TRUMP IS WHAT WE GET WHEN WE SELL OFF OUR DEMOCRACY.
We’re coming to the end of what might be called the anti-democracy decade. It began on 21 January 2010 with the supreme court’s shameful decision in Citizens United vs Federal Election Commission, opening the floodgates to big money in politics with the absurd claim that the first amendment protects corporate speech.
It ends with Donald Trump in the White House, filling his administration with corporate shills and inviting foreign powers to interfere in American elections.
Trump is the consequence rather than the cause of the anti-democratic decade. By the 2016 election, the richest 100th of 1% of Americans – 24,949 very wealthy people – accounted for a record-breaking 40% of all campaign contributions.
That same year, corporations flooded the presidential, Senate and House elections with $3.4bn in donations. Labor unions no longer provided any countervailing power, contributing only $213m – one union dollar for every 16 corporate.
Big corporations and the super-wealthy lavished their donations on the Republican party because Republicans promised them a giant tax cut. As Lindsey Graham warned his colleagues, “financial contributions will stop” if the GOP didn’t come through.
The investments paid off big. Pfizer, whose 2016 contributions to the GOP totaled $16m, will reap an estimated $39bn in tax savings by 2022. GE contributed $20m and will get back $16bn. Chevron donated $13m and will receive $9bn.
Groups supported by Charles and the late David Koch spent more than $20m promoting the tax cut, which will save them and their heirs between $1bn and $1.4bn every year.
Not even a sizzling economy could match these returns.
The tax cut has contributed to record corporate profits but almost nothing has trickled down. Companies have spent most of their extra cash on stock buybacks and dividends. This has given the stock market a sugar high but left little for average workers.
Such workers have been shafted. Despite the longest economic expansion in modern history, real wages have barely risen. The share of corporate profits going to workers still isn’t back to where it was before the 2008 financial crisis. Never in the history of economic data have corporate profits outgrown employee compensation so clearly and for so long.
The so-called “free market” has been taken over by crony capitalism, corporate bailouts and corporate welfare.
Citizens United itself is a corporate front group, founded by a Washington political consultant and backed by major funding from the Kochs. In 2008 it sought to broadcast TV ads for a film criticizing Hillary Clinton, in direct violation of the 2002 McCain-Feingold Act, which barred corporations from buying ads mentioning candidates immediately preceding elections.
After the case made it to the supreme court, Justice Anthony Kennedy – defying all logic and reason – declared for the court that “independent expenditures, including those made by corporations, do not give rise to corruption or the appearance of corruption”.
Tell that to most Americans. Confidence in political institutions has plummeted. In 1964, just 29% of Americans believed government was “run by a few big interests looking out for themselves”. By 2013, 79% believed it. In Rasmussen polls in autumn 2014, 63% thought most members of Congress were willing to sell their vote for either cash or a campaign contribution and 59% thought it likely their representative already had.
“Big business, elite media and major donors are lining up behind the campaign of my opponent because they know she will keep our rigged system in place,” he charged at the Republican convention in 2016.
He then rode the rigging all the way into the Oval Office.
House Democrats have begun with their For the People Act, the first legislation they introduced when they gained a majority. It expands voting rights, limits partisan gerrymandering, strengthens ethics rules and limits the influence of private donor money by providing $6 of public financing for every $1 of small donations, up to $200, raised by participating candidates.
On the other hand, a second Trump term could make the anti-democracy decade a mere prelude to the wholesale destruction of American democracy.
Trump couldn’t care less. As he said in 2016: “I give money to everybody, even the Clintons, because that’s how the system works.”
These might have been the most honest words ever to come out of his mouth.
There is a great deal of talk and rhetoric on both sides as to whether or not President Trump should face impeachment A president cannot be impeached just because you do not like their policies.
Reality is that President Trump potentially broke the law. He has clearly obstructed justice and hampered the investigation. Should he be REMOVED from the presidency for these acts? That is a tough question. What is important is the message is sends to future presidents and elected officials. That NO ONE is above the law.
Only two presidents in U.S. history have been impeached — Andrew Johnson in 1868 and Bill Clinton in 1998 — and neither was removed from office. A third president, Richard Nixon, resigned in 1974 before facing an impeachment vote, but not before articles of impeachment were drafted. Mr. Trump is now the fourth president in U.S. history to face a formal impeachment process.
