UNDER SIEGE, GOP DIVERTS TO CLINTONS by Milt Hankins

UNDER SIEGE, GOP DIVERTS TO CLINTONS by Milt Hankins

When Republicans find themselves in hot water, they dredge up an old Clinton scandal. For months we heard nothing but Benghazi. Since it was determined that Hillary Clinton couldn’t have prevented the Benghazi tragedy and the Republicans won the 2016 election, Benghazi became a dead issue.

As the Trump-Russia scandal gains momentum and indictments (also arrests) have been issued by the Mueller Investigation, the Republicans have turned to an old Clinton “scandal” that really isn’t a scandal at all I’m talking about the Uranium One deal, which we’ll be hearing about ad nauseam in the coming months.

On Nov. 14, 2017, Attorney General Jeff Sessions “raised the possibility that a special counsel may be appointed to investigate potential wrongdoing by the Clinton Foundation, specifically suggestions that a U.S. government panel approved the sale of a large uranium firm to Russian interests in exchange for donations to the foundation.”

This is the issue.

ROBERT MUELLER

Recently, as the Mueller investigation gains momentum, conservative media and President Donald Trump have focused on the Uranium One deal to divert attention.

Briefly, the deal concerns the sale of a Canadian company, Uranium One, which has uranium holdings int he U.S., to Russia’s nuclear energy agency, Rosatom. The transaction took place in several states “beginning in 2009 when Rosatom purchased a minority stake in Uranium One” (remember it’s a Canadian company). Then, in 2010, Rosatom obtained 51 percent share of the company, and in 2013, a third purchase gave full ownership of Uranium One to Rosatom.

The controversy revolves around the State Department signing off on Rosatom’s purchase and the fact that several of Uranium One’s owners were donors to the Clinton Foundation–to the tune of $145 million. Critics are alleging Clinton “greenlighted the sale to appease donors to her family’s charity.”

According to Politico, “there is no direct evidence of a quid pro quo among Clinton, the State Department, Rosatom and the Clinton Foundation donors with ties to Uranium One.” Clinton insists that “such approval was granted at lower levels of the department and would not have crossed the secretary’s desk.”

Keep in mind that the sales involved required “approval by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the U.S., an intergovernmental agency that includes input from the Departments of State, Treasury, Justice, Energy, Defense, Commerce and Homeland Security, as well as the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative,” Politico reported.

“Jose Fernandez, who was the assistant secretary of state for economic, energy and business affairs when the Uranium One deal was approved, told the Times that Clinton ‘never intervened with me on any (Committee on Foreign Investment int he United States) matter.'”

HILLARY CLINTON

According to Snopes, “Allegations of a ‘quid pro quo‘ deal giving Russia ownership of one-fifth of U.S. uranium deposits in exchange for $145 million in donations to the Clinton Foundation are unsubstantiated.”

As far as I have been able to ascertain, Fernandez says Clinton “never intervened in committee matters. Clinton herself has said she wasn’t personally involved.”

“This ‘scandal’ is not real. It’s a distraction.”

As Joe Conason has said, “You can’t go broke going after the Clintons.”

[Milt Hankins is a columnist for the Huntington, WV Herald-Dispatch. He is the author of three books and is the publisher and editor of Columnist With a View (columnistwithaview.com). He lives in Ashland, Kentucky with his wife Deborah.]

 

 

DONALD TRUMP AND GLOBAL WARMING from Daily Kos

DONALD TRUMP AND GLOBAL WARMING from Daily Kos

After nearly a year, no one is particularly surprised when Donald Trump demonstrates just how stupid he is, but it is sometimes jarring to see how proud he is of it. And on Thursday night Trump provided a perfect example of both his painfully weak grasp of common knowledge, along with a massive dose of callous insensitivity toward the needless suffering of others.

