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Author Topic: U.S. Politics  (Read 58395 times)

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: U.S. Politics
« Reply #1440 on: May 22, 2023, 10:14:00 AM »
President Biden @POTUS

I joined fellow G7 Leaders to highlight the work we’ve done through the Partnership for Global Infrastructure and Investment to mobilize financing for quality infrastructure around the world.

And together, let's recommit to showing that democracies can deliver.

I believe a great deal of the future of our world is going to be written here in the Indo-Pacific.

And together, the United States, Japan, India, and Australia will ensure a future that provides more opportunity, prosperity, and stability in the region and beyond.

Together, with the entire G7, we have Ukraine's back.
And, like I promised President Zelenskyy, we're not going anywhere.

Mr. President, what the people of Ukraine are defending and what you've achieved is a matter for the entire world to observe.
I speak for America when I say that we're in awe of what you've done so far.

The United States – and the world – stands with Ukraine.

Alongside Japan and the Republic of Korea, we’re taking our trilateral cooperation to new heights – from coordination in the face of the DPRK’s illicit nuclear and missile threats to economic security for all our people.

Tune in as I hold a press conference in Hiroshima, Japan.


Offline Rick Plant

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Re: U.S. Politics
« Reply #1441 on: May 23, 2023, 09:02:58 AM »
Text messages reveal Ron DeSantis worked 'more closely' with convict Lev Parnas than previously disclosed

This Wednesday, May 24, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis is expected to officially announce his plans to enter the 2024 GOP presidential primary.

When DeSantis makes his presidential run official, that will bring him intensified scrutiny from Trump as well as from Democratic strategists and President Joe Biden's reelection campaign. And one thing they may be taking a close look at, according to Reuters, is DeSantis' relationship with Ukrainian-American businessman Lev Parnas.

Reuters reporters Aram Roston and Joseph Tanfani, in an article published on May 22, explain, "DeSantis and Parnas worked more closely together than the Republican governor has disclosed, according to a detailed account of their relationship Parnas provided to Reuters and 63 previously unreported text messages from DeSantis to Parnas between May and October 2018, as DeSantis campaigned for governor. A jury later found Parnas guilty of campaign finance crimes and other charges."

Text messages obtained by Reuters, according to Roston and Joseph Tanfani, "show that DeSantis "frequently…. appealed to fellow Floridian Parnas for introductions, advice and other fundraising help during his hotly contested campaign for governor."

"The texts also reveal that Parnas served as an intermediary between DeSantis and former New York City Mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who at the time, was the personal attorney of then-President Trump," the Reuters journalists explain. "In one case, 10 days before the 2018 election, DeSantis sent Parnas a text with suggested wording for a Giuliani tweet in support of his candidacy, the messages show."

Read Reuters' full report at this link:

EXCLUSIVE: Murder, kidnapping, brutality charges: These are the cops Ron DeSantis paid to come to Florida

Florida's police recruitment bonus appears to have attracted a certain kind of cop.

In July 2021, the son of a high-ranking New York Police Department (NYPD) deputy allegedly plowed his car into Black Lives Matter protesters in New York City, injuring a teen. The protesters were calling for the firing of a cop who hurled homophobic slurs at a suspect while beating him.

A year later, Justin Burgos, arrested and charged with reckless endangerment that night, was hired by the Apopka Police Department outside Orlando, Florida

In addition to the job, Burgos got a bonus: $6,693.44, a check for coming aboard, offered by Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis (R) to recruit cops to the Sunshine State, where they could work in a state where mantras like “defund the police” weren’t being chanted by protesters.

Burgos isn’t the only officer to take the money. In response to a Daily Dot FOIA, the Florida Department of Economic Opportunity provided a list of the over 1,700 officers who received nearly $9 million.

The issues with officers don’t stop with Burgos either.

In response to DeSantis’ call, the Daily Dot found officers who since joining Florida police departments have been arrested for kidnapping and murder and officers who, before they moved to the Sunshine State, had numerous complaints against them, ranging from excessive force to false imprisonment to sexual extortion.

Josh Bogwandas was hired by the Miramar Police Department in December of 2022. He too received the same $6,693.44 check.

