Patriots Defend the First Amendment – Trump Doesn’t

1st-Amendment Turkey has arrested 150 journalists, dismissed more than 150,000 judges, teachers, police and civil servants, and taken into custody nearly 50,000 others the government suspects of supporting a failed coup last year, according to Reuters. Could it happen here?

While America doesn’t seem like the place for this, I believe the verbal and even physical attacks on the press in the last few months are a warning sign. A reporter was arrested for asking Tom Price a question about healthcare; another was assaulted for doing the same with Rep. Greg Gianforte in Montana, and still another pinned against the wall at the FCC for a question.

Reporters’ questions are frequently inconvenient and persistent for those who don’t want to answer them. Should our government be allowed to not answer our questions? Should we just decide to repeal the first amendment to make it easier for the Republicans to get their duplicitous agenda passed? Is that the society you want to live in?

Further, Trump esteems the president of Turkey, even though his bodyguards attacked peaceful protesters on U.S. soil.

Patriots love and defend the First Amendment!

“While Turkish officials say the purges are necessary due to the gravity of the coup attempt which killed 240 people, critics in Turkey and abroad say Erdogan is using the coup as a pretext to muzzle dissent and purge opponents,” wrote Reuters.

Don’t forget, Turkey is also the government that Michael Flynn was working as an agent of during the campaign and transition, but failed to report his status or income from Turkey. Recent reports state the White House knew about Flynn’s status as a foreign agent and did nothing and that Flynn helped delay a military operation, a delay favored by the Turkish government.

Follow me: @LiberalLamp on Twitter

#NotNormal #RESIST #FreedomOfThePress

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Trumpsters: New Shit Has Come to Light, Man!

IMG_5776Somehow Republicans have grown so accustomed to Trump’s regularly inappropriate behavior that they seem to overlook his obvious compromising relationship with Russia- based not on theories of hidden collusion but on already well-established facts, like, mmmm, I don’t know…

TRUMP ISN’T INTERESTED IN PUNISHING A FOREIGN ADVERSARY THAT STROVE INCREDIBLY SUCCESSFULLY TO INTERFERE WITH OUR ELECTION AND UNDERMINE FAITH IN OUR DEMOCRATIC SYSTEM?

Could you imagine if Iran hacked Trump and promoted fake news about him? Then, after Clinton won, it became known that many members of Clinton’s campaign, family, and cabinet have ties to Iran, have had undisclosed meetings, received undisclosed payments, and Hillary wouldn’t release her tax returns, and had been documented interfering with an FBI investigation? What do you think would be happening right now in Congress??!

No matter how you voted, you should think that what is happening is wrong. Are you a patriot, or what? Far from being stern or interested in protecting our electoral integrity, Trump hosted Russia’s top envoys, including a man considered to be their top spy, in the oval office where he proceeded to brag about how he fired the FBI director. His Russian buddies probably didn’t like that Comey was investigating their illegal acts and was glad he could “take the pressure off.”

The above is a favorable interpretation; a less favorable one is Putin really does have blackmail material on Trump (like his campaign did collude with Russia) to help Putin push his agenda in the US. Don’t forget, Putin has a lot of other friends in the cabinet now, too.

As if that wasn’t bad enough, then trump proceeded to parade his “great Intel” like a kid at show-and-tell.

Classified info in Hillary’s private email: “Lock her up!” But code-word intel Trump leaked directly to Russians in Oval: “America first”?! I don’t take you seriously that you highly value national security if you still back trump.

SO THERE’S ANOTHER CRIME STARING US IN THE FACE: obstruction of justice, especially in view of the reports today that Trump also allegedly tried to influence the national security agency and the director of national intelligence on the #TrumpRussia investigation.

Let’s be clear, all of our intelligence agencies agree that Russia interfered favoring Trump. A large number of Republicans in Congress have publicly agreed that this happened and that we should do something more to deter them in the future.

Trump seems suspiciously slow to put America first and agree with the rest of his country that this happened. The fact that 45 denies it puts us at a greater risk of future interference – and casts suspicion on his motives.

There’s also the “small matter” of senators on the intelligence committee requesting records from FinCEN on Trump. FinCEN investigates money laundering. I have a feeling this is going to become relevant.

Sometimes, I look around myself and wonder how people are going about their regular lives right now.

