The Koch Brothers Own the Trump Administration

There is even more proof that Donald J. Trump’s promises to “drain the swamp” and be a different type of Republican are nothing but hollow rhetoric. There is compelling evidence that Vice President Mike Pence and 16 important Trump administration officials have close connections to the Koch Brothers.

Charles and David Koch are two of the wealthiest people in America; controlling a private fortune worth $96 billion, and the nation’s second largest private corporation Koch Industries, - worth $115 billion. They are also well known donors to right-wing, conservative and libertarian causes and proponents of extremist ideas like abolishing Social Security, Medicare and the income tax.

President Trump has appointed Koch allies to 16 of the most important jobs in Washington; including several cabinet positions, the Checks & Balances project alleged. Some of the Trump officials that might be beholden to the Koch brothers include:

 

  • Vice President Mike Pence (R-Indiana) – Pence met with Charles Koch on June 23, 2017, in Colorado Springs, The Hill reported. The meeting was not on the vice presidential itinerary released by the White House and a spokesman for Pence claimed his boss would not meet with Koch. Koch spokesman James Davis said Charles Koch met with Pence for 50 minutes and discussed tax reform and the US Department of Veterans Affairs.

 

  • Kellyanne Conway – Conway a senior advisor to Trump formerly worked for the Koch donor network.

 

  • Secretary of Health and Human Services Dr. Tom Price - In 2016 as a Congressman he received a 100% rating from the Koch front organization Americans for Prosperity. Price’s Congressional agenda included drastic cuts to Social Security, Market Mad House reported. As Secretary of Health and Human Services Price oversees Social Security. 

 

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Trump Commission Threatens Privacy and Right to Voice

President Trump’s Vote Fraud Commission might be a threat to your privacy as well as your right to vote.

The Commission is demanding that states turn over a wide variety of very specific data on individuals including names, addresses, dates of birth, political affiliations, and the dates of elections people have voted in, The New York Times reported. Much of the data can be used to identify specific individuals; including the last four digits of social security numbers, past addresses, records of felony convictions, and information on military service.

Some of the data it is requesting; including the names of voters that send in mail-in ballots from abroad, could easily be used to discriminate against specific voters. The Commission claims the data is needed to ascertain the existence of vote fraud. Critics are afraid that Trump; or a future administration, would use the data to remove individuals likely to vote against their party from the voter rolls.

Even some Republicans have complained that the Commission is going too far. Election officials in 20 states and the District of Columbia have turned down the Commission’s requests because of privacy concerns. Disturbingly 30 states are cooperating.

A major concern is hacking because the commission wants to assemble a database on 200 million voters. That information would be invaluable to a foreign government like the one in Russia which wanted to interfere in an American election. Cyber criminals might use the same data for fraud or identity theft.

Worst of all Congress is doing nothing to stop this outrage despite the fact it might violate a federal law called the Privacy Act of 1974. The law specifically prevents the federal government from collecting data on citizens’ party affiliations. 

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How President Trump is Betraying Working Families

Even though his supporters like to portray him as a champion of the common people; President Donald J. Trump (R-New York) is systematically betraying working families.

Just a few examples of Trump’s betrayal of working and middle class Americans include:

  • The Republican healthcare bill; cynically called the Better Care Reconciliation Act, now before the U.S. Senate. This law would eliminate health-insurance for 22 million Americans; cut healthcare spending by $1 trillion, and end the Obamacare expansion of Medicaid, the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reported. It would also raise the health insurance premium of a 64 year old who earned $26,500 a year by $4,800 a year, NBC News reported.

 

  • Back in December then President-elect Trump claimed to have brokered a deal to save the jobs of 700 union workers at a Carrier conditioner factory in Indianapolis. Just seven months later on June 23, 2017, CBS News reported that 600 of the saved jobs will be eliminated and moved to Monterey, Mexico. Despite that Carrier received $7 million in tax incentives from the state of Indiana. 

 

  • America’s trade deficit with China will grow because of a new trade deal announced by Trump’s Commerce Department on May 11, 2017, Forbes writer Gordon G. Chang noted. During last year’s campaign Trump had promised to protect American jobs with a 45% tariff on Chinese products.

