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Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Agrees With America About Taxes
MUCH OF THE U.S. political system was flummoxed two weeks ago when a brand new 29-year-old congressperson made a seemingly radical proposal on “60 Minutes.”
Here’s what Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., said that wound everyone up: The U.S. should tax income over $10 million per year at a top rate of 60 or 70 percent.
Republicans responded by shamelessly lying about what this meant, pretending that Ocasio-Cortez was advocating a tax rate of 70 percent on all income. Some older Democrats, such as House Majority Leader Steny Hoyer and former Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, adopted the standard Democratic tactic of cowering in fear before a deceptive Republican onslaught, like abused dogs.
The hullabaloo was understandable: Ocasio-Cortez’s forthright advocacy demonstrated that American politics, against the odds, can sometimes be about what Americans want. After the “60 Minutes” episode aired, The Hill commissioned a poll that found that 59 percent of registered voters support raising the top marginal tax rate to 70 percent. The idea, The Hill wrote, even receives “a surprising amount of support among Republican voters. … 45 percent of GOP voters say they favor it.”
AOC  gov2.0  politics  congress  economics  taxes 
1 hour ago by rgl7194
The shutdown has exposed Trumponomics for what it is: a disaster | Robert Reich | Opinion | The Guardian
When the president is proud to close government and proud to slash taxes for the rich, American workers get shafted
One of the least talked-about consequences of the partial shutdown of the US government – courtesy of Donald “I’m proud to shut down the government” Trump – is its negative effect on the US economy.
Federal spending accounts for just over 20% of the total economy. When that spigot is turned halfway off, as it is now, demand for goods and services necessarily drops. The result is less investment and slower growth.
Right now some 800,000 government employees aren’t collecting paychecks. Nor are hundreds of thousands of government contractors being paid. None of them can buy as much as before.
It’s just another aspect of Trumponomics, which stands for the highly dubious proposition that prosperity comes from cutting taxes on corporations and the wealthy, while squeezing American workers – the people who do most of the buying.
A year ago, Trump and congressional Republicans predicted that their corporate tax cut would cause business investment to soar, which would lead to faster economic growth and higher wages.
gov2.0  politics  trump  shutdown  economics  GOP 
4 hours ago by rgl7194
How Ocasio-Cortez is upending the usual sexist scripts for talking about female politicians’ looks.
How Ocasio-Cortez is upending the usual sexist scripts for talking about female politicians’ looks.
In all the noise surrounding Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, much of the attention centered on her has been hostile or leering, racist or white-knighty or paparazzish—and predictably focused on her looks. While the left certainly isn’t exempt, the response from the right has been notable not just for its frenzied ubiquity, but for the gendered stink of the efforts to undermine her. NRATV’s Grant Stinchfield suggested he and his guest Jesse Kelly—who found her cute—put a picture of her up to analyze. “Could you imagine that look when she’s mad at you because you didn’t take out the trash?” he said to Kelly, who agreed that “you’d need to lose your hearing.” Red State called her a “sweetheart,” the Blaze upped that to “socialist sweetheart,” and Fox News settled for “liberal darling” when the network wasn’t painting her as a nation-busting menace. While I don’t especially recommend visiting them, the uglier corners of the internet are similarly obsessed and more frank.
This is the kind of thing that can generally sink a female politician, through zero fault of her own. Actors and reality stars can build careers on this kind of attention, but female political candidates have historically been held to conservative standards from which their white male colleagues are happily exempt, and these include attracting only the right kind of attention—unless you want to sacrifice your message to your looks. Discussion of a female politician’s appearance has long been used to automatically delegitimize her. Whether the content was flattering or cruel, the fact that her looks were discussed at all made her seem ineffective and insubstantial to the public. I’m not breaking ground here by observing that a woman’s beauty tends to subtract from her perceived seriousness; a nation socialized to objectify a subset of people doesn’t typically accord those human ornaments agency, intentionality, or depth.
politics  gov2.0  congress  AOC  sexism 
6 hours ago by rgl7194
Rudy Giuliani just admitted that Trump has been lying about collusion with Russia for the last two years
President Trump’s criminal defense lawyer just admitted that his presidential campaign illegally coordinated with the Russian government in a stunning, televised reversal.
Rudy Giuliani was a Trump campaign surrogate, who quit his law firm to be the president’s defense attorney last year. Since then, Rudy’s wacky television appearances have incriminated his client in the Stormy Daniels case and tossed the Trump campaign right under the bus.
