Lawrence O’Donnell goes viral with epic response to iconic Pelosi photo

Impeach Trump
Lawrence O’Donnell goes viral with epic response to iconic Pelosi photo
BREAKING: YES!! MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell just went viral with an epic response to the iconic Pelosi photo. 🔥🔥🔥

Video by Occupy Democrats host Brian Tyler CohenSee Less

Lawrence O’Donnell goes viral with epic response to iconic Pelosi photo

BREAKING: YES!! MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell just went viral with an epic response to the iconic Pelosi photo. 🔥🔥🔥Video by Occupy Democrats host Brian Tyler Cohen.

Posted by Impeach Trump on Thursday, October 17, 2019

Donald Trump Refers to Ethnic Cleansing as ‘Rough Love’

Esquire

Donald Trump Refers to Ethnic Cleansing as ‘Rough Love’ at Dallas Rally

The president called for Kurdish northern Syria to be “cleaned out.”

U.S. President Donald Trump at the White House

THE WASHINGTON POST/GETTY IMAGES

 

President Trump’s betrayal of Syrian Kurds became even more horrifying on Thursday, when he described their communities as needing to be “cleaned out” by invading Turkish forces.

“So you have a 22-mile strip,” said trump of a Kurdish region along Syria’s border with Turkey, “and for many, many years, Turkey, in all fairness, they’ve had a legitimate problem with it. They had terrorists, they had a lot of people in there they couldn’t have. They’ve suffered a lot of loss of lives also, and they had to have it cleaned out.”

The Kurds, one of the world’s largest stateless ethnic groups, have fought against U.S. ally Turkey for years in territorial disputes. These tensions made America’s partnership with Syrian Kurds in the battle against ISIS a precarious one—and Trump’s decision to pull the remaining U.S. troops from the region, clearing the way for a Turkish invasion, a terrible betrayal that provoked condemnation from both Congressional Democrats and Republicans.

Referring to Kurds living along Turkish border in Syria, Trump says of Turkey, “they had to have it cleaned out.

Trump’s remarks came in the wake of a U.S.-negotiated five-day pause in fighting between the Kurds and invading Turks. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that his goal is to creating a “buffer zone” in Syria’s border region, and to relocate into it millions of Syrian refugees who are currently in Turkey. Around 300,000 Kurds could be displaced, sparking what human rights groups are calling a “humanitarian catastrophe.” And despite the agreed upon pause, violence continued over Thursday night, with Kurds accusing the Turkish military of violating the truce.

“You would have lost millions and millions of lives,” said Trump of the agreement. “They couldn’t get it without a little ‘rough love,’ as I called it.”

“One way to look at this is that President Erdogan and President Trump buried the hatchet – they buried right in the back of the Kurds,” said retired Admiral James Stavridis on NBC’s Today Friday. “This is approaching ethnic cleansing.”

Gabrielle Bruney is a writer and editor for Esquire, where she focuses on politics and culture.

For The First Time In History, U.S. Billionaires Paid A Lower Tax Rate Than The Working Class

Forbes

For The First Time In History, U.S. Billionaires Paid A Lower Tax Rate Than The Working Class: What Should We Do About It?

A new study, “The Triumph of Injustice,” conducted by University of California at Berkeley economists Emmanuel Saez and Gabriel Zucman, presents its claims that for the first time in history, U.S. billionaires paid a lower tax rate than the working class in 2018.

The economists assert that the average effective tax rate paid by America’s wealthiest 400 families was 23%, whereas the bottom half of households paid 24.2%. To offer historical perspective, the study reports that the 400 richest had an effective tax rate of 47% in 1980. In 1960, that rate was as high as 56%.

The study, coincidentally or not, has tapped into a rising zeitgeist in America. Rising inequality has become a big issue as we approach the 2020 election. Senator Elizabeth Warren, one of the front-runners for the Democratic presidential race, called for a 2% annual tax on the wealth of individuals that have assets in excess of  $50 million and a 3% tax on the wealth of people with over $1 billion.

Today In: Leadership

Senator Berrnie Sanders, a socialist-leaning, presidential contender (now in question due to his heart attack), previously offered his aggressive, antirich plan to ban billionaires.

