Pruitt: Bible says ‘harvest the natural resources’

Feb 23, 2018

By Timothy Cama

Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Scott Pruitt said his desire to use the Earth’s resources like oil and coal is grounded in the Bible.

In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network published Thursday, Pruitt spoke about how his Christian views inform his views on the environment and environmental policy.

“The biblical world view with respect to these issues is that we have a responsibility to manage and cultivate, harvest the natural resources that we’ve been blessed with to truly bless our fellow mankind,” he told CBN’s David Brody.

Trump’s top environmental regulator, who has overseen aggressive rollbacks of rules on greenhouse gases, air pollution, water pollution, chemicals and more, also tied religion into his ongoing criticisms of left-wing environmentalists. He accuses them of wanting to shut down drilling and other resource development.

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73 comments on “Pruitt: Bible says ‘harvest the natural resources’

  • @OP – Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) head Scott Pruitt
    said his desire to use the Earth’s resources like oil and coal is grounded in the Bible.

    What else would we expect from a science illiterate, ridiculously appointed and employed, in a post so far out of his depth!

    In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network published Thursday,

    Especially as a deluded faith-head, seeking applause from an audience of fundamentalist deluded faith-heads!

    Pruitt spoke about how his Christian views inform his views on the environment and environmental policy.

    Yep! Gapology 1.01! Pig ignorant of ALL the real issues established by science, so look it up for an “ink-blot-interpretation”, in the bronze-age Bible!

    In its many versions, interpretations, and contradictory texts!

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  • These phony christofascists are good at cherrypicking from the Bible to suit their agenda; they think that tying their policy choices to ‘god’s word’ gives them unanswerable authority. Barry Goldwater put it so presciently decades ago :

    “Mark my word, if and when these preachers get control of the [Republican] party, and they’re sure trying to do so, it’s going to be a terrible damn problem. Frankly, these people frighten me. Politics and governing demand compromise. But these Christians believe they are acting in the name of God, so they can’t and won’t compromise. I know, I’ve tried to deal with them.”

    It could be pointed out that harvesting the energy of the Sun, the wind, and the tides is equally available and a lot less toxic, but those industries haven’t been bankrolling this charlatan’s career like the Oil and Coal lobbies have been. In the short term, one can of course throw some alternate quotes right back at him :

    Numbers 35:33
    You shall not pollute the land in which you live,

    Jeremiah 2:7 And I brought you into a plentiful land to enjoy its
    fruits and its good things. But when you came in, you defiled my
    land and made my heritage an abomination

    Ezekiel 34:18 Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture,
    that you must tread down with your feet the rest of your pasture;
    and to drink of clear water, that you must muddy the rest of the
    water with your feet?

    As we on this forum know full well, the Bible can tell anyone anything they want to hear.

    This whack-job also claimed his Christianity informed his decision to work in government and his views of how government should work : “I spent a couple years just earnestly praying (!), asking the question that I don’t think we ask enough: ‘God, what do you want to do with me?’
    It was actually Isaiah chapter one that I was reading through at that time that really spoke to my heart, specifically, in the latter part of chapter one where God says to Israel, ‘I will restore your leaders as in the days of old, your judges as at the beginning.’ And there was just a desire that welled up in me to say, ‘I want to be like those leaders that we had at our founding, at the inception of our country.’”

    Somehow, I think Thomas Jefferson would have been less than impressed.

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  • @OP – “The biblical world view with respect to these issues is that we have a responsibility to manage and cultivate, harvest the natural resources that we’ve been blessed with to truly bless our fellow mankind,”

    Yeah! I mean a “biblical world view” – through the delusion goggles of “Republican faith”, could not possibly associate such a responsibility, with sustainable agriculture, health, or harvesting solar, wind, geothermal or tidal power!

    Trump’s top environmental regulator,
    who has overseen aggressive rollbacks of rules on greenhouse gases,
    air pollution, water pollution, chemicals and more,

    We need to understand that he has faith in the Exxon-Koch version of THE Bible, where chapter one says “Thou shalt mine coal and shall not heed the pollution”, while verse 2 says, “verily thou shalt also drill for oil”, so that thou shalt be able to pose in thy stretch-limmo and executive jet, as an important leader of men, before the multitudes of conspicuous consumption worshippers!

    also tied religion into his ongoing criticisms of left-wing environmentalists.
    He accuses them of wanting to shut down drilling and other resource development.

    Yeah! that “lefty badge” is an important propagandist attachment to any science or factual reporting, which refutes Trumpy policies of environmental abuse or personal greed!
    After all, those “creationist-educated” Trumpies, KNOW that science has political labels, and only “Christian Republican approved science” is valid! 🙂

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  • It all goes to show that Trump hires ‘the best people’. To double down on this, he has of course made ‘Friends and Family’ an essential qualification for office :

    Daughter Ivanka Trump, responsible for promoting the role of women (and her Asian-made fashion line).

    Ivanka husband Jared Kushner responsible for everything from Middle East peace to reinventing government.

    John Dunkin, Trump’s personal pilot, nominated to run the $16 billion, 47,000-person Federal Aviation Administration.

    Dan Scavino, Trump’s onetime golf caddie, now White House director of social media.

    Hope Hicks, a former model who helped with Ivanka’s fashion line, now the White House communications director.

    Keith Schiller, Trump’s former bodyguard, first head of Oval Office operations and now a $15,000-a-month security consultant to the Republican National Committee.

    Lynne Patton, who among other things planned Eric Trump’s wedding, now a senior official at the Department of Housing and Urban Development.

    Steve Kopec, a home improvement contractor married to a former Trump domestic staff member, now a special assistant with the Environmental Protection Agency, according to Politico.

    Linda McMahon, professional wrestling magnate and Trump friend, now Small Business Administration chief.

    Robin Bernstein, Trump friend and a founding member of Trump’s Mar-a-Lago, named to be ambassador to the Dominican Republic.

    Boris Epshteyn, a friend of Eric Trump from Georgetown University, named a White House spokesman (before moving to a job in TV).

    Kyle Yunaska, Eric’s brother-in-law, named to a senior Energy Department job.

    Stephanie Winston Wolkoff, longtime friend of Melania Trump, given $26 million for ‘help with the inauguration’.

    Nepotism? What nepotism?

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  • rogeroney #4
    Feb 27, 2018 at 9:28 pm

    Ivanka husband – Jared Kushner responsible for everything from Middle East peace to reinventing government.

    Zionist representative in the White house?? – Who, like others, it seems has never had full security clearance, and will now only have restricted access to secret information!

    President Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner has had his White House security clearance downgraded, US media are reporting.

    Mr Kushner, a senior adviser to the president, had been receiving top-level security briefings.

    However, background checks into Mr Kushner had still not been completed, so he had interim clearance only.

    He and other White House aides who have yet to receive permanent clearance will not now get top-level briefings.

    Do ideological Trumpies take any notice of, or place any value on professional briefings from those “mainstream organisations”??

    Mr Kushner, who is married to Mr Trump’s daughter Ivanka, had access to the President’s Daily Brief, a secret intelligence report.

    Trump may now have to read the President’s Daily Brief, for himself – if he can be bothered or can concentrate for long enough!

    The moves were confirmed by Mr Kushner’s lawyer to Politico, and by two unnamed officials to the Reuters news agency.

    Politico reported that the 37-year-old was informed of the decision on Friday.

    Politico quoted Mr Kushner’s lawyer Abbe Lowell as saying that it would “not affect Mr Kushner’s ability to continue to do the very important work he has been assigned by the president”.

    Meanwhile, the Washington Post reported that Mr Kushner’s contacts with certain foreign government officials have raised concerns with the White House.

    The newspaper, citing current and former US officials familiar with intelligence reports on the matter, reported that officials in the United Arab Emirates, China, Israel and Mexico have privately discussed ways in which they could take advantage of Mr Kushner and his business arrangements.

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  • @OP – In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network published Thursday, Pruitt spoke about how his Christian views inform his views on the environment and environmental policy.

    It seems that even in some third-world countries, faith is recognised as no substitute for scientifically regulated practicalities or environmental consideration for neighbours!

    About 700 churches have been closed down in Rwanda for failing to comply with building regulations and for noise pollution.

    Most of them are small Pentecostal churches. One mosque was also closed.

    A government official told the BBC that some of the more than 700 buildings shut down have already reopened after they were approved by inspectors.

    Some are massive, attracting thousands of worshippers each Sunday, but others consist of tiny structures built without planning permission.

    Church leaders have at times been criticised for using loud public address systems to attract worshippers.

    So dangerous buildings and no regard for noise disturbing neighbours!

    Pentecostal churches, often run by charismatic preachers claiming to be able to perform miracles, have grown rapidly in many parts of Africa in recent years.

    According to a proposed new law, all preachers must have theological training before opening a church.

    While efforts at education should be encouraged, I’m not sure if this will help much! 🙂

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  • Alan4discussion #5
    Feb 28, 2018 at 5:45 am

    Politico quoted Mr Kushner’s lawyer Abbe Lowell as saying that it would “not affect Mr Kushner’s ability to continue to do the very important work he has been assigned by the president”.

    I’m also fairly sure it won’t affect Kushner’s ability to do his job because he’s obviously massively out of his depth and unable to do much regardless of whether he gets top secret briefings or not.

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  • To update on #4,

    a day after giving evidence to the House Intelligence Committee in which she admitted that working for President Trump required her to tell lies in her role as White House communications director, former model Hope Hicks has announced her resignation, allegedly “entirely voluntary and under consideration for some time” according to the entirely truthful White House.

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  • Arkrid Sandwich #7
    Feb 28, 2018 at 3:24 pm

    I’m also fairly sure it won’t affect Kushner’s ability to do his job because he’s obviously massively out of his depth and unable to do much regardless of whether he gets top secret briefings or not.

    You are probably right, that that will cramp his style in the public job he was probably failing at in the first place, – but not half as much as the clearance investigations are going to cramp his style on those illegally undeclared off-the-record meetings’ and “great deals”, to promote his own and the Trump-family-business!

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  • In “harvesting resources”, you reap what you sow!

    Having tried and failed to impose ridiculous tariffs on Bombardier aircraft on behalf of Boeing, I see Trump is now having another attempt at kicking off a trade war with much of the world! – probably in seeking applause from his fan-base in the US rust belts!

