Donald Trump

Constitutional disregard: Trump's emoluments lawsuits move forward

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When you have absolutely no ethical boundaries:

Trump opened the Trump International Hotel, just blocks from the White House, shortly before he was elected in November 2016. Unlike past presidents, he has retained ownership of numerous business interests, including the hotel, while serving as president.

Since his election, the hotel has become a favored lodging and event space for some foreign and state officials visiting the U.S. capital. The lawsuit alleges that, in failing to disengage from the hotel, Trump has made himself vulnerable to inducements by foreign governments seeking to curry favor, violating the Constitution.

Even the lowliest bureaucrat in the Federal government ranks has to be wary of receiving gifts from individuals, lest they be raked over the coals for an ethical misstep. But Trump? He won't give you the time of day unless there's something in it for him. We all remember his declarations in 2016/2017 that he would sever himself from the family businesses, but he's done the exact opposite. Like doubling the annual membership fee at Mar-A-Lago to over $200,000 right after he was elected, then turning it into a shadow Camp David. But the particular case we're looking at today deals with Trump's DC hotel, and a look at the initial subpoenas is an eye-opener:

Proud Boy organizes rally at high school for Trump cheerleaders

These guys are popping up everywhere:

Jeremy Onitreb, who told The Washington Post in Facebook messages he is not a student and does not have any relationship with anyone on the cheer squad, is organizing a free-speech rally on Friday across from the school. As of Tuesday afternoon, more than 130 people have said they’re going and more than 950 people have said they’re interested in attending the event Onitreb created on Facebook.

“The truth is if there were a Bernie 2020 or Biden 2020 [sign] and conservatives complained, nothing would have been done at all,” Onitreb said. “It’s only because of the name Trump that there was ever an issue.”

Of course the right-wing nutters are up in arms about this, but it's really not a 1st Amendment issue. Had those girls not been in uniform, I doubt anyone would have even noticed, or taken any disciplinary actions. But they were, and that crosses several lines. Of course if you're an idiot like Richard Hudson, somebody needs to spell that out for you:

Dan Forest claims he built his political career on positive ground

For a guy who has done basically nothing his whole career, Dan Forest sure does like to talk about himself. Just yesterday he was chatting with his own private PR machine to extol his own virtues as a man who's built his political career on positive ground. Let's break it down.

"Trump 2024" is not a joke, it's a warning

Because violating the Constitution (22nd Amendment) is just another day in crazyville:

President Trump’s tweeting of a “Trump 2024” meme should concentrate the minds of his opponents. So should the results of North Carolina’s special congressional election Tuesday.

Perhaps it’s a mistake to take the first too seriously. But it does underscore the utterly abnormal, chaotic, norm-breaking and corrupt nature of this administration. We have a leader who, like some of his dictator friends abroad, would love to be president for life.

I'm actually much more worried about what he and his rabid followers will try to do when he loses the 2020 Election. He may have to be (physically) removed from the White House in January 2021, but even if he rides off into the sunset on his golf cart, there will be some violent confrontations as a result. Here's more from EJ Dionne:

Breaking the chains: Trump's trade war will have lasting and devastating effects

And it's become obvious the President doesn't understand that:

President Trump said on Tuesday that Chinese manufacturing would “crumble” if the country did not agree to the United States’ trade terms, as newly released data showed his trade war was washing back to American shores and hurting the factories that the president has aimed to protect.

The president has continued to insist that pain from the trade war is falling primarily on China, not the United States. On Friday, he said American companies were leaving China in response to his tariffs, a development that put the United States in an “incredible negotiating position.” And he said any business that complained about financial pain from the tariffs was suffering from bad management, not the trade war.

