Welcome to DU! The truly grassroots left-of-center political community where regular people, not algorithms, drive the discussions and set the standards. Join the community: Create a free account Support DU (and get rid of ads!): Become a Star Member Latest Breaking News General Discussion The DU Lounge All Forums Issue Forums Culture Forums Alliance Forums Region Forums Support Forums Help & Search


babylonsister's Journal
babylonsister's Journal
September 24, 2021

Judge Forces Top Trump Org Lieutenants to Turn Over Key Documents

Judge Forces Top Trump Org Lieutenants to Turn Over Key Documents
Or Else
A New York judge has given the Trump Organization and its top lieutenants an ultimatum: Either comply with the subpoenas, or pay for a third party firm to do it for you.
Roger Sollenberger
Political Reporter
Jose Pagliery
Political Investigations Reporter
Updated Sep. 24, 2021 2:13PM ET / Published Sep. 24, 2021 12:37PM ET

As the dual civil and criminal New York investigations into the Trump Organization roll on, a New York state judge unsealed a court order on Friday giving Donald Trump’s company and some of his top lieutenants an ultimatum: Either turn over all the documents to comply with subpoenas from the New York Attorney General’s office, or you’ll have to pay for a third party to do it for you.

In the filing, the Trump Organization agreed that if the NYAG believes the company has not fully complied with its requests—as prosecutors have long complained—the business will hire a firm to go through electronic records belonging to its top executives, including ex-President Donald Trump and his family.

New York Attorney General Letitia James put out a statement on Friday morning noting that this agreement caps a long-running effort to get the company to comply with her office’s demands for key documents in its ongoing investigation.

“For more than a year now, the Trump Organization has failed to adequately respond to our subpoenas, hiding behind procedural delays and excuses. Once again, the court has ordered that the Trump Organization must turn over the information and documents we are seeking, otherwise face an independent third-party that will ensure that takes place. Our work will continue undeterred because no one is above the law,” she said in the statement.

The order regards key documents from 25 people with ties to the company, including Trump himself, three of his children (Don Jr., Eric, and Ivanka), his personal assistant Rhona Graff, and top officers who are already under the microscope in the DA and AG criminal investigation. Some of those names likely to turn heads include chief operating officer Matthew Calamari, company controller Jeffrey S. McConney, and longtime chief financial officer Allen Weisselberg, who was indicted in July by Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance on charges of tax fraud.


September 24, 2021

The Republicans' debt-ceiling ransom note finally comes into focus


The Republicans' debt-ceiling ransom note finally comes into focus
The conventional wisdom is that Republicans, unlike their earlier debt-ceiling crises, haven't yet presented Democrats with a ransom note. That's not true.
Sept. 23, 2021, 1:05 PM EDT
By Steve Benen


Or put another way, Senate Republicans have prepared instructions on how to release the hostage: Democrats must jump through a series of procedural hoops, add a debt-ceiling increase to their Build Back Better legislation, and then pass the revised package through the budget reconciliation process, which the GOP cannot block with a filibuster.

Can Congress simply pass a clean debt-ceiling extension? Republicans say no. Can Congress add a debt-ceiling extension to the continuing resolution that would prevent a government shutdown? Republicans say no. What the GOP will tolerate — what the GOP will only tolerate — is having Democrats raise the debt ceiling by adding it to the not-yet-written multi-trillion-dollar reconciliation bill.

That's the ransom note. That's what Republicans are demanding in exchange for letting the hostage go.

And why, pray tell, are GOP leaders making this demand? In part because they hope it'll make the Democratic legislation harder to pass, and in part because they believe it'll make the popular bill easier to attack.

It's a political game that's as crass as it is dangerous, but it's the one congressional Republicans insist on playing anyway.
September 24, 2021

Eric Boehlert: CNN teams with GOP to concoct new Afghanistan drama


CNN teams with GOP to concoct new Afghanistan drama
Tale doesn't add up
Eric Boehlert
1 hr ago

In a stunning rebuke of the Biden administration, and proof that legislators are still fuming over the U.S. troop withdrawal from Afghanistan, a bipartisan group of lawmakers “stormed out” of a classified briefing session because “officials failed to answer their basic questions.”

At least that’s the story CNN and Republicans told this week. But there’s little proof that bipartisan outburst actually happened, and plenty to indicate it did not. The episode seems to be the latest, heavy-handed example of the Beltway press pumping up administration critics in an effort to boost controversy surrounding Afghanistan — to keep treating hollow GOP claims as breaking news, while portraying President Joe Biden as being constantly under siege.

