Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Last Call For Block Busted Again

Once again a federal judge has blocked Trump's Muslim ban because's a Muslim ban, and in fact the Trump regime's propaganda folks were more than happy to call it as such, so much so that the judge actually cited Trump surrogates in his ruling.

The ruling -- which applies nationwide -- means that travelers from six Muslim-majority countries and refugees will be able to travel to the US. 
The Trump administration took over a month to rewrite the travel ban order after multiple federal courts blocked its implementation last month. Unlike the previous executive order, the new one removed Iraq from the list of banned countries, exempted those with green cards and visas, and removed a provision that arguably prioritizes certain religious minorities. 
US District Court Judge Derrick Watson concluded that the new executive order still failed to pass legal muster. 
"The illogic of the Government's contentions is palpable. The notion that one can demonstrate animus toward any group of people only by targeting all of them at once is fundamentally flawed," Watson wrote. 
"Equally flawed is the notion that the Executive Order cannot be found to have targeted Islam because it applies to all individuals in the six referenced countries," Watson added. "It is undisputed, using the primary source upon which the Government itself relies, that these six countries have overwhelmingly Muslim populations that range from 90.7% to 99.8%." 
"It would therefore be no paradigmatic leap to conclude that targeting these countries likewise targets Islam," Watson added. "Certainly, it would be inappropriate to conclude, as the Government does, that it does not."

 The full ruling is brutal as hell, basically.

The more important point is that the judge basically said that the unconstitutional part of the original Trump executive order was not remedied at all by the "revised" order.  It's still intended to discriminate specifically against Muslims, period.

So yeah, it's blocked.  Trump is already screaming about "judicial overreach" again.  Too bad.

Terminal Trumpcare, Con't

GOP House Speaker Paul Ryan isn't taking the the fall for Trumpcare by himself.  On the contrary, he's going to bring the rest of the GOP along with him for the log flume ride on the River Styx.  Ryan spoke this morning on FOX Business:

House Speaker Paul Ryan is stressing that President Donald Trump had a hand in writing the beleaguered health care overhaul that Republican leaders hope to push through his chamber next week. 
The Wisconsin Republican says there is room for “improvements and refinements.” But he says its major components will stay “intact” because the measure’s House GOP authors wrote it with Trump and Senate Republicans
Ryan’s comments Wednesday come as GOP leaders struggle to dampen internal opposition to the measure. Party leaders hope Trump’s support will help them nail down votes.

And of course there's a reason everyone's running away screaming from Trumpcare on Capitol Hill: American voters absolutely hate it.

PPP's newest national poll finds that there is very little support for the American Health Care Act. Only 24% of voters support it, to 49% who are opposed. Even among Republican voters only 37% are in favor of the proposal to 22% who are against it, and 41% who aren't sure one way or another. Democrats (15/71) and independents (22/49) are more unified in their opposition to the bill than Republicans are in favor of it. 
The Affordable Care Act continues to post some of the best numbers it's ever seen, with 47% of voters in favor of it to 39% who are opposed. When voters are asked whether they'd have rather have the Affordable Care Act or the American Health Care Act in place, the Affordable Care Act wins by 20 points at 49/29. Just 32% of voters think the best path forward with the Affordable Care Act is to repeal it and start over, while 63% think it would be better to keep what works in it and fix what doesn't. 
When Jason Chaffetz said people might have to choose between an iPhone and having health insurance, he was actually speaking for a majority of the party base. 57% of Trump voters think that's a choice people should have to make, to only 29% who think it's not. But virtually no one would actually pick an iPhone over health care if that was the pick they were presented with- only 5% would go with the phone, to 85% who would choose health care.

Just 24%?  This is a minefield of landmines made of smaller, more dangerous landmines, and Trump's selling pogo sticks for profit. Even Republicans hate this thing, 37%? C'mon.  The GOP is going to get eviscerated in 2018 over this and they damn well know it.

So who's going to take the fall for Trumpcare?  Hopefully, all of the GOP, should it pass.  That's still possible, but I'm thinking Ryan doesn't have the votes. Even if he does, Mitch won't have them in the Senate, not for the House bill as is.

Then the fun really begins.

Taxation And Misrepresentation

So somebody dropped off two pages of Donald Trump's 2005 tax returns in reporter David Cay Johnston's mailbox last week, and yesterday he went on Rachel Maddow to talk about the story.

In 2005, Donald J. Trump married model Melanija Knavs, his third wife. That year, the real-estate mogul and newly minted TV star earned $153 million dollars, about $3 million a week. That’s far more than all but a tiny sliver of the U.S. population.

The newlyweds paid $36.6 million of that year’s take in federal income taxes, a rate of 24%, putting the Trumps in much the same tax league as any other two-earner professional couple making about $400,000 a year.

Or to put it another way, Donald Trump was paid that year like a member of the 0.001%, but he paid taxes like the 99%. And by at least one measure, he paid like the bottom 50%.

DCReport has obtained Donald Trump’s Form 1040 federal tax return for 2005. There’s no smoking gun there, no obvious evasion, but clearly some bending of the tax laws almost to the breaking point. The document offers a rare glimpse at how a super wealthy couple can manipulate and manage our complex tax laws to reduce their obligations far below rates paid by typical salaried professionals or even blue-collar wage earners.

The White House confirmed the authenticity of the tax returns. “Despite this substantial income figure and tax paid,” the White House said in a statement, “the dishonest media can continue to make this part of their agenda, while the President will focus on his, which includes tax reform that will benefit all Americans.”

Trump’s lawyers have said that any audit of the 2005 tax return is now closed. However, the president has made it clear, since he took office, that he has no intention of making public his tax returns.

When Maddow tweeted about the tax return story last evening to preview her show, the White House responded within minutes that Trump had paid $36.5 million in taxes on $153 million in income in 2005.

In other words, instead of a series of ranting tweets from Trump himself or a garbage statement from a confused spokesperson with no credibility, this notoriously sloppy and disorganized White House had a response prepared and ready.

They knew this story was coming.

The question is why this is so important to the Trump regime.

Now, the story itself is something of a letdown, as there's no smoking gun.  But we now know Trump certainly isn't a billionaire as he's claimed. We now know in 2005 most of his income wasn't recurring, but from the sale of distressed real estate holdings.  We now know that the Alternative Minimum Tax nailed Trump to the wall in 2005, otherwise he would have paid only around $5 million in taxes instead of $36.5 million, explaining why he's campaigned to eliminate the AMT entirely.

To make the mystery more interesting, the ranting Trump tweets came this morning, with Trump accusing the Pulitzer-winning Johnston of being a "nobody" and the tax returns of being fake...12 hours after his own White House staff confirmed them as true last night to reporters.

I'm not sure 100% what's going on here.  I have some theories: Trump released them himself and is trolling the media, Bannon did this to distract the country from Trumpcare, a Trump staffer caught wind and leaked them out of spite, Donald Jr. thinks he's a supervillain now and tested the waters, or somebody else has all the tax returns and is slow-dripping the feed.

All I know is we know more than we did yesterday about Trump's finances.

I'm betting we find out a lot more.


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