Tag Archives: Steven Mnuchin

Why govern within your means nationally when there are children to terrorize over a few bucks?

New Tacos at Burger King– Just $0.99!!!

^^Parents will feast on this economic option to help keep kids from the State’s clutches. In its eternal mission to emulate the federal government by creating and solving novel problems at great public expense, Pennsylvania school district Wyoming Valley West is using delinquent lunch money balances to justify seizing children from their parents.

About 1,000 parents got a written reprimand recently that included the passage: You can be sent to dependency court for neglecting your child’s right to food. The result may be your child being taken from your home and placed in foster care.”

Apparently, the school was preparing the children for a lifetime of welfare dependency by feeding them for free when their parents sent them to government-mandated (also under threat of legal penalty) day camp without lunch money. The district is now out a cool $22,000–and planning to collect.

Amidst national backlash, school attorney Charles Coslett (above), who railed against the “nanny-state mentality” in the Philadelphia Enquirer, mused, “Hopefully, [this] gets their attention and it certainly did, didn’t it?”

School district officials say they plan to pursue other legal avenues to get the lunch money, such as filing a district court complaint or placing liens on properties.

La Colombe coffee CEO Todd Carmichael was unable to add to the “Philanthropic Endeavors” section on his Wikipedia page: the district rejected his check for the balance.

Upon speaking with the school board president Joseph Mazur, La Colombe’s “consultant” Aren Platt was also snubbed.

Mazur said that he believed most of the families who owed money could afford the debt, and that it was their responsibility to pay. “His counter was, ‘These are affluent families who just want to get something for free,’” said Platt. “This wasn’t ever about repayment of a debt. It was about shaming people.”

It was also quite the departure from the cushy offerings of Warwick, RI’s school district, which provided non-paying students a sunflower butter and jelly sandwich, a carton of milk, the vegetable of the day and a piece of fruit until their parents settled the balance.

That district’s $77,000 loss was ultimately covered by local citizens Cait Clement and Angelica Penta’s fundraising efforts, with a bump from yogurt manufacturer Chobani.

Enquirer:

Federal law mandates school districts offer children food even when they have unpaid bills for school lunches.

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Sonny Perdue’s Department of Agriculture is reportedly slow-walking politically unpalatable results of climate change studies by discouraging its Agricultural Research Service from promoting the papers. Politico reports USDA casually “sought to prevent dissemination of the findings” by University of Washington of a two-year effort–in collaboration with USDA’s own scientists, as well as those of Japan, China and Australia–that allegedly suggests increased atmospheric carbon dioxide decreases the nutritional content of rice.

This included pulling a planned ARS release of the headline, and warning UW to similarly sit on the results.

Apparently, there are relatively few climate-related articles publicized by ARS to begin with. But Politico notes the only two that warranted a press release under Trump played more to the interests of Big Meat than Average American Who Should Stop Eating Meat for Health Reasons Alone, But Also the Planet.

Of these two, [o]ne found that beef production makes a relatively small contribution to greenhouse gas emissions and another that removing animal products from the diet for environmental reasons would likely cause widespread nutritional problems.

In other agri-news, Vox reported Arkansas is trying to join Mississippi and Missouri in outlawing plant-based imitation meats from being labeled “veggie burger.”

Arkansas, which is being sued by the dream team of Tofurkey/ACLU, also endeavors to ban “soy milk” labels, ostensibly because ignorant consumers might be suddenly hoodwinked into thinking the product–available since 1916, according to soyinfocenter–is actually cow’s milk.


The legislator who introduced the [Arkansas] bill, David Hillman, said that his aim was to “protect the agricultural producers in this state”.

Of the Mississippi bill earlier this year, Vox noted: “This bill will protect our cattle farmers from having to compete with products not harvested from an animal,” said Mississippi Farm Bureau Federation president Mike McCormick in January when the bill passed in the Mississippi state House.

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Trump tweeted Monday evening that oily Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin colluded with Congressional “leadership” to shit out another deficit-expanding, government-growing list of liabilities for the younger generation (discretionary spending measure), just in time to avoid denying Congress their six-week recess that starts Friday.

Democratic leaders Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (NY) and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (CA) gushed in a statement that the anticipated signing of their fiscal negligence will “invest in middle class priorities and well being of the American people.”

Reason notes the budget could add as much as $2 trillion to the national debt over the next decade, according to the Committee for a Responsible Federal Budget (CRFB), a nonpartisan groups that favors balanced budgets.

Pending Trump’s signature, Congress will have “raised the roof” to suspend the debt ceiling until mid-2021. Despite the added trillions, The Hill is casting the monstrosity as “the $320 billion deal,” presumably because that will be this year’s hike in discretionary spending (which pales in comparison to the entitlement spending that consumes most federal confiscation).

Some buzz-worthy provisions of the latest “fuck you” to everyone under age 50 reportedly include over $20,000,000,000 for the VA Mission Act (the Feds’ latest bumbling attempt to provide veterans health care through non-VA alternatives, pushed by Pelosi herself as an extra non-Defense priority); more vague initiatives for the nation to spend its way out of the opioid epidemic; and $2,500,000,000 for the 2020 census (to more accurately round citizens up for confiscation when the creditors come knocking).

Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) last month got just 22 votes of the 60 required for cloture to hold a vote on his plan to balance the budget by cutting just 2% of spending. It reportedly would have protected Social Security (currently projected to slash benefits in 2035 due to insolvency, per CRFB), all while keeping the evil Trump tax cuts intact. Presidential aspirants Bernie Sanders (I-VT), Kamala Harris (D-CA), Corey Booker (D-NJ) and Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) were among nine who didn’t show up for the cloture vote.

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.yahoo.com/news/parents-told-could-lose-kids-173048837.html

https://www.inquirer.com/news/school-lunch-debt-foster-care-pennsylvania-todd-carmichael-la-colombe-20190723.html

https://www.politico.com/story/2019/06/23/agriculture-department-climate-change-1376413

https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2019/7/22/20706073/arkansas-tofurky-veggie-burger-ban-aclu

http://www.soyinfocenter.com/HSS/soymilk1.php

https://www.vox.com/future-perfect/2019/7/3/20680731/mississippi-veggie-burgers-illegal-meatless-meat

https://thehill.com/policy/finance/454206-trump-backs-two-year-budget-deal?userid=115887

https://reason.com/2019/07/22/possible-budget-deal-will-add-2-trillion-to-the-national-debt/

http://www.rollcall.com/news/congress/pelosi-extra-veterans-health-care-funds-needed-in-debt-deal

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/republicans-join-democrats-to-kill-rand-pauls-fiscally-responsible-pennies-plan-because-no-one-cares-about-the-debt-crisis

https://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=116&session=1&vote=00130#position

http://www.crfb.org/papers/analysis-2019-social-security-trustees-report

https://thehill.com/homenews/morning-report/454245-the-hills-morning-report

Game of Federal Government Drones

2019 is scheduled to deliver more rough times for the uninvited purveyor of your junk mail. USPS‘ first quarter report reveals a $2.08 billion loss, which is even worse than fourth quarter 2018, which noted a net loss of “$1.5 billion, an increase […] of nearly $1.0 billion compared to the same quarter last year.”

In February’s report for October through December 2018, Megan Brennan, Postmaster General Extraordinaire (below), helms an already sinking ship whose Marketing Mail (which comprises the following tree-destroying garbage “non-first class” items: printed matter, flyers, circulars, advertising, newsletters, bulletins, catalogs and small parcels) explosion of $553 million to the bank was more than negated by “increases in compensation and benefits of $657 million”…

CFO Joseph Corbett, oblivious to basic math, bemoaned the “increases in transportation costs due to these higher volumes.” Fortunately (?), quarter one of 2019 saw marketing mail revenue fall by 3.9%.

Trump’s “Task Force on the United States Postal System,” chaired by entitled Treasury thug Steven Mnuchin, reported last year that “ USPS has been losing money for more than a decade and is on an unsustainable financial path.” The recommendations knocked Brennan for her apparent micromanagement deficiency, noting “USPS suffers from a lack of institutional governance. […] Between December 2016 and August 2018, the USPS Board of Governors (the Board) had no Governors [;] […] the Postmaster General managed the USPS’s financial and operational challenges without strategic direction and guidance, exacerbating management’s limited power to effect needed organizational change[.]”

Interestingly, according to CBS News, the report, which we did not read in its entirety, suggests a “new pricing model that [TRIGGER WARNING: CAPITALIST IDEAS AHEAD] would remove current price caps and charge market-based prices for mail and packages that were not deemed to be ‘essential postal services[,]’ [which] could raise costs for Amazon […]”

The evil e-commerce empire itself, incidentally, contributed to the report.

For the Bernie Sanders enthusiasts, the report also warned against any misguided foray into banking by the ailing office: “[G]iven the USPS’s narrow expertise and capital limitations, USPS should not pursue expanding into new sectors, such as postal banking, where the USPS does not have a demonstrated competency or comparative advantage [.]” [our emphasis]

The USPS website fancies the organization as “at the core of the $1.4 trillion U.S. mailing industry that employs more than 7.5 million people.” Their self-reported $70.6 billion in revenue (which, again, fails to cover USPS’ expenses) comes out to about 5% of that $1.4 trillion.

Citizens Against Government Waste reports USPS has lost $70 billion in since 2007.

In January, the price of a “forever” stamp for first class mail was hiked by 10%, to $0.55.

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A pulmonary function lab at Duke University admitted to violating the False Claims Act by defrauding the federal government and is paying heavily. After canning a lab technician, Erin Potts-Kant, for embezzlement from Duke (that they’ll be sure to notice; gotta maintain the bottom line. for the children), the institution “discovered possible research misconduct in 2013[.]” The “misconduct” consisted of Potts-Kant’s lab bagging millions in NIH and EPA grants based on falsified data.

Erin Potts-Kant was supposed to certify the validity of the unit’s work and ensure that it fulfilled government requirements. But instead, the suit state[s], “Potts-Kant engaged in systematic and near-universal research fraud,” including, in some cases, making up data outright “in lieu of actually performing experiments.”

NPR reported in March that 17 scientific papers building on the bogus findings were forced to be retracted. The ruse also helped Potts-Kant co-author and publish 38 articles in scholarly journals with her fellow Duke researchers — which were, in turn, cited in 417 other articles when the suit was filed in 2013.

