education swag.

You only live once, and today's capitalism is phat. No one wants freebies, Trickle down economics is totally rad.

Socialism? Gag me with a spoon! It's gnarly, grody, and only for airheads, homeboy.

Just say no. Peace!"


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  # 2189731 2-Mar-2019 09:28
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If there is a civil war, the gun nuts will win. They are less nuanced and more driven than liberals. The only hope would be the military choosing to maintain its traditional strong respect of democratic institutions. But the military would also be split. Just imagine, Texas nukes LA!

 

 





I don't think there is ever a bad time to talk about how absurd war is, how old men make decisions and young people die. - George Clooney
 


 
 
 
 


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  # 2189733 2-Mar-2019 09:35
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Rikkitic:

 

If there is a civil war, the gun nuts will win. ...

 



 





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  # 2189747 2-Mar-2019 10:17
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It is interesting how people vote on a party that don't want to provide healthcare. People must have death wishes.




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  # 2189759 2-Mar-2019 10:26
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freitasm: It is interesting how people vote on a party that don't want to provide healthcare. People must have death wishes.

 

 





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  # 2189762 2-Mar-2019 10:32
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freitasm: It is interesting how people vote on a party that don't want to provide healthcare. People must have death wishes.

Taxes will go up
Socialism is bad
Healthcare quality will go down
Don't want to pay for free loaders

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  # 2189763 2-Mar-2019 10:35
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throbb:

Taxes will go up
Socialism is bad
Healthcare quality will go down
Don't want to pay for free loaders

 

 

and ...

 





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  # 2189766 2-Mar-2019 10:39
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The Horror! Pence says Democrats have avowed socialists! Hide the women and children!

Affordable healthcare and education? No thank you. Like heiress Ivanka says: I want to work for what I have.


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  # 2189773 2-Mar-2019 11:14
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freitasm: It is interesting how people vote on a party that don't want to provide healthcare. People must have death wishes.

 

A lot of people just aren’t very bright. Americans, especially the more ignorant ones, are obsessed with the myth of the rugged individual, the Death Wish avenger who ignores the rules and dishes out justice. This probably has some obscure connection to the wild west and the free frontier. I think people who have not grown up there have difficulty understanding the extent to which this is rooted in the American psyche. It helps explain the obsession with gun ownership.

 

America is ruled by corporate interests. Big pharma has done an excellent job of manipulating the fear and distrust many people have of the government. Republicans have successfully exploited this by identifying themselves with maximum individual freedom and minimum government. That is a lie, of course, but the people who support them believe it. In (over)simplified terms, Democrats want State control and official micro-management of people’s private business. Universal health care is an expression of this. It is a sneaky back door to controlling the lives of private individuals. Freedom means the freedom to have no health care at all. That’ll show ‘em!

 

America is also the land of the free market. There are few real curbs placed on the ambitions of corporations. Many Americans strongly feel that market forces should govern everything, and letting the State do any of that is tantamount to inviting King George back in to tax tea. Americans didn't revolt for nothing. And because corporations are the real power in that country, the vested interests will fight tooth and nail to maintain their swollen health care profits and convince the average citizen that it is all a dastardly plot to impose socialism and take away everyone's personal freedoms.

 

So Republicans are on the side of the little guy. No socialist medicine for them! Republicans are also well-funded by big business. Elect a Republican and no socialist liberal will tell you how to live. You can be free to starve and get sick and be uneducated all you like. Hurrah for the rugged individual!

 

 





I don't think there is ever a bad time to talk about how absurd war is, how old men make decisions and young people die. - George Clooney
 


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  # 2189778 2-Mar-2019 11:24
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kingdragonfly: The Horror! Pence says Democrats have avowed socialists! Hide the women and children!

Affordable healthcare and education? No thank you. Like heiress Ivanka says: I want to work for what I have.

 

This is the man who will rule the USA if Trump is impeached.

 

He will be much more efficient than Trump, and he could do a lot more damage.

 

As has been said earlier in this forum: "Be careful what you wish for."   😕





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