Saturday, December 10, 2016

Last Call For Trump Cards In The Russia's Deck

Trump cares not for your accusations of Russian interference in our elections.  Trump will choose an oil CEO with hundreds of billions in oil contracts with Russia for Secretary of State anyhow.
President-elect Donald Trump has selected Exxon Mobil CEO Rex Tillerson as his nominee for secretary of State, NBC News reported Saturday.

Tillerson, who met with Trump on Saturday at Trump Tower, is expected to be offered the post this weekend, The New York Times reported.Tillerson had reportedly jumped to the front of the pack of candidates in recent days, despite not being mentioned on shortlists as recently as last week.

Trump transition spokesman Jason Miller said in a tweet Saturday afternoon that there would not be an announcement about the State position until at least next week, though he did not refute NBC's report that Tillerson had been selected.

Several other media outlets reported Saturday afternoon that Tillerson was Trump's likely pick to become the nation's next top diplomat.

Keep in mind Tillerson has zero government experience like Trump.  That job will be handed to the new Trump Deputy SoS: John Bolton's Mustache.

Critics have already called into question Tillerson’s ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“I don’t know what Mr. Tillerson’s relationship with Vladimir Putin was, but I’ll tell you it is a matter of concern to me,” Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) said during an interview with Fox News on Saturday.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Tillerson negotiated an energy partnership with Putin in 2011 that the Russian president said could be worth $500 billion.

The following year, Tillerson received the Russian Order of Friendship, one of the highest awards the country bestows upon foreign nationals.

Reuters reported earlier this year that the Exxon Mobil deal with Russia had been put on hold due to sanctions levied against the Kremlin for its annexation of Crimea in 2014. The company has said it intends to resume the deal after sanctions are lifted — a process that Tillerson could help expedite as secretary of State.

So you see this is really about Trump, Putin, and Tillerson getting hundreds of billions in oil money.  Trump is making a mockery of our government and simply doesn't care, and never did. Our government has been sold for oil cash.

We're going to have to work to get it back.

Trump Cards, Con't

Donald Trump really does think we're stupid: America as a whole, and black voters in particular.

On a “thank you” victory tour across the country Friday, President-elect Donald Trump claimed that low voter turnout among African Americans helped him win on Election Night.

“The African American community was great to us,” Trump said at an evening stop on his “USA Thank You Tour” in Grand Rapids, Michigan. “They came through big league. And frankly, if they had any doubt, they didn’t vote. And that was almost as good. Because a bunch of people didn’t show up, because they felt good about me.”

Trump also thanked the Latino community and women.

“And women,” he said. “My goodness. We did great with women, so I want to thank women.”

Democratic rival Hillary Clinton won African American voters over Trump, 89 percent to 8 percent, the Washington Post reported. In comparison, President Barack Obama won the group 83 percent to 6 percent in his 2012 reelection against Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney.

Clinton lost in part because voter turnout was low in urban areas and she received a lower margin of support from demographic groups that turned out to vote for Obama. At the same time, Trump received a boost in support from working-class white voters and won Michigan, a state that went for Obama in 2012.

Low Black voter turnout may be indirectly connected to Trump’s suggestion that his supporters commit voter suppression. In the months leading up to the election, Trump nudged his supporters to “watch” polling places in “certain areas” to make sure everything is on the “up and up.” He also appeared to encourage supporters to show up with friends to “go check out areas because a lot of bad things happen.”

Got that?  Some black voters stayed home because they were confident Trump was going to win.  He's gloating at we're the reason he won, specifically so that white liberals attack us and maybe start looking the other way when those nationwide GOP voting restrictions come down because it won't harm them, they think.

I am already desperately tired of this idiot and he's not even president yet.

Time To Cut The Nets

Republicans aren't stupid enough to cut Social Security, are they?  After all, the average Trump voter is on the older end of the scale of the American electorate and the oldest Boomers will be 72 starting next year, with millions retiring over the next four years of the Trump administration.  The famous Tip O'Neill political adage that "Social Security is the third rail of American politics, you touch it and die" still has to apply in the Trump era, right?

