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Apparently Trump U’s primary training was to learn the art of laminating lies upon more lies.MA

By Chris Cillizza, CNN Editor-at-large 14 hrs ago

On Sunday morning, President Donald Trump tweeted. And tweeted. And tweeted.
Between 9:04 am and 9:37 am, Trump sent 5 tweets — all around the same basic theme: He is being unfairly persecuted by special counsel Robert Mueller even as Mueller and the broader FBI overlook crimes by Democrats.
The tweets are riddled with misinformation and, in some cases, outright falsehoods. Taken together, Trump said 11 things that aren’t true. Here’s the breakdown — tweet by tweet.
1. “Things are really getting ridiculous. The Failing and Crooked (but not as Crooked as Hillary Clinton) @nytimes has done a long & boring story indicating that the World’s most expensive Witch Hunt has found nothing on Russia & me so now they are looking at the rest of the World!” (9:04 am)

Trump is referring here to an article in the Times published Saturday detailing a 2016 meeting between Donald Trump Jr. and a liaison for two Arab princes in which the emissary made clear that his clients wanted to assist Trump’s campaign.
He is also making a tangential reference to a detailed piece published in the Times earlier this week that detailed the origins of the FBI investigation into Russia interference in the 2016 election and possible collusion between his campaign and the Russians.
Trump is hanging his conclusion on this one sentence: “A year and a half later, no public evidence has surfaced connecting Mr. Trump’s advisers to the hacking or linking Mr. Trump himself to the Russian government’s disruptive efforts.”
What that sentences makes clear is a) no public evidence yet exists and b) the investigation is ongoing.
Untruth/Exaggeration Count: 1
2. “….At what point does this soon to be $20,000,000 Witch Hunt, composed of 13 Angry and Heavily Conflicted Democrats and two people who have worked for Obama for 8 years, STOP! They have found no Collussion with Russia, No Obstruction, but they aren’t looking at the corruption…”
There’s zero factual basis — at least that I can find — for Trump putting a $20 million price tag on the Mueller probe. The closest we have come to a fact-based cost for the Mueller probe is back in December, when the investigation’s total cost was $6.7 million.
Trump’s claim that there are 13 Democrats on Mueller’s team is also false. According to The Washington Post’s Fact Checker, five of the 16 known members of Mueller’s team donated to Hillary Clinton’s 2016 campaign. The New York Times says that nine of the 17 known lawyers on Mueller’s team have donated to Democratic campaigns in the past. Then there’s this from the Post’s Philip Bump: “Of the 18 attorneys we identified on Mueller’s team, half gave no money to anyone, according to our analysis. Another five gave $1,000 or less. The one who gave the most also gave to two Republicans.”
RELATED: Meet the Mueller team
It’s not entirely clear who Trump is referring to with the line “two people who have worked for Obama for 8 years” but, presumably, one of them is Mueller himself. The problem with that is that Mueller was appointed FBI director by President George W. Bush, a Republican. President Obama simply kept Mueller on for the length of his 10-year term.
Trump says that Mueller’s team has found no collusion (he misspelled that word in the original tweet), but that too is not accurate. The investigation is ongoing and all of Mueller’s findings have yet to go public.
Untruth/Exaggeration Count: 4
3. “…In the Hillary Clinton Campaign where she deleted 33,000 Emails, got $145,000,000 while Secretary of State, paid McCabes wife $700,000 (and got off the FBI hook along with Terry M) and so much more. Republicans and real Americans should start getting tough on this Scam.”
First, a truth: Clinton did delete 33,000 emails after she and her attorneys determined they were entirely private and personal communications with no ties to her work as Secretary of State.
Now, to the untruths.
The $145 million figure Trump is referring to is the total donations to the Clinton Foundation by nine individuals who also at one time or another had investments in a Russian company that Clinton’s State Department allowed to buy a majority stake in Uranium One, a Canada-based company with US mining interests. The problems with Trump’s claim, as detailed here by PolitiFact, are considerable and include the fact that the donations to the Clinton Foundation were made prior to the idea of Clinton serving as secretary of State and that State was one of nine agencies who okayed the deal.
Trump’s insistence that someone in the Clinton campaign paid then-FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe’s wife $700,000 as a payoff to drop any investigations into them is a jumble of falsehoods. McCabe’s wife ran for the state Senate in Virginia in 2015. A super PAC affiliated with Virginia Gov. Terry McAuliffe, a longtime Clinton ally, donated $500,000 to her campaign. She lost. There is zero evidence that Hillary Clinton was involved in the donation in any way, shape or form, or that McAuliffe made the donation to dissuade Andrew McCabe from looking into alleged wrongdoing by the Clintons.
Untruth/Exaggeration Count: 2
4. “Now that the Witch Hunt has given up on Russia and is looking at the rest of the World, they should easily be able to take it into the Mid-Term Elections where they can put some hurt on the Republican Party. Don’t worry about Dems FISA Abuse, missing Emails or Fraudulent Dossier!”
The Mueller probe has not “given up” on Russia. It’s worth noting that five people in the Trump campaign orbit have already pleaded guilty to crimes unearthed by Mueller and several — including former national security adviser Michael Flynn and former deputy campaign chairman Rick Gates — are cooperating with the Mueller probe.
It’s less clear what Trump is referring to with the phrase “Dems FISA abuse” although he has repeatedly suggested that Obama ordered a wiretap on him at Trump Tower during the campaign (not true) and that the FBI placed an informant in his campaign as spy (knowledgeable sources deny that claim).
As for the missing emails, it is not clear what crime Trump is alleging, although there is little doubt Clinton would have been better served to have a neutral third party go through her emails to determine which were personal and could be deleted and which were not.
Trump’s claim that the so-called “Steele dossier” is “fraudulent” is also not accurate. The more salacious elements of the dossier, gathered by former British spy Christopher Steele, are unconfirmed by the FBI. But the intelligence community has made clear that portions of the dossier are borne out by their own investigation.
Untruth/Exaggeration Count: 3 (at least)
5. “What ever happened to the Server, at the center of so much Corruption, that the Democratic National Committee REFUSED to hand over to the hard charging (except in the case of Democrats) FBI? They broke into homes & offices early in the morning, but were afraid to take the Server?”
This one is, mostly, accurate! The FBI confirmed that the DNC repeatedly rejected their requests to turn over the email server that had been penetrated by someone allegedly affiliated with the Russians.
Trump’s reference to the raids conducted by the FBI on the homes and offices of people like former campaign chairman Paul Manafort and Trump personal attorney Michael Cohen misses the mark, however. Federal law enforcement did not break into these homes. They conducted raids based on search warrants — and entirely legal process based on, among other things, probable cause.
Untruth/Exaggeration Count: 1

