Donald J. Trump Hijacked The GOP…

I used to be a republican. My journey away from the republican party began several years ago and was the result of the party changing in ways I believed ill-advised. It was also becoming evident to me the party was losing touch with what many would call a moral compass.  The election of Donald J. Trump was the culmination of almost all of the reasons I left the republican party. It is my belief many have made this decision and many more will follow. The direct result of Trump and his morally bankrupt and incompetent administration. The excerpt from an article by John J. Pitney says what many are undoubtedly coming to grips with.

Until last year, I was as Republican as you could get. My family had belonged to the GOP since the 1850s, and both my grandfathers labored in local Republican politics. I started volunteering for the party nearly a half century ago, handing out Nixon pamphlets in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., at the age of 13. I went on to work for Republican politicians in the New York State Legislature and both houses of Congress. And for a couple of years, I served in the research department of the Republican National Committee.

But early in the morning of Nov. 9, shortly after Trump claimed victory in the presidential election, I took out my laptop and changed my registration to independent.

From the start of the campaign, I knew that I could never vote for such a person. Trump is a mashup of all the sorriest parts of Republican history: Herbert Hoover’s trade policy, Warren Harding’s incompetence, Charles Lindbergh’s dictator worship, and Joseph McCarthy’s dishonesty. Still, until election night, I was hoping that that he would lose, and that the GOP could rebuild itself. This hope died as big states tipped into his column. It was painfully evident that the Trump brand would stick to the party for years.

And it really was painful. It has become commonplace to say that the parties are “tribal.” The term is apt. Especially for people who have worked in campaigns and government staffs, a party is a social network. Many of my friendships grew out of winning together and losing together in Republican politics. I still count these people as friends — and hope that the feeling is mutual — but the election cut an important connection.

I don’t disparage those who voted for Trump. Economic change has left millions of working Americans behind. They think that an increasingly affluent professional class pushes them around. Voting for Trump was a way to push back. I get it. My father was a milkman in a college town. It was full of people with advanced degrees who looked down on people like us.

Those words represented the Republican Party at its best. By nominating Donald Trump, the GOP chose its worst.

Skip

Of course, the GOP was not always at its best. During Watergate, Republicans learned about Nixon’s dark impulses and crimes. But as the scandal unfolded, key party figures declined to march in lockstep. Months before the “smoking gun” tape came to light, Sen. James Buckley of New York called for Nixon’s resignation. He wrote: “Inevitably the president is the focus, the essence of the crisis of the regime; the linchpin of its entire structure. It could not be otherwise. The character of a regime always reflects and expresses the character of its leader.”

Republicans don’t talk that way anymore. As Trump’s presidency confirms some of the worst fears of his critics, most party leaders are either defending him or expressing vague concern without holding him to account. House Speaker Paul Ryan backed the firing of FBI Director James Comey. In response to the news that Trump had spilled secrets to the Russians, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell merely called for “a little less drama.”

Continue reading HERE.

CIA Concern Over Possible Trump Russian Connection…

As we learn more about Russia’s attempt to influence the 2016 presidential election the more suspicious Trump administration denials there was a connection become.

The timing of Trump’s firing of Flynn, Comey, and Yates certainly lends plausibility to the  belief the Trump campaign was involved to some extent.

Where there is smoke there is often fire. The sooner the nation sorts this out and puts it to bed the better off our nation will be.

WASHINGTON — As Russian hackers and propagandists tried to manipulate the American election last year, the C.I.A. noticed a series of suspicious contacts between Russian government officials and associates of Donald J. Trump’s campaign, John O. Brennan, the former C.I.A. director, said Tuesday.

In testimony before the House Intelligence Committee, Mr. Brennan described a nerve-fraying few months as American authorities realized that the election was under attack and worried that Mr. Trump’s campaign might be aiding that fight. His remarks were the fullest public account to date of the origins of an F.B.I. investigation that continues to shadow the Trump administration.

“I know what the Russians try to do. They try to suborn individuals and try to get individuals, including U.S. individuals, to act on their behalf, wittingly or unwittingly,” Mr. Brennan said. When he left office in January, he said, “I had unresolved questions in my mind as to whether or not the Russians had been successful in getting U.S. persons involved in the campaign or not to work on their behalf.”

Mr. Brennan acknowledged that he did not know whether the Trump campaign colluded with Russian operatives and said the contacts might be benign. But his confirmation of those contacts was the latest revelation to undermine Mr. Trump’s changing account of his campaign’s links to Russia.

American intelligence agencies have concluded that the Russian president, Vladimir V. Putin, tried to damage Hillary Clinton’s candidacy and help Mr. Trump. On Aug. 4, as evidence of that campaign mounted, Mr. Brennan warned Alexander Bortnikov, the director of Russia’s Federal Security Service, known as the F.S.B., not to meddle in the election. Not only would interference damage relations between the two countries, he said, it was certain to backfire.

“I said that all Americans, regardless of political affiliation or whom they might support in the election, cherish their ability to elect their own leaders without outside interference or disruption,” Mr. Brennan said. “I said American voters would be outraged by any Russian attempt to interfere in election.”

Mr. Brennan’s warning proved futile. Though intelligence agencies are unanimous in their belief that Russia directly interfered with the election, it has become a divisive partisan issue, with Democrats far more likely than Republicans to accept the conclusion. President Trump has declared that “Russia is fake news” and tried to undermine the conclusions of his own intelligence services.

