The 4 X 8 ugly yellow 99th District Tea Party sign that has been in a field next to the Food Lion in Heathsville is GONE. The sign is gone but the 4X4 frame remains. As far as I can tell, all the other Tea Party signs disappeared long ago — except for one lonely one along 203 between Callao and Montross.
The Trump mob has told us that they are cutting through “red tape” and “government regulations.”
There’s a process for tossing out or modifying regulations.
- First, there must be a FACTUAL basis for changing the regulations. You can’t toss out a regulation because you don’t like it. You must have a valid reason to change the regulation.
- Next, before a regulation can be changed, the new regulation must be published in the Federal Register after which there is a 90-day period in which the public can comment.
- Then, comments and facts must be considered before a new regulation is proposed.
Turns out, the Trump crowd has been simply claiming they are tossing out regulations – “promises made, promises kept.”
Furthermore, it turns out that Trump regulatory changes have been challenged in the courts. When regulations are changed, it’s not unusual for a suit to challenge the change. The Dept of Justice defends the government position. In previous administrations, the administration has won 70% of these cases. Trump has won 6% of his cases . . . because the courts have discovered that Trump is simply declarinig a regulation to be bad, changing it, throwing it out, and doing whatever they want . . . and the courts are ruling against Trump. On top of that, DOJ is refusing to appeal these losses.
Federal judges have ruled against the Trump administration at least 63 times over the past two years, an extraordinary record of legal defeat that has stymied large parts of the president’s agenda on the environment, immigration and other matters.
In case after case, judges have rebuked Trump officials for failing to follow the most basic rules of governance for shifting policy, including providing legitimate explanations supported by facts and, where required, public input.
Many of the cases are in early stages and subject to reversal. For example, the Supreme Court permitted a version of President Trump’s ban on travelers from certain predominantly Muslim nations to take effect after lower-court judges blocked the travel ban as discriminatory.
But regardless of whether the administration ultimately prevails, the rulings so far paint a remarkable portrait of a government rushing to implement far-reaching changes in policy without regard for long-standing rules against arbitrary and capricious behavior.
. . .
The normal “win rate” for the government in such cases is about 70 percent, according to analysts and studies. But as of mid-January, a database maintained by the Institute for Policy Integrity at the New York University School of Law shows Trump’s win rate at about 6 percent.
The far-right evangelical National Christian Foundation (NCF), which offers Christian donors “expert guidance and creative giving solutions,” is the fourth-largest donor-advised fund by 2017 revenue in the U.S., having raised over $1.5 billion that year. Such funds offer individual accounts to their clients, allowing clients to get immediate tax breaks on donations to these accounts and to direct NCF to disperse the money to the nonprofits of their choice, mostly churches and other Christian nonprofits, at their own pace. Clients donate through donor-advised funds anonymously, so even the Internal Revenue Service won’t know their identities.
According to a 2017 Inside Philanthropy article, NCF “is probably the single biggest source of money fueling the pro-life and anti-LGBT movements over the past 15 years.” In 2017, NCF’s donation to anti-LGBT, anti-Muslim, and anti-immigrant hate groups rose to over $19 million.
By far the biggest recipient of NCF donations is Alliance Defending Freedom, a large network of Christian extremist lawyers who have supported criminalizing homosexuality, sterilizing transgender people, and claimed that gay men are pedophiles. The group recently came out against congressional Democrats’ Equality Act, which would ban discrimination against LGBTQ Americans.
After a string of bankruptcies—including a scheme where Trump talked investors into banding together to buy out a bankrupt casino, then purposely bankrupted the investor group—no one wanted to touch a Trump project. But while he was radioactive elsewhere, Trump found a friend in Deutsche Bank. During the past two decades, the bank has channeled more than $2 billion to Trump. Just why the German bank was willing to loan Trump huge sums when everyone else was breaking out the 20-foot poles is already the subject of twin congressional probes and another investigation by the New York attorney general. And, as the New York Times reports, there may be plenty of fire lurking behind the smoke.