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By John Bowden – 05/08/18 08:17 PM EDT

The Hill

Former CIA Chief John Brennan: Trump’s ‘Madness Is A Danger To Our National Security’
Trump has “undermined global confidence in U.S. commitments” and “alienated our closest allies,” Brennan said.

Former CIA Director John Brennan ripped President Donald Trump over his decision on Tuesday to pull the United States out of the Iran nuclear treaty.
Brennan wrote on Twitter:

Brennan, now an analyst for NBC News and MSNBC, made similar comments on the air.
“This is not just foolish, this is dangerous,” he said. “And Mr. Trump has repeatedly misrepresented the facts of the nuclear deal with Iran. He’s basically lied to the American people and lied to the world about what that deal entails.”
Brennan was not alone in criticizing the move. The leaders of the United Kingdom, France and Germany issued a joint statement expressing “regret and concern.” In Iran, one lawmaker said “Trump does not have the mental capacity to deal with issues,” and members of parliament burned a paper version of an American flag and a symbolic copy of the Iran deal.
Brennan has been a constant critic of the president since leaving office on Trump’s 2017 inauguration. In March, he slammed Trump for hailing the Justice Department’s decision to fire former FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe just two days before retirement.
“You may scapegoat Andy McCabe,” Brennan wrote at the time. “But you will not destroy America… America will triumph over you.”