This example came in the form of a thoughtless tweet that served no purpose other than to belittle sincere advocates for the health of the planet and its inhabitants. Trump tweeted:

“In the East, it could be the COLDEST New Year’s Eve on record. Perhaps we could use a little bit of that good old Global Warming that our Country, but not other countries, was going to pay TRILLIONS OF DOLLARS to protect against. Bundle up”

By wishing for “a little bit of that good old Global Warming,” Trump is in effect wishing that millions of people suffer and die. He clearly doesn’t have even the slightest understanding of Climate Change, and thinks it’s cute to pray for more of it.

Let’s be clear, the record cold temperatures that are blanketing much of the Northeast and Midwest are, in fact, the result of Climate Change. Higher temperatures in arctic regions and oceans push frigid weather patterns farther south than they ordinarily go. And that’s why people from Maine to Minnesota will be shivering and many will be in mortal peril.

Trump and his science-denying ilk still don’t understand that aberrant weather patterns are a product of Climate Change (which is why scientists don’t call it global warming). He doesn’t know the difference between climate and weather. He can’t connect the incidence of extreme temperatures and natural disasters like hurricanes to the climate disruptions caused by human industry and behavior. And even when there are episodes of cold temperatures in one particular locality, in other places it is uncommonly warm. Southern California is in the eighties. Australia is experiencing record highs. So chills in New York don’t negate the fact that the planet’s climate is rising. 2016 was the hottest year ever. 2017 is set to be one of the three hottest years on record.

Trump’s flagrant ignorance is compounded by his brazen lying. Who knows what he’s talking about with regard to the United States spending “trillions of dollars” to protect against climate change. Efforts to mitigate climate disasters were being put into place internationally until Trump petulantly withdrew from the Paris Accords. But the cost never approached trillions. Fortunately, many states, cities and private companies repudiated the President and still intend to implement the initiatives outlined in Paris.

Finally, Trump tagged on a stony and insincere tip to “bundle up.” Really? That’s all he could muster for one of the coldest periods on record. Doesn’t he realize that people die under these circumstances? It was apparently too much trouble to post information on finding shelters for the homeless. Or to help those affected to stay warm in poorly insulated apartments and homes. Or to offer advice on how to prevent pipes from freezing or where to get help if someone is suffering from hypothermia. Just bundle up and mock science by wishing for the problem to get worse.

TRUMP SETTLED IN LAWSUIT OVER UNDERPAID UNDERDOCUMENTED WORKERS FOR OVER $1 MILLION, RECORD SHOW by Gabe Ortiz

TRUMP SETTLED IN LAWSUIT OVER UNDERPAID UNDERDOCUMENTED WORKERS FOR OVER $1 MILLION, RECORD SHOW by Gabe Ortiz


Donald Trump outsourced his presidential campaign and took the White House in part by slandering Mexican immigrants as criminals and “rapists,” but like all the wretched fat cat hypocrites before him, he has benefitted from immigrant labor, specifically undocumented immigrants. In 1998, Trump finally settled an ongoing class-action lawsuit against him after he was sued for underpaying–or not paying at all–the crew of 200 undocumented Polish workers who were tasked with clearing the way for what would become the site of his crown jewel, Trump Tower, back in 1980. Nicknamed the “Polish Brigade,” these workers toiled in dangerous conditions, “without gloves, hard hats or masks,” for as little as $4 an hour throughout 12-hour days:

“Their treatment led to years of litigation over Mr. Trump’s labor practices, and in 1998, despite frequent claims that he never settles lawsuits, Mr. Trump quietly reached an agreement to end a class-action suit over the Bonwit Teller demolition in which he was a defendant.

For almost 20 years the terms of that settlement have remained a secret. But last week, the settlement documents were unsealed by Loretta A. Preska, a United States District Court judge for the Southern District, in response to a 2016 motion filed by Tim Inc. and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. Judge Preska found that the public’s right to know of court proceedings in a class-action case was strengthened by the involvement of the “now-president of the United States.”

