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Category Archives: Smoke & Mirrors


By LINDA QIU 3 hrs ago

President Trump said his campaign rallies drew larger crowds than concerts for Beyoncé, Jay-Z and Bruce Springsteen. That was one of 15 inaccurate claims he made.
WHAT WAS SAID
“Highways would take 21 years to get approved. We have it down to two years, and it’s going to be one year very shortly.”
— President Trump, at a campaign rally on Thursday night in Wilkes-Barre, Pa.
THE FACTS
This is exaggerated.
Mr. Trump has doubled a previously exaggerated claim about the permitting process for roads and infrastructure taking a decade. Average wait times for a permit ranged from three to six years from the fiscal years 1999 to 2016, according to the Federal Highway Administration.

In the 2017 fiscal year, the average wait time was three years and 10 months, almost double Mr. Trump’s claim of a two-year period. (Data for the 2018 fiscal year, which ends in September, is not yet available.)
WHAT WAS SAID
“Our first lottery winner — let’s see, he has seven convictions for theft. He’s killed nine people. And we’re getting him the hell out of our country and giving them to the stupid politicians that have been running the United States for many years.’”
THE FACTS
False.
Mr. Trump has previously said that other countries were not “giving us their best” through the diversity visa lottery program. He has now escalated that unsubstantiated — and vague — claim into a false one by suggesting that foreign governments are sending murderers through the program.
As The New York Times has previously explained, millions of individuals enter the lottery of their own volition, not because they were selected by a foreign government. A computer picks winners at random and, before receiving a visa, the people chosen must undergo a screening process that bars criminals.
WHAT WAS SAID
“Chain migration. And this was a Schumer deal. Schumer wanted this.”
THE FACTS
False.
Mr. Trump is likely confusing the diversity lottery program with “chain migration” or family-based immigration. Senator Chuck Schumer, Democrat of New York and the Senate minority leader, sponsored what became the diversity visa lottery in 1990, but family-based immigration has been a facet of American immigration policy long before Mr. Schumer’s political career began.
Family relationships have been a basis for admitting new immigrants since the 1920s, according to the Congressional Research Service, and the United States began promoting family reunification in 1952, which established a hierarchy that prioritized family members like spouses and children over siblings.
WHAT WAS SAID
Beyoncé, Jay-Z and Bruce Springsteen “were drawing crowds smaller than my crowds.”
THE FACTS
False.
This is not the first time that Mr. Trump has compared crowd size to Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s, though it appears to be the first time he has brought the Boss into the mix.
Mr. Trump has claimed 20,000 to 49,000 people attended his biggest rallies during the 2016 presidential campaign. Even taking Mr. Trump at his word, those figures pale in comparison to audiences that have assembled to hear Beyoncé, Jay-Z and Mr. Springsteen perform.
For example, Mr. Springsteen sold out a two-night show in May 2016 in Dublin, drawing an average of 80,000 people to each show. This June, Beyoncé and Jay-Z performed for a crowd of over 57,000 in Berlin. (In addition, it should be noted that fans purchase tickets to hear the musicians in question, while Mr. Trump’s rallies are free.)
OTHER CLAIMS
Mr. Trump also repeated several other claims The Times has previously debunked:
■ He falsely claimed the United States Steel Corporation “is opening up seven plants.” (It has not announced a single new plant.)
■ He falsely claimed “Russia is very unhappy that Trump won.” (Intelligence agencies have said — and President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia has confirmed — that he preferred Mr. Trump to Hillary Clinton.)
■ He mischaracterized NATO members as “delinquent” on payments to the alliance. (He is referring to a pledge each member set for spending on its own military.)
■ He falsely claimed “NATO funding was going down” before he raised the issue. (Military spending from members has been increasing since 2015.)
■ He claimed, with no evidence, that the man charged in the Manhattan truck attack in October brought in “22 relatives.” (This is not possible.)
■ He hyperbolically said immigrants arrested on suspicion of crossing the border illegally “never come back” for court dates. (Most do.)
■ He exaggerated the number of jobs the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipelines would bring, estimating 48,000 jobs. (A vast majority are temporary.)
■ He misleadingly claimed that “nobody would have believed” how many jobs have been added since his election. (The number added in a comparable period before his election was larger.)
■ He falsely claimed to have signed the “biggest tax cuts in the history of our country.” (Several were larger,)
■ He misleadingly claimed to have “saved our family farms from the estate tax.” (About 80 family farms and small businesses were affected.)
■ He took credit for passing the Veterans Choice Act, which he said other presidents had been trying to pass for 40 years. (It passed in 2014, though he did sign new overhauls,)
Source: Federal Highway Administration, Congressional Research Service, Billboard, The New York Times.