Earlier this year, Brennan described himself as “nonpartisan” and told NPR he had respect for both Democratic and Republican presidents he has served. Trump, however, was different.
“I think he is dishonest. He lacks integrity. He has very questionable ethics and morality. And he views the world through a prism of how it’s going to help Donald Trump,” Brennan said. “And I just think that he has not fulfilled the responsibilities of the president of the United States office.”

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Michelle Obama on 2016 election: ‘What is going on in our heads where we let that happen’
Brooke Seipel 8 hrs ago

© Provided by The Hill
Michelle Obama on Saturday discussed the 2016 presidential election at the United State of Women summit, during which she said she is still reflecting on the outcome and asking how “we let that happen.”
“In light of this last election, I’m concerned about us as women and how we think,” she said at the event. “What is going on in our heads where we let that happen, you know?”
The former first lady was discussing encouraging young women to dream big, and how to reflect on standards for women after Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton lost the election and the United States didn’t elect its first woman president.

“When the most qualified person running was a woman, and look what we did instead, I mean that says something about where we are,” Obama said. “That’s what we have to explore, because if we as women are still suspicious of one another, if we still have this crazy, crazy bar for each other that we don’t have for men… if we’re not comfortable with the notion that a woman could be our president compared to… what, then we have to have those conversations with ourselves as women.”
She went on to add that she wished “girls could fail as bad as men do and still be ok.”
“Watching men fail up is frustrating. It is frustrating watching men blow it, and win,” she later added while discussing standards for women.
During her discussion as the keynote speaker at the United State of Women summit, Obama also touched on the importance of education for women and encouraging young girls to speak their minds.
The United State of Women describes itself on its website as a “national organization for any woman who sees that we need a different America for all women to survive and thrive.”
Thousands of women attended the summit, based in Los Angeles, this weekend which says its goal is to leave women “with new ideas and partners, hands-on training, and the tools and resources they need to make change at all levels.”

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By Paul Begala
Updated 11:41 PM ET, Tue May 1, 2018
Paul Begala, a Democratic strategist and CNN political commentator, was a political consultant for Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign in 1992 and was counselor to Clinton in the White House. He was a consultant to Priorities USA Action, the pro-Hillary Clinton super PAC. The opinions expressed in this commentary are his.
(CNN)Add the name of White House chief of staff John Kelly to the astonishingly long list of close Trump aides who have reportedly disparaged the President’s intellect, in his case referring to the leader of the free world as “an idiot.” Kelly called the report “total B.S.”
But, like the dog that didn’t bark, Kelly’s statement reveals more by what it does not say. It does not say the President is bright. It does not say he is engaged. It does not say he digs into the impossibly difficult issues that come into the Oval Office each day. And Kelly’s silence on those matters is telling.
Of course, former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson called President Trump “a [expletive deleted] moron” then heroically refused to participate in the ritualistic dishonest denial. Tillerson told CNN’s Jake Tapper, “I’m not going to get into that kind of petty stuff.”
National security adviser H.R. McMaster, according to a report in BuzzFeed, has called President Trump an “idiot,” a “dope” and a man with the brain of a “kindergartner.”
In Michael Wolff’s book, “Fire and Fury” (which ought to be taken with an entire salt lick), the former chief of staff Reince Priebus and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin refer to the President as an “idiot.” Then-chief economic adviser Gary Cohn says Trump is “dumb as [poop],” and is “an idiot surrounded by clowns.” (Note that this was at the time that Cohn himself was one of the people surrounding the President. Does that make him Clarabell?). And billionaire media baron Rupert Murdoch reportedly called President Trump “a [effing] idiot” after a phone call on immigration.

