Tag Archives: Neo-Confederate Kleptocracy

The Administrative State

In case you missed this bit of Sunday fluff:

Giants in telecommunications, like Verizon and AT&T, will not have to take “reasonable measures” to ensure that their customers’ Social Security numbers, web browsing history and other personal information are not stolen or accidentally released.

Wall Street banks like Goldman Sachs and JPMorgan Chase will not be punished, at least for now, for not collecting extra money from customers to cover potential losses from certain kinds of high-risk trades that helped unleash the 2008 financial crisis.

And Social Security Administration data will no longer be used to try to block individuals with disabling mental health issues from buying handguns, nor will hunters be banned from using lead-based bullets, which can accidentally poison wildlife, on 150 million acres of federal lands.

These are just a few of the more than 90 regulations that federal agencies and the Republican-controlled Congress have delayed, suspended or reversed in the month and a half since President Trump took office, according to a tally by The New York Times.

The emerging effort — dozens more rules could be eliminated in the coming weeks — is one of the most significant shifts in regulatory policy in recent decades. It is the leading edge of what Stephen K. Bannon, Mr. Trump’s chief strategist, described late last month as “the deconstruction of the administrative state.”

A close reading reveals these rapidly disappearing regulations were put forth in order to protect the citizenry, e.g. you, me…the Deplorables.

Ah, the Deplorables. Thanks, guys. 1

Show 1 footnote

  1. And you, too, Russia! Oh, and the Koch brothers’ funded rightwing groups that perpetuated ReThug gerrymandering throughout the land, as well as restricting voter rights: Excellent job, folks!

Police Union Busting

How close is America to becoming a neo-confederate Kleptocracy?

Well, at least in Tennessee, business owners now have the police doing their union-busting; no need to hire a traditional thug when the cops will bust those heads for you.

Police claimed they had “authorization from the president of McDonald’s” to arrest protesting fast food workers, according to a civil rights lawsuit filed on Wednesday against the city of Memphis, Tennessee.

The suit alleges that local police engaged in a “widespread and illegal campaign of surveillance and intimidation” against a local chapter of the Fight for $15 fast-food worker organization as it campaigned for an increase in the minimum wage and union rights for fast food workers.

Officers followed organizers home after meetings, ordered workers not to sign petitions and blacklisted organizers from city hall, according to the suit. They claimed to have been authorized by McDonald’s, the world’s largest fast food chain, and in one incident a McDonald’s franchisee joined police in tailing protesters.

The suit alleges that a campaign of harassment began after Memphis workers participated in a nationwide day of protest on 4 September 2014. Since then, police officers have repeatedly threatened workers with arrest during protests, at one point telling them they had “authorization from the president of McDonald’s to make arrests”. On “multiple occasions” officers “seemed to take direction from McDonald’s”, the complaint charges.

Last November, police officers stepped behind the counter of a fast-food restaurant to prevent workers from signing petitions calling for better working conditions, the protesters’ lawyers claim. They also allege that officers have enforced local permit laws on the predominantly black workers in the Fight for $15, while allowing protests by mostly white crowds to continue unabated.

The suit, brought against the city, Mayor James Strickland and the police director, Michael Rallings, alleges that the police have violated a 1978 consent decree that banned political surveillance following revelations the department had spied on civil rights activists, war protesters and other “radicals” for years.

McDonald’s was not immediately available for comment. The Memphis mayor’s office declined to comment on “pending litigation”.

We expect the Mickey D folks probably also did not abide by the DoL’s “persuader rule.”

Police Union Busting

Shocked, I Tell You!

WASHINGTON (AP) — White House chief of staff Reince Priebus asked a top FBI official to dispute media reports that President Donald Trump’s campaign advisers were frequently in touch with Russian intelligence agents during the election, a White House official said.

Oooh! Shades of the Nixon White House! And just barely over a month into what promises to be a thoroughly venal and corrupt administration. Tell me more!

The official said that Priebus’ request came as the White House sought to discredit a New York Times report about the contacts last week. As of Thursday, the FBI had not commented publicly on the report and there was no indication it planned to.

The New York Times reported that U.S. agencies had intercepted phone calls last year between Russian intelligence officials and members of Trump’s 2016 campaign team.