    The main trading partners of the US have reacted angrily after President Donald Trump announced plans to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports.

    Canada and the EU said they would bring forward their own countermeasures to the steep new tariffs.

    Mexico, China and Brazil have also said they are weighing up retaliatory steps.

    Mr Trump tweeted that the US had been “decimated by unfair trade and bad policy”. He said steel imports would face a 25% tariff and aluminium 10%.

    However, critics argue that the tariffs would fail to protect American jobs and would ultimately put up prices for consumers.

    President Trump ordered an investigation into the industry last April under a clause of a 1962 law, which grants the White House authority to restrict imports in the face of a national security threat.

    The Commerce Department report found that imports were harming the domestic steel and aluminium industries, and could affect the defence industry, the Washington Post reported.

    To portray routine industrial trade as an urgent a national security threat as a pretext for protectionism, is ridiculous!

    The decision on imposing tariffs rests with the President and does not need Congressional approval.

    European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker said the tariffs would put thousands of European jobs at risk.

    “We will not sit idly while our industry is hit with unfair measures,” he said. “The EU will react firmly and commensurately to defend our interests.”

    In Canada, the largest supplier of steel and aluminium to the US, trade minister Francois-Philippe Champagne said any tariffs would be “unacceptable”.

    Minister of Foreign Affairs Chrystia Freeland said Canada would take “responsive measures” if restrictions were imposed but did not give details.

    Richard Warren, head of policy at the UK Steel trade association, said the proposed hike would have a “significant impact” on the UK, as the US accounts for about 15% of UK steel exports.

    Brazil, also a large steel exporter to the US, threatened “multilateral or bilateral” action to protect its interests

    Australia’s trade minister Steven Ciobo said the imposition of such tariffs would distort trade “and ultimately… lead to a loss of jobs”

    Germany’s steel industry federation, WV Stahl, said the US measures violated the rules of the World Trade Organization and would have a major impact on Germany’s steel market

    Clearly Trump does not believe in following rules or honouring agreements!

    I wonder how long it will take for US manufacturers to be forced to raise prices, run out of basic steel and aluminium and reduce production, or become uncompetitive with foreign competition!

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  • @#10 – I see Trump is now having
    another attempt at kicking off a trade war with much of the world!

    US President Donald Trump has said “trade wars are good”, amid controversy over his decision to impose tariffs on steel and aluminium imports.

    He tweeted that the US was “losing billions of dollars on trade” and would find a trade war “easy to win”.

    Canada and the EU said they would bring forward their own countermeasures. Mexico, China and Brazil have also said they are considering retaliatory steps.

    Critics argue that the tariffs would fail to protect American jobs and would ultimately put up prices for consumers.

    There are very few winners, if any, in wars, and there are many losers!

    . . . But hey! If Trump gets some applause from his fan-base – who cares? 🙂

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  • Hello everyone,
    It has been a long time!! I read you guys all the time but am less available to comment these days.
    Anyway, years and years ago I wrote about my opinion on our office of “president”. My exact words are lost but I said something to the effect of, “a chimpanzee with a dart board could be our president and we’d be no worse off than we have been with any modern president”.

    Now, we see a sub-chimp intellect, surrounded by sub chimp incompetents, and we are amidst a wild, ridiculous, tumultuous term in office.

    But, and here’s my point…. My life is simply the same. I still go to work. I still worry about the same stuff I worried about and I am still so so so unimpressed with every single greedy no good politician (which is ALL OF THEM — on both sides). None of this is surprising. None of it is even alarming anymore.

    I would love to see a third party– the “fuck you” party. I’ll found it and every time I encounter a money grabbing, industry bought and paid for politician that opens their mouth, I’ll say “fuck you”.

    I’ll say it to Republicans. I’ll say it to Democrats. Libertarians, Independents…. all of them.
    All that any of them are concerned with is themselves. Re-election, war chests, money, money, money… Their kids all go to private schools and they have the best health care, while they vote against schools and healthcare — all of them.

    SO when one of these “profit whores” finds a justification for their plundering, who is surprised?

    history will remember these people as the cancer that felled the great United States of America.
    The experiment seems to be near the end and they are engaged in the money grab as the ship goes down, literally looting our country.

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  • Yay! Crooked! Maybe a little less available, but amped up to eleven. This is good!

    Crony politics and crony capitalism, the beating, raddled heart of a thriving kleptocracy.

    “Liberty for all”, but most for the highest bidder.

    Most definitely the first thing to fix.

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  • crookedshoes #13

    I would love to see a third party– the “fuck you” party.

    Hi crooked, I fully agree with the sentiment, but the overriding risk with third parties and movements in the current environment is that they will split the anti-GOP/Trump vote and allow chimpanzee rule to persist by default. A united opposition is essential to turn back the tide of chimp feces emanating from the current administration.

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  • @#11 – US President Donald Trump has said “trade wars are good”,

    European Union officials have said they will respond “firmly” if US President Donald Trump presses ahead with his plan for steep global duties on metals.

    EU trade chiefs are considering slapping 25% tariffs on around $3.5bn (£2.5bn) of imports from the US, Reuters news agency reports.

    World Trade Organization Director General Roberto Azevedo said: “A trade war is in no one’s interests.”

    The rhetoric ramped up as Mr Trump tweeted that “trade wars are good”.

    Proposing trade wars is of course STUPID ENOUGH TO GET TRUMP THE WORLD ATTENTION HE CRAVES! – and applause from his fan-base of the ignorant!

    The European Union is reported to be considering retaliatory tariffs, targeting US steel, agriculture and other products.

    European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker promised to react firmly.

    “We will not sit idly while our industry is hit with unfair measures that put thousands of European jobs at risk,” he said.

    Speaking to a German TV programme, he vowed: “We will put tariffs on Harley-Davidson, on bourbon and on blue jeans – Levi’s.”

    French economy minister Bruno Le Maire said there would “only be losers” in a US-EU trade war.

    Mr Le Maire vowed a “strong, co-ordinated and united response from the EU”.

    Canada, Mexico, China and Brazil have also said they are considering retaliatory steps.

    If trade wars really were good and easy to win, the World Trade Organisation probably wouldn’t exist.

    Most countries believe that negotiations are best carried out and disputes settled through a rules-based system.
    Introducing trade barriers on a tit-for-tat basis has the potential to harm companies on both sides.

    But that’s unlikely to bother Mr Trump.
    His campaign rhetoric drew heavily on the perceived threat to traditional US industries from foreign interlopers acting unfairly. He’s simply continuing in that vein.

    And it’s unlikely to register much with the steelworkers of Pennsylvania and Indiana. Concerned about their jobs and the future, many will welcome Mr Trump’s comments.

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  • Alan4discussion

    Donald Trump has said “trade wars are good”…… and would find a
    trade war “easy to win”.

    Of course, because he’s going to run right in there, even if he didn’t have a weapon.

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  • What do these “political establishment bodies” know?? 🙂
    Trumpies are well aware that they don’t use the right sort of “alternative facts”!

    The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has joined criticism of Donald Trump’s plan to impose a 25% tariff on steel imports and 10% on aluminium.

    The body warned that such a move would hurt the US as well as other countries.

    It said others could follow the US president’s precedent by claiming tough trade restrictions were needed to defend national security.

    Canada, the largest supplier of steel to the US, said tariffs would cause disruption on both sides of the border.

    It is one of several countries that have said they will consider retaliatory steps if the president presses ahead with his plan next week.

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  • Well! What do we know?
    A standard Trump response to critical expert advice!

    US President Donald Trump has stepped up his war of words over trade tariffs, threatening to “apply a tax” on imports of cars from the European Union.

    Mr Trump said other countries had taken advantage of the US for years because of its “very stupid” trade deals.

    The trade wrangle began on Thursday when Mr Trump vowed to impose hefty tariffs on steel and aluminium imports.

    That brought a stiff response from trading partners and criticism from the IMF and WTO.

    . . . . . Leave his blundering stupidity uncorrected, sit in know-it-all denial, concoct threats, and escalate the idiotic posturing brinkmanship for his gullible fans!

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  • The Environmental Protection Agency proposed major changes last Thursday to an Obama-era initiative regulating coal ash waste, giving states and utilities more latitude in how they dispose of the toxic substance, that remains when coal is burned in power plants to generate electricity. Containing a toxic mix of mercury, cadmium, arsenic and other heavy metals, coal ash can pollute waterways, poison wildlife and cause respiratory illness among people living near the massive pits in which plant operators store the waste.

    The proposal marks a major policy shift with ramifications for both the coal industry and communities across the country. It includes more than a dozen suggested changes for how coal ash — which has contaminated waterways in two high-profile spills during the past decade — is stored at more than 400 coal-fired power plants around the country. It would extend how long companies can maintain unlined coal ash ponds and let states alter how frequently they would test for groundwater contamination.

    EPA Administrator Scott Pruitt said in a statement that the changes, which are estimated to save companies between $32 million and $100 million in annual compliance costs, underscore the administration’s commitment to federalism.

    “Today’s coal ash proposal embodies EPA’s commitment to our state partners by providing them with the ability to incorporate flexibilities into their coal ash permit programs based on the needs of their states,” Pruitt said.

    Or, to put it another way ‘ker-ching!!! But don’t drink the water’.

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  • Alan4discussion #10

    An ineresting sidebar to this story (reported in The Washington Post) :

    President Trump’s decision on Thursday to impose crippling tariffs on the imports of steel and aluminum took many by surprise — particularly investors, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average closed down more than 400 points on the day, or 1.7 percent.

    But one billionaire investor and former Trump adviser, Carl Icahn, was seemingly unvexed, having dumped a million shares tied to the steel industry a week before the president announced 25 percent tariffs for foreign-made steel.

    A Feb. 22 SEC filing shows Icahn sold off his $31.3 million stake in the Manitowoc Company, which is a leading global manufacturer of cranes for heavy construction based in Manitowoc, Wis., according to the company’s website. Since Trump’s announcement on Thursday, Manitowoc’s stock has plummeted to about $26. Icahn had sold his shares for about $32 to $34 each, according to the SEC disclosure.

    Icahn had not actively traded any Manitowoc stock since January 2015, according to regulatory filings.