Six months later, police came to his door, a woman calling 911 after escaping from his alleged abuse. According to reports, he choked her and pulled her by her hair, chasing her after she escaped the house and dragging her back in. The victim, who wasn’t named, suffered “several bumps, marks, scratches, and cuts, including on her forehead, lip, right arm, and neck,” reported Mirimar News 10

Bogwandas was charged with domestic battery and kidnapping and the charges are still pending. 

The Miramar Police Department cut ties with him after.

Chloe Davidson joined the Escambia County Sheriff’s Department on August 5, 2022. Five months later, Santa Rosa County Police came to her door, after responding to a domestic disturbance.

Her husband had been shot dead, and Davidson was booked on felony murder charges after police found no evidence she acted in self-defense.

She, too, received a nearly $7,000 check from DeSantis. The charges against her are still pending.

The money is part of HB 3, legislation designed to improve policing in Florida. DeSantis dubbed it the “strongest law enforcement recruitment and support initiative in the nation.” It provides funds for officer pay raises and training programs, and features a signing bonus for new members of Florida’s police departments.

DeSantis claims this policy is taking a stand for neglected officers across the nation.

"If you’re being mistreated, you’re not being supported—whether you’re on the West Coast, whether you’re in New York, whether you’re in Chicago, any of these places—if you’re qualified and you can fill a spot here, you know, we’re gonna get your back,“ DeSantis said in April. “We’ve stood for this being a noble profession. We want to support the folks who are protecting us.”

It was clearly a hit.

On April 6, DeSantis announced more than 1,750 bonuses had been issued to newly employed law enforcement recruits in Florida as a part of his program.

The Daily Dot obtained the full list of the officers.

The governor hasn’t taken this PR opportunity for granted. He has taken a tour throughout the state, hand-delivering these checks to grateful cops.

These police stations have reciprocally presented the governor with tokens of appreciation, including a gag $5,000 bill with DeSantis’ face on it.

The figures in the Daily Dot’s sheet appear to be officers who received the $5,000, an additional $1,000 bonus, and possible relocation funds.

While police have come from all across the nation, a number of officers appear to be fleeing the NYPD, which faced significant backlash for their violent response to the racial justice protests in 2020 after the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.

Numerous reports have detailed the exodus of law enforcement from the NYPD following the open invitation from DeSantis in 2021.

In the list of bonus recipients, the Daily Dot found at least two dozen officers with identical names that also appear in NYPD’s Civilian Complaint Review Board (CCRB) database, a searchable site run by New York City that makes public reports filed against officers for things like excessive use of force and racial profiling.

The complaints against names in the database and on the bonus list include accusations that officers unlawfully pepper sprayed, assaulted, and pointed their firearms at suspects, as well as used chokeholds and offensive language regarding race and ethnicity.

Allegations were also made that officer propositioned individuals for sex and performed unwarranted strip searches.

The Daily Dot is not naming the officers who it could not independently verify were NYPD officers who got DeSantis’ Florida bonus.

One officer on the list of bonus recipients—Daniel Meblin, who worked for the NYPD—was accused in April 2021 of making a sexual proposition toward an individual. An internal investigation was reportedly dropped in August of that year, after investigators were unable to contact the complainant, according to 50-a, an independently run database that tracks outcomes of complaints and is sourced directly from NYPD data.

Meblin was also one of several officers involved in a $160,000 settlement stemming from an incident in May 2020 during protests in New York over the deaths of Floyd and Taylor.

Meblin and his fellow officers were accused of illegally detaining a peaceful protester before “punching him in his face, head and other areas of his body” before striking them with a baton and obstructing their breathing, according to court documents.

A photograph of Meblin in the 50-a database matches that of an officer who was hired by the Palm Beach Police Department the same month that Meblin left the NYPD.

The Palm Beach PD confirmed to the Daily Dot that it employed the same Daniel Meblin and said he had been an “exemplary” officer since coming on board. The department said it was aware of the disciplinary complaint involving sexual solicitation against Meblin, who they say disclosed it during the hiring process. 