Deutsche Bank continued to lend Trump money despite a stack of potential red flags, but at least part of their willingness came from a simple cause: Trump lied to them. He repeatedly misstated his net worth, misrepresented his financial status, and overestimated the value of his assets. Deutsche Bank appears to have eventually seen through many of Trump’s lies—such as his claiming to be worth $3 billion in 2005 when he was worth something more like $780 million. But by then they had sunk more than $1 billion into Trump-related investments.
But that’s not the biggest mystery. Two years before the bank caught Trump more than tripling his worth in order to scam another loan, there was a much better reason for it to walk away from any further dealings. Because in 2003, shortly after it first started to get involved with Trump, Deutsche Bank hit the same issue as previous banks: Trump defaulted on loans for hundreds of millions. But still, the bank gave him more.
That wasn’t the last time Trump walked away and left Deutsche Bank holding worthless paper. Trump also defaulted on a loan in 2008. At the same time he was publicly talking about what a great time it was to be an investor and how he was going to pick up lots of real estate while it was cheap, he was telling Deutsche Bank that he couldn’t pay back his loan “because of the financial crisis.”
All of this leads to one big question: Why? Why would any bank continue to give someone not just small loans, but billions, when they knew they were being lied to and had already been burned to the tune of hundreds of millions of dollars?
The suspicion of many is that Deutsche Bank officials gave money to Trump because they were told to give money to Trump by people who had a big say at the bank. People like Russian oligarchs whose funds were not only purchasing apartments at Trump buildings, but were flowing through the bank in money-laundering schemes. As NPR reported in 2018, German police raided the offices of Deutsche Bank in November as part of a probe to investigate how the bank was helping keep “money offshore to elude tax collectors and government regulators.”
Deutsche Bank states that it’s now cooperating with investigations both in Germany and in the United States, and in April, the bank is scheduled to provide congressional committees with “internal documents and communications” related to the loans provided to the Trump Organization. Bank officers who dealt with Trump are also likely to appear before those committees.
Providing false financial statements to a bank in order to obtain a loan is felony bank fraud. Trump campaign chairman Paul Manafort was convicted on the same charge. And now it’s Trump’s turn.
General Motors announced a few weeks ago they are closing their Lordstown, OH assembly plant, putting a lot of people out of work.
Sunday — March 17 — Trump spent most of the day rage tweeting about the first thing that popped into his mind . . . Fox, Saturday Night live, “Judge” Pirro, Muslims, Democrats . . . then he unleashed these two completely incomprehensible tweets.
Democrat UAW Local 1112 President David Green ought to get his act together and produce. G.M. let our Country down, but other much better car companies are coming into the U.S. in droves. I want action on Lordstown fast. Stop complaining and get the job done! 3.8% Unemployment!
Is he telling workers to take over the factory? Here is an earlier, equally loony Presidential order to GM.
Because the economy is so good, General Motors must get their Lordstown, Ohio, plant open, maybe in a different form or with a new owner, FAST! Toyota is investing 13.5 $Billion in U.S., others likewise. G.M. MUST ACT QUICKLY. Time is of the essence!
Let’s face it: D. J. Trump is below-average intelligence and nutty as a fruitcake.
A culture lives or dies based on its allegiance to unwritten rules of conduct and unstated norms, on the signals sent about what kind of conduct constitutes good character and honor and what kind of conduct constitutes dishonor and corruption. Like each of us, our leaders are all too human, flawed and imperfect. But that reality can’t make us indifferent or cynical when it comes to holding those in authority to reasonable moral standards. After all, cultures are shaped by the words and deeds leaders, including political leaders, validate or invalidate.
“To his equals he was condescending; to his inferiors kind; and to the dear object of his affections exemplarily tender,” Henry Lee said in his eulogy of George Washington. “Correct throughout, vice shuddered in his presence, and virtue always felt his fostering hand; the purity of his private character gave effulgence to his public virtues.”
But the other reason we should pay attention to the tweets and other comments by the president is that they are shafts of light that illuminate not only his damaged soul, but his disordered personality.