Wait: The New York Times? isn’t that “fake news”? Why should Reince care? 1 We thought this administration didn’t listen to “fake news”?

Priebus’ discussion with FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe sparked outrage among some Democrats, who said that the chief of staff was violating policies intended to limit communications between the law enforcement agency and the White House on pending investigations.

“The White House is simply not permitted to pressure the FBI to make public statements about a pending investigation of the president and his advisers,” said Michigan Rep. John Conyers, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee.

…said a whole bunch of stupid Dims who apparently forgot that OMP and His Henchmen did just that throughout the entirety of his campaign.

The White House official would not comment when asked if the administration was concerned about the appropriateness of Priebus’ communications with McCabe…

Of course not, for the simple reason that ol’ Reincey’s request was not only unethical, it prolly also violates some law that disallows government officials to request other government official’s not tell, you know…the truth. Or more baldly – to ask a government official to lie.

We suspect our prediction of the OMP White House outstripping the Raygun White House for sheer criminality has already come to pass. It’s just going to be a while before it all comes to light… 2

Shocked, I Tell You!

Show 2 footnotes

  1. And, really, what sort of parents name their son “Reince”? Parents who want their son beaten up daily at school, that’s who.
  2. We expect the first (of many) “grab ’em by the pussy and tell” publications before the year is out; there will be too many dismissed & disaffected OMP minions for it not to occur. And the first of these will command top Americanos. The only question is who will spill the golden pee first: Conway? Reincey? Or someone else? We’re considering a pool…

Already Compromised

How things are heating up between the White House and the spooks is evidenced by a new report that the CIA has denied a security clearance to one of Flynn’s acolytes. Rob Townley, a former Marine intelligence officer selected to head up the NSC’s Africa desk, was denied a clearance to see Sensitive Compartmented Information (which is required to have access to SIGINT in particular). Why Townley’s SCI was turned down isn’t clear—it could be over personal problems or foreign ties—but the CIA’s stand has been privately denounced by the White House, which views this as a vendetta against Flynn. That the Townley SCI denial was reportedly endorsed by Mike Pompeo, the new CIA director selected by Trump himself, only adds to the pain.

There is more consequential IC pushback happening, too. Our spies have never liked Trump’s lackadaisical attitude toward the President’s Daily Brief, the most sensitive of all IC documents, which the new commander-in-chief has received haphazardly. The president has frequently blown off the PDB altogether, tasking Flynn with condensing it into a one-page summary with no more than nine bullet-points. Some in the IC are relieved by this, but there are pervasive concerns that the president simply isn’t paying attention to intelligence.

In light of this, and out of worries about the White House’s ability to keep secrets, some of our spy agencies have begun withholding intelligence from the Oval Office. Why risk your most sensitive information if the president may ignore it anyway? A senior National Security Agency official explained that NSA was systematically holding back some of the “good stuff” from the White House, in an unprecedented move. For decades, NSA has prepared special reports for the president’s eyes only, containing enormously sensitive intelligence. In the last three weeks, however, NSA has ceased doing this, fearing Trump and his staff cannot keep their best SIGINT secrets.

Since NSA provides something like 80 percent of the actionable intelligence in our government, what’s being kept from the White House may be very significant indeed. However, such concerns are widely shared across the IC, and NSA doesn’t appear to be the only agency withholding intelligence from the administration out of security fears.

What’s going on was explained lucidly by a senior Pentagon intelligence official, who stated that “since January 20, we’ve assumed that the Kremlin has ears inside the SITROOM,” meaning the White House Situation Room, the 5,500 square-foot conference room in the West Wing where the president and his top staffers get intelligence briefings. “There’s not much the Russians don’t know at this point,” the official added in wry frustration.

None of this has happened in Washington before. A White House with unsettling links to Moscow wasn’t something anybody in the Pentagon or the Intelligence Community even considered a possibility until a few months ago. Until Team Trump clarifies its strange relationship with the Kremlin, and starts working on its professional honesty, the IC will approach the administration with caution and concern.

Seriously, between the most recent disclosures concerning the OMP‘s White House, and the earliest hint of treason from the Panama Papers, this news should be sufficient reason to start impeachment hearings.

What are we waiting for – it isn’t going to get any better, folks.

