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New Report: Trump White House Viewed as Most Corrupt

A new survey report on public perception of corruption in public institutions has been released by Transparency International, a leading non-profit organization that tracks such things.

The survey asked about the degree of corruption in nine influential groups. These included the national government (the president’s office, members of congress, government officials), public officials who work at the service level (tax officials, the police, judges, local officials), and those who are not part of government but who often wield strong influence (business executives, religious leaders). Of these categories, government institutions and officials in Washington are perceived to be the most corrupt in the country. The results show that 44 per cent of Americans now say that most or all of those in the Office of the President are corrupt, up from 36 per cent who said the same last year.

The Washington Post has some analysis: [More...]

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Donald Trump's Slurred Speech

Donald Trump's speech pattern changed during his Jerusalem speech, and at the end, he slurred the word "States" in "United States."

CNN has an article about it but I'm not linking due to an auto-play video with a animated short bald man announcing some "breaking news." The LA Times has an article reporting the White House says Trump had a "dry throat" (no link due to ads popping all over.) A European paper asks if he has dentures.

My thoughts: I listened to the speech in the car, so I could not see Trump, only hear him. Sometimes that's better. [More...]

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Michael Flynn Pleads Guilty, Is Cooperating

Via the New York Times:

President Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, pleaded guilty on Friday to lying to the F.B.I. about conversations with the Russian ambassador last December during the presidential transition, bringing the special counsel’s investigation into the president’s inner circle.

Mr. Flynn, who appeared in federal court in Washington, acknowledged that he was cooperating with the investigation by the special counsel, Robert S. Mueller III, into Russian interference in the 2016 election. His plea agreement suggests that Mr. Flynn provided information to prosecutors, which may help advance the inquiry.

(my emphasis)

Flynn was not indicted, he was charged by Information (available here). The Information charges three sets of false statements to the FBI: One set concerns communications with the Russian Ambassador and Trump Transition Team officials about sanctions, one set pertains to communications with Russia about the U.N. Resolution submitted by Egypt and the third set pertains to the Turkey communications, which also involve his company and reportedly his son. [More...]

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Donald Trump: An Exhaustive List of You Know What

I think Donald Trump made one of is worst decisions yet yesterday in expressing his support for Roy Moore over a Democrat. Why? Because it was so transparent that he cares more about getting his tax bill passed and scoring a win with Congress (after the total beating he took on health care) than whether or not the Republican who would be sitting in the Senate was a child sex abuser.

The about-face by Ms. Most Unimportant Person in the World confirmed it.

Kellyanne Conway suggested that the White House remains open to Roy Moore's embattled senate candidacy on Monday when she told Fox & friends that "we want the votes in the Senate to get this tax bill through" -- less than a week after Conway said that "no Senate seat is worth more than a child" in the wake of a series of sexual allegations against Moo

[More...]

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AG Sessions Testifies, Denies Lying About Russia

Attorney General Jefferson Sessions testified before Congress today about Donald Trump's campaign and Russia. He denied lying to Congress. He just has a bad memory. (Warning: auto-play video, shame on the NY Times.)
I have always told the truth, Mr. Sessions told the House Judiciary Committee, adding that he stood by his previous testimony because I had no recollection of this meeting until I saw these news reports.
In October, he claimed to be unaware of anyone in the campaign who had contacts with Russians. He also said, And I dont believe it happened, he said then. [More...]

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Don Jr. in the Soup Again

Via the New Yorker, Donald Trump. Jr. is in the soup again, this time over his contacts with Wikileaks. And according to the New Yorker, Mike Pence has been taken for a ride again, or else he's lying.

I wish Trump Sr. would stay in Asia. Unfortunately, he's returning home to make more of a mess for our country.

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Reports That Trump Blames Kushner's Advice for Russia Problems

Several media outlets are reporting that Donald Trump is now blaming Jared Kushner's bad advice for his Russia problems.

Speaking to Steve Bannon on Tuesday, Trump blamed Jared Kushner for his role in decisions, specifically the firings of Mike Flynn and James Comey, that led to Mueller’s appointment, according to a source briefed on the call. When Roger Stone recently told Trump that Kushner was giving him bad political advice, Trump agreed, according to someone familiar with the conversation. “Jared is the worst political adviser in the White House in modern history,” Nunberg said. “I’m only saying publicly what everyone says behind the scenes at Fox News, in conservative media, and the Senate and Congress.” (The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment by deadline.)

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Republicans Introduce Their Tax Cut Plan

Republicans have introduced their own tax cut bill. Is anyone surprised the cuts help businesses and the wealthy?

House Republicans on Thursday unveiled a tax cut plan that would slash the corporate rate and lower the personal taxes of most Americans but also limit a cherished deduction for homeowners, as President Donald Trump and the GOP seek to deliver on the first tax revamp in three decades.

Another false Trump bragging claim, according to Reuters: that his cuts would be the largest in history for corporate rates and individuals. It's only true for corporate rates. [More...]

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Do All Roads Lead Through Manafort?

Jason Leopold, writing for Buzzfeed, reports that 13 wire transfers from Manafort shell companies abroad to the U.S. are the basis for whatever charges are coming.