The tumultuous relationship between Trump, Kelly 02:32. I’m beginning to see a pattern here. Those closest to the President think, well, it’s pretty clear what they think.
But I dissent.
I think Donald J. Trump is plenty bright. Not in the intellectual, Mensa-meeting sense, but he has, I think, an undeniable intelligence. He is street smart, savvy, clever. No one can be that conniving and be an idiot.
So why the disconnect? Why do I as an outside analyst see an intelligence that those closest to the President do not? Because there are different kinds of intelligence that are useful for different purposes. The kind of intelligence I believe Trump has is enormously useful if you want to, say, be a politician — even better if you want to be a demagogue.
He has a cynical, innate intelligence for what his base wants to hear. It’s like a divining rod for division, prejudice and stereotyping. His relentless rhetorical repetition (“No collusion, no collusion, no collusion”) is brilliantly designed to tell folks who are predisposed to like him what they want to hear. Forget the objective reality that his campaign chairman, his son and his son-in-law all met with Russians who promised dirt on Hillary Clinton from the Russian government, helping make the case for why Robert Mueller should be investigating potential collusion.
He has an unerring sense for how to command media attention, whether it was assuming a pseudonym and leaking the “Best Sex I Ever Had” myth to the New York tabloids, or dominating water coolers across the country by attacking NFL players who kneel during the National Anthem. It’s like he knows what every bar stool blowhard is about to say before he or she even says it.
His penchant for third-grade nicknames undoubtedly demeans the discourse, and yet otherwise sophisticated people repeat them: “Lyin’ Ted,” “Little Marco,” “Crooked Hillary.” So who’s really the idiot?
The problem is, Trump’s idiosyncratic intelligence, while enough to propel him to the White House, does not serve him well for the job of President. He lacks, by most accounts, the broad curiosity, the policy depth, the healthy skepticism of his own positions, the attention span, the appreciation of nuance, and most of all, the intellectual humility that successful presidents must have.
Serving President Clinton in the West Wing was the highlight of my professional life. He is the smartest person I have ever known — and he never, ever acted like (or felt like) the smartest person in the room. He paired his astonishing intellect with an immeasurable empathy, and the combination brought out the best in everyone around him.
He didn’t merely want to know; he wanted to understand. Then he would integrate, cross-pollinating new information about farm prices with the latest briefing on the French military budget, and seeing the world in subtle hues. It is impossible to imagine any of his top aides speaking as contemptuously of him as President Trump’s do of him. Finally, a word of caution for the Democrats: Don’t attack Donald Trump’s intelligence. Liberals already suffer from the conceit that they are more intelligent, and it can make them insufferable. Plus, in a weird way, calling President Trump stupid excuses his intentional acts of malice. So, don’t call him “moron” or “idiot;” call him what he is: a conniving, corrupt con man, a dangerous, divisive demagogue — and, most sobering of all, the man who carried 30 states in the last election, and may well do it again if Democrats don’t focus their fire more effectively.

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This Old Trump Tweet Is Coming Back to Haunt Him — Because, Well, Just Read It
May 2, 2018 by Victoria Messina
First Published: March 14, 2018
It’s no secret that President Donald Trump isn’t the best at keeping officials in his administration around for very long. Though it feels like he’s been in the Oval Office for centuries, it’s only been a little more than a year — and in that time more than 30 of his staff members have either resigned or been fired from their posts. Notable departures include Sean Spicer, former White House Press Secretary, James Comey, former FBI Director, and Steve Bannon, former White House Chief Strategist — just to jog your memory, since these departures seem to happen so often that they all blend together.
Trump’s most recent staff switch up came when he announced on March 13 that he had fired Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. As soon he shared the news — on Twitter, naturally — many were quick to call out his alarmingly high turnover rate, and some even resurrected an old tweet from the president in which he slammed Barack Obama for the amount of staff change-ups he made during his time in office. Way back in January 2012, just one day after Obama announced that his second Chief of Staff, Bill Daley, would be stepping down, Trump tweeted, “3 Chief of Staffs in less than 3 years of being President: Part of the reason why @BarackObama can’t manage to pass his agenda.”
Little did he know that six years later he’d wind up in the White House, already on his second Chief of Staff before even reaching his two-year mark, with his third COS, John Kelly, possibly on his way out soon.
We’ve said it before and we’ll likely say it again: for almost all of Trump’s controversial statements or decisions, there’s always a corresponding tweet from his past that totally contradicts it. And everyone on social media isn’t about to let him off the hook for it . . .