The Constitution says presidents and other federal officials can be impeached for “Treason, Bribery and other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.” No president has faced impeachment articles for treason or bribery; all impeachment cases so far came down to what Congress considered to be “High Crimes and Misdemeanors.”
The phrase “High Crimes and Misdemeanors” is not defined in the Constitution, leaving it up to Congress to decide what qualifies in any particular case. Historians and legal scholars say it’s generally understood to mean a serious abuse of the public trust.
The Democrat-controlled House has not drafted impeachment articles against Mr. Trump or held an official impeachment vote, so it’s not clear what specific allegations might be included. After the House began its impeachment inquiry hearings, top House Democrats have said they have evidence of briberyand obstruction.
Here a look at what led to presidents in the past facing impeachment:
How impeachment works
The House has the power to impeach the president, and the Senate, in a separate process, then decides whether to remove an impeached president from office.
The House drafts articles of impeachment outlining the president’s alleged offenses, and can vote to impeach him with a simple majority vote on any of the articles. However, impeachment in the House is not enough to remove a president from office.
The Senate then holds an impeachment trial, and ultimately votes on whether to convict or acquit the president on the articles approved by the House. A two-thirds majority of senators would need to vote for conviction in order to remove the president.
Johnson, a Democrat from Tennessee, was President Abraham Lincoln’s running mate for Lincoln’s second term. Just 42 days after becoming vice president, Johnson ascended to the presidency following Lincoln’s assassination in April 1865. This put him in charge of a country still reeling from the Civil War, and he was soon clashing with Congress over how to handle Reconstruction.
Johnson favored a lenient approach to the former Confederate states and shocked lawmakers with some of his vetoes, including his veto of a bill that would have provided food, shelter and aid to newly freed African Americans and Southern refugees.
The final straw came in 1868, when Johnson fired Secretary of War Edwin Stanton, a Lincoln appointee who opposed Johnson’s approach to Reconstruction. House Republicans said this violated the Tenure of Office Act, a law passed one year earlier that said the Senate must approve the president’s dismissal of a cabinet member he appointed. (Johnson vetoed that bill, but Congress overrode him. The Supreme Court ruled in 1926 that the Tenure of Office Act was invalid, and it is no longer enforced.)
What did the impeachment articles say?
In February 1868, the House voted in favor of an impeachment resolution against Johnson. A week later, the House adopted 11 articles of impeachment.
Most of the articles centered on Johnson’s dismissal of Stanton, alleging that the move defied the Senate and violated the Constitution. One article accused Johnson of unlawfully ordering that all military orders had to come from the General of the Army.
Another article said Johnson gave speeches that attempted “to bring into disgrace, ridicule, hatred, contempt and reproach, the Congress of the United States.” That article said Johnson had declared “with a loud voice, certain intemperate, inflammatory and scandalous harangues,” and that he had uttered “loud threats and bitter menace” toward Congress.
The text of the impeachment articles repeatedly said that Johnson was “unmindful of the high duties of his oath of office.”
What was the outcome?
Only three of the impeachment articles were voted on by the Senate — two about the appointment of Stanton’s replacement, and one about insulting and disrupting Congress.
On each of these three articles, the Senate acquitted Johnson by a single vote. He remained in office until 1869, leaving after one term when he failed to win his own party’s nomination.
Nixon, a Republican, resigned before facing a formal impeachment vote. But he was the first president since Johnson to have impeachment articles drafted against him.
The impeachment process for Nixon started in October 1973, after the Watergate scandal had dragged on for more than a year.
Nixon consistently resisted House subpoenas as the Watergate investigation intensified. The impeachment process began just days after the “Saturday Night Massacre,” when Nixon fired the special prosecutor investigating Watergate, Archibald Cox, and accepted the resignations of Attorney General Elliot Richardson and Deputy Attorney General William Ruckelshaus.
In the impeachment proceedings, Nixon was not directly implicated in the break-in of the Democratic National Committee headquarters in Washington. Rather, the focus was on his efforts to obstruct the Watergate investigation.
The first said Nixon had worked with subordinates to “delay, impede, and obstruct the investigation” into the Watergate break-in to “cover up, conceal and protect those responsible; and to conceal the existence and scope of other unlawful covert activities.”
