Tag Archives: Trump

Donald Trump signs bill renewing NSA warrantless internet surveillance

 Donald Trump signs bill renewing NSA warrantless internet surveillance

(Reuters) — U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday said he signed into law a bill renewing the National Security Agency’s warrantless internet surveillance program, sealing a defeat for digital privacy advocates.

“Just signed 702 Bill to reauthorize foreign intelligence collection,” Trump wrote on Twitter, referring to legislation passed by the U.S. Congress that extends Section 702 of the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act (FISA).

The law renews for six years and with minimal changes the National Security Agency (NSA) program, which gathers information from foreigners overseas but incidentally collects an unknown amount of communications belonging to Americans.

The measure easily passed the U.S. House of Representatives last week despite mixed signals posted on Twitter by Trump and narrowly avoided a filibuster in the Senate earlier this week that split party lines. The measure had drawn opposition from a coalition of privacy-minded Democrats and libertarian Republicans.

In his tweet on Friday, Trump attempted to clarify why he signed the bill despite repeating an unsubstantiated claim that his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, ordered intelligence agencies to eavesdrop on Trump’s 2016 Republican presidential campaign.

“This is NOT the same FISA law that was so wrongly abused during the election,” Trump wrote. “I will always do the right thing for our country and put the safety of the American people first!”

Last September, the U.S. Justice Department said in a court filing that it had no evidence to support Trump’s claim about improper surveillance during the campaign.

Without Trump’s signature, Section 702 had been set to expire on Friday, though intelligence officials had said the surveillance program could continue to operate until April.

Under the law, the NSA is allowed to eavesdrop on vast amounts of digital communications from foreigners living outside the United States via U.S. companies like Facebook Inc, Verizon Communications Inc and Alphabet Inc’s Google.

But the program also incidentally scoops up Americans’ communications, including when they communicate with a foreign target living overseas, and can search those messages without a warrant.

The White House, U.S. intelligence agencies and congressional Republican leaders have said the program is indispensable to national security, vital to protecting U.S. allies and needs little or no revision.

Privacy advocates say it allows the NSA and other intelligence agencies to grab data belonging to Americans in a way that represents an affront to the U.S. Constitution.

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Donald Trump wants U.S. Postal Service to charge Amazon ‘much more’

 Donald Trump wants U.S. Postal Service to charge Amazon ‘much more’

(Reuters) – President Donald Trump called on the U.S. Postal Service on Friday to charge “much more” to ship packages for Amazon, picking another fight with an online retail giant he has criticized in the past.

“Why is the United States Post Office, which is losing many billions of dollars a year, while charging Amazon and others so little to deliver their packages, making Amazon richer and the Post Office dumber and poorer? Should be charging MUCH MORE!” Trump wrote on Twitter.

The president’s tweet drew fresh attention to the fragile finances of the Postal Service at a time when tens of millions of parcels have just been shipped all over the country for the holiday season.

The U.S. Postal Service, which runs at a big loss, is an independent agency within the federal government and does not receive tax dollars for operating expenses, according to its website.

Package delivery has become an increasingly important part of its business as the Internet has led to a sharp decline in the amount of first-class letters.

The president does not determine postal rates. They are set by the Postal Regulatory Commission, an independent government agency with commissioners selected by the president from both political parties. That panel raised prices on packages by almost 2 percent in November.

Amazon was founded by Jeff Bezos, who remains the chief executive officer of the retail company and is the richest person in the world, according to Bloomberg News. Bezos also owns The Washington Post, a newspaper Trump has repeatedly railed against in his criticisms of the news media.

In tweets over the past year, Trump has said the “Amazon Washington Post” fabricated stories. He has said Amazon does not pay sales tax, which is not true, and so hurts other retailers, part of a pattern by the former businessman and reality television host of periodically turning his ire on big American companies since he took office in January.

Daniel Ives, a research analyst at GBH Insights, said Trump’s comment could be taken as a warning to the retail giant. However, he said he was not concerned for Amazon.