 

  • Many additional American jobs might be threatened by Chinese imports under the new Trump trade deal.  “Therefore, don’t be surprised when Americans begin eating chicken, from the world’s No. 1 source of avian flu, and start getting cheap credit cards; and cheap credit, from Chinese banks,” Chang wrote.

 

  •  Trump revoked President Obama’s 2014 Fair Pay and Safe Workplaces Executive Order, NBC News reported. That order required federal contractors to comply with 14 labor and civil rights laws. It also banned forced arbitration clauses that barred women from suing employers because of sexual harassment or discrimination.

 

  •  Trump’s Justice Department wants to make arbitration agreements that strip workers of their ability to sue employers over abuses like wage theft legal. Solicitor General Jeffrey B. Wall has withdrawn from a case called Murphy Oil in which the National Labor Relations Board was trying to declare agreements that bar workers from participating in class action lawsuits illegal, The Huff Post reported. The Obama administration argued that the agreements were a violation of laws protecting workers rights to collective bargaining.
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Scott Pruitt’s Climate Change Denial is the Greatest Trump Scandal

Congressional Republicans are refusing to hold Donald J. Trump and his cronies accountable for the greatest scandal of all: climate change denial.

Just imagine how Republicans would act if we had a Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff that claimed ISIS was no threat to the United States and refused to take any action against it. How would the GOP respond if that Chairman began telling the media that ISIS did not exist and Americans should not worry about it? What would Republicans do if this imaginary chairman kept making such absurd claims even as ISIS terrorists were murdering innocent Americans in the streets?

Republicans would be demanding that general or admiral be drummed out of the service and possibly court martialed. Disturbingly those Republicans are tolerating an outrage just as great or greater by allowing Scott Pruitt to serve as Director of the Environmental Protection Agency.

Scott Pruitt Needs to Held Accountable

Pruitt is a notorious climate change denier, whose claims about global warming are constantly being refuted by scientists. Indeed a very good case can be made the Pruitt lied to the U.S. Senate during his confirmation testimony. A study by scientists from the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, MIT and the University of Washington (Seattle) directly refuted at least one of Pruitt’s claims, The Washington Post reported.

If these claims are true Pruitt may have lied to Congress which is perjury; a felony that can carry a sentence of up to five years in a federal prison, according to the Find Law Blotter. Section 1001, Title 18 of the United States Code states that a person who makes a material statement that is false or fraudulent to federal officials is guilty of a crime.

If he is convicted of or pleads guilty to perjury Pruitt can also be stripped of his bar license. Disturbingly lying to Congress is not the only unethical behavior Pruitt is accused of.

The Oklahoma Bar Association is investigating Pruitt for using a private email account to conduct official business in his former job as Oklahoma’s Attorney General, The Hill reported. This is the same unethical behavior that Trump attacked Hillary Clinton for; yet he appointed a person accused of it to one of the most vital jobs in the nation.

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America Needs to Deal with the Homeless Crisis Now

The shortage of affordable housing across America; and the problem of homelessness, it generates are getting worse. To make matters worse neither Congress nor the President is willing to acknowledge or deal with the shameful catastrophe

The epicenter of the crisis is Los Angeles County; where homelessness increased by 23% in 2016, according to The LA Times. Data gathered by the Los Angeles Homeless Authority shows the extent of the problem. Some disturbing numbers about homelessness in the nation’s second largest city include:

  • There were 34,000 homeless people in Los Angeles in 2016.

 

  • More than two million families in Los Angeles and Orange counties spend more than 30% of their income on housing.

 

  • Housing prices in California increased by 30% between 2000 and 2015 even though average incomes remained the same.

 

  • The average rent for a one bedroom apartment in Los Angeles is $1,995; nearly $2,000, a month.

 

  • The average rent for a two or three bedroom apartment in Los Angeles is now $2,416 a month.

 

  • The number of homeless people in Los Angeles County increased by 17,000 in 2016.

 

  • The number of homeless veterans in Los Angeles County more than doubled. Rising by 57% to 4,828.

 

  • The number of homeless families in Los Angeles increased by 30% in 2016.

 

  • The number of homeless people with a disability or mental illness in Los Angeles increased by 20% in 2016.