THANKSGIVING: ALL OF IT
Virtually everything learned in school about Thanksgiving is a lie, including the central story of the feast celebrating a partnership between Native Americans and early European settlers. The Pilgrims were fanatical and violent religious zealots who considered indigenous Americans savages, and the Indians naturally resented their presence. The modern, feel-good story is propaganda that’s only 120 years old, but there was a celebratory feast in Massachusetts in 1637 — proclaimed by Gov. John Winthrop for the return of Puritan gunmen from hunting and murdering hundreds of Pequot Indians.

AMERICA GAVE THE WORLD DEMOCRACY
The rise of America undoubtedly shattered the era of kings and queens ruling over monarchies, which had existed in Europe for centuries. But the common schoolhouse lesson that America invented democracy would be news to the Greeks, who introduced “demokratia,” or direct rule by the people, which included three branches of government, in 507 B.C.

ABRAHAM LINCOLN WAS AN ABOLITIONIST
History teachers are quick to remind students that Lincoln was the “Great Emancipator.” In reality, however, Lincoln’s views evolved over time and he came to anti-slavery movement late in the game. He said publicly and repeatedly that he would tolerate slavery to preserve the Union. His anti-slavery sentiments, at least early on, seemed more pragmatic than moral, as revealed in his famous “house divided” speech.

THE EMANCIPATION PROCLAMATION FREED THE SLAVES
Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation was limited in effect — first limited to slaves in rebel states, and then not universally known. The holiday of Juneteenth, celebrates the moment June 19, 1865, that Union soldiers rode into Galveston, Texas, to tell America’s last remaining slaves they were free. This was news to the slaves, who had never heard of the proclamation, signed two and a half years earlier.

POT IS A GATEWAY DRUG
Anyone who went to school during the just-say-no era of the drug war knows that while marijuana itself isn’t so bad, experimenting with it leads to addiction, incarceration, and death from street drugs. For years, educators accepted the “gateway” theory, a 1950s scare tactic that has since been widely debunked and acknowledged as myth in 2016 by then-Attorney General Loretta Lynch. Social ailments such as poverty, bad home environment, and early exposure are better indicators of future addiction.

SLAVERY ENDED WITH THE CIVIL WAR
The 13th Amendment supposedly ending slavery still allowed forced labor as punishment for a crime. Convict leasing existed in every Southern state for decades after the Civil War. Tens of thousands of Black Americans who committed no real crime were kidnapped off the streets by corrupt local sheriffs, convicted in informal local courts for vague “crimes” such as vagrancy, issued fines they couldn’t pay, and sold to businesses to work in mines, timber yards, farms and railroads in conditions often worse than slavery.

AMERICA IS THE FREEST COUNTRY IN THE WORLD
“It’s a free country” is a mantra most kids probably hear before they even get to school. The reality, however, is that 22 countries are freer than the United States. The Human Freedom Index ranks America No. 23 on its global list, based on government size, religion, labor, trade, rule of law, and basic freedoms such as movement and association.

ALBERT EINSTEIN FLUNKED MATH
Many sub par math students have been consoled by encouraging teachers who remind them that even Einstein — history’s most famous mathematical genius — flunked math class. He did not. He mastered differential and integral calculus by 15, and taught himself algebra and geometry with books his parents bought him before he was 12 so he could master the fields on his own over summer vacation.

WATER TOWERS STORE DRINKING WATER
It’s true that some water towers store drinking water, but even in those cases, the main function of a water tower is to create water pressure. Most drinking water comes from wells, reservoirs, lakes or rivers. The reason water rushes out when you turn on your faucet is because massive stores of water in vertical, gravity-fed water towers apply enough pressure to force water to flow through your municipality’s network of underground pipes leading to your house.

THIS WILL GO ON YOUR PERMANENT RECORD
Generations of teachers and principals kept students in line with the most ridiculous threat in the history of U.S. education: The next behavioral infraction will go on your permanent record. There is no permanent record. Some districts do keep files on students that contain personal information and attendance records, but even in those cases, anyone who isn’t the student or the student’s parent — including college admissions officers — can’t access the record without a written release.