My take on other Trumpisms aka lies

Promise: “Build the wall and Mexico will pay for it”

Reality:  Wall will cost (or what is asked for) 20 Billion dollars- better use for that money Nationwide infrastructure repair. The wall would not do what he thinks it will do. There are no open borders and yes there are still some people coming across illegally but not getting beyond the border in the huge numbers touted.

Promise: Repeal and Replace Obamacare:

Reality: ACA (aka Obamacare) prices have risen pricing neediest out of the market due to insurance companies losing subsidies that were designed to assist these folks. Result is more of the needy have no or little medical care, this puts more of the financial weight on the people who pay for healthcare as no one can be denied medical assistance by law.

Promise: Tax Reform-will benefit the lowest earners:

Tax cuts for Corporations and High earners did not create jobs but provided a way to pay dividends to stock holders-this does not trickle down or create jobs. Essentially if you already are wealthy , you are now wealthier.

Pardons: Pardoning convicted criminals:

A distraction to bring focus on himself as a good administrator.

Jumps on any bandwagon that elevates him e.g. NFL Kneeling, immigration (separating parents from children), bringing coal back (unless natural gas is depleted, or the sun and wind cease to exist) this won’t happen especially since many mines have closed.

Collusion: much talked about but issue really is whether or not information was  received or given to foreign entities regarding our elections.

Lies to cover the lies that he lies about.

White house staff follow the lies ala Hitler and Goebbels. Currently National Conspirator and lie monger Steve Bannon planning a disruptive campaign in the midterm. We must be aware of these assaults on our Democracy from within and without.

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TOTUS’ former physician’s office raided resulting in the removal of Totus’ medical records without the presentation of HIPPA forms. TOTUS White House agents leaked apparently made up list of questions from the Special counsel which were found to be wrong due to grammatical errors. Uproar over White House correspondents dinner roast by Comedian Tracy Wolf again shows how thin skinned the Bully is. There appears to be a concerted effort to hide the inadequacies of this administration though innuendos ,disingenuousness and quite often just plain lies. The cover ups are rampant and pervasive which will certainly result in nothing good for us.

Exclusive: Bornstein claims Trump dictated the glowing health letter
By Alex Marquardt and Lawrence Crook III, CNN 1 hr ago

WH defends taking records from Trump’s former doc

When Dr. Harold Bornstein described in hyperbolic prose then-candidate Donald Trump’s health in 2015, the language he used was eerily similar to the style preferred by his patient.
It turns out the patient himself wrote it, according to Bornstein.
“He dictated that whole letter. I didn’t write that letter,” Bornstein told CNN on Tuesday. “I just made it up as I went along.”
The admission is an about face from his answer more than two years ago when the letter was released and answers one of the lingering questions about the last presidential election. The letter thrust the eccentric Bornstein, with his shoulder-length hair and round eyeglasses, into public view.