The university must pay the federal government
$112.5 million to settle the suit, but apparently not on the Feds’ initiative. They declined to tangle with the $8.5 billion endowed non-profit, a grateful participant in the federally subsidized higher education empire.

Former Duke lab analyst Joseph Thomas (above), who first reported the fraud in 2013, took it upon himself to sue the university where the government wouldn’t; he will pocket an additional $33.75 million under False Claim Act whistleblower stipulations–a cool 30%.

Thomas’ attorneys say he stuck with the case after the government opted not to mount its own investigation after he reported his allegations and filed suit.

Duke released a statement reassuring everyone that Potts-Kant
eventually pled [sic] guilty to two counts of forgery and paid restitution to Duke .

The ordeal has allowed Duke to give Geeta Swamy the new role of
“vice dean and associate vice provost for scientific integrity.” And hers is not the only new role!

Duke’s new Advisory Panel on Research Integrity and Excellence, to be chaired by pediatric microbiologist and former research dean of Stanford University in Palo Alto, California, Ann Arvin, will examine ways of “improving the structure and function of research administration, with a focus on promoting research integrity[.]” 

Job creation!

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To give San Francisco credit where due, the city’s 11-member Board of Supervisors voted 8-1 with two absences to usurp the police state’s facial recognition capabilities. It is the first American city to respect this invasion of privacy.

The board’s rules committee unanimously advanced the law last week, noting it would also require city departments to get approval from the Board of Supervisors before purchasing other surveillance technology ― including license plate readers, body cameras and biometrics technology, among other items.

None of the 53 city departments may use the technology beginning next month. According to CNN, the police department dabbled with the faulty, Orwellian techniques between 2013 and 2017. It’s anyone’s guess how many stills they have stockpiled.

Related:

The airport and seaport are exempted, however, so check your makeup before getting groped by their TSA.

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Vanessa and Keana Rodel, Filipino refugees lost in the legal limbo of Hong Kong and threatened with deportation for temporarily housing Edward Snowden, achieved Canadian asylum at the end of March.

But five others remain stateless in Hong Kong after that government rejected their asylum claims in 2017. You can donate to support them here:

fortherefugees.com, the legal charity that is navigating asylum options for Snowden’s 2013 protectors

Related:


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The already flimsy legal proceedings into Robert Kraft‘s alleged postseason porking (see our previous post) continue to crumble. NFL.com reports Florida Judge Leonard Hanser has blocked prosecutors from screening hidden camera footage of Kraft honing his craft in the courtroom.

When taping the New England Patriots owner’s January jaunts at
Orchids of Asia Day Spa, the authorities“did not do enough to minimize the invasion of privacy of customers who did not commit crimes.”

Thanks to our sources:

https://about.usps.com/newsroom/national-releases/2019/0208-usps-reports-first-quarter-fiscal-2019-results.htm

https://home.treasury.gov/system/files/136/USPS_A_Sustainable_Path_Forward_report_12-04-2018.pdf

https://www.cagw.org/thewastewatcher/usps-losses-deepening-bold-postal-reform-wallows

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/2019/01/09/forever-stamp-price-increase-among-us-postal-service-2019-changes/2510932002/

https://www.cbsnews.com/news/trump-task-force-proposes-major-postal-service-overhaul/

https://www.npr.org/2019/03/25/706604033/duke-whistleblower-gets-more-than-33-million-in-research-fraud-settlement

https://www.dukechronicle.com/article/2018/11/in-wake-of-prior-misconduct-allegations-duke-creates-new-research-integrity-position

https://www.medscape.com/viewarticle/910922

https://www.sciencemag.org/news/2019/03/duke-university-settles-research-misconduct-lawsuit-1125-million

https://www.huffpost.com/entry/san-francisco-ban-facial-recognition_n_5cd1d01ce4b0e4d757395587?guccounter=1&guce_referrer=aHR0cHM6Ly93d3cuZ29vZ2xlLmNvbS8&guce_referrer_sig=AQAAAGWc9Rug7mgmzTrivqESDIDht56BzY9AdzzdYmiilhNfeF_wUuqJc5wtBqJJPsgXMYPs0AiHYnqHWIfpfgiAz3xh3UiBzubrX0p75KdX2rbHrYsVqYHY10AZw4toYYcRbE31FzH6Ql3DS-uZwoAp_1W8PuDtsSDcaUZktjD_pRdd

https://www.cnn.com/2019/05/14/tech/san-francisco-facial-recognition-ban/index.html

https://www.cnn.com/2019/03/25/asia/edward-snowden-refugees-canada-intl/index.html

http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000001030680/article/judge-prosecutors-cannot-use-video-in-robert-kraft-case

Defendant, Doors, Drew, Drama, Debt and Disgrace

After pleading not guilty to conspiracy and fraud charges in Virginia–necessitating a second ankle bracelet, as he is already on house arrest from Robert Mueller indictments in D.C.–disgraced ex-Trump campaign chair Paul Manafort requested charges for false statements and conspiracy money laundering. His attorneys note these two charges are covered in the ongoing federal case.