The second article said the president had “repeatedly engaged in conduct violating the constitutional rights of citizens” by “impairing the due and proper administration of justice and the conduct of lawful inquiries.”
The third article focused on Nixon’s resistance of subpoenas from the House committee. It said the president had “interposed the powers of the Presidency against the lawful subpoenas of the House of Representatives, thereby assuming to himself functions and judgments necessary to the exercise of the sole power of impeachment vested by the Constitution in the House of Representatives.”
What was the outcome?
The House Judiciary Committee approved all three articles, but the articles never reached a full House vote. An impeachment seemed inevitable after the U.S. Supreme Court ordered the White House to release the tape of a phone call that showed Nixon had ordered a cover-up of Watergate. Even the Republican House leader said he would vote to impeach Nixon.
Nixon resigned on August 9, 1974. He became the first, and so far only, U.S. president to resign. And even though he was not technically impeached, he was also the first president to leave office due to an impeachment process.
More than 130 years after Johnson’s impeachment, Clinton, a Democrat, became the second president to be impeached.
Clinton’s impeachment process sprouted from the Starr Report — the result of a four-year independent counsel investigation into his administration — and from a lawsuit filed by Paula Jones, a woman accusing Clinton of sexual misconduct.
In a deposition for the Jones lawsuit, Clinton falsely claimed that he did not have a sexual relationship with White House intern Monica Lewinsky. The Starr Report said Clinton tried to cover up his affair with Lewinsky, and had pressured his secretary Betty Currie to repeat his denials.
The first article that passed said Clinton had provided “perjurious, false and misleading testimony” to a grand jury in the Jones case. It was approved in a 228–206 vote.
The second approved article, which passed with a 221–212 vote, said Clinton had “obstructed justice in an effort to delay, impede, cover up and conceal the existence of evidence related to the Jones case.”
An article for a second perjury count, and another article accusing Clinton of abuse of power, failed to get a majority vote.
Clinton was impeached in December 1998.
What was the outcome?
A Republican-controlled Senate acquitted Clinton on both charges in February 1999. The Senate trial resulted in 45 “guilty” votes for perjury and 50 “guilty” votes on obstruction — both short of the two-thirds vote needed to convict and remove the president.
All 45 Democrats in the Senate voted “not guilty” on both charges, and several Republicans joined them, with some arguing that Clinton did not deserve to be removed from the White House for these offenses.
Clinton remained in office and completed his second term.
Monday night, November 4th I flew back from London. As my flight landed in Boston I saw I had a text from my friend Dave. He simply said, “give me a call when you get a chance”.
I spoke to him for about 20 minutes as I waited for my luggage. Just touching base. He had been fighting leukemia for 5 years and was headed back into the hospital. He had picked up an infection.
On Tuesday we spoke briefly again. I had seen something that I knew Dave would find funny. We shared a laugh and said we would speak next week.
On Saturday November 9th at 8:08 AM David took his last breath. Although his final words were not documented rest assured they were likely wildly inappropriate and probably sarcastic.
As soon as I heard I called my wife and then a few other people who would want to know. There was a text message chain going around and it was soon apparent that Dave had spoken to many of us in the week before his death. He knew, but didn’t tell us, that he was going to die. He knew that we would feel guilty if we didn’t speak to him before he died. So he called us.
As I headed into work last week my phone rang. The caller ID said it was him. My first thought was- What a great practical joke. This is definitely something he would do. Then I thought- HOLY CRAP, A call from the dead. How did Dave pull that off? He’s got serious connections! I tentatively answered the phone. It was Kate, Dave’s wife. He had left a list of people to call. To see how WE were doing. He wanted to make sure we were Ok.
That is just Dave. Even in death, wanting to make sure we were ok. Wanting to make sure that we knew he loved us.
Dave had a wide circle of friends. People he knew from gymnastics both as a competitor and then a coach, from his time as a school teacher, a chiropractor, a skater, or just a guy in the neighborhood. We all may have met him in different places but we all know his sense of humor. His ability to make even the most benign situations funny or a funny situation inappropriate.
He loved Kate, he loved his family, he loved his friends and he loved French Fries. Not necessarily in that order.
Dave liked clean endings but everyone has regrets in life. His regrets were few but may include mixing tequila shots and Yuengling and a hot dog of questionable origin at a camp in Huguenot, NY.