 

And a president who consistently maligns immigrants as takers, when in fact it was the alleged billionaire who underpaid blue-collar workers and then spent 15 years fighting them over it. In fact, Trump lied on the stand about having knowledge of their status, saying that “I really still don’t know that there were illegal aliens.” But one labor consultant testified that Trump called him for advice after the contractor he hired stopped paying the workers, with Trump saying “he had some illegal Polish employees,” while the foreman testified Trump frequently visited the site and comment “those Polish guys are good, hard workers.” And though Trump my have changed political parties like an orange chameleon whenever it suits him, the documents show he’s been anti-immigrant through and through:

Mr. Trump did, according to [attorney] Mr. [John] Szabo, have his lawyer call Mr. Szabo with a threat to call immigration and Naturalization Service to have the men deported.

Trump eventually settled for $1.375 million (it’s unclear how much of the money, if any, went to the workers), but continues to exploit both undocumented and documents immigrant labor for his own personal and political gain. The Washington Post revealed in 2015 that undocumented immigrant laborers were helping finish up his $200 million hotel in Washington, D.C. According to the Guardian last year, immigrant workers at his Las Vegas hotel have been overworked and underpaid. In 2016, the hotel was forced to settle for more than $11,000 following charges that higher ups retaliated against hotel employees for union organizing. And at his Mar-a-Lago resort (not the “Winter White House”), the New York Times reported last year that Trump has “pursued more than 500 visas for foreign workers…since 2010.” Buy American and Hire American, indeed.

SINCE EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANITY INFILTRATED POLITICS by Ed Rabel

SINCE EVANGELICAL CHRISTIANITY INFILTRATED POLITICS by Ed Rabel

Since Evangelical Christianity began infiltrating politics, officially in the late 1970s, there has been a disturbing trend to limit or remove rights from those who don’t meet the conservative idea of an American. Many of those initiatives come in the form of “religious freedom” laws, which empower discrimination, while other legislation targets immigrants who believe differently. The result has been a sharp division in American culture, and the redefinition of Christian theology.

TONY CAMPOLO

Evangelical speaker, author, and university professor Tony Campolo said Christianity was redefined in the mid-70s by position of “pro-life” and opposing gay marriage. “Suddenly theology fell to the background,” he said. And somewhere in the middle of all the change, Evangelical Christianity crossed the line of faith and belief to hatred and abuse. Those who cruelly implement the actions of their faith are oblivious to the destruction they cause to their religion, or the people their beliefs impact. Is it fair to call it sociopathic?

Psychology Today listed sixteen characteristics of sociopathic behaviors, which include: Untruthfulness and insincerity, superficial charm and good intelligence, lack of remorse or shame, poor judgment and failure to learn by experience, pathologic egocentricity and incapacity for love, unresponsiveness in general interpersonal relations, specific loss of insight, and general poverty in major affective reactions (in other words, appropriate emotional responses).

We see examples of these kinds of behaviors in church leaders and followers. Franklin Graham, for example, stated that immigration is “not a Bible issue.”

FRANKLIN GRAHAM

His stand fits well with his conservative politics and vocal support of Donald Trump, but his callousness toward immigrants and those seeking asylum in the United States goes against everything he says he believes (Leviticus 19:33-34, Mark 12:30-31). Yet, Graham doesn’t see one bit of irony between his political stance and his religious belief. Nor does he seem to notice the horrific casualties in war-torn countries these immigrants are desperately trying to flee.

[adapted from “Has Evangelical Christianity Become Sociopathic? in Huffingtonpost.com. Mr. Rabel’s article was published on Facebook and is in the public domain.]

TRUMP TRUMPS THE SCANDALS OF PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATIONS by Milt Hankins

TRUMP TRUMPS THE SCANDALS OF PREVIOUS ADMINISTRATIONS by Milt Hankins

Almost no presidential administration has escaped the taint of a scandal or two. Scandal substantially tarnished the administrations of Ulysses S. Grant and Warren G. Harding. More recently, most of us recall Watergate, Whitewater/Lewinsky, and Iran-Contra.