    Though Icahn no longer advises Trump in a formal role ( Icahn resigned from his position as a “special adviser” to Trump on regulatory reform last August) the two reportedly still talk.

    You bet they do.

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  • We’ve seen a thousand times over the last 2 years how unpleasant Trump is. How venal, racist, mysogynistic, uncaring. With this tariff of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminium we’re now going to see how stupid he is too. Trump can’t seem to conceive of anything except in terms of a zero sum game. For one to win someone else has to lose. For the thousands of court cases he’s been involved in this is no doubt true but he appears to view commerce in the same terms whereas any business leader will tell you how important partnerships are. Trump seems to think trade is a war and particularly that if you buy more from another country than they do from you then somehow you’ve lost. It may even just be because of the semantics given how stupid Trump is. An excess of imports over exports is referred to as a trade deficit and the opposite a surplus. I imagine Trump thinks that deficits are weak and bad whereas surpluses are strong and good. However it’s merely a convention that the terms are used that way round. I wonder if they were reversed whether Trump’s opinion would reverse with them.

    As usual when told he’s wrong Trump doubles down and becomes more stubborn. He’s now said that trade wars are good and easy to win. Again, all he can think of is in terms of winning or losing rather than co-operating. The stock market gave its opinion by tanking 500 points anyway. It may be that the courts have to get involved in this because Trump has abused an old law about preserving national security to levy these tariffs and clearly it has nothing to do with that.

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  • Arkrid Sandwich #25
    Mar 3, 2018 at 8:23 pm

    We’ve seen a thousand times over the last 2 years how unpleasant Trump is.
    How venal, racist, mysogynistic, uncaring.
    With this tariff of 25% on steel and 10% on aluminium we’re now going to see how stupid he is too.
    Trump can’t seem to conceive of anything except in terms of a zero sum game.
    For one to win someone else has to lose.

    If we understand Republican Trumponomics it becomes clearer. –

    Countries which put their pension funds, banking resources, and development capital into Casinos, Golf Courses, Escort agencies, quack medicines, pseudo-science, false news propaganda, air-head TV shows,
    Hotels, guns, gas-guzzlers, luxury yachts, and executive jets, for the amusement of macho-posers or corrupt politicians, – to the neglect of modernising their polluting, obsolete, manufacturing industries, will compete poorly in global markets, THEREFORE “the rules which place them at the bottom of the pile, in the manufacturing sector, must be UNFAIR”!

    Likewise, the assessments which place Trump and Trumpies as among the least competent political administrators on Earth, MUST BE FALSE, because Trump and Trumpies KNOW and regularly tell each other, that they are GREAT and THE BEST!

    It’s just those “so-called-judges”, “damned scientists”, “jealous economists”, environmental campaigners, foreign competitors, the “political establishment”, and “biased Democrats”, who keep trying to spoil the “SUPERIOR BUSINESS METHODS” of American Utopian Trumpery – where “reality” is whatever the TV show says it is!!

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  • I see there are still countries being added to the list of retaliating “enemies” should Trump launch his idiotic trade war!

    China has warned that it does not want a trade war with the US, but will not sit idly by if its economy is hurt.

    Zhang Yesui, spokesperson for China’s National People’s Congress, made the comments amid controversy over Donald Trump’s announcement of tariffs on steel and aluminium imports.

    China’s Zhang Yesui said it was natural that “some friction will exist” between the US and China, given the volume of trade between them surpassed $580bn (£420bn) last year.

    But he said China would take “necessary measures” if its interests were hurt.

    Has Trump got political support for a trade war?

    A number of Republicans have questioned the wisdom of the tariff proposal and have been urging the president to reconsider.

    Senator Orrin Hatch said American citizens would be made to pay.

    Senator Ben Sasse agreed that “kooky 18th Century protectionism will jack up prices on American families”.

    Industry bodies like the US Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association have expressed deep concern.

    But steelworkers in Pennsylvania and Indiana will welcome Mr Trump’s comments.

    Trump says, “Trade wars are easy to win”, although historically I can’t recall anyone who engaged in one ever winning!
    Trump-base doesn’t “do”evidenced history, so Twittering Trump-speak is probably enough to convince them!

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  • I’m reminded of a term used, in a different context, by the author Daniel Quinn: Culture of maximum harm. Scott Pruitt in his current post epitomizes this, and he is certainly not alone in this disastrous administration. We should call it what it is — sabotage.


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  • Ted, a very notable term, Culture of Maximum Harm. I shall be stealing it. Please and thank you.

    A couple of us are reading Stephen Pinker “Enlightenment Now”. I think it contains a lot that Daniel Quinn and Ishmael lovers might find useful.

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  • The “impervious to reason” know-it-all Trump – blinders on regardless!

    Republicans have raised concern about the US president’s plan to impose tariffs on metals, with the party’s top lawmaker calling for it to be scrapped.

    US Speaker of the House Paul Ryan said he was “extremely worried” about the impact of a trade war, adding that it could undermine economic gains.

    But Mr Trump pushed back during a White House meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

    “We’re not backing down,” he told reporters on Monday.

    “I don’t think you’re going to have a trade war,” he said.

    His comments came an hour after Mr Ryan released a statement urging the White House to reconsider its plan.

    “We are extremely worried about the consequences of a trade war and are urging the White House to not advance with this plan,” Mr Ryan’s spokeswoman AshLee Strong said.

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  • I see some businesses have already recognised that associations with Trump are poor business decisions when seeking to harvest benefits!

    The majority owner of a luxury hotel in Panama City has regained control of the building after a legal battle with its management – the Trump Organization.

    Within hours of the verdict from a Panamanian court, hotel staff removed the Trump name from its main entrance.

    Cypriot businessman Orestes Fintiklis has been fighting to cancel the contract with the Trump Organization, which he blames for a fall in profits.

    Mr Fintiklis, majority owner of the Trump Ocean Club International Hotel and Tower, hailed the court’s decision, saying: “Panama has made us proud.

    “Today, this dispute has been settled by the judges and the authorities of this country.”

    The standoff between Miami-based Mr Fintiklis and the management team at the hotel had lasted more than a week.

    On Monday, police and a court official enforced the owner’s claim to the hotel as Trump Organization executives and security staff abandoned the building.

    Hotel employees then pried the Trump logo from the entrance.

    It seems that “so-called-judges” in other countries also don’t recognise Trump’s “infallible” interpretations of laws to suit his own purposes! – not that that will change Trump’s habit of disputing any decisions which he does not like!

    The Trump Organization said it had appealed against the decision.

    For its part, the Trump Organization said Mr Fintiklis was breaching his contractual commitments.

    “Trump Hotels remains fully confident that it will not only prevail, but recover all of its damages, costs and attorneys’ fees, including those… arising from today’s events,” the Trump Organization said in a statement.

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  • I see that Trump’s golf course business is also shrinking!

    US President Donald Trump has fallen 222 places on the Forbes annual Rich List, after his estimated worth of $3.5bn (£2.5bn) fell to $3.1bn.

    The magazine said the drop was partially due to a fall in the value of central New York property values and falling revenues at his golf courses.

    Shall we wait for the howls of “false news”! 🙂

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  • Trump’s economic adviser Gary Cohn, the former president of Goldman Sachs, has just resigned after falling out with Trump about trade tariffs and other matters. Cohn had been fiercely opposed to tariffs or any sort of trade war but was blindsided when Trump unilaterally announced he was imposing tariffs on steel and aluminium imports. This means that the White House chef Criseta Comerford is about the only person who works there who hasn’t resigned or been fired by Trump in his first year.

    Trump continues to boast that “everybody” wants to work at the White House and he has his choice of “anybody he wants” but the truth is it’s essentially impossible to work for a man as stupid, volatile and unpredictable as Trump and very few people want to try it. Trump’s inauguration crowds were really small like his hands but his staff turnover is certainly the hugest of any president to date.

    If Trump was actually sane and competent enough to find long term people to push whatever his agenda really is then he could really do the world some damage but fortunately his incompetence prevents much of that. He creates plenty of chaos but achieves little else.

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  • I see Trump is now blundering around pontificating on EU trade arrangements!

    US President Donald Trump has said European Union trade rules make it “impossible” for American firms to do business with the bloc.

    Apparently nobody communicated this whizzdumb to the numerous US corporations which have been doing business with EU countries for decades!

    Defending his tariff plans as he hosted the Swedish PM at the White House, Mr Trump said other countries had “taken advantage of” the US for decades.

    Shortly afterwards it was announced that White House economic adviser Gary Cohn, who opposes tariffs, would quit.

    Well Cohen is a banker, so what would he know about tariffs 🙂

    Besides he has arranged Trump’s big tax-cuts for corporate executives, and fat-cat bankers, so Cohen can probably go back to banking and has no longer has a need to put up with Trump!

    It seems almost everyone (Republicans, Democrats, bankers, economists, business leaders, foreign governments), has told Trump that tariffs and trade wars are a very bad idea, but hey! – What do they know? when the “great” and “all knowing” Trump has spoken? 🙂

    US President Donald Trump’s top economic adviser Gary Cohn is resigning, the White House has said.

    It is the latest in a series of high-profile departures from President Trump’s team.

    There has been speculation that Mr Cohn, a supporter of free trade, was angered by Mr Trump’s plans to impose tariffs on aluminium and steel imports.

    The 57-year-old former president of the Goldman Sachs bank helped Mr Trump push through his sweeping tax reforms late last year.

    In August 2017, Mr Cohn criticised Mr Trump over his reaction to a far-right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia, saying the administration “can and must do better”. He was reported to have drafted a resignation letter after the event.

    Mr Cohn’s exact departure date has yet to be determined, a White House official quoted by AFP news agency said.

    In a statement, Mr Trump described his outgoing economics adviser as “a rare talent”.

    “Gary… did a superb job in driving our agenda, helping to deliver historic tax cuts and reforms and unleashing the American economy once again,” he said .

    Earlier on Tuesday, President Trump tweeted that there was no chaos at the White House but there were “still… some people that I want to change”.

    The White House has seen a string of senior figures leave since President Trump took office.

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  • The clueless idiot Trump is going to press ahead with tariffs on steel and aluminium despite a letter from over 100 Republican congressmen urging him not to. He’s apparently going to hold a special signing ceremony in the White House tomorrow but of course that’s all he really wants from this. Photos of him signing things so he can pretend to be “doing stuff”.

