Sessions Refuses to File Criminal Charges Against Corporate Criminals

First published on: http://crooksandliars.com/2017/05/sessions-refuses-file-charges-against

It’s an easy bet that what the Trump administration says and what it does are almost always complete opposites. The word hypocrite comes to my mind, though it seems to miss the point. No, they are much more than that because they pretend to be so moral and just in their claims. They remind me of Tartuffe from Moliere’s play of the same name, the hypocrite, the impostor with his self righteous blatherings.

One day they claim to support women’s health, the next they are slashing all funding to women’s clinics around the world. As they pretend to care about equal rights for all, they are quietly cutting LGBTQ rights in an attempt to make them invisible; much like the clearly offensive way the White House left out the Luxembourg Prime Minister’s husband from the 1st spouses EU picture last week.

Then there was last weeks announcement by White House spokeswoman Kelly Love that, “The Trump Administration has an unwavering commitment to the civil rights of all Americans.” A lovely yet ever so empty collection of words used to brace us for what would be coming in the following announcement: a complete gutting of civil rights departments across all federal government agencies. The Office of Federal Contract Compliance Programs, who audits companies with federal contracts to ensure they are not violating laws against discrimination, is soon to be but a memory. The Environmental Protection Agency has proposed cutting the Environmental Justice Program that assists citizens when there are oil or chemical spills. The Department of Education, Department of Housing and Urban Development and Department of Health and Human Services will all be cutting or slashing their civil rights programs

So when Sessions announced he would be reversing President Obama’s order that eased prosecutions for minor drug charges, and proclaimed with feigned moral conviction that it was the ethical and just action to take, I wondered just how long it would take for him to step knee deep into that giant pile of horseshit. As a reminder, this was his comment:

“Our responsibility is to fulfill our role in a way that accords with the law,
advances public safety, and promotes respect for our legal system. This policy affirms our responsibility to enforce the law, is moral and just, and produces consistency.”

For the record, it took 12 days.

On May 22nd, Citigroup agreed to pay a fine of $97.4 million for knowingly violating banking laws in regards to reporting suspicious activity of money laundering. Citigroup bought Banamex, a Mexican banking company, in 2001. From 2007 – 2012, Banamex USA intentionally hid thousands of money laundering transactions from review. According to the Boston Globe, “As part of the agreement, Banamex USA ‘admitted to criminal violations by willfully failing to maintain an effective anti-money-laundering’ compliance program, the Justice Department said.”

Banamex USA “willfully” committed “criminal” acts. In all, there were $1.3 billion dollars in remittances that should have been flagged for review according to the law. The belief of law officials is that much of this money was from the sale of illegal narcotics.

Yet, Mr. Hard On Drug Offenders – Attorney General Jeff Sessions, has chosen to not seek the harshest charges possible in this case. In fact, he’s completely dismissed all criminal charges against anyone involved. So much for a “moral and just” application of the law. Should he really want to deliver a moral and just decision, he should have fined them the full amount they laundered at the very least.

Tartuffe Sessions can mumble his sanctimonious carefully formed speeches all he wants, but he’s full of it. Once again, the leaders that be have chosen to lock up those people with a few ounces of pot, but refused to hold those making billions from said drug trade to the same standard.

But what did anyone expect but pure hypocrisy from Tartuffe…I mean Jeff Sessions and this administration?

 

Is Trump Picking Next FBI Director Based on Political Donations?

First published on: http://crooksandliars.com/2017/05/trump-picking-next-fbi-director-based

Joe Lieberman is rumored to be Trump’s top choice for the new F.B.I. director. Some in the media have commented that he’s a strange choice, and I have to admit that I thought the same.

After all, Lieberman has no law enforcement background whatsoever. He’s not exactly Republican and not quite a Democrat either. Some speculated that this was perhaps a strategy of Trump’s to get votes from both sides.

Whenever trying to figure out Trump, trying to understand his decisions, you must always remember one thing: Trump makes decisions based on loyalty and what will benefit him the most. That’s it.

He’s not considering Joe Lieberman because he will make conservatives somewhat happy, nor is he hoping that Democrats will acquiesce. He’s considering Lieberman because he and his law firm have been loyal to Trump for more than a decade. Lieberman’s law firm, Kasowitz, Benson and Torress LLP, have represented Donald Trump in many lawsuits and continue to do so today.

But their loyalty doesn’t end there. Marc Kasowitz gave $150,000 to Trump Victory and $5,400 to the Trump/Pence campaign. His wife, Lori gave Trump Victory an additional $50,000 and $5,400 to Trump/Pence. Trump raked in $300,000 more for his inaugural campaign through the law firm itself. (All data came from FEC filings.)

If Trump does select Lieberman, this is a clear pay for play scenario and Congress must deny his appointment.