“His physical strength and stamina are extraordinary,” he crowed in the letter, which was released by Trump’s campaign in December 2015. “If elected, Mr. Trump, I can state unequivocally, will be the healthiest individual ever elected to the presidency.”
The missive didn’t offer much medical evidence for those claims beyond citing a blood pressure of 110/65, described by Bornstein as “astonishingly excellent.” It claimed Trump had lost 15 pounds over the preceding year. And it described his cardiovascular health as “excellent.”
The White House didn’t respond to a request for comment about Bornstein’s claim.
Later, as questions mounted over the health both of Trump and his rival Hillary Clinton, Bornstein offered a more businesslike assessment, listing things such as Trump’s height, weight and prescription medications.
He later told CNN’s Drew Griffin he’d dashed off the first letter as he was seeing patients.
“I was just rushed for time,” he said in September 2016. “I had people to see.”
He insisted then that the words were his own.
“Did I really write that letter? Yeah,” he said.
Now, as Bornstein re-enters the spotlight claiming Trump’s ex-bodyguard Keith Schiller robbed his office when Schiller retrieved Trump’s medical records, the story behind the letter is becoming clearer.
“That’s black humor, that letter. That’s my sense of humor,” he said. “It’s like the movie ‘Fargo’: It takes the truth and moves it in a different direction.”
He said Trump read out the language as Bornstein and his wife were driving across Central Park.
“(Trump) dictated the letter and I would tell him what he couldn’t put in there,” he said. “They came to pick up their letter at 4 o’clock or something.” Conflation!

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Apparently Mr. Pruitt feels ill used by the people he is supposed to advocate for, I guess his rollback of environmental protections for the country’s health should not be a flash point for the voters. Suppose he did the job he is supposed to do (serve the people) maybe his travel experience would improve. His actions along with a few other cabinet minister’s travel habits explain why this administration’s policies do not bode well for us.MA

EPA: Pruitt faced profanities from fellow passengers when he flew coach
Brandon Carter 8 hrs ago

© Provided by The Hill
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) revealed that Administrator Scott Pruitt faced profanities and confrontations while traveling after controversy surrounding his use of first-class flights.

The director of the EPA’s Office of Criminal Enforcement, Henry Barnet, told Politico that Pruitt was “approached in the airport numerous times” and had profanities “yelled at him” during his travels.
Barnet told the publication that one specific incident saw a person approach Pruitt and shout “Scott Pruitt, you’re f—ing up the environment” while recording it on a cellphone.
“The team leader felt that he was being placed in a situation where he was unsafe on the flight,” Barnet told Politico.
“We felt that based on the recommendation from the team leader, the special agent in charge, that it would be better suited to have him in business or first class, away from close proximity from those individuals who were approaching him and being extremely rude, using profanities and potential for altercations and so forth,” he continued.
The EPA’s defense of the administrator’s traveling habits comes after The Washington Post reported Sunday that Pruitt frequently flies first class on official trips, costing taxpayers thousands of dollars.
CBS News reported late Tuesday that Pruitt flew business class in June on an Emirates flight back from Italy after obtaining a waiver to rules that require official travel to be on United States-flagged airlines.
On Tuesday, Pruitt blamed his first-class flying on interactions that have “not been the best.”
He told the New Hampshire Union Leader that his security detail dictated his travel choices, and he played no role in the decisions.
“We live in a very toxic environment politically, particularly around issues of the environment,” Pruitt said.
“We’ve reached the point where there’s not much civility in the marketplace and it’s created, you know, it’s created some issues and the [security] detail, the level of protection is determined by the level of threat.”
Pruitt and his family have received far more threats than previous EPA leaders. E&E News reported that the EPA’s inspector general opened about 70 investigations into threats in 2017, about double the previous year.
In response, Pruitt and the EPA have taken additional security measures that his predecessors didn’t.