Captain Will Rothrock said to the Daily Dot, speaking only for the Palm Beach PD, it found the bonuses “beneficial in our hiring attempts. While it may not be the largest factor in any applicant’s decision-making calculus as they determine their desired career opportunities, it has received positive mention from our new hires.”

The department declined to make Meblin available for an interview with the Daily Dot.

Also part of the NYPD exodus appears to be Haitham Hussameldin, who according to the 50-a police database, served over 20 years. According to public records, a Haitham Hussameldin who previously lived in Staten Island now lives in Lake Worth, Florida, which is five miles from Manapalan, Florida, where a Haitham Hussameldin on the force there received a bonus

Hussameldin racked up 6 formal complaints involving 9 accusations, from multiple allegations of abuse of authority and overuse of physical force to smaller accusations such as committing time theft and falsifying records by claiming overtime hours he never worked.

i+In all incidents, the complaints were either withdrawn, unsubstantiated or the complaintant and victim did not want to cooperate with the CCRB process.

He’s been accused, in complaints and lawsuits, of tackling suspects without provocation, including a kid.

On the morning of April 28, 2017, a teenager was walking with her friend to South Brooklyn Community High School. Hussameldin stopped her and according to a suit filed by the victim, asked for a school ID to prove she was a student.

She replied that she didn’t have one, that she “just wanted to go to school,” and began walking towards the campus, which was just half a block away.

Hussameldin, according to the suit, tackled her to the ground, putting her in handcuffs, and shoving her into the back of a police cruiser, she claims, with her backpack still dangling behind her.

Throughout the encounter, the teenager said she felt ill, needed to vomit, and could not breathe and that officers ignored her.

The girl was charged with misdemeanors for resisting arrest and obstructing governmental administration, and left, she said, with “pain, anxiety, suffering, mental anguish, and humiliation.”

On February 13, 2014, Hussameldin and his partner were called to the scene for a disagreement between neighbors over a snowblower. According to the suit filed by the victim, one of the officers tackled a person to the ground and pushed his knee against his head. The person’s brother questioned the officer’s extreme use of force, according to the complaint.

In response, Hussameldin “tackled [him] and threw him to the ground. As a result of this tackle, the victim suffered bruising to his arms and body.”

Those two cases against Hussameldin were settled by the NYPD, costing the city over $100,000.

Manapalan Police and Hussameldin did not respond to a request for comment from the Daily Dot.

Office Dawn Ortiz is now a member of the city of Longwood’s police force.

Fifteen 15 years earlier, a Dawn Ortiz led New York City to pay out $100,000.

Ortiz and her partner were involved in a shooting in Coney Island when a man was swinging a folding chair and charging at them. Ortiz and her partner ordered him to stop and when he didn’t, Ortiz shot him in the chest and killed him.

The two officers were not charged by the Brooklyn District Attorney and were initially praised for acting heroically, named “Cops of the Year” by the NYPD’s Holy Name Society.

That praise would soon diminish in the coming months.

The two women faced internal disciplinary charges for not having taken measures to avoid the fatal shooting.

The NYPD paid the family $100,000 in order to settle a civil case over the death, but the internal review took much longer.

Ortiz was also accused of strip-searching a woman inappropriately, a charge the NYPD found substantiated, and implicated in a lawsuit of a woman who died in custody of an overdose, after police removed her from the hospital and took her to a jail cell.

Now, a Dawn Ortiz, who used to live in Brooklyn and Staten Island, and is the same age of the NYPD officer according to record reports, lives just 12 miles from the Longwood Police Department station.

Longwood Police did not respond to a request for comment. Ortiz did not respond to a request for comment.

Robert Corbett was one of the officers who got nearly $7,000 to relocate to Florida, where he joined the Clermont Police Department. A LinkedIn page for a man with the same name shows that he is currently a police officer in Clermont, a city in central Florida. Before he moved to the Sunshine State, Corbett’s LinkedIn says he spent over two decades working at the NYPD.