Last night, Giuliani delivered a massive flip-flop on the topic of coordination between the Trump campaign and Putin’s regime to CNN’s Chris Cuomo: (video embedded below)
“I never said there was no collusion’ between Trump campaign and Russia,” Giuliani said.
“I said ‘the President of the United States.’ There is not a single bit of evidence the President of the United States committed the only crime you can commit here: conspiring with the Russians to hack the D.N.C.”
trump  politics  gov2.0  collusion  russia  legal 
yesterday by rgl7194
Donald Trump has been compromised by Russia - The Boston Globe
Donald Trump may or not be on the Russian government’s payroll.
He may or may not have been blackmailed by Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin.
He may or may not have actively colluded with Russia during the 2016 campaign.
But there’s one thing we know for sure: Donald Trump has been compromised by Russia.
Every day that he remains president will mean that he is putting Russia’s interests ahead of America’s.
The latest revelations that emerged this weekend in the Trump/Russia investigation only bolstered this notion. First, via The New York Times, we found out that the FBI opened a counterintelligence investigation after he fired FBI Director Jim Comey to determine if he was working on behalf of the Russian government. Then, the next day, The Washington Post revealed that Trump has gone to “extraordinary lengths” to keep the substance of his talks with Putin hidden from his own aides, “including on at least one occasion taking possession of the notes of his own interpreter and instructing the linguist not to discuss what had transpired with other administration officials.”
Both stories are, of course, blockbusters — but they aren’t all that surprising.
trump  gov2.0  politics  collusion  russia  FBI 
yesterday by rgl7194
Kremlin Watch Briefing: Borrowing Russian money has a cost
Good Old Soviet Joke
In the US, you can always find a party.
In Soviet Russia, The Party can always find you!

Following Le Pen’s money
Back in 2014, France’s far-right National Front party – which is led by Marine Le Pen, who was a candidate in the most recent presidential elections – received a €9.4 million loan from the shady First Czech-Russian Bank. The Washington Post now describes how the loan was administered, the current state of its repayment, and the negative consequences facing the National Front.
“Four years later, the bank has gone bust. The owner is facing a warrant for his arrest. Former Russian military officers are demanding money. And the party’s treasurer is sending off some $165,000 every few months to a woman in Moscow, unsure of where the payments ultimately will go.”
The National Front turned to the First Czech-Russian bank after failing to obtain a loan from French banks, which were reluctant to lend money in the aftermath of Nicolas Sarkozy’s illegal campaign funding scandal, and likely also because the National Front had trouble repaying debts in the past (in one case, it even had to sell its headquarters).
But despite ultimately obtaining the loan, the National Front has had only limited political success. Instead, the shady source of the loan dragged the party “into the shadowy underworld of Russian cross-border finance, putting it in league with people accused of having ties to Russian organized crime, money laundering and military operations.”
money  russia  propaganda  france  politics  gov2.0  corruption  banking  infographic 
2 days ago by rgl7194
Nancy Pelosi hands Donald Trump a lesson in the art of politics | US news | The Guardian
Trump delights in inventing nicknames for political adversaries but he refers to the House speaker as ‘Nancy’, a sign he may have met his match
He has come up with “Crooked Hillary”, “Little Marco”, “Lyin’ Ted”, “Crazy Bernie”, “Sloppy Steve” and “Cryin’ Chuck”. Donald Trump is the master of branding his opponents with crude names that somehow paint them into a corner. But so far one has eluded him: the woman he calls only “Nancy”.
The House speaker, Nancy Pelosi, has emerged as his nemesis, the face of opposition to the president. As a partial government shutdown enters a record fifth week, the Democrat has been implacable in denying him $5.7bn to help build a border wall. This week she out-Trumped Trump, by effectively rescinding his invitation to deliver the State of the Union address.
trump  gov2.0  politics  congress  pelosi 
2 days ago by rgl7194
Impeach Trump Now - The Atlantic
Starting the process will rein in a president who is undermining American ideals—and bring the debate about his fitness for office into Congress, where it belongs.
On january 20, 2017, Donald Trump stood on the steps of the Capitol, raised his right hand, and solemnly swore to faithfully execute the office of president of the United States and, to the best of his ability, to preserve, protect, and defend the Constitution of the United States. He has not kept that promise.