TEAPOT DOME SCANDAL

I selected only a few to make my point. I could have mentioned many more. Readers can google “Presidential Scandals.” Seth Cline, a staff writer with U.S. News and World Report, began his article “The 7 Worst U.S. Presidential Scandals” (March 1, 2017) mentioning Grant.

If you research Trump administration scandals, you will discover a hefty list of Trump’s disgraces, and you will realize these articles have been published in the first eight or nine months of his presidency. We may have three more years to go. Simply untenable!

JARED KUSHNER

We should have done more than raise our eyebrows when, from the beginning of the Trump administration, nepotism (“favoritism shown to relatives in appointing them to jobs”) reared its ugly head. Nepotism is illegal (see 5 U.S. Code #3110, Sub-Part B: “A public official may not appoint, employ, promote, advance, or advocate for appointment, employment, promotion or advancement, in or to a civilian position in the agency in which he is serving or over which he exercises jurisdiction or control any individual who is a relative of the public official.”)

The responsibilities President Trump has given to his son-in-law Jared Kushner and his daughter Ivanka will prove extremely troublesome. Kushner is already a major subject of current investigations by the Congress. He and Donald Jr. are also under scrutiny for their involvement in questionable meetings with Russian operatives.

TRUMP AND DAUGHTER IVANKA

According to an article in Politico by Sarah Holder (July 26, 2017) “13 Trump Scandals You Forgot About,” Ms. Holder barely mentions some potential problems for Trump before listing 13 in bold type. Combining the most dubious, Holder documents that Trump and his family are taking advantage of his position to increase their own personal wealth.

MAR-A-LAGO

Holder begins with “Foreign Governments Are Paying Trump. The White House is promoting Melania’s Jewelry and Ivanka’s Clothing Line, Trump has ‘jacked up’ Mar-a-Lago’s rates, with his campaign paying his businesses and the government writing him a $15,000 check” for use of the plush facility.

 

Secretary Wilbur Ross is keeping investments he oversees as Commerce Secretary and the Kushners tout Jared’s White House connections to do business in China. Jared Kushner failed to disclose key assets, while he and Ivanka are still raking in cash from their businesses.”

PRESIDENT TRUMP “BUDDIES UP” WITH RUSSIA’S VLADIMIR PUTIN

Bluntly, the above plus Donald Trump’s solicitous attitude toward Vladimir Putin and the obvious (proven) Russian interference in our most recent presidential election will, I suspect, prove the Trump presidency to be the most scandal-ridden administration in American history.

Trump supporters take the attitude, “Who cares?”

These actions/behaviors suggest that Trump is unfit to serve as president of the United States–that he is using the highest and most important office in America for his and his family’s personal, financial benefit.

Investigations will likely show a collusion with Russia during the campaign and still influencing the Trump presidency. Unacceptable!

 

L. MILTON HANKINS

[This opinion-editorial first appeared in the Huntington WV Herald-Dispatch on September 11, 2017. Hankins is the publisher and editor of Columnist with a View. He lives in Ashland, Kentucky with his wife Deborah and furry buddy Jose. He is the author of two books “Ashes on the Snow” and “A Sensible Theology for Thinking People.” Both are available through Amazon.com.]

CENSURE. IMPEACH. REMOVE by Jo Comerford

CENSURE. IMPEACH. REMOVE by Jo Comerford

This past weekend, a mob of white men marched in Charlottesville, Virginia, carrying flaming torches and shouting, “Heil, Trump!” As a columnist in the Washington Post said, Trump might as well have “lit every one of those torches in Charlottesville.”

And now, after this weekend’s horrific murder, Trump just keeps piling on the hate. Yesterday he again cast blame on “all sides” and refused to disavow his advisers with ties to white supremacist organizations.

Not only did Trump stoke the fires of racism and white supremacy to get elected, but once in office, he chose white supremacists Steve Bannon, Sebastian Gorka, and Stephen Miller to be among some of his closest White House advisers.