According to Sanders, over the last 30 years, the top 1% of Americans have enjoyed a $21 trillion increase in their net worth. Meanwhile, the bottom half of families have lost $900 billion in wealth. To compensate, Sanders demands a wealth tax on those families with a net worth of over $32 million. Instead of plans to help the people, his agenda is to confiscate wealth from the rich and redistribute it to those with less money in the form of government programs. To enforce extricating capital from the wealthy, Sanders promises, if elected, to create a national wealth registry and significant additional third-party reporting requirements. Sanders will increase funding for the IRS, so it will have a war-chest to enforce audits and tax collections for those in the 1%t bracket.

Now, this is where things start to get scary. It’s a slippery slope. First, the billionaires are targeted, then the rich. Soon, it will be the middle class. After a while, there will be no one left to tax. It is frightening to have a politician with power weaponize government agencies to specifically target a group of Americans and closely scrutinize them just because they have more money than others.

The study has some fundamental flaws. The rich often pay lower tax rates—compared to others—due to their penchant for generating revenue through capital gains—and not from salaries. Money made in stocks, bonds and business ventures is treated differently by the IRS than salaries. The greater the risk, the higher the chance of success or failure. When you invest in the stock market, start businesses or purchase real estate, there is a chance for making a lot of money or losing it all. We read about those who succeed. However, for every success story, there are thousands of people who have tried to start a business venture or invested in the stock market and lost some—or all of their money.

Most ultra-wealthy people have their money tied up in illiquid investments, such as real estate or in companies. They also have money invested in the stock market, private equity and hedge funds. The money is not readily available. If they are forced to sell their holdings to raise money for taxes, it would take a long time to dispose of their assets and, most likely, will incur large losses due to the pressure to divest at inopportune times.

Missing from the study and political rhetoric is a plan to change the tax code for the top percentile. The rich have the financial resources to hire the best and brightest lawyers, accountants and tax experts. Rather than focus on the percentage they’re paying, the study and presidential candidates should look into closing the legal loopholes, clever accounting and legal maneuvering that the uber wealthy have access to—and the public at large does not.

There is a narrative that depicts wealthy people as just falling into their fortunes. Yes, some people inherit large inheritances from their families. The reality is that most multimillionaires and billionaires earned their money by taking risks and offering a product or service that people want or need.

What people don’t understand is that just because you have money now, doesn’t mean that you’ll always hold onto it. Think of all the great companies that no longer exist today and imagine the people who had their life savings tied up in it. Consider all the stories you hear—famous sports stars and celebrities who earn fortunes, but then lose it all to bad investments and poor advice from their managers.

We should also be leery of targeting certain groups because they’re unpopular. Instead of targeting the rich, some say that we should focus on the government reigning in their expenditures, which would lessen everyone’s taxes. There are billionaires, such as Microsoft founder Bill Gates, who has pledged his wealth to charity and spends his billions on improving the quality of life for everyone. The founders of Facebook, Amazon and Google are multi-billionaires who have created jobs for tens of thousands of people.

There are many self-made millionaires in business, music, sports, entertainment and other endeavors who have made sacrifices and worked hard to amass their money. Why should their efforts be punished by being forced to pay even higher taxes?

Instead of promoting class envy and antagonism, maybe our elected leaders should design a fair and equitable tax system and install checks and balances on how they waste our tax dollars.

The right wants to destroy traditional public schools

Occupy Each Other

October 15, 2019

John Hanno: The reason I’m not impressed with this U.S. Senator is because the ignorant dimwit has his head up his butt !

“It is no secret that the folks on the anti-government right want to destroy traditional public schools any way they can, budget cuts, vouchers, tax credits, unregulated charter schools.”

 

The right-wing war on college
By Chris Fitzsimon – 10/25/2011
http://www.ncpolicywatch.com/…/the-right-wing-war-on-colle…/

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Trump Betrayed the Kurds. He Couldn’t Help Himself.

Donald Trump walks away.
JONATHAN ERNST / REUTERS
 

President Donald Trump’s betrayal of the Kurds stung deeply. “They trusted us and we broke that trust. It’s a stain on the American conscience.” These, according to The New York Times, are the searing words of an Army officer who has worked alongside the Kurds in northern Syria.