According to the NYPD’s CCRB Corbett received four civilian complaints during his time with NYPD. From 1999 to 2001, three complainants accused Corbett of abuse of authority for conduct including threatening force and retaliatory arrest. One of those complaints also accused him of using physical force. Records show that two of the complainants were Black men, the third individual’s race and gender are not recorded.

The NYPD deemed that Corbett violated department policy by using excessive force and conducting a retaliatory arrest on one complainant, described in ProPublica’s records as a 25-year-old Black man.

He was reportedly exonerated of abusing his authority in the other complaints. The accusation that he was discourteous to a 38-year-old Black man was deemed unsubstantiated.

In June 2020, he was accused of using physical force and pepper spraying protesters. The NYPD found that the physical force was within guidelines and could not determine if the use of pepper spray was legitimate

The Clermont Police did not respond to a request for comment. Corbett did not respond to a Daily Dot request for comment.

The NYPD did not respond to a request for comment regarding any of the officers above

Outside of New York City, other cops were also involved in large settlements at their previous departments.

Benjamin Petering, an officer who came to the St. Petersburg Police Department in Florida after working in Colorado, made headlines over a 2017 encounter that led to a $125,000 settlement.

The incident involved an arrest and charges against a man that were ultimately dropped after a court found that the officers on the scene had violated the Fourth Amendment during a search.

The man followed up by suing the department for unlawful search and excessive force, earning him the six-figure payout.

Aurora PD confirmed Petering left the force in October 2022. Petering did not respond to an inquiry sent over Facebook Messenger.

A spokesperson for the St. Petersburg Police Department confirmed that Petering worked in Aurora before transferring and that he received the recruitment bonus. They said that “Our hiring process includes an extensive background investigation, interview, and polygraph examination,” when asked about Petering’s past incidents.

The department also revealed they were aware of an officer-involved shooting Petering was a part of when he was in Aurora, but that it did not affect the decision to bring him on board, as it had been deemed “justified” by the state of Colorado.

As for Davidson, charged with homicide, she was a cadet for the Escambia County Sheriff’s office before she allegedly shot her husband, Doug Davidson Jr., in their home on Jan. 1, in Pace, Florida.

He was pronounced dead at the scene.

The sheriff’s office confirmed to local media that Davidson was training to become a deputy but had failed the field training program. It said she had not been employed by the department in the 30 days before the shooting.

According to WEAR News, Chloe spoke with investigators on the record when they arrived on the scene. She told officers that her husband tried to choke her before the shooting.

She told police that she was acting in self-defense but Investigators reported that there were no injuries, scratches, or cuts consistent with her account of a physical altercation.

Investigators said she appeared calm and claim she smirked when they left the room after she asked for a lawyer. 

The two had three young boys together who were not home at the time of the shooting

The Escambia County Sheriff’s did not respond to a request for comment. Contact information for Davidson could not be found.

While the case against domestic violence Bowgandas is proceeding, the Miramar Police Department declined to comment on the bonus program.

“This arrest illustrates the department’s commitment to enforcing the law without favor” it said to the Daily Dot and that Bogwandas “has been relieved of his police duties without pay. Like everyone who is charged with a crime, he enjoys the presumption of innocence. An administrative investigation is also underway.”

Bowgandas did not respond to a request for comment sent over Facebook Messenger

The New York District Attorney’s office said that the records regarding Burgos’ case, for driving into protesters, were sealed and could not reveal how his case concluded. Cases in New York can be sealed under certain conditions, including if charges are dismissed, the defendant enters a dismissal agreement on the condition they aren’t arrested again, or the defendant pleaded guilty to disorderly conduct.

The Apopka Police did not respond to an inquiry from the Daily Dot. Contact information for Burgos could not be found.

The DeSantis administration and the Florida Office of Economic Opportunity did not respond to requests for comment about the story.

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: U.S. Politics
« Reply #1442 on: May 23, 2023, 09:22:58 AM »
Let’s not overcomplicate this:

Republicans passed a $2 trillion tax cut for billionaires and corporations.

Republicans repeatedly said the Trump tax cuts would pay for themselves. They ended up costing us trillions.

And now they’re refusing to pay for it.

It’s really that simple.