Wake up.

Corruption and Incompetence

Corruption and Incompetence

Washington (CNN) – For the first time, US investigators say they have corroborated some of the communications detailed in a 35-page dossier compiled by a former British intelligence agent, multiple current and former US law enforcement and intelligence officials tell CNN. As CNN first reported then-President-elect Donald Trump and President Barack Obama were briefed on the existence of the dossier prior to Trump’s inauguration.

None of the newly learned information relates to the salacious allegations in the dossier. Rather it relates to conversations between foreign nationals. The dossier details about a dozen conversations between senior Russian officials and other Russian individuals. Sources would not confirm which specific conversations were intercepted or the content of those discussions due to the classified nature of US intelligence collection programs.

But the intercepts do confirm that some of the conversations described in the dossier took place between the same individuals on the same days and from the same locations as detailed in the dossier, according to the officials. CNN has not confirmed whether any content relates to then-candidate Trump.

The corroboration, based on intercepted communications, has given US intelligence and law enforcement “greater confidence” in the credibility of some aspects of the dossier as they continue to actively investigate its contents, these sources say.

Reached for comment this afternoon, White House Press Secretary Sean Spicer said, “We continue to be disgusted by CNN’s fake news reporting.”

Spicer later called back and said, “This is more fake news. It is about time CNN focused on the success the President has had bringing back jobs, protecting the nation, and strengthening relationships with Japan and other nations. The President won the election because of his vision and message for the nation.”

In case you’ve forgotten, the dossier was commissioned by Jeb “I’m the Smart One!” Bush during the ReThug primaries, NOT some malicious Dem operative. In part the document featured allegations that OMP lay back and watched while Russian prostitutes urinated on a bed that President Obama and his wife had slept in previously.

The most salient points of this update is the fact that intelligence and law enforcement officials’ investigation is ongoing. Which is to say it is just a matter of time before the компрометирующий материал Russia has on Trump is revealed and we can start the impeachment procedings.

Corruption and Incompetence

Weiße Menschen über alle!

Remember when Our Manchurian President vowed last year to “take care of our African-American people”? 1 Well, it looks like he’s taking a first step in that direction. Sort of…

The Trump administration wants to revamp and rename a U.S. government program designed to counter all violent ideologies so that it focuses solely on Islamist extremism, five people briefed on the matter told Reuters.

The program, “Countering Violent Extremism,” or CVE, would be changed to “Countering Islamic Extremism” or “Countering Radical Islamic Extremism,” the sources said, and would no longer target groups such as white supremacists who have also carried out bombings and shootings in the United States.

So, there you go African-Americans; don’t say Our Manchurian President never did anything to for you. 2
Weiße Menschen über alle!

Show 2 footnotes

  1. A reminder for Our Manchurian President: I never got mine. Is there like a registry or something where I could go and pick one up?
  2. And those 900-odd hate crimes nation-wide since last November? Surely they’re just some weird outlier, n’est-ce pas?

Can’t Make This Shit Up

(Update: Hidy, Crooks and Liars readers who’ve landed here via Mike’s Blog Round-up. And a tip o’ the hat to Mock Paper Sissors for the nod; deeply appreciated.)

Supreme Court Justice nominee Neil Gorsuch founded and led a student group called the ‘Fascism Forever Club’ at his elite high school, DailyMail.com can reveal.

The club was set up to rally against the ‘left-wing tendencies’ of his professors while attending a Jesuit all-boys preparatory high school near Washington D.C.

The name may be inconvenient for a Supreme Court nominee facing a tough confirmation battle. However it also shows the depth of Gorscuch’s right-wing credentials – and his penchant for mischief while attending his exclusive prep school in the 1980s.

[Our Manchurian president] nominated Gorsuch, a 49-year-old U.S. appellate judge, to replace the late Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia on Tuesday.

Gorsuch founded the ‘Fascism Forever Club’ during his freshman year at Georgetown Preparatory, a now-$30,000-a-year private Jesuit school that is one of the most selective in the United States.

He served as president until he graduated in 1985, according to his senior yearbook.

Sweet Jebus, what a  ¡pendejo! Seriously, you just can’t make this shit up.

This should be a give me for the Dems: No vote, baaaaaaby! Same goes for cloture.