History is happening and the side you take matters.

Of course, Country will not be healed and politics won’t be purified by ousting Trump.

But it is a necessary first step.

#RESIST

Trump Casino Fined $10MIL for Anti-Money-Laundering Violations

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Two years ago, the Trump Taj Mahal Casino was hit with a $10 million civil money penalty for “significant and long-standing” failures to comply with regulations that prevent money laundering.

According to the 2015 Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) release: Trump Taj Mahal admitted to willful violations of the Bank Secrecy Act (BSA), including:

  • failure to report suspicious transactions
  • failure to properly file required currency transaction reports and keep appropriate records and
  • repeated failure to fix deficiencies that left the casino vulnerable to money laundering activity. The FinCEN release states “Trump Taj Mahal has a long history of prior, repeated BSA violations cited by examiners dating back to 2003.”

“Trump Taj Mahal received many warnings about its deficiencies,” said FinCEN Director Jennifer Shasky Calvery. “Like all casinos in this country, Trump Taj Mahal has a duty to help protect our financial system from being exploited by criminals, terrorists, and other bad actors. Far from meeting these expectations, poor compliance practices, over many years, left the casino and our financial system unacceptably exposed.”

It’s interesting to note that Donald J. Trump had lost the Trump Taj Mahal to bankruptcy in 2005 but regained partial ownership of the casino in 2009 together with his daughter Ivanka Trump. Here is what he said about his plan for the casino in 2009:

“My daughter Ivanka and I will work tirelessly to MAKE THIS COMPANY GREAT AGAIN,” Donald Trump said.

 

Trump was not able to make his vision come true. The Trump Taj Mahal filed for bankruptcy for the THIRD TIME in September 2014, according to the FinCEN release.

A couple final facts to help fill in the picture:

  • A recent Dutch documentary claims Donald Trump has long-standing ties to Russian mobsters.
  • The Senate Intelligence Committee requested records from FinCEN on Trump earlier this month as part of the Trump-Russia investigation. They may be looking for evidence of money laundering and whether people close to Vladimir Putin have invested in Trump’s real estate empire, according to a CNBC report.

Draw your own conclusions from this info. I’ll just say:

When it looks like a skunk and smells like a skunk – it usually is a skunk!!

 

Trump’s Roadmap to Impeachment in Bullet Points

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I am putting the Trump impeachment puzzle pieces together. Here are intriguing bits of info I’ve picked up on three important players in the FBI investigation: fired NSA Michael Flynn, fired FBI Director James Comey and Deputy AG Rod Rosenstein. (This is a work in progress and I will be adding hyperlinks to sources later today).

On Michael Flynn:
– A few months ago, Michael Flynn said he “has a story to tell” and asked for a deal.
– Trump texted Flynn to “stay strong.”
– It appears from the flurry of damaging Flynn leaks that Flynn might have sold out the admin. and told his story to investigators.

On James Comey:
– Trump asked Jim Comey to pledge loyalty to him.
Comey refused.
– Trump asked Comey to “let go” of the Flynn investigation.
Comey refused.
– Trump asked Comey to give his prepared testimony to him in advance.
Comey refused.
– Trump wanted Comey to debunk the Trump-Russia investigation publicly.
Comey refused.
– Trump fired Comey.
– We find out that Comey documented Trump’s alleged efforts to impede the FBI investigation into his associates.
– Comey is expected to testify soon that he thinks Trump was trying to influence him.
– It appears this is an open-and-shut case of obstruction of justice, which was the main crime in Nixon’s articles of impeachment.

On Rod Rosenstein:
– The WH deputy press secretary said firing Comey was deputy AG Rod Rosenstein’s idea.
– Rosenstein apparently refused to cover for the lie and the WH back-tracked.
– Trump then admitted he fired Comey because he thinks the investigation into his campaign’s potential collusion with Russia is made up (said to Lester Holt on TV) and wanted to take the pressure off (said to the Russians in closed Oval Office mtg).
– Rosenstein apparently realized the investigation may have been compromised and appointed an independent special prosecutor, telling the WH at the same time as reporters.
– Rosenstein told House members in closed briefing that the probe is considered a criminal investigation and that Rosenstein’s memo on Comey (which the WH claimed was the justification for Comey’s firing) is part of this investigation (now under Special Counsel Bob Mueller’s jurisdiction).