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“Patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel.” – Samuel Johnson, 1775

The above quote explains this administration and it’s ascension. This rise bolstered by the likes of Devin Nunes, abetted overtly and tacitly by Representative Paul Ryan and Congressman Mitch McConnell. These are the two leaders of the House and Senate who by their position in the legislature are supposed to work for the people -ALL people. What has happened in the first year of this administration is executive orders rolling back protections for us all no matter what state you live in. The poorly vetted  cabinet members are spending public money like water but not for the good of the public. Under the guise of “making America Great Again” this administration has made a mockery of the United States standing at home and abroad. The voter base is eroding by the day and the “campaign style” rhetoric is losing favor each time it occurs. What we have is an administration that is undermining our security with “tweet storms”, hidden agendas and often just plain lies. We should be reminded that these abuses raise memories of the Nixon era’s watergate and Joe McCarthy’s “witch hunt for Communists. These two issues point to our failure as voters to pay attention to the people we have elected to the legislature for multiple terms. We the people have to take control of our Government by electing the most honest and forthright people we can but we must also question them at town halls and demand answers to those questions. If we do not get those answers then perhaps we should vote for someone else.  We must remember that a lie is still a lie no matter how it is dressed up.

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Meshuga’as is a Yiddish word for craziness and that aptly describes the current administration and the hangers-on that follow it. Recently Congressman Ron Johnson (WI) made statements about the FBI which on its face appears to be bad, however when further scrutinized are no more than distractive issues for the Mueller investigation.

inappropriate behavior at the FBI.

Ron Johnson now says he doesn’t know what his ‘informant’ meant by FBI anti-Trump ‘secret society’ meetings. Sen. Ron Johnson, R-Wis., said on Tuesday he had an “informant” corroborate reports concerning the existence of an FBI “secret society” working to undermine President Trump.
“What this is all about is further evidence of corruption, more than bias, but corruption at the highest levels of the FBI,” Johnson told Fox News’ Bret Baier.
“Now a secret society? We have an informant that’s talking about a group that were holding secret meetings off site. There is so much smoke here, there is so much suspicion,” the senator continued.

Apparently Mr. Johnson has nothing better to do than keep other issues (unproven so far) in the news rather than do his job. This appears to be the case in this administration as a general rule. Distract rather than legislate. Lie when ever possible to keep your message out there. Looking at the Resident’s Supporters in government, each one seems to have a hard time staying on topic and not answering specific questions for clarification. This applies to the preferred news station of the administration “FAUX” network. Typically one can read about current events and have a reasonable idea of what is happening however the last several years have brought about a group of folks who have no issue with promoting lies to get their agenda moving. It is unfortunate that their activities denigrate the good work being done by more honest folks. As voters it is our obligation to parse the truth out of the voluminous lies that litter the airways and in print. An example of keeping the “party line” is recently pardoned Joe Arpaio’s has announced a run for Congress and is still pushing the Birther idea that Former President Obama was not born in the U.S.A. Isn’t a bit late to continue pushing an already proven and accepted fact? We must pay attention to what’s said and not be taken in by “FAUX’ news!

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Having a personal opinion is great.
Believing that one’s personal opinion is absolute truth
leads to most of the world’s troubles.
– Jonathan Lockwood Huie

The current political war in Washington is more about personal preferences rather than what is good for the country (everyone in it). Since we are a nation of immigrants (no matter what the accepted definition of immigrant is) why are the people we elected making decisions that do nothing to improve our country and by extension our relations with our allied partners in the world? We have people in office who are so shortsighted as to be blind to the cost of their inhibiting actions. These actions have consequences beyond our borders and could conceivable (if not already) create rifts in our worldwide relationships. This administration has spent more time dismantling rules and regulations than improving ones that can be improved, all of this with the tacit if not implicit assistance of our neer do well Congress. It appears that the insiders of this administration have their own agendas and are working to make them priority  over the good for all of us. It is not an issue of campaign promises being accomplished, it is a case of  devious individuals inserting their own opinions onto the public landscape as necessary for better government. Currently the House intelligence committee is raising the spectre of FBI misconduct in the vein of the “McCarthy Hearings’ which ended in failure and the ruin of many careers. Devin Nunes failed in previous efforts to discredit the Mueller investigation and now is making another attempt at discrediting the Justice department and the Mueller investigation. This merely shows that the current administration is at odds with itself and will hurt us all by creating an extension of the existing malfunctioning administration. No matter what your political bent is, these elected people are not working for you. Each one of them is engaged in one-upmanship to benefit themselves. If you believe the current administration is doing a good job then I submit that you take the blinders off and realize that all legislation good or bad affects us all and for years to come until we elect better representatives who actually work for us in an honest manner.