That’s why we’re launching an emergency campaign to demand that lawmakers

1. CENSURE DONALD TRUMP. Censure is a formal, public statement of disapproval that requires a vote by Congress. A bipartisan vote would send a strong message to Trump and the world that his behavior is unacceptable and doesn’t represent American values.

 

PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP

2. BEGIN THE IMPEACHMENT PROCESS. For months now, we’ve been demanding that Congress begin the process to remove Donald Trump from office. Yesterday’s behavior was yet another example of just how unfit he is for the office of the presidency. And how urgently impeachment is needed.

3. REMOVE TRUMP’S WHITE SUPREMACIST ADVISERS FROM THE WHITE HOUSE. Congress controls Trump’s budget, which gives them tacit control of his staffing and the power to demand the removal of white supremacist advisers from their positions.

Our work ahead won’t be easy. But we have no choice but to work hard as we can for as long as it takes–to condemn, isolate, and ultimately remove racist, neo-Nazi sympathizers from the White House and confront the stain of white supremacy wherever it appears in our country.

Here’s some of what we’re doing together already:

CAPITOL AND SEAT OF GOVERNMENT

♦ Demanding that Congress immediately censure Donald Trump, and begin an impeachment inquiry.

Standing with and amplifying the calls from allies and members of Congress on both sides of the aisle who are condemning hate, calling for congressional hearings, and demanding the immediate removal of Trump’s white supremacist advisers.

♦ Cohosting a huge Sunday night call to identify ways all of us can engage in the essential work of dismantling systemic white supremacy and its symbols in America.

Growing MoveOn’s proven Video Lab–which uses compelling and accessible fact-based content to cut through smoke screens and lies about Bannon, Gorka, Miller, the rise of hate groups since Election Day, and Trump’s own hatemongering–and has already generated more than 300 million views in just over a year.

MoveOn members have opposed Trump’s to white nationalist adviser, Steve Bannon, since the beginning. We issued a clarion call of outrage mere hours after Trump’s announcement that he had appointed Bannon as a special adviser–and we’ve demand his removal ever since.

        STEVE BANNON                                                                                                                                            

In December, we worked tenaciously with more than a dozen allies to deliver more than one million petition signatures to Congress, putting lawmakers on notice by channeling grassroots fury and pressure. And we promised that we would not yield. Then, alongside veterans groups, MoveOn members campaigned for Bannon’s immediate removal from the all-too-powerful National Security Council and cheered together when he was finally ousted.

And then in June, we demanded that Congress launch an impeachment inquiry over Trump’s flagrant abuse of power.

We know that our non-stop organizing is making a difference.

Trump’s approval ratings are tanking. Media reports indicate that Bannon is on thin ice, openly reviled as the “lunatic fringe.” And lawmakers on both sides of the aisle are speaking out against hate–but not nearly enough. Speaking out ourselves, and making sure our lawmakers join in and then take meaningful action, is what we must do.

With your help, it’s time to expand our efforts to demand the formal censure of Trump, to redouble our efforts to push for an impeachment inquiry, and to demand the removal of not just Bannon, but of Gorka and Miller, too–men who are equally dangerous.

We don’t have a moment to lose: news reports indicate that “alt-right” gatherings are spiking across the U.S.

It’s time to censure and remove the “alt-right’s” most powerful and dangerous champions from inside the White House–before this toxic tidal wave gains more ground.


Will you chip in $3 to help launch and drive forward the campaign to kick hate out of the White House?  Want to support the work of MoveOn? The MoveOn community will work every moment, day by day and year by year, to resist Trump’s agency, contain the damage, defeat hate with love, and begin the process of swinging the nation’s pendulum back towards sanity, decency, and the kind of future that we must never give up on. And to do it we need your support, now more than every. Will you stand with us? Go to MoveOn.org to see how you can contribute. Chip in $3, or whatever you can afford.


Thanks for all you do–Jo, Stephen, Mark, Amy, and the rest of the team