    This is the worst case of Trump treating the presidency like a reality tv show for photo ops and press coverage which is all he seems to understand as he constantly craves attention for his fragile ego and rampant narcissism. He has no conception that international trade is not a zero sum game where trade deficits = losing something. However he’s making it easier and easier for Dems to win this years elections as he continues to show how utterly bereft of even the most basic common sense he is. Even heavily red districts look like being Dem wins under his chaotic lack of leadership.

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  • I see the turnover of “great staff” doing “fantastic jobs” at the White House, continues!

    US President Donald Trump has sacked Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, replacing him with the director of the CIA, Mike Pompeo.

    Thanking Mr Tillerson for his service on Twitter, Mr Trump said the new state secretary would do “a fantastic job”.

    Mr Tillerson, a former chief executive of ExxonMobil, was only appointed to the job just over a year ago.

    The president also nominated Gina Haspel to become the first woman director of the CIA.

    Reports have swirled of a schism in the Trump administration between the commander-in-chief and his top diplomat, as the US faces a host of vexatious foreign policy conundrums, from North Korea to Iran.

    Last October Mr Tillerson was forced to convene a news conference to deny reports that he was considering quitting, though he did not comment on a report that he had called his boss a moron after a meeting last July at the Pentagon.

    Last autumn, Mr Trump publicly undercut the former Texas oilman by tweeting that he was “wasting his time” trying to negotiate with nuclear-armed North Korea.

    Mr Tillerson was reported to be astonished at how little Mr Trump grasped the basics of foreign policy.

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  • @OP – In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network published Thursday, Pruitt spoke about how his Christian views inform his views on the environment and environmental policy.

    Alan4discussion #6 – It seems that even in some third-world countries, faith is recognised as no substitute for scientifically regulated practicalities or environmental consideration for neighbours!

    About 700 churches have been closed down in Rwanda for failing to comply with building regulations and for noise pollution.

    Most of them are small Pentecostal churches. One mosque was also closed.

    Apparently the earlier moves were insufficient to persuade those noisy minorities in the other mosques, to consider their neighbours who might not like regular loud noise from a delusional minority disturbing everyone 5 times a day!

    Rwanda has banned mosques in the capital, Kigali, from using loudspeakers during the call to prayer.

    They say the calls, made five times a day, have been disturbing residents of the Nyarugenge district, home to the capital’s biggest mosques.

    The majority of Rwandans are Christian. Muslims make up around 5% of the population.

    The government says the Muslim community has complied with the ban.

    “I have found that they have begun to respect it and it has not stopped their followers from going to pray according to their praying time,” Havuguziga Charles, a local official from Nyarugenge told the BBC’s Great Lakes service.

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  • Arkrid Sandwich #37
    Mar 7, 2018 at 11:46 pm

    The clueless idiot Trump
    is going to press ahead with tariffs on steel and aluminium
    despite a letter from over 100 Republican congressmen
    urging him not to.

    But he has all those “alternative facts” to back up his decisions! 🙂

    The “Trump logic” of the “Liar-in-Chief”, is impeccable!
    The US has a trade deficit because Trump has no idea how to measure trade, Trump wants to believe the US has a trade deficit as a pretext for “making great deals” imposing tariffs, and he does not care if what he says is true or not – so long as his gullible followers applaud!!

    It works the same way a global warming denial and environmental pollution:-
    Trump does not know what to measure, or how to measure, and does not care what the actual facts are!

    US President Donald Trump admitted making up figures in a meeting with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, according to the Washington Post.

    At a private fundraiser, he reportedly said he insisted to Mr Trudeau the US had a trade deficit with Canada, though he had “no idea” if it was true.

    Mr Trump maintained in a tweet the US does have a trade deficit with Canada.

    But the US Department of Commerce says the US ran a $2.8bn (£2bn) trade surplus with Canada in 2017.

    Imitating the Canadian leader, Mr Trump reportedly said: “Trudeau came to see me. He’s a good guy, Justin.
    He said, ‘No, no, we have no trade deficit with you, we have none. Donald, please.’

    The president continued: “I said, ‘Wrong, Justin, you do.’ I didn’t even know. I had no idea. I just said, ‘You’re wrong.'”

    The Canadian foreign ministry spokesman Adam Austin said in a statement: “Canada and the United States have a balanced and mutually beneficial trading relationship.

    “According to their own statistics, the US runs a trade surplus with Canada.”

    Mr Trump typically does not include services when he talks about trade deficits – even though services represent about 80% of America’s economy. And Canada’s figures are slightly different, though Canada says that is because it uses a broader measure of exports.

    US officials are currently attempting to negotiate an overhaul of the North American Free Trade Agreement with their counterparts in Canada and Mexico.

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  • I see Trump is again trying to “harvest money” from people he has previously had dealings with – as a bullying tactic!

    Lawyers for US President Donald Trump are seeking $20 million (£14m) in damages from a porn actress he says broke a non-disclosure deal signed before the 2016 elections.

    They argue Stormy Daniels breached the agreement at least 20 times.

    The actress claims she had an affair with Mr Trump that began in 2006 and lasted several months.

    The president’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, has said he paid her $130,000 of his own money to remain silent.

    This is the first time President Trump has become directly involved in the case. He “vehemently denies” the alleged affair.

    The lawyer acting for Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, this month filed a lawsuit aiming to scrap the non-disclosure agreement.

    Michael Avenatti said the filing by the law firm representing the president were “unprecedented” and “yet another bullying tactic” against her.

    The filing also sought a change of venue from state to federal court.

    This motion says: “Mr. Trump intends to pursue his rights to the fullest extent permitted by the law.”

    It is thought that moving the case to a federal court would help keep the case behind closed doors in arbitration – a view expressed by Ms Clifford’s lawyer in a tweet.

    Mr Avenatti alleged on Friday that the porn actress had been physically threatened, but did not give further details.

    Ms Clifford has recorded an interview with the CBS network’s 60 Minutes programme to air later this month about her fight to void the agreement.

    A CrowdJustice campaign to raise funds for her legal fees has already raised almost $200,000.

    Mr Trump has also obtained a restraining order against the adult film actress to try to prevent her sharing “confidential information” about their alleged relationship.

    But of course he has nothing to hide! 🙂

    It will however be interesting if his bid to move the action to a federal court or to conduct the case in secret fails, and reporters are in the court as the questions and evidence are presented!

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    Donald Trump has attacked special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the US presidential election he won in 2016.

    He tweeted that the inquiry was unfair – and reiterated there had been “no collusion” between his election campaign and Russia.

    He added that it was dominated by “hardened Democrats” and supporters of his defeated opponent Hillary Clinton.

    Mr Mueller, a highly regarded former head of the FBI, is a Republican.

    The president’s comments came a day after his lawyer, John Dowd, said it was time for the special counsel’s investigation to end. Initially Mr Dowd said he was speaking for the president but later clarified he was “speaking for myself”.

    Mr Trump’s latest tweet – apparently the first time he has mentioned Mr Mueller by name in attacking the inquiry – drew warnings from fellow Republicans about interfering with the investigation.

    Ah! But maybe those were “biased Republicans” had a second cousin who once voted Democrat! 🙂

    In earlier tweets, the president also berated former FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe, who was fired by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday just two days before he was due to retire, and former FBI director James Comey, whom Mr Trump sacked last year.

    I suppose this gives added meaning to the term, “Trumped-up-charges”!

    The latter firing led to the Mueller investigation being set up.

    Mr Trump accused Mr Comey of lying under oath before Congress, and described the contemporaneous notes that Mr McCabe and Mr Comey took following discussions with him as “fake memos”.

    I wonder if Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, @#40, also had “fake memos” about Trump’s “US/Canadian trade deficit assertions” at their meeting? 🙂

    Mr McCabe has given memos about conversations he had with President Trump to the Mueller inquiry, US media say.

    The memos could support claims that Mr Trump sought to obstruct justice.
    Mr Mueller has so far indicted 19 people.

    But Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said Mr Mueller should be allowed to proceed without interference, and that many Republicans shared his view.

    He also warned Mr Trump against any attempt to dismiss Mr Mueller.

    “If he tried to do that, that would be the beginning of the end of his presidency, because we’re a rule of law nation,” Mr Graham said.

    Republican Senator Jeff Flake, a frequent Trump critic, said it appeared the president’s latest comments seemed to be preparing the ground for the firing of Mr Mueller.

    “I don’t know what the designs are on Mueller, but it seems to be building toward that, and I just hope it doesn’t go there, because it can’t. We can’t in Congress accept that,” he told CNN.

    “I’m just puzzled by why the White House is going so hard at this, other than that they’re very afraid of what might come out.”

    Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer accused Mr Trump of “floating trial balloons about derailing” the investigation.

    Clearly Trump is testing just how much the noddy Republicans will let him get away with!

    Mr Comey has testified that Mr Trump had asked him for his “loyalty” and requested he drop an inquiry into his disgraced former National Security Adviser Michael Flynn.

    He, too, has said he kept contemporaneous notes of his dealings with the president.

    In a statement responding to his firing on Friday, Mr McCabe vehemently denied wrongdoing.

    “I am being singled out and treated this way because of the role I played, the actions I took, and the events I witnessed in the aftermath of the firing of James Comey,” his response said.

    The statement alleges that the justice department report recommending his firing was “accelerated” after he indicated that he would corroborate Mr Comey’s version of events.

    On Saturday Mr Comey – who is due to release a book – said Americans would soon be able to judge for themselves “who is honourable or not”.

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  • @#42 – Donald Trump has attacked special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Russian interference in the US presidential election he won in 2016.

    Which appears to be another example of Trump’s uncooperative self centred perversity!

    Donald Trump’s top Russia lawyer John Dowd resigns

    US President Donald Trump’s lead lawyer for the special counsel investigation into Russia interference in the 2016 election has resigned, US media report.

    John Dowd is reported to have concluded that Mr Trump was increasingly ignoring his advice.

    Other reports say Mr Trump had lost confidence in Mr Dowd’s ability to handle special counsel Robert Mueller.

    Last week, Mr Dowd called on the Department of Justice to immediately shut down Mr Mueller’s investigation – initially saying that he was speaking for the president.