Manafort has sued the Justice Department for exceeding the scope of the Mueller investigation on collusion with Russia in 2016 by pursuing all possible criminal activity by Manafort under a “blank check” of prosecution.

CNN reports Manafort faces a combined maximum sentence of over 300 years, the majority stemming from the Virginia fraud charges.

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Interior secretary Ryan Zinke‘s office (not the secretary himself, the bumbling bureaucracy noted) ordered three (3) sets of double doors for $139,669.68. And that included reusing “existing door handles, locks and latches.”

A spokeswoman blamed  “regulations that require historic preservation and outdated government procurement rules.”

Duke Ellington School of the Arts of Mismanaging Renovation

The doors were last replaced about six years into U.S. nation-building in Afghanistan (2007).

PHOTO: Interior Secretary Ryan Zinke addresses criticism of his travel practices before delivering a speech billed as A Vision for American Energy Dominance, at the Heritage Foundation, Sept. 29, 2017, in Washington.

Zinke (above) rode to the rescue (probably not on a charter flight, which he exploits on taxpayer dollars somewhat less frequently than other Trump cabinet members, per ABC News), informing a House committee “we got it down to $75,000” by “manipulating” the contract terms. He did not elaborate.

Taxpayer-backed luxurious travel for multimillionaire “public servants” is back in the news, however. Head Treasury thug Steven Mnuchin put in some tough hours on military jets between spring and fall of 2017. His eight known trips–pried from redacted FOIA requests by Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington–topped $995,000.

A source within Treasury who declined to be named told POLITICO that [Mnuchin predecessor Jack] Lew spent $3.25 million on travel expenses in 2016, which, according to the documents obtained by CREW, included 10 international trips using military aircraft, with stops in a combined 25 cities.

CREW notes that Mnuchin’s manifest is far stingier than previous secretary’s, however. He does not mix with commoners.

December Debacle: Stories from the Freezer!!! September 13 and 29: Mnuchin Continues Opulent Employment; Tom Price Priced Out of Trump Administration

Besides reportedly flying commercial not once during his tenure, one example of the former Goldman Sachs hack’s public exploitation is his self-designated Presidential Mission Trip to Miami last June. The original $27,000 FAA aircraft back from the Miami meeting with Mexico’s finance minister lacked a secure phone line, so Mnuchin upgraded to a $45,000 military plane. There were five people on the trip. His own travel office noted “for your awareness, the cost per person on commercial air is approx.: $688 roundtrip.” 

Treasury maintains Mnuchin has been off high-priced military aircraft since a $180,000 journey to the Middle East last October, but will require  jet next week for the G-20 summit in Argentina.

Mnuchin also told Sunday news host Chuck Todd that Trump’s characterization of Congresswoman Maxine Waters (D-CA) as “a very low I.Q. individual” was just a “funny name”:

“You know [Trump] likes to put names on people. He did that through the entire presidential election, including all the Republicans that he beat. […] He’s using these vulgarities in the context of a campaign and obviously there were a lot of funny moments in that rally.”

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Conor Lamb

Democrat Conor Lamb‘s (above) upset win in a special election to serve the remainder of 2018 for Pennsylvania’s 18th congressional district (which is redrawn for the midterms), despite two Trump rallies (including the “Maxine Waters has a low I.Q.” performance), had House Republicans worried.

“If you’re getting outraised [financially], this is a wake up call. Prepare to bear down.”–Steve Stivers (R-OH) 

Trump Dump

[our emphasis]

“Winning is better than losing,” reported Jim Jordan (R-OH), noting failed GOP candidate Rick Saccone‘s loss in a district that overwhelmingly supported Trump in 2016 was “not good.”

The race flowed with evil “outside money.” Although Lamb was boosted by Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee and End Citizens United, the bigger story seemed to be Saccone’s $10 million backing from national Republicans.

Libertarian candidate Drew Miller (above) scored about 0.6% of the vote, or double the margin between Lamb and Saccone, after raising $2,000.

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Ryan McAvoy, a White House staffer, left his personal email and password at a bus stop, but for Trump allies like Jared Kushner, House Intelligence Committee Democrats can’t rely on idiocy alone to seek out possible Russian collusion on non-official channels of communication. They’re floating subpoenas for the disgraced, temporary security clearance-stripped “Peace in the Middle East” adviser’s (below) transition team messages on “SMS, iMessage, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, Signal, Slack, Instagram, and Snapchat.”

Jared Kushner is pictured. | AP Photo

Hillary Updates

Trump ousted secretary of state Rex Tillerson (below, left) and appointed CIA director Mike Pompeo (below that) in his stead.

Image result

Tillerson’s deputy Steve Goldstein (below) was also fired.

Irwin Goldstein.jpg

Current CIA deputy director Gina Haspel is nominated to take Pompeo’s place.

Gina Haspel official CIA portrait.jpg

There were reports (now retracted) that Haspel directed the 2002 waterboarding of Abu Zubaydah (below) at a CIA black site in Thailand.

Abu Zubaydah.jpg

She did oversee Abd al-Rahim al-Nashiri‘s (below) waterboarding later that year and order destruction of the tapes of Zubaydah’s torture.

Nashiri.jpg

Both men are currently held without charges at Guantanamo Bay.