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This is an excerpt of an extensive article  posted in the American Prospect

Justin Miller August 24, 2017

Tax Cuts for the rich. Deregulation for the powerful. Wage suppression for everyone else. These are the tenets of trickle-down economics, the conservatives’ age-old strategy for advantaging the interests of the rich and powerful over those of the middle class and poor. The articles in Trickle-Downers are devoted, first, to exposing and refuting these lies, but equally, to reminding Americans that these claims aren’t made because they are true. Rather, they are made because they are the most effective way elites have found to bully, confuse and intimidate middle- and working-class voters. Trickle-down claims are not real economics. They are negotiating strategies. Here at the Prospect, we hope to help you win that negotiation.

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Wednesday, June 28, 2017, in Washington. President Donald Trump is attending a fundraiser at the hotel.

WASHINGTON (AP) — President Donald Trump was whisked a few blocks from the White House to the Trump hotel on Wednesday night for his first re-election fundraiser, where he raised an estimated $10 million behind closed doors.
Some 40 months ahead of the 2020 election, the president held court for about two hours at a $35,000-per-plate donor event at the Trump International Hotel. About 300 people were expected to attend the event, which was expected to raise about $10 million, said Lindsay Jancek, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee.
Security was tight at the hotel, where guests in long gowns and crisp suits began arriving around 5 p.m. But the event also drew critics. The president’s motorcade was greeted by dozens of protesters, who hoisted signs with slogans like “Health care not tax cuts” and chanted “Shame! Shame!”
Among the fundraiser’s attendees: Longtime GOP fundraiser-turned television commentator Mica Mosbacher and Florida lobbyist and party financier Brian Ballard were among the fundraiser’s attendees.
Breaking the tradition of his predecessor, Trump didn’t allow reporters into the event — despite an announcement earlier in the day that a pool of reporters would be allowed in to hear the president’s remarks.
“It’s a political event and they’ve chosen to keep that separate,” White House deputy press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders said when asked why the event is closed to the media.
After reporters complained, Sanders announced that the president’s remarks would be opened to the press — only to reverse herself hours later.
Sanders said there was nothing unusual about raising political cash so early.
“He’s raising money for the party,” she said. “I don’t think that’s abnormal for any president.”
Sanders’ statement that Trump is raising cash for the GOP told only part of the story, though.
The first cut of the money raised goes to Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign. The rest gets spread among the RNC and other various Republican entities. Having multiple beneficiaries is what allowed Trump to ask for well above the usual $5,400 per-donor maximum for each election cycle.
Those contribution limits are likely to change because this fundraiser is so early that new donation limits for 2020 have not been set by the Federal Election Commission.
Trump’s hotel has become a place to see and be seen by current and former Trump staffers, as well as lobbyists, journalist and tourists. Several Washington influencers popped into the hotel’s lobby even though they didn’t plan to attend the event.
Several bar patrons also expressed enthusiasm about the unusually lucrative fundraiser so soon after the last election.
Trump’s decision to hold a fundraiser at his own hotel again raised issues about his continued financial interest in the companies he owns. Unlike previous presidents who have entirely divested from their business holdings before taking office, Trump moved his global business empire assets into a trust that he can take control of at any time. That means that when his properties — including his Washington hotel — do well, he stands to make money.
Trump technically leases the hotel from the General Services Administration, and profits are supposed to go to an account of the corporate entity that holds the lease, Trump Old Post Office LLC. It remains unclear what might happen to any profits from the hotel after Trump leaves office, or whether they will be transferred to Trump at that time.
Under campaign finance rules, neither the hotel nor the Trump Organization that operates it can donate the space. It must be rented at fair-market value and paid for by either the Trump campaign, the RNC or both.
First-time candidate Trump got a late start on fundraising in 2016, holding his first big-ticket donor event only five months before Election Day. This time, he’s started unusually early.
Trump’s historically early campaigning comes with benefits and challenges.
In the first three months of this year, the Trump campaign raised more than $7 million, through small donations and the sale of Trump-themed merchandise such as the ubiquitous, red “Make America Great Again” ball caps.
The RNC also is benefiting from the new president’s active campaigning, having raised about $62 million through the end of last month. The party has raised more online this year than it did in all of 2016 — a testament to Trump’s success in reaching small donors.
Trump’s re-election money helps pay for his political rallies. He’s held five so far, and campaign director Michael Glassner says those events help keep him connected to his base of voters.
The constant politicking, however, means it is challenging for government employees to avoid inappropriately crossing ethical lines. Some watchdog groups have flagged White House employee tweets that veer into campaign territory. White House spokeswoman Lindsay Walters says the employees work closely with lawyers to avoid pitfalls.
Walters also says the White House takes care to make sure that Trump’s political events and travel — including the Wednesday fundraiser — are paid for by the campaign and other political entities.

