Senator Illegally Releases Classified Testimony
This week, Sen. Diane Feinstein (D-Calif) illegally released classified testimony given by Fusion GPS co-founder Glenn Simpson to the Senate Judiciary Committee. At first, she blamed "a bad head cold" for this lapse in judgment. Later, she alleged "I just got pressured."
Now she disavows her earlier lame excuses, asserting that "I never said I was pressured" and speculates that a reporter "misunderstood my complaint about the severe sinus pressure I was experiencing with the cold."
The reporter in question, BuzzFeed's Emma Loop, says she has heard a recording of the Senator alluding to getting pressured and wanted to know "who was pressuring you?"
"Look, the Fusion GPS lawyer asked me to released the copy of the testimony to the media," Feinstein now recalled. "I just forgot that it was classified. I don't know what all the fuss is about. Everything is going to be released eventually. Besides, I'm not some sailor taking a selfie in a submarine. I'm a United States Senator—one of only a hundred in the world. I think I, like Secretary Clinton, deserve a little latitude for what was obviously a minor misstep in my long career of public service."
Trump Immigration Question Sparks Outrage
During a private meeting at the White House to work on an immigration bill, President Trump is reported to have asked "why are we having all these people from shit-hole countries come here?"
Meeting attendee Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill) called Trump's words "hate-filled" and "the worst words ever spoken in the Oval Office. Frankly, it's embarrassing to have a man capable of such language as the nation's Chief Executive. I don't know if it's a high crime, but it certainly seems at least a misdemeanor."
Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Az), who was not at the meeting, said "I was aghast at what Dick told me about what Trump said. The words Trump used were abhorrent and repulsive. I don't see how anyone with any sense of decency can continue to serve in a government run by such a person. If only my colleagues would follow my example the country would be faced with the stark choice of him or us. Maybe then the nightmare would end."
"Putting the President's hateful words aside, I will answer why we want people from these countries to come to America," Durbin said. "These people live in dire poverty. They are ill-educated. Many need expensive medical care that is not available where they come from. Their governments are run by dictatorial kleptocrats. They need rescue. Who better to provide that rescue than America. We have more wealth than we need or deserve. If we let them in we can sustain them in lifestyles they could never dream of reaching back home and earn their loyalty."
Mamady Traore, a sociologist from the African nation of Guinea, confirmed Trump's perception, saying "he is absolutely right. Africa is a continent of shit. When you have heads of state who mess with the constitutions to perpetuate their power. When you have rebel factions that kill children, disembowel women, who mutilate innocent civilians. Frankly, it must be said that it's crap."
In related news, the Center for American Progress issued a memo to supporters calling "the legalization of persons in the country illegally a critical component of the Democratic Party's future electoral success" and urged all Democrats in Congress "to vote against any Republican attempts to fund the government that do not include a fix for Dreamers."
Trump Named Top Enemy of Press
The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) named Donald Trump the "top global press oppressor." The award was considered an upset win. Regimes like China where journalists are jailed for criticizing the government, Turkey, which has surpassed China as the world's biggest jailer of journalists, and Russia where reporters frequently are murdered are expected to lodge protests.
Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan complained "we have worked very hard to be the best oppressors. We have more reporters in prison than any other country. I could understand being edged out by Russia or China with their lengthy pedigrees for dealing with nettlesome journalists, but the United States? The biggest accomplishment I'm aware of was Obama's spying on journalists. That's NOTHING! The Committee is showing unfair favoritism."
CPJ Executive Director Joel Simon defended the organization's selection of Trump, arguing that "no other tyrant has done more to undermine our credibility. In fact, it could be argued that jailing or killing a reporter martyrs him and enhances the media's credibility. But Trump's tagging us with the 'fake news' label has caused more damage than any other regime has ever achieved."
A recent study from the Pew Research Center seems to bear out Simon's contention. According to the study the US ranks first in the perception of media bias. Only 21% of Trump supporters think the media treats political issues fairly. Fifty-five percent of Trump opponents see the media as fairly dealing with political issues. The 34% spread is the largest in the world.