Instead, he has mounted a concerted challenge to the separation of powers, to the rule of law, and to the civil liberties enshrined in our founding documents. He has purposefully inflamed America’s divisions. He has set himself against the American idea, the principle that all of us—of every race, gender, and creed—are created equal.
This is not a partisan judgment. Many of the president’s fiercest critics have emerged from within his own party. Even officials and observers who support his policies are appalled by his pronouncements, and those who have the most firsthand experience of governance are also the most alarmed by how Trump is governing.
gov2.0  politics  trump 
2 days ago by rgl7194
Donald Trump’s 50 Most Unthinkable Moments - The Atlantic
In an October 2016 editorial, The Atlantic wrote of Donald Trump: “He is a demagogue, a xenophobe, a sexist, a know-nothing, and a liar.” We argued that Trump “expresses admiration for authoritarian rulers, and evinces authoritarian tendencies himself.” Trump, we also noted, “is easily goaded, a poor quality for someone seeking control of America’s nuclear arsenal. He is an enemy of fact-based discourse; he is ignorant of, and indifferent to, the Constitution; he appears not to read.”
In retrospect, we may be guilty of understatement.
There was a hope, in the bewildering days following the 2016 election, that the office would temper the man—that Trump, in short, would change.
He has not changed.
This week marks the midway point of Trump’s term. Like many Americans, we sometimes find the velocity of chaos unmanageable. We find it hard to believe, for example, that we are engaged in a serious debate about whether the president of the United States is a Russian-intelligence asset. So we decided to pause for a moment and analyze 50 of the most improbable, norm-bending, and destructive incidents of this presidency to date.
Our 2016 editorial was a repudiation of Donald Trump’s character as much as it was an endorsement of Hillary Clinton for president. It was not meant to be partisan. The Atlantic’s founders promised their readers that we would be “of no party or clique.” This remains a core governing principle of the magazine today. What follows is a catalog of incidents, ranked—highly subjectively!—according to both their outlandishness and their importance. In most any previous presidency, Democratic or Republican, each moment on this list would have been unthinkable.
gov2.0  politics  trump 
2 days ago by rgl7194
Trump 50: The Atlantic Editor in Chief, Jeffrey Goldberg, on Trump Presidency - The Atlantic
In a November 2016 editorial, The Atlantic warned that Donald Trump would be a threat to the republic—and a danger to democracy itself. In the course of making our case that he was unfit to command, we called him “a demagogue, a xenophobe, a sexist, a know-nothing, and a liar.”
That was an understatement, argues editor in chief Jeffrey Goldberg. In a new Atlantic Argument, Goldberg elucidates The Atlantic’s decision to analyze 50 of the most norm-bending, destructive, and improbable events of Trump’s presidency to date. “This is not a partisan exercise,” Goldberg says in the video. “Our list is comprised of incidents that we can’t imagine happening in any other presidency, Republican or Democratic.”
Read more of The Atlantic's coverage of Trump's "Unthinkable" presidency.
gov2.0  politics  trump  video 
2 days ago by rgl7194
Neoliberalism – the ideology at the root of all our problems | Books | The Guardian
Financial meltdown, environmental disaster and even the rise of Donald Trump – neoliberalism has played its part in them all. Why has the left failed to come up with an alternative?
Imagine if the people of the Soviet Union had never heard of communism. The ideology that dominates our lives has, for most of us, no name. Mention it in conversation and you’ll be rewarded with a shrug. Even if your listeners have heard the term before, they will struggle to define it. Neoliberalism: do you know what it is?
Its anonymity is both a symptom and cause of its power. It has played a major role in a remarkable variety of crises: the financial meltdown of 2007‑8, the offshoring of wealth and power, of which the Panama Papers offer us merely a glimpse, the slow collapse of public health and education, resurgent child poverty, the epidemic of loneliness, the collapse of ecosystems, the rise of Donald Trump. But we respond to these crises as if they emerge in isolation, apparently unaware that they have all been either catalysed or exacerbated by the same coherent philosophy; a philosophy that has – or had – a name. What greater power can there be than to operate namelessly?
politics  economics  gov2.0  neoliberalism 
2 days ago by rgl7194
Neoliberalism has conned us into fighting climate change as individuals | Martin Lukacs | Environment | The Guardian
Stop obsessing with how personally green you live – and start collectively taking on corporate power
Would you advise someone to flap towels in a burning house? To bring a flyswatter to a gunfight? Yet the counsel we hear on climate change could scarcely be more out of sync with the nature of the crisis.
