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Drain the swamp!
#11
Quote:Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price has flown in a private jet at least 24 times on government business while in office, according to a new report on Thursday. Price racked up the equivalent of $300,000 in taxpayer-funded private flights since May, Politico found. He has frequently flown private, rather than commercial, since joining the agency in February. The private flights were found to cost taxpayers thousands more than commercial flights to the same destinations, according to Politico's analysis.
Price spent $300,000 on private plane travel since May: report | TheHill
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#12
Billionaires are out there to get your healthcare:

Quote:The evidence that the GOP is trying to please donors here is adding up. An anonymous Republican senator told Politico that McConnell might be returning to health care to show donors “that the Senate GOP tried again.” Senate Republicans were warned at a private meeting that fundraising was slow because donors were disappointed at their lack of accomplishments, per the New York Times. And in recent months, senators “faced an unrelenting barrage of confrontations with some of their closest supporters, donors and friends” over Obamacare repeal’s failure, according to the Washington Post.

This pressure seems to be able to move votes. One moderate senator, Dean Heller (R-NV), conspicuously switched from being a public critic of repeal efforts to a strong supporter of Graham-Cassidy. That came after he reportedly got an earful from Sheldon Adelson and Steve Wynn, two billionaire GOP donors in his state.

Steve Schmidt, who ran John McCain’s presidential campaign in 2008, told Vox recently that donor concerns seem to be dictating the GOP’s legislative strategy. “There’s not an actual human constituency for any aspect of the Republican Congressional agenda,” Schmidt says. “Instead it’s an inside game that is judged, win or lose, on the basis of which entrenched permanent interests gain advantage or disadvantage, and how that affects the endless fundraising process.”

“You’re voting to reorganize one-sixth of the economy without any sense of how much it costs, or who it’s gonna affect, and with 13 percent approval of it at a national level,” Schmidt continues. “The drivers of it are something other than the voters.”
The GOP can't quit Obamacare repeal because of their donors - Vox

And the law has horrendous consequences, but not for billionaires
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#13
Here is the swamp, a bunch of ideologues that want to put millions out of healthcare coverage, blow up the deficit through wasteful tax cuts for the rich and corporations that will simply flow back to shareholders, from The Hill:

[Image: trumpdinner.jpg?itok=hCwHLurm]

President Trump expressed frustration with Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) for the GOP’s failure to repeal and replace ObamaCare and vowed a “historic” corporate tax cut in a private meeting with conservatives Monday night.
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#14
Quote:Price is far from the only Cabinet member to take private flights however, so his resignation isn’t likely to stem the controversy. Here’s what we know, and what we don’t know. Who is involved? There are at least four Cabinet secretaries under fire for their use of charter or military flights. Price was the most extreme case, as his flights cost taxpayers about $1 million, according to estimates by Politico.

The Treasury Department inspector general is reviewing department head Steven Mnuchin’s use of a private jet in August, as well as why he requested a government plane to take him and his wife, Louise Linton, on their European honeymoon. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Scott Pruitt has also been using private planes for government duties. The Washington Post reportedon Wednesday that Pruitt’s private flights have cost taxpayers more than $58,000.

On Thursday, Politico and The Washington Post reported Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke took a $12,000 charter flight aboard a plane owned by oil-and-gas executives. They also reported on at least three other occasions of private jet travel since Zinke was confirmed, including to the Virgin Islands, before hurricanes Irma and Maria hit.
Veterans Affairs Secretary David Shulkin is also coming under scrutiny for combining personal travel in Europe with an official trip, all paid for with taxpayer money. While Shulkin flew commercial, the government paid for both he and his wife's flight and a per-diem for both their meals. The trip also came less than two weeks after he signed a memo instructing top VA staffers to determine whether “employee travel in their organization is essential.”
Trump’s Cabinet and charter flights: What we know and don’t know | TheHill
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#15
Quote:The request came a day after a joint investigation from the Washington Post and CBS' "60 Minutes," which concluded that Congress and the drug industry fueled the opioid crisisOne of the most instrumental people, the investigation found, was Rep. Tom Marino of Pennsylvania, a Republican whom Trump nominated to lead the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, a position commonly referred to as the nation's "drug czar."

Specifically, Marino introduced a bill in 2014 that made it harder for the Drug Enforcement Administration to enforce laws that would keep opioids from being diverted to people who might abuse them. A version of the bill became law in 2016.

The Post called it "the crowning achievement of a multifaceted campaign by the drug industry to weaken aggressive DEA enforcement efforts against drug distribution companies that were supplying corrupt doctors and pharmacists who peddled narcotics to the black market."
Joe Manchin asks Trump to withdraw Tom Marino drug czar nomination - Business Insider

Drain the Swamp!..
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#16
This is beyond belief:

Quote:The $300 million contract that was awarded to a tiny electrical firm in Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke's small Montana hometown to help rebuild Puerto Rico's power grid was revealed on Friday. And it contained some startling terms. 

First reported by Daily Beast contributor Ken Klippenstein, the contract awarded to Whitefish Energy seems to heavily favor the company.
As Klippenstein noted, the contract includes:
  • $79.82 per person for food each day
  • $332.41 per person for accommodations each day
  • More than $40,000 for helicopter-related services
  • It states that, "In no event shall [government bodies] have the right to audit or review the cost and profit elements."
  • And that the Puerto Rican government "waives any claim against contractor related to delayed completion of work."
The contract was causing alarm for some in the days that preceded its release. Whitefish Energy, a two-year-old energy company from Zinke's hometown, had just two employees prior to being awarded the contract last month by Puerto Rico's quasi-public utility, PREPA, to fix part of the island's power grid that was destroyed by Hurricane Maria. The contract was awarded without a competitive bidding processReuters reported, which drew criticism from lawmakers who are now looking into the deal.

Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee Chair Lisa Murkowski, an Alaska Republican, has vowed to hold a hearing on the contract. Of note is that Zinke happened to call Murkowski earlier this year and threaten to withhold funding for Alaska if she did not vote in favor of the Republican healthcare bill, which she did not.
The craziest terms of the $300 million contract given to Whitefish to fix Puerto Rico's power - Business Insider

A company who has just two(!) employees wins the contract to rebuild the Puerto Rico power grid, and it just happens to be from the tiny little hometown of the Interior Secretary...

And then the conditions, basically f**ing Puerto Rico over twice..

Drain the swamp!
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#17
Quote:The Trump administration said Thursday it would exit an international effort to fight corruption that targeted revenue from oil and natural gas extraction. The U.S. will no longer participate in the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI), a global initiative that requires member nations to disclose their revenues from oil, gas and mining assets, according to Reuters. Under the agreement, the U.S. was required to reveal all the revenue it received from oil, gas and mining companies, and required those companies to publicly disclose the payments they make to the U.S. and other governments.
US backs out of global oil anti-corruption effort | TheHill
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#18
Quote:Special counsel Robert Mueller has reportedly compiled enough evidence to bring charges against former national security adviser Michael Flynn and his son, Michael Flynn Jr., according to NBC News. The evidence relates to Flynn's lobbying work throughout the latter half of 2016 — while he was a top Trump campaign surrogate — for a businessman with ties to the Turkish governmentFlynn did not register with the US Justice Department as a foreign agent until March 2017

Mueller's mandate gives him permission to investigate "any matters" that arise out of his investigation into Russia's election interference and whether the Trump campaign colluded with Moscow. The possibility of Flynn indictments suggests Mueller's Russia investigation isn't slowing down anytime soon. Last Monday, Trump's campaign chairman, Paul Manafort, and Manafort's former business associate, Rick Gates, pleaded not guilty after a grand jury indicted them on 12 counts. 

Trump waited nearly three weeks to fire Flynn after former acting Attorney General Sally Yates warned him that Flynn could be vulnerable to Russian blackmail over his conversations with former Russian ambassador Sergei Kislyak. Trump also ignored advice by President Barack Obama — who fired Flynn as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2014 — to steer clear of him entirely. The president asked former FBI director James Comey to "let go" of the FBI's investigation into Flynn's activities during a February meeting shortly after Flynn was forced to resign. 

Flynn Jr. appears to have been closely associated with his father's work. In addition to co-founding and working for Flynn Intel Group, he joined Flynn during a trip to Moscow in December 2015, NBC News reported, during which Flynn was paid $34,000 to deliver a speech at an event celebrating the state-sponsored news agency RT. A former business associate of Michael Flynn's told NBC News that Flynn Jr. had a prominent role in Flynn Intel Group's day-to-day operations and served as his father's chief of staff. Mueller's additional focus on Flynn Jr. is likely an attempt to coerce his father's cooperation in the investigation, legal experts have said. This possibility may be especially significant given that Flynn declined a new request in September to testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee.
Mueller reportedly has enough evidence to indict Michael Flynn - Business Insider

Drain the swamp, huh?
  • Manafort, Gates, Flynn, and Flynn Jr. all shady characters lobbying for foreigner powers and making millions of it (in Manaforts case with multiple passports and dozens of foreign bank accounts and shady constructions). Most of this was known in advance, especially Manafort shady dealings with the pro-Russian camp in Ukraine. Trump argued that he would only appoint the best people..
  • And Trump not only appointing them, but in the case of Flynn ignoring sound advice not to appoint him national security adviser and pressuring the head of the FBI not to investigate him.
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#19
Law making in exchange for political donations. Pay to play, Republican style..

Quote:Yet the bill is still expected to pass the House. Why? Consider this comment from Rep. Chris Collins (R-NY), one of those New York Republicans who theoretically might be upset that his constituents would be expected to lose under the GOP bill.

Quote:.@RepChrisCollins (R-NY) on tax reform: "My donors are basically saying, 'Get it done or don’t ever call me again.'"
— Cristina Marcos (@cimarcos) November 7, 2017

The Republican donor class — i.e., corporate and wealthy America — expects Republican lawmakers to pass a Republican tax bill. It’s as simple as that. We know donor pressure is a big reason that Republicans kept trying to repeal Obamacare. But they still failed. Tax reform is their next — and maybe last — chance to deliver a big legislative victory. Republicans know it..
House Republican: my donors told me to pass the tax bill “or don’t ever call me again” - Vox
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#20
Drain the swamp! Oh, sorry, no, this was the "good guy" for which Trump interceded with the FBI asking to let him go. And when they didn't, he fired the head of the FBI..

Quote:The special counsel Robert Mueller is investigating an alleged plan that Michael Flynn, the former White House national security adviser, discussed with the Turkish government to forcibly remove a Muslim cleric from the US, The Wall Street Journal reported on Friday. Citing "people with knowledge of discussions" between Flynn and Turkish representatives, The Journal reported that Flynn and his son were to be paid as much as $15 million by the Turkish government. NBC News reported earlier this week that Mueller had compiled enough evidence to bring charges against Flynn and his son related to lobbying work last year.
Mueller probing alleged Flynn-Turkey deal to hand over cleric living in US - Business Insider
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