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After watching several Sunday News and panel shows today, it has been made even clearer that our Congress is broken and made even more so by the ascension of the current Resident of the White House. Almost to a person all of the administration officials blame the Scamocrats in spite the known facts that the Resident made a statement that he would sign what was brought before even he was not completely happy with it. A bipartisan proposal was brought to him and he refused it( so he lied in the previous statement). Each of these Resident defenders did exactly what their boss did-Lie! It is my opinion that we will never have decent and functioning government under this Resident and the current leaders of the Senate and the House are backing these poor decisions by blaming the other party. This is not governing , this just ducking the responsibility of their office and lying to their constituents as they have apparently been doing for a long time since they appear to do it so well. These folks pass bad legislation  with ease and point at it with pride while saying how good it will be for us much like Adolph did in the 30’s.MA

First day of government shutdown ends in standoff
By Richard Cowan and Ginger Gibson

Reuters 9 hours ago

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (Getty Images)
By Richard Cowan and Ginger Gibson
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Donald Trump and Republican lawmakers were locked in a standoff with Democrats on Saturday over the U.S. government shutdown, with Republicans saying they would not negotiate on immigration until the government is reopened.
Funding for federal agencies ran out at midnight with no agreement in Congress, meaning the second year of Trump’s presidency began without a fully functioning government.
Democrats stuck to demands that any short-term spending legislation must include protections for young undocumented immigrants known as “Dreamers.” Republicans in turn said they would not negotiate on immigration until Democrats gave them the votes needed to reopen the government.
U.S. government workers were told to stay home or, in some cases, work without pay until new funding is approved in the first federal government shutdown since a 16-day funding lapse in October 2013.
The Republican-controlled Senate and House of Representatives held rare weekend sessions on Saturday, facing a political crisis that could affect November congressional elections. By about 7 p.m. both chambers resigned themselves to failure and agreed to resume work on Sunday.
Both Republicans and Democrats had dug in during the day, each side blaming the other.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said the Senate would vote at 0100 EST (0600 GMT) Monday on a bill to fund the government through Feb. 8, unless Democrats agree to hold it sooner.
“We’ll be right back at this tomorrow and for as long as it takes” for Democrats to vote for legislation that would reopen the government, McConnell said.
Outside the U.S. Capitol, parks, open-air monuments and Smithsonian museums were open as a second annual women’s rights march took place on the National Mall. But visitors were turned away from the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia and the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island in New York Harbor.
A scheduled trip by Trump and some Cabinet members to the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, was being assessed on a day-to-day basis, White House budget director Mick Mulvaney said.
Republicans said they would refuse to negotiate on immigration until Democrats provide the votes to re-open the government. Democrats insisted they have been willing to compromise but Republicans backed out of deals.
“The president will not negotiate on immigration reform until Democrats stop playing games and reopen the government,” said White House spokeswoman Sarah Sanders.