Full NYT article BELOW THE FOLD.

The BLOTUS’ True Colors Highlighted With His Budget Proposal…

Trump who campaigned as a populist has issued a budget proposal that defines him as a draconian conservative on economic and social issues and pro military to the point of  extreme militarism.  Trump’s real vision is apparently to take America down a road the majority us did not vote to go.

POLITICO – Donald Trump, whose populist message and promises to help American workers propelled him to the White House, issued a budget proposal on Tuesday that instead takes aim at the social safety net on which many of his supporters rely.

Rather than breaking with Washington precedent, Trump’s spending blueprint follows established conservative orthodoxy, cutting taxes on the wealthy, boosting defense spending and taking a hatchet to programs for the poor and disabled – potentially hurting many of the rural and low-income Americans who voted him into office.

Skip

The president’s budget plan calls for more than $1 trillion in cuts to a wide range of social programs with millions of beneficiaries, from farm subsidies to federal student aid. That includes a $600 billion cut to Medicaid over 10 years, despite Trump’s repeated promises on the campaign trail not to cut the program. The budget also takes an ax to the federal food stamp program and Social Security Disability Insurance.

Trump also proposes some of the deepest cuts to agriculture subsidies since Ronald Reagan, squeezing out nearly $50 billion over 10 years.

Trump’s budget would drastically cut domestic programs controlled by Congress, slashing $1.7 trillion over 10 years. At the end of the decade, the U.S. would spend nearly twice as much on defense as on other domestic programs. Domestic discretionary spending would be capped at $429 billion per year, below 2004 levels, while military spending soars to $722 billion.

Skip

The White House plans to heavily promote its commitment to Social Security and Medicare, though its attempt to eliminate the federal deficit while largely preserving those entitlement programs — which together make up the bulk of federal spending — will leave behind a path of destruction for other safety net programs.

Trump’s budget would tighten the belt on programs for low-income families ranging from cash assistance to the child tax credit. Nearly $200 billion in cuts will come directly from the federal food stamp program, which helps feed 44 million people each year.

Trump would also slash $72 billion by tightening the rules for programs for people with disabilities — programs that Trump’s advisers have described as riddled with fraud and abuse. A federal watchdog, however, found last year that 17 anti-fraud programs already exist.

Skip

“Candidate Trump campaigned as a populist, said he wanted to help the working people, but since he has taken office he has governed like a hard-right conservative — pushing policies that help the uber wealthy at the expense of the middle class,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer said in a statement Sunday night.

“It’s a complete about-face,” said Seth Hanlon, a former economic adviser to Barack Obama. “It’s a betrayal of a lot of people who put their faith in him.”

But even some Republicans — both inside and outside Congress — say they’re worried about the sheer magnitude of the proposed cuts.

“I’m deeply concerned about the severity of the domestic cuts,” Rep. Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), a long-time member of the powerful House Appropriations Committee, told POLITICO on Friday.

Rogers has been an outspoken critic of Trump’s proposed cuts to programs that benefit rural regions like his home state, like the Appalachian Regional Commission.

“I think we do need healthcare reform. I think we do need welfare reform. But the kinds of reductions that he’s talking about go exactly against the states that brought [Trump] to the dance, so to speak,” said G. William Hoagland, a former long-time Republican Senate budget aide.

Perhaps Trump and GOP supporters will eventually wake up. When they’re screwed until it really hurts. As the multimillionaires and billionaires benefit bigly. Trump’s real plan all along apparently.

More BELOW THE FOLD.

Trump Asks For Push Back Against FBI Investigation…

 

Comey Became Uncomfortable With Interactions With Trump…

As Trump continues to unravel and more information surfaces surrounding his unethical behavior, it becomes increasingly bizarre that he continues to be supported by the GOP and his adoring fans. We guess for some keeping their heads buried in the proverbial sands gives them comfort.

WASHINGTON — President Trump called the F.B.I. director, James B. Comey, weeks after he took office and asked him when federal authorities were going to put out word that Mr. Trump was not personally under investigation, according to two people briefed on the call.

Mr. Comey told the president that if he wanted to know details about the bureau’s investigations, he should not contact him directly but instead follow the proper procedures and have the White House counsel send any inquiries to the Justice Department, according to those people.

After explaining to Mr. Trump how communications with the F.B.I. should work, Mr. Comey believed he had effectively drawn the line after a series of encounters he had with the president and other White House officials that he felt jeopardized the F.B.I.’s independence. At the time, Mr. Comey was overseeing the investigation into links between Mr. Trump’s associates and Russia.

Those interactions included a dinner in which associates of Mr. Comey say Mr. Trump asked him to pledge his loyalty and a meeting in the Oval Office at which Mr. Trump told him he hoped Mr. Comey would shut down an investigation into Mr. Trump’s former national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn. Mr. Trump has denied making the request.

The day after the Flynn conversation, Reince Priebus, the White House chief of staff, asked Mr. Comey to help push back on reports in the news media that Mr. Trump’s associates had been in contact with Russian intelligence officials during the campaign.

Mr. Comey described all of his encounters with the president and the White House — including the phone call from Mr. Trump — in detailed memos he wrote at the time and gave to his aides. Congressional investigators have requested copies of the memos, which, according to two people who have read them, provide snapshots of a fraught relationship between a president trying to win over and influence an F.B.I. director, and someone who had built his reputation on asserting his independence, sometimes in a dramatic way.

More BELOW THE FOLD.