Kurdish forces played a central role in aiding the United States in fighting the Islamic State. But in a phone call a week ago Sunday, Trump gave the green light to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan to invade northern Syria—and, in the process, to engage in what even one of Trump’s most loyal supporters, Senator Lindsey Graham, describes as the “ethnic cleansing” of the Kurds.

According to Jennifer Griffin and Melissa Leon of Fox News, Trump was supposed to tell Erdogan to stay north of the border, but instead “went off script.” By Wednesday, the Turkish offensive began, with Erdogan’s aim to push back the Syrian Kurds from the border region. The results have been swift and brutal: the displacement of more than 100,000 people,  executions and war crimes, the escape of hundreds of Islamic State prisoners. (If Islamic State fighters escape, they’ll “be escaping to Europe,” Trump said last week—as if Europe’s problems don’t affect the United States.) For the Kurds, the consequences of America’s policy change will only get worse. “I don’t know how many people will die. A lot of people will die,” a senior military source told Fox News. Yesterday the Trump administration tried frantically to make Turkey stand down, but enormous damage has already been done.

Indeed it is. But betrayal is hardly new to Trump, who routinely abandons people who trust in him or the nation he leads. By now, this behavior should come as a surprise to exactly no one.

Betrayal is a leitmotif for this president’s entire life. Think of how he cheated on his wives. Think of the infant child of a nephew who had crucial medical benefits withdrawn by Trump because of Trump’s retaliation against his nephew over an inheritance dispute. Think of those who enrolled at Trump University and were defrauded. Think about the contractors whom Trump has stiffed. Think of Jeff Sessions, the first prominent Republican to endorse Trump, whom Trump viciously turned against because Sessions had properly recused himself from overseeing the investigation into whether Russia had intervened in the 2016 election. Think about those who served in Trump’s administration—Rex Tillerson, John Bolton, Don McGahn, Reince Priebus, Gary Cohn, James Mattis, and many more—who were unceremoniously dumped and, in some cases, mocked on their way out the door.

Also think of how Trump has disparaged his own country while making excuses for strongmen. When MSNBC’s Joe Scarborough said Vladimir Putin “kills journalists, political opponents, and invades countries,” Trump replied that “at least he’s a leader.” Besides, Trump asserted, “I think our country does plenty of killing also.” And when asked whether Erdoğan was exploiting the coup attempt to purge his political enemies, Trump did not call for the Turkish leader to observe the rule of law, or Western standards of justice. “When the world sees how bad the United States is and we start talking about civil liberties, I don’t think we are a very good messenger,” he said.

As McKay Coppins put it in The Atlantic shortly after the president was sworn in, “Trump built his success on his willingness to toss aside mentors, friends, and family members during moments of frustration and chaos.” Serial betrayal is a central trait of Trump’s character, and his critics warned from the start against elevating such a person to the nation’s highest position of public trust. When the consequences are the serial humiliation of Cabinet secretaries and White House aides, they are easier for Trump’s political supporters to rationalize or overlook. But as the professor Robert King once declared, “Betrayal is a garment without seams.” The danger is far plainer when the victims of Trump’s betrayal are longtime American allies facing deadly force.

The Kurds were a mere afterthought to Donald Trump. Turkey’s Erdoğan is the type of authoritarian leader who can easily manipulate the president. Erdoğan wanted something done, and Trump was willing to do it.

A year ago, President Trump was praising the Kurds as “great” allies, vowing to protect them. “They fought with us. They died with us,” Trump said. “We have not forgotten.” But just a few days ago, he dismissed the Kurds this way: “They didn’t help us in the Second World War. They didn’t help us with Normandy, as an example.”

President Trump doesn’t interpret his abandonment of America’s faithful and intrepid Kurdish ally as betrayal because he can’t even understand why betrayal is a vice. It’s like trying to explain color to a person born with no eyesight. He doesn’t appear to comprehend that a relationship without trust is not a true relationship; it’s merely an exchange of needs—and President Trump will betray anyone who no longer serves his needs.

“We should expect our current president to betray anyone or any principle or any norm or any ally whenever he has the impulse to do so,” a friend of mine who is a psychologist told me via email. (To make sense of the Trump years, an understanding of psychology is at least as helpful as an understanding of politics.) “This should scare us all, and there’s no evidence he is capable of deferring to someone else when his relationship indifference could (again) cost lives.”