“We do not see any price hikes in the future. However, that is a risk that Amazon is clearly aware of and (it) is building out its distribution (system) aggressively,” he said.

Amazon has shown interest in the past in shifting into its own delivery service, including testing drones for deliveries. In 2015, the company spent $ 11.5 billion on shipping, 46 percent of its total operating expenses that year.

Amazon shares were down 0.86 percent to $ 1,175.90 by early afternoon. Overall, U.S. stock prices were down slightly on Friday.

Millions of Parcels

Satish Jindel, president of ShipMatrix Inc, which analyzes shipping data, disputed the idea that the Postal Service charges less than United Parcel Service Inc (UPS.N) and FedEx Corp (FDX.N), the other biggest players in the parcel delivery business in the United States.

Many customers get lower rates from UPS and FedEx than they would get from the post office for comparable services, he said.

The Postal Service delivers about 62 percent of Amazon packages, for about 3.5 to 4 million a day during the current peak year-end holiday shipping season, Jindel said. The Seattle-based company and the post office have an agreement in which mail carriers take Amazon packages on the last leg of their journeys, from post offices to customers’ doorsteps.

Amazon’s No. 2 carrier is UPS, at 21 percent, and FedEx is third, with 8 percent or so, according to Jindel.

Trump’s comment tapped into a debate over whether Postal Service pricing has kept pace with the rise of e-commerce, which has flooded the mail with small packages.Private companies like UPS have long claimed the current system unfairly undercuts their business.

Steve Gaut, a spokesman for UPS, noted that the company values its “productive relationship” with the postal service, but that it has filed with the Postal Regulatory Commission its concerns about the postal service’s methods for covering costs.

Representatives for Amazon, the White House, the U.S. Postal Service and FedEx declined comment or were not immediately available for comment on Trump’s tweet.

According to its annual report, the Postal Service lost $ 2.74 billion this year, and its deficit has ballooned to $ 61.86 billion.

While the Postal Service’s revenue for first class mail, marketing mail and periodicals is flat or declining, revenue from package delivery is up 44 percent since 2014 to $ 19.5 billion in the fiscal year ended Sept. 30, 2017.

But it also lost about $ 2 billion in revenue when a temporary surcharge expired in April 2016.

According to a Government Accountability Office report in February, the service is facing growing personnel expenses, particularly $ 73.4 billion in unfunded pension and benefits liabilities. The Postal Service has not announced any plans to cut costs.

By law, the Postal Service has to set prices for package delivery to cover the costs attributable to that service. But the postal service allocates only 5.5 percent of its total costs to its business of shipping packages even though that line of business is 28 percent of its total revenue.

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President Donald Trump and First Lady Deliver Christmas Message

0 President Donald Trump and First Lady Deliver Christmas Message

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ANTZ-IN-PANTZ ……

Trump, under stress, now mainlining Diet Coke®

Donald Trump has never hidden his love for all-American fast food. But now, thanks to former associates Corey Lewandowski and David Bossie and their new book Let Trump Be Trump, we know the extent of it.

“There were four major food groups: McDonald’s, Kentucky Fried Chicken, pizza, and Diet Coke,” they wrote. And they noted that, while on the road, the campaign would often stop at McDonald’s, where Trump would order two Big Macs, two Filet-O-Fish sandwiches, and a chocolate milkshake, which roughly equals a whopping 2,420 calories.

I have never seen a thin person drinking  Diet Coke.

— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 14, 2012

 Trump, under stress, now mainlining Diet Coke®
A man accustomed to wealth and its trappings, Trump has embraced life in the Executive Mansion, often regaling guests with trivia about the historic decor. With the push of a red button placed on the Resolute Desk that presidents have used for decades, a White House butler soon arrived with a Coke for the president. tonic.vice.com/…

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Trump thinks the F-35 is Wonder Woman’s plane

Because aerial dogfighting is really just like it is in the movies… and Trump is too lazy to understand that off-the-cuff remarks about the F-35 repeated from other events like his Puerto Rico visit, still make no sense when repeated, and in this case get exaggerated further.

built like a brick border wall

But I mean we have equipment that — nobody has the equipment that we have. And it’s sad when we’re selling our equipment to other countries but we’re not buying it ourselves. But now that’s all changed. And I said, the stuff that we have is always a little bit better too. When we sell to other countries, even if they’re allies you never know about an ally. An ally can turn. You’re going to find that out. But I always say make lives a little bit better. Give it that extra speed, a little bit — keep a little bit — keep about 10% in the bag. We have — nobody has what with we have. That’s what we’re doing. We’re really proud of the Coast Guard and I’m very proud — I walked in today and Jean said, the day I got elected, the following morning, they were putting up the statement that I made right on your front door and I came in and the first thing I noticed, of course, I said wow, look at that. I said, did you put that up just for me because I happen to be coming here today? And you did that the first day. That tells me something. That tells me something.

www.buzzfeed.com/…

Trump: “…the air force ordering a lot of planes…the f-35 fighter jet, almost like an invisible fighter. I was asking the air force guys, I said how good is this plane? They said, well, sir, you can’t see it. I said but in a fight. In a fight. Like I watch on the movies” pic.twitter.com/oi3qPfZVeE

— Tom Namako (@TomNamako) November 23, 2017

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“When you're a star they let you do it” … the movie about the Trump regime may debut before 2020

 When you're a star they let you do it ... the movie about the Trump regime may debut before 2020

 When you're a star they let you do it ... the movie about the Trump regime may debut before 2020

Too early? There probably have been numerous projects already underway, perhaps even one started when we thought he would lose the Electoral College vote.

We already have some interesting, even landmark films about a variety of financial scandals, so there will be an actual, rather than satiric Trump biopic, probably produced with …. Russian money. Call it GetTheBigly Shorty.

And we know that’s what Trump really wants, a biopic rather than the soon-to-be historical ignominy as the worst US president.

We already know he cannot write a book long enough for ordinary humans to read. Unlike his predecessor, Trump will have to have any post-POTUS memoir ghost-written.

 When you're a star they let you do it ... the movie about the Trump regime may debut before 2020
shocked, shocked that Russians hacked us

We also know films shot in his buildings tend to require cameos with him.

He needs a hagiographic film, not so much like Lincoln or Bulworth, because he’s a … star.

My preference would be something based on the Stavisky Affair like Alain Resnais’s Stavisky, probably because it has both flashbacks and flash-forwards plus a Trotsky cameo, but Hollywood will probably make it more like Stolen Holiday (1937), where there’s no suspicion that the long arm of the law is involved with Stavisky’s self-inflicted demise.

 When you're a star they let you do it ... the movie about the Trump regime may debut before 2020
Remember that Steve Bannon did his own hip-hop / rap version of Coriolanus.

Resnais said:

“What attracted me to the character of Alexandre was his connection to the theatre, to show-business in general. Stavisky seemed to me like an incredible actor, the hero of a serial novel. He had the gift of bringing reality to his fantasies by means of regal gestures.” [4] (Among many theatrical references, the film features a scene in the theatre in which Alexandre rehearses a scene from Giraudoux‘s Intermezzo, and another in which he attends a performance of Coriolanus. His office is adorned with theatrical posters.)

(Resnais’s preferred title for the film was Biarritz-Bonheur,)

en.wikipedia.org/…

 When you're a star they let you do it ... the movie about the Trump regime may debut before 2020
The Stavisky Affair was a 1934 financial scandal generated by the actions of embezzler Alexandre Stavisky. It had political ramifications for the French Radical Socialist moderate government of the day because the Prime Minister had protected Stavisky, who suddenly died in mysterious circumstances. The political right engaged in large anti-government demonstrations on 6 February 1934. Paris police opened fire and killed 15 demonstrators. 

More importantly, Stavisky did have a real effect on French government.