Funny story about Republicans, to "save" things they like to burn them down.

Amid all the hand-wringing over Republican plans to eviscerate Medicare and Medicaid and repeal the Affordable Care Act, it shouldn’t be overlooked that the GOP has the knives out for Social Security too. 
The latest reminder comes from Rep. Sam Johnson, R-Tex., chairman of the Ways and Means Social Security subcommittee. Johnson on Thursday uncorked what he termed a “plan to permanently save Social Security.”

Followers of GOP habits won’t be surprised to learn that it achieves this goal entirely through benefit cuts, without a dime of new revenues such as higher payroll taxes on the wealthy. in fact, Johnson’s plan reduces the resources coming into the program by eliminating a key tax --another way that he absolves richer Americans of paying their fair share, while increasing the burdens of retirement for almost everyone else.

Predictably, this plan has already been hailed by the Committee for a Responsible Budget, a billionaire’s front group that likes to portray itself as a neutral budget watchdog. (The foundation of hedge fund billionaire Peter G. Peterson, whose hostility to Social Security is well-documented, provided $3.3 million in funding for the committee in 2015; that’s the equivalent of about half the group’s revenue of $7.1 million in 2014)

Johnson's bill is a disaster, and while it does cut benefits modestly for the wealthiest Americans, the massive SS payroll tax cuts on top earners would more than make up for it.  The people who get screwed the most? Gen Xers and older Millennials like myself as the plan would push the retirement age up to 69 for anyone under 50 right now, and we would receive significantly fewer benefits due to cost-of-living adjustments.

Johnson's bill also makes it easier to work for more than 35 years and accrue benefits up to 72 (The Wal-Mart greeter clause!) but harshly cuts benefits for people who haven't put in 35 years of taxable work (you know, like women who have left the work force to have families, grad/post-grad students who may not get started working until their 30's etc.) when they retire.

The big giveaway is the bait-and-switch on the benefit cuts for the richest Americans.  Instead, they'll make a boatload on lower taxes, particularly the wealthiest folks.  They'll try to sell this as "means-testing" to make sure "people who don't need benefits aren't getting the most" but it's a complete scam: the tax savings the richest Americans will get out of this guarantees they'll be the ones winning.

Oh and one more thing: current Social Security beneficiaries?  They'd get immediately hit by the COLA adjustments and other cuts. In fact the only people who aren't getting screwed right off the bat are Boomers between 50 and 67.

You know, the bulk of the Boomers.  Trump voters, even.

And let's remember, this plan has zero new revenue for Social Security....only big benefit cuts, and even bigger tax cuts for the rich.  Dems need to beat the GOP over the head on this scam on an hourly basis until it dies screaming...then introduce their own plan.

Russian To Judgement, Con't

A major Friday night news dump, and it's a doozy: the CIA straight up told members of Congress in a September briefing that they believed Russia was behind the hacks of the DNC and the Clinton campaign, and fed the information to WikiLeaks with the intent of not just causing irreparable harm to the legitimacy of US elections, but actually damaging Hillary Clinton's chances in the election in order to specifically help Donald Trump.

The CIA has concluded in a secret assessment that Russia intervened in the 2016 election to help Donald Trump win the presidency, rather than just to undermine confidence in the U.S. electoral system, according to officials briefed on the matter.

Intelligence agencies have identified individuals with connections to the Russian government who provided WikiLeaks with thousands of hacked emails from the Democratic National Committee and others, including Hillary Clinton’s campaign chairman, according to U.S. officials. Those officials described the individuals as actors known to the intelligence community and part of a wider Russian operation to boost Trump and hurt Clinton’s chances.

It is the assessment of the intelligence community that Russia’s goal here was to favor one candidate over the other, to help Trump get elected,” said a senior U.S. official briefed on an intelligence presentation made to U.S. senators. “That’s the consensus view.”
The Obama administration has been debating for months how to respond to the alleged Russian intrusions, with White House officials concerned about escalating tensions with Moscow and being accused of trying to boost Clinton’s campaign.

