Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-11-10 10:16pm

The Supreme Court allows the climate change lawsuit by youth against fossil fuel companies to go ahead. The Trump Justice Department's legal defence?

"There is no right to a climate system capable of sustaining human life."

https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-018-07214-2

This is literally cartoon super villain levels of evil.

Edit: There was a term in Age of Sail Admiralty Law- Hostis humani generis It referred to pirates, and it meant "enemy of mankind". That term often seem to me like it would make an apt descriptor for the Trump Regime.
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"Yes. Lick 'em tomorrow though."

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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-11-10 11:31pm

Trump announces new recipients of the Medal of Freedom (America's highest civilian honour), including retiring Republican Senator Oring Hatch, the wife of Republican donor Sheldon Adelson, and (posthumously, of course) far-Right Supreme Court Justice Antonin Scalia:

https://www.cnbc.com/2018/11/10/trump-s ... eedom.html
"Well, Grant, we've had the devil's own day, haven't we?"

"Yes. Lick 'em tomorrow though."

-Generals William T. Sherman and Ulysses S Grant, the Battle of Shiloh.


"You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?"-Terry Pratchett's DEATH.


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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by U.P. Cinnabar » 2018-11-11 01:57am

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-11-10 10:16pm

Edit: There was a term in Age of Sail Admiralty Law- Hostis humani generis It referred to pirates, and it meant "enemy of mankind". That term often seem to me like it would make an apt descriptor for the Trump Regime.
Equally apt for anti-vaxxers.
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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-11-11 03:03pm

At least they generally have a reason beyond "I literally don't care if the entire human race/all life on Earth goes extinct, as long as I make money/stick it to the liberals". Even when they're wrong, and even when they cause innocent people harm, they're mostly not acting out of pure unbridled greed and malice on a level that would make Lex Luthor say "Tone it down a bit".

Trump really is the biggest and the best... at being an utter cock.
"Well, Grant, we've had the devil's own day, haven't we?"

"Yes. Lick 'em tomorrow though."

-Generals William T. Sherman and Ulysses S Grant, the Battle of Shiloh.


"You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?"-Terry Pratchett's DEATH.


I am a dual citizen of the United States and Canada.


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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-11-18 09:22pm

A recent letter to the editor of the New York Times, arguing why this talk of "working with Trump" or "focussing on legislation" rather than impeachment is misguided:

https://www.nytimes.com/2018/11/15/opin ... house.html
To the Editor:

Re “Democrats Must Impeach Trump,” by Tom Steyer (Op-Ed, Nov. 10):

Mr. Steyer is right that the newly elected House must vote articles of impeachment against President Trump. It is not a question of choice but of duty.

Business conflicts of interest that violate the Emoluments Clause, obstructions of justice and illegal hush-money payments comprise three “high crimes and misdemeanors” mandating impeachment.

Some counsel a pragmatic approach, hoping to work with the president. Some say Republican control of the Senate dooms impeachment with the probability of an acquittal.

We must remember, however, that these are not normal times. Congress should not condone the president’s crimes. The House is honor-bound to impeach. If the Senate decides to acquit, then the people will have the final word in the elections of 2020.
ADVERTISEMENT

Eric W. Orts
Philadelphia
The writer is a professor of legal studies and business ethics at the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
That really sums it up, to me, and it shows why, more than anything, Pelosi is unfit to continue in a leadership role.

Impeaching or not impeaching isn't about what will benefit us in 2020, or about short-term political pragmatism. Its about a fundamental question: are we a country where the rule of law still means something, or aren't we? Trump has broken the law. The Constitution prescribes impeachment as the primary check on a President who breaks the law, and tasks Congress with the duty of acting as a check on the President's power. If not now, then when? If Trump can repeatedly, blatantly break the law, live on television no less, and not face impeachment, it makes a mockery of the entire Constitution and sends a message that the President is immune.

If we don't impeach now, we might as well strike that provision from the Constitution altogether.
"Well, Grant, we've had the devil's own day, haven't we?"

"Yes. Lick 'em tomorrow though."