It doesn’t take a person with an advanced degree in psychology to see Trump’s narcissism and lack of empathy, his vindictiveness and pathological lying, his impulsivity and callousness, his inability to be guided by norms, or his shamelessness and dehumanization of those who do not abide his wishes. His condition is getting worse, not better—and there are now fewer people in the administration able to contain the president and act as a check on his worst impulses.
This constellation of characteristics would be worrisome in a banker or a high school teacher, in an aircraft machinist or a warehouse manager, in a gas station attendant or a truck driver. To have them define the personality of an American president is downright alarming.
Whether the worst scenarios come to pass or not is right now unknowable. But what we do know is that president is a person who seems to draw energy and purpose from maliciousness and transgressive acts, from creating enmity among people of different races, religions and backgrounds, and from attacking the weak, the honorable, and even the dead.
Donald Trump is not well, and as long as he is president, our nation is not safe.
Here’s a brief summary of many of Trump’s Sunday tweets:
The Federal Communications Commission or Federal Election Commission should investigate whether “Saturday Night Live” and late-night talk shows are in collusion with Democrats and/or Russia because they attack him so consistently.
Attacked late Sen. John McCain, R-Arizona, for allegedly sending the FBI the Steele dossier before the election — and working with Democrats to do so. (Also, Trump called McCain — who, it’s worth noting, is dead — “last in his class” at the US Naval Academy.)
Urged FNC to stand up for host Tucker Carlson, who has seen some advertisers pull out of his show following the release of a series of caustic and offensive remarks he made on a radio show between 2006 and 2011.
Accused General Motors of having “let our country down” in the wake of the news that the company was relocating four American factories.
Attacked FNC anchor Shep Smith and two other weekend anchors at Fox, alleging they had “been trained by CNN prior to their ratings collapse.”
Alleged that Democrats tried to “steal a presidential election,” calling it “the biggest scandal in the history of our country.”
Retweeted Jack Posobiec, who among other things, is a leading promoter of the Pizzagate and Seth Rich conspiracy theories.
I’ve watched this past week as Republicans asked the same question to any Democratic politician being interviewed: “Are you a Socialist? ”
I propose that all Republican politicians be asked: “Are you a White Nationalist?”
When they get outraged over the question, it should be pointed out that they support a president who is a hero of the White Nationalist movement and whose speeches are often indistinguishable from the speeches of known White Nationalists.
The current GOP has openly embraced White Nationalism and it is long past time to stop dancing around this.
On Friday, Donald Trump dismissed the idea that white supremacists constitute a rising threat. asked about the issue, Trump’s response was simple enough. “I don’t really. I think it’s a small group of people that have very, very serious problems.”
But then, someone who has repeatedly claimed that “Islam hates us,” that Mexicans are “rapists,” and that immigrants attempting to enter the United States are a criminal “invasion” wouldn’t be all that concerned about the problem of white nationalism. Because he’s part of it.
To underline that fact, ABC News is reporting that the new head of the pro-Trump Keep America Great PAC will be confederacy fan and white supremacy poster boy, Corey Stewart. The far-right Stewart, who describes himself as a “disciple” of Trump, managed to lose the Senate race in Virginia by a whooping 32 point margin after his racism, lies, and general nastiness sent voters running.
But racism, lies, and general nastiness describe the Trump GOP perfectly. Stewart’s pledge to “run a very vicious and ruthless campaign,” earned him the Senate nod over more reasonable candidates. In addition to promising to be hateful, Stewart had all the other qualities the GOP seeks in a modern candidate: He won a local race by railing about the “invasion” of immigrants and promoting laws to make it easier for police to hold people on suspicion of being undocumented, he declared himself biggest defender of Confederate monuments and said calls to take them down were “like ISIS,” and he smugly announced that he was “Trump before Trump was Trump.”
That includes being a proud “birther” and declaring that Virginia rebelled in the Civil War because “the established order was wrong.” Stewart also called for a new rebellion “because they’re trying to rob us of everything that we hold dear: our history, our heritage, our culture” — language that could have been lifted from the racist manifesto of the New Zealand shooter. It’s that kind of language that helped Stewart earn the enthusiastic support of the “pro-white activists” behind the “Unit the Right” Nazi march in Charlottesville.