Of course what will happen is one or more of the Dems will bail, their spines once again suddenly failing.

And people still wonder why Sanders was so popular…

The Day After

Demolition Derby

We’re a week into the Trump administration and it’s pretty obvious what he’s up to. First, Donald Trump is running a demolition derby: He wants to demolish everything he doesn’t like, and he doesn’t like a lot, especially when it comes to government.

Like one of those demolition drivers on a speedway, he keeps ramming his vehicle against all the others, especially government policies and programs and agencies that protect people who don’t have his wealth, power or privilege. Affordable health care for working people? Smash it. Consumer protection against predatory banks and lenders? Run over it. Rules and regulations that rein in rapacious actors in the market? Knock ‘em down. Fair pay for working people? Crush it. And on and on.

Trump came to Washington to tear the government down for parts, and as far as we can tell, he doesn’t seem to have anything at all in mind to replace it except turning back the clock to when business took what it wanted and left behind desperate workers, dirty water and polluted air.

In this demolition derby, Trump seems to have the wholehearted support of the Republican Party, which loathes government as much as it worships the market as god. Remember Thomas Frank’s book, The Wrecking Crew? Published in 2008, it remains one of the best political books of the past quarter-century. Frank took the measure of an unholy alliance: the century-old business crusade against government, the conservative ideology that looks on government as evil (except when it’s enriching its allies), and the Republican Party of George W. Bush and Karl Rove– the one that had just produced eight years of crony capitalism and private plunder.

The Wrecking Crew– and what an apt title it was– showed how federal agencies were doomed to failure by the incompetence and hostility of the Bush gang appointed to run them, the same model Trump is using now. Frank tracked how wholesale deregulation– on a scale Trump already is trying to reproduce– led to devastating results for everyday people, including the mortgage meltdown and the financial crash. Reading the book is like reading today’s news, as kleptomaniacs spread across Washington to funnel billions of dollars into the pockets of lobbyists and corporations.

The rest of Moyer’s article is a must read.

Secondary reading should also include Jane Mayer’s Dark Matter.

And of course you should be stopping by this site daily.

Wake up, people.

Demolition Derby

The Death of Reaganism*

“In [Our Manchurian President’s] speech, there are just two uncorrupted actors: the people and the president. The only thing that [Our Manchurian President] asks of citizens is to support him. So this really leaves only one actor who actually acts — a leader who claims to embody the general will. When [Our Manchurian President] asserts, “We will bring back our jobs. We will bring back our borders. We will bring back our wealth,” who is the “we”? It is the “forgotten men and women” and the single leader who has not forgotten them.

In this light, [Our Manchurian President’s] announcement of “the hour of action” has an ominous ring. He demonstrates no respect for norms of presidential magnanimity and self-restraint. He has declared that his “oath of allegiance” was taken “to all Americans” rather than to the Constitution. He is impatient with a corrupt and paralyzed legislature. And he has claimed a general mandate to interpret and pursue his vision of the people’s interests. In the past, we have, I have, been mistaken to discount and downplay the plain meaning of [Our Manchurian President’s] words. The oath of office has turned a laughable Putin imitation into to a very real concern.” * 1

The Death of Reaganism

Show 1 footnote

  1. It is wishful thinking on the WaPo‘s part to believe Reaganism has died; if anything, Our Manchurian President intends to revive, indeed has already revived, the most reviled aspects of that discredited philosophy. However, if the WaPo means that Reaganism will be wholly appropriated, to the extent that future historians rename the malignancy Trumpism, then we are in agreement.

We the People

We, the People...

That’s right: Where ARE those tax returns, Mr. President?

For the moment at least, the White House’s We, the People… petition site is still online. The top petition calls for the President to immediately release all his tax returns. And the day it went online it exceeded the 100,000 signatures necessary to garner a response from the White House.

Feel free to add your own John Henry. 1 2

We the People

Show 2 footnotes

  1. Though please remember; Our Manchurian President intends –if he hasn’t already started– to keep an enemies list that would shame Nixon’s.
  2. Also? Well known liar and Our Manchurian President’s Senior Advisor Kellyanne Conway this morning told America ‘Fuck you; we ain’t releasing no tax reruns.’