Federal law enforcement officials said they saw evidence of “layering,” the process by which the origin of money is obscured behind many layers of companies. Much of the money ended up in the US, sent to American home improvement contractors, a hedge fund, and even a car dealership.

The New York Times reported on the complicated connections in June, 2017, which include money used to remodel real estate projects involving his daughters and wife and involvement of some sort by his son-in-law.

Why did Roger Stone, former Manafort Partner, have a melt-down on Twitter yesterday?

I'm still not sure who has been indicted, if anyone.

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White House: All Women Who Accused Trump Were Lying

From Friday's White House Press Conference: Sara Huckabee Sanders responding to a question from CBS News reporter: All of the 16 women who accused Donald Trump of sexual harassment were lying:

Question from CBS News reporter Jacqueline Alemany:

"Obviously sexually harassment has been in the news. At least 16 women accused the president of sexually harassing them throughout the course of the campaign," Alemany said. "Last week during a press conference in the Rose Garden, the president called these accusations 'fake news.' Is the official White House position that all of these women are lying?"

Sanders response:

"Yes. We've been clear on that from the beginning, and the president has spoken on it," Sanders replied.

(No potentially libelous comments please, they will be deleted. And no name-calling.)

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Feeding the Swamp: GEO Holds Private Event at Trump Resort

GEO, the huge private prison company, held its annual leadership event at Trump's Doral golf resort in Miami.

The event last week, during which executives and wardens gathered for four days of meetings, dinner receptions and golf outings at the luxurious 800-acre Trump National Doral, followed an intense effort by GEO Group to align itself with the president and his administration.

During last year’s election, a company subsidiary gave $225,000 to a pro-Trump super PAC. GEO gave an additional $250,000 to the president’s inaugural committee. It also hired as outside lobbyists a major Trump fundraiser and two former aides to Attorney General Jeff Sessions, one of the president’s most prominent campaign backers.

GEO Group, meanwhile, has had newfound success in Trump’s Washington.

Please read the article as I'm not going to ruin the rest of my evening by detailing them. It's getting to the point where I may end every post about him with "It's time to scrape that sh!t right off our shoes." [More...]

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Trump Channels Nancy Reagan in Drug Speech

Donald and Melania Trump gave speeches today on the Opioid crisis. I watched and listened to it. You can read the transcript here. The White House Press Release is here. Donald Trump sounded just like Nancy Reagan and her "Just Say No" campaign. He's going to create an advertising campaign to tell kids how bad drugs are and not to use them.

He's going to fund law enforcement programs. (Anyone remember "DARE"? These programs don't work.

He's going to limit prescriptions to 7 days supply. One unnamed opioid will be removed from the approved drug list and become illegal.

He said this will take years if not decades (I guess so he can't be blamed when there's no huge reduction of overdose deaths during his term.)

He talked about his brother Fred, who told him over and over, don't drink, don't smoke and he listened. That's his plan for kids, just tell them don't do it. [More...]

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Monday Madness and Open Thread

Sorry for the lack of blogging the last several days, but every time I read the news, there is so much more Trump madness I get too disgusted to write about it.

This weekend I watched Kate del Castillo's "The Day I Met El Chapo" a three part documentary on Netflix. Sean Penn wanted to block it saying it would endanger him. Then he said she was a fame seeker and her version was a lie. He told his version, why can't she tell hers? Anyway, it's very good -- I ended up watching the whole thing twice. To me, her version makes more sense.

Two weeks (or so) until the TL kids have their baby -- it's just flown by. I've cooked about 15 meals for them in my Instant Pot to freeze and eat after the baby arrives. It's been more far rewarding than blogging about Trump.

This is the last week (for real) of Senor de Los Cielos 5. (warning: auto-play video.) I really don't want Monica Robles to be killed. They should kill the monster Tony Pastrana instead.

Here's a new open thread, all topics welcome.

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Jeff Sessions Testifies Before Senate Judiciary Committee

Jeff Sessions is testifying before the Senate Judiciary Committee. (Live video link) He promises to ramp up the war on drugs, especially the war on pain meds, prescribers and manufacturers, and war on immigrants. He praises Trump's border wall. He says there can't be full amnesty for the DREAMERs.

He read out a speech on why he won't answer questions about conversations with Trump -- he says it's up to Trump to claim the executive privilege, and he's considering it but hasn't made a decision so Sessions says he can't it for him.

There are several old people on this committee who look miserable. Maybe they aren't thrilled about Sessions wanting to make it harder for them to get pain meds.

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RNC and Trump Campaign Paid $2.4 Million So Far in Legal Fees For Russia

In September, the Washington Post reported that the RNC was paying out huge bucks for legal fees charged by lawyers for Donald Trump and Donald Trump, Jr. regarding Russia.

The Republican National Committee is using a pool of money stockpiled for election recounts and other legal matters to pay for [Donald] Trump's ballooning lawyer fees related to the multiple Russia investigations, directing more than $427,000 so far to lawyers representing him and his eldest son, party officials confirmed Tuesday.

Today the Washington Post reports that Trump's re-election campaign (not the RNC) shelled out more than $1 million in legal fees for Russia and Trump Sr and Jr just for last quarter. [More...]

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