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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by SCRawl » 2018-11-18 09:58pm

There is absolutely no point whatsoever to impeaching the president if the senate won't convict, and the senate taking office in 2019 will not convict. That's as much as you need to know about the idea of impeaching President Trump. If you want to know more, how about this: it might even negatively affect the Democrats' chances of re-taking the senate and/or the presidency in 2020, since it will motivate Trump's supporters (as if they needed more motivation). Still, that's just window dressing; if you can't convict, then impeachment is meaningless, and is a waste of time and political capital.
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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-11-19 01:19am

SCRawl wrote:
2018-11-18 09:58pm
There is absolutely no point whatsoever to impeaching the president if the senate won't convict, and the senate taking office in 2019 will not convict. That's as much as you need to know about the idea of impeaching President Trump. If you want to know more, how about this: it might even negatively affect the Democrats' chances of re-taking the senate and/or the presidency in 2020, since it will motivate Trump's supporters (as if they needed more motivation). Still, that's just window dressing; if you can't convict, then impeachment is meaningless, and is a waste of time and political capital.
That is the cynical argument. Let the President break the law with impunity, because it will be too inconvenient and costly to hold him to account.

The counter point is that the Congress has a duty to hold the President in check, that the primary mechanism in the constitution for holding a criminal President to account is impeachment, and if not now, then when? Trump has flagrantly broken multiple laws. If he is not to be impeached, then what is the point of even having impeachment as a provision in the Constitution.

You say the Senate will not convict. Quite likely that will be the case. But they will be forced to hold a trial, it will be presided over not by Senate Republicans but by the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (who though conservative, has shown in the past that he is not just a party-line lackey), and even if they vote to acquit, and Trump claims that as a victory, there will be no erasing the evidence once it has been presented before the entire nation, nor will there be any erasing the fact that Trump became the third President in American history to be tried for criminal acts.

You say that that will be too costly, and no doubt there is a fear that a failure to convict would be a victory for Trumpism. I used to think that way. But if you look at the historical record, Presidents who have faced impeachment, and their party, have not generally fared well in the subsequent election cycle. Impeachment ended Andrew Johnson's political career despite the fact that he was acquitted, and his party got smashed in a landslide in the next election. Nixon resigned before he could be impeached- and his VP, Ford, lost his reelection bid after he pardoned Nixon. And Clinton... well, the next election brought in a Republican President (albeit under questionable circumstances). Republicans lost a little ground in the House, and quite a bit in the Senate, but still held the House (albeit barely), and tied in the Senate.

But ultimately, there is something bigger at stake than an election here: the fundamental principle of the President being accountable to the law. Are you willing to trade that for saving some political capital?

But if that is the calculus, that impeaching the President is too costly and inconvenient, that the rule of law and the Constitution take second place to political expediency- if that is the argument, then the Dems. should have the guts to admit what they're really saying and pass an amendment to the Constitution removing the provision of impeachment altogether. Because if we won't use it now, then we will never use it, it is a dead letter, and we might as well not have it, and just accept that all future Presidents will be above the law for as long as they remain in office.

This is about something much more fundamental than some short term expenditure of political capital.
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"Yes. Lick 'em tomorrow though."

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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by LaCroix » 2018-11-19 09:51am

Impeaching may motivate Trump supporters to vote in 2020.

Not impeaching will demotivate Democrat voters because they once again failed to show spine and teeth.

I think that 90+% of the Trump voters are already motivated to vote, come whatever.
You need to motivate potential Democrat voters at all cost, though - the group of non voters is still big enough.
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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-11-19 03:04pm

There is that, as well. There is a large block of the party who will be deeply dissatisfied if no move is made to impeach Trump. And that creates fertile ground for "Both Sides" narratives and split-the-vote efforts.
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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by Gandalf » 2018-11-19 03:08pm

I find it weird how many debates about law and order in the US come down to how it will motivate their opposition come election time.
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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-11-19 03:21pm

Indeed. And that is a big problem.

I mean, all this will be moot if the Republicans take the whole government again. We'll be a fascist country, end of story. So it does matter. But you don't uphold the law because it will win you votes. You do it because its the foundation on which a functioning society is built, and if you don't uphold them, laws are meaningless.
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"Yes. Lick 'em tomorrow though."

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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by Gandalf » 2018-11-19 04:49pm

Pretty much. If Bush II can get away with Iraq (and other crimes), why should anyone have any faith in that system?
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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by SCRawl » 2018-11-19 06:08pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-11-19 01:19am

That is the cynical argument. Let the President break the law with impunity, because it will be too inconvenient and costly to hold him to account.
I prefer realistic to cynical, but as you like it. And it's not a matter of convenience; it's a matter of possibility. To use the only example that really matters, President Nixon, he saw the rest of the match play out in his head and made the best move available to him: resignation. The house would have voted to impeach, and the senate would have convicted, so to avoid the ultimate disgrace he chose the penultimate disgrace. But that required all of the dominoes being in a row. Nixon would have been happy to remain in office if he thought that the senate would decline to convict. Do you think that the house would have impeached if the senate had been disinclined to convict? You might think so, but I don't.