Dave was active and loved music, dancing, roller skating, and gymnastics. If there was music on he was moving to it. He was the DJ at my wedding reception. Every time the music slowed down and I walked by- he thrust a drink into my hand and we toasted. After the reception my wife and I went off on our honeymoon. Apparently the reception after party he helped organize lasted for days in our apartment. We found empty bottles in cabinets, under the couch, in closets for about a year. They put our LIVE fish in a blender! (thankfully never plugged it in and turned it on).
On Tuesday, November 19 we held an informal celebration of his life at the Harlem Tavern in NYC. People came in from New Hampshire, WAY upstate NY, Virginia, Maryland, Connecticut, and throughout NYC and the boroughs.
It was really great seeing everyone. People who I grew up with but haven’t seen in decades. I met people Dave had gone to pre-school with. I met his sister who I had never met. People from around his neighborhood. People from the NYC skating scene.
There was laughter, tears, stories, more tears, more laughter and a potential for too much alcohol and some bad decisions. Dave would have been proud.
Dave never wanted to be the center of attention. He was more the guy on the side making wise ass comments. Someone put a photo of Dave in a glass. We toasted with him often.
It is heartbreaking to think that many of us are not going to see each other until someone else dies.
Dave was the one who kept us in touch through e-mails and text messages.
When I die I hope I face it with the dignity, compassion and pure thoughtfulness that he did.
I hope that I am able to make an impact in as many lives as he did. And continues to do.
While I was on the train back from NYC the person sitting next to me noticed I was upset (and possibly REALLY hungover). I told her I was heading home after a celebration of life for a friend who had passed. Her toddler asked, “Mom, what is dying?”
What is dying I am standing on the seashore, a ship sails in the morning breeze and starts for the ocean. She is an object of beauty and I stand watching her till at last she fades on the horizon and someone at my side says: “She is gone.” Gone! Where? Gone from my sight that is all. She is just as large in the masts, hull and spars as she was when I saw her, and just as able to bear her load of living freight to its destination. The diminished size and total loss of sight is in me, not in her, and just at the moment when someone at my side says, “She is gone” there are others who are watching her coming, and other voices take up a glad shout: “There she comes!” and that is dying.
May you rest in peace my friend. We all loved you.
It feels like it should be a bigger story that the world’s most powerful man is nuts.
I really try not to post political stuff. I almost wish I was more oblivious to what was going on. This is just too crazy.
The original article was in ESQUIRE
It pretty much says it all that there was another Presidential Episode on Tuesday and it was barely a blip on the radar. These spectacles, where the world’s most powerful man rants and raves like a guy with whom you’d studiously avoid eye contact on public transportation, happen so regularly that nobody even much remarks on it anymore. Just a fact of American life. Oh, that’s just the president again! You see, Mr. Good Brain went to Pennsylvania yesterday to give a speech that was purportedly on the topic of energy, but which swiftly devolved into a festival of personal grievance and kaleidoscopic delusion. So the usual.
The brain, it is good. It was even gooder when he expressed amazement at the turnout for an 11 o’clock speech when it was, in fact, 2:40 p.m.
But the really reassuring stuff came via the insane lying. As a champion bullshitter, Donald Trump is quite adept at convincing himself of something as he makes it up with the intent of convincing others. The truth is whatever you can get enough people to believe, including yourself. And it appears that the president has thoroughly convinced himself that he is responsible for a program that was signed into law in 2014.
As a refresher, Trump was not president in 2014. His political career was primarily contained to suggesting the first black president was actually Kenyan, and thus illegitimate. (Not a racist bone in his body, etc. etc.) But the really astounding thing is he’s told this lie 80 (eighty!) times and shows no sign of slowing down. He is an unstoppable force of fabrication, and The Lamestream Liberal Fake News Media has not exactly proven itself to be an immovable object. At some point, he says the same false thing so many times that people just give up.
Welcome to August! Some are getting ready to head back to school. Some are just trying to get the most out of what is left of their summer.
For no particular reason- here are some facts:
1. A chipotle pepper is just a dried and smoked jalapeño.
And an ancho chile is a dried poblano.
2. Sour Patch Kids and Swedish Fish have the same base.
Sour Patch Kids are just pumped into a different mold and finished with a sour coating.