Is it possible that our Neer do well Congress is using the wistful Chief Executive as hat to cover their own Bald Spots  and leaving an opening for blame to fall on TOTUS? MA

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Another reason to pay attention to your representatives, this article points out the real government controllers.MA

Steve Peoples, Associated Press 18 hours ago

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) — At least one influential donor has informed congressional Republicans that the “Dallas piggy bank” is closed until he sees major action on health care and taxes.
Texas-based donor Doug Deason has already refused to host a fundraiser for two members of Congress and informed House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., his checkbook is closed as well.
“Get Obamacare repealed and replaced, get tax reform passed,” Deason said in a pointed message to GOP leaders. “You control the Senate. You control the House. You have the presidency. There’s no reason you can’t get this done. Get it done and we’ll open it back up.”
Indeed, there was a sense of frustration and urgency inside the private receptions and closed-door briefings at the Koch brothers’ donor retreat this weekend in Colorado Springs, where the billionaire conservatives and their chief lieutenants warned of a rapidly shrinking window to push their agenda through Congress and get legislation to President Donald Trump to sign into law.
No agenda items mattered more to the conservative Koch network than the GOP’s promise to overhaul the nation’s tax code and repeal and replace President Barack Obama’s health care law. At the moment, however, both are bogged down by GOP infighting that jeopardizes their fate.
At least one Koch official warned that the Republican Party’s House majority could be in jeopardy if the GOP-led Congress doesn’t follow through.
“If they don’t make good on these promises … there are going to be consequences, and quite frankly there should be,” said Sean Lansing, chief operating officer for the Koch network’s political arm, Americans For Prosperity.
Deason, who is keeping the “Dallas piggy bank” closed for now, said he was recently approached by Rep. Mark Meadows, R-N.C. and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio, about hosting a fundraiser.
“I said, ‘No I’m not going to because we’re closing the checkbook until you get some things done,'” Deason said, noting he’s encouraged nearly two dozen major Texas donors to follow his lead.
“There is urgency,” said AFP president Tim Phillips. “We believe we have a window of about 12 months to get as much of it accomplished as possible before the 2018 elections grind policy to a halt.”
The window for action may be even smaller, some Koch allies warned at the three-day donor retreat that drew roughly 400 participants to the base of the Rocky Mountains. The price for admission for most was a pledge to give at least $100,000 this year to the  broad policy and political network. There were also at least 18 elected officials on hand.
Some hosted private policy discussions with donors while others simply mingled.
In between meetings, Rep. Dave Brat, R-Va., predicted dire consequences in next year’s midterm elections should his party fail to deliver on its repeated promises.
“If we don’t get health care, none of us are coming back,” he said in a brief interview. “We said for seven years you’re gonna repeal Obamacare. It’s nowhere near repealed.”
It’s the same for an overhaul of the tax code, Brat said: “We don’t get taxes through, we’re all going home. Pack the bags.”
While some donors threatened to withhold campaign cash, Koch’s team outlined a broader strategy to help shape the debate.
Already, Americans For Prosperity claims a paid staff of more than 400 full-time activists in 36 states. Koch officials said that the network’s midterm budget for policy and politics is between $300 million and $400 million.
The group is actively lobbying Senate Republicans to change their current health care proposal, which it views as insufficiently conservative.
“We are not committed to the Senate bill in its current form, but there is still time to make changes and we’re actively working to improve it,” Phillips said.
At the same time, Koch’s allies are aggressively pushing forward on taxes.
The network is running what it describes as “a first wave” of digital ads calling on more than 50 House and Senate Republicans in both parties to overhaul the tax code. Later in the summer, Philips said, his organization will begin hosting rallies and other events to generate momentum for a tax overhaul in all 36 states where they have full-time operations.
Another Koch donor, Chris Wright, of Colorado, predicted Republicans have a 10-month window before any chance of major policy action is suffocated by next year’s midterms.
“If we don’t get anything done by then, the elections probably don’t go very well,” Wright said. “They may not go well anyway.”