Politics is the art of the possible, not what is ideal, and impeachment is undeniably a political tool. And if the play three moves ahead isn't going to go your way, you don't make the big move now.
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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-11-19 06:22pm

My point is that even if the Senate doesn't convict, impeachment IS in the long-term interests of the country, both to reinforce the principle that the Congress can act as a check on crimes by the President, and because it will simultaneously further damage Trump's administration (and tie him up fighting the impeachment instead of pushing his other agendas), and because it will help the Democrats shed their reputation for being gutless compromisers who will never really stand up to Republicans.

Or to put it another way, you're thinking three plays ahead. I'm thinking five-ten plays ahead.
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"Yes. Lick 'em tomorrow though."

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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by aerius » 2018-11-19 06:51pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-11-19 06:22pm
My point is that even if the Senate doesn't convict, impeachment IS in the long-term interests of the country, both to reinforce the principle that the Congress can act as a check on crimes by the President, and because it will simultaneously further damage Trump's administration (and tie him up fighting the impeachment instead of pushing his other agendas), and because it will help the Democrats shed their reputation for being gutless compromisers who will never really stand up to Republicans.

Or to put it another way, you're thinking three plays ahead. I'm thinking five-ten plays ahead.
You keep forgetting that the other side is better, more experienced, and more ruthless at playing dirty games than your own side. Congratulations, you've tied up Trump and hopefully kept him to a single term president. Well done. Now, are you prepared to deal with the shit that's thrown your way when they decide to impeach the next Democratic president on completely fictional crimes? Cause you know they will do that. How you gonna handle that? Is that a can of worm you really want to open? Because that's the history of the Republican fanatics, every time you do something against them, they do it right back to you with interest and blame you for it.

If you're gonna do it, you better be fully committed in going all the way. As in complete destruction of the far-right, reforms to restore the rule of law, and ramming through your entire platform. I suggest thinking carefully. 2nd order effects are a bitch.
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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-11-19 07:16pm

aerius wrote:
2018-11-19 06:51pm
The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-11-19 06:22pm
My point is that even if the Senate doesn't convict, impeachment IS in the long-term interests of the country, both to reinforce the principle that the Congress can act as a check on crimes by the President, and because it will simultaneously further damage Trump's administration (and tie him up fighting the impeachment instead of pushing his other agendas), and because it will help the Democrats shed their reputation for being gutless compromisers who will never really stand up to Republicans.

Or to put it another way, you're thinking three plays ahead. I'm thinking five-ten plays ahead.
You keep forgetting that the other side is better, more experienced, and more ruthless at playing dirty games than your own side. Congratulations, you've tied up Trump and hopefully kept him to a single term president. Well done. Now, are you prepared to deal with the shit that's thrown your way when they decide to impeach the next Democratic president on completely fictional crimes? Cause you know they will do that. How you gonna handle that? Is that a can of worm you really want to open? Because that's the history of the Republican fanatics, every time you do something against them, they do it right back to you with interest and blame you for it.
I forget nothing. I simply do not think "If we uphold the law, the criminals might retaliate" is a good reason not to uphold the law.

Seriously, that is what you are saying. "We should just concede the most basic principles of the rule of law, because if we hold the criminals accountable then they might retaliate." That too will have severe consequences down the line- like sending the message to Republicans that threats of political show trials are an effective tactic, and that the Democrats will always cave.

Where has conceding to Republicans on basic principles ever gotten us before? Being servile-excuse me, I meant civil and bipartisan-in the face of Republican corruption and fascism will not make them become more reasonable. It never has. What it will do is to embolden them to push further and further. The only thing that they respect is strength (or, in Trump's case for example, the shallow posturing illusion of it).
If you're gonna do it, you better be fully committed in going all the way. As in complete destruction of the far-right, reforms to restore the rule of law, and ramming through your entire platform. I suggest thinking carefully. 2nd order effects are a bitch.
We have to pretty much do that anyway. Simply electing a Blue House for two years but otherwise accepting the status quo that allowed Trump to take power in the first place will merely slow the rise of fascism, not halt or reverse it. We need to be talking Constitutional Amendments right now- even if we can't pass them yet. We need to campaign on systemic reforms. Nothing less will suffice to save this country.
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"Yes. Lick 'em tomorrow though."