Marc Short, the White House’s legislative affairs director, said Trump had been in contact with Republican leaders in Congress during the day, but had not reached out to Democrats.
Short said the president likely would be most effective making the case for ending the shutdown directly to the American people, and he did not rule out Trump addressing the nation in the coming days.
The tough message from the White House and Republicans in Congress led to speculation that Washington could be in for a prolonged political battle.
At the U.S. Capitol, Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer delivered a stinging portrayal of Trump as an unreliable negotiating partner, saying the two sides came close to an agreement several times only to have Trump back out at the urging of anti-immigration conservatives.
“Negotiating with President Trump is like negotiating with Jell-O,” said Schumer, who met Trump at the White House on Friday for a 90-minute meeting that had briefly raised hopes. “It’s impossible to negotiate with a constantly moving target.”
‘INCHES AWAY’
The federal government had been running on three consecutive temporary funding bills since the new fiscal year began in October.
Democrats had sought to secure permanent legal protections for 700,000 young undocumented immigrants as a condition for new government funding after their attempts to push through the protections in stand-alone bills were rebuffed. Trump ordered the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrival program to expire in March, requiring Congress to act.
Earlier, McConnell said a solution to the crisis was “just inches away” but he blamed Democrats for blocking legislation to pass the fourth stopgap funding measure.
One idea floated by Republicans was to renew government funding through Feb. 8 to end the shutdown, while working to resolve other issues, including immigration, military and non-military spending, disaster relief and some healthcare matters.
U.S. Representative Gerry Connolly, a Democrat whose northern Virginia district has one of the highest concentrations of federal government employees, said there was no sign that serious bipartisan negotiations were taking place and he would be surprised if Congress reached a resolution before Monday.
“You can hear the crickets chirping in the hallway,” Connolly said on Saturday evening. He said if there were negotiations, “it would have to be really deep back channels.”
He attributed the lack of talks to “raw feelings” and that Trump had walked away on Friday from a deal on immigration.
A video ad released on Saturday by Trump’s presidential campaign that says Democrats will be “complicit” in murders by illegal immigrants could inflame tensions.
Trump had portrayed himself as the ultimate dealmaker, but his inability to cut a deal despite having a Republican majority in both houses of Congress marked arguably the most debilitating setback for his administration.
“This is the One Year Anniversary of my Presidency and the Democrats wanted to give me a nice present,” he said on Twitter.
The immediate impact of the government shutdown was eased somewhat by it beginning on a weekend.
The Defense Department said combat operations in Afghanistan and other military activities would continue, while federal law enforcement officers also would remain on duty.
Talks on the North American Free Trade Agreement will continue, as will major cybersecurity functions, and most of the Environmental Protection Agency will remain open, budget director Mulvaney said.
But without a quick deal, hundreds of thousands of government employees will be put on temporary unpaid leave.
“It’s ironic that they get paid – meaning Congress – and the rest of the government doesn’t,” said Dawn Gaither, 57, a Washington teacher. “That’s what we need to do, kick these guys in the tail and get them to work.”
(Reporting by Richard Cowan, Ginger Gibson, James Oliphant, Ian Simpson, and David Brunnstrom in Washington; Writing by Richard Cowan and Doina Chiacu; Editing by Bill Trott and Daniel Wallis)
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Dude! It is not about you.MA