The GOP raised the debt ceiling:

- 3 times under Trump
- 7 times under W. Bush
- 18 times under Reagan.

97% of all US debt was incurred prior to Biden's presidency.

25% of all US debt was incurred under Trump.

This is a Republican Default Crisis.

Bill Pascrell, Jr. @BillPascrell

Let’s be clear what will happen if republicans blow up the economy:

Social Security stops
Medicare freezes
Veterans lose their health care
Small businesses die
Bank runs
Homebuyers locked out
Americans lose their life savings
Millions lose their jobs
A second Great Depression

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Re: U.S. Politics
« Reply #1442 on: May 23, 2023, 09:22:58 AM »

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: U.S. Politics
« Reply #1443 on: May 23, 2023, 09:35:11 AM »
President Biden @POTUS

In 18 months, our infrastructure investment has touched over 4,500 communities across all 50 states, D.C., and territories.

Our Administration has fought to lower the cost of prescription drugs, unleash a manufacturing boom, and strengthen our infrastructure.
But we’re not done.
Finishing the job means capping insulin prices for all Americans, lowering costs for care, and banning assault weapons.

My Investing in America agenda has brought good-paying semiconductor manufacturing jobs back to America.
And 60% of them don't require a four-year degree.

Our investments are fixing our nation’s roads and bridges. 
But they’re also about connecting communities, strengthening our economy, and creating good-paying jobs.

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: U.S. Politics
« Reply #1444 on: May 23, 2023, 10:15:19 PM »
Ron DeSantis will launch his presidential bid with Elon Musk
The Florida governor will announce he is running for president on Twitter Wednesday evening in a conversation with Musk.

Texas Lt. Gov's plan to create right-wing university think tank blows up in his face

Dem uses GOP's hearing to expose 'authoritarian' protection of 'dear leader Donald Trump'

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Re: U.S. Politics
« Reply #1444 on: May 23, 2023, 10:15:19 PM »

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: U.S. Politics
« Reply #1445 on: May 24, 2023, 08:59:16 AM »
Analyst shreds Kevin McCarthy's demands for work requirements in debt deal

One of the key sticking points in negotiations over the debt ceiling deal remains whether to impose new work requirements on social programs, including enhancements to the requirements to look for work to receive family welfare assistance or food stamps, and all-new requirements on Medicaid — which was tried in a few states under the Trump administration and ended up disastrous.

"I don't think it's right that Washington borrows money from China to pay somebody who is able-bodied with no dependents to sit at home on a couch," said McCarthy earlier this week to reporters. "It is proven that work requirements help lift people out of poverty and into productivity."

Except that's not true at all, explained Krissy Clark on Twitter, host of "The Uncertain Hour" investigative public policy podcast.

"Work requirements DON’T have good record of lifting people from poverty. Their record IS good on (a) fewer people in poverty receiving welfare b/c of work req red tape (b) funneling gov $ to corps that enforce/benefit from work reqs," wrote Clark. "Just 21 of every 100 families in poverty receives cash welfare. Research shows one reason is the onerous bureaucracy of work-requirements. Many have turned away from cash welfare’s red tape and used temp work as their safety net instead. But temp work often pays less, has fewer benefits than regular jobs, and the jobs don’t last. Research shows it can trap people in poverty."

In fact, Clark explained, temp work companies often lobby for work requirements because it allows them to bilk taxpayer money.

"Temp companies can get tax credits when they employ people on welfare — even though the jobs by definition won’t last, and will often not pay enough to lift people out of poverty or off govt assistance. In some states temp companies are the largest claimant of these credits," wrote Clark. "Meanwhile some private welfare contractors have a side business in processing these tax credits for the (often temp) companies they work with to place welfare recipients into jobs. AND these private welfare contractors also get financial rewards from the state when someone on their caseload gets a job — even if the job only lasts a month and pays minimum wage. Putting people into temp jobs is an easy way to get these rewards."

The upshot, she concluded, is that work requirements create a system where lower-income people try to find jobs and are set up to work in a string of temporary, poverty-wage jobs while still needing welfare payments. "They are not 'sitting on the couch,'" she wrote. "In fact many I spoke to couldn’t afford couches."