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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-11-26 02:42am

On the impeachment question:

https://www.bloomberg.com/opinion/artic ... dent-trump
Nancy Pelosi does not want to impeach President Donald Trump. The House Democratic leader, and likely next speaker of the House, has good reasons for avoiding that fight.

First, Republicans discredited impeachment when they used it to try to destroy President Bill Clinton for his White House misdeeds. The word “impeachment” used to conjure a righteous end to a crooked presidency. Now it connotes a rusty hatchet in the hand of Newt Gingrich.


Second, it’s going to be hard to shock Americans into thinking radical action — and impeachment is radical — is justified. Most Americans long ago came to understand that their president is not a fine person. For every American who says Trump is “trustworthy,” almost two say he isn’t. (And let’s face it: Some of those claiming to believe that Trump is trustworthy were probably MAGA partisans having fun at a pollster’s expense.)

Watergate was not the outcome that most Americans anticipated from Richard Nixon, who won the 1972 election in a glorious law ’n’ order landslide. But the tawdry machinations of the Trump administration seem to be pretty much in line with expectations. In 2016, only one-third of Americans expected Trump to set a high moral standard in the White House.

Perhaps a few of the less attentive students needed more time for the lessons to sink in — just 27 percent now say Trump sets a high moral standard, so it’s fallen slightly in two years. But most Americans seem to recognize that the founder of Trump University has little use for laws and none for ethics. They won’t be shocked to have their perceptions confirmed by special counsel Robert Mueller.

The political risks of impeachment, which include making Democrats look like so many Newts, are significant. The rewards of seeking to remove a tainted executive from office, especially when the Republican Senate will resist it, are dodgy at best. Instead, Democrats can use their new powers to highlight the most politically salient aspects of Trump’s corruption and incompetence without taking on the unique burdens of impeaching him. That seems like the easier way to go.

Unless Mueller makes the easy path hard.

Last month, the National Archives publicly released the “road map” of Watergate special prosecutor Leon Jaworski. The road map isn’t a map at all. It’s a list of facts and evidence that Jaworski forwarded to the House of Representatives, where it was used as kindling for the fire that drove Nixon from Washington. As Jack Goldsmith and Benjamin Wittes wrote at the Lawfare blog:

The Road Map entirely lacks a thesis. It does not include any hypotheses about what might constitute an impeachable offense. It does not argue that Nixon committed any impeachable offense. It actually does not even argue that he committed any crimes. It simply makes a series of factual claims, each written in a spare and clinical fashion, each supported with citations to material the special prosecutor’s office provided to Congress.

The document, which is technically the work of a grand jury, may not specify that Nixon committed crimes. But its factual claims, backed by supporting evidence, powerfully lead to that conclusion.


When Pelosi was asked this month why she thought she could derail the efforts of liberals, such as donor and activist Tom Steyer, who are eager to see Trump impeached, she said that as a “San Francisco liberal” she has sufficient credibility among liberals to say “no.”

But what if Pelosi must answer to a higher authority than liberals?

It wasn’t Nixon’s liberal opponents or Jaworski or even Congress itself that turned Jaworski’s Watergate list into a road map for impeachment. It was the Constitution, which states that “Treason, Bribery, or other high Crimes and Misdemeanors” are grounds for removing a president.

We don’t know exactly what Mueller has on Trump or what he will do with it. Much of what we do know, however, is hard to credit to a careful observance of the law, from the $130,000 that Trump paid to Stormy Daniels in a convoluted scheme to buy her silence to the Trump Tower meeting between top Trump campaign personnel and Russian operatives. Meanwhile, many (but surely not all) of Trump’s efforts to obstruct the investigation into his campaign, including his firing of James Comey as FBI director, are haplessly public.

Would any observer of Trump’s slapdash history, in politics as in business, be shocked if Mueller wrote a factual “road map” every bit as detailed and damning as the one Jaworski produced on Nixon?

And if Mueller does, then what? In that case, Pelosi and her allies may have to choose between the happy work of partisanship and the more fraught demands of constitutional obligations. Given the recalcitrance of Senate Republicans, who are highly skilled at rebuffing calls to conscience, Pelosi is unlikely to want to impeach Trump only to see the effort falter. But a full accounting from Mueller could make impeachment look less like bad politics, and more like grim duty.
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"Yes. Lick 'em tomorrow though."