Meanwhile, Project Veritas' covert recording of several Twitter's employees revealed them boasting about "using shadow banning to censor conservatives, pro-Trumpers and others who tweet about God, guns, and America." Shadow banning conceals a customer's tweets from other users. The banned user is never notified and is unaware that his posts are being sidetracked to a dead end. Twitter Trust and Safety Policy Manager Olinda Hassan explained "we're using our control of the medium to neutralize the enemies of social progress."
Twitter's suppression of conservatives complements Google's partisan "fact checking." Media outlets that lean right are tagged with a "reviewed claims" sidebar listing left-wing objections to the site's content disguised as "fact checking." Media outlets that lean left like Vox, Slate, The Huffington Post, Daily Kos, Salon, and Mother Jones have no "fact checking" sidebars. Google gives The New York Times and The Washington Post sidebars showcasing the awards they have been given over the years. Google spokesman Sacca Kathair defended the bias, calling it "our company's contribution in the battle to ensure that incorrect thinking is clearly labeled and that correct thinking is appropriately acknowledged."
Dems Denigrate Tax Cut
The wave of corporations announcing employee bonuses in the wake of the recently passed Tax Cuts & Jobs Act was denigrated by House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif) as "pathetic crumbs. These corporations are getting billions in tax cuts, but are only giving out a few thousand to employees."
While the "few thousand" is a per employee figure, the total being paid out in bonuses is in the billions. So far, over two million employees are set to receive a bonus averaging up to $3,000 per worker. On top of these bonuses there will also be individual tax cuts. H & R Block estimates that single taxpayers earning $40,000 per year would get to keep an additional $1,000 under the new law. Families earning $70,000 would keep an added $4,000.
"These piddling amounts won't improve the lives of the average American as much as we could've done if the government continued to take and spend the money for the greater good of all," Pelosi contended. "Funds that selfish individuals will fritter away on gadgets, vacations, or other frivolous spending could've been used to support the rescue of more Middle East refugees, free abortions for all, or any number of other worthy causes at the discretion of Congress."
"Catering to crass greed, as this totally GOP legislation has done, insults the patriotism and collective solidarity of Americans," she continued. "By shoving this money back in the pockets of the working class we are denying them the right and opportunity to participate in something greater than themselves. It is my belief that the loss of this opportunity will come back to hit the Republicans hard in the mid-term elections this November and in 2020 when our country's worst president is voted out of office, if he lasts that long."
Fellow warrior for progressive government Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) urged her state's voters "to not be misled by the personal benefits of the tax cuts. Yes, some of you will get bonuses. Almost all of you will get a tax cut, and everyone will see lower electric rates as a result of this law. But remember, this narrowly focused law has nothing in it for those who choose not to work, pay no taxes, and refrain from consuming electricity from the polluting power companies. Democrats are the only ones voters can count on to defend our traditional way of life."
Massachusetts power companies aren't the only ones planning on lowering rates because of the corporate tax cut. So far a half dozen companies—Pepco, Delmarva, Baltimore Gas & Electric, Pacific Power, Rocky Mountain Power, and Commonwealth Edison—are asking for permission to lower electricity rates. More are expected to follow suit. Widespread lower electricity costs will complicate Democrat efforts to rally voters to their anti-tax cut cause.
Meanwhile, New York, Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) has decided he should "redirect the state's public employees' pension fund investments to make a better world. We're sitting on billions of dollars that currently are invested in the stocks of companies engaged in businesses that are out-of-step with the progressive agenda. We have the power to use this money to reward companies that are in step. We owe it to the future of our children and the planet to use this power." The Suffolk County Association of Municipal Employees issued a report that predicts the Public Employees' Common Retirement Fund would lose $2.8 billion over the next 20 years if the Governor has his way.
In an alternative approach to revitalizing the economy and attaining social justice, the State of California has decided to offer financial aid to aspiring marijuana entrepreneurs. Preference will be given to minority applicants who have prison records. Greg Minor, Assistant to the City Administrator – Special Permits and Nuisance Abatement, explained that "it makes sense to prioritize who gets the aid. Guys who have been incarcerated for trafficking in drugs know the product, know how to market it, and strike me as more likely to succeed. In addition, these ex-cons have paid their debt to society. Letting them go to the head of the line helps society pay its debt for the wrongs it has inflicted on these people."