A right-wing coup d’état seemed like a possibility, but historians agree that the multiple right-wing forces were in no way coordinated and in no way trying to overthrow the government.[1]

Even after the financial stiffness of Mitt Romney, we now have the ultimate in kleptocratic hubris.

U.S. President Donald Trump vowed to fight the power of global elites and told voters he would put “America First.” But surrounding Trump are a number of close associates who have used offshore tax havens to conduct business. 

This visualization, produced with support from the Pulitzer Center on Crisis Reporting, is part of the Paradise Papers investigation by the International Consortium of Investigative Journalists, Süddeutsche Zeitung and more than 90 media partners.

The Paradise Papers is a global investigation based on 13.4 million leaked files from leading offshore law firm Appleby, trust company Asiaciti, and from company registries in 19 secrecy jurisdictions. The files reveal the offshore activities of some of the world’s most powerful people and companies.

 When you're a star they let you do it ... the movie about the Trump regime may debut before 2020

There is nothing illegal about doing business offshore, but the offshore industry’s role in allowing tax avoidance and financial secrecy has generated significant public interest. Each of the Influencers featured in this interactive have appeared in the leaked files, either personally or through a company he headed. Information included in this interactive comes from inside the Paradise Papers files, as well as from reporting and research by ICIJ’s journalists and partners.

Find out more about the Paradise Papers

 When you're a star they let you do it ... the movie about the Trump regime may debut before 2020

Donald Trump’s The Art of the Deal: The Movie is a 2016 American parody film by the production company Funny or Die.[1] The satire of businessman Donald Trump was released during his 2016 campaign for President of the United States.

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So they released the official portraits of Trump and Pence on Halloween…

 So they released the official portraits of Trump and Pence on Halloween...

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commie Trump claims China is the land of low taxes … so the US must now become a workers' paradise

 commie Trump claims China is the land of low taxes ... so the US must now become a workers' paradise

More Trump lies, but after the first 1000, he perhaps thinks we don’t care anymore, so perhaps the USA means of production must now come under the control of the State, along with universal health care and free college education.

Must be that vaunted “presidential pivot”, or Schumer/Pelosi cooties.

On the collective irony front, Trump’s attempt to erase Obama’s accomplishments like ACA actually may make single-payer easier to implement.

And like many on Twitter stating resistance to Huckabee-Sanders, Trump is a #whitesupremacist, also ….

 commie Trump claims China is the land of low taxes ... so the US must now become a workers' paradise

Lowering the corporate tax rate to 15 percent has long been a key part of Trump’s plan to rewrite the country’s tax code.

However, China’s corporate tax rate is technically 25 percent with some companies meeting qualifications to have tax rates reduced to 15 percent.

Trump has shifted his attention in recent weeks to tax reform. With a stopgap government funding measure and short-term debt ceiling increase behind him, the president is launching a push for tax reform.

thehill.com/…

x


 commie Trump claims China is the land of low taxes ... so the US must now become a workers' paradise
The Corporate Tax Rate in China stands at 25 percent. Corporate Tax Rate in China averaged 29.19 percent from 1997 until 2017, reaching an all time high of 33 percent in 1998 and a record low of 25 percent in 2008. tradingeconomics.com/…

Corporate Tax Rate by G20 Country 

DJps2iqVwAA5Jl1 commie Trump claims China is the land of low taxes ... so the US must now become a workers' paradise

and tin foil hat prices will rise…

 commie Trump claims China is the land of low taxes ... so the US must now become a workers' paradise