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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-11-29 01:10am

Trump posted on his Twitter page today (which I will not link to because fuck him), a picture of numerous high-profile Democrats including Bill and Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Mueller, and Eric Holder behind bars, captioned: "Now that Russia collusion is a proven lie, when do the trials for treason begin?"


The implication, of course, is that he plans to prosecute Democratic leadership for Treason (a death penalty offence) for the "crime" of not being personally loyal to him over the law.

"I am the State" indeed.
"Well, Grant, we've had the devil's own day, haven't we?"

"Yes. Lick 'em tomorrow though."

-Generals William T. Sherman and Ulysses S Grant, the Battle of Shiloh.


"You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?"-Terry Pratchett's DEATH.


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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by Elheru Aran » 2018-11-29 03:37pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-11-29 01:10am
Trump posted on his Twitter page today (which I will not link to because fuck him), a picture of numerous high-profile Democrats including Bill and Hillary Clinton, Barack Obama, Mueller, and Eric Holder behind bars, captioned: "Now that Russia collusion is a proven lie, when do the trials for treason begin?"


The implication, of course, is that he plans to prosecute Democratic leadership for Treason (a death penalty offence) for the "crime" of not being personally loyal to him over the law.

"I am the State" indeed.
To give the devil his due: sharing a Tweet isn't *quite* the same as making it yourself. Otherwise, the more concerning part of that is that apparently at a press conference this afternoon (morning? it was today, anyway) someone asked him about Rosenstein being included in the image, and he said something about how Rosenstein shouldn't have appointed a special counsel (Mueller). Take that as you like...
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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-11-30 01:03am

Yeah, he's literally saying "The Deputy AG doing his job and investigating a possible crime by the President is Treason."
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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-12-07 01:47am

Not putting this in the Mueller thread because its not directly related, but...

Strong evidence that Trump campaign illegally coordinated with the NRA during the 2016 election:

https://www.motherjones.com/politics/20 ... vertizing/
The National Rifle Association spent $30 million to help elect Donald Trump—more than any other independent conservative group. Most of that sum went toward television advertising, but a political message loses its power if it fails to reach the right audience at the right time. For the complex and consequential task of placing ads in key markets across the nation in 2016, the NRA turned to a media strategy firm called Red Eagle Media.

One element of Red Eagle’s work for the NRA involved purchasing a slate of 52 ad slots on WVEC, the ABC affiliate in Norfolk, Virginia, in late October 2016. The ads targeted adults aged 35 to 64 and aired on local news programs and syndicated shows like Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune. In paperwork filed with the Federal Communications Commission, Red Eagle described them as “anti-Hillary” and “pro-Trump.”

The Trump campaign pursued a strikingly similar advertising strategy. Shortly after the Red Eagle purchase, as Election Day loomed, it bought 33 ads on the same station, set to air during the same week. The ads, which the campaign purchased through a firm called American Media & Advocacy Group (AMAG), were aimed at precisely the same demographic as the NRA spots, and often ran during the same shows, bombarding Norfolk viewers with complementary messages.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a situation where illegal coordination seems more obvious,” says a former chair of the Federal Election Commission.
The two purchases may have looked coincidental; Red Eagle and AMAG appear at first glance to be separate firms. But each is closely connected to a major conservative media-consulting firm called National Media Research, Planning and Placement. In fact, the three outfits are so intertwined that both the NRA’s and the Trump campaign’s ad buys were authorized by the same person: National Media’s chief financial officer, Jon Ferrell.

“This is very strong evidence, if not proof, of illegal coordination,” said Larry Noble, a former general counsel for the Federal Election Commission. “This is the heat of the general election, and the same person is acting as an agent for the NRA and the Trump campaign.”

Reporting by The Trace, which has teamed up with Mother Jones to investigate the NRA’s political activity, shows that the NRA and the Trump campaign employed the same operation—at times, the exact same people—to craft and execute their advertising strategies for the 2016 presidential election. The investigation, which involved a review of more than 1,000 pages of Federal Communications Commission and Federal Election Commission documents, found multiple instances in which National Media, through its affiliates Red Eagle and AMAG, executed ad buys for Trump and the NRA that seemed coordinated to enhance each other.

Individuals working for National Media or its affiliated companies either signed or were named in FCC documents, demonstrating that they had knowledge of both the NRA and the Trump campaign’s advertising plans.

Experts say the arrangement appears to violate campaign finance laws.