The email in my inbox last week offered thirty suggestions to green my office space: use reusable pens, redecorate with light colours, stop using the elevator.
Back at home, done huffing stairs, I could get on with other options: change my lightbulbs, buy local veggies, purchase eco-appliances, put a solar panel on my roof.
And a study released on Thursday claimed it had figured out the single best way to fight climate change: I could swear off ever having a child.
These pervasive exhortations to individual action — in corporate ads, school textbooks, and the campaigns of mainstream environmental groups, especially in the west — seem as natural as the air we breathe. But we could hardly be worse-served.
gov2.0  politics  climate_change  capitalism  neoliberalism 
2 days ago by rgl7194
Why One of Trump’s Biggest Legal Threats Is New York’s Attorney General | FiveThirtyEight
After two years of legal wrangling, the Trump Foundation will soon be no more. Last month, in the midst of a dramatic month for cases that stem from President Trump’s pre-presidency life, a judge signed off on a plan to shutter Trump’s much-criticized personal foundation. Under the new agreement, the foundation will be dissolved under court supervision.
In effect, the deal implies that the foundation cannot be trusted to disburse its remaining $1.7 million to legitimate nonprofits. But even though the foundation is dissolving, the lawsuit against the foundation will continue, with the New York attorney general seeking damages for the foundation’s alleged “extensive and persistent violations of state and federal law,” including the illegal use of foundation money to pay off legal settlements, buy portraits of Trump, and promote Trump’s 2016 campaign.
gov2.0  politics  new_york  legal  trump  538 
2 days ago by rgl7194
The MAGA teen's mother just gave an appalling, racist defense for his actions
Americans all over the country reacted with horror and disgust at the viral video of a racist MAGA-hat wearing teenager harassing a Native American veteran during today’s Indigenous Peoples’ March.
The question on many people’s minds was how a kid so young could so proudly exude such hate, smugly secure in his presumption that there would be no consequences for his actions.
His mother’s response to a Heavy.com reporter quickly made it clear why the kid was so comfortable with racism.
trump  politics  gov2.0  KKK  racism  parenting 
2 days ago by rgl7194
‘Both Sides’ and the Decline of Public Institutions - The Atlantic
Yesterday I quoted a Foreign Service officer who is now on furlough. He described the current shutdown-induced emergency within the State Department and other agencies, but also the long-term decline in public institutions that it capped off.
Several readers complained that the FSO was indulging in “both sides-ism,” in saying that “politicians” were responsible for the decline, rather than singling out Donald Trump and Mitch McConnell. In the previous note I quoted a rebuttal to that effect.
Now the Foreign Service officer who wrote the original note responds:
I just looked at your site and saw the lengthy quote from my email.   I also saw the comment from the former Fulbrighter, as well as yours on the responsibility of Trump and McConnell for the current shutdown.
I agree with both of you.
I don’t wish in any way to draw moral or other equivalence between the Trump administration and those that came before it. In my opinion, the Trump administration has done far more damage to American democracy and the institutions that underpin it than any administration I can think of. Ever.
To make matters worse, Trump has been abetted in this wholesale destruction of our democracy by moral cowards such as Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell, people who knew from the beginning that Trump was corrupt and incompetent, yet they grinned and stood behind him in order to satisfy their own ambitions and partisan goals.
gov2.0  politics  trump  shutdown  GOP 
2 days ago by rgl7194
A 70% tax on the super-rich is more popular than Trump's tax cuts - Business Insider
After Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez floated a plan to hike marginal tax rates on the super-rich, conservatives said the proposal would be political suicide for Democrats.
But, according to an INSIDER poll, a plurality of Americans support a 70% tax rate on income over $10 million.
In fact, support for Ocasio-Cortez's proposal is higher than support for last year's Republican tax cuts.
After New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez proposed taxing income over $10 million at a 60% to 70% rate, conservatives characterized the policy as socialism and said it would gain little traction with voters.
But recent polling, including a new INSIDER poll, has found strong support for hiking marginal tax rates on the super-rich.
INSIDER asked respondents how they felt about lifting the tax rate to 70% for all income earned over $10 million, while keeping tax rates for income below the $10 million threshold at the current rates.
Overall, 38.7% supported the tax hike, while 34.4% opposed it — 13.5% of respondents said they didn't have an opinion.