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“The Focus On One Subsector Of Trump Voters—The White Working Class—Is Puzzling”

download “The Focus On One Subsector Of Trump Voters—The White Working Class—Is Puzzling”DI67PuoVoAAP3pC “The Focus On One Subsector Of Trump Voters—The White Working Class—Is Puzzling”wall street firm epically fulfills its duty to clients in a great research note about trumps wall “The Focus On One Subsector Of Trump Voters—The White Working Class—Is Puzzling”When Mark Lilla, Bernie Sanders and others on the Left decry identity politics, they’re not really being honest (or at least not very observant). If they were to say that the Democrats can’t win right now by stressing how our history of racism continues to play out in heartbreaking ways today because it will turn off too many white voters, that’s an argument to make. (It’s obviously a lot easier for Lilla to make because he isn’t running for office.) But to say that identity politics are, in general, doomed is to ignore that Donald Trump just won the Presidency with a shockingly overt white nationalist campaign. Since the end of Woodrow Wilson’s second term, no one has put the white in White House more than Trump. Somehow when struggling Caucasians are appealed to, that’s fine, but if the same is done with African-Americans who have been left behind, there’s something sinister about it.

That has more to do with than just winning and losing, and it’s embedded deeply in the very nature of America.

· · ·

On Twitter, Reagan whisperer Peggy Noonan derided people in favor social justice who peacefully tap out 140 characters and lauded those who died fighting to defend a system of legal enslavement, rape, torture, maiming and murder. Nothing says white privilege more than Noonan possessing a Pulitzer.

· · ·

In “The First White President,” a great Atlantic essay by Ta-Nehisi Coates, the author speaks to these points and others in explaining how Trump’s ascendance was an attempt at Obama erasure, and how those who supported him if not all white supremacists were at least racist-friendly. To deny so is to perpetuate a society in which we are separate and unequal. Two short excerpts below, but the whole piece should be read from start to finish.

_____________________________

The focus on one subsector of Trump voters—the white working class—is puzzling, given the breadth of his white coalition. Indeed, there is a kind of theater at work in which Trump’s presidency is pawned off as a product of the white working class as opposed to a product of an entire whiteness that includes the very authors doing the pawning. The motive is clear: escapism. To accept that the bloody heirloom remains potent even now, some five decades after Martin Luther King Jr. was gunned down on a Memphis balcony—even after a black president; indeed, strengthened by the fact of that black president—is to accept that racism remains, as it has since 1776, at the heart of this country’s political life. The idea of acceptance frustrates the left. The left would much rather have a discussion about class struggles, which might entice the white working masses, instead of about the racist struggles that those same masses have historically been the agents and beneficiaries of. Moreover, to accept that whiteness brought us Donald Trump is to accept whiteness as an existential danger to the country and the world. But if the broad and remarkable white support for Donald Trump can be reduced to the righteous anger of a noble class of smallville firefighters and evangelicals, mocked by Brooklyn hipsters and womanist professors into voting against their interests, then the threat of racism and whiteness, the threat of the heirloom, can be dismissed. Consciences can be eased; no deeper existential reckoning is required.

_____________________________

When David Duke, the former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, shocked the country in 1990 by almost winning one of Louisiana’s seats in the U.S. Senate, the apologists came out once again. They elided the obvious—that Duke had appealed to the racist instincts of a state whose schools are, at this very moment, still desegregating—and instead decided that something else was afoot. “There is a tremendous amount of anger and frustration among working-class whites, particularly where there is an economic downturn,” a researcher told the Los Angeles Times. “These people feel left out; they feel government is not responsive to them.” By this logic, postwar America—with its booming economy and low unemployment—should have been an egalitarian utopia and not the violently segregated country it actually was.

But this was the past made present. It was not important to the apologists that a large swath of Louisiana’s white population thought it was a good idea to send a white supremacist who once fronted a terrorist organization to the nation’s capital. Nor was it important that blacks in Louisiana had long felt left out. What was important was the fraying of an ancient bargain, and the potential degradation of white workers to the level of “negers.” “A viable left must find a way to differentiate itself strongly from such analysis,” David Roediger, the University of Kansas professor, has written.•

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“They Are In The Trump Camp”

DI67PuoVoAAP3pC “They Are In The Trump Camp”

I’ve criticized Malcolm Gladwell for his oft-repeated claim that satire can’t be very valuable in the face of emergent tyranny because it didn’t prevent the rise of Nazism. Yes, that’s so, but you could say the same of diplomacy, protest, government, media and other forces that also couldn’t stem its rise. All those entities and actions retain potency despite their inability to curb the horrors of ’30s and ’40s Europe and so does satire. 