"Blaming the victim" has become so common with this bumbling fool that we hardly even notice it anymore. But we should, because it exposes his inability to recognize a mistake when he's made one, a character flaw that puts our country at risk on almost a daily basis. In order to understand what his reckless trade war is causing, follow me below the fold for an ecological analogy:

Beware of the false remedy of "Opportunity Zones"

A better name might be, "Gentrification On Steroids":

President Trump has portrayed America’s cities as wastelands, ravaged by crime and homelessness, infested by rats. But the Trump administration’s signature plan to lift them — a multibillion-dollar tax break that is supposed to help low-income areas — has fueled a wave of developments financed by and built for the wealthiest Americans.

Among the early beneficiaries of the tax incentive are billionaire financiers like Leon Cooperman and business magnates like Sidney Kohl — and Mr. Trump’s family members and advisers.

Personal anecdote time: Last year my town's merchant's association held a "business social," bringing in bankers and other Very Important Persons to discuss economic growth possibilities. One of the topics I was very keen to hear about was Opportunity Zones, because we have some areas that really need a lift. But the investment advisor (woman) who presented did not even mention economic improvement, or helping marginalized citizens. It was all about how to leverage the program to reap the most financial benefits. And another quick take: The more the merrier. The more expensive the project, the more tax savings reaped. Which means, the finished product (luxury apartments, high-end retail) would be inaccessible for people on the low end of the totem pole:

Climate crimes: EPA set to undo rule to curb fugitive Methane emissions

This is the price we pay for electing a dangerous idiot:

The Environmental Protection Agency is set to announce Thursday that it will loosen federal rules on methane, a powerful greenhouse gas linked to climate change, according to two senior administration officials.

The proposed rule will reverse standards enacted under former president Barack Obama that require oil and gas operations to install controls on their operations to curb the release of methane at the well head and in their transmission equipment, including pipelines, processing and storage facilities.

I just had a debate with a friend over the fugitive Methane problem, which is why these numbers are already in my head: We've got 2.4 million miles of pipelines in the U.S. alone, and some 1.1 million active oil & gas wells in some stage of operation. This rule was a critical step in reducing greenhouse gases, but Trump doesn't care about any of that. He's like an angry toddler breaking some other kid's toys:

Lawsuit challenges Trump's erosion of Endangered Species Act

Somebody has to say, "Enough is enough.":

Earthjustice filed the lawsuit on behalf of Center for Biological Diversity, Defenders of Wildlife, Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, National Parks Conservation Association, WildEarth Guardians and the Humane Society of the United States.

For more than 40 years, the Endangered Species Act has been a successful conservation law that protects imperiled species and their habitats. In the years since it was enacted, 99 percent of listed species including the bald eagle, Florida manatee and the gray wolf have been spared from extinction, according to the release.

I'm actually surprised it took him this long to target endangered species. In the mind of Trump, animals that need protection are "weak," and probably should be allowed to go extinct. I'm sure there are a lot of humans that fit into that category as well, at least in the mind of the Narcissist-In-Chief. Here are some of the main complaints detailed in the suit:

Leading while Black: Charlotte Council members get racist hate mail

Trump's rhetoric is dangerous, and spreading:

More than a dozen city leaders, all of them African American except for one, received a letter in the mail to their respective offices that was threatening and racist. Now, police are taking a close look. "If I can assume the intent, the intent was to intimidate," Councilman Braxton Winston said.

The letter read in part, "...Each of you despicable BLACK democrats should be tarred and feathered and run out of town (my town) on a rail..." It blamed African Americans for various things, praised President Donald Trump and used a phrase that was chanted by his supporters at a North Carolina rally earlier this year: "Send her back"

Even if I didn't agree with Braxton's assumption (I do), his background in Anthropology makes that more than just an assumption, it's a studied assessment. But for people like the letter writer, none of that matters. He's Black, and that is an irredeemable trait. It's important to understand that, before any time is wasted by looking at the attitude or performance or potential character flaws of those who have been threatened. We have an almost automatic impulse to argue against such, to present reasons why these bigots are wrong, but that's like trying to groom a skunk. You'll stink for days after the effort, and the skunk will still be a hot mess.

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