Politics

John Pavlovitz,

Popsugar US 11 hours ago

I remember the day after the Election, a friend of mine who happens to be white, remarked on social media that he “finally wasn’t embarrassed of America and our President.”
I sprained my eyes rolling them and they have never fully recovered.
Since then I’ve heard this sentiment echoed by more white folks than I can count, especially in recent months; supposed relief at once again having a leader who instills pride.
Since I don’t have the time to ask each of the individually, I’ll ask here:
So, you were embarrassed for the past 8 years, huh?
Really?
What exactly were you embarrassed by?
Were you embarrassed by his lone and enduring twenty-five year marriage to a strong woman he’s never ceased to publicly praise, respect, or cherish?
Were you embarrassed by the way he lovingly and sweetly parented and protected his daughters?
Were you embarrassed by his Columbia University degree in Political Science or his graduating magna cum laude from Harvard Law School?
Maybe you were embarrassed by his white American and Black Kenyan parents, or the diversity he was raised in as normal?
Were you embarrassed by his eloquence, his quick wit, his easy humor, his seeming comfort meeting with both world leaders and street cleaners; by his bright smile or his sense of empathy or his steadiness – perhaps by his lack of personal scandals or verbal gaffes or impulsive tirades?
No. Of course you weren’t.
Honestly, I don’t believe you were ever embarrassed. That word implies an association that brings ridicule, one that makes you ashamed by association, and if that’s something you claim to have experienced over the past eight years by having Barack Obama representing you in the world – I’m going to suggest you rethink your word choice.
You weren’t “embarrassed” by Barack Obama.
You were threatened by him.
You were offended by him. You were challenged by him. You were enraged by him.
But I don’t believe it had anything to do with his resume or his experience or his character or his conduct in office – because you seem fully proud right now to be associated with a three-time married, serial adulterer and confessed predator; a man whose election and business dealings and relationships are riddled with controversy and malfeasance. You’re perfectly fine being represented by a bullying, obnoxious, genitalia-grabbing, Tweet-ranting, Prime Minister-shoving charlatan who’s managed to offend all our allies in a few short months. And you’re okay with him putting on religious faith like a rented, dusty, ill-fitting tuxedo and immediately tossing it in the garbage when he’s finished with it.
None of that you’re embarrassed of? I wonder how that works.
Actually, I’m afraid I have an idea. I hope I’m wrong.
Listen, you’re perfectly within your rights to have disagreed with Barack Obama’s policies or to have taken issue with his tactics. No one’s claiming he was a flawless politician or a perfect human being. But somehow I don’t think that’s what we’re talking about here. I think the thing President Obama did that really upset you, white friend – was having a complexion that was far darker than you were ever comfortable with. I think the President we have now feels much better.
Because objectively speaking, if what’s happening in our country right now doesn’t cause you great shame and doesn’t induce the continual meeting of your palm to your face – I don’t believe embarrassment is ever something you struggle with.
No, if you claimed to be “embarrassed” by Barack Obama but you’re not embarrassed by Donald Trump – I’m going to strongly suggest it was largely a pigmentation issue.
And as an American and a Christian committed to diversity and equality and to the liberty at the heart of this nation – that, embarrasses me.

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