    But he later clarified that he was speaking for himself and not on Mr Trump’s behalf.

    Last week Mr Trump added combative former US attorney Joe diGenova, a regular pundit on Fox News, to his legal team.

    A competent president would be co-operating with Mr Mueller’s investigation in the interests of national security! – But of course illegal funding and foreign interference could not possibly be required to get trump elected, when it is SOOoooo self evident that Trump is such a GREAT candidate and president”! 🙂

    Indeed a competent president, acting in the national interest, would have taken his own steps to put his house in order – rather than packing it with crooks, incompetents, rogue traders, security risks, bought stooges, and fools!

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  • I see that Trump is harvesting another lawsuit over his conflicts of interest and the US constitution’s emoluments clause!

    Donald Trump’s attempt to dismiss a lawsuit alleging ownership of his business empire while president is a violation of the US constitution has been rejected by a federal judge.

    He is accused of breaching the constitution’s emoluments clause, which prohibits the receipt of gifts without congressional approval.

    The case will focus on business linked to the Trump International Hotel.

    Wednesday’s ruling by district judge Peter Messitte allows the attorneys general of Maryland and the District of Columbia to “challenge” whether the president is improperly profiting from the Trump Organization’s operations in Washington DC.

    The Trump International Hotel is located on Pennsylvania Avenue, just four streets from the White House.

    The lawsuit includes allegations that Mr Trump’s position puts other hotel and entertainment properties nearby at a competitive disadvantage, and that the Trump hotel has received special tax concessions.

    Judge Messitte said the attorneys general had legal standing “to challenge the actions of the president with respect to the Trump International Hotel and its appurtenances in Washington DC, as well as the Trump Organization with respect to them”.

    The case centres on payments made by foreign governments whose officials stay or dine at the hotel.

    No conclusions have yet been reached in the case but the judge pointed out that a number of foreign powers had moved their business from other luxury hotels such as the Four Seasons and the Ritz Carlton.

    Lawyers for Mr Trump said claims that other businesses had been damaged were speculative and questioned whether any harm could be demonstrated in the case.

    Shortly before he became president, Mr Trump stepped down from running the company. He transferred the business into a revocable trust, one he can receive money from at his request.

    But in all other respects, the president has kept very close to his business.

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  • Arkrid Sandwich #37
    Mar 7, 2018 at 11:46 pm

    The clueless idiot Trump is going to press ahead with tariffs on steel and aluminium
    despite a letter from over 100 Republican congressmen urging him not to.

    It looks like the first battle in Trump’s trade war, is now underway, – with plenty of scope for escalation and damage to numerous businesses and to international relations!

    China has imposed tariffs of up to 25% on 128 US imports, including pork and wine, after US President Donald Trump raised duties on foreign steel and aluminium imports in March.

    The tariffs affecting some $3bn (£2.1bn) of imports kick in on Monday.

    Beijing said the move was to “safeguard China’s interests and balance” losses caused by new US tariffs.

    China had previously said it did not want a trade war but would not sit by if its economy was hurt.

    Mr Trump, however, has insisted that “trade wars are good”, and that it should be “easy” for the US to win one.

    The American authorities have already announced plans for further targeted tariffs for tens of billions of dollars of Chinese imports, the BBC’s Chris Buckler reports from Washington.

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  • China has carefully chosen the goods they are imposing tariffs on to hit rural farming states which voted heavily for Trump. Spanky is going to find his core support disappearing fast when their farms go out of business because of his brainless policies. However a good supply of rotten fruit might come in handy if we can put Spanky in the stocks for a day and let the people pelt him with unsold produce.

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  • Meanwhile, regardless of distractions, the Russian inquiry continues to uncover facts and lies!

    The first person has been jailed as part of the FBI inquiry into alleged collusion between Donald Trump’s presidential campaign team and Russia.

    Dutch lawyer Alex van der Zwaan, 33, was sentenced to 30 days in prison for lying to investigators about contacts with ex-Trump aide Rick Gates.

    He struck a plea deal in February.

    Van der Zwaan is the son-in-law of one of Russia’s richest men and was the 19th person to be charged by special counsel Robert Mueller.

    In March, the US imposed sanctions on 19 Russians, including 13 people charged by Mr Mueller’s inquiry, over accusations of interference in the 2016 election and alleged cyber-attacks.

    In court on Tuesday, Van der Zwaan was also fined $20,000 and sentenced to two months of supervised release.

    The Dutchman is a London-based lawyer who formerly worked at international law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom.

    The firm, which is co-operating with the investigation and which fired him last year, worked with former Trump campaign chief Paul Manafort and his ex-colleague Mr Gates at a time when they were both political consultants in Ukraine.

    Van der Zwaan, who speaks French and Russian and graduated from King’s College London in 2006, is married to the daughter of Russian billionaire German Khan.

    His wedding to art critic Eva Khan featured in Russian Tatler magazine last year. German Khan controls Alfa Group, one of Russia’s largest investment groups, and Alfa Bank, which he co-founded, is the largest non-state owned bank in Russia, according to Forbes.

    Van der Zwaan admitted to making false statements to the special counsel’s office in November 2017 as part of a plea deal reached in February.

    Mr Mueller’s indictment said Van der Zwaan “deleted and otherwise did not produce emails sought by the special counsel’s office” and made a false statement about when he was last in contact with Mr Gates and “Person A”, who has not been identified.
    Person A is noted as a long-term business associate of Mr Gates and Mr Manafort.

    Mr Manafort has denied all charges against him. Mr Gates has admitted conspiracy and lying to investigators in a plea deal.

    The investigation into alleged collusion between Russia and Mr Trump’s team is ongoing. Mr Trump attacked the process on Twitter last month, prompting warnings from fellow Republicans against any interference by the White House.

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  • I see there are still revolving door problems with Trump’s appointment of “the best people”!! 🙂

    Pressure is building on embattled US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) chief Scott Pruitt, who is embroiled in allegations of ethics violations.

    President Donald Trump has expressed tepid support for him, but the White House is said to be losing patience.

    Mr Pruitt is already under scrutiny for renting an apartment with ties to a fossil fuels lobbyist.

    He is also accused of bypassing the White House to secure big pay rises for two long-time staff members.

    Asked if he still has confidence in Mr Pruitt while boarding Air Force One on Thursday, President Trump said: “I do.”

    But deputy White House press secretary Hogan Gidley told Fox News earlier in the day: “I can’t speak to the future of Scott Pruitt.”

    The EPA’s top ethics official said on Wednesday he was not provided with the full facts when he ruled there was no ethics violation in Mr Pruitt’s $50-a-night lease of a Capitol Hill apartment from the wife of an energy lobbyist.

    A Democratic congresswoman, who lives in the same Washington condo complex where Mr Pruitt has been staying, recalled an occasion when his security detail broke down a door when Mr Pruitt did not respond to them because he was napping.

    The outlook for Mr Pruitt is darkening by the hour. While some conservatives, who approve of his efforts to curtail EPA regulation and trim its budget, are sticking by the former Oklahoma attorney general, support from the White House – publicly and on background – is tepid at best.

    Perhaps the strongest card remaining in Mr Pruitt’s deck is that there are already three senior vacancies the Trump administration needs to fill – secretary of state, director of the CIA and secretary of veterans affairs.

    Adding one more bruising Senate confirmation battle to the docket, when politicians are trying to turn their focus on the upcoming mid-term elections, would be a most unwelcome prospect.

    “I know that Congress appropriates money for the EPA to protect human health and the environment – not for repairs to the administrator’s residence,” Minnesota Democrat Betty McCollum wrote in a letter to the EPA this week, querying how the damage to the door was paid for.

    That housing agreement is now being investigated by the department’s inspector general.

    The Associated Press reports that White House officials regard the Pruitt situation as “unsustainable”.

    They warned Mr Pruitt before the Fox interview “that if he failed to clear the ethical cloud his job would be in serious doubt”, reports the news agency.

    Mr Pruitt has also been under scrutiny for his first-class travel, including a $120,000 work trip to Italy last year.

    The 16-year security veteran of the EPA was replaced with an agent who argued that Mr Pruitt must fly first-class due to “specific, ongoing threats associated with the Administrator’s air travel”.

    The New York Times on Thursday reported at least five EPA officials were re-assigned, demoted or requested new jobs after raising concerns about Mr Pruitt’s spending and management of the agency.

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  • It seems there is a new development which has Trump jumping up and down with more ranting as his collection of charlatans are investigated!

    Officials in New York seized “privileged communications” between Michael Cohen and his clients, his lawyer said after the raid on Monday.

    Documents regarding a payment to a porn actress were also seized, US media say.

    Law enforcement acted on a “referral” from Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating suspected Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

    Mr Cohen has come under increasing public scrutiny since he admitted to making a $130,000 (£92,000) payment to adult film star Stormy Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, just days before the 2016 presidential election.

    Ms Daniels claims she had a sexual encounter with Mr Trump shortly after his wife Melania gave birth to their son and says she was paid to keep quiet about the affair.

    “Today the US Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York executed a series of search warrants and seized the privileged communications between my client, Michael Cohen, and his clients,” Mr Cohen’s lawyer Stephen M Ryan said in a statement.

    “I have been advised by federal prosecutors that the New York action is, in part, a referral by the Office of Special Counsel, Robert Mueller.”

    Anthony Zurcher, BBC News, Washington

    When a president’s personal lawyer is the target of a federal law-enforcement raid, it is a Big Deal. How big a deal remains to be seen, but the fact that the move came at the request of the Justice Department’s Southern District of New York – after a referral from Special Counsel Robert Mueller’s office – could be an indication that Donald Trump’s affairs are now relevant to a second criminal probe.

    Trump-watchers may recall that the president had fired the former US attorney for the Southern District, Preet Bharara, and was reportedly personally interviewing his replacement.
    A year later, the office is still under the direction of an interim appointment.

    According to the New York Times, FBI agents sought information on payments made relating to Mr Trump’s alleged affair with porn star Stormy Daniels and other tax and business dealings. What was once largely a political embarrassment could have metastasised into legal jeopardy.

    Mr Cohen’s ties to Mr Trump run deep. He’s more than just a personal lawyer, he’s a friend and fixer. He was already on Mr Mueller’s radar for his work for the Trump organisation in Russia.
    Now the scope of his legal concerns may have dramatically expanded

    Mr Mueller reportedly gave the information involving Mr Cohen to Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, who then referred the matter to the US attorney for the Southern District of New York, according to Bloomberg News.