 

  • The fastest growing group of homeless was the young. The number of homeless people between ages 18 and 24 on LA’s streets increased by 64% in 2016.
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Is Trump Trying to Cover up Russian Election Hacking?

The Trump Administration might be trying to cover up Russian election hacking by prosecuting a U.S. Citizen.

The NSA detected a cyberattack against a U.S. voter registration software supplier in August 2016; and an attempt to send malware to 122 election officials’ accounts days before the presidential election, The Intercept reported on Monday June 5. The Agency’s experts concluded that Russian military intelligence (GRU) was behind the attack and the emails.

The Intercept story was based on a report leaked to the website by intelligence Reality Winner, The New York Times reported. Winner was arrested and charged with violating the Espionage Act on the day the story broke.

The GRU’s goal was to get control of election computers, the NSA concluded. To achieve that the Russians sent spear-phishing emails containing malware to election officials. The email was designed to look like it came from a software supplier. 

 

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The Republican Voter Suppression Scheme Must be stopped

President Trump and Vice President Mike Pence are planning to deprive millions of Americans of the vote in an effort to keep Republicans in office.

A presidential commission to investigate charges of vote fraud is really a front for a scheme to implement Republican voter suppression tactics nationwide, critics charged. Scathing media coverage indicates that the Republicans’ charges of widespread vote fraud and illegal voting are lies.

News articles; and op-ed pieces, indicate that the Commission might propose legislation that would threaten many Americans’ right to vote to Congress. Some of the harshest criticism includes:

  • There were just four documented cases of vote fraud in the United States in 2016 despite 135 million votes cast, The Washington Post reported.

 

  • A survey of 23.5 million voters in 2016 found that only 30 undocumented aliens had cast ballots, The Chronicle of Higher Education reported. The survey was conducted by the Brenan Center at the New York University School of Law.

 

  • There was no evidence to support president Trump’s allegations that millions of illegal aliens voted, Dartmouth College researchers David Cottrell, Michael C. Herron and Sean J. Westwood concluded; in a research paper.

 

  • The vice chairman of the commission will be Kansas Secretary of State Kris W. Kobach; who championed the strictest voter ID laws in the country, The New York Times reported. Kobach was the chief author of Kansas law that required people to produce a passport, birth certificate or naturalization papers in order to register to vote. Kobach also tried to remove thousands of people from Kansas’s voter rolls.

 

  • The New York Times Editorial Board labeled the panel “Trump’s Fraudulent Voter-Fraud Commission.”

 

  • Guardian writer Steven W. Thrasher went farther and called the commission a “Shameless White Power Grab.” Thrasher is afraid the commission would propose legislation that would disenfranchise millions; or tens of millions, of Latinos and African-Americans.
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Trump-China Connection needs to be Investigated Now

Russia is not the only country with which the Trump family may have improper, unethical and potentially illegal business ties. There is now strong circumstantial evidence that Trump and his family have closer ties to Beijing than Moscow.

Recent news stories have exposed a troubling pattern of questionable Trump business dealings in China. Some evidence of conflicts of interest involving Trump, his children and China includes:

  • The Chinese government granted Ivanka Trump’s company; Trump Marks LLC, four lucrative trademarks on April 7, The Guardian reported. That was the same day her father was meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping at Mir-a-Lago. Trump Marks has at least 32 other trademark applications before the Chinese government.

 

  • Shortly after he won the Presidential election, Donald J. Trump was granted trademark protection for his name in the Chinese construction industry, The Guardian reported. Trump had been fighting for that protection for over 10 years with no success in Chinese courts until he was elected President.

 

  • The Chinese government granted Trump himself 38 trademarks on February 27, 2017, The Guardian reported. The trademarks granted include ones for a bodyguard service, an escort service, hotels and an insurance company.
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4 Reasons Why Trump Should Release His Tax Returns

1. To find out if Trump has paid any federal income taxes.

Many rich people—especially real estate investors like Trump—use tax loopholes to slash their tax bills. We know Trump has paid zero federal income taxes in at least two and in as many as five years since 1979. Separately, he reported a $1 billion loss in the mid-1990s that could have zeroed out his federal taxes for 18 years.

 

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