If Republicans and Democrats did collectively storm out of a closed-door intelligence briefing from top Departments of State, Defense, and Homeland Security officials, it would have represented a truly extraordinary news event. That kind of across-the-board protocol breach simply does not happen when high ranking players give national security briefings on Capitol Hill. It would be unprecedented.

There’s no indication the walkout actually occurred though, in part because CNN remains the only news outlet to report on the alleged bipartisan act of Congressional disobedience. If lawmakers had angrily marched out because questions weren’t being answered, news would have spread like wildfire across the Beltway and journalists would have easily confirmed the event.


Simultaneously, CNN claimed Biden’s long-expected troop withdrawal meant the U.S. was “walking away from the world stage” and “leaving Europe exposed,” even though most European troops left Afghanistan seven years ago.

Bottom line: It’s highly unlikely that Democrats joined forces with Republicans this week to snub high-ranking administration officials and “stormed out” of an Afghanistan briefing.
September 23, 2021

The Afghanistan War Is Over. But the Defense Budget Is Still About to Go Up.

The Afghanistan War Is Over. But the Defense Budget Is Still About to Go Up.
Congress is set to pass a spending bill about $40 billion more than the one approved last year.
Dan Spinelli

After the United States military stopped fighting wars in Japan, Korea, and Vietnam, Congress went on to appropriate less funding for defense in subsequent years. But now that the US has pulled out of Afghanistan, ending the longest war in American history, it seems unlikely that the pattern will repeat itself.

With the House set to vote on a defense policy bill this week, Congress is preparing to increase the Pentagon budget in fiscal year 2021-22 to around $740 billion, a figure that surpasses President Joe Biden’s request by roughly $25 billion. That would be nearly $37 billion more than Congress approved in Donald Trump’s last year in office.

When Biden issued his budget proposal in April, he requested $715 billion for the Pentagon, a slight increase over last year’s $704 billion budget. This increase—at a time when Biden’s party controls both the House and Senate—is a reminder of how bipartisan support for more military spending is one of the only things you can predict in Washington.

"One would think that ending America's longest war would reap more savings," Erica Fein, senior Washington director at the progressive advocacy group Win Without War, told me. "It remains especially egregious that in the middle of a pandemic, official Washington finds spending three-quarters-of-a-trillion-dollars on the Pentagon acceptable."


September 23, 2021

The Rude Pundit: Democrats Should Be Having a Five-Alarm Freak Out Over Voting Rights

The Rude Pundit
Proudly lowering the level of political discourse
Democrats Should Be Having a Five-Alarm Freak Out Over Voting Rights


Why freak the fuck out now? Well, we should have been freaking the fuck out for a long while now, but we're seeing a general escalation of anti-voting rights rhetoric and actions, from the racist and completely fucking idiotic assertion that Democrats want to let refugees and asylum seekers into the country so they can be made instant citizens and vote Democratic (which implies that Republicans have nothing to offer immigrants, which, well, if the white hood fits...) to the fact that over 75% of the GOP believe that President Biden was not legitimately elected. The fake allegations of voter fraud and the deeply-held belief that Democrats are not really legit, true-blue Americans are held as gospel with the idiot hordes of the right and, even though most elected Republicans know this is utter twaddle, they are going to use it to solidify power through the exclusion of anyone who might challenge that power.

Even more directly alarming is the fact that Trump's goddamned lawyer, John Eastman, had laid out a six-part plan for how then-Vice President Mike Pence could shitcan some Electoral College votes and allow the House to vote Trump back into the presidency. You can look at that and say, "Well, that's ridiculous. Too many Republicans in Congress would have protested," and I'd respond, "Where the fuck have you been living for the last 40 years?" and then some of you would say, "I'm only 20, old man" and I'd say, "Fuck you. Then get me the good Molly" before explaining how this has all been part of a GOP project to disenfranchise Americans since Reagan shat the White House bed. And, as Eastman wrote, fuck permission. Let those who don't like installing King Trump's lumpy ass into the presidential throne try their luck in court. Fortunately, multiple people advised Pence to not go down that destructive path, even though Pence was trying to have someone he trusted give him the high sign to do it. The crisis was averted because Pence decided to listen to the angel lovingly caressing his right ear, not the devil savagely humping his left one. That's it. That's how close it all came to coming apart.