“I don’t think I’ve ever seen a situation where illegal coordination seems more obvious,” said Ann Ravel, a former chair of the Federal Election Commission, who reviewed the records. “It is so blatant that it doesn’t even seem sloppy. Everyone involved probably just thinks there aren’t going to be any consequences.”

National Media, the NRA, the Trump campaign, and the White House did not respond to multiple requests for comment. AMAG does not appear to have any employees or contacts independent of National Media; a lawyer who has been identified in news accounts as representing AMAG did not respond to multiple requests for comment.


Sources: Trump campaign contract; NRA contract / Daniel Nass
The web site for National Media, which is based in Alexandria, Virginia, describes it as “a nationally recognized leader in media research, planning, and placement for issue advocacy, corporate, and political campaigns,” and says that its “goal is to maximize every dollar that our clients spend on their media.” Those clients have included the Republican National Committee as well as the GOP’s congressional and senatorial campaign committees.

Publicly available corporate documents do not indicate who owns or runs AMAG, but a lawyer representing the company acknowledged to the Daily Beast in 2016 that it was affiliated with National Media. PBS has described AMAG as an “offshoot” of National Media. The Trump campaign paid AMAG more than $74 million for “placed media” in September and October of 2016.

Red Eagle Media, the firm that the NRA used to place its pro-Trump ads, is merely an “assumed or fictitious name” used by National Media, according to corporate records. Corporate, FEC, and FCC records for all three entities list the addresses of 815 Slaters Lane or 817 Slaters Lane, a pair of adjacent brick buildings that share a parking lot in the historic Old Town section of Alexandria.

The NRA was free to spend as much money as it wanted on behalf of Trump in 2016. But under federal election law, if an independent group and a campaign share election-related information, then the group’s expenditures no longer qualify as independent and are instead treated as in-kind donations, subject to a $5,000 limit.

When an outside group and a candidate use the same vendor, staffers working for either client are prevented by law from sharing information with each other. Typically, such vendors make staffers sign a company “firewall” policy, which functions as a pledge not to coordinate and an acknowledgment that there are civil and criminal penalties for doing so. Under the law, National Media staffers working for Trump should have been siloed from those working for the NRA. Documents suggest, instead, a synchronized effort.

Records in the FCC “public inspection files”—files that television stations maintain in order to comply with transparency regulations around political advertising—show that Red Eagle and AMAG often bought ads around the same time, on the same stations, for the NRA and the Trump campaign, respectively. During the last week of October, for instance, Red Eagle bought $36,250 worth of ads on the ABC affiliate in Cleveland on behalf of the NRA. A form the NRA filed with the station described spots mentioning the Second Amendment, Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump, and the 2016 presidential election.

At the same time, AMAG spent almost the exact same amount—$36,150—on a series of Trump campaign ads on the same Cleveland station during the same week. Both the NRA ads and the Trump ads aired during many of the same programs, including local newscasts, Good Morning America, and NCAA football.

We identified at least four current or former National Media employees, including CFO Jon Ferrell, who are named in FCC filings as representatives of both the Trump campaign and the NRA during the final stretch of the 2016 presidential election.


Daniel Nass / Shutterstock
The form filed with the Cleveland station on behalf of the NRA by Red Eagle in September 2016 lists a person named Kristy Kovatch as a point of contact. (An identical form that Red Eagle filed for the NRA with WCPO in Cincinnati also lists Kovatch.) Kovatch is a senior buyer for National Media, specializing in “television media buying for political candidates, issue/advocacy groups and public affairs clients.” According to her bio on the company’s website, she’s been with the firm for 20 years.

Throughout the fall of 2016, Kovatch was also involved in ad purchases for Trump. Just three days before she was named in records as the contact for Red Eagle in Cleveland and Cincinnati, she appeared in the same role on an AMAG advertising request sheet filed for the Trump campaign with an NBC Telemundo station in Miami. FCC documents also list her as the AMAG buyer or contact for various other Florida stations.

Another National Media employee, Ben Angle, was identified in the 2018 book Inside Campaigns: Elections through the Eyes of Political Professionals as an architect of Trump’s airwave strategy. “In mid-September,” the book says, “Angle and his boss were summoned to Trump Tower and told their firm would be placing all of the Trump campaign’s television advertising during the last seven weeks of the campaign.” Angle is listed on National Media’s website as a “senior media buyer.” In October, his name appeared in FCC paperwork as the contact for an NRA ad buy, placed through Red Eagle, at an ABC station in Denver.