McCarthy is one of Trump's 'goons' and Trump is behind the debt ceiling disaster: strategist

Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-CA) is caught between a rock and a hard place on the debt ceiling.

On the one hand, he could easily make a deal with President Joe Biden and the Senate to raise the debt ceiling and then begin negotiations on the budget. Doing so would require that McCarthy bring together moderate Republicans and Democrats. Doing that would anger the far-right, and members of the far-right Freedom Caucus could motion to vacate McCarthy from the speaker's chair.

It means McCarthy has to please the far right. At issue is that the far-right is seeking to eliminate the bipartisan transportation bill, any COVID-19 funds sent to small businesses or individuals, cutting food stamps, veterans benefits, and a slew of other things. The fact that Democrats are even dealing on it at all is being attacked by progressives. It's compared to a hostage crisis, where the GOP wants a list of demands, or they shoot.

According to Democratic strategist Chai Komanduri, the ex-president behaves like a "Bon villain."

The theory from former President Donald Trump is that, if Republicans don't get every demand, they should simply "shoot the hostage," or the economy, in this case. Trump, who is running for president, knows that if the economy is bad, Americans will be less likely to reelect Biden. If that means making the economy bad, Trump appears willing to do it.

"He's the hand behind the curtain, and Kevin McCarthy is one of his goons," explained Komanduri. "He's basically hired to do Trump's bidding. And the reason is Donald Trump has that Republican congress in his pocket. Over 50 members of that caucus have already endorsed Donald Trump, and that's very early in the cycle. That's with Ron DeSantis (R-FL) still out there raising money but talking about a presidential campaign, polling, et cetera. So many members are in the Trump camp. And Kevin McCarthy knows this, and he knows he has to please that constituency in his caucus first and foremost."

Destroying the Biden presidency is critical to Trump's success.

"For Trump, the math is very simple. He must break the Biden brand," said Komanduri. "Joe Biden won in 2020 because he was the Ted Lasso candidate. He was the guy who talked about the soul of America who could bring people together, was bipartisan, and he has, by and large, succeeded in that. Trump in 2024 knows he must break that. He must create chaos. He must say, Biden creates as much chaos as me. Might as well vote for me. I got jokes. That is basically what Donald Trump wants to do in this campaign, and this debt ceiling or debt default, manufactured crisis, is really just a campaign event that's been staged by his campaign."


Offline Rick Plant

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Re: U.S. Politics
« Reply #1446 on: May 24, 2023, 10:08:25 AM »
As Republicans threaten to destroy President Biden's historic economy and ruin the lives of Americans by crashing the economy as they default on the debt, auctioning off Kevin McCarthy's used chapstick for $100,000 is more important to Congressional Republicans than anything else. Republicans are just making a mockery of our government and they have no interest in helping Americans.

Marjorie Taylor Greene Buys Kevin McCarthy’s Used Chapstick For $100,000

Buying Kevin McCarthy’s Used Chapstick Is Actually Totally Normal

Marjorie Taylor Greene’s transfer of campaign cash is exactly how the swamp works every day.

Amid high-wire negotiations over the nation’s debt ceiling and the increasing likelihood of a US default, House Republicans on Tuesday took a moment to turn their attention to a used chapstick belonging to House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy. That chapstick—which, according to Politico, was a cherry-flavored souvenir from Florida Congressman Aaron Bean’s campaign—was to be auctioned off to benefit the House Republican electoral committee. Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene secured the prize by pledging $100,000 from her own campaign coffers.

"They doing this insane chapstick s*** while the country teeters on default,” Rep. Ilhan Omar tweeted as confusion abounded. The stunt prompted hygiene concerns, as well as questions from this writer over what could compel someone to debase themselves by voluntarily becoming the new owner of used chapstick. That was all by design, of course. The winning bid—which, perhaps most importantly, also buys Greene a dinner meeting between McCarthy and Greene’s own supporters—came as the latest evidence of the intense bond between these two high-profile Republicans.