You want to hear that in scary scholar-speak? Trump "pursued a political and legal strategy aimed not just at sowing doubt but at subverting the outcome of the presidential election. This strategy, which has no precedent at any point in American history, had many parts, but the best evidence now available showed that this was less about saving face and more about reversing election outcomes," writes Richard L. Hasen, Co-Director of Fair Elections and Free Speech Center at the UC-Irvine School of Law. That "no precedent" part is the giant "Freak the fuck out already!" sign.

That's not only how fucked things were or are. On top of that, now we know that Trump's campaign knew that allegations about hacked or fucked-with voting machines were hot garbage being sold out of the back Sidney Powell's limo, but they did almost nothing to stop her from embarrassing herself, Rudy Giuliani, and humanity in general because it kept the rubes all het up. On top of that, just last week, Trump sent a letter to Georgia's Secretary of State asking him and Governor Brian Kemp to overturn the election results there in hopes of overturning the whole thing now, nearly a year later. These aren't red flags. They're motherfucking bright lights, bells, and sirens with packs of howler monkeys on top screaming into the void to fucking do something.

I can't help, think, though: How much shit don't we know?
That's the part that keeps me the fuck up. God, can you imagine the phone calls where Stephen Miller screeched his demands at Arizona officials? Or Pennsylvania? I want to know how close we came to the coup before the coup attempt on January 6.


September 23, 2021

Trumpworld's Star Lawyers Exit as Storm Clouds Gather

womp womp!!

Trumpworld’s Star Lawyers Exit as Storm Clouds Gather
Donald Trump and his inner circle face mounting legal troubles all while a number of the ex-president’s highest-profile lawyers have ejected from his orbit.
Asawin Suebsaeng
Maxwell Tani
Roger Sollenberger
Adam Rawnsley
Published Sep. 23, 2021 4:54AM ET

Civil and criminal investigations in New York and Georgia. Defamation suits from two women. A civil suit over misuse of inauguration funds. A number of complaints related to the Jan. 6 attack on the U.S. Capitol. And a new lawsuit related to the disclosure of the former president’s taxes.

Donald Trump is facing even more legal challenges than normal—which is saying something for a man so litigious and familiar with legal duress. But even though he is someone who tends to keep the same people around him for longer than he should, a number of the ex-president’s longtime, high-profile lawyers have recently parted ways with Trumpworld.

When Trump sued The New York Times and his niece Mary earlier this week, the attorney who filed the lawsuit was a relatively unknown lawyer. Alina Habba, based in the same town as the Trump National Golf Club in Bedminster, New Jersey, comes with a résumé far less ostentatious than the legal CVs that the twice-impeached former president has come to expect. But Trump appears to be leaning on Habba now to take on his niece and the Times reporters who disclosed some of Trump’s previous tax filings.

At the same time, Habba’s ascension in Trump’s legal hierarchy comes alongside the conspicuous fall of another: the Gawker-killing celebrity lawyer Charles Harder, whom the ex-president and members of his family have relied upon for years to go after journalists, authors, and major book publishers Trump felt had crossed the line.

In previous years, a case against New York Times reporters and a family member who Trump alleged was the source for the journalists would have easily fallen to Harder, a lawyer the 45th U.S. president once lauded as a hard-charging attack dog of the rich and the powerful.


September 23, 2021

Donald Trump Sounds Pretty Panicked About Spending His Twilight Years Behind Bars

That headline!

Forgot link...

Donald Trump Sounds Pretty Panicked About Spending His Twilight Years Behind Bars
He’s sued his niece and The New York Times, whose reporting has become part of New York prosecutors’ investigations into his financial dealings, for $100 million.
By Bess Levin
September 22, 2021


Additionally, the suit accuses Mary Trump of violating a confidentiality agreement barring her from publicly releasing the details of the family’s finances, claiming Trump’s niece and the reporters were “motivated by a personal vendetta and their desire to gain fame, notoriety, acclaim and a financial windfall” and to “advance their political agenda.”

One key detail that the suit doesn’t mention is that last November, the offices of the New York attorney general and Manhattan district attorney expanded their probes into Trump and his businesses to include suspicious tax write-offs on millions of dollars in consulting fees, some of which, according to a 2020 Times story, appeared to have been paid to Ivanka Trump. That story showed that the “very rich” real estate developer had managed to reduce his taxable income by deducting approximately $26 million in fees to “consultants” as business expenses between 2010 and 2018. While the consultants’ identities were not listed on tax records, some of the fees definitely looked like they’d been paid to his favorite child. As the Times reported:

On a 2017 disclosure [Ivanka Trump] filed when joining the White House as a presidential adviser, she reported receiving payments from a consulting company she co-owned, totaling $747,622, that exactly matched consulting fees claimed as tax deductions by the Trump Organization for hotel projects in Hawaii and Vancouver, British Columbia.