A fourth staffer whose name appears on both NRA and Trump campaign documents, Caroline Kowalski, left National Media in 2017. Her title was “media specialist,” according to her LinkedIn page. Within the span of one week in late October and early November 2016, she was listed as the Red Eagle contact for an NRA ad purchase in Cape Coral, Florida, and as the AMAG contact for a Trump campaign placement at a CBS station in Philadelphia.

Ferrell’s signature appeared on forms authorizing ads on stations across the country. For the Trump campaign, that included battleground markets such as Youngstown, Ohio; Cape Coral, Florida; and Reno, Nevada. For the NRA, it included Cincinnati and Wilmington, North Carolina. Ferrell also signed off on placements with national syndicators and distributors covering most of the country for both Trump and the NRA.


Sources: Trump campaign contract; NRA contract / Daniel Nass
Ferrell, Kovatch, Angle, and Kowalski did not respond to requests for comment. According to their National Media bios or LinkedIn pages, all are specialists in the art of strategic media placement. Ferrell’s “efforts help [National Media] provide optimal financial stewardship of campaign media budgets.” Kovatch “has consistently bought the largest media markets around the country, building an extensive knowledge of ratings, costs and seasonal trends across all time periods and dayparts.” Angle uses his “extensive experience” to “strategically place efficient and effective media buys for our clients.” And Kowalski “acted as a liaison between media buyers and TV, radio, and cable networks,” and “researched voter demographic data to help create” advertising campaigns for, among others, “presidential” candidates and “issue-advocacy groups.”

Prior reporting has identified consulting firms as conduits for potentially illegal coordination between campaigns and outside groups. In 2013, a Center for Public Integrity and NBC News investigation turned up evidence that an AMAG media buyer purchased airtime both for a Texas congressional candidate and for an outside group that was supporting him. In July, we found that the NRA had been using an apparent shell firm called Starboard Strategic Inc. to produce ads for Senate candidates who employed a GOP consulting outfit called OnMessage Inc. The two entities, according to subsequent complaints filed to the FEC, are “functionally indistinguishable.” Starboard and OnMessage are located in the same Alexandria buildings as National Media, according to public records.

The FEC has the authority to launch investigations and seek civil penalties, but it’s unlikely that the NRA or the Trump campaign will face any official action. The FEC’s four commissioners—it is supposed to have six—have been deadlocked for years in an ideological split, making the unanimous vote required for significant investigations almost impossible to achieve. The Department of Justice is also authorized to launch investigations, but prosecutions under the Federal Election Campaign Act are uncommon. If convicted, violators can be subject to criminal fines and up to five years in prison.

Experts say the apparent coordination is the most glaring they’ve ever seen.

“It is impossible for these consultants to have established firewalls in their brains,” Brendan Fischer, the director of the Federal Reform Program at the Campaign Legal Center, said. “We have not previously seen this level of evidence undermining any claim of a firewall.”


Sources: Trump campaign contract; NRA contract / Daniel Nass
Effectively placing ads is among the most important tasks in getting a candidate elected to office. “The creative content is only part of the equation,” said Rick Wilson, a Republican media strategist. “Political advertising relies on smart media placement at every stage. Anything else and you might as well just throw your money in a bonfire.”

Campaign coordination, Wilson added, allows candidates and outside groups to “maximize their resources,” making spending far more efficient. “Modern campaigns are driven by data,” he said. “Pollsters and analytics people will give you a set of targets, and you want to address those targets as best you can, in as many markets as you can.”

The Trump campaign and NRA purchases were mirror images of each other. Side by side, the spots aired across the country on as many as 120 stations.
Concurrent purchases by Red Eagle and AMAG appear to have been designed to provide such a higher return on spending. On September 15, 2016, for instance, Red Eagle executed an $86,000 deal for the NRA with Raycom Sports Network, a syndicator of sports programs, for slots during seven ACC college football games airing during the final weeks of the presidential race. Documents authorizing the purchase were signed by Ferrell, whose colleague Ben Angle, the senior buyer at National Media, has been a proponent of sports as a way to reach conservative audiences. “Every time we assist a Republican candidate, we advise him to advertise at sports events,” he told one journalist. “In sports, the audience is engaged, they like to see it live so they do not skip the commercials by using a recording device.”

Less than a week later, another National Media staffer authorized virtually the same purchase for Trump. Because stations are required to charge candidates the so-called “lowest unit price” for airtime (while charging independent groups the higher market rate), the deal only cost $30,000.