AOC  congress  economics  gov2.0  politics  taxes 
2 days ago by rgl7194
Trump Must Be a Russian Agent; the Alternative Is Too Awful | WIRED
IT WOULD BE rather embarrassing for Donald Trump at this point if Robert Mueller were to declare that the president isn’t an agent of Russian intelligence.
THE PATTERN OF his pro-Putin, pro-Russia, anti-FBI, anti-intelligence community actions are so one-sided, and the lies and obfuscation surrounding every single Russian meeting and conversation are so consistent, that if this president isn’t actually hiding a massive conspiracy, it means the alternative is worse: America elected a chief executive so oblivious to geopolitics, so self-centered and personally insecure, so naturally predisposed to undermine democratic institutions and coddle authoritarians, and so terrible a manager and leader, that he cluelessly surrounded himself with crooks, grifters, and agents of foreign powers, compromising the national security of the US government and undermining 75 years of critical foreign alliances, just to satiate his own ego.
In short, we’ve reached a point in the Mueller probe where there are only two scenarios left: Either the president is compromised by the Russian government and has been working covertly to cooperate with Vladimir Putin after Russia helped win him the 2016 election—or Trump will go down in history as the world’s most famous “useful idiot,” as communists used to call those who could be co-opted to the cause without realizing it.
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  FBI  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  russia  special_counsel  trump 
2 days ago by rgl7194
Daring Fireball: Garrett Graff: 'Trump Must Be a Russian Agent; the Alternative Is Too Awful'
Garrett Graff, writing for Wired:
In short, we’ve reached a point in the Mueller probe where there are only two scenarios left: Either the president is compromised by the Russian government and has been working covertly to cooperate with Vladimir Putin after Russia helped win him the 2016 election — or Trump will go down in history as the world’s most famous “useful idiot,” as communists used to call those who could be co-opted to the cause without realizing it.
At least the former scenario — that the president of the United States is actively working to advance the interests of our country’s foremost, long-standing, traditional foreign adversary — would make him seem smarter and wilier. The latter scenario is simply a tragic farce for everyone involved.
My guess is it’s a little bit of column A and a little bit of column B — that Russia has something on Trump and he’s a useful idiot. Graff makes a good point, though — we’re still far from knowing the whole story, but we already know enough that it’s not possible for Trump to come out of this clean.
conspiracy  crime  DOJ  FBI  gov2.0  legal  mueller  politics  russia  special_counsel  trump  daring_fireball 
2 days ago by rgl7194
A 1950s Western TV Show Predicted Trump and His Border Wall | TV News | Consequence of Sound
An episode of CBS' Trackdown is an eerie example of life imitating art
The federal government remains shutdown as President Trump holds the country hostage in a bid to secure funding for his proposed border wall between the United States and Mexico. This despite the fact that the facts and data (and public opinion) are against the concept. If this whole situation has seemed too strange even for fiction, well it actually was fiction, as the whole thing was predicted long ago by 1950s television.
Trackdown, an old western series that aired on CBS, featured in 1958 an episode entitled “The End of the World”, where a con man named “Walter Trump” convinces the town of Talpa that the world will come to an end unless they let him build a border wall. Only in his version, it’s not illegal immigrants pouring over a country border, but a meteorite barreling towards Earth.
politics  gov2.0  trump  immigration  tv  50s 
3 days ago by rgl7194
Pelosi is right to say no to Trump’s speech. Because things are not normal.
Everybody hates the State of the Union. It’s long, it’s boring, and it’s quickly forgotten. But it’s also extremely important to the nation, which is exactly why it’s a good thing that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) has done this:
House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) on Wednesday asked President Trump to postpone his State of the Union address — or deliver it in writing — citing security concerns related to the partial federal government shutdown.
The suggestion, which could deny Trump an opportunity to make his case for border wall funding in a prime-time televised address, came as White House officials were urging Republican senators to hold off on signing a bipartisan letter that would call for an end to the government shutdown, now in its 26th day.
In a letter to Trump, Pelosi said the U.S. Secret Service and the Department of Homeland Security, both of which have key responsibilities for planning and implementing security at the scheduled Jan. 29 address in the House chamber, have been “hamstrung” by furloughs.
“Sadly, given the security concerns and unless government re-opens this week, I suggest that we work together to determine another suitable date after government has re-opened for this address or for you to consider delivering your State of the Union address in writing to the Congress on January 29th,” Pelosi wrote in the letter.
congress  gov2.0  pelosi  politics  speech  trump 
4 days ago by rgl7194

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