My friend, who asked not to be named because she wanted to avoid being part of the political controversy, went on to say, “Expect betrayal, because [Trump] does not know what that even means.”

The betrayal won’t stop with the Kurds. Every individual, every institution, every government agency, and every American ally could meet a similar fate. Donald Trump’s loyalty runs exactly as deep to his fellow citizens, the rule of law, the Constitution, America’s best traditions, and traditional codes of honor and decency as it does to his previous wives, to his former aides, and to those he has done business with. “A stain on the American conscience” isn’t just a characterization of what Trump did to the Kurds in northern Syria. It may also prove to be a fitting epitaph for the Trump presidency as a whole.

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.

Peter Wehner is a contributing writer at The Atlantic and a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. He writes widely on political, cultural, religious, and national-security issues, and he is the author of The Death of Politics: How to Heal Our Frayed Republic After Trump.

AG Barr blames ‘moral upheaval’ on conspiring US secularists

MSNBC

The Rachel Maddow Show / The MaddowBlog

AG Barr blames ‘moral upheaval’ on conspiring US secularists

By Steve Benen     October 14, 2019

There’s some disagreement among religious scholars over the phases of the Great Awakening, which are periods of Christian revival that began in the early 18th century. But according to Donald Trump, he may be responsible for helping usher in the latest phase.

“I was called by the great pastors of this country in a call about a week ago,” the president told Fox News’ Jeanine Pirro over the weekend, “and they said they have never seen electricity in the air, enthusiasm in the air. Churches are joining. People are joining the church.” Trump added this Christian revival is the result of “everybody” knowing that “the Russian witch hunt was a faux, phony fraud. And we got rid of that. And then they came up with this Ukrainian story that was made up by Adam Schiff.”

Evidently, this politically inspired Great Awakening is necessary, at least according to Attorney General William Barr, who spoke a day earlier at Notre Dame’s law school and condemned societal ills on conspiring American secularists.

“We see the growing ascendancy of secularism and the doctrine of moral relativism,” he said. “Basically every measure of this social pathology continues to gain ground.”

He described several social issues as “consequences of this moral upheaval.”

“Along with the wreckage of the family, we are seeing record levels of depression and mental illness, dispirited young people, soaring suicide rates, increasing numbers of angry and alienated young males, an increase in senseless violence and a deadly drug epidemic.”

Bill Barr, with a conspiratorial flare, added, “This is not decay. This is organized destruction. Secularists and their allies have marshaled all the forces of mass communication, popular culture, the entertainment industry and academia, in an unremitting assault on religion and traditional values.”

I can appreciate the fact that Barr is “neck-deep” in the scandal that’s likely to lead to the president’s impeachment, and perhaps his bizarre tirade against non-religious Americans was intended to solidify Team Trump’s support among Christian conservatives.

But that’s not much of an excuse for the attorney general’s offensive speech.

For one thing, it’s factually wrong. There are complex factors that contribute to problems such as drug abuse, gun violence, mental illness, and suicide, but to assume these issues would disappear in a more religious society is absurd. There are plenty of Western societies, for example, that are far more secular than the United States, and many of them are in better positions on these same social ills.

For that matter, if Barr is concerned about “the doctrine of moral relativism,” he may want to consider the broader relationship between his boss and his social-conservative followers – many of whom have decided to look the other way on Donald Trump’s moral failings because they approve of his political agenda.

But even putting aside these relevant details, it was the circumstances that were especially jarring: the nation’s chief law-enforcement officer delivered public remarks in which he alleged non-religious citizens of his own country are conspiring to advance a sinister “social pathology.”

Roughly one-in-five Americans considers themselves atheists, agnostics, or lacking in any specific faith affiliation. The idea that their attorney general sees them as part of a nefarious force, conspiring in the shadows to undermine morality, isn’t just ridiculous; it’s at odds with the country’s First Amendment principles.

Walter Shaub, the former director of the Office of Government Ethics, described Barr’s comments as “repugnant,” adding, “His job is to defend the First Amendment. But this immoral, unpatriotic, borderline monarchist and defender of corruption has other ideas.”