Senator Rand Paul will filibuster both Haspel and Pompeo’s nominations.

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The president wasn’t done. FBI deputy director Andrew McCabe (below), who has been on “terminal leave” since January (using accrued days off to make it until a planned retirement in March), was fired by Attorney General Jeff Sessions on Friday, less than two days before he would have qualified for a pension, for allegedly not cooperating with an Inspector General.

Retiring FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe

Two days before Christmas, Trump tweeted, “FBI Deputy Director Andrew McCabe is racing the clock to retire with full benefits. 90 days to go?!!!”

Apparently, Trump is still sour at McCabe’s involvement in the Hillary Secret Server probe that ended without charges for the former secretary of state. That announcement came from recently-fired FBI chief James Comey.

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: May 9: FBI Director Comey Fired

There were reports that current FBI head Christopher Wray refused Sessions’ request to fire McCabe back in January.

Trump tweeted early Saturday morning: “Andrew McCabe FIRED, a great day for the hard working men and women of the FBI – A great day for Democracy. Sanctimonious James Comey was his boss and made McCabe look like a choirboy. He knew all about the lies and corruption going on at the highest levels of the FBI!”

McCabe protested the move as Trump’s ongoing war on the FBI and the efforts of the [Mueller] special counsel investigation.”

Former CIA head John Brennan, who famously hacked Senator Dianne Feinstein‘s computer attempting to bury a report on American torture, tweeted to Trump:

“When the full extent of your venality, moral turpitude, and political corruption becomes known, you will take your rightful place as a disgraced demagogue in the dustbin of history. You may scapegoat Andy McCabe, but you will not destroy America…America will triumph over you.”

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The National Debt closed at over $21,000,000,000,000 on Thursday. Additionally, within the next decade, interest alone on the debt is projected to top $1 trillion annually–about triple the take of corporate tax in f.y. 2017 (or about 2/3 of the total confiscated in income tax).

Unconcerned Republicans now intend to make permanent some of their newly-enacted cuts to individual tax rates, which currently expire in 2025. The accompanying corporate tax cuts are already permanent, because priorities.

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In more local news, Seaside, California teacher, city council member and reserve police officer Dennis Alexander shot up the ceiling and injured three students while leading a firearms safety demonstration. He is now on leave from the police and school positions.

Teacher who accidentally fired gun at school apologizes and thanks community for support

A Glock 21, semi-automatic .45 caliber service pistol was used in the demonstration.

The Seaside High School website lists Anderson as an educator in the career and technical department responsible for introductory classes on fire and police, as well as public safety.

Class resumed after “no major injuries” were discovered. The children’s parents might not have found out, except one boy came home with a bloody shirt and later had part of a slug pulled out of his neck at the emergency room:

​Bullet fragments removed from student's neck

The boy’s father noted: “He’s shaken up, but he’s going to be OK. I’m just pretty upset that no one told us anything and we had to call the police ourselves to report it.”

Although Alexander had taught the class in the past, the weapon itself was apparently banned from school premises. Maybe police get special privileges.

 

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/14/politics/paul-manafort-motion-to-dismiss/index.html

https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/13/politics/paul-manafort-faces-305-years/index.html

https://www.yahoo.com/gma/interior-spend-139-000-doors-zinkes-office-034103697–abc-news-topstories.html

http://www.dailyherald.com/article/20180315/news/303159870

https://www.politico.com/story/2018/03/15/steven-mnuchin-plane-travel-cost-421176

http://thehill.com/homenews/house/378390-house-gop-frets-over-pennsylvania-race?utm_source=&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=14145

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/mnuchin-trump-insult-maxine-waters-iq_us_5aa52df9e4b01b9b0a3c53df

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/03/13/us/elections/results-pennsylvania-house-special-election.html

https://www.nbcnews.com/politics/white-house/trump-replaces-secretary-state-tillerson-cia-director-n856091

https://www.propublica.org/article/cia-cables-detail-its-new-deputy-directors-role-in-torture

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/03/18/rand-paul-gina-haspel-cia-217653

ProPublica’s Retraction Doesn’t Mean Gina Haspel Didn’t Oversee Torture, She Still Totally Did

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2018/03/18/rand-paul-gina-haspel-cia-217653

https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/18/politics/rand-paul-mike-pompeo-gina-haspel-cnntv/index.html

https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/archive/2018/01/the-defenestration-of-andrew-mccabe/551771/

https://www.yahoo.com/news/former-fbi-deputy-director-mccabe-booted-agency-052802977–politics.html

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/john-brennan-donald-trump-andrew-mccabe_us_5aad0cf7e4b05b2217ff0e53

https://www.washingtonexaminer.com/news/national-debt-hits-21-trillion

https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/15/opinions/trillion-dollar-debt-interest-opinion-macguineas/index.html

A closer look at who does (and doesn’t) pay U.S. income tax

http://thehill.com/policy/finance/378861-gop-pushes-for-phase-two-of-tax-cuts

http://thehill.com/opinion/finance/366889-democrats-should-get-on-board-with-making-trump-tax-cuts-permanent

https://www.yahoo.com/news/california-teacher-injures-three-pupils-131503194.html

http://www.latimes.com/local/california/la-me-ln-seaside-high-school-gun-apology-20180316-story.html

http://www.ksbw.com/article/seaside-high-teacher-accidentally-fires-gun-in-class/19426017

December Debacle: Stories from the Freezer!!! October 6: Birds Gon Fly, IRS Gon Spy

The Treasury Department‘s IRS was all up in this fall semester, increasing criminalization of the Federal Government’s subjects taxpayers after the recent Equifax humiliation.