By Dan Merica and Betsy Klein, CNN
Updated 3:40 PM ET, Tue January
Washington (CNN)President Donald Trump took the opportunity Tuesday to slam Hillary Clinton during a surprise visit at gathering dubbed a “conversation with Women of America.”
Trump used to the event to take aim at Clinton, the first woman to win a major party presidential nomination. Trump joked about how he beat Clinton in Arkansas, a state where she served as first lady.
“Arkansas, great state,” Trump said, after noting a woman attending from the state. “How did I win Arkansas by so much when she came from Arkansas?”
The gathering featured more than a dozen top White House officials, discussing the state of American women with over 200 invited guests.
Trump also claimed that if Clinton had won in November, the stock market — which has boomed under the Republican President — would have gone down by 50%.
“Had the other side gotten in, the market would have gone down 50% from where it was,” Trump said. “Fifty percent from where it was. Remember that. It was stagnant and it was going down.”
Trump did not state how he came to that figure.
The President also touted the robust US economy and discussed the current state of immigration reform talks, blaming Democrats for the lack of a deal.
“We are working on immigration and immigration reform,” Trump said. “Hopefully at some point we will be able to solve that problem. If the Democrats really wanted to, they could, but they really sometimes don’t want to. We are working on it and we will get it done one way or the other I hope.”
The female-focused event comes amid a nationwide focus on sexual harassment and assault against women dubbed the #MeToo movement. The campaign was spurred by extensive alleged abuse by Harvey Weinstein and a cascade of other powerful men.
Though the movement has affected the sports, entertainment and political worlds, it has largely spared the White House, even though at least 15 women have come forward with a wide range of accusations against Trump, ranging from sexual harassment and sexual assault to lewd behavior around women. Trump was also recorded in 2005 describing sexually assaulting women on the “Access Hollywood” videotape.
Trump has steadfastly denied any wrongdoing. At the event, he did not comment on the movement which was not a focus of the day-long event.
Trump tweeted his black approval rating has doubled. It hasn’t.
Senior White House officials, such as Ivanka Trump, the President’s daughter and senior adviser, communications director Hope Hicks, press secretary Sarah Sanders and counselor to the President, Kellyanne Conway, attended the meeting, along with Cabinet Members Secretary of Department of Homeland Security Kirstjen Nielsen and Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao.
The event included a three-part panel where, according to White House spokeswoman Lindsey Walters, “women from various backgrounds and experiences … will speak with high-level women within the Trump administration.”
Melania Trump is also not expected to attend, according to the East Wing communications office. Trump, according to a White House official, was not expected to attend the event, but decided to drop by.
“When I heard, I ran across the street,” Trump said. “Now I am going to run back to the Oval Office.”
The women, Walters added, spoke with White House officials about “what has been accomplished to date to advance women at home, and in the workplace.”
“As part of an ongoing conversation this administration has been having with American women there will be a focus on the economy, health care and national security during the President’s first year in office,” Walters said.
More than 200 women attended, including Anita McBride, the former chief of staff for first lady Laura Bush; Heather Higgins, the CEO of Independent Women’s Voice, and Judy Van Rest, the executive vice president of the International Republican Institute.
CNN’s Kate Bennett contributed to this report

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The quote “Oh! What a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive” refers to how complicated life becomes when people start lying. It originally referred to a love triangle in the play “Marmion” by Sir Walter Scott. Currently this has been the practice of our Congress. This group of people have used every rosy sounding bit of tripe available to them to forward their agenda. They are no more than con men in nice suits. With the advent of TOTUS they have used his Tweet storm as a cover for their own nefarious deeds. His cabinet choices were at best poor but this Congress granted them access to push their personal agendas in healthcare, education, EPA (our air and water quality). Now the recent speedy crafting of Tax Reform and cuts will give us another gut punch while the lies keep flowing. All of this because they do not give a damn about the oft cited “American People”. Since they never asked or explained in plain words what this legislation was or would do gives rise to many questions. Several questions involving the actual effects of the cuts , why are the cuts for the middle and lower income folks saddled with an expiration date while the higher earners cuts continue?  The deceptive practices of this Congress should be a chargeable offence under the law but since this Body is untrustworthy, there will nothing done unless we the voters do and say something about it. Our course of action is call, write, tweet our representatives and let them know our feelings about this poor legislation.  Our own elected officials have apparently taken to scamming us about legislation and we have never as far as I know taken them to task for it. Looking back a few years: The lied about the ACA and would not support it, they ignored Trumps unfitness to serve (so they could get their own agenda moving), they obfuscated the truth about the economy (which is growing however slow) and they dislike the Dodd Frank act since it offers consumer (us) protection against the deceptive practices of financial institutions. Apparently these actions are more about appearing to be true to their word ( which we should already know is worthless). Given the current circumstances and potential harm to us, why do we want to keep these folks in office?

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Is Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin a fool or a knave?