Sometimes a series of accidents and incidents defy the odds, and history finds itself adrift on a disastrous course. Given enough time and chances, that will eventually occur, and our ever-more-powerful tools and technologies will wind up in the wrong hands. From a 1996 Psychology Todayinterview of Carl Sagan:

Psychology Today:

You point to the statistical likelihood of people in power periodically showing up in the guise of a Stalin or a Hitler. Given this probability, and given nuclear proliferation, what are your feelings about the future?

Carl Sagan:

Well, it’s a very serious issue. We are, fortunately, in a time when the United States and the former Soviet Union are divesting their nuclear arsenals. According to the present treaties, agreed to if not ratified, each side will go down to something like 3,000 strategic weapons and delivery systems by the first decade of the 21st century, from 10 times that number. So that’s very good news. On the other hand, there are only about 2,300 cities on the planet, so if each side gets 3,000 weapons, that means that each side retains the ability to annihilate every city on earth. That is certainly not comfortable news, because if you wait long enough you are bound to have a madman at the helm in one of these countries.

Psychology Today:

Are you saying it’s inevitable?

Carl Sagan:

If you look at the history of the world, such people regularly come to power. We may comfort ourselves in the United States that it hasn’t happened to us, but even here I would say that a number of times in our recent history we’ve come close to having somebody dangerously incompetent or drunk or crazy in power in a time of crisis. Hitler and Stalin are reminders that the most advanced countries on earth can have such leaders.•

In order to reach that tipping point, however, it takes a village of citizens pulling in the wrong direction, and MAGA caps were the symbols of those dark energies at work in America in 2016. Donald Trump wasn’t the cause of our fall from grace but merely the perfect messenger to activate and embolden the ugliness that had been building for decades. It’s now overwhelmingly clear that what the Republican Party has become since Goldwater is a dirty pool.

Ronald Brownstein’s Atlanticarticle about young GOP pollster Kristen Soltis Anderson looks at how some people who should know better still cling to the party even after decades of welfare queens, Willie Hortons, racist push polling, Fox News, Cliven Bundy, Trump’s white-nationalist campaign and Charlottesville, not believing what’s been in their eyes and ears forever. Anderson’s looked at the depressing numbers but still hasn’t completely gotten the memo, though she’s now considering leaving the roost for more moderate third-party options. An excerpt:

Anderson’s fear is that in a rapidly diversifying America, Trump is stamping the GOP as a party of white racial backlash—and that too much of the party’s base is comfortable with that. Trump’s morally stunted response to the violence in Charlottesville, Virginia, this month unsettled her. But she was even more unnerved by polls showing that most Republican voters defended his remarks.

“What has really shaken me in recent weeks is the consistency in polling where I see Republican voters excusing really bad things because their leader has excused them,” she told me. “[Massachusetts Governor] Charlie Baker, [UN Ambassador] Nikki Haley, [Illinois Representative] Adam Kinzinger—I want to be in the party with them. But in the last few weeks it has become increasingly clear to me that most Republican voters are not in that camp. They are in the Trump camp.”

The portion of the party coalition willing to tolerate, if not actively embrace, white nationalism “is larger than most mainstream Republicans have ever been willing to grapple with,” she added.

Anderson’s gloom is understandable. Even before Trump’s emergence, the GOP relied mostly on the elements of American society most uneasy with cultural and demographic change—the primarily older, blue-collar, rural, and evangelical whites who make up what I’ve called the “coalition of restoration.” As a candidate and as president, Trump has yoked the party even more tightly to those voters’ priorities—a tilt evident in everything from his “very fine people” remarks about the white-supremacist protesters in Charlottesville to his recent pardon of former Arizona sheriff Joe Arpaio.•

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