Seal of the United States Department of the Treasury.svg

The most recent “for your own protection” gambit involves some light surveillance of Americans’ financial records.

The Bank Secrecy Act, as we have previously reported, provides the justification to unleash the IRS on unsuspecting Americans through civil asset forfeiture.

Banks (except our unconstitutional central bank, the Federal Reserve, which Washington maintains we have no right to audit as it systematically devalues our dollar and manipulates our interest rates) must report all daily transactions of $10,000 or more to the Federal Government. The IRS then targets citizens who deposit slightly less than $10,000 and confiscates everything they own on the presumption of guilt.

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: May 10: IRS Takes From Little People; Squander Millions on Unused Email, Faulty Fraud Detection

According to BuzzFeed, the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN) retains all records of $10,000 or greater transactions for our Federal thugs to comb through as they please–but only their thugs.

Basically, IRS (and others–read on!) are surveilling their employees by sweeping up the “10,000 or greater” transactions for their own databases: private financial information supposedly safe and secure with FinCEN absent a court order.

Buzzfeed cited twelve or more FinCEN employees who have warned officials and Congress that US citizens’ and residents’ banking and financial data has been illegally searched and stored.

Even better: the NSA is accused of using the same Treasury surveillance to comb through the financial data of whoever they’re currently watching. (Like many men in the media lately, NSA offered BuzzFeed a denial of the “categorical” variety. They never assaulted that woman or any man or woman. They have never seen the accuser in their life.)

OIA (Office of Intelligence and Analysis) is supposed to monitor suspicious financial activity abroad. But while the denial statement noted OIA and FinCEN are sharing info, it’s FinCEN who are accusing OIA of skirting laws. OIA is also allegedly cold-calling banks to gather intelligence on certain account holders–which some branches, per BuzzFeed, are volunteering, under the impression it’s  FinCEN-required compliance.

Paul Ahern, Treasury attorney, bullied FinCEN into thinking OIA had guidelines allowing them access to the intelligence. The guidelines were written a month later.

Who else also allegedly felt mandated to thumb through your bank account statements if you deposited more than the magic number 10,000? The CIA (who issued a prompt denial).

Two anonymous Treasury employees characterized the transgressions as “such an invasion of privacy” and “domestic spying.” (Hopefully no Federal agency is watching their emails or phone logs, or they might not stay “anonymous”…)

*

The spying reportedly began under Obama, but the notorious Steven Mnuchin is now in charge of the extra layer of skin-crawling snooping  by the IRS for which you literally write checks each year to the IRS.

Image result for Sigal Mandelker

Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal Mandelker (above) is also apparently okay with this.

ABC confirmed the Treasury’s IG is looking into the matter.

*

Most disturbingly,

Officials at FinCEN said that after they began raising alarms, OIA began shutting them off from classified networks. That lack of access, which BuzzFeed News reported last week, meant FinCEN officials were unable to fully respond to law enforcement agencies during several live terrorist attacks over the last year. It also prevented FinCEN from fully complying with the Senate investigation into possible collusion between Donald Trump’s campaign and Russia.

[our emphasis]

Ain’t nobody got time for catching terrorists, we have law-abiding Americans to spy on!!!

Thanks to our sources:

https://www.buzzfeed.com/jasonleopold/us-intelligence-unit-accused-of-illegally-spying-on?utm_term=.wkxjgVoEm&bftwnews#.hoE7m40A9

US Treasury denies domestic spying

http://abcnews.go.com/amp/Business/wireStory/treasurys-ig-probing-illegal-surveillance-allegations-50328990

December Debacle: Stories from the Freezer!!! September 13 and 29: Mnuchin Continues Opulent Employment; Tom Price Priced Out of Trump Administration

PHOTO: Louise Linton and Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin are pictured during their honeymoon in Edinburgh, Scotland, Aug. 5, 2017. <p itemprop=

Trump’s slimy Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin requested a $25,000/hour private Air Force jet to use throughout his honeymoon with actress Louise Linton last summer.

“The Secretary is a member of the National Security Council and has responsibility for the Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence,” [a Treasury] spokesman said in a statement. “It is imperative that he have access to secure communications, and it is our practice to consider a wide range of options to ensure he has these capabilities during his travel, including the possible use of military aircraft.”

Like he’s in the fucking X-Men or something.

Image result for blackbird xmen united

Except even they didn’t need a private jet to communicate, because Professor X was all up in their minds!!

Related:

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: August 3: Mick Mollifies Big Spenders

What does the Treasury Secretary even do, besides pose with sheets of increasingly-worthless (thanks, Federal Reserve) dollar bills?

Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, right, and his wife Louise Linton, hold up a sheet of new $1 bills, the first currency notes bearing his and U.S. Treasurer Jovita Carranza's signatures, Wednesday, Nov. 15, 2017, at the Bureau of Engraving and Printing in Washington. The Mnuchin-Carranza notes, which are a new series of 2017, 50-subject $1 notes, will be sent to the Federal Reserve to issue into circulation. (AP Photo/ap

 

The Hill reported the Treasury’s Inspector General opened a second investigation into his $25,000 trip from Washington to New York and back on August 15 (one week before his eclipse stunt). He took a commercial plane to the meeting with President Trump, but needed 25 g’s of Air Force jet to return. Mnuchin’s office fired back that they were merely required to provide additional information toward the original investigation.

On October 6, the IG found “no evidence of wrongdoing” in the nine Mnuchin trips reviewed (which cost taxpayers over $800,000 in private planes), but that “corners were cut” and the Trump administration must better justify private jet use in the future. One of the nine was a withdrawn request for the honeymoon. The most expensive was a four-day jaunt to Italy for the G-7 summit for $314,442; Mnuchin maintained he needed a private plane for “scheduling, [STUPID WORD ALERT] logistics, […] secure communications needs,” and “potential for developments during travel related to a number of issues.”

Senators High on Private Fly(ing)

*

Speaking of pricey travel, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price could no longer afford the damage to his reputation after Politico reported his travel on private and military planes. (The exact amount is at least $400,000 and possibly as higher than $1 million. Reports vary.)

The final straw for Trump, interestingly, was Price’s half-assed offer to reimburse the government what he calculated as the price of his own seat on the (at least 24) flights: $52,000. Taxed-to-death American people no like. Price was forced to resign.

Image result for tom price

Related:

Trump Goes to War with Old People

Price did end up writing the $51,887.31 check to the Treasury.

Eric Hargan was installed as acting HHS Secretary and remains in the position, which is slightly different from the “active deputy secretary” slot he held under President George W. Bush.

Thanks to our sources:

http://abcnews.go.com/Politics/treasury-secretary-mnuchin-requested-government-jet-european-honeymoon/story?id=49777076

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/354862-inspector-general-launches-second-investigation-into-mnuchin-travel

http://money.cnn.com/2017/10/05/news/mnuchin-trips-government-planes/index.html

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/353162-health-secretary-tom-price-resigns

https://www.politico.com/magazine/story/2017/10/04/how-we-found-tom-prices-private-jets-215680

Trump Announces Eric Hargan as Acting HHS Secretary

December Debacle: Stories from the Freezer!!! September 3: Dirtbag Mnunchin Demands Debt Limit Increase Tied to Harvey Funding; Democrats Happy to Collude

Trump’s Treasury thug Steven Mnuchin used the Sunday talk show circuit to demand any Federal relief of the destruction inflicted by Hurricane Harvey (the costliest American hurricane in history, according to Wikipedia) be held ransom in exchange for the annual can-kicking of the nation’s record $20,000,000,000,000 debt.

Related:

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: August 3: Mick Mollifies Big Spenders

Mnuchin used the Mussolini-era term “state” not for the state of Texas (it appears) but for our cancerous Federal Government,  emphasizing the benevolent big wigs must have control at all times, or everyone will perish.

“The president and I believe that [raising the debt limit] should be tied to the Harvey funding, that our first priority is to make sure that the state gets money. It is critical and to do that we need to make sure we raise the debt limit.”

[our emphasis]

The $300 million-net worth Mnuchin also touched on his “comfort” with borrowing a few billion dollars in light of his boss’s two predecessors’ charging of $10 trillion apiece to the national credit card. (Read: threatened not to give Texas relief money if the nation didn’t step deeper into the debt pool.)

“[W]ithout raising the debt limit, I’m not comfortable that we would get the money that we need this month to Texas to rebuild.”

He insinuated the storm “moved up the situation” of that pesky debt limit. Any disaster can be used to bargain for an extension of your malicious fiscal practices.

That’s not all for the terrible toils of Texans in 2017. According to Texas Tribune, disaster relief funds from the Federal Government via Housing and Urban Development, will take between 7 and 32 months to disperse.

Before the government agencies can disperse the money, they must develop an action plan that HUD approves. The public must also have a chance to comment on the plan, a process that can take 30 to 60 days. Texas officials have asked that time period be reduced to seven days.

In all fairness, the layer cake of Federal job creation delaying the money is small potatoes compared to what Houston’s neighbor to the southeast, Puerto Rico, was in for after the next hurricane.

On September 7, the Senate sold out the younger generation as expected, 80-17. Ted Cruz and John Cornyn, both Republicans of Texas and ostensibly fiscal conservatives, voted to continue borrowing into unsustainable oblivion until December, while kicking $15.25 billion to FEMA for Harvey relief.

Of the 17 “no” votes (all Republicans, which is interesting given their majority in both the House and the Senate…see below), notable were Rand Paul of Kentucky, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and John McCain of Arizona. Marco Rubio, of oft-hurricane-battered Florida, did not vote.

The House initially wanted just $7.9 billion for the disaster, but approved the more lavish Senate bill September 8; Trump signed it the same day. When it comes to spending your money, the major parties are surprisingly cooperative.

New York Times noted Republican leaders had wanted a longer-term extension of the debt limit, but were left with little recourse when Mr. Trump sided with top Democrats in Congress, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York and Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, at a White House meeting on [September 6], blindsiding his own party.