Robert Reich, RobertReich.org12.03.20176:29 PM
This originally appeared on Robert Reich’s blog.

One of the most dangerous consequences of this awful period in American life is the denigration of the truth, and of institutions and people who tell it.

There are two kinds of liars — fools and knaves. Fools lie because they don’t know the truth. Knaves lie because they intend to mislead.

Trump is both, because he doesn’t even care enough about the truth to find out what it is. He’ll say whatever he thinks will get people to believe what he wants them to believe.

What about people like Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, Trump’s point person on the Republican tax bills now making their way through Congress?

Mnuchin continues to insist that the legislation puts a higher tax burden on people earning more than $1 million a year, and reduce taxes on everyone else. “I can tell you that virtually everybody in the middle class will get a tax cut, and will get a significant tax cut,” Mnuchin says repeatedly.

But the prestigious Tax Policy Center concludes that by 2027, almost all of the benefits of both bills will have gone to the richest 1 percent, while upper-middle-class payers will pay higher taxes and those at the lower levels will receive only modest benefits.

So is Mnuchin a fool? His career before he became Treasury Secretary doesn’t suggest so. He graduated from Yale, and worked for seventeen years for investment bank Goldman Sachs.

Perhaps Mnuchin doesn’t find the Tax Policy Center credible. Maybe he agrees with Trump economic adviser Peter Navarro, who describes it as “a left-leaning center that produces analyses that favor Democratic tax-and-spend programs and disfavor Republican programs.”

In the age of Trump, even prestigious organizations once considered non-partisan are either “with us” or “against us.”

Problem is, virtually all other studies by every other source show the House and Senate tax bills overwhelmingly benefit the rich and, within a few years, harm the middle class.

Even Congress’s own Joint Committee on Taxation – the House and Senate’s official scorekeeper on tax issues – finds that the Senate’s version of the bill would increase taxes on all income groups making under $75,000 per year.

By 2027, it would give its biggest tax breaks to those making $1 million or more. The House bill would be even more generous to millionaires and billionaires.

Mnuchin’s response? He has none. He just keeps repeating the same lie.

Mnuchin also maintains that the Senate and House tax plans won’t cause the federal deficit to rise. “This isn’t about the deficit,” he said recently. “We’ll create economic growth to pay down the deficit.”

But even the Tax Foundation — a major proponent of the corporate tax cuts — estimates the House bill will cause a $1.08 trillion revenue loss over ten years and the Senate bill, a $516 billion loss.

Assuming Mnuchin isn’t a fool, he’s a knave. He intends to deceive the public.

By doing so he has abandoned his duty to the American people inherent in the oath of office taken by every cabinet official, in favor of advancing the goals of his boss and other Republicans in Washington who are desperate to pass their tax bill.

 He has also sacrificed his credibility and integrity.

Why? Because he’s Secretary of the Treasury in an administration that has no integrity. Merely by joining Trump, he made a Faustian bargain and lost whatever integrity he might have had.

Recall that after Trump equated white supremacists with protesters in Charlottesville, and several hundred of Mnuchin’s Yale classmates urged him to resign in protest, Mnuchin found it “hard to believe I should have to defend myself on this, or the president.”

After Trump demanded that NFL owners deal harshly with black athletes protesting police brutality, Mnuchin said the athletes should “do free speech on their own time. This is about respect for the military and first responders in the country.”

Apparently Mnuchin will say anything to retain his power and influence in the Trump administration.

He knows he’ll never have anything close to this power again.

Mnuchin probably figures: So what if he lies about the true consequences of the tax bills? Trump lies about them, too. So does the Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, and the Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell.

He probably assumes most of the public will never know he lied. Even those who know will soon forget. In this era of Trumpian big lies, there are no consequences for lying.

But history may not be kind to Steve Mnuchin.

Over the last century, authoritarian and fascist regimes have intentionally and systematically denigrated the truth.

The knaves who helped them are remembered in ignominy

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