These are massively disturbing allegations, but it's clear at this point that the damage to the country from revealing this information is less painful than the damage Trump would do as President.  Republicans of course are screaming, and nobody is screaming louder than the man with Putin's hands in his pocket.

In September, during a secret briefing for congressional leaders, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) voiced doubts about the veracity of the intelligence, according to officials present.

The Trump transition team dismissed the findings in a short statement issued Friday evening. “These are the same people that said Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction. The election ended a long time ago in one of the biggest Electoral College victories in history. It’s now time to move on and ‘Make America Great Again,’ ” the statement read.

Trump has consistently dismissed the intelligence community’s findings about Russian hacking.

“I don’t believe they interfered” in the election, he told Time magazine this week. The hacking, he said, “could be Russia. And it could be China. And it could be some guy in his home in New Jersey.”

Sure it was, Don.  Because it's not like your financial ties to Russia aren't common knowledge.  You know what I'm not seeing in that three-sentence "statement" from Team Trump?  Anything even remotely resembling a denial. On top of that? Mitch the Turtle and the rest of the Senate GOP also sat on their hands and did nothing. And guess what?  The CIA still thinks Russia screwed Clinton in this election.

The CIA shared its latest assessment with key senators in a closed-door briefing on Capitol Hill last week, in which agency officials cited a growing body of intelligence from multiple sources. Agency briefers told the senators it was now “quite clear” that electing Trump was Russia’s goal, according to the officials, who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss intelligence matters. 
The CIA presentation to senators about Russia’s intentions fell short of a formal U.S. assessment produced by all 17 intelligence agencies. A senior U.S. official said there were minor disagreements among intelligence officials about the agency’s assessment, in part because some questions remain unanswered.

For example, intelligence agencies do not have specific intelligence showing officials in the Kremlin “directing” the identified individuals to pass the Democratic emails to WikiLeaks, a second senior U.S. official said. Those actors, according to the official, were “one step” removed from the Russian government, rather than government employees. Moscow has in the past used middlemen to participate in sensitive intelligence operations so it has plausible deniability.

So it's all but confirmed at this point.  An official and formal declaration would international crisis, and not the good kind.  And it gets worse.

In a secure room in the Capitol used for briefings involving classified information, administration officials broadly laid out the evidence U.S. spy agencies had collected, showing Russia’s role in cyber-intrusions in at least two states and in hacking the emails of the Democratic organizations and individuals.

And they made a case for a united, bipartisan front in response to what one official described as “the threat posed by unprecedented meddling by a foreign power in our election process.”

The Democratic leaders in the room unanimously agreed on the need to take the threat seriously. Republicans, however, were divided, with at least two GOP lawmakers reluctant to accede to the White House requests.

According to several officials, McConnell raised doubts about the underlying intelligence and made clear to the administration that he would consider any effort by the White House to challenge the Russians publicly an act of partisan politics.

Some of the Republicans in the briefing also seemed opposed to the idea of going public with such explosive allegations in the final stages of an election, a move that they argued would only rattle public confidence and play into Moscow’s hands.

The White House wanted to make sure everyone was on board with this, but Mitch McConnell said no, as he has for eight years. More importantly this seriously thrown the legitimacy of Trump's win into doubt and Republicans like McConnell would have rather won with Russian help than a fair election.  Remember that.

And all of this above?  That's the shot.  Here's the chaser, from the NY Times.

American intelligence agencies have concluded with “high confidence” that Russia acted covertly in the latter stages of the presidential campaign to harm Hillary Clinton’s chances and promote Donald J. Trump, according to senior administration officials.

They based that conclusion, in part, on another finding — which they say was also reached with high confidence — that the Russians hacked the Republican National Committee’s computer systems in addition to their attacks on Democratic organizations, but did not release whatever information they gleaned from the Republican networks.

This just got potentially serious, guys.  History book serious.

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