 

Don’t Expect GOP to Stand Up to Trump

First published on: http://crooksandliars.com/2017/05/dont-expect-gop-stand-trump

The immediate response from the left to Trump firing FBI Director James Comey on Tuesday was expected. “Surely now something will be done about this,” the left exclaimed. “Even Republicans will see this as obstruction of the Trump-Russia investigation,” we all tweeted. And so many Democrats went to bed hoping that Republicans and their echo machines would do just that.

But that was Tuesday, and Tuesday is gone.

By Wednesday morning, they all were whipped back in line. Vice President Mike Pence said it was “the right decision.” Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) stated, “…I believe a fresh start will serve the FBI and the nation well.” Senator Mitch McConnel (R-KY) put his foot down and insisted there would be no new investigation. “Suck it up and move on,” grumbled Senator Chuck Grassley (R-IA).

Liberals and even some conservatives were aghast. How could this be? How can Republicans allow this orange menace to destroy our democratic institutions? What will it take for them to see the truth?

Are you kidding me?

The only shocking thing about any of this is that people are still shocked. This concept that somehow Trump is separate from the GOP or that they don’t agree with him is ludicrous and naive. The GOP created this monkey. Trump is merely the end result of thirty years of work by the conservative movement. He is not a phenomena like he pretends to be. He does not manipulate or control the Republican party. This is all standard GOP behavior. None of this is new.

Trump is the manifestation of the conservative agenda to turn this country into a Christian, God fearing, gun loving, white male dominated nation. The Trump administration could not have occurred without this foundation that took decades to create. Too many years of allowing conservatives to slowly chip away at our democracy have incurred this beast of a president, and you can expect it to continue.

Republicans aren’t worried about any of this. They can take away your healthcare and women’s rights to control their own bodies. They can and will continue to attack the judicial system and turn the education system into a Christian training program bent on teaching creationism as science and denying climate change. They don’t concern themselves with the protests in the streets and at the town halls for minority and immigrant rights.

No, they have not a care in the world. And they certainly will continue to obstruct the Trump-Russia investigation. Republicans will maintain their seats of power because they have rigged the system. They have more money than their god to buy elections, and their vote is secure because of the gerrymandering and voter disenfranchisement they have legislated.

If Democrats want change, they have to start acting instead of just reacting. They must win back the congress. In districts where the GOP used Crosscheck and voter suppression to disenfranchise voters, the Democratic party has to file lawsuits. Protesting about Trump’s taxes or workers’ rights is important, but nothing will come of it if Democrats can’t take back congress. Supporters need to actively protest locally for voter rights to be returned. It is a moral imperative to begin protesting against your state legislators to demand equal access and fair voting. If this cannot be achieved before the 2018 election, Democrats and voters must demand paper ballots.

Once this is accomplished, the left can start fixing the mess created by the GOP. Long term thinking and planning is required. These goals are fundamental to the concept of freedom and justice for all:

  1. Campaign Finance – all business and dark money contributions have to be banned.
  2. Judicial Elections – Republicans have been pouring money into judicial elections for decades. Some states like Michigan even allow judges to accept contributions and then decide cases involving those donors without having to disclose this conflict of interest to the opposition.
  3. Education – There is no need for kids in Oregon to have a different education system than those in Alabama. No for-profit charter programs. Religion is not a science.
  4. Separation of church and state – no religion in schools, courts or any publicly funded institutions.
  5. Press reliability – just as you cannot yell fire in a theater, one cannot call propaganda news. Republicans have gutted any protections against propaganda from the FCC. This has enabled groups like Fox News and Breitbart to come about. Also, limits on the amount of media one person or company can own should be reinstated.
  6. Women’s rights – constitutional amendment regarding women as equal to men is mandatory. Roe v. Wade is the law of the United States.
  7. Limit states’ rights concept – Republicans use this excuse when it benefits them. States’ rights should only be allowed when considering local laws that only relate to that specific area’s needs.
  8. Legislative independence – bills cannot be written by business interests. Currently the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) writes the majority of bills for Republicans. This is a conservative action group made up of big business representatives and big donors like the DeVos, Koch and Walton families.
  9. End private prisons – prisons should only be run by the government. The fact that private prisons make their money from incarcerating citizens, are paid for by taxpayer dollars and then donate to candidates is reprehensible. The fact that Jeff Sessions owns stock in these prisons is even worse.
  10. Lobbying – end the revolving door of government employees becoming lobbyists and establish limits to lobbying.
  11. Independent investigation Into the 2016 election

That’s a start at least.

Democrats need to stop hoping the GOP will do something about Trump. He is exactly who Republican Grover Norquist said they wanted: “…a Republican with enough digits to handle a pen.” They are not going to impeach him or hold him accountable as long as he continues to sign everything they put in front of him.

The left is stuck in a reactionary position. We need to fight, to be proactive. Let Trump and the GOP do whatever it is they are going to do. Don’t waste time arguing with them. Democrats have to organize and develop strategies to win back the congress, undo what they have done and think of long term solutions for returning the judicial, legislative and education systems back to the people. Everything else is just a waste of time.