But look one step further out from the weirdness, and you’ll see that the stunt as a fairly mundane window into how fundraising in the swamp tends to work: Donors give to politicians, who then bolster their own power and influence by passing that money along to other political candidates. Greene’s standing among Republicans grows; so-called establishment candidates in swing districts happily accept chapstick-stained dollars, despite everything hideous there is to know about the QAnon-supporting congresswoman from Georgia. The wheels of power keep turning.

My colleague Jeremy Schulman, who would like to clarify that he did not edit his own name into this post, said it best: This story is less about the gross chapstick than it is about a lame inside joke involving the most extreme lawmaker in the United States transferring wads of cash to the most spineless. So, totally normal stuff.

Ethics Committee closes GOP-initiated investigation of Swalwell without finding wrongdoing

For years, Republicans have alleged that Rep. Eric Swalwell (DCA) did something illegal when he briefly met someone the U.S. government believed to be a Chinese spy. When the FBI approached Swalwell, in 2012, with the information, he immediately ended the relationship and offered to help with the FBI.

But on Fox News, hosts like Tucker Carlson were relentless in their attacks. That turned into online DC drama when Swalwell posted text message conversations between the two. Since then, Swalwell has become a kind of boogeyman for the right, leading to threats against him and his family.

Even Rep. Lauren Boebert (R-CO) claimed on the House floor, "Let me say that again. A member of Congress who receives classified briefings was sleeping with the enemy."

Republicans went so far as to require that he be removed from the House Intelligence Committee due to the short-lived 2012 relationship.

On Tuesday, the Ethics Committee said that after two years, they hadn't found any wrongdoing on the part of Swalwell.

"Nearly ten years ago, I assisted the FBI in their counterintelligence investigation of a campaign volunteer. The case and my assistance were briefed to Republican Speaker of the House, John Boehner, and two years later, Republican Speaker of the House, Paul Ryan, re-appointed me to the House Intelligence Committee. Neither Speaker questioned my actions nor politicized my cooperation. Despite the FBI repeatedly saying I was nothing but helpful and never accused of wrongdoing, this complaint was filed by a House Republican. ... If the intent in bringing this complaint and leveling false smears was to silence me that is not going to happen. I will continue to be a voice on behalf of my constituents and a passionate defender of democracy."

See the full statement from Swalwell below:

Rep. Eric Swalwell @RepSwalwell

For years MAGA GOP has falsely smeared me to silence me.  Today the Bipartisan Ethics Committee closed its investigation into a volunteer on our campaign w/o finding wrongdoing. My statement:

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Re: U.S. Politics
« Reply #1446 on: May 24, 2023, 10:08:25 AM »

Offline Rick Plant

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Re: U.S. Politics
« Reply #1447 on: May 24, 2023, 09:46:29 PM »
GOP plans to unveil deficit-exploding tax cuts for the rich 2 weeks after debt limit deadline

With the U.S. careening toward a default crisis that they manufactured, House Republicans are reportedly crafting a major tax cut package that would overwhelmingly benefit the rich and corporations while blowing a multitrillion-dollar hole in the federal deficit.

The fresh push for tax cuts, according to Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.), further shows that "this hostage crisis has never been about deficits for the GOP."

"It has always been about wealth transfer—taking away food and healthcare from the poor and middle class to give away $3 trillion more in tax cuts to their rich friends," Omar, the deputy chair of the Congressional Progressive Caucus, tweeted Tuesday.

Politico reported earlier this week that Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee hope to finish work on their emerging tax legislation by June 16, just over two weeks after the so-called "X-date"—the day on which the Treasury Department expects the federal government to run out of money to cover its obligations unless Congress raises the debt limit or President Joe Biden acts unilaterally.

"Key parts of the [tax cut] package... will likely include a full restoration of research and development deductions, full bonus depreciation, removing caps on business interest expensing, and a doubling of the $1.08 million limitation on the section 179 deduction (which, like bonus depreciation, allows a company to deduct an asset's cost up-front)," Politico noted.

The outlet added that Rep. Vern Buchanan's (R-Fla.) legislation aimed at making the 2017 Trump-GOP tax cuts for individuals and some businesses permanent "also has a strong likelihood of getting marked up in a broader package." The bill, known as the TCJA Permanency Act, currently has nearly 100 Republican co-sponsors in the House.