According to Washington Examiner, [a]head of Friday morning’s vote in the House, GOP lawmakers attended a meeting with Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin, and House Republicans were angered by his lack of information about how much money the government will spend between now and Dec. 8.

That anger translated to a still massively lopsided 316-90 vote for the measure. All 90 “nay” votes were from Republicans.

*

On December 7, with the above-imposed deadline looming, Congress again dug deep into the country’s financial future, throwing together a two-week “continuing resolution” to keep the cash flowing long enough to advance what would be their only major legislative accomplishment under Trump thus far: a large tax cut that will add nearly $1,500,000,000,000 more to the national debt in the next ten years.

Thanks to our sources:

http://thehill.com/homenews/sunday-talk-shows/349043-mnuchin-debt-limit-should-be-tied-to-the-harvey-funding

https://www.texastribune.org/2017/10/02/hurricane-harvey-relief-funds-might-take-years-officials-tell-legislat/

https://www.senate.gov/legislative/LIS/roll_call_lists/roll_call_vote_cfm.cfm?congress=115&session=1&vote=00192

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/house-approves-harvey-relief-debt-ceiling-spending-bill-in-vote-that-splits-gop/article/2633813

http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/trump-signs-harvey-relief-debt-ceiling-spending-bill/article/2633868

https://www.politico.com/story/2017/12/07/government-shutdown-2017-house-republicans-285329

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/12/15/gop-tax-bill-would-raise-deficits-by-nearly-1-point-5-trillion-jct-report.html

Summer Part 2: August Agony!!! Looking Back: August 3: Mick Mollifies Big Spenders

Business Insider reported that Office of Management and Budget Director Mick Mulvaney is reneging on promises to even marginally address the perilous finances of the United States.

mick mulvaney

If you can’t take the heat, give the big-government filth everything they demand and crawl home without your testicles.

While Mulvaney had previously promised he would demand spending cuts in exchange for “raising the debt ceiling” (a near-annual occurrence in which the Feds stare down our unprecedented $20,000,000,000,000 national debt, shrug, and pretend we’re solvent by simply increasing the amount of cheddar the Feds themselves may borrow–backed by taxpayers–without any significant reform in spending to even dent the $250 billion we pay in annual interest), he now advocates a “clean” increase. This just means we’ll keep spending beyond our means, but with a bipartisan consensus that our children should inherit at least one year of our GDP in financial obligations.

It’s all quite confusing, because:

The debt limit, the level of outstanding debt the federal government is allowed to carry, was technically hit in March. Since then, the Treasury Department has been using “extraordinary measures” to prevent a breach of the limit. The department has said Congress must pass a bill to increase the limit by the end of September to avoid a breach.

[our emphasis]

While Trump threw a transient bone to the fiscal conservative crowd shortly after his election by imposing a federal “hiring freeze,” that minuscule measure towards fiscal sanity was abandoned not even three months later. By…Mulvaney:

Summer Part 1: Stories We Shelved!!! April 11–Federal “Thaw”

Even more willing to live beyond our means is Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, who made news for all the wrong reasons on August 21 by reportedly using a government jet to travel to Kentucky for front row seats in viewing the SOLAR ECLIPSE.

Mnuchin was delivering a scheduled speech alongside Senate Majority Leader Sellout Mitch McConnell (who actually hails from Kentucky and might be able to justify billing his citizens for a ticket out of D.C.)

Mnuchin might have gotten away with the alleged waste of taxpayer dollars, too, except his wife, Louise Linton, got on the Instagram to brag about the brands she was wearing on the excursion. Her selfie captured the jet in the background:

Watchdog requests documents about Mnuchin and wife's Ky. trip timed with eclipse

Linton responded to the haters, who were justifiably wondering why a luxurious lap in a federal jet was necessary for a famous actress estimated to be worth $300 million to view a three-minute natural phenomenon, with:

“Pretty sure the amount we sacrifice per year is a lot more than you’d be willing to sacrifice if the choice was yours. You’re adorably out of touch.”

Although she later apologized for her behavior, Citizens for Ethics and Responsibility in Washington (who for some reason acronymed themselves as “CREW”) have filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request for any records of Mnuchin’s government-funded travel up to and including the eclipse excursion since he took office.

In related news, USA Today noted in February that fiscal year 2016 was a boon for taxpayer-funded government travel. Congressional records estimate they spent at least $14.7 million from the little people, which would be 27% more than in f.y. 2015.

Mnuchin’s own Treasury, however, estimated it was actually nearly $20 million. Treasury got their data from the State Department, and both outfits refused to explain the increase.

Using the $20 million figure, f.y. 2016 represents the highest government travel amount ever recorded, and includes 557 trips by Congress and their staffers that cost at least $10,000 per person.

Thanks to our sources:

https://finance.yahoo.com/news/trumps-budget-director-caved-one-202231113.html

http://thehill.com/homenews/administration/347713-watchdog-requests-documents-about-mnuchin-and-wifes-trip-to-ky-theres

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/politics/2017/02/27/taxpayers-fund-first-class-congressional-foreign-travel-boom-overseas/98351442/