The purchases were mirror images of each other. In five of the games, both the NRA and Trump bought ads. When the NRA ran two spots either attacking Clinton or promoting Trump, the Trump campaign ran just one. And when the Trump campaign ran two spots, the NRA ran one. The pattern even persisted when there was no direct overlap: In the two games the Trump campaign sat out, the NRA ran two ads. And in the one game during which the NRA didn’t buy time, Trump bought two slots. Side by side, the spots aired across the country on as many as 120 stations, according to data provided by Raycom.

Angle’s name appears on Trump campaign paperwork documenting the Raycom purchase, directly above “AMAG.”

After reviewing the Raycom records, Wilson said the pattern suggests the purchases were part of a unified strategy by the NRA and the Trump campaign. “Sometimes you want to maximize the lowest unit rate on the campaign side,” he said. “But you still need more fire on the target. This is why the FEC says coordination is illegal.”

(Mother Jones and the Trace have teamed up to investigate the NRA’s finances and political activity. See more of our reporting here.)
Jesus Christ, can we just lock this mother fucker up already? How many crimes does it take?

Yeah, yeah, we can't indict a sitting President, because apparently they're a higher class of being above the laws that apply to ordinary mortals, but Trump won't be President forever. And it will be to the eternal shame of the US if he never serves prison time. To say nothing of his NRA friends.
"Well, Grant, we've had the devil's own day, haven't we?"

"Yes. Lick 'em tomorrow though."

-Generals William T. Sherman and Ulysses S Grant, the Battle of Shiloh.


"You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?"-Terry Pratchett's DEATH.


I am a dual citizen of the United States and Canada.


Fuck Civility.

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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by mr friendly guy » 2018-12-07 05:32am

https://www.rawstory.com/2018/12/drug-m ... k-request/
Big Pharma companies are announcing that they are jacking up drug prices just months after President Donald Trump took to Twitter and boasted that they would roll them back or hold them down at his request.
Merck, in its July 20 announcement of price cuts, built itself a rather more elaborate loophole. The company said it would not increase the average net price of its entire portfolio of drugs by more than inflation annually,” Hikltzik wrote. “It dressed up the announcement by lowering the price of Zepatier, a hepatitis C treatment, by 60% and of six other drugs by 10%.”

He then noted that the seven drugs listed were small, unpopular and unprofitable formulations that account for very little of their sales, writing, “Zepatier sales had fallen so low by the first quarter of this year that Merck listed the drug’s U.S. sales in its quarterly financial report as essentially zero.”
Addressing just Merck’s announced increase, and using its 2017 revenues as a guide, Hiltzik said the announced increases “will fatten Merck’s profits by about $357 million, or 15%.”
Looks like Big Pharma cucked Trump.
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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by Ziggy Stardust » 2018-12-08 12:11pm

Are we seriously going to celebrate pharmaceutical companies profiting by price gouging sick people, just for the sake of nebulous political points? Fuck that. It's not like that particular Trump lie is one that anybody actually remembers or cares about, anyway.

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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by The Romulan Republic » 2018-12-08 07:27pm

Chipping away at Trump's credibility in every possible way isn't about "nebulous political points"- its an existential battle for survival.

But yeah, I'm not celebrating a win for the pharmaceutical companies' greed. At most, its more like "point and laugh while one asshole trips another asshole."
"Well, Grant, we've had the devil's own day, haven't we?"

"Yes. Lick 'em tomorrow though."

-Generals William T. Sherman and Ulysses S Grant, the Battle of Shiloh.


"You need to believe in things that aren't true. How else can they become?"-Terry Pratchett's DEATH.


I am a dual citizen of the United States and Canada.


Fuck Civility.

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Re: Trump Dump: Internal Policy (Thread I)

Post by Ziggy Stardust » 2018-12-08 09:10pm

The Romulan Republic wrote:
2018-12-08 07:27pm
Chipping away at Trump's credibility in every possible way isn't about "nebulous political points"- its an existential battle for survival.
I know you like to engage in histrionics, TRR, but give me a break. This isn't even chipping away at Trump's credibility in any meaningful sense; hell, this is far less impactful than most of the Twitter related nonsense that Trump has engaged in and people have already forgotten about. This is something the pharmaceutical companies were always going to have done, regardless of whether Trump had made those comments or not. They aren't even reacting to him at all, they are pursuing their long established toxic and predatory policies, but now wrapping it in vague political rhetoric in order to sucker morons like you into thinking they are on your side. It's a PR stunt.

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