3. “Double Stuf” Oreos don’t actually have twice the creme filling.
A math teacher crunched the numbers and concluded they only have 1.86x.
4. Flamin’ Hot Cheetos were invented by a janitor who was working at the Frito-Lay plant.
Richard Montañez pitched his idea to Frito-Lay’s CEO in 1976 and went on to become an exec VP at PepsiCo. There’s even a movie in the works about his story.
5. Cilantro and fresh coriander are the same thing. They’re just two different names to describe the same plant. (There are also coriander seeds — which come from the plant too, and you can find them whole or ground up into spices.)
6. Spam is named for the combination of the words “spice” and “ham.”
And not, as urban legend would say: Scientifically Processed Animal Matter.
7. Kit Kats are filled with broken Kit Kats. The Kit Kats that get damaged during production are crunched up into a paste, then given a ~second life~ inside other Kit Kats.
8. Rhubarb leaves are poisonous in large doses.
The raw leaves contain oxalic acid, among other things. And if you eat a TON of them — or several pounds worth — it can be lethal.
9. McDonalds nuggets come in four distinctive shapes.
This is “to ensure consistent cooking times for food safety in all McDonald’s restaurants”, according to McD’s.
10. Bananas are berries — and strawberries are not. Botanically speaking, that is.
11. Honey never goes bad. As long as you properly store it sealed and in a dry place.
12. Pound cake got its name because the original recipe contained one pound of each main ingredient. That’s four pounds (!) total — of butter, sugar, eggs, and flour.
13. Brussels sprouts, kale, broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, and kohlrabi all come from the same plant.
Brassica oleracea was selectively bred over hundreds of years to create dozens of very different vegetables.
14. Allspice isn’t actually a mix of other spices.Although it smells like cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves, Allspice is a fruit picked from a tree — then dried and sold either as whole “berries” or ground up into its own spice.
15. All Froot Loops technically taste the same, no matter what color they are.I still like the red ones best, FWIW. 🙃
16. Asparagus grows straight out of the ground.
17. In 2018, Nabisco redesigned its iconic animal crackers box after PETA flagged it.
The new design uncages the animals and puts them in the wild.
18. The biggest difference between jam and jelly? Jam is made with fruit — and jelly is made with fruit juice.
Jam is made with fruit, sugar, and often pectin (a thickener). Jelly is made with fruit juice, sugar, and pectin. Another way to remember it? Jam is chunky — it’ll have mashed fruit pieces in it; whereas jelly is a smooth spread.
19. Most raw oysters are still alive when you eat them. In fact, oysters are stored under very regulated conditions because once they die, they are no longer considered safe to eat.
20. Red, yellow, and green bell peppers are all the same vegetable. They’re just at different stages of development. Bell peppers also have more vitamin C than oranges.
21. Haribo green gummy bears aren’t lime or green apple flavored. (They’re strawberry.)
And the red ones, apparently, are raspberry. o.O
22. Loofahs — aka: shower scrubbers — are made from gourds.
Specifically: the (aptly-named!) sponge gourds and luffa gourds.
23. Tootsie Rolls start out as giant 13-pound logs that are then shaped down to their mini size.
And they’re still made using their original recipe from 1896.
Did one of these blow your mind?
What’s your favorite random food fact? Share in the comments!
It’s a rare kind of person who actually enjoys going to the airport. Between the long security lines, flight delays, scarce food offerings and generally unhappy people, there’s very little to relish about the experience.
But at least you can laugh (and tweet) about it. We’ve rounded up 45 too-real tweets about the hell that is the airport.
every time I go to the airport, my gate is the longest walk possible. If I’m gate 48, the gates start at 1. If I’m gate 1, the gates start at 48 and go backwards. What are these other gates in between even? Are these actors
Hi, I am the recreational airport walker! I don’t have anywhere in particular to be. I just like to come here to the airport and stroll around at a leisurely pace while remaining blissfully unaware of my surroundings. I like to stretch my arms all the way across the escalator and
tsa security agent: wow, that’s a lot of rings!
me: haha yeah
tsa: are you married?
me: nope !
tsa: well, what are you going to do when you get married?
me: MAYBE I WON’T EVER GET MARRIED !!!!!! THEN I WOULDN’T HAVE ANYTHING TO WORRY ABOUT!
tsa: …. have a nice day