On where the Trump-Russia investigation stands:
– It has been reported that a current close WH advisor is a “person of interest” in the FBI investigation and that the once covert probe is now entering an active phase.
– Senate investigators requested records from FinCEN (the federal anti-money laundering agency). Trump Taj Mahal was fined $10 million in 2015 for federal anti-money laundering violations. The property returned to Trump’s control in 2014.
– WH counsel is researching impeachment.
– Approval numbers are dismal and dropping.
– Congress is worried about the mid-terms and is being threatened by its own damaging leaks (like Paul Ryan and other House members discussing Trump receiving money from Putin, as the WashPo reported. Ryan first called it fiction, then inaccurate, then a joke).

My bet is on impeachment, within a few months. I don’t see how VP Mike Pence escapes the backlash given his full-throated defense of Trump and direct involvement with Flynn.

What do you think?

Trump Should Be Impeached – But How It Happens Matters

  Just 4 months since 45’s inauguration and already 2 serious national security breaches (Flynn and the ISIS Intel leak), a growing FBI investigation, and a special prosecutor. Aptly described as a “dumpster fire,” the crisis is burning so brightly that even some people on the left want to see it keep raging to cause an even greater disaster for the GOP.

As far as the 38% approval Trump has left, I think some of those people are hanging on because it’s hard to admit when you’re wrong and accept any “I told you so’s.” It’s hard to do a 180 from calling Hillary a crook to realizing the people who did that (Trump, Flynn) are likely crooks – or even traitors.

It’s also hard to open up to a different narrative when the right-wing media insulates trump from justified criticism, as well as the wider context of what is happening in its individual reports.

However, no matter how hard some might try, the disaster unfolding right now does not find an equivalent in Obama or Clinton, nor does bringing up any past wrongdoing by Obama or Clinton (real or perceived) have any impact whatsoever on the standard to which the actual sitting president must rise.

I mean, if you honestly didn’t want Hillary because of past national security risks, investigation meddling, suspect ties with foreign powers, and lies, how in the hell could you want trump at this point in the game? Because he promised to “make America great” by making it more militaristic and white, with heaping tax cuts for the rich? For that, you’ll gladly sell out the U.S.A to Russian influence?

Some people on the right ARE paying attention, as the new Reuters poll shows Trump lost 7 points with Republicans in 1 week. If you’re not one of these Republicans, can you do a reality check, please?

What I’m most worried about is Trump not going down without an ugly, destructive fight that further divides the nation (and families, friends, and neighbors) and erodes trust in U.S. Intelligence, the FBI, and The White House – not only at home but with allies as well.

I realize it’s very confusing to know who to believe if you’re not following the facts closely. What I find most disturbing is the way the trump administration and even Putin are describing journalists, government watchdogs, investigators, and the anti-Trump resistance (forces working to expose corruption) as the “enemy,” “dangerous,” “stupid,” and saboteurs. Ironically, these are the EXACT same words that in reality apply to Trump, Putin and their enablers, but Trump and Putin are turning around those labels and using them to smear the forces opposing them (the only exception is “stupid” doesn’t fit Putin). It’s gas-lighting 101 and it’s exacerbating a huge division in our country.

Putin is NOT our friend and he DOES have undue influence in the White House, which is obvious from stunning revelations this week about the intel leak and Michael Flynn.

This political disintegration of the past six and a half months seems necessary to rebuild a more just, people-centered political system. But that’s the long view.

The short view is: There is pretty strong circumstantial evidence there has been a cover-up of a crime. We’ll see how the actual evidence bears out.

Whatever happens, Democrats can’t lead the impeachment charge; that would be painted as partisan politics without broad support and would likely backfire.

To reunify the nation, we need Republicans to admit defeat, enforce the rule of law they claim to uphold, and clean up their own mess. The process needs to be bipartisan and as gradual as Trump’s incompetence allows.

No matter what the crime(s), a couple dozen House members and 19 GOP senators must vote to impeach.

The question is: Will they put country before party? And how much damage will be done to the nation before they do?

 

#Trumpgate #RussiaGate #TrumpRussia #SpecialCounsel #RobertMueller #trump #jimcomey #resist