The subpoenas were focused on fees paid to the firm on her disclosures, TTT Consulting LLC, and represented just a portion of the $26 million, according to a person with knowledge of the matter. The name of the firm appears to be a reference to Ms. Trump and other members of her family. Ms. Trump was an executive officer of the Trump companies that made the payments, meaning she appears to have been treated as a consultant while also working for the company. While companies can deduct professional fees, the Internal Revenue Service requires that consulting arrangements be market-based and reasonable, as well as “ordinary and necessary” to running a business.

The examination of fees apparently paid to his older daughter is likely to arouse even more vitriol from the outgoing president. And it raises questions about whether the payments were a tax-deductible way for him to compensate his children, or avoid gift taxes he might incur from transferring wealth to them, something Mr. Trump’s father had done through legally questionable schemes uncovered by the Times in 2018.


For her part, Mary Trump told the Daily Beast, of her uncle: “I think he is a fucking loser, and he is going to throw anything against the wall he can. It’s desperation. The walls are closing in, and he is throwing anything against the wall that will stick. As is always the case with Donald, he’ll try and change the subject.”
September 22, 2021

Eric Boehlert: Media ignore a monster story -- the brainwashing of Covid zombies

Media ignore a monster story — the brainwashing of Covid zombies
Trump voters gone mad
Eric Boehlert
6 hr ago


Millions of conservative Americans are being brainwashed about the pandemic, and thousands are killing themselves in the process. Yet the media downplay the huge story, framing it simply as “vaccine hesitancy.”

The number of Americans who are dying every 36 hours from Covid now surpasses the total number of U.S. soldiers who were killed during 20 years of fighting in Afghanistan. It’s an entirely preventable crisis, yet it rages because we have people like the red state restaurant owner who is kicking out patrons if they refuse to take off their masks. It’s pure nihilism.

The mindless behavior is hard to describe, and the rest of the world must be looking on in slack-jawed astonishment as Trump voters lead a mad movement powered by Fox News. The network is doing what no other outlet has done in the history of television news — it’s deliberately getting people killed during a public health crisis by feeding eagerly gullible red state viewers a mountain of lies.

From PizzaGate, to QAnon, to the current anti-vaccine and anti-mask hysteria, the GOP has been brainwashed. It’s no secret — lots of victims openly admit it. Still, the press shies away, nervous about offending conservatives by portraying them as mindless zombies being easily duped about a miraculously safe and effective vaccine. (It’s the same reason news outlets refused to call Trump a “liar.”)

Instead of calling out the Covid zombies, the press coddles them, especially white, Southern ones, depicting them as merely “vaccine hesitant,” “vaccine-reluctant,” or “vaccine skeptics.”



September 22, 2021

Missouri High-School Students Spark Outrage With Petition Calling for Return of Slavery

Why did any of them think this was A-OK?


Missouri High-School Students Spark Outrage With Petition Calling for Return of Slavery
Allison Quinn
News Editor
Published Sep. 22, 2021 6:40AM ET

A Missouri school district has been left reeling after several high-school students reportedly started a petition demanding the reinstatement of slavery, The Kansas City Star reports. Details on the incident are scarce, with a spokesperson for the Park Hill School District confirming only that there was a “discipline incident” at Park Hill South High School last week and several school officials releasing statements that allude to racism. “We are outraged, hurt, and saddened that this occurred,” Park Hill South Principal Kerrie Herren said in a statement to students. “This is not who we want to be at Park Hill South. Our differences make us stronger. We do not tolerate discrimination or harassment.”

Parents also were reportedly told via email of “unacceptable and racist statements that some students posted online during a school-related activity.” The principal of another high school within the district is said to have confirmed to parents at a Monday meeting that the incident in question was a racist petition. It was not immediately clear how many students were involved in the incident, and what “school-related activity” prompted it. The district says it has set up listening sessions to hear from students and parents affected by the petition.

Profile Information

Gender: Female
Hometown: NY
Home country: US
Current location: Florida
Member since: Mon Sep 6, 2004, 09:54 PM
Number of posts: 171,198
Latest Discussions»babylonsister's Journal