Buchanan, one of the wealthiest members of Congress, personally benefited from the 2017 tax law that he's working to extend.

"Republicans are holding our economy hostage because they want to cut programs for working families," Sen. Tina Smith (D-Minn.) said Tuesday. "Their next big move? Massive tax cuts for their rich corporate buddies. They may call it fiscal responsibility—I call it extortion."

The Congressional Budget Office (CBO) estimated last week that extending the individual provisions of the 2017 tax cuts—which are currently set to expire in 2025—would add $2.5 trillion to the deficit over the next decade. The original law made the cut to the corporate tax rate from 35% to 21% permanent.

"The hypocrisy of Republicans in Washington is truly breathtaking," Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) wrote in a Fox News op-ed on Wednesday. "Over and over again, we hear from the Republican leadership about how deeply concerned they are about the large deficit and national debt that we have. Really?"

"If that's the case," Sanders asked, "why are they pushing for an extension of the Trump tax breaks that disproportionately benefit the wealthy and large corporations and would increase the federal deficit by $3.5 trillion?"

The Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy (ITEP) estimated earlier this month that just 1% of the benefits of the TCJA Permanency Act would go to the poorest fifth of Americans.

The richest fifth, by contrast, would receive nearly two-thirds of the tax benefits, ITEP found.

"The average tax cut for the richest 1%," the organization noted, "would be 25 times that of the middle 20% and more than 250 times that of the bottom 20% of Americans."

Republicans are preparing to launch their push for new tax cuts as they continue to hold the U.S. and global economies hostage in pursuit of steep federal spending reductions, all under the guise of lowering the deficit.

"We're not going to raise taxes," House Speaker Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said earlier this week. "It's a spending problem."

But research published in March by the Center for American Progress (CAP) found that the GOP austerity crusade "does not address the true cause of rising debt"—tax cuts.

"Tax cuts initially enacted during Republican trifectas in the past 25 years slashed taxes disproportionately for the wealthy and profitable corporations, severely reducing federal revenues," noted Bobby Kogan, CAP's senior director of federal budget policy. "In fact, relative to earlier projections, spending is down, not up. But revenues are down significantly more."

"If not for the Bush tax cuts and their extensions—as well as the Trump tax cuts—revenues would be on track to keep pace with spending indefinitely, and the debt ratio (debt as a percentage of the economy) would be declining," Kogan observed. "Instead, these tax cuts have added $10 trillion to the debt since their enactment and are responsible for 57% of the increase in the debt ratio since 2001."

'Patently unconstitutional': Ohio GOP shredded by local newspaper for 'brazen' attempt to fool voters

Republicans in Ohio are trying to increase the vote percentage needed for voters to successfully pass ballot initiatives in their state – and the Cleveland Plain Dealer editorial board is accusing the party of trying to conceal this effort from voters.

In an editorial published Wednesday, the Plain Dealer editors accused Republican members of the Ohio Ballot Board of using deceptive language in an upcoming ballot initiative that dramatically raise the threshold for future ballot initiatives to pass.

"The wording that the board’s Republicans approved claims in its title that the proposal is aimed at, 'Elevating the standards to qualify for and to pass any constitutional amendment,'" the editors argue. "In fact, the amendment increases the requirements for getting an issue on the ballot. LaRose told reporters a dictionary indicates that “‘elevating’ means to raise or increase.” But voting booths aren’t stocked with dictionaries. Ordinary Ohioans don’t say, 'the bank elevated my credit-card interest rate' or 'the Browns elevated the score.'"

In addition to this, the wording fails to describe the existing law about ballot initiatives that would be changed, which they argue gives voters an incomplete picture of the proposal, which would enact a 60 percent supermajority threshold for successful initiatives.

The goal of the initiative, note the editors, is to make getting an amendment that protects abortion rights in the state far harder to pass than would otherwise be the case.

The editorial urges the Ohio State Supreme Court to step in and "stop the Ballot Board’s brazen partisanship," which it says has gone so far as to be "patently unconstitutional."