    Justice Department protocol requires Mr Mueller to consult Mr Rosenstein on evidence and subject matter that are beyond his jurisdiction.

    US President Donald Trump says the FBI’s raid on the offices of his personal lawyer was a “disgrace” and an “attack on our country”.

    *”I have this witch hunt constantly going on,”** he told White House reporters.

    Clearly Trump does not take the threat of Russian meddling or his officials lying about connections, seriously! He also appears to regard his personal entourage to be synonymous with “the country”!

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    Federal agents raided the offices of Michael Cohen and seized documents, Mr Cohen’s lawyer Stephen Ryan said.

    He said the search warrants were executed by the office of the US Attorney for Southern District of New York but they were “in part” related to special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation.

    The Washington Post reported Mr Cohen was under investigation for campaign violations and bank fraud.

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  • You have to say that even as lawyers go Cohen is dumb as a rock. That story about paying Stormy Daniels out of his own pocket because he just liked Spanky so much. Jeez. And not realising that then made it an undeclared campaign contribution. This is a yuge deal though. You can pretty much bet that everything Trump knew is mentioned somewhere in Cohen’s correspondence. Hair Fuhrer must be getting a bit squirmy now. Expect to see him lashing out about winning the popular vote and how crooked Hillary is soon.

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  • I see the de-skilling of the White House continues as the revolving door continues to revolve!

    US Homeland Security adviser Tom Bossert has resigned in the latest of a string of administration departures, the White House confirmed.

    His exit comes just a day after former UN Ambassador John Bolton took over as Mr Trump’s national security adviser.

    Nearly 30 White House officials have resigned or been fired under Mr Trump.

    Mr Bossert, who served as assistant to the president for homeland security and counterterrorism, was reportedly pushed out, according to CBS News.

    His departure comes amid a staff shakeup, sparked by Mr Bolton taking over as a key counsellor to the president on national security and foreign policy issue.

    Mr Bolton, a Bush-era defence hawk, succeeded HR McMaster as Mr Trump’s third national security chief in 14 months.

    Trump’s National Security Council spokesman Michael Anton also resigned a day before Mr Bolton began his new role.

    Bossert’s departure matters – unlike some of those who’ve served in the administration, he knows his subject and was thoroughly prepared for his job.

    US Department of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen said in a statement:
    “Since the beginning of this Administration, Tom Bossert has provided wise counsel to the President on Homeland security issues.
    Over the last fifteen months I have enjoyed working with Tom on a range of current and emerging threats to our nation – particularly in cyber security and disaster response.
    We at DHS thank him for his partnership and service and wish him the best as he takes new steps in his career.”

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  • Arkrid Sandwich #51
    Apr 10, 2018 at 4:57 am

    You have to say that even as lawyers go Cohen is dumb as a rock.

    . . . and suspected of criminal business dealings! – not to mention allegedly being involved in negotiating hush-money with pregnant model girls on behalf of rich Republicans!

    US President Donald Trump’s top lawyer is under criminal investigation, the US justice department has announced.

    Prosecutors say they are focusing on Michael Cohen’s business dealings rather than his work as a lawyer.

    Mr Cohen has been under investigation for months, the court filing says.

    The filing was in response to efforts by Mr Cohen’s own lawyer to stop prosecutors reviewing material seized from Mr Cohen’s office on Monday.

    Mr Cohen’s team argues that the papers are covered by the attorney-client privilege.

    During a court hearing in New York on Friday, prosecutor Tom McKay accused Mr Cohen of trying to use the legal doctrine “as a sword to challenge the government’s ability to review evidence”.

    A new lawyer for President Trump, Joanna Hendon, said the president had an “acute interest” in the case. Ms Hendon, who was hired on Wednesday, asked the judge to adjourn the session so she had more time to prepare.

    In a separate development, Mr Cohen reportedly negotiated a $1.6 million settlement with a former Playboy model on behalf of a Republican fundraiser, according to a Wall Street Journal article.

    Elliott Broidy, a Los Angeles investor, acknowledged “a consensual relationship” with the Playmate, who became pregnant.

    Mr Broidy said it was “unfortunate” that the personal matter was “the subject of national discussion” because of the involvement of Mr Cohen.

    Mr Cohen admitted to have paying a porn actress, Stormy Daniels, $130,000 before the 2016 US presidential election.

    Ms Daniels claims she had an affair with Mr Trump, and he and his lawyers made attempts to buy her silence.

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  • I see Comey’s notes of his meeting with Trump, have now been published!

    ‘No adequate people around Trump to contain him,’ Comey says

    Detailed notes by former FBI director James Comey documenting his conversations with US President Donald Trump have been published.

    The memos cover Mr Trump’s concerns about a lurid intelligence dossier and also go into the president’s relationship with the then National Security Advisor, Michael Flynn.

    Mr Trump said the published memos cleared him of wrongdoing.

    The partially redacted notes were handed to Congress on Thursday.

    They were requested by three Republican committee chairmen – Devin Nunes, Robert Goodlatte and Trey Gowdy – last week in the belief that their contents would prove allegations that Mr Trump had sought to obstruct justice were wrong.

    The allegations relate to comments made by Mr Comey in testimony to Congress that the president had asked him to “let go” of an investigation into Mr Flynn.

    What’s in the memos?

    Details published in Mr Comey’s notes are consistent with allegations in his new book, A Higher Loyalty: Truth, Lies, and Leadership.

    In his memos, Mr Comey writes that he was asked by Mr Trump to drop an inquiry into links between Mr Flynn and Russia.

    “I hope you can let this go,” Mr Trump is reported to have said after a White House meeting.

    The memo was written immediately afterwards. Mr Trump is also disclosed to have told Mr Comey that he had reservations about Mr Flynn: “The guy has serious judgment issues.”

    Mr Flynn was forced to resign over charges that he had lied to the FBI about his contacts with Russia.

    At a meeting in Trump Tower in New York just days before Mr Trump’s inauguration in January 2017, Mr Comey spoke alone with the then president-elect about details of an alleged 2013 encounter involving prostitutes in Moscow.

    Mr Comey writes that he is taking the allegations seriously, adding that “portions of the material were corroborated by other intelligence”.

    Mr Trump sacked Mr Comey last year while he was leading an FBI investigation into allegations of Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

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  • @#53 – US President Donald Trump’s top lawyer is under criminal investigation,
    the US justice department has announced.

    A New York federal judge has appointed an independent official in a criminal inquiry against US President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer Michael Cohen.

    The so-called special master, an independent court-appointed official, was named as ex-judge Barbara Jones.

    She will review documents seized from Mr Cohen by the FBI to determine if they include confidential communications with his legal clients.

    It comes as Mr Trump distanced himself from his long-time lawyer.

    Earlier on Thursday, Mr Trump told Fox News his lawyer was “a good guy” but only one among his “many, many attorneys”.

    “I don’t know his business, but this doesn’t have to do with me. He’s got a business. He also practises law. I would say probably the big thing is his business. And they’re looking at something having to do with his business. I have nothing to do with with his business,” Mr Trump said.

    He did, however, confirm that Mr Cohen represented him in the “crazy Stormy Daniels deal”, referring to an adult film actress who alleges she had a sexual relationship with Mr Trump in 2006.

    Ms Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, is suing the president and Mr Cohen to invalidate the non-disclosure agreement, claiming it was void because the president did not personally sign it.

    Mr Cohen said he will invoke his constitutional right to remain silent in the civil case, arguing it could affect the criminal inquiry into his business affairs.

    Presumably the “Special Master”, will look at the merits of such claims!

    Why is Cohen being investigated?

    The US justice department announced earlier this month it was investigating Mr Cohen’s business dealings, rather than his work as a lawyer, following a raid on his home and office.

    The 9 April raid on Mr Cohen followed a tip-off by the office of Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating alleged Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election and possible collusion with the Trump campaign.

    Legal analysts have said that Mr Cohen’s $130,000 payment to Ms Daniels could have violated the rules on financing Mr Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign.

    Hush money to hide embarrassing activities by a candidate, would certainly affect voters’ perceptions during campaigning!

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  • The White House revolving door, just keeps right on turning!

    Trump lawyer Ty Cobb exits Russia inquiry

    President Donald Trump’s lawyer for the probe into alleged collusion between his election team and Russia is out, the latest legal shake-up in the case.

    Ty Cobb will be replaced by Emmet Flood, an attorney who defended ex-President Bill Clinton during his impeachment proceedings 20 years ago.

    The White House press secretary told the BBC that Mr Cobb had been considering retirement for some time.

    Mr Cobb’s exit comes as it emerged Robert Mueller, the US Department of Justice special counsel leading the Russia inquiry, could seek to compel Mr Trump to testify.

    It is the first known time Mr Mueller has raised the possibility of a subpoena.

    Since Mr Trump declared last month that he was “VERY happy” with his lawyers, the team has been overhauled.

    Mr Flood, a Republican lawyer, is tipped to take a more combative approach to the Mueller investigation.

    Mr Cobb, who joined the White House team last August, was said to have been advising Mr Trump to co-operate fully with the Mueller investigation.

    He had reportedly urged the president to allow himself to be interviewed by Mr Mueller in order to hurry along the inquiry that is overhanging his presidency.

    Mr Trump’s previous lead lawyer on the case, John Dowd, quit in March, reportedly because he felt his client was ignoring his legal counsel.

    Several prominent law firms have reportedly declined to take Mr Trump’s case.

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  • @#55 – He did, however, confirm that Mr Cohen represented him in the “crazy Stormy Daniels deal”, referring to an adult film actress who alleges she had a sexual relationship with Mr Trump in 2006.

    It seems that they payment by Mr Cohen, was a clandestine loan for which he was handsomely repaid!

    President Donald Trump personally repaid his lawyer the $130,000 that was used to buy an adult film actor’s silence about an alleged affair, his legal aide Rudy Giuliani has said.

    It appears to contradict Mr Trump, who said he did not know about the payment made by lawyer Michael Cohen to Stormy Daniels ahead of the 2016 election.

    Mr Trump has denied Ms Daniels’ claims of an affair in 2006.

    The former New York City mayor recently joined Mr Trump’s legal team and was talking to Sean Hannity on Fox News.

    The campaign finance issue appeared to be one his main motives for appearing on the programme – to deny that there was any wrongdoing.

    Mr Cohen’s $130,000 (£95,650) payment to Ms Daniels just before the 2016 election could count as an illegal contribution to President Trump’s campaign.

    Mr Giuliani said: “That money was not campaign money. Sorry, I’m giving you a fact now that you don’t know. It’s not campaign money. No campaign finance violation.

    “They funnelled it through a law firm and the president repaid it.”

    He added that the president “didn’t know about the specifics of it, as far as I know, but he did know about the general arrangement that Michael would take care of things like this”.

    US federal law restricts how much individuals and organisations can contribute to campaign financing and there are also strict regulations on the disclosure of the financing.

    The first question is whether the payment to Ms Daniels was campaign related. Legal expert Lawrence Noble told the Washington Post: “If the purpose of this was to stop [Daniels] from hurting the campaign, then what you have is Cohen made a loan to the campaign.”

    The $130,000 would exceed the amount an individual can donate to a presidential campaign.

    Mr Giuliani later spoke to the New York Times, saying: “Some time after the campaign is over, they set up a reimbursement, $35,000 a month, out of his personal family account.”
    The sum paid was $460,000-$470,000, including expenses, he said.

    Any repayment by the Trump campaign would violate the law.

    But presidential candidates are allowed to contribute an unlimited amount to their own campaign. Mr Trump may be arguing, through Mr Giuliani, that the personal nature of the repayment makes it legal.

    However, if the $130,000 is deemed to have been a loan, the president could face questions as to why his personal financial disclosure form from June 2017 made no mention of any debt to Mr Cohen.

    The repayment would have had to be disclosed to the Federal Election Commission if it were an election-related expense. A wilful violation could be a crime.

    Ms Daniels’ lawyer said it would need to be determined whether the payment was hidden in such a way as to violate anti-money laundering statutes.

    Mr Cohen, for his part, told the New York Times in February: “Neither the Trump Organization nor the Trump campaign was a party to the transaction with Ms Clifford, and neither reimbursed me for the payment, either directly or indirectly.”

    How this relates to any personal repayments by Mr Trump is unclear.

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  • It looks like plagiarist Melina Trump has been “harvesting” other people’s publications and policies, and presenting them as her own – once again! – I wonder who she will blame this time?

    US First Lady Melania Trump has been caught up in another plagiarism row, following the launch of her new online safety for children campaign on Monday.

    A booklet put out by Mrs Trump bore a striking resemblance to one published under the Obama administration.

    The text and graphics of the “Be Best” booklet were nearly identical to those in the previous edition.

    The White House said that Mrs Trump had sought to used her position to “amplify” the text’s positive message.

    In 2016 Mrs Trump was accused of plagiarising parts of a speech from a 2008 address by Michelle Obama.

    After commentators picked up on very close similarities between the two speeches, Meredith McIver, a Trump administration staff member who wrote Mrs Trump’s speech, admitted borrowing from Mrs Obama.

    Mrs Trump’s online safety booklet was initially billed on the initiative’s website as being “by First Lady Melania Trump and the Federal Trade Commission”.

    After similarities to the Obama-era edition were picked up online, the text was revised to describe it as a “Federal Trade Commission booklet, promoted by First Lady Melania Trump”.

    A White House statement released on Tuesday accused “opposition” media of taking “a day meant to promote kindness and positive efforts on behalf of children, to instead lob baseless accusations towards the First Lady and her new initiatives”.

    It said that the Be Best initiative was aimed at supporting children and opening dialogue on issues affecting them – including by helping the Federal Trade Commission to promote the booklet – and called on media workers “to attempt to Be Best in their own professions” by focussing on Mrs Trump’s programme.

    Cynically laughable, in the context of plagiarism, the Trump connections to Fox News, its reporters, and Trump’s appointments to positions as heads of scientific departments in his administration – about whom the world consensus clearly classifies THEM as significantly less than “the BEST IN THEIR PROFESSIONS”!! !

    It looks like another Trump monkey trying to wear Obama’s respectable clothes!

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  • Alan4discussion #58

    It looks like another Trump monkey trying to wear Obama’s respectable

    There is much speculation as to how in 2001 the First Underwear Model obtained her EB-1 visa, the so-called “Einstein Visa”, reserved for people who are highly acclaimed in their field. The government cites Pulitzer, Oscar, and Olympic winners as examples, as well as respected academic researchers and multinational executives. ‘Dating’ Donald Trump is apparently the qualification that swung it in her case.

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  • alf1200 #60
    May 8, 2018 at 4:08 pm

    Next year Trump will be granting EB-1 visas to Russian prostitutes.
    They are the best in the world according to Trump.

    While it is only a rumour, I have heard that the very best are trained by the KGB to seduce people who could be useful to them! 🙂

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  • In addition to payments to the porn star, it appears that Cohen was involved in other dubious deals!

    President Donald Trump’s personal lawyer received a payment of $500,000 (£368,000) from a firm tied to a Russian oligarch, US media report.

    Citing financial records, the reports say a company set up by Michael Cohen was also paid after the 2016 election by corporations seeking approval from the administration on business.

    Mr Cohen’s company, Essential Consultants LLC, last year received half a million dollars from Columbus Nova, a New York-based investment company that has financial ties to a firm controlled by Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, according to the New York Times.

    A lawyer for Columbus Nova said late on Tuesday that the payment was a consulting fee and had nothing to do with Mr Vekselberg.

    The documents reportedly show that Essential Consultants also received a $200,000 payment from AT&T as the corporation sought approval from the Trump administration for its planned acquisition Time Warner.

    AT&T confirmed to CNN a payment for an undisclosed amount for “insights into understanding the new administration”.

    What was that, that Cohen was saying about “client confidentiality”?

    “Essential Consulting was one of several firms we engaged in early 2017 to provide insights into understanding the new administration,” the company said on Tuesday.

    “They did no legal or lobbying work for us, and the contract ended in December 2017.”

    Last month the FBI seized papers from Mr Cohen’s office following a request from Special Counsel Robert Mueller, who is investigating suspected Russian meddling in the 2016 election.

    Perhaps that is why a panicking Trump was attacking FBI chiefs conducting investigations, and screaming “witch-hunt” on Twitter, when Cohen’s papers were seized!

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  • The investigation of links to Trump’s lawyer – despite the latest denial babblings from Pence, could well lead to prosecutions over those “great deals”!

    AT&T’s chief executive said hiring Donald Trump’s lawyer, Michael Cohen, as a consultant was a “big mistake”.

    AT&T paid Essential Consultants, a company used by Mr Cohen, to advise on issues including AT&T’s pending takeover of Time Warner.

    The same firm was also used to pay off porn star Stormy Daniels during the 2016 election.

    The AT&T chief, Randall Stephenson, made the comments in a memo to employees on Friday.

    “Everything we did was done according to the law and entirely legitimate. But the fact is our past association with [Michael] Cohen was a serious misjudgement,” he said.

    AT&T’s head lobbyist, Bob Quinn, who oversaw the hiring of Cohen, is retiring, the memo added.

    AT&T has said its $50,000-a-month contract with Essential Consultants ended in December 2017.

    That was just a few weeks after the US Justice Department sued to block the firm’s acquisition of Time Warner, citing concerns about competition.

    The outcome of that lawsuit is pending.

    AT&T never asked Mr Cohen to set up meetings for the company with anyone in the Trump administration, and he did not offer to do so, the memo said.

    But the disclosure of the relationship has “damaged” the firm’s reputation. Mr Stephenson said: “There is no other way to say it – AT&T hiring Michael Cohen as a political consultant was a big mistake.”

    AT&T is one of several firms, including pharmaceutical firm Novartis and a company linked to Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, that has admitted making payments to Essential Consultants.

    The head of Novartis has also called its payments a mistake.

    The firm was set up by Mr Cohen, who is under federal investigation for his business dealings.

    The payments by the companies were revealed this week by the lawyer for Stormy Daniels, who alleges she had a sexual relationship with Mr Trump in 2006 – a claim the president denies.

    The Trump campaign and the White House, are still sitting in the middle of that “political swamp” which rallying Trumpies keep shouting about draining!

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  • @#63 – “There is no other way to say it – AT&T hiring Michael Cohen as a political consultant was a big mistake.”

    AT&T is one of several firms, including pharmaceutical firm Novartis and a company linked to Russian oligarch Viktor Vekselberg, that has admitted making payments to Essential Consultants.

    I see that the Trump swamp is acting on behalf of monopolistic drug companies while pontificating on “affordable prescription charges” for medically ripped-off Americans!

    US President Donald Trump has accused foreign governments of extorting “unreasonably low prices” from pharmaceutical firms.

    Speaking in Washington on Friday, he said he had directed his top trade negotiator to make the issue a priority in trade talks.

    So when foreign governments break monopolies and do “great deals” on behalf of their citizens, this is “extortion” in the Trump mind!

    “It is time to end the global freeloading once and for all,” he said.

    The president is under pressure to deliver on campaign promises to reduce the high costs of prescription drugs.

    So naturally as a Trump action, this will involve trying to make millions of people pay MORE for their medications in countries which give consumers better value for money than Americans get!
    I suppose Trumpies can be conned into believing that they are no longer being ripped off, if everyone else is ripped off to pay as much as they do!

    In his speech, the president pinned the problem in part on price controls in other countries that he said “extort unreasonably low prices” from drug-makers, forcing Americans to pay more to “subsidise the enormous costs of research and development”.

    “That is unacceptable,” he said.

    However, experts say foreign pricing is not a major influence on US costs and changing it will not help Americans.

    Paul Ginsburg, a professor of health policy at USC and the director of the USC-Brookings Schaeffer Initiative for Health Policy, said firms set prices to maximise profits and already have ample incentives to innovate.

    “The notion that if other countries pay more for drugs that US consumers will pay less, that’s just not true,”

    “If they are able to get other countries to pay more, I don’t believe it will have any effect on prices in the United States,” he added. “It will only raise drug company profits.”

    Shares of health care companies jumped after the president’s speech.

    Americans already pay TWICE AS MUCH FOR THEIR MEDICAL SERVICES as the average of OECD countries – with no other country tolerating the levels of rip-offs perpetrated in the USA!

    Polls repeatedly find that reducing the high cost of prescription drugs is a priority for American voters.

    The US spent $1,443 per capita on pharmaceutical costs in 2016, compared to a range of $466 to $939 in 10 other high income countries, including the UK, Australia, Canada and Japan, according to a study in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

    The report said those costs were one of the primary drivers of overall US health spending, which was nearly twice as high as in the other countries.

    President Donald Trump seized on the issue during his 2016 election campaign.

    At the time, he said the government should negotiate drug prices for government health programmes, such as Medicare. He also voiced support for allowing people to buy medicines from countries where they cost less, such as Canada.

    Neither of those proposals was mentioned in Friday’s speech.

    Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat from New York, said the president’s blueprint offered “little more than window dressing”.

    “The idea that asking Germany to charge their citizens more for drugs will help Americans is a cop-out and the height of absurdity that nobody believes,” he said.

    Well nobody with an informed functioning brain believes it,- but that probably excludes Trumpies at Fox and friends!

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  • Trump has no intention of trying to negotiate drug prices down. Rich people don’t care about drug costs and Trump doesn’t care about poor people plus big pharma has big lobbyists. All Spanky wants to do is find someone else to blame the problem on which is what he always does about things he doesn’t know how to fix. So now it’s the fault of other countries for being great deal makers. Of course what he’s actually saying but doesn’t realise it is that if any of his argument held water then if he used his amazing deal making skills to reduce drug prices in the USA then the drug companies would have to raise prices abroad to get their profits back up thus curing everything he’s whining about in one fell swoop. But he has no deal making skills. Trump only likes the deal when he gets to choose all the cards so he can’t lose. He has no clue what to do when it’s a level playing field. His only tactics are threats and bullying. This doesn’t work with the big boys so he’s stumped. He tried to bully China on tariffs but they just kicked him back in the nuts even harder with soybean and pork levies. He’s trying to bully Europe about Iran but he’ll find we’ll just leave him out of the equation and get on with things without the USA. What he hates most of all is being ignored. He doesn’t seem to mind being hated as long as it produces good ratings. He’s playing the baddy in the Big Brother house which is fine as long as all the camera time is on him.

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  • @#62 – Perhaps that is why a panicking Trump was attacking FBI chiefs conducting investigations, and screaming “witch-hunt” on Twitter, when Cohen’s papers were seized!

    I see Trump’s stooge “Justice Department” is to investigate FBI surveillance of his bunch of crooks and incompetents and their Russian connections!

    The US Department of Justice will investigate whether FBI agents spied on President Donald Trump’s 2016 election campaign for “inappropriate purposes”.

    In a tweet, Mr Trump said he wanted to know whether his predecessor’s administration ordered such a move.

    The call comes after US media reports suggesting the FBI had an informant meeting campaign aides.

    US Deputy Attorney-General Rod Rosenstein said action would be taken if any infiltration was found.

    “If anyone did infiltrate or surveil participants in a presidential campaign for inappropriate purposes, we need to know about it and take appropriate action,” Mr Rosenstein said in a statement.
    What is the scope of the investigation?

    There is already an investigation into all aspects relating to Mr Trump’s campaign for the 2016 election and whether Russia tried to influence the outcome.

    Mr Trump’s latest demand came amid a series of tweets on Sunday denouncing a “witch hunt” that, he said, had found no collusion by his campaign with Russia.

    Only a treacherous Trump-brained-idiot, would try to publicly expose the FBI agents who were checking on foreign infiltration of the US government and its departments!

    Some of those involved in the Trump asserted “no-collusion”, seem to be the subject of criminal prosecutions – but hey! – If the all-knowing-Trump says there was no collusion, I am sure we can be confident that he was totally on the ball with profound awareness, and ethical integrity, in selecting and supervising his campaign team! 🙂 !
    It’s not as if a whole string of them had been forced to resign because of improper connections, undeclared foreign interests, gross incompetence, criminal prosecutions, etc. !!! 🙂 Is it???

    After all! – Who needs evidence, when we have the personal assurance of the Liar-in-Chief? 🙂

    Analysis: Anthony Zurcher, BBC North America correspondent

    Robert Mueller appears to be expanding the scope of his probe, and Donald Trump isn’t happy about it at all.

    A New York Times article that seems to have prompted the president’s Sunday tweet-storm: reports that the special counsel team is looking at attempts by Middle Eastern nationals, including citizens of Saudi Arabia and Israel, to offer assistance to the 2016 Trump campaign.
    Such foreign involvement in the US electoral process would be illegal.

    I seem to recall a big US arms deal for the warring Saudis, and a US embassy move to Jerusalem! “Great Deals” ???

    After denouncing the New York Times, the president lashed out at Democrats and turned his Twitter guns on his own justice department.

    The president has tweeted similar official-sounding directives before with little follow-up action. If the president is serious, however, it could constitute an unprecedented attempt to influence a justice department investigatory process that has been insulated from presidential meddling since the Watergate scandal of the Nixon administration.

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  • I see that Trump has taken the hump over Mike Pence’s comments being described as “stupid and ignorant!

    Ms Choe, in an article carried by the state news agency KCNA on Thursday, said Mr Pence had made “unbridled and impudent remarks”.

    She added: “As a person involved in US affairs, I cannot suppress my surprise at *such ignorant and stupid remarks** gushing from the mouth of the US vice-president.

    I find no surprise whatever in ignorant and stupid remarks coming from Mike Pence! Rather that the observation that his remarks are usually stupid and ignorant, would seem to be a statement of the obvious!

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  • Meanwhile the challenges to the processes of law continue!

    US prosecutors have accused Donald Trump’s former campaign manager, Paul Manafort, of trying to tamper with potential witnesses ahead of his trial.

    Robert Mueller, who is investigating alleged Russian election interference, said Mr Manafort had contacted people related to his money laundering and tax fraud case in breach of his bail terms.

    Mr Manafort, 69, denies all charges.

    They are not connected with allegations of collusion between Russia and the Trump campaign during the US election.

    Mr Trump denies any collusion and has consistently spoken of a witch hunt.

    Mr Manafort’s first trial, on charges of money laundering and illegal lobbying, is due to begin in September.

    [Full article via the link – mod]

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  • Apparently it’s not just natural resources that Pruitt wants to harvest. Amongst the many personal tasks he got the EPA’s Director of Scheduling and Advance to do for him was try and find a second hand discount price Trump International hotel luxury mattress for him. I’m not sure which is worse. That he uses a high level government paid employee as his personal assistant or that he wants to sleep on an old cum stained hotel mattress because he’s too mean to buy a new one. I’m sure he can explain to the House Investigation committee after the Dems take it over in November.

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  • Meanwhile the charges for criminal activity against this mottley crew just keep building!

    Special Counsel Robert Mueller has added more charges against Paul Manafort, the ex-chairman of the Trump 2016 campaign, and indicted a top aide.

    Russian citizen Konstantin Kilimnik – considered Mr Manafort’s right-hand man in Ukraine – is accused of conspiring with Mr Manafort to obstruct justice.

    Earlier this week Mr Manafort was accused of witness tampering.

    Mr Manafort is also charged with money laundering, illegal foreign lobbying, and lying to federal officials.

    The 69-year-old denies all charges against him.

    The new charges against both men – known as a superseding indictment – alleges that they sought to tamper with witnesses ahead of Mr Manafort’s trial next month.

    The charges, which were filed in Washington DC on Friday, came days after Mr Mueller asked a judge to revoke Mr Manafort’s $10m (£7.5m) bail, which has allowed him to remain under house arrest at his Virginia home, over the witness-tampering accusations.

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  • I see there is a new legal move to hold the Trump family accountable!

    New York’s attorney general announced on Thursday she was suing the Trump Foundation, as well as Donald Trump and his children, alleging “extensive and persistent” lawbreaking.

    Barbara Underwood said the foundation had engaged in “extensive unlawful political coordination” designed to influence the 2016 election.

    Also named in the suit were Mr Trump’s children, Ivanka, Eric, and Donald Jr

    In a statement, Ms Underwood said Mr Trump had illegally instructed his foundation to provide support to his presidential campaign by using the foundation’s name and funds it raised to promote the campaign.

    The lawsuit seeks to ban the president from serving as the director of any New York non-profit for 10 years, and seeks similar one year bans for each of his children, who serve on the foundation’s board.

    Having looked at the comments on the twitter link, they make a very good case for why I don’t try to post rational arguments to the audience on twitter! 🙂

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  • It seems Pruitt and Trump are determined to harvest a trade war!

    China will respond quickly to protect itself if the US hurts its interests with fresh trade tariffs, a foreign ministry spokesman has said.

    Duties on foreign steel and aluminium, announced in March, have already gone into effect.

    Those tariffs have already prompted Europe, Mexico, Canada and China to introduce or announce plans for counter-measures in retaliation.

    The US wants China to stop practices that allegedly encourage transfer of intellectual property – design and product ideas – to Chinese companies, such as requirements that foreign firms share ownership with local partners to access the Chinese market.

    In Beijing on Friday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang repeated earlier warnings that all trade talks between China and the US would be void if Washington imposed trade sanctions.

    “If the US takes unilateral and protectionist measures that harm Chinese interests, we will respond immediately by taking the necessary decisions to safeguard our legitimate rights and interests.”
    ‘Serious’ impact

    On Thursday, International Monetary Fund (IMF) director Christine Lagarde warned that the Trump administration’s trade policies were likely to hurt the US economy and undermine the world’s trade system.

    She said a trade war would lead to “losers on both sides” and could have a “serious” impact.

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  • So within hours of the dire warnings being issued, and conflict in the pipeline, know-it-all-Trump launches the next escalation of his trade war!

    US President Donald Trump is to impose 25% tariffs on $50bn worth of Chinese goods, accusing Beijing of intellectual copyright theft.

    If China retaliates, as it has already pledged to do, the US will impose even more tariffs, Mr Trump warned.

    The tariffs, in motion for months, have met with fierce criticism in the US from affected companies, as well as farmers and others fearful of retaliation.

    The plans have also had a mixed political reaction, winning praise from Democrats and